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TV Review: The 87th Academy Awards on ABC

This past year’s awards season came to an end with the 87th Academy Awards on ABC. First-timer Neil Patrick Harris hosted the festivities where Birdman took away the top prize of Best Picture. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“In a long evening (3 hours, 38 minutes) that featured NPH in more tuxedo changes than I could keep count of, it was one of two high points for the freshman host, the other coming in the show’s opening lines: ‘Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest,’ he said, quickly amending, ‘I mean brightest.’”
—Jeremy Gerard, Deadline

“Sometimes, though, the organism that is the Oscars is bigger than the host, and Harris seemed to lose his grip on it, thanks largely to some badly written material. Several jokes razzing celebs in the audience fell flat, including one that involved getting Selma star David Oyelowo to trash the remake of Annie, which Oyelowo reacted to with a memorable 'meh' gesture.”
—James Poniewozik, Time

“High: Patricia Arquette’s Feminist Oscars Speech. Was there ever any doubt that Patricia Arquette’s Oscars speech would be amazing? She got onstage, accepted her first Oscar like a pro, list in hand and glasses ready, and then ended it with the most feminist moment of the night by demanding equal pay and rights for women in America — in a room full of male Hollywood execs, no less.”
— Staff, Vulture

“All of the ‘surprises’ written for the show — such as pairing presenter John Travolta with Idina Menzel, whose name he mispronounced last year — were duds, but there were a couple of unscripted oddities, such as Terrence Howard going all Method-Acting-tremulous Lucious Lyon on us while introducing clips from Whiplash, The Imitation Game, and Selma.”
—Ken Tucker, Yahoo

“The host’s longest running gag of the evening concerned a locked box onstage containing his pre-show Oscar predictions, and while the joke wore thin at times, the sleight-of-hand payoff was a gem — even if it came so late in the ceremony that the in-house audience's impatience could be felt.”
—David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter