The 3 Major Takeaways from the 2015 Oscars & What They Could Mean for Next Year's

It’s been a couple of weeks since Hollywood’s biggest night and as crazy as it seems, all of those months of anticipation and focus have already shifted to next year’s potential frontrunners. With that in mind, Eclectic Pop dissects the 3 major takeaways from this year’s Oscars and the impact it could have on the next…

Neil Patrick Harris was a Good Host, but Do the Oscars Need One?

As awkward as the endeavor of hosting a major awards event is, Harris managed to make it a fun experience. His enthusiasm was infectious and his musical opening was well performed with the appropriate comedic finesse. As wonderful as NPH was, the problem having a host possesses in the first place is something that might need to be reassessed for future Oscars. The SAG Awards greatly benefit from a non-host format that exponentially streamlines the proceedings, creating a more even flow and substantially reduced run time. 

In the last several years, the Golden Globes have dedicated the first 15 minutes of the show to roasting attendees and while that has its appeal with some viewers, it personally feels like a strange way to begin an event meant to be a good-spirited celebration. Given the vitriolic response of online spectators, hosting the Oscars is more trouble than it’s worth; just ask James Franco, Anne Hathaway and now possibly, Harris. Taking the host out of the equation altogether could be the best route.

Original Characters vs. Biopic Portrayals 

Of this year’s Best Actor nominees only one (Michael Keaton) portrayed a fictional character, while the rest starred as historical figures. The Academy tends to skew towards nominating biopics, which is fine. The only issue is that in the current setup, it pits the knowable execution of a real-life person against the far more subjective portrayal of a fictional character. Determining who had the better performance between those two genres is next to impossible. If the Academy made a category distinction, similar to what the Golden Globes do by differentiating between comedies and dramas, it would make determining a true winner a more realistic probability. 

One of this year’s major snubs was Jake Gyllenhaal’s for “Nightcrawler”, a film in which he portrays an original character. Personally speaking, if he had been nominated it would’ve been a dead heat between he and Redmayne for Best Actor. Each disappeared into the skins of their respective characters with equal prowess. In this rare instance, it’s impossible to say one outperformed the other. In comparison, deciding whether Redmayne's portrayal of Stephen Hawking was superior to Bradley Cooper’s turn as Chris Kyle was an easier thing to determine.

Both Cooper and Redmayne were evenly matched. Their real-life counterparts have been captured in interviews so formulating who nailed the better impression is objectively reasonable. The same cannot be said for Gyllenhaal and Redmayne. Making a distinction between future nominees’ respective roles would create a more even playing field.

What This Year Means for Next Year 

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Best Director win for “Birdman” could potentially hamper the hopes of his follow-up Oscar bait “The Revenant”, a pioneer drama/western/revenge flick that stars perennial Oscar snub-ee, Leonardo DiCaprio. If the movie remains on target for a January 2016 release date, it will be a consecutive competing year for an Inarritu film. The Academy is typically wary of acknowledging a filmmaker multiple times in a concentrated period of time, let alone consecutively. For him to be acknowledged back-to-back would be quite surprising.

The Oscars like to spread the love and while they have acknowledged certain talent’s work with repeated nominations (Meryl Streep), they seldom acknowledge them with a corresponding victory. If DiCaprio wants to assure an edge in his surefire Oscar campaign, the best strategy would be holding the release date back a year for 2017. Should the movie’s planned release remain intact; a nomination would still be likely, a win less so.

[Image by the Academy Awards]