Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris runs gamut, in his tux and undies

Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:06am EST
 
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Love him or hate him, Neil Patrick Harris proved to be one of the hardest-working hosts in Oscar history on Sunday night, singing, dancing and even sprinting in his underpants onto the stage of Hollywood's Dolby Theatre.

But the 41-year-old Broadway and television talent who came to prominence as the child star of "Doogie Howser, M.D.," also confronted a major elephant in the room, opening the show with a fleeting but pointed jab at the homogenous field of Oscar nominees.

"Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest, sorry, brightest," Harris enthusiastically dead-panned to hearty laughter that seemed to break the usual pre-show jitters among the movie royalty packing the auditorium for the 87th Academy Awards.

The opening joke was a reference to the criticism Oscar voters faced this year for failing to nominate a single performer of color in any of the acting categories for the first time in many years, including the critically acclaimed star of the civil rights drama, "Selma," David Oyelowo.

It was the first of several politically charged moments of the night, including Patricia Arquette's remarks in accepting her statuette as best supporting actress for her role as a single mom in "Boyhood."

"To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's rights," Arquette said on stage. "It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America," she added.

"Citizenfour" filmmaker Laura Poitras went on to hail National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden as a hero as she accepted the award for best documentary.

"When the most important decisions being made affecting all of us are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control," she said.   Continued...

 
Neil Patrick Harris refers to a scene from the Oscar nominated film "Birdman" while hosting the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 22, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake