Academy Awards 2015
Hosted by multi-talented performer Neil Patrick Harris, the 87th Academy Awards opened with the stage awash in glittery splendor of reds and golds. Harris started off with a biting opening line, “Tonight, we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest.” He broke into songs with satirical lyrics and appeared to perform magic tricks against the backdrop of moving pictures, interrupted with cameos from Anna Kendrick looking for a lost Cinderella’s slipper and Jack Black mocking superhero movies.
Harris made fun of rich stars receiving swag bags worth of $165K each, claiming that an armored car was part of the gifts, which would be needed should there be a revolution. There was a hilarious enactment of Michael Keaton’s hallway-walking-in-underwear scene from “Birdman,” in which Harris stripped down and braved the stage dressed in his skivvies.
The first award of the night went to J.K. Simmons as Best Actor for “Whiplash.” The movie grabbed two more awards later in the show, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. “American Sniper,” where sound played a huge role in enhancing the tension-filled story, earned a win with Best Sound Editing.
Visuals, dominated by sci-fi and superheroes, awarded “Interstellar” with Best Visual Effects award, a film that sweeps the eyes with expansive and imaginative images.
The outlandishly delightful “The Grand Budapest Hotel” scored one win after another, with Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hair Styling, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score.
The Academy Award voters went with “Big Hero 6” for Best Animated Feature, in contrast with Golden Globes’ “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”
Patricia Arquette, who dominated the awards circuit, won Best Supporting Actress. She used part of her speech to advocate for equal wages and rights for women, to the cheers of the star-studded audience. Julianne Moore, bestowed with Best Actress award, graciously mentioned that there was really no ‘best actress,’ as she was there with them every step of the way. She’s glad that the movie brought more awareness to Alzheimer, which could be a very isolating disease. On a lighter note, she joked that she heard winning an Oscar would add one’s life expectancy by five years, and if that was the case, she’d thank the Academy because her husband was younger than her.
Eddie Redmayne giddily brought home the gold as Best Actor. There was a spontaneous awe and joy in his acceptance. He dedicated the statue to those around the world with ALS and the Hawking family. He recognized his fortune and zealously said that he would take care and polish the statue. While it had been said that Best Actor race was a strong one, there was never a doubt in my mind as soon as I finished seeing “The Theory of Everything” that Redmayne would go all the way to the Oscars and take it. It’s such a life-changing performance.
Best Adapted Screenplay prize went to “The Imitation Game,” enthusiastically and humbly accepted by Graham Moore, who made a personal confession about a suicide attempt at age 16 and dedicated the honor to the kid(s) who might feel alone or didn’t belong. Moore assured that they did and asked them to stay weird, stay different, and to pass along the message to the next person they reached this stage someday.
“Birdman” nabbed Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Director trophies. Director Alejandro Inarritu gave a grateful, all-encompassing speech, and apologized in case he forgot anyone. The film also took top honor as Best Picture. Inarittu later took the stage again and dedicated the triumph for fellow Mexicans, for those in Mexico with the hope of building a government they deserved, and those in this country, who helped build this immigrant nation, and to be treated with dignity and respect. Last year, another Mexican-born filmmaker, Alfonso Cuaron, won Best Director for “Gravity.”
In a night with no clear frontrunner, it’s good to see many first-timers won and those with deeply personal messages were able to speak from the heart and used the platform to reach out to the masses.
Meryl Streep presented the in memoriam piece, remembering those in the business who have passed in the last year, concluded by Jennifer Hudson’s stirring tribute, “I Can’t Let Go.”
For entertainment, Adam Levine performed a solo with a nominated song “Lost Stars,” Rita Ora with”Grateful,” and John Legend and Common with “Glory.” “Glory,” which earned a standing ovation and teary eyes from the audience, also took home Best Original Song award. Lady Gaga performed classics of “The Sound of Music” with a live orchestra, simply and classily (no outrageous costumes or antics). Julie Andrews made a surprise appearance, embracing Gaga after her lovely performance. “The Lego Movie” took part with a multitude of characters singing and dancing to its catchy tune, “Everything is Awesome.”
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Supporting Actor: JK Simmons – Whiplash
Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound Mixing: Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley – Whiplash
Best Sound Editing: Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman – American Sniper
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Best Visual Effects: Paul J Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott R Fisher – Interstellar
Best Animated Feature: Don Hall, Chris Williams – Big Hero 6
Best Production Design: Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman
Best Film Editing: Tom Cross – Whiplash
Best Original Song: Lonnie Lynn (Common), John Stephens (John Legend) – “Glory,” Selma
Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Original Screenplay: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo – Birdman
Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore – The Imitation Game
Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
Best Actress: Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Best Picture: Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole – Birdman