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When Neil Patrick Harris hosts an awards show, he holds nothing back.
“Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest — sorry, brightest,” the actor said at first, pointing to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
The first-time Academy Awards host also drew on his experience hosting the Tony Awards five times with a good ol’ song-and-dance number, written by Frozen duo Robert Lopez and Kristen-Anderson Lopez, that paid homage to moving pictures altogether.
“No one’s drunk and bitter yet ’cause no one has lost,” Harris sang as the camera flashed to nominee Benedict Cumberbatch drinking from a flask.
The song also saluted Field of Dreams, Ghost, The Avengers, Star Wars and Risky Business, among others, complete with a line that saluted “all the tension between Ben [Affleck] and Matt [Damon]” in Good Will Hunting, and listed this year’s crop of nominees.
An equally wide-eyed Anna Kendrick, dressed in her Into the Woods costume, and a cynical Jack Black also joined Harris onstage, with the latter venting about the degeneration of the industry, with its tentpoles and smaller screens.
Harris followed his musical opener with a very short monologue that called high-grossing title American Sniper the “Oprah” of the year’s nominees, and made fun of his own choices when he said the night was about falling love with moving pictures again. “OK, maybe not Smurfs 2. The script read funny.”
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Melvin Van Peebles