Birdman Flies Through the Oscars

Alejandro G. Inarritu took home an Oscar for his Best Picture, Birdman.

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Birdman director Alejandro G. Inarritu.

Helen Burdier, Entertainment

After a long award race that had pit stops at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild, the race reached its finale in this year’s Academy Awards. The event was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, whose jokes fell flat, got gasps, but mostly got laughs. As an ode to his character Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother, the night was legen- wait for it – dary.

Harris began his opening monologue by poking fun at ceremony’s lack of diversity with, “tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest.” The joke is based off of Selma director, Ava DuVernay, who this year became the first African American woman nominated in the director category at the Golden Globes, was overlooked by the academy in favor of a nomination pool comprised of white men. Her star, David Oyelowo, who transformed into Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in the film, was also overlooked. Overall, this was the whitest Oscars since 1998 with no actors or actresses of color nominated.

The remainder of the opening monologue switched to what Harris is best at: musical numbers. In the number, Harris celebrated “moving pictures” in front of a backdrop of clips from famous movies, such as Star Wars, before being joined by Into the Woods star Anna Kendrick and Jack Black.

The nominations were lead by Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel with nine each. In the end, Birdman took home the meatier awards: Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, and Best Director. Budapest, however, took home the artsier technical awards: Original Score, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Costume Design.

Despite Birdman and Budapest having the most nominations, they were beat in other categories by the other nominated films. Best Adapted Screenplay was won by The Imitation Game’s  Graham Moore, whose speech called for teens to “stay weird. stay different.”

In the acting categories, Eddie Redmayne trumped Michael Keaton and won Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. The female equivalent of his award was taken by Julianne Moore for her role as a college professor suffering from onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice.

The winners of Supporting Actor and Actress both came at no surprise, since J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette have scooped up the same award at the Globes and SAG’s. Arquette used her win as a platform to draw attention to the issue of women’s rights by dedicating the award to “every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation…it’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

The musical entertainment of the night was provided by Adam Levine and Maroon 5’s “Lost Stars” from Begin Again, Rita Ora’s “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights, along with John Legend and Common’s Best Original Song winning “Glory” from Selma. Lady Gaga performed a Sound of music tribute with a medley of the musical’s songs, from the titular “The Sound of Music” to “ My Favorite Things” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”

The strangest performance came from duo Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island for The Lego Movie’s theme song “Everything is Awesome.” Although the movie was snubbed for Best Animated Film, which went to Big Hero 6, the performance livened up the night and featured cameos from Will Arnett as Batman and Questlove on the drums. 

The event marks the end of award season, and although the night was long and at times tedious, it was a suitable end to an award race that kept film lovers on their toes.

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