OpinionOscars Coverage 2015

The 87th Annual Academy Awards: The Production Value

Nora Dominick ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor

Neil Patrick Harris during the 87th Oscars. Photo Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC.
Neil Patrick Harris during the 87th Oscars. Photo Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC.

Tonight, the 87th Annual Academy Awards took the stage with host Neil Patrick Harris and it could not have been better. From Harris’ quips and opening number to the beautiful Sound of Music tribute by Lady Gaga and a surprise appearance by Julie Andrews, the entire show was a very impressive feat. What a few people forget about is all the hard work the writers, production designers, stage managers, director, orchestra and everyone else working behind the scenes. Emertainment Monthly breaks down the production value of this years Academy Awards and all the work that went into it.

When Neil Patrick Harris takes the stage, you know things are going to get interesting. The writers for this years ceremony hailed from all different corners of entertainment. Although Neil Patrick Harris’ jokes are written by his personal team headed by Dave Boone, two of the writers for the award show were Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, who are responsible for the CW hits Arrow and The Flash. The duo created some of the witty banter used in tonight’s telecast and it kept the telecast moving smoothly. Without the writers backstage a lot of the moments seen in tonight’s telecast would not have happened. None of the jokes fell completely flat and there was none of the awkward small talk between two presenters. Everything was clean, fresh and allowed the telecast to continue to run smoothly. Something the writers of this telecast recognized is that presenters banter is not the highlight of the telecast. The banter was there but did not drag out and this was something to be praised at this awards ceremony. Harris also appeared at the right moments and helped propel the ceremony forward. It did not drag in places and allowed the ceremony to continue smoothly.

Neil Meron and Craig Zadan produced this years Academy Awards and they are no strangers to the production game. They are behind the last two NBC live specials, The Sound of Music and Peter Pan. The duo have done some amazing things in terms of producing and this is one to put on their list. The entire ceremony ran extremely well. Nothing dragged on too long and production aspects of the ceremony were amazing. Most of the time, the Academy Awards can run very long and become very boring. Meron and Zadan did not let this happen. Although the ceremony ran for a long time, nothing was boring and the ceremony did not lose viewers attentions.

The director of the Academy Awards tonight was Hamish Hamilton and for someone who has not directed a major award show before he hit the mark. Hamilton is best known for producing comedy and musical shows like the MTV Video Music Awards, so this was an entirely different beat to tackle. He did it with ease and the entire production, besides some  technical issues, ran very smoothly.

The staging for this years event was simply stunning. The elegant floor design and the Oscar statues in the background made the entire evening stunning. Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number was put together flawlessly and nothing felt out of place. He simply sang about the importance of movies and in the end he appeared to turn into a statue himself with the help of some lighting and shadows. Pretty impressive set up. Then right before viewers eyes and explosion of awesome came forth onto the stage. When “Everything is Awesome” began to be performed by Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island, the production value of the award show skyrocketed. With Lego Oscar statues being handed out to Oprah, Emma Stone and Steve Carell the night became one happy and exciting party. The staging for this was something the Academy Awards have never seen before and it made the night uplifting and special. Overall, the staging for the night was something very different from Academy Awards in the past and allowed the award show to propel forward.

The entire ceremony was a lot of fun and showcased some of the greatest talent in the film industry this past year. Neil Patrick Harris further proved why he is the greatest host to date and the fact that each of the Best Picture nominees won a category showed that the wealth was definitely spread out. The production value for this years ceremony was spectacular and helped create the entire atmosphere of the award show. Well done to everyone who worked behind the scenes to create something truly spectacular.

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