Oscars 2015: Predictability Makes a Long Night Longer
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Oscars 2015: Predictability Makes a Long Night Longer

The glitter has been swept up, the last denizens of the after-parties have staggered home, and the little gold men awarded to the various winners have been lovingly placed on mantles as the last lights of the 2015 Oscars have fade away.

The odd thing is, it’s almost like they were never there at all.

In a year where many revolutionary changes occurred in the industry, the ceremony itself seemed oddly staid. Neil Patrick Harris fell into David Letterman’s trap of telling jokes for the home audience (or in NPH’s case, Twitter) at the expense of the live one. The dead silence that followed many of his jokes made him seem like a man flopping on open mic night.

It was a drawn-out ordeal. The ceremony ran past midnight, with most of the major awards not doled out until after 11:30 p.m. (EST).

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It’s not as if there wasn’t fat that could have been trimmed from the ceremony. There were the usual ill-advised dance numbers, the speech from the president of the Academy, the highlights from the pre-recorded tech awards, not to mention the song after the death montage. Even Lady Gaga’s performance, an unexpected highlight of the evening, was part of a tribute to The Sound of Music that had little to do with the awards.

In fact, for an evening that ran so long, there wasn’t much to remember. Only a few moments spring to mind: Lady Gaga and Tim McGraw’s performances, Patricia Arquette’s speech, NPH in his underwear. And John Travolta somehow managed to make things even worse with poor Idina Menzel.

It didn’t help that the favorites won in almost every category. With the exception of the coin flip for Boyhood vs. Birdman (even that had been tipping in Birdman’s favor for a while), everything happened as expected - there was no surprise as Eddie Redmayne or Julianne Moore took the stage for best actor and actress, respectively. There was maybe some early excitement when The Grand Budapest Hotel started sweeping the early awards, as if this was the beginning of a wave, but then Wes Anderson would win for production design and costumes, wouldn’t he?

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It’s perhaps appropriate, then, to say that this might have been the most forgettable Oscars in recent memory. There has been an overriding sense that this year’s nominees were not the best Hollywood has to offer, but simply the best they had to offer this year. Much has been made of the lack of diversity in the nominees, and it’s a fair complaint, but increasingly the nominations just feel routine. Julianne Moore may have been great in Still Alice, but no one saw it. In the end, she was awarded for being Julianne Moore.  Jared Leto even joked that California law required Meryl Streep to be nominated every year.

Sure, Eddie Redmayne is fresh blood, but he won for the definition of an Oscar-baiting role in a film unlikely to be rewatched. Be honest: How likely are you to re-watch A Beautiful Mind? Or My Left Foot?

At the end of the day, Birdman may very well have won for being the most original thing in a tedious year, but is that enough for Hollywood?

Hopefully, 2015 will offer something more exciting.

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