It was fun, it was emotional, it was long. The 2015 Oscars are a wrap, and they seemed specially made for Billboard this year, with Broadway vet Neil Patrick Harris as host and performances from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson and Anna Kendrick — and that’s not even counting the night’s musical nominees.
But was all that song-and-dance successful? Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst moments of the night:
BEST: Common & John Legend’s powerful speech.
A lot has been written about the Selma snubs, from David Oyelowo missing out on a best actor nomination to Ava DuVernay’s omission from the best director category. But the movie had great representatives in John Legend and Common, who drove home Selma‘s emotional weight in their best song acceptance speech. “Recently John and I got to perform ‘Glory’ on the same bridge Dr. King marched on 50 years ago,” Common said. “The spirit of this bridge transcends race, religion, sexual orientation, social status and connects a kid from the south side of Chicago to France to Hong Kong.”
WORST: John Travolta manhandles Idina Menzel’s face.
What could have been a redemptive moment for Travolta — after he butchered the Frozen star’s name at last year’s ceremony — turned creepy when the actor pawed all over Idina Menzel’s face on the Oscar stage. Menzel took it in stride and somehow smiled the whole time, but Travolta might have created a brand-new meme with his touchy-feeliness.
BEST: Lady Gaga & Julie Andrews embrace.
While Lady Gaga became famous for her weirdo pop-star antics, like showing up to the Grammys in a giant egg, her Sound of Music tribute was a simple, beautiful showcase of the singer’s powerhouse vocals. The real cherry on top was when Fraulein Maria herself, Julie Andrews, glided onstage following the medley and embraced Gaga. We would love to know what they whispered to each other in that moment…
WORST: Joan Rivers is left out.
Again? Two weeks after the Grammys left the funnywoman out of their “in memoriam” segment — the same day she won for best spoken-word album — she was also left off the Oscars tribute. Granted, she was never nominated for or won an Oscar, but she was an actress in her own right and a fixture on the Academy Awards red carpet.
BEST: Lego Movie IS awesome.
While The Lego Movie was shockingly left out of the best animated feature category, the crew behind best original song nominee “Everything Is Awesome” delivered a blockbuster performance. Tegan & Sara were joined by The Lonely Island — plus Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, the Roots’ Questlove, Will Arnett, and many, many more — to sing the earworm. Even Oprah was clutching a Lego Oscar statue by the end of the number.
WORST: Adam Levine & Rita Ora’s consolation performances.
Poor Adam and Rita. These performance were totally fine, but that’s the problem: In the midst of the emotional powerhouse that was eventual winner “Glory” and the explosion of fun that was “Everything Is Awesome,” these quiet (and very short) performances were just forgettable blips during the nearly four-hour ceremony.
BEST: Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number.
This was the reason NPH got this job. After years of hosting the Tonys, we all knew he could deliver a great musical number. He didn’t miss a single motormouth lyric, and his guests — Anna Kendrick and Jack Black — were perfect foils to keep the song fun.
WORST: Neil Patrick Harris’ comedic timing.
Unfortunately, the fun didn’t continue all night, no matter how hard Harris tried. The host often picked ill-advised times for jokes — like when he got right back to his whole “predictions for the night” bit after Julianne Moore’s heartfelt acceptance speech about Alzheimer’s Disease. He also made quick jokes after serious speeches about suicide and ALS. We understand the banter is prewritten, but the more emotional moments of the night should have been taken into account.