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Monday, February 23, 2015

87th Academy Awards Ceremony: The "Gay Superbowl"

Neil Patrick Harris is a triple threat indeed. He acts, sings and dances. He has hosted the Tonys, the Emmys and, last night, the Oscars. He is good at both delivering scripted one-liners and ad-libbing. This was also very appropriate as NPH is an "out" gay man and the Oscars are known to many as the "Gay Superbowl." My friend and I proved this to be the case as we celebrated with pineapple salsa and chips, chicken wings and other snacks. We also had pineapple champagne, though there's nothing inherently gay or Oscar-oriented about pineapple. Just a coincidence. (He bought the salsa and I bought the champagne.)

It was largely a dignified affair last night, marred by the omission of Joan Rivers' name and image during the annual in memoriam segment introduced by Meryl Streep. It was like a slap in the face and an affront to Ms Rivers' fans who tweeted and messaged as soon as her name did not appear in its alphabetical order. Joan was apparently snubbed by the Academy for her outspoken red carpet work, it would seem, although she worked in Spaceballs, Shrek 2, Rabbit Test (which she wrote and directed), The Swimmer, The Muppets Take Manhattan among other films, and warranted inclusion in the segment. As I said, this is the Gay "Superbowl" and fans get riled up... especially after cocktails.

Talking of the red carpet, there were so many beautiful, dazzling, classy gowns last night! Of course, Jennifer Lopez appeared as a presenter (fresh from her starring role in The Boy Next Door), looking tacky in a typically breast-baring, very low-cut, sheer, glittery frock.

Our boy, Neil, had a backstage/onstage moment in his briefs, yes, but that was comedy and a sight gag spoofing Birdman. Some immediately took to the Internet to express disapproval. Oh, please! Get over it and, as Joan Rivers would have said, "Grow up!" Someone wrote, "Could you imagine Bob Hope doing this?" Thank God, no I couldn't -- or, at least, wouldn't -- imagine that.

Channing Tatum turned up to present who-knows-what. Unfortunately, he had all his clothes on but Magic Mike XXL opens in a few months. I guess I somehow cared as much about what he was doing on-stage at the Oscars as much as I cared about seeing him in Jupiter Ascending.

I was thrilled for Julianne Moore who finally got her Best Actress Oscar for Still Alice. Her acceptance speech was classy and well prepared as she spoke, partly, to raise awareness about Alzheimer's. She looked swell, too.

Britain's Eddie Redmayne deservedly nabbed the Best Actor Oscar for his intensive portrayal of Stephen Hawkings in The Theory of Everything. Both Awards proved that Oscar voters still love actors portraying the disabled.

I was happy Grand Budapest Hotel garnered four Awards, but had hoped it would win for Best Picture. I was disappointed Birdman had that distinction because, frankly, I didn't think it was nearly as good. Birdman's Alejandro González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to take home an Oscar.

Poland's Ida won Best Foreign Film. Patricia Arquette, with a body of good work to her credit, impressed us with both her frock and her acceptance speech. She won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood. Best Supporting Actor's Oscar was coveted by J.K. Simmons for Whiplash, a film I've yet to see. (I voted for Robert Duvall in The Judge on my at-home ballot.)

The performance of "Glory" (from Selma) was stirring; a big gospel number performed by John Legend and Common. As thunderous applause swept over the footlights, we just knew it was bound for glory in the Best Original Song category which it, in fact, won.

Highlights this year included Idina Menzel presenting alongside John Travolta (who famously mangled her name last year), the breathtaking simplicity of the gowns worn by Cate Blanchett and Reese Witherspoon, and Lady Gaga performing songs from The Sound of Music -- beautifully. Her white gown was lovely. If only she could have covered up those crude-looking, long tattoos on her inner arms.

Julie Andrews then took to the stage, gave Lady Gaga a big hug and said, "Thank you for that.... It warmed my heart." And so it did mine. Or maybe that was the pineapple salsa.

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