Oscar Awards Live: The dark comedy “Birdman” held up a mirror to Hollywood and its struggling actors and received in return the film industry’s highest recognition on Sunday, the Academy Award for best picture.
Director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s story of a washed-up, former superhero actor attempting an improbable comeback on Broadway won four Oscars, including best director, the second consecutive win in that category for a Mexican filmmaker. (Check out full Oscar winners list)
Inarritu thanked the star-studded audience for seeing his “crazy film.”
The reward for the satire hews to an Academy tradition of awarding films that honor the entertainment industry, such as “Argo” and “The Artist” in recent years.
Eddie Redmayne won best actor with his painstaking portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”, robbing “Birdman” lead and former superhero actor Michael Keaton of a big comeback moment.
Each of the eight best picture nominees went home with at least one award, but it was a disappointing night for “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater’s unprecedented endeavor to depict the simple story of a boy growing up over 12 years, all with the same actors. It won one Oscar for its six nods.
Wes Anderson’s colorful caper, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” proved popular among the 6,100 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who vote for the Oscars, winning four awards on its nine nominations.
“Whiplash,” the independent film about an aspiring jazz drummer and his tough mentor from young director Damien Chazelle, won three Oscars.
The only box office blockbuster among the eight, the Iraq war drama “American Sniper” from director Clint Eastwood, also fell short with one win.
It was a night in which the controversy over the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees was front and center. First-time host Neil Patrick Harris opened the telecast with a quip: “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest, I mean brightest.”
But the race theme resonated in a more serious way too, when Common and John Legend got a standing ovation and made many in the audience cry with their performance of “Glory” from the 1960s civil rights drama “Selma.”
It won best song, delivering the sole victory to “Selma,” the film at the center of the diversity debate, sparked by the exclusion of ethnic minority actors from the four acting categories. The nominations sparked the Twitter hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite.
“‘Selma’ is now, because the struggle for justice is right now,” said Legend in the aftermath of recent racially charged protests in America.
ACTRESSES MOORE, ARQUETTE PREVAIL
The Academy rewarded heavy favorites and veterans with their first Oscars in the three other acting races. Five-time nominee Julianne Moore won best actress for her portrayal of a woman suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s in “Still Alice.”
Patricia Arquette won best supporting actress for her role as a struggling single mother in “Boyhood,” while J.K. Simmons won the best supporting actor as a monstrous music teacher in “Whiplash.”
For the biggest televised event outside the sports world, the Academy aimed to attract young viewers who may not care much about the films but who could tune in for the musical acts.
A bridge between the young and old, pop diva Lady Gaga received a standing ovation for her medley of tunes from “The Sound of Music” before introducing that film’s star, Julie Andrews.
Harris got laughs with his brave appearance in white underwear, a spoof of Keaton’s opening scene in “Birdman.” But some of his jokes fell flat and his debut got mixed reviews. Ratings for the ABC telecast might also suffer because the show ran past midnight on the U.S. East Coast.
Poland’s “Ida” clinched best foreign-language film and director Pawel Pawlikowski pushed the 45-second acceptance speech boundary to thank “my Polish friends who are in front of the TV, the crew who were in the trenches with us and who are totally drunk now, and you were fantastic.”
Best documentary went to “Citizenfour,” director Laura Poitras’ feature about National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who detailed the secret mass surveillance programs.
“The subject of ‘Citizenfour,’ Edward Snowden, could not be here for some treason,” joked Harris.
Six of the eight best-picture nominees took awards at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday: Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” for its hand-made craft; “Whiplash” for its pulsating pacing and J.K. Simmons’ drill-sergeant jazz instructor; “Birdman” for its elegant cinematography; “Boyhood” for Patricia Arquette’s moving mother; and “American Sniper” for its war film sound editing; and “Selma” for Common and John Legend’s best song.
Live Oscars 2015: Highlights
10.35 AM: “Birdman” a dark satire of show business and fame directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, wins Academy Award for best picture, the film industry’s highest honor.
10.25 AM: Best actress Oscar goes to Julianne Moore for “Still Alice”
10.20 AM: Best Actor Oscar awards goes to Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
10.15 AM: Best director Oscar goes to Alejandro G. Inarritu, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 23, 2015
10.10 AM: Oscar for Adapted Screenplay Graham Moore for ‘The Imitation Game’ 10 AM: Best Original screenplay Oscar goes to Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., Armando Bo for ‘Birdman’
9.52 AM: Best Original Score award goes to Alexandre Desplat for The Grand Budapest Hotel 9.35 AM: Oscar for Original Song goes to John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn for “Glory” from “Selma”
9.20 AM: Oscar for Best Documentary feature goes to Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky for “CitizenFour”
9.14 AM: Oscar for Best Film Editing goes to Tom Cross for ‘Whiplash”
8.50 AM: Best Cinematography Oscar Award goes to Emmanuel Lubezki for “Birdman”. This is a second Oscar for Lubezki.
8.35 AM: The best visual effects award goes to Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher for ‘Interstellar’
8.25 AM: Oscar for Actress in a Supporting Role goes to Patricia Arquette for ‘Boyhood’
8.22 AM: Documentary (short subject) goes to “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
8.20 AM: First award for ‘American Sniper’; Best Sound Editing Oscar goes to Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
81.15 AM: Second Oscar Award for ‘Whiplash’; Best sound mixing Oscar goes to Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley
8 AM: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” wins best documentary short subject!
7.55 AM: Oscar for Live Action Short goes to Matt Kirkby and James Lucas for The Phone Call
7.50 AM: Best Makeup Oscar award goes to Mark Coulier and Frances Hannon for The Grand Budapest Hotel 7.40 AM: Best Foreign Film goes to Ida from Ploland
7.30 AM: Milena Canonero wins best costume design for Grand Budapest Hotel.
7.15 AM: JK Simmons wins best supporting actor Oscar for his role in “Whiplash”. Lady Gaga performs at the Oscars
The black-and-white Polish film ”Ida” took best foreign language film, marking the first such win for Poland despite a rich cinema history. Director Pawel Pawlikowski charmed the audience with a bemused acceptance speech that ran drastically over his allotted time.
Pawlikowski remarked on having made a quiet film of Several of this year’s biggest box-office hit nominees – Clint Eastwood’s Iraq war drama ”American Sniper” and Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic ”Interstellar” – had to settle for single wins in technical categories. ”Interstellar” won for visual effects, while ”American Sniper” – far and away the most widely seen of the mostly independent best-picture nominee – took the best sound editing award.
“Boyhood”, “Foxcatcher” receive royal snub at Oscars 2015
Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” lost the best picture and director race to “Birdman” at the 87th Academy awards while “Foxcatcher” returned empty-handed despite five nominations.
“Boyhood” was up for six nominations including best picture, best supporting actor, best director, best editing and best original screenplay but it won only one trophy – best supporting actress which went to Patricia Arquette.
Biographical crime drama “Foxcatcher” returned empty-handed despite its five nominations in key categories.
World War II code-breaker Alan Turing’s biopic “The Imitation Game” also failed to impress the voters as it bagged only one award for the adapted screenplay to writer Graham Moore.
Similarly, “American Sniper” star Bradley Cooper’s fans, who were hoping that he would score an Oscar, were disappointed after he lost the best actor trophy to Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything”.
The Clint Eastwood-directed movie was also nominated in best picture category but it failed to consolidate its USD 300 million box office triumph with an Oscar.
“Whiplash” was a surprise winner at the event by bagging trophies in the key categories including best supporting actor for JK Simmons, editing and sound mixing.
“Selma”, a film on Martin Luther King Jr, managed to garner one golden statuette for the best original song “Glory” by rapper Common and hip-hop star John Legend after the Academy received major flak for “the exclusion of black artists from the 25 people that it nominated in the acting and direction categories”.
“Birdman” star Keaton lost out to Redmayne despite the film emerging one of the top winners in an otherwise divided year at Oscars.
Actresses Rosamund Pike, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon also returned empty-handed.
No surprise, Neil Patrick Harris brought sparkle to Oscars
Broadway and TV did Hollywood a favor, sharing Neil Patrick Harris for duties hosting the Oscars. Harris not only did himself proud, as expected after numerous triumphs presiding over the Tonys and Emmys. Even better, he stewarded an Oscarcast that made up in charm what it lacked in suspense.
First-time host Harris briskly welcomed the audience by declaring, “Tonight, we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest – excuse me, brightest.” No time wasted mentioning the much-discussed lack of diversity among Oscar acting nominees.
Then on with the opening number!
‘Glory’ wins Oscar for best original song
“Glory” from “Selma” has won the Academy Award for best original song. Performed by Common and John Legend and composed by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn, it also won the Golden Globe for best original song. Common also has an acting role in “Selma,” which is based on the historic 1965 march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery led by Martin Luther King Jr. The film is also nominated for best picture.
Poland’s ‘Ida’ wins best foreign language film Oscar
Polish drama “Ida” won the Oscar for best foreign language film on Sunday, landing the country with its first Academy Award.
The stark black-and-white film, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski and considered a favorite to win the honor, follows a novice nun in 1962 Poland who discovers she was born Jewish.
Oscars kick off with humor
The 87th Academy Awards kicked off on Sunday with a humorous nod toward the lack of diversity among nominees for Hollywood’s highest honors and the night’s first recognition of a veteran actor.
The night’s top award – best picture – is a contest between two small movies, show business satire “Birdman” and the coming-of-age tale “Boyhood.” But in one of the least predictable years in recent memory, the race was too close to call and there was room for upsets.
First-time host Neil Patrick Harris opened the three-hour telecast with a jab at the Academy’s failure to nominate any actors of ethnic minority groups in the acting races, which prompted the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
“Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest, I mean brightest,” Harris said before setting off on a song-filled journey through Oscar and motion picture history.
For the biggest televised event outside the sports world, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is aiming to attract young viewers who may not care much about the films but who could tune in for the musical acts like Lady Gaga and Adam Levine.
‘ASK HER MORE’
The famous red carpet – the preamble to Hollywood’s biggest night brought shimmering silvers and bright reds on an unusually dreary, rainy evening. Best actress nominees Julianne Moore, Felicity Jones and Rosamund Pike donned dresses with sparkle and shine.
But the red carpet was also a place for actresses, such as nominee Reese Witherspoon, to make a case for talking about more than what they were wearing by joining the “Ask Her More” campaign. The hashtag #AskHerMore was trending on Twitter.
“The dresses are beautiful. We love the artists who make all these clothes, but this is a group of women…we are so happy to be here to talk about the work that we’ve done,” Witherspoon said. “It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood or any industry.”
Keira Knightley arrives at the Oscars, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP)