Ah, Oscar season. Every year sometime after Thanksgiving, die-hard moviegoers across America start to feel that itch in the backs of their throats, a relentless holiday nagging on their brains unrelated to any religious celebration or New Year's Eve. Everyone notices the media shift: Film trailers are released with the opening date "Christmas Day"; movie stars begin to take more interviews, talking up whatever project of theirs is premiering in that golden space between November and the new year. This is the sweet smell of our annual Oscar ceremony drawing near.
Buzz is among us is all ready for the 88th Academy Awards ceremony—speculations about best picture, director, actor, actress. And if you're a slave to Hollywood like me, you'll have been catching up all year long to prepare for the ceremony this coming February.
Every year, the show is somewhat of a mess. It runs excruciatingly long, the host fumbles around jokes, a presenter's blurb end up being super offensive, acceptance speeches extend unnecessarily, and anyone unwilling to miss even a second of the ceremony is forced to endure Hollywood unabashedly exalting itself. Last year's ceremony was no different, of course; "Birdman" winning Best Picture is only one in a plethora of examples of the Academy's self-indulgence at the expense of the deserving. (As much as I hated "Boyhood"—really, guys? You didn't think seven years of filming warranted an award?)
But all this injustice, of course, does not forbid us from enjoying the show? In celebration of the 88th Academy Awards nominees release on Jan. 14 and the event on Feb. 28, let's relive 2015's 87th ceremony, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, to hope that its successes will be repeated and its failures (I'm looking at you, "locked box Oscar predictions" gag) rectified.
Before and After
Because everyone loves a little red carpet interview or sneak peeks of Vanity Fair's afterparty.
Jared Leto's farewell tour for his luscious locks—and this strange eulogy:
Felicity Jones' totally bomb dress:
...and Reese Witherspoon speaking out for #AskHerMore:
Benedict Cumberbatch's post-Oscars anti-losing speech:
The Opening Number
Yes, NPH's lovely tribute to film, "Moving Pictures"—starting the show off with a bang
The notable nominations three-second round up:
Whether we're big-brained and British, or hiking and skittish, a legendary leader, a Birdman in a theater, a boy we watch until he's grown, a sniper in a combat zone, a wealthy philanthropic creep, magic Meryl effin' Streep, lobby boys and bleeding drummers, all these awesome up and comers—who will get a statue?
Benedict Cumberbatch's totally-not-at-all-staged flask swig:
NPH's Peter Pan shadow:
Anna Kendrick's epic "Gone Girl" spoiler:
Jack Black getting super ragey about the "screens in our jeans":
Neil Patrick Harris Highlights
We'll blame his shortcomings on the Academy and just remember the good stuff.
The "Birdman" scene spoof blended with a "Whiplash" drum solo callback:
His introductory "slip of the tongue":
The speech for the common man:
Tonight is also for the people who love these movies, who bought a ticket, who took a ride, who got lost in the stories that inspire us, the stories that motivate us. That remind us to be brave in the face of danger, to chase impossible dreams, and to stand up for our rights. Tonight, on this stage, we have come together to celebrate, and hopefully to fall in love, with moving pictures all over again.
We're gonna pretend like that Adam Levine number didn't happen, OK?
Tim McGraw singing "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," the last song written by Glen Campbell:
Lady Gaga's gorgeous tribute to Julie Andrews:
John Legend and Common performing "Glory" from the movie "Selma":
The, well, awesome performance of "Everything is Awesome":
…and its awesome Lego Oscar trophies:
The Awards Announcements
The part no one actually remembers.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Naomi Watts' complementary outfits presenting Film Editing:
Idina Menzel's payback for John Travolta totally butchering her name last year:
…and his touching her face this year—a lot:
The gorgeously designed Production Design nominee slides:
...and the same designer's breathtaking and clever Best Picture animations:
Last but not least, the part everyone remembers.
J.K. Simmons telling us to call our parents:
…and the memes that sprung from it:
Julianne Moore's simultaneously witty and heartfelt gratitude:
Eddie Redmayne being an adorable, flabbergasted idiot:
The impromptu feminist rally during Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech:
…and its due meme respect:
And, of course, Graham Moore's vital call-to-arms for the weird kids:
Last year's Oscars, as always, were something of a whirlwind. And I'm expecting the 2016 ceremony to be no different. Whether or not it's a bunch of outrageously rich movie stars gloating over themselves, and whether or not he was just feeding into the TV viewers, Neil Patrick Harris got it right: These movies do remind us "to be brave in the face of danger, to chase impossible dreams, to stand up for our rights..." And to keep doing it, over and over again—to keep taking chances and looking stupid and making mistakes with the charge that someday, this will all be worth it. Someday this will all make sense.
Sometimes the best solutions to life's mysteries have to come from outside of life itself. You can be so close to something that it becomes obscured. We fall in love with these moving pictures every year because they explain a world that otherwise is an enigma even Alan Turing couldn't crack. And that's definitely something I want to celebrate, year after year after year.