* Patricia Arquette got political.
While picking up her best supporting actress trophy for “Boyhood,” Arquette suddenly got serious.
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” she announced. “It is our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America!” That led to this amazing moment:
* What about “Boyhood”?
Richard Linklater’s 12-year project was considered a potential front-runner in multiple categories, including best picture and director. But “Birdman” shut out the coming-of-age drama in those categories, leaving “Boyhood” with Arquette winning the movie’s lone award.
* “Everything Is Awesome” wakes up the audience.
The audience was starting to snooze as the show began to present the less-glam categories, and then, suddenly there’s Andy Samberg rapping in a powder blue tuxedo. The manic performance from “The Lego Movie” theme song (performed by Tegan and Sara and Samberg’s Lonely Island) featured all kinds of guest stars, including Will Arnett as Batman and Questlove. And this image:
* John Travolta had another memorable Oscars.
But this year, it wasn’t for misspeaking. He was able to say Idina Menzel’s name with no problem, but he happened to do it — before introducing the award for best original song — while caressing her face in an uncomfortably handsy way. He also got fresh with Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet, giving her a kiss on the cheek while resting his hand on her belly.
* Terrence Howard either got extremely emotional or was stymied by a broken teleprompter.
While introducing clips from three of the best picture contenders, the “Empire” star seemed to get choked up about “The Imitation Game.” Taking a moment to shake his head, he started, “our next film is amazing … I’m blown away right now myself.” And then, he either managed to pull himself together and get over his love for code-breaker Alan Turing, or the teleprompter started working again, at which point he continued with his presentation.
* Speaking of emotions, “Glory” brought down the house.
When Common and John Legend performed their song from “Selma,” which went on to win best original song, the tears started flowing. Chris Pine, David Oyelowo and Jessica Chastain were all caught wiping their eyes.
* Lady Gaga sang a “Sound of Music” medley.
There was plenty of secrecy surrounding Lady Gaga’s promised performance during the Oscars telecast. What could she possibly be singing? And would Tony Bennett be involved? The answer was unexpected: a medley in honor of the 50-year anniversary of “The Sound of Music,” which won best score in 1965. She performed “The Hills Are Alive,” “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things” and “Climb Every Mountain.” Julie Andrews then came onstage to present this year’s best score Oscar (to Alexandre Desplat for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) and the audience got very excited. Maybe she should host next year. “It’s hard to believe that 50 years have gone by,” she said. “How lucky can a girl get?”
* Dakota Johnson and Melanie Griffith win “most awkward red carpet interview.”
The mother-daughter pair reminded us that even famous daughters get annoyed at their famous moms, as ABC’s Lara Spencer asked Griffith if she saw Johnson’s famous BDSM-themed role in “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
“I don’t think I can. I think it would be strange,” Griffith said, as Johnson rolled her eyes. “She’s a really good actress, I don’t have to see that to know.”
“Alright! You don’t have to see it,” Johnson snapped. “Geez.” Ah, family.
* Neil Patrick Harris stumbles.
There’s a reason stars turn down the chance to host the Oscars — it’s a tough, thankless gig and critics are merciless. That was no exception for NPH, who generally wins rave reviews for his various hosting gigs. And while he did his best — even gamely stripping to his underwear for a “Birdman” gag — there were plenty of unfortunate moments. The unfunny “box” bit about guessing all the Oscar moments in advance; way too many puns; mispronouncing multiple names. The most egregious was the very ill-timed joke about “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” producer Dana Perry’s pom-pom dress (“It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that”), which unfortunately was right after she mentioned her son’s suicide in her speech.
* Finally, someone figured out how to triumph over the orchestra.
We’ve cracked the code, everyone! Even though the orchestra generally has no mercy about cutting someone off during a heartfelt speech if they go over the limit, things changed this time around. The trick: Just mention a very serious topic and the orchestra will be shamed into silence. “Ida” director Pawel Pawlikowski simply just kept talking until the music stopped when he won for best foreign language film. The directors of “The Phone Call” did the same, as did the “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” producers.
* The Oscars cemented its status as the Important Awards Show.
If there’s one thing that weeping actors and impassioned speeches demonstrated, it’s that the Oscars is where important things happen (at least during the moments Neil Patrick Harris wasn’t making puns). Eddie Redmayne dedicated his award to those fighting ALS, Julianne Moore to those with Alzheimer’s. Patricia Arquette made a pitch for gender equality and J.K. Simmons made one for appreciating parents.
Meanwhile, best screenplay winner Graham Moore admitted that he tried to commit suicide at 16, which led to an affecting speech advocating for self-acceptance: “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”
The shorts winners also had significant message. The winning live-action shot, “The Phone Call,” dealt with a woman working at a help line call center, and the short documentary winner, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” had a similar theme.
* Joan Rivers was left out of the “In Memoriam” segment.
Twitter was not pleased. Same goes for an absent Elaine Stritch.
* The show ran 40 minutes long.
Yeah, we just need to ask again — why does the show need to be three hours and 40 minutes? Sure, Lady Gaga’s “Sound of Music” tribute was great, but also wholly unnecessary.
* Michael Keaton chewed a lot of gum.
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