Awards season finally came to a close last night as the Academy revealed their winners for 2014/15 at another riveting ceremony.
In what had been a closely fought race, it was the showbusiness satire Birdman which came out on top as it clinched four awards including the coveted Best Picture accolade.
The film, which stars Michael Keaton as a former superhero actor trying to rebuild his diminishing career on Broadway, also landed wins for its filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu in Best Director and Best Original Screenplay as well as a Best Cinematography award for Emmanuel Lubezki (following up his victory in the same category last year for Gravity).
The dark comedy had managed to gather significant pace during the latter stages of the season after it clinched crucial wins at the PGA (Producer’s Guild Awards), SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) and the DGA (Director’s Guild Awards).
Despite clinching the top honours at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, Richard Linklater’s epic family drama Boyhood could only score one victory for Patricia Arquette who comfortably won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mason’s mother. Her triumph came at the expense of Laura Dern (Wild), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Birdman) and Meryl Streep (Into the Woods).
There were no shocks in the other major acting categories as British star Eddie Redmayne deservedly won Best Actor for his brilliant portrayal of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking in the British biopic The Theory of Everything. He overcame stiff competition from Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) and Michael Keaton.
After losing out on four previous occasions, Julianne Moore finally landed an Oscar at the fifth attempt for her role as an Alzheimer’s sufferer in the family drama Still Alice. Also nominated in the category were Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Reese Witherspoon (Wild) and British duo Felicity Jones (Theory of Everything) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).
And as many had predicted, J.K Simmons cruised to the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance as bullying music teacher Terence Fletcher in the musical drama Whiplash. He triumphed over fellow nominees Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Edward Norton (Birdman) and Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher).
The other big success of the night was Wes Anderson’s crime caper The Grand Budapest Hotel which clinched four prizes for Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup & Hairstyling and Best Original Score for composer Alexandre Desplat. Whiplash itself enjoyed a good evening with victories in Best Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
For only the fourth time since 2000, all the Best Picture nominees won an award with American Sniper (Best Sound Editing), The Imitation Game (Best Adapted Screenplay) and Selma (Best Original Song) each receiving an award on the night. The Selma win produced a standing ovation for singers Common and John Legend whose song “Glory” was clearly popular with the audience.
The rest of the victors included a Best Visual Effects gong for Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar and Best Foreign Language Film for the Polish drama Ida while there was a shock in Best Animated Feature as Disney’s Big Hero 6 clinched the award ahead of initial favourite How to Train Your Dragon 2. However that category had already lost its credibility following the shameful snubbing of The LEGO Movie!
The ceremony was hosted exquisitely by comedian / singer Neil Patrick Harris who impressed many with his opening number “Moving Pictures” as well as spoofing Birdman and Whiplash in the video below:
The rest of the show produced other humourous moments including a witty reunion between John Travolta and “Let It Go” singer Idina Menzel which came a year after the actor had mispronounced her name during the 2014 show.
Lady Gaga also stood out with her renditions of some of the songs from the musical classic The Sound of Music which was then followed by the arrival of the legendary Julie Andrews onto the stage.
The full list of Oscar winners are below: