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Final thoughts about the Oscars
OSCAR WRAPUP

Final thoughts about the Oscars

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As promised, a few final thoughts about this year's Oscars:

• I hadn't noticed this until someone else pointed it out, but all eight of the films nominated for Best Picture won at least one Oscar. Early on, it was clear that this was going to be another of those Oscars in which the prizes were going to be spread out among a number of different movies, and that pattern stayed constant through the night. By my count, 16 different movies won Oscars on Sunday night, but only three — "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Birdman" and "Whiplash" — won more than one.

• For my money, the night's biggest winners were "Budapest Hotel" and "Whiplash," both of which did better than expected —"Whiplash" in particular.  

• By that reasoning, the biggest loser of the evening was "Boyhood," which ended up with just one Oscar, for Patricia Arquette. I'm hard-pressed to understand the reasons why the movie, considered the Oscar front-runner for months, fell out of favor. Maybe it's just too hard to have the target on your back for such a long period of time during the Oscar campaign. Maybe people started to discount the movie's key feature, its 12-year-long production schedule. Maybe they thought anybody could have done what director Richard Linklater did — but, of course, the fact of the matter is that no one else has done that. 

• Thinking about "Boyhood" and some of Linklater's other films, in particular the "Before Sunrise" trilogy, made me think that no other American filmmaker is so fascinated with the passage of time and finding new ways to explore that idea.

• With that said, I have to admit that I have no quibbles with "Birdman" winning Best Picture. Except that ""Birdman" and "Boyhood" are such different animals, I can't even imagine how you'd compare them to conclude that one is "better" than the other. 

• I remain sad that Michael Keaton didn't win the Best Actor prize. But it is true that Eddie Redmayne was terrific in "The Theory of Everything."

• Neil Patrick Harris deserves some of the bad reviews he's received for hosting, and, in fact, this year's show seemed too bland, too safe. But it's not all Harris' fault: The job of hosting the Oscars is impossible — the line between honoring the industry and poking fun at it has become way too difficult for mere mortals to navigate. So I'll revive a pitch I made last year: Try the Oscars with no host at all — just the off-stage voiceover introducing the presenters. That might help make the show shorter, and it would introduce a new rhythm to the proceedings that could be energizing.

• My final tally for the evening? Of the 24 categories, I correctly predicted 20 of them. That's not bad, if I say so myself. But it's not as good as last year's performance, when I got 22 right. See you next year.  

Mike McInally is the editor of the Democrat-Herald. He can be reached at 541-812-6097 or mike.mcinally@lee.net

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