An Academy Awards Telecast Saved by the Music

February 23, 2015 7:30 AM

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An Academy Awards Telecast Saved by the Music

It’s not as if the Oscars didn’t have material to work with. In many ways, 2014 an interesting and vital year in movies — not just artistically, but in terms of engaging viewers and giving them things to talk about. The end of the year in particular saw movies like American Sniper, Selma — even The Interview — that spurred conversations and controversies and reminded us that movies can have effects beyond their running times. (The same was true of the nominations and omissions.)

The 2015 Oscars broadcast, though, had a hard time capturing that excitement — or anything else. It certainly had a big enough net: the show was 3 hours and 40 minutes long. But as a TV broadcast, it struggled not just with length but tone, trying alternately to be light entertainment and a meaningf...

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