As the stars of this year’s Academy Awards nurse gold statues or obligatory hangovers, it’s time to look back at just how the annual ceremony went down.
Acceptance speeches were very powerful and political this year, with the likes of Patricia Arquette, Common & John Legend and director Alejandro Inarritu dedicating their wins to women, African Americans and Mexicans respectively.
It was also a very good year for the Birdman brood, and although their hero Michael Keaton lost to Eddie Redmayne in the Best Actor category (I’m still mad), they consoled themselves with the three other big wins of the night – Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Original Screenplay.
In general Neil Patrick Harris did a not-so-bad job as the night’s host, though some of his jokes did fall flat (most notably the Prediction Box gag with Octavia Spencer which went on for most of the ceremony).
Without further ado, here are the most memorable moments from Hollywood’s night of nights…
The Opening Musical Number:
Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris has been met with some criticism post-Oscars, but there was no denying the brilliance of his opening number ‘Moving Pictures’. Singing and dancing in front of a array of classic movie moment, the How I Met Your Mother star weaved witty lyrics with interactive video to create an epic tribute to Hollywood cinema. Best bits include “that scene” from Basic Instinct, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck sexual tension, leading ladies and being superimposed into classic movie scenes. Actor/singers Anna Kendrick and Jack Black also joined him onstage.
Lady Gaga’s Sound of Music Medley:
Although she is mostly associated with wacky outfits and risqué performances, the queen of kook Lady Gaga blew everyone away with her beautiful ode to The Sound of Music. Channelling the legendary Julie Andrews atop a podium and dressed in white, Gaga sung a pitch-perfect rendition of the film’s classic songs, from ‘Do-Re-Mi’ to ‘The Hills Are Alive’. The spectacular display was surprisingly normal for the pop star, and the soaring number was capped off nicely with a unexpected cameo from the lady herself – Julie Andrews – who seemed more than pleased with the singer’s stunning homage.
John Legend and Common’s Performance Of ‘Glory’:
With a teary Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo and Chris Pine watching on, singers John Legend and rapper Common performed an emotional rendition of the epic Selma song, complete with grand piano and choir. The pair later won Best Original Song for their passionate efforts, with Common saying in his rousing speech: “Recently John and I got to go to Selma and perform on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on…this bridge is now a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and social status…this bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion, and elevated by love for all human beings.” Let the goosebumps begin!
Ida Director Pawel Pawlikowski Shuts Up The Oscar Orchestra – Twice!
It’s standard for the Oscar orchestra to “play-off” winners towards the end of their speech to keep the event on schedule. Well, Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski was having none of it when he accepted the Best Foreign Language Film award for his stunning black-and-white drama Ida. With no malice intended, the filmmaker simply talked right over the music to continue his important thank-yous. He rushed as the music picked up again, dedicating the win to his children and his late wife, which shut the orchestra right up. Good on you P.P!
John Travolta Gets Touchy-Feely:
After his viral “Adele Dazeem” gaffe from last year’s Academy Awards, veteran actor John Travolta tried to make ammends this year. And failed. Creepily. Although Idina Menzel got him back with a deliberate mispronunciation of his name, Travolta made things worse by grabbing Mezel’s face and dishing out compliments. Personal space, bro! Harris later wittily remarked that Travolta would have to be back again next year to apologise for the excessive face touching. And in keeping with the touchy-feely theme, on the red carpet earlier in the evening, Travolta got up close and personal with actress and presenter Scarlett Johansson. As far as the internet’s concerned, however, this stuff is meme gold!
Eddie Redmayne Wins ‘Best Actor’ And Loses It!
Liked an excited little kid in a candy store, 33-year old Brit Eddie Redmayne was clearly overwhelmed with his ‘Best Actor’ win in The Theory of Everything. Despite jumping at host Cate Blanchett, gushing “WOW!” and telling his wife they’re going to have a new little fellow sharing their apartment, Redmayne – who played iconic physicist Professor Stephen Hawking – grounded his speech stating “I’m fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man. This Oscar belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS.” Well said.
Patricia Arquette’s Passionate Gender Equality Acceptance Speech:
Having just one ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for her role as a mother in the 12-year long Boyhood, many expected Arquette to gush and be gracious. And she was, but not before she had the entire room applauding her passionate plea for wage equality – none more enthusiastic than Meryl Streep, whose rapturous endorsement alongside J-Lo quickly went viral on social media. “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said.“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” You go girl!
Birdman Takes Flight!
The epic black comedy took out four of the biggest awards of the night – Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and most importantly, Best Picture for 2015. Although Keaton didn’t win for his solo efforts, the star got his moment on the big stage alongside Alejandro Inarritu and co-stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough, cutely remarking “Look, it’s just great to be here, who am I kidding!” Inarritu also took the chance to dedicate the win to his fellow Mexicans. It is a cast, crew and production well deserving of the recognition!
The Imitation Game‘s Graham Moore “Stay Weird, Stay Different” Speech:
When accepting his award for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ for bringing the story of WWII code-cracker Alan Turing to the big screen, Graham Moore made a emotional and stirring speech to all those who feel they don’t belong. Talking about suicide awareness, depression and homosexuality in particular, Moore exclaimed: “I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere… You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”
Neil Patrick Harris’ Birdman Parody:
In-between announcements and musical numbers, NPH did his best skit of the night as host. Stripping down to his tighty-whities backstage, the entertainer mimicked the popular Birdman scene where Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) gets his dressing gown caught in a door and has to rush through a busy Times Square in just his underpants. The film’s iconic drum score played throughout, and as Harris rounded the corner, it revealed Whiplash star Miles Teller providing the sound. “Not my tempo,”, Harris quipped, before – and much to the amusement of the Birdman cast in the front row – he proceeded onto the stage half-naked and declared “acting is a noble profession”. Classic.
Jennifer Hudson Sings Stunning ‘In Memorium’ Tribute:
After a moving tribute slideshow of all the industry’s best who have passed away in the past 12 months – including the wonderful Robin Williams – singer and actress Jennifer Hudson gave a moving performance of ‘I Can’t Let Go’. Hudson, whose own family suffered a tragic triple murder back in 2008, sung the song with incredible rawness and emotional, looking up to the Heavens in the finale with glassy eyes. Paired with Lady Gaga’s performance, John Legend and Common, it was a night of passionate musical numbers all round.
On The Red Carpet:
Perhaps it was because of the #askhermore campaign, but it seemed this year’s fashion forward stars were the men. The Imitation Game star Benedict Cumberbatch (alongside his radiantly pregnant wife Sophie Hunter) looked dashing in a full-white suit, whilst Selma lead David Oyelowo looked smart in a burgundy ensemble. Winner of ‘Best Supporting Actor’ J.K Simmons looked suave in a black hat, and Birman‘s Michael Keaton swapped undies for a snug suit. The 63-year-old star scrubbed up very well indeed in a slick, black Ralph Lauren tux with bowtie. ‘Best Actor’ winner Eddie Redmayne wore a midnight-blue number, and last year’s winner Jared Leto rocked flowing hair with a pastel blue suit and white shoes. A snazzy year for the fellas, indeed.
Click here for the list of winners from the night.