A tragic night for an Oscars stan

#CODINUNDRUM | A column about random pop culture stuff, mostly Beyoncé

For anyone who knows me, it’s common knowledge that Oscars night is a religious experience. It’s like my birthday, Christmas and the Super Bowl all wrapped up as one perfect night of popular culture consumption. But the best night of the year was nothing more than a tragic trudge through the motions of the show. There was no life, no passion with the exception of a select few speeches and not enough celebrity face time.

So for this week’s column, I decided to express my specific disappointments:


If Neil Patrick Harris can’t host the Oscars, who can? He’s a Broadway star, a television star and one of the most universally beloved celebrities. But despite is likability, Harris fell flat with miserable comedic timing and too much time spent on a silly predictions bit.

Excessive references to box office number (or lack thereof), reminded the audience how few people saw their movies, and uncomfortable puns just made viewers squirm.

Harris had big shoes to fill. Ellen DeGeneres’ job last year had everything I look for in an award show host, but Harris just could not measure up to her subtle comedy.


When I watch an award show I expect to see my favorite A-listers interacting with each other, making jokes about each other and just generally reacting to what the others do.

In this year’s show, the camera rarely jumped to the audience, and when it did, it was only for lists of nominees or Oprah. I needed more of the Lego statues, more of Emma Stone’s goofy reactions, more Eddie Redmayne in general and more Meryl Streep-Jennifer Lopez bro moments.

Again, to compare to last year, Ellen spent most of her hosting time in the audience feeding them pizza and taking record-breaking selfies. Maybe it was less prominent this year because Harris is not a major movie star with major movie star friends. Perhaps that should be a hint to next year’s producers to stick to talk show hosts who interact comedically with the big stars—predicting a Jimmy Kimmel-hosted Oscars at some point in the future.


As this point in the world of popular culture, the expectations for the Academy Awards have arguably overwhelmed the producers’ ability to execute on a high enough level. When I watch the Oscars I am prepared for a lasting impression, but this year I’ll be lucky to remember the good parts.

Many of us spend three and a half hours of our lives consuming the massive beast of a show, and the expectations are incredibly high.     

What did the show do right? Music.

If there was any hint of life throughout the show, Common, John Legend, Lady Gaga and Julie Andrews were it. A thirty-minute span of the broadcast almost made up for its lackluster start.

After a cringy introduction by Adele Dazeem and a handsy Glom Gazingo, Common and Legend performed the nominated song “Glory” from “Selma.” By the end of Legend’s final note of the heartbreaking hook, the camera was panning over the tears streaming down David Oyelowo and Chris Pine’s faces. To anyone able to hold it together at the end, I commend you for your self-control.

Immediately following—which leads me to question why the producers would put their two best moments consecutively—Lady Gaga paid tribute to the 50-year anniversary of “The Sound of Music.”

I said it at the Grammys, but now if there is a single human who still doesn’t believe Gaga has some of the best pipes in the business, I’ll be surprised. Her somewhat random medley of songs from the film took my breath away, but it was the surprise Julie Andrews appearance from which I truly had to recover.

But the Oscars aren’t about music. The Oscars are about movies.

For next year I genuinely hope the Academy and the producers can find a way to make the films shine and maybe encourage more at-home viewers to see movies.

I’m a sucker for a good montage. The most creative, talented people in the industry combined with the Academy’s graphics team—the real MVP of the ceremony—the show has the ability to knock me off my feet.

So here’s to film, and here’s to 2016 Oscars.

Codi Mohr can be contacted at [email protected]