Redmayne, Moore and ‘Birdman’ scoop Oscars as Hollywood honours ‘best and whitest’
Birdman has captured Hollywood’s top honour at the Academy Awards, where the jazzy, surreal comedy about an actor fleeing his superhero past took won best picture.
Birdman director Alejandro G. Inarritu thanked the star-studded audience for seeing his “crazy film”.
The reward for the satire hews to an Academy tradition of awarding films that honour the entertainment industry.
Julianne Moore won her first Oscar as best actress for Still Alice, and she shined a light on Alzheimer’s disease in her acceptance speech.
The 54-year-old actress added an Academy Award to the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild trophies she won earlier for her role as a college linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Eddie Redmayne won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal as physicist Stephen Hawking in the biographical movie The Theory of Everything.
It was the first Oscar for the British actor, 33, whose performance as Hawking over the course of 30 years and the disabling complications of motor neuron disease, has also brought him a Golden Globe, SAG and British Bafta trophies.
Crowning a three-decade career, the 46-year-old blonde with the icy blue eyes took one of Hollywood’s top prizes for playing a single mother in director Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age drama Boyhood.
After thanking her family and co-stars, Arquette made an impassioned plea for “wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Arquette’s was the second big acting trophy announced at the Oscars ceremony, which began this morning Hong Kong time.
The first Oscar went to J.K. Simmons, a career character actor widely acclaimed for one of his biggest parts: a drill sergeant of a jazz instructor in the indie Whiplash. Simmons fittingly accepted his supporting acting Oscar with some straightforward advice, urging: “Call your mom. Call your dad.”
Backstage, Simmons, known to many from various bit parts or his insurance commercials, recalled a long road as a professional actor that began decades ago in regional theatre in Montana.
“Maybe more people saw me tonight than see me in the commercials,” said Simmons.
Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris wasted no time kicking off a stormy 87th Academy Awards and conceding the ceremony’s much-discussed lack of diversity.
“Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest — I mean brightest,” Harris said before the star-studded Dolby Theatre crowd. All of this year’s acting nominees are white, which led some to push for a boycott of the broadcast.
Two of the night’s other early awards went to Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel: costume design, and makeup and styling. The European caper — released back around last year’s Academy Awards — could be the night’s unlikely leader in trophies, rewarding the hand-made craft of Anderson’s latest confection.
The black-and-white Polish film “Ida” took best foreign language film, marking the first such win for Poland despite a rich cinema history. Director Pawel Pawlikowski charmed the audience with a bemused acceptance speech that ran drastically over his allotted time.
Pawlikowski remarked on having made a quiet film of contemplation about withdrawing from the world, “and here we are at the epicenter of noise and attention. It’s fantastic. Life is full of surprises.”
Disney Animation’s Big Hero 6, a comic book-inspired tale of a teen science genius who befriends a huggable robot and forms a superhero team, won the Oscar for best animated feature film. It was the second consecutive Academy Award win in the animated feature category for Walt Disney Co’s animation studios, which won the Oscar last year for musical blockbuster Frozen.
Harris’ opening quickly segued into a song-and-dance routine that celebrated a love for movies, complete with a villain to his sunny outlook in Jack Black. The comedian jumped on stage to counter that Hollywood wasn’t so fabulous making movies “opening with lots of zeroes, all we get is superheroes.”
“After Fifty Shades of Grey,” Black added, referring to the weekend’s top box office draw, “they’ll all have leather whips.”
Additional reporting by Associated Press and Reuters
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