87th Academy Awards: A Birdman In the Hand is Worth Two In The Bush

For F*** Magazine


By Jedd Jong

The 87th Academy Awards took place on February 22nd2015 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) and The Grand Budapest Hotel bagged four wins each, with Whiplash clinching three. Both Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel were the most-nominated films of the evening, with 9 nods each.
Neil Patrick Harris hosted the ceremony for the first time. Having been the master of ceremonies at the Tony Awards four times and at the Primetime Emmys twice, NPH is no stranger to strutting his stuff in front of showbiz A-listers. His opening number, titled “Moving Pictures”, was a joyous tribute to cinema, the lyrics weaving in references to everything from The Godfather Part II to Basic Instinct to Back to the Future as well as all the Best Picture nominees that night. The song was penned by Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the pair behind the songs in Disney’s Frozen. Anna Kendrick, clad in her Cinderella gown from Into The Woods, joined Harris for a duet, working in a spoilerific jab at his role in Gone Girl. The two were interrupted by Jack Black in full Tenacious D mode, Black giving voice to critics of the Oscars and the current state of movies in Hollywood.
For most of the show, Harris’ joke delivery style was that he knew the lines were silly and revelled in it. A notably painful pun was his introduction of presenter and Best Actress nominee Reese Witherspoon: “This next presenter is so lovely you could eat her up with a spoon.” Hur hur. The claws did come out for a few more digs – after the Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour clinched the Best Documentary Feature prize, Harris mentioned that the subject of the film “could not be here for some treason”. “American Sniper focuses on a soldier with 160 kills, or as Harvey Weinstein calls it, a slow morning,” Harris quipped, referring to the notorious producer.
For a parody of Birdman, Harris pretended to be locked outside his dressing room, running onstage wearing only his underwear before declaring “acting is a noble profession”. The bit paid homage to the jazz drums soundtrack of Birdmanas well as Whiplash, with Whiplash star Miles Teller drumming backstage, Harris jokingly interrupting him with “not my tempo”. An extended bit in which Harris drew attention to his Oscar predictions being kept in a locked box, repeatedly reminding Octavia Spencer to have her eye on said box, was not so successful. The pay-off was that the envelope contained humorous recaps of the happenings at the ceremony which couldn’t have been written before the ceremony began, allowing Harris to show off a spot of magic. Harris also drew flak for cracking a joke about the “balls” that decorated Best Documentary Short Subject winner Dana Perry’s dress – right after Perry dedicated her win to her teenage son who had committed suicide.

There was no shortage of emotional moments during the acceptance speeches. J.K. Simmons, winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as a hellish music teacher in Whiplash, showed a much softer side than he did in the film, exhorting “if you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive, call them. Don’t text, don’t email. Call them. Listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”
“I’ve heard it said that winning an Oscar means you live five years longer. If that’s true I want to thank the Academy because my husband is younger than me,” Julianne Moore quipped after winning the Best Actress Oscar for her role as a professor fighting early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice. Many feel this is a long-overdue victory for the prolific actress, who also paid tribute to Still Alice directors Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer. The co-directors are married and Glatzer is battling ALS, which likely inspired the honest, moving depiction of illness in Still Alice.  
Eddie Redmayne took home the Best Actor statue for his turn as physicist Stephen Hawking in the biopic The Theory of Everything. The English actor was visibly and quite endearingly flabbergasted. “I’m fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man,” he said, dedicating his Oscar to ALS sufferers around the world. “It belongs to one exceptional family, and I will be its custodian and I promise you that I will polish him, and wait on him hand and foot,” he said of the shiny statuette. For many who had pegged Michael Keaton to win for what is being called the role of his lifetime, Redmayne’s triumph was something of an upset, though not completely unexpected.
John Legend and Common, taking home the Best Original Song award for “Glory” from Selma, spoke on racial harmony in the United States. “Once a landmark of a divided nation, the spirit of this bridge now for all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or social status. This bridge was built on hope and welded with compassion,” Common said, recounting his experience performing the song on that same bridge in Selma, Alabama on which Martin Luther King Jr. marched. When Legend stated the United States was the most incarcerated country in the world, an awkward cheer came from an unidentified member of the audience.
Patricia Arquette, named Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mason’s mother Olivia in Boyhood, brought attention to wage equality for women. She proclaimed, “To every woman who gave birth, to every citizen and taxpayer, it’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women of the United States of America!” Meryl Streep reacted by pumping her fist in the air. Arquette also mentioned the ecological sanitation charity project she is involved with.
Alejandro González Iñárritu, named Best Director for Birdman, tempered the serious with the funny in his acceptance speech. “Maybe next year the government might impose some immigration rules on the academy. Two Mexicans in a row is suspicious,” he quipped, in reference to good friend and fellow Mexican Alfonso Cuarón’s Best Director win for Gravity at last year’s ceremony. Speaking about Mexican immigrants in the US, Iñárritu added ”I hope they can be treated with respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.” Commenting on the competitive nature of awards ceremonies like the Oscars, he said true art and individual expression “can’t be compared or labelled or defeated because they exist, and our work will only be judged by time.”
Of course, the ceremony had its moments of outright, unabashed fun. The LEGO Movie may have been shut out of the Best Animated Feature category and it lost Best Original Song to “Glory”, but the flick based on those colourful construction toys made its presence felt with an exuberant live performance of “Everything is Awesome”. The immensely catchy ditty was sung by indie pop duo Tegan and Sara with musical comedy group The Lonely Island. They were joined by break-dancers dressed as construction workers, while dancers dressed as cowboys and spacemen handed out Oscar statuettes made out of LEGO to audience members – including a particularly thrilled Oprah Winfrey. Composer Mark Mothersbaugh had a keyboard solo, Questlove of The Roots was on drums and Will Arnett put the cherry on top by performing as Batman, complete with the Bat-symbol on his costume built out of LEGO bricks.
The other notable musical performance of the night was a tribute to The Sound Of Music, performed by Lady Gaga and a string ensemble. Julie Andrews took to the stage afterwards to thank Gaga and speak about the tremendous legacy of the film, which commemorates its 50th anniversary this year. John Travolta’s flub, in which he infamously mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name as “Adele Dazeem”, remains one of the most memorable moments of the 86th Academy Awards. This year, Travolta presented alongside Menzel as the two poked fun at the gaffe. We’re also pretty sure that this is the first time anyone has thanked their dog in an Oscars acceptance speech – Birdmanco-writer Nicolás Giacobone expressed his gratitude to his canine pal, Larry.
The full list of winners and nominees follows:
Birdman WINNER
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Theory of Everything

Alejandro González Iñárritu – BirdmanWINNER
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of EverythingWINNER
Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Michael Keaton – Birdman

Julianne Moore – Still AliceWINNER
Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

JK Simmons – WhiplashWINNER
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood – WINNER
Laura Dern – Wild
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Birdman – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo – WINNER
Boyhood – Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher – E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy
The Imitation Game – Graham Moore – WINNER
American Sniper – Jason Hall
Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten
Whiplash – Damien Chazelle
Big Hero 6WINNER
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Ida (Poland) – Paweł Pawlikowski – WINNER
Tangerines (Estonia) – Zaza Urushadze
Leviathan (Russia) – Andrey Zvyagintsev
Wild Tales (Argentina)– Damián Szifrón
Timbuktu (Mauritania)– Abderrahmane Sissako
Citizenfour – Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky – WINNER
Finding Vivian Maier – John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam – Rory Kennedy, Keven McAlester
The Salt of the Earth – Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, David Rosier
Virunga – Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1– Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Dana Perry – WINNER
Joanna – Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse – Tomasz Sliwinski, Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper – Gabriel Serra
White Earth – Christian Jensen
The Phone Call – Mat Kirkby, James Lucas – WINNER
Aya – Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham – Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp – Wei Hu, Julien Féret
Parvaneh – Talkhon Hamzavi, Stefan Eichenberger
Feast – Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed – WINNER
The Bigger Picture – Daisy Jacobs, Chris Hees
The Dam Keeper – Robert Kondo, Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi
Me and My Moulton – Torill Kove
A Single Life – Joris Oprins
Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest HotelWINNER
Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game
Hans Zimmer – Interstellar
Jóhann Jóhannsson – The Theory of Everything
Gary Yershon – Mr. Turner

“Glory” from Selma – Lonnie “Common” Lynn, John Legend – WINNER
“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie – Shawn Patterson
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights – Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again – Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois
American Sniper – Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman – WINNER
Birdman – Aaron Glascock, Martín Hernández
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Brent Burge, Jason Canovas
Interstellar – Richard King
Unbroken – Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro
Whiplash – Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley – WINNER
American Sniper – John T Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin
Birdman – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Thomas Varga
Interstellar – Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten
Unbroken – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, David Lee
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock – WINNER
The Imitation Game – Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald
Interstellar – Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
Into the Woods – Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock
Mr. Turner – Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts
Birdman – Emmanuel Lubezki – WINNER
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Robert D. Yeoman
Ida – Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr. Turner – Dick Pope
Unbroken – Roger Deakins
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier – WINNER
Foxcatcher – Bill Corso, Dennis Liddiard
Guardians of the Galaxy – Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero– WINNER
Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard
Mr. Turner – Jacqueline Durran
Whiplash – Tom Cross – WINNER
Boyhood – Sandra Adair
The Imitation Game – William Goldenberg
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling
American Sniper – Joel Cox, Gary Roach
Interstellar – Paul J Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott R Fisher – WINNER
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Dan Deleeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill, Daniel Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy – Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, Paul Corbould
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer

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