Like any other year, the 87th Academy Awards had many moments with beaded dresses, controversies, snazzy suits, snubs and predictable wins. While I was extremely happy that J.K. Simmons won Best Supporting Actor in Whiplash and The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash and Birdman were the big winners of the night, I was genuinely surprised that Boyhood‘s only recognition came in the form of a Best Supporting Actress win for Patricia Arquette. I quickly dipped into disappointment territory when The Imitation Game won for Best Adapted Screenplay because I wanted/anticipated a win for Whiplash, but alas – that is the nature of award shows.
Then there’s Neil Patrick Harris, the host of the Academy Awards. There were a lot of groan-worthy puns, awkward pauses and segue ways and an overly extended bit about a briefcase that were relatively family friendly and all the more dull for a glitzy night. It wasn’t all bad, though. Neil had some pretty great one liners that called out the various controversies surrounding the awards and the attendees were game to not only have a lot of fun, but to also make the most of their stage time. Between some beautiful performances, heartfelt speeches and the philanthropic, political and feminist advocacy, last night’s awards (and the pre and post events) had some pretty fantastic moments. Here are the ones I enjoyed the most (in no particular order):
1. The Everything is Awesome Performance
Everything is Awesome was nominated for Best Original Song from the much-talked about and snubbed The Lego Movie. It didn’t win the Oscar, but quite literally everything was awesome about the performance. From Tegan and Sara (yay Canadians!) to The Lonely Island (be still, university heart) to Quest Love to Will Arnett to Lego Academy Award statues, the performance brought some much needed levity and colour to the show.
2. Oprah/Emma Stone/Channing Tatum Win Lego Oscars
There’s also a really great .gif out there of Channing Tatum making his Lego statue dance behind Steve Carell. Celebrities do have fun at these things.
3. Patricia Arquette’s Acceptance Speech
“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
It was a brief part of her speech which she later expanded upon in the press room but it mattered. It mattered that she used her time on a stage broadcasted across the United States and around the world that she acknowledged such issues in her home country, especially as a seasoned actress who may have encountered barriers to equal pay in her career. It was short, but it impactful.
4. Meryl Streep Is All About Equality
Jennifer Lopez, too. You go girls!
5. “Stay Weird. Stay Different.”
“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.”
I’ve already said that I was quite disappointed that The Imitation Game won for Best Adapted Screenplay, but I have an immense amount of respect for screenwriter Graham Moore taking a career-high celebratory moment and transforming it into one of outreach, one that could mean something to someone else out there with his speech. Stay weird. Stay different. Be who you are, be true to yourself and don’t give up.
I don’t think there’ll ever come a time when I see a performance of “Glory” and not instantly be moved by it and/or be reminded of Selma‘s craftsmanship and beauty. It felt like a triumphant, climatic moment for a film that should have received more recognition throughout this award season than it did. It also brought many audience members to tears, including Chris Pine and Selma star David Oyelowo.
7. Reese Witherspoon pushing to #AskHerMore
“You know, this is a movement to say we’re more than just our dresses,” she told the ABC presenter. “The dresses are beautiful; we love the artists that make these clothes. But, this is a group of women — 44 nominees this year, Robin, that are women — and we are so happy to be here and talk about the work that we’ve done, you know? It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood or in any industry. It’s exciting for me to get to talk to other nominees about all the hard work that they did…it’s been a great year producing Gone Girl and Wild, and [my company] just hopes to have more success in the future bringing great leading roles to women.”
#AskHerMore is an online movement and ongoing conversation that encourages media and journalists to ask questions that are much more significant and relevant to a woman’s career, especially on red carpets where women are usually only asked “What are you wearing tonight?” #AskHerMore actually kicked off last year but it is great to see the conversation gaining momentum and having a prominent figure like Reese Witherspoon get behind it as well. The above is what she told ABC reporter Robin Roberts on the red carpet.
8. Lady Gaga Sound of Music Medley and Julie Andrew’s appearance
I cannot believe that the Sound of Music is turning fifty years old this year! It is definitely a multi-generational spanning cinematic achievement and Lady Gaga did a fantastic job honouring it. I loved hearing her vocal range get pushed into a completely different zone than what she showcases in her own music. My dad and I fondly recounted memories of watching the musical while her performance was going on, only to have our conversation quickly transition into how graceful and beautiful Julie Andrews is when she appeared on stage to give away an award. The way she exclaimed “Lady Gaga!” was the cherry on top of a wonderful tribute.
9. Anna Kendrick and Jack Black in the Opening Song
I loved Neil Patrick Harris’ opening performance as a whole, but having Anna Kendrick and Jack Black in there added some comedic punch to it (and also called out the repetitive, blockbuster nature of a the Movie Picture Show in the last few years.) I’m also now campaigning for Anna Kendrick to host next year’s ceremony because I think she’d do an amazing job in that position.
10. Eddie Redmayne’s Excited Disbelief
Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor award for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. If you haven’t seen it, please do – it is a beautiful film with some remarkable work from Redmayne and his co-star Felicity Jones. I couldn’t find a video which featured Redmayne’s reaction from the moment his name was announced by 2014 Best Actress Cate Blanchett, but he completely freaked out in his seat and continued to do so on stage for about ten seconds where he just held the Oscar and was wowed by the moment. I found it adorable and human, especially for someone whose received a lot of recognition and stood behind a few podiums this award season. It was very personable.
11. John Legend and Common’s Acceptance Speech
Besides producing such a moving song, I have to commend John Legend and Common for their poignancy and weight in their speeches every time they’ve won an award this season. While the inspiration for “Glory” comes from Selma, Common spoke about the universal experience of fighting for equality across the world, from the United States to France to Hong Kong, while John Legend once more reminded the audience that Selma is now. The film itself speaks volumes but I think these gentleman have been an integral part of ensuring that its legacy extends well beyond this award season.
12. Don’t Let the Music Bring You Down
The orchestra music played when an acceptance speech goes on for too long is the stuff of scheduling, run-time, embarrassment and irritation, and most people shrug it off as a joke and speed through their speeches if they become a victim to the music. Last night Paweł Pawlikowski, the winner behind the Best Foreign Film Ida, gave the orchestra a real run as he refused to leave the stage without giving an exceptional thank you to his family and team. I think it is the longest I’ve ever heard the orchestra going but Pawel admirably stood his ground for his moment.
13. Birdman Spoof
Was this foreshadowing to the Best Picture win? I was really hoping for some sort of Gone Girl parody but I’ll take the 90 seconds worth of a Birdman spoof in Neil Patrick Harris’ repertoire from last night. The real bite came from a quick cameo from Miles Teller playing the drums as both Whiplash and Birdman had lots of percussion work in their scores.
14. The Kimmel School of Perfecting Acting
I think this is the tenth time Jimmy Kimmel has hosted a post-Oscars live show. This year he had an extensive interview with John Travolta, who addressed the Adele Dazeem teleprompter read last year and a quick cameo from J.K. Simmons. The best part was Jimmy’s two-part skit, The Kimmel School of Perfect Acting. It’s a pretty star-studded affair and of course, hilarious. Eddie Redmayne’s screaming is reminiscent of all of those Jupiter Ascending memes I’ve seen floating around. Watch Part 1 above and Part 2 here.
PS – Maybe Jimmy Kimmel and Anna Kendrick could co-host together?
15. The Grand Budapest Hotel Wins!
Most of the films you see at the Academy Awards are films that come out in the fall and winter, are heavily campaigned and quite often are festival darlings. The Grand Budapest Hotel didn’t quite follow this regime and it turned out be one of the big winners last night; it tied with Birdman at four wins each. It’s such a lovely artistic feat that deserved the attention and recognition it received, despite not being amidst the Oscar-crop in late 2014. My mom and I are huge fans of this movie and I hope you guys take some time and watch it (it’s on Netflix Canada fellow Canucks!) so you can share in my excitement and happiness for its Academy Award wins for Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hair. Once you’ve watched the film, check out the acceptances speeches for those awards – you’ll find the production team is just as amusing as the film itself.
I hope to do a fashion post in the coming day or two but for now, I’d love to hear what your favourite moments were from the 87th Academy Awards. Comment or tweet me and let me know!