My Top 10 Oscar Highlights

Thank goodness I’m not an entertainment reporter, because after four hours of eating, drinking, and general award show merriment, there is NO WAY I could get an article published four minutes after the Oscars are over. It’s all I can do to clear the cups and leftover cookies from the coffee table, so the dog doesn’t get drunk or accidentally ingest chocolate, stick the leftovers in the fridge and stagger up to bed to watch eleven minutes of Jimmy Kimmel before passing out.

So you’ll have to settle for my blurry, half-remembered musings. And share your own!

Rob says, "After a while, the cold drink makes it hard." (That's what she said).
Rob says, “After a while, the cold drink makes it hard.” (That’s what she said).

By the way, another reason I would be a terrible journalist is that I utterly failed to take pictures of our celebration last night. I took exactly one picture, but at least it was a good one: my buddy Rob drinking an Enigma (our signature drink in honor of The Imitation Game) with a Red Vine (for Whiplash). If you haven’t sucked four kinds of liquor and fruit through a candy straw, your life is simply incomplete.

Here are my favorite things from the Oscars 2015. If you watched (or even if you didn’t) I’d love to hear yours, too!

1. Our pun-derful menu. We attempted it last year, but this year was way better in that we managed to find a food to represent each of the films nominated for Best Picture:

  • Red Vines for Whiplash (it’s a bonus that they look a bit like drumsticks)
  • Theory of Everything Bagels
  • Birdman Chicken Salad
  • American Sniper fake babies in blankets
  • Boyhood Mac & Cheese Bites
  • The Imitation (Bacon) (Dip) Game + Enigma, the drink
  • Black & White Cookies for Selma
  • Macaroons pretending to be Mendl’s pastries from The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • AND: a Red Carpet Red Velvet cheese ball

I’m just noticing that, from this list, I contributed all the things that could be easily purchased pre-made, while Hubs and all our guests did the dirty work of making the homemade stuff. Hubs tinkered with the Enigma recipe for a couple of weeks to get it just right (if you’re wondering: fresh & frozen peaches, berries and pineapple, two parts Vodka, two parts bourbon, one part cointreau, one part amaretto, splash of cranberry & orange juices, ice, and…. Vitamix!). Rob’s wife Tiffany made the amazing dip and the red velvet cheese ball. OMG – good enough to make you happy being fat. My friend Ryan made black & white cookies for the first time and they were scrumptious. I could go on and on, but it’s just going to make me want leftovers and I promised myself, promised, that I wouldn’t touch the stuff again until this weekend. Or… at least until noon today.

2. Pajamas and High Heels. So, next year we will HAVE to have a best dressed category for the party itself. Ever since Rob and I started watching the Oscars together ten years ago, it’s been a come as you are kind of thing. I’ve always loved the contrast of being home on the couch in my sweatpants drinking wine from a plastic cup, admiring everyone in their red carpet finery. So I encouraged everyone last night to come in their comfy clothes: jeans, sweats, pajamas. Happily, my girlfriend Angela took this seriously and sported some lovely floral pajamas (“I heard floral was going to be big on the red carpet this year” she said), but I guess she also needed that hint of Oscar glitz because she complemented them with some kickass gold heels. The bar has definitely been raised for our very specific couture next year.


3. Neil Patrick Harris and Oscar Bingo. I actually really enjoyed NPH as host. I thought he was funny and just the right amount of snarky without being obnoxious. A few of the jokes fell a little flat, but that’s a hard gig. All those celebs and their egos make for a tough room! Plus, in the opening few minutes alone, he and Anna Kendrick knocked out several squares on all our Oscar bingo cards – including Kanye West, magic tricks, 50 Shades of Grey, and mention of the controversy around The Academy and race. Plus, he looked pretty amazing in his Birdman tighty-whities tribute. Doogie is holding up well!

Speeches. Okay, we had more of the thank you (list of names) speeches, which I totally understand are necessary, but are SO BORING to listen to. I mean, I get it. It’s your moment, and you should use it how you want, and thanking the important people in your life is perfectly appropriate. I’m just saying, I wish a few more people would branch out and say something we can all walk away with.

4. Like when J.K. Simmons told everyone to call their moms… People are sort of tittering about this one, but I like it. It’s simple, almost anyone can do it TODAY, and those of who can’t sure wish we could.

People are sort of tittering about this one, but I like it. It's simple, almost anyone can do it TODAY, and those of who can't sure wish we could...
Simple and Sweet.


5. Or when Graham Moore gave one of the most moving Oscar speeches I’ve ever heard (how many really stick with you? I know I remember Halle Berry’s 2002 speech like it was last night). Today, the blogosphere is largely referring to Moore’s speech as being about suicide and depression, which obviously it partly was, but it seemed to me his speech – and The Imitation Game in general – were less about suicide or depression the symptoms, and more about the need of all human beings to be accepted for who we are. When we feel alone, ashamed, and outcast for who we are, depression and suicide are some of the possible results, but I think Graham Moore was less trying to “raise an issue” and more trying to create connection for  others in pain. In a way, creating real connection is more powerful than bringing awareness, which is really just the first step.

6. It’s also important to note that Dana Perry (in that spectacular fuzzy ball wrap) called attention to the issue of suicide during her acceptance for Documentary Short, which she dedicated to the son she lost to suicide. She’s my new hero, too, because when reporters asked her if she was offended by NPH’s joke at her expense (he said, “It takes balls to wear that dress” as she exited the stage) Perry laughed out loud and said, “I invite anyone to feel my furry balls.” Love. Love, love.

7. Lupita Nyong’o in her exquisite dress, because even though fashion isn’t my thing, I have to be little bit of a girl sometimes and she was just stunning.

8. Lady Gaga rocking the Sound of Music medley. Also, Julie Andrews. Because she’s Julie Andrews, and she’s awesome, and you could tell that 50 years ago she never imagined she’d be so thrilled to have her legacy honored by someone who once wore a meat dress.

9. John Legend and Common performing “Glory,” which brought me and David Oyelowo to tears. And when I saw his tears, it made me have more tears, and then John Legend and Common won and then… well, really it was just a whole tearful feedback loop.

10. Wes Anderson, who seems like such an amazingly nice person that he was on the edge of his seat with excitement when anyone from his movie won anything. He got so hot with all that being supportive and joyful that he had to take his jacket off. I’ve always thought that if I were ever lucky enough to have a book of mine made into a movie, my dream director would be someone like Judd Apatow or Kristen Wiig, but Wes Anderson seems like such a joy to work with, maybe I could just be an extra in something. I can totally rock a tracksuit or a mustache. Totally.

But for now, it’s back to real, unglamorous life until next February.

What about you? Are you an Oscar nerd like me, or can you tell me what else was on TV last night?

Favorite speeches? Favorite dresses? Favorite movies? Did American Sniper and Selma truly get “snubbed,” or was it just a super-competitive year to put out a movie of any sort? Do you have an Oscar hangover today akin to the Super Bowl hangover so many people had a few weeks ago? Do you always promise yourself (as I do) that you’re going to watch all the documentaries and foreign language films and then somehow forget about it by the following weekend? Did you call your mom last night out of fear of what J.K. Simmons would do to you if you didn’t?

Oh, and you’re welcome:



I’m M.J. (Manda) Pullen, an author and mom in the Atlanta, Georgia area. I blog about writing, publishing, motherhood, food, psychology and whatever else strikes me in the moment. And let’s be honest, that could be anything.

My books include The Marriage Pact series, a trilogy of funny, semi-realistic Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction novels coming Fall 2015 from Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press in association with Macmillan Entertainment. If you enjoyed this entry, you can follow the blog or click here to join my email list and receive my free short story, BODY ENGLISH. It’s a “love at first head injury” kind of story.

Comments are always welcome. Thanks for stopping by!


MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is a Distracted Writer and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Her books include quirky romantic comedies and playful women's fiction -- her latest, SUGAR STREET released on 8/7/18. Join her Distracted Readers newsletter list for updates, free content, giveaways and more.

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