There are enough clichés and introductions to this celebrated Hollywood evening as it begins to set the tone for award season and how the movies, TV shows and characters we fell in love with or hated will be treated throughout it. The reality is that it is a night to see the actors in a more relaxed environment in which they become just a little more real to those of us watching from our homes.
As hosts the responsibility Tina Fey & Amy Poehler had was the difficult task of being funny, maintaining their appeal with multiple wardrobe changes, being informative and just living on that line of interesting yet almost past the line of acceptable versus unacceptable humor. The duo did their introduction with magical timing and an artistry that took themselves in their own jokes so as to not create an “us versus you” vibe that sometimes can be the case when the host becomes a little too enamored with making a point instead of simply hosting a show (Gervais comes to mind). Then there was the Bill Cosby joke. There was a bit of an awkward half of a second and then it was proven that it could be taken lightly and accepted for what it was intended to be, a joke. Would everyone in the industry find it funny? Of course not, because everyone will never find the same joke funny.
The first award presented by Cumberbatch and Aniston for best supporting actor in motion picture was given to JK Simmons for Whiplash. Best supporting actress for TV/mini series was awarded to JoAnn Froggatt for Downton Abbey who showed a refreshing sincere gratitude and happiness, almost glee as she accepted her award. In a night where there are more awards than we can keep track of and/or thank you’s said to people we will never know, there are other ways to highlight glimpses of evenings like tonight. Wardrobe, heartfelt truth in acceptance speeches and honest moments between takes and commercials are just a few of these.
Here are some highlights or moments that simply beckoned viewers’ attention. Early in the show Jennifer Lopez appeared with a dress that seemed to attempt to replicate in a way her famous green Versace dress worn at the Grammy’s in 2000 (without the see through part) presented for mini series or TV movie, of which Fargo won. Probably what was more entertaining than the acceptance speech was seeing JLo in the background chatting it up and obviously not paying attention at all to what was going on. Billy Bob Thornton won for actor in mini series, also Fargo.
The jokes throughout were overall in good taste and, of course, the jokes about North Korea could not be avoided. With that same sense of defiance and pride the notes of stating that the industry would continue to take a stand in support of artistic expression and defy those who are not only against it but any of them who attempt to silence it. A noteworthy award nominee and recipient was that for best actress in TV series: Gina Rodriguez. This was her first nomination but also may be the first nomination for a Latina. She won for Jane the Virgin. Her honest tears of joy were refreshing. The Theory of Everything came away with best original score and Best Actor Eddie Redmayne. It was a well deserved award for an extraordinary actor portraying an extraordinary man who is Steven Hawkins.
Then Prince walked out on stage to all kinds of whistles, smiles and claps. What an interesting surprise to see him there with his afro and so-distinctive style. A cool that only Prince can exude. He was there presenting for original song in motion picture, of course. Glory by John Legend and Common in the movie Selma won! A moving moment. Oprah was among the first to stand and yelp in praise. Not to disappoint, Common brought true deep heartfelt words in his acceptance speech. It was poetic, poignant and moving, just as the words are in the lyrics of his songs.
The awkward moment award goes to Gervais, also true to form. With a wine glass in hand, he came to the stage as a presenter for best actress in a motion picture. It seemed as if he could not get to that envelope quick enough as he danced on the line of inappropriate joke or truth being told behind a sneering smile? In any case, Amy Adams won for Big Eyes. Although ill-prepared to win, her acceptance of the award was earnest instead of the same old stale speeches. You could tell she was fishing for something to say, though. Another theme was a plunging neckline and cleavage from the top to pretty much the belly button. Nominees for best dresses that revealed the most, yet kept it classy were Amy Roehler, Kate Hudson, and Gwenyth Paltrow. A tough category for TV series –drama where The Affair won, and unfortunately snubbing The Good Wife in the process was a tough call, and you could tell either way it went half the room would have been disappointed.
For a man who has more nominations than anyone in history, George Clooney was the DeMille Award recipient. As they showed clips of his work, one could only think of the absolute wide breadth of work encompassing roles that were funny, inspiring, intriguing, challenged conventional ways of thinking and even managed to be sexy in many combinations of them all. A classy guy is how many have described him. With a reception that was so honest and true as he was applauded to the stage, you could sense that the sentiment is shared by many. He swept through many comments, jokes about himself and a very interesting comment on how 80 percent of people there will not win (and therefore were losers and would endure many awkward moments the rest of the evening and as they return to work) but the reality, he stated, was that being in that room in itself was winning the “brass ring” and they can still do what they love. A bit of honesty in the midst of it all. Of course he had to mention his lovely wife and their wonderful marriage, and how long it took to get him there.
Being George Clooney, he also took note of the world events in present day: of the protests all around the world fighting for the message that we will not walk in fear- highlighting a real world message. These are the combinations of traits after all that have made George Clooney so beloved. His honesty, his quickness to make a joke about himself, his ability to be serious and compliment with a glowing face his love for his wife and yet as he is receiving this honor for his work he mentions the reality of what is going on “outside,” reminding everyone that there is always something greater: humankind.
For director: Richard Linklater for Boyhood took the award. Sadly, this left the female director for Selma on the outskirts. Another difficult category for Best Actress-TV series, drama (Good Wife, Homeland, How to Get Away with Murder, House of Cards, The Affair were the nominees) Ruth Wilson won for The Affair. Hard to comment on which way that one should have gone.
Best actress in a motion picture drama went to Julianne Moore, for Still Alice. Lastly, as they obviously had gone long and were rushing through the last awards, best picture went to Boyhood. Hollywood press really? Truly this is always a tough category but with nominees such as The Theory of Everything, Pride, Selma, and the Imitation Game sometimes the results leave many simply bewildered. All in all, it was another evening at the movies. We go for entertainment, and sometimes even some enlightenment and inspiration. Therefore, an evening that awards those who try to portray characters that evoke those emotions should bring about a little bit of it all as well.
Commentary By Clea Tucker