Sunday night the Academy Awards held it’s 87th annual awards ceremony at The Dolby Theater in Hollywood. Pouring rain did not stop the stars from strutting down the red carpet on the most prestigious night in film.
“Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest,” said Neil Patrick Harris, host of the evening show, referencing that this year’s Oscar nominations lacked racial diversity.
His opening number included a cameo from “Into the Woods” star and former nominee Anna Kendrick as well as an interlude from Jack Black. But that was probably the highest point of NPH’s hosting.
The rest of the night his jokes fell flatter than his bare abdomen when he attempted to recreate the famous underwear scene from Best Picture winner “Birdman.”
But the show still had redeeming points.
Three of the five Original Song nominees gave amazing performances. “Everything is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie” gave a bright and electric performance, including Lego Oscar statuettes handed out to the stars sitting in the front row, including Oprah Winfrey who posed with hers continuously throughout the show.
Tim McGraw, who was hand chosen by Glen Campbell’s family to perform “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” brought a solemn tone and did the country legend justice.
The Original Song winning song performance of the night goes to “Glory” from the film “Selma.” Song writers John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn, known more as John Legend and Common, gave a powerful performance that included a recreation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous civil rights march across the bridge in Selma. Their performance had actors David Oyelowo and Chris Pine visibly in tears.
The musical performances did not stop there, as a tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the release of “The Sound of Music,” Lady Gaga gave a stunning jaw dropping performance of a medley of songs from the musical classic film. Reactions to her performance were full of praise. Even Dame Julie Andrews, the onscreen Maria Von Trapp, surprised and hugged the pop songstress and had tears in her eyes.
Onto the winners….and losers
Going into the Academy Awards, the top two films expected to sweep up the show were “Birdman” and “Boyhood” but “Boyhood” was nearly completely snubbed.
Instead the Academy showed their love for comedy by splitting the awards between “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” both tied with four wins.
Eddie Redmayne surprised all when he took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in “The Theory of Everything” beating out the favorite acting veteran Michael Keaton.
J.K. Simmons finished his clean sweep of awards season for his role in “Whiplash.”
Julianne Moore won for her outstanding performance as a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s in “Still Alice.” Patricia Arquette gave one of the best speeches of the night while accepting her award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Boyhood.”
Arquette called for equality among all people in this country, especially women stating, “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” She recieved standing applause from the likes of Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez.
That wasn’t the only powerful speech of the night. Upon accepting the award for Best Picture.
Best Director winner Alejandro González Iñárritu made a statement so powerful it had Mexicans around the country and around the world beaming with pride.
“I dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans who live in Mexico. I pray we can find and build a government we deserve and I hope Mexican immigrants in this country can be treated with the same dignity as the ones who came before and built this immigrant nation,” González Iñárritu said.
His words resonated in a night that was predicted to be white and flat.
At the end of the night with a powerful performance of “Glory,” Inarritu’s win and Arquette’s call to action, the night was better than expected.
The Oscars exceeded the low expectations set for it. Hopefully next year’s can continue that trend.