1) Neil Patrick Harris Calling Out How White This Show Is
Being the host of the Oscars is pretty much a thankless job. You can be the best there is, but the soul-crushing run time and obligatory ass kissing will soften even the sharpest performance. I think Neil Patrick Harris realized that, so he made a very strong joke right at the top and let the whole thing kind of slide down a mountain from there.
Damn. Just, damn. I loved it! Everyone was talking about how white the nominees were this year and he calls it out minute one. And he’s completely right. Every time they showed the audience, it looked like a discount box of crayons where the only thing you could color is beige sand.
2) Jack Black’s Solo
When they cut to Jack Black in the audience during the opening song, I was like, “Oh. OK. Here we go. This will suck.” But it did not suck. He talked about how the movie business is a big garbage dump that’s obsessed with making money and doesn’t care about quality. He mentioned pandering to Chinese dollars and fickle friends you’ll have in the business. He got pretty specific. It was the best Oscars opening ever! NPH was calling out the room for being white and Jack Black was outing the industry executives for the greedy cowards they are. I wish it could’ve gone on like that for the next four hours.
3) J.K. Simmons
J.K. Simmons was going to win. Everybody knew it. So it would make sense that he’d have a pretty clear-cut agenda when he hit the stage. Thank his gifted kids? Sure. But telling everyone watching to pick up a phone and call someone they love? Damn. What a G move. It made me do a pretty hard reality check that the only people I pick up the phone to call are the ones who deliver Thai food to me. And while I love them very much, I should probably reach out to some living relatives while I still have the chance. Also, totally awesome how he specifically said don’t text or email because you just know 99% of the people listening up until that point were like, “Yeahhhhhh, I’m just going to text or email.” Unless I find out that J.K. Simmons has an endorsement deal with AT&T long distance, this was the most genuine moment of the night for me.
4) The Guy Who Just Kept Talking Over The Music
The balls on this guy. I’ve been watching the Academy Awards my whole life (I’m one year old) and I’ve never seen this move. He just kept talking until the music was done! Everyone was silent. Did he just do that? Can you just do that?! It totally worked! He got a surge of applause from actors who had been bullied by that music for decades. The control room didn’t know how to handle it. Wouldn’t be surprised if someone had a stroke. Then they just turned the music back on and he wrapped up. I want that guy to be my life coach because he clearly believes you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
5) Patricia Arquette
Not a whole lot to say here. She got on the mic and talked about wage equality for women. It was fucking awesome. I don’t have stats on what women make compared to men because I am a man and I’m too scared and ashamed to look at those stats, but I know it’s a real number and it bums me out. It sucks. So good for Patricia Arquette for using this platform to call attention to a serious issue. And there’s some kind of poetic justice that a woman winning an award for a supporting role is trying to call out the evidently under-appreciated supporting roles women have in the workplace. Basically she kept it real as fuck. Good for you, Patricia Arquette. You must be doing something right when Meryl Streep and J.Lo give you this kind of respect.
6) Suicide Kings
It takes a lot of courage to talk about suicide in this environment. Mostly because by hour two of this celebrity circle jerk everyone in the Dolby Theatre and at home is weighing the merits of gargling paint thinner. But seriously folks, people die by their own hand all the time. Way too often. And whether it’s straight-up suicide or easily preventable death, we should all be more in tune with one another and try to stop this stuff from happening. It was a bold move to bring it up. Commendable even. But how about the fact that suicide got brought up TWICE? That’s A LOT of suicide talk for the Academy Awards. What a night for suicide! Does anyone know who suicide was wearing? I also loved how after the first time, Neil Patrick Harris just said, “Wow, I like that dress.” Yes, she was wearing a dress that’s easy to goof on, but that’s probably the least appropriate response. It’s my new favorite way to transition out of a conversation about suicide. If anyone I love or care about tries to have an earnest conversation about suicide with me, I’m just going to say, “Wow, I like that dress.” Then hopefully they’ll get the reference and laugh. What’s the worst that could happen?
Also, I’m selling neon tank tops that say “Stay Weird. Stay Different.” in the Coachella parking lot this year and I’m going to make 17 million dollars.
7) Dude Who Thanked Larry The Dog
Safe to say that Larry the dog has no idea what a movie is, or what an award show is, or even what a TV is. He probably looks at the TV and thinks it’s magic. Do dogs know about magic? Life has some pretty big questions! But yeah, dog magic aside, Larry the dog most definitely got a shout out at the Academy Awards. And while the dude who thanked his dog in acceptance overtime definitely kept it real, let’s just reflect on what a good dog Larry must be. He must be the best dog ever. He must be one of those dogs that brings you the newspaper and slippers in the morning and then syncs your iPhone and clears spam out of your inbox and writes your screenplay for you. WHAT A GOOD BOY! From now on, if you’re a dog and your owner wins an Academy Award but doesn’t thank you, you’re probably up for adoption on Monday.
8) Channing Tatum & Oprah With Their Lego Oscars
Channing Tatum and Oprah Winfrey were both completely stoked to get Lego Oscars last night. As they should be, those things are awesome. Legos are awesome. It’s a travesty that movie wasn’t nominated for every category including the ones it wasn’t even eligible for. It was cool to see two adults who have enough money to buy all the Legos they want be legitimately excited about getting a toy.
Channing Tatum was even playing with it during the show! Look at him Lego-bombing Steve Carell. Is Lego-bombing a thing? Sure. It’s a thing now. Everything is a thing.
Honorary Mention: Travolta Being Travolta
I don’t know if it technically counts as keeping it real when you have no idea what a freak show you’ve become, but John Travolta is just going to keep being himself until the cows come home. And you kind of have to respect it. He’s going to be creepy and off-putting and fumble his line even when the WHOLE POINT OF THIS BIT was to not fumble his line. And he only had one line! I just hope every year for the rest of time we cart him out and let him try to make good for what he did last year and he blows it and sets himself up for the next year. And so on. It will truly be the grandest and most wonderful tradition of this or any awards ceremony. Keep on rocking in the free world, John Travolta. Also, it’s OK to just let us know that you’re gay. It’s no big deal. It’s the opposite of a big deal. What you’re doing now is a much larger deal.