The grand honour of Best Picture was always going to be between Boyhood and Birdman. I had expected Boyhood to take it even though secretly I was rooting for Birdman. Although Richard Linklater’s concept of shooting a film over 12 years, representing the passage of time both on screen and in reality, is a novel one but Birdman also showed what cinema can do. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s long takes, the soundtrack that accompanied Riggan Thompson’s quest to be remembered and the plot that allowed the audience a glimpse into the mind of the actor, were all mesmerising.
I had also thought that the director of the film that loses out on Best Picture would then take Best Director, but Iñárritu walked away with that statuette as well.
Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel were the big winners, with four Academy Awards each.
My own and most other critics’ favourites were all there. No one expected anyone but Julianne Moore to get the Best Actress award (for Still Alice). Although there was fiercer competition for the Best Actor award, between Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Michael Keaton (Birdman), the physicality of Redmayne’s portrayal of Stephen Hawking had me firmly behind the Briton.
Everyone knew J.K. Simmons should/would win the Best Supporting Actor award for playing the tyrannical music teacher in Whiplash. Simmons had taken almost every other award for that role this season. Similarly, Patricia Arquette was the firm favourite for Best Supporting Actress as the mother in Boyhood.
It was great to have Neil Patrick Harris back as host. He turned his opening tribute the year’s notable films into a musical, and was joined on stage by Anna Kendrick and Jack Black. Harris joked about the lack of diversity among the nominees: “Tonight we honor the best and whitest… I mean brightest” and took a dig at Kanye West’s tantrum at the Grammy’s: “I secretly hope somebody pulls a Kanye West”, with the camera pointing at Clint Eastwood.
Another highlight was Lady Gaga’s tribute to The Sound of Music. Once again, she’s shown she’s more than pop star; she can sing.
Here are the rest of the winners:
- Adapted Screenplay – The Imitation Game Written by Graham Moore
- Original Screenplay – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
- Animated Feature – Big Hero 6
- Documentary Feature – CitizenFour
- Original Song – Glory from Selma
- Foreign Language Film – Ida (Poland)
- Original Score – The Grand Budapest Hotel by Alexandre Desplat
- Film Editing – Whiplash
- Visual Effects – Interstellar
- Cinematography – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Costume Design – The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Makeup and Hairstyling – The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Production Design – The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Animated Short Film – Feast
- Live Action Short Film – The Phone Call
- Documentary Short Subject – Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
- Sound Mixing – Whiplash
- Sound Editing – American Sniper