Should we need reminding, the Oscars are not the Golden Globes. Neil Patrick Harris opened the 87th Academy Awards with gag that seemed compulsory in its loneliness: “Tonight, we honor the best and the whitest — sorry, brightest.” The rest of the opening was a sweeping, misty-eyed, high-tech musical tribute to “moving pictures,” which found Harris immersed in the imagery of a dozen or so Hollywood classics.
Then Anna Kendrick appeared in search of a lost Jimmy Choo. Jack Black sang a cynical tirade against Hollywood (“Believe me, Neil, you’re better off just polishing your Tony”) that culminated in a selfie, and a gang of Stormtroopers and Centurions and foot soldiers arrived and danced around.
Harris tried to refire the joke engine with a weird bit on the gross earnings of “American Sniper” that seemed to imply that Oprah Winfrey took up half the auditorium (”Cause you’re rich,” Harris clarified). And then it was over.
It was all very fabulous, impressive, and toothless. Neil Patrick Harris, why are you not bringing the danger?