Bridget McCarthy ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Stage Editor
Of course, with the multi-talented NPH hosting, the opening number for The 87th Academy Awards HAD to be a musical number. But this wasn’t your typical song and dance routine. With stunning graphics, lighting, and some dancing storm troopers, Neil Patrick Harris took us through all the old – and new – classics of the silver screen.
Harris took control of the stage and sang the stories of the moving pictures that were playing behind him in perfect synchronous timing. The song began with witty remarks to celebrities in the audience, including a nod to Benedict Cumberbatch as he playfully took a sip out of a flask with a mysterious liquid, claiming he was already anticipating a loss tonight. There was also a topical Kanye West interruption joke, this time calling out the elderly but still talented Clint Eastwood and telling him to ‘stay in his seat.’
To continue with the musical theme, Anna Kendrick made an appearance in her golden dress, (with a shoe missing,) as Cinderella from her performance in Into the Woods this past year, which is nominated tonight for costume design and of course best supporting actress with Meryl Streep as the witch.
But the real kicker was Jack Black’s bitter verse as he interrupted Anna Kendrick, a scene and tune reminiscent to Streep’s witch’s rap in Into the Woods. In this comical surprise, Black claimed that the two had no idea what makes a ‘real movie,’ and even made a reference to the fan-favorite School of Rock, starring the interrupter himself. After Black’s hilarious interruption, the screen rose to reveal a motley crew of characters from all our favorite films. From sailors to storm troopers from Star Wars, the famous movie figures hit their marks as Neil continued to belt and perform.
What really made this opening number especially memorable though was not the humor, the cameos, or even Neil Patrick Harris’ beautiful voice – but it was the set design, lighting, and especially the amazing moving graphics that were absolutely captivating. The ending as the Oscar statue perfectly lined up and moved simultaneously with Neil Patrick Harris was aesthetically amazing to watch.
Also, what has to be mentioned are the hilarious lyrics that were matched up with a beautiful score. Without that composition there would be no way for the number to move from funny, to cool, and to absolutely moving. It’s difficult not to get excited or emotional when Neil Patrick Harris is serenading the art of film in perfect falsetto.
The bar is set high with this opening number, and it only shows how the rest of the night will play out. If everything goes right, we can only hope it contains a lot more dancing, celebrity participation, amazing graphics, stunning set design, and of course a lot more singing.