‘Birdman’ soars with ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ in quadruple trophies -- upsets ‘Boyhood’ with one win; ‘Best Song’ is ‘Selma’s’ only ‘Glory’
by Oliver Carnay

Oscar winners: (L-R) J.K. Simmons (Best Supporting Actor, 'Whiplash'), Patricia Arquette (Best Supporting Actress, 'Boyhood'), Julianne Moore (Best Actress, 'Still Alice') and Eddie Redmayne (Best Actor, 'The Theory of Everything')

Hollywood, CA (February 23, 2015) - The 87th Academy Awards folded up last night announcing winners. ‘Birdman’ dominated the night winning major awards including the coveted Best Picture, Best Director for Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Best Original Screenplay and Cinematography. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ matched the score with four wins receiving less prestigious Costume Design, Make-Up and Hairstyling, Original Score and Production Design. ‘Whiplash’ took the first trophy of the night, with J.K. Simmons as Best Supporting Actor, and later collected Film Editing and Sound Mixing.

Best Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu ('Birdman')

Other marquee acting categories were predictable -- with Eddie Redmayne winning ‘Best Actor (‘Theory of Everything’), Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress (‘Boyhood’), and Julianne Moore taking the Best Actress plum for “Still Alice,” whom I think have the best and most heartfelt speech of the night. She firstly thanked her manager and shared her award to all co-nominees. Grandslam winner Patricia Arquette invoking her single-mother character from ‘Boyhood’ surprised the audience with her speech -- “To every woman who gave birth, to every citizen who has paid taxes … this is our time to have wage equality and equal rights for women.”

“The Imitation Game” writer Graham Moore won for Best Adapted Screenplay with a heartfelt speech asking kids not to commit suicide, which he tried when he was 16 years-old. Other winners include “American Sniper” (Best Sound Editing), “Interstellar” (Best Visual Effects), “Citizenfour” (Best Documentary Feature), “Ida” from Poland won Best Foreign Language Film, “Big Hero 6” (Best Animated Feature Film), “Feast” (Best Animated Short), “The Phone Call” (Best Live Action Short), and “Crisis Hotline” (Best Short Documentary).

Best Song ('Glory', "Selma") - performers Common and John Legend

A stirring performance accompanied by an incredible set recreating the Edmund Pettus bridge in Alabama was rendered by Common and John Legend who sang ‘Selma’s’ theme song “Glory” (seen in the audience breaking into tears were Chris Pine and lead actor of the film David Oyelowo), eventually winning Best Song. The Oprah Winfrey-Brad Pitt produced Martin Luther King semi-biopic film was snubbed by most award-giving bodies, including for Director Ava Duverney who could be the first African-American Oscar Director.

One of the highlights of the show was Lady Gaga’s stunning medley rendition of songs from “The Sound of Music” celebrating the film’s 50th anniversary where at the end, Julie Andrews herself showed up to announce Best Original Score. Her powerful performance garnered a standing ovation and social media frenzy, immediately started trending that she really has the pipes and not just a mere flamboyant pop singer.

Kudos to a spectacular set design of this year’s presentation but the usual three-hour telecast exceeded 42 minutes with host Neil Patrick Harris giving a brilliant Opening musical number, celebrating movies, although throughout the show he was let down by his writers, suffered -- trying to don a Billy Crystal-style with less punchlines. He got big applauses though when he tried to spoof Michael Keaton’s walking in white underwear-‘Birdman’ backstage scene.

(All photos courtesy of Sthanlee B. Mirador)