By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Say what you will about award shows, but there’s something utterly intriguing and captivating about some of the worlds finest artists coming together to celebrate each others works for one night each year. The Academy Awards are known as the most prestigious award show, and this years broadcast did not disappoint.
Let’s start with the biggest award of the night — Best Picture. Despite massive momentum and nonstop critic support, “Boyhood” did not walk away with the night’s ultimate prize. Instead “Birdman” snagged the award, in addition to director Alexandro G. Inarritu winning for his work behind the camera. Both are worthy wins, for “Birdman” is cinema at its finest, featuring incredible writing, stunning technical effects and passionate performances from an all-star ensemble.
Per usual, the acting awards elicited memorable speeches from the honorees. J.K. Simmons kicked off the evening by accepting his award for Best Supporting Actor for his work on “Whiplash,” reminding everyone at home to call their parents — not text or email — and thank them for everything.
When Patricia Arquette was announced as Best Supporting Actress for “Boyhood,” the entire theater rose to their feet. Arquette has had a long career in both television and film, but this was her first nomination and win. During her speech, Arquette demanded that equal pay be given to women, which elicited a thunderous response from the audience, including Meryl Streep who literally hollered in passionate agreement.
Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) took the stage to accept his win in front of a standing ovation from the audience. Redmayne jumped up and down with pure excitement, bliss and shock.
Finally, there was Julianne Moore, who won for her stunning performance in “Still Alice.” The actress, who has had a long career in Hollywood and a total of four previous Oscar nominations, was the clear favorite — and deservedly so. Tears of joy ran down her face as she accepted her first Oscar and thanked everyone who has ever helped her in her career.
In addition to the awards, the broadcast also featured musical performances from artists such as Adam Levine, Jennifer Hudson and Tegan and Sara. The highlights, however, came from Common and John Legend and Lady Gaga. Common and Legend performed “Glory” from the film “Selma,” (which ultimately won Best Original Song later in the evening). Their performance left the audience in tears, and was met with a long period of applause.
Gaga performed a medley of songs from the hit movie-musical “The Sound of Music,” which is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year. Normally a pop artist, Gaga shocked viewers with her pitch-perfect rendition of the classical Broadway hits. The moment was only sweetened when Julie Andrews herself appeared and congratulated Gaga with a loving hug.
Other standout moments included a stellar opening from host Neil Patrick Harris, and Graham Moore’s (Best Adapted Screenplay winner for “The Imitation Game”) moving and inspiring speech. After revealing that he had attempted suicide at age 16, Moore urged everyone out there who is hurting to “stay weird” and never give up on life.
This years Oscars were entertaining, surprising and inspiring — everything a good awards show will be.