Academy Awards Aftermath

The self congratulations and parties are over. The trophies are out. Now all that remains is pondering what happened at the Academy Awards.

It was a big night for "Birdman," a fair night if you were nominated for Best Picture, and a long night if you wanted to watch the nearly four-hour telecast. There were a few surprises, plenty of jokes that didn't land, and 24 awards handed out.

I went 16-for-24 on my picks if you're counting at home, and I got caught by a couple surprises. That part of what we can learn from Hollywood's biggest night. Here are a few of my takeaways.

* The disconnect between the industry and those that critique the industry is real. "Boyhood," which was a 12-year labor of love was popular with critics and audiences. "Birdman" had an audience and critical following, but it was beloved by those in the industry. And it was the industry voices that carried the day, it seems, as "Birdman" piled up four awards -- including for Screenplay, Director, and Best Picture.

* It was a bad day for some celebrated filmmakers. It would be easy to identify "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Boyhood" as the singular vision of its writer/directors. While "Grand Budapest" took home four awards, they were all for technical categories. Wes Anderson, the film's writer/director, got nothing. The same is true of Richard Linklater, who devoted 12 years to "Boyhood." Whatever you think of the film's content -- I wasn't a fan -- it's impossible not to recognize this an innovative. While Patricia Arquette won the Supporting Actress award for her performance, the film was otherwise shut out.

* It was a good day for acting front-runners. There were no surprises among the acting winners. All had won the major awards leading up to Oscar, and all took home Oscars. Some felt that Michael Keaton would win Best Actor, but after Eddie Redmayne won the SAG prize, he was the front-runner, and won on Sunday night.

* People are still smarting about what the nominations got wrong. Much of last night was about celebrating nominees and winners. But much of it was also about gripping about those who didn't make the cut. Most notably it was the anger over "Selma's" snubbing, and the snub of its star, David Oyelowo, that continued to be a sore spot.

* The Oscars are getting too long. last night's ceremony was almost four hours. The Oscars now take almost as long as a Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game, and that's not good. And on a night with few surprises and few rousing moments, it's hard to keep people's interest. "Birdman" might be the consensus Hollywood pick, but the average viewer hasn't seen it. That's a problem. It's been six years since "The Dark Night" was snubbed for Best Picture and the system changed, but the popular movies still aren't getting much play. Sure, "American Sniper" has been a hit the last two months, but would it kill the Academy to recognize big budget movies that have good stories? Maybe next year.


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