HOLLYWOOD, CA – While Birdman was the big winner at the 87th Academy Awards ceremony held Sunday night, the unlikely stars of the night were the anime seat fillers pointed out by host Neil Patrick Harris. Seat fillers — people brought forth to occupy seats vacated by stars accepting or presenting awards to maintain the appearance that all seats are taken — have been used for decades for various awards shows, but this year’s Academy Awards were different.
Throughout the ceremony, Harris randomly spoke to seat fillers, some of whom were anime characters. “What was your favorite movie this year?” Harris asked Gon Freeces, who was seated next to Benedict Cumberbatch. “Definitely Boyhood,” Gon responded. “The fact that it took 12 years to complete strikes very close to home. In fact, I believe the next chapter of Hunter x Hunter is scheduled to come out about 12 years from now when Togashi finishes doing whatever it is he does while on hiatus,” he quipped.
Harris also made tired jabs at guest Tarou Takanashi, who he told to watch the box holding his Oscar predictions before thinking better of it and asking Aoi Miyamori to pick up his slack.
However, the highlight of the evening was the uproarious laughter received by Maki Nishikino when asked by Harris about the Lady Gaga tribute to Julie Andrews. “Meh,” said Maki. “Give me that mic and I’ll show you what a real Julie Andrews tribute should look like. I felt like I was watching an episode of iDOLM@STER or something!”
The anime stand-ins were well received by critics. Entertainment Weekly editor James Nutelli remarked, “Those [anime characters] did really well this year, spouting off trite and unfunny award show banter just as lame as 3D audience members.”
Still, many viewers have questioned the Academy’s decision to include anime characters as seat fillers when they have a tendency to be worse looking when they’re in the background. Reports of off model and repeated extras plagued the evening, and Durarara’s Simon Brezhnev seemed to consist entirely of key frames when he was shown on screen.