87th Academy Awards

academy awardLast night, the movie award season came to a satisfying conclusion at the 87th Academy Awards, the biggest night of the year for Hollywood. Like always, the live telecast brought the glitz and the glam, the laughs and the tears. First time Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris kicked off the night with an appropriately musical tribute to movie magic. Joined by Anna Kendrick and Jack Black, Harris’ song reminded audiences at home and in the Dolby Theatre why movies are so captivating. It was a charming beginning to a fun night of one-liners, bits, and one show-long magic trick.

Emotions were high throughout the ceremony as winners took to the stage with speeches that ran the gamut of funny (when one of the screenwriters for Birdman thanked his dog Larry), heartfelt (when The Imitation Game screenwriter, Graham Moore, told kids to “stay weird”) and impassioned (the many speeches that mentioned social and political activism). My personal favorite speech of the night was given by supporting actor winner J.K. Simmons, when, after saying his thanks, he closed his speech by strongly advising everyone listening to call their parents, if possible.

This year, the Academy Awards also celebrated music, with moving performances throughout the ceremony. Of the five nominated songs, “Glory” from Selma seemed to have the most emotional impact of the evening and earned a standing ovation from the audience. The In Memoriam (which can be viewed online at the Oscar website) was bracketed by a moving introduction by Meryl Streep and a beautiful performance by Jennifer Hudson. But my favorite musical performance of the evening was Lady Gaga’s understated and lovely medley of songs from The Sound of Music, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. A surprise appearance by Julie Andrews to announce the next award was enough to warm even the coldest heart.

In a night full of awards both surprising and foregone, I was most excited to see Eddie Redmayne win for best actor. His performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything was transformative, and his complete happiness at winning was endearing. And although I was disappointed that neither of the Texas filmmakers (Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson) nominated for awards took home a statue, it was lovely to see how much respect the winners for The Grand Budapest Hotel (which won four technical awards) had for Anderson and his creative vision.

Visit the official Academy Awards website for a complete list of winners.

Flickr CC: somewhere inside the machine Photo by: Robert Couse-Baker