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Finding Magic at the Oscars – Storytelling Still Reigns

February 23, 2015

by Adrienne Rotella

Every year, millions of people worldwide tune in to watch the Oscars.  This year alone, 43 million viewers tuned in.  And ever since Twitter was launched, the Oscars have become even more of a spectacle with viewers weighing in on the “moment” of the night.

So, this year, I decided to keep refreshing my Twitter feed as I watched the Oscars.  I was determined to keep up with the court of public opinion and see what everyone was talking about.  The consensus?  There wasn’t one.

We came close.  There was Patricia Arquette’s speech on female equality (and Meryl Streep’s fantastic reaction), the moving performance of “Glory” (with a shot of Chris Pine’s face streaming with tears), powerful commentary about suicide, and, yes, John Travolta’s (latest) awkward moment with Idina Menzel.  Ever heard of personal space, John?  Oh, and Lady Gaga’s tribute to “The Sound of Music,” celebrating its 50th anniversary.

What these close calls do tell us (not including Travolta’s…) is that storytelling is still the most important part of a movie.  It started with Neil Patrick Harris’ nostalgic serenade to the movies (with Anna Kendrick’s glass-slippered help) and Jack Black’s critique of formulaic scripts and the stiffly orchestrated Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, and continued throughout the evening.  It seems as if magic dust from “Into the Woods” and the upcoming “Cinderella” had settled into the theater.

It even reached the ads. 

Mercedes-Benz, J.C. Penney, Coca-Cola, and Xfinity + Comcast win for the clearest ‘fairytale’ tie-ins with their “Fable,” “Fairy Tales,” “Tall, Dark and Handsome,” and “Emily’s Oz” campaigns.  

Google Play and Samsung are close seconds, with “Play Your Heart Out” and “Movie Magic” focusing on how their products empower people to better interact with stories, or to get creative with their own.

As we heard throughout the show, “we are here to celebrate the storytellers.”  So, bravo to the storytellers who captivated us in the 60 films nominated for Oscars.  And, bravo to the agencies behind the brands’ stories in the ads.