Another Oscar year over.
The traveling trophy this year came home to East Moline, with my 17 (should have been 18) correct picks out of 24 possibilities. It was fairly impressive that all 4 contestants (Craig Wilson, Pam & John Rhodes and me) scored in double digits, as a similar competition sponsored by my son in Chicago netted some abyssmal scores from a few (Ahem). However, son Scott picked 19 correct of the 24, which, considering none of us had seen some of the more esoteric categories, is pretty impressive.
Now, some comments on the show itself.
The predominant colors on the Red Carpet seemed to be (logically enough), red…and white. There were a few other colors, including the lovely Anna Kendrick’s dress in coral (one of the best) and the impressive number that Scarlett Johanssen sported.
But what was up with the hair? Patricia Arquette (who was the front-runner all along) showed up with a “do” that made her look like she had just stepped out of the shower. Likewise, the long pony tail, reminiscent of Ariana Grande, that Jennifer Lopez wore was ho hum and the lower-on-the-neck ponytail that Dakota Johnson sported just looked way too casual for the event and the dresses. And then there was Scarlett Johnssen’s shaved side of head look, after she decked out in a green dress that was to die for. There has also been a huge flap over the dreadlocks sported by one actress, which Fashion Police star Juliana Rancic dissed.
Neil Patrick Harris:
I’m revising my opinion of Neil Patrick Harris….downward. No, it’s not just because this year’s viewership was the worst in years and the entire night seemed lackluster (with the exception of the truly wonderful “Sound of Music” medley from Lady Gaga and Jennifer Hudson’s song). It’s also because I saw NPH in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway and was underwhelmed. He won the Tony for it, so I was perhaps expecting too much. I really didn’t think the play or Neil Patrick Harris in it was that great; my opinion was confirmed when the woman sitting next to me got up and left early.
I wondered about some of the ad libs (“treason” and “She had to have balls to wear that dress” in particular) that Harris threw out there, and I thought his much-vaunted song-and-dance ability was wasted. He did a very credible job hosting the Tonys, so someone erred in just giving him the lame joke about his predictions in a glass case. Plus, as none other than David Morrell noted, some in the audience and/or at home perhaps found Harris showing up in nothing but his tighty whiteys crass for such an upscale crowd, (even if it was referencing a scene from the night’s Best Picture winner, “Birdman.”)
I was not a huge fan of “Birdman,” except for the acting. Nor of “Boyhood.” If you are interested in some of the truly ENJOYABLE and entertaining movies of the year, see my previous post on same.
The night AFTER the Oscars we watched the Oscar-winning documentary “CITIZENFOUR,” which was the story of Edward Snowden’s release of classified documents. I had read the story in its entirety in “Rolling Stone” and it was presented there better. I saw 3 (of 5) documentaries, and this one was definitely my least favorite, although I recognize the fact that its World Headline Topic was Big News and “Finding vivian Maier,” the documentary about the Chicago nanny who took many black-and-white photographs, stored them in a storage locker and then died, broke and alone, so that others discovered her talent (and developed the photos, which she did not have the money to do) hen they purchased the contents of that storage locker, was just the longest-running show at the Chicago History Museum.
There was a very poignant follow-up to this interesting documentary, which is that the city of Chicago or Cook County now wants in on the Vivian Maier action ($) since she supposedly died intestate and had no living heirs. In an article entitled “Claiming Vivian Maier” (Chicago Tribune, Jan. 25, 2015) the entire sordid tale unfolds, with the comment that the City Fathers are intent upon tying up ownership of Vivian Maier’s photographs for years. This would seem to fly in the face of capitalizing on the fact that the documentary on Vivian was just nominated for an Oscar. (Talk about striking while the iron is cold!)
The article by Jason Jeisner reveals that Rogers Park artist Jeffrey Goldstein abruptly sold 17,500 prints of Maier’s work to a Canadian gallery owner. Stephen Bulger of Toronto, who bought the prints, has been forced to put them on ice in storage until the dispute clears the Illinois courts.
Anne Zakaras and Chicago silver gelatin printers Ron Gordon and Sandra Steinbrecher (Gordon came out of retirement to help restore the hundreds of images) say they feel tremendous sadness to have it all end this way. “Everybody loses,” said Gordon. “Vivian loses too. She goes back in the box.”