Now that the red carpet reports have been completed, the bunting has been taken down and we've finally got some sleep, we can talk about the Oscars with a bit of perspective.
Overall, our feeling on this year's Oscars that it was a largely forgettable affair. Neil Patrick Harris, who's usually a quick-witted and gifted MC, tried too hard to skirt between risque humour and a PG-13 audience and ultimately landed in the cracks between them. It wasn't that Ellen was any better last year. It was merely that Harris was almost too smart for his audience and his high output of jokes meant that many simply flashed by our screens and weren't given a chance to land.
Obviously, Harris was intended to follow on from Ellen, who in turn was a direct reaction to Seth MacFarlane's less-than-savoury stylings. No doubt the producers are pulling their hair out with frustration. If they go for the safe option, like they did with Harris, they're slated as being stodgy and boring. If they go for the more dangerous choice, ala McFarlane or even (whisper it) Gervais, they're seen as being desperate to cause a ruckus. The red carpet, as well, was a pretty bland affair. This might have been hampered by the fact that inclement weather meant almost everyone was forced inside, allowing us no chance for even a glimmer of hope for Jennifer Lawrence-style escapdes.
When you come right down to it, this year's Oscars were largely predictable. That's not to say that the winners weren't deserved. Far from it. Patricia Arquette's career-best performance in Boyhood was lauded at every award ceremony, as was JK Simmons' terrifying presence in Whiplash. Julianne Moore continues to be a paragon of talent with her one-of-a-kind portrayal in Still Alice. However, the real horse-race in was between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne for Birdman and The Theory of Everything, respectively.
But even then, we knew it was going to be either of the two. Keaton won in the Best Actor for Comedy / Musical at the Globes whilst Redmayne did likewise in the Drama category, effectively shutting out Benedict Cumberbatch, Steve Carell and Bradley Cooper.
With the angry reaction to films such as Selma and Lego Movie being snubbed and the spotlight being shown on the voting panel of the Oscars itself, one begins to wonder how long the ceremony can continue in its current state. Even for ratings and online reaction, the Golden Globes is beginning to pull ahead and surpass the Oscars. Insiders are putting more stock in a Golden Globe win over Oscar gold whilst the general public seems more receptive to the Globes' laidback demeanour than the air of stuffiness that surrounds the Oscars.
If the Oscars is to continue, and we certainly hope it does, there needs to be a top-to-floor overhaul of both the categories, the voting panels and the live show itself. The current voting panel, which is predominantly made up of men over the ages of 60, are veterans and set in their ways. While it's true, a public voting system would be horrendously wrong, there needs to be a shot in the arm to how they're choosing their films. The set formula laid down for films to be nominated and to win has now gone beyond parody to accepted fact.
Something has to change.