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‘Birdman’ flies high at Oscars despite many flaws

True to my prediction, the 2015 Academy Awards show was too long, mostly boring, and mostly predictable.

Not that there weren’t some memorable and magical moments. The highlight of the evening was a powerful musical rendition of “Glory” led by John Legend, and Lady Gaga’s stirring tribute to “The Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews coming out on stage to receive a rousing standing ovation.

The rare Hollywood appearance of a living legend like Julie Andrews was unexpected, I must admit, but for the most part the Oscar telecast itself went by pretty much true to form.

Okay, I missed on my call that “Boyhood” would win Best Picture. Somehow, the top prize went to “Birdman.” It’s hard to figure out why such a raunchy comedy/drama with several unlikeable characters would appeal to the mostly older group of Academy voters. Well, they had to choose one movie in the end, and as usual they went with the hot and trendy pick (I still have my doubts, though, if Academy members actually see many of the nominated films).

“Birdman” will never be considered an all-time classic. Sure, it was different and weird with jazzy music, but that doesn’t make a film great. However, it was “edgy” enough for it to get recognized in a year when there weren’t many memorable films.

Sadly, it seems the bar has been lowered when it comes to quality of films in Hollywood. Hopefully that will change soon. Scripts need to be better, and how about giving new actors and actresses a chance instead of using the same old celebrities film after film.

Despite the many flaws of “Birdman,” the best part of the movie was Michael Keaton’s gripping and at times moving portrayal of a washed-up comic book actor (echoing Keaton’s real life, of course) who tries to make a comeback by staging a Broadway play.

It would have been a touching moment to hear Michael Keaton announced as Best Actor, but at least he was nominated and finally recognized for all his outstanding roles of the past.

Eddie Redmayne deservedly took home the Best Actor award for his amazing transformation as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” a good film with fine lead acting performances.

As expected, Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) was finally given the Academy Award for Best Actress, and J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) and Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) easily won for supporting roles.

It was a night when everyone seemed to be recognized. Almost every movie that was nominated took home at least one Oscar, showing the distribution of wealth these days when it comes to awards season.

The days when one movie titan like “Titanic” sweeps most of the awards seems to be over. But is that a good thing?

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