Host Neil Patrick Harris began the 2015 Oscars ceremony with a magical music number. Along with Into the Woods‘ Anna Kendrick, Harris paid homage to 87 years of film history as well as the year’s nominees in a visually stunning performance.
“Today we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest…I mean brightest,” began Harris in a nod to the much discussed lack of nominations for people of color in the years’ ceremony. It was the only even-slightly political moment in the song-and-dance heavy monologue that involved numerous audience members, including a flask-wielding Benedict Cumberbatch. The performance included shadow dancing, holograms and graphics that made Harris look like a fly on the wall in a number of Oscar-nominated films, past and present.
After sitting on the steps that Kendrick’s Cinderella glides down in Into the Woods, Harris was joined by the actress, who comes to rescue her lost shoe, on stage in full costume. Later, Jack Black crashed the stage for a manic and villainous presence in the otherwise sweet, lighthearted performance, declaring with rock & roll outrage that the movie industry has become all sequels, prequels and superheroes.
Opening with a musical number was to be expected from Harris who has found great success in hosting the Tony Awards and even won in 2014 for his stirring turn in the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The 2015 Oscars ceremony marks Harris’ first as host.