The Ten Best Moments from the 87th Academy Awards

87th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

As is always the case, there was plenty to complain about once the Oscars came to an end on Sunday night. That’s all well and good, but right now I want to focus on the positive take a quick look at the very best moments from the Academy Awards. They’ve done this 87 times now, and without fail, there’s at least a few things that you know you’ll remember from the ceremony. Below you’ll see the ten moments that I think were the very best from Oscar over the weekend, but they’re hardly the only ones. It was a bit of a mixed bag, but one with plenty of pleasures as well…

Here are the ten best moments from the Oscars on Sunday night:

10. Every nominated film for Best Picture took home an award – I’m a sucker for fairness, so seeing each of the eight nominees for Best Picture not go home empty handed pleased me. Sure, American Sniper, Boyhood, The Imitation Game, Selma, and The Theory of Everything only won a single Oscar each, but Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Whiplash managed to become multiple Academy Award recipients. Some of the awards may have gone in different directions than hoped, but the love was sufficiently spread around.

9. Big Hero 6 wins Best Animated Feature – Once we knew The Lego Movie wouldn’t be in the race, it was then a matter of if the pseudo Marvel superhero cartoon Big Hero 6 could pull off the win. Many, including myself, predicted How to Train Your Dragon 2, but Big Hero 6 deservingly took it in the end. In my mind, the best movie won, so that’s always a plus.

8. The reaction to Patricia Arquette’s speech – There was just something about Meryl Streep pumping her fist while Arquette rightly pushed for gender equality. It was a political moment, for sure, but it’s hard to be against equal pay for equal work, regardless of the job. Sure, actors are well paid, but equality should be across the board. There, done with my little soapbox.

7. Keeping the suspense going almost all night – The way the categories were organized left everything up in the air until well past 11pm on the east coast. Once we got to Best Film Editing and Boyhood came up short to Whiplash, we had our first hint, but there was suspense for literally hours. That’s rare, especially for the Oscars. Usually, it’s mostly just a coronation.

6. Ida’s director Paweł Pawlikowski refusing to get played off – After winning for Best Foreign Language Feature, Pawlikowski got up to give his acceptance speech. Nothing too out of the ordinary about that, right? Well, he spoke until the music played him off, but he kept going, to the point where the music ended, then began again. He essentially got played off twice, which I found to be pretty amusing.

5. Eddie Redmayne’s excitement over winning Best Actor – The nervous energy on display for Redmayne as he accepted his statue was infectious. He’s amazing in The Theory of Everything and deserved to win (give or take J.K. Simmons in Whiplash, he gave my #1 performance of 2014), but it was as joyous to watch him basically shake with excitement and gratitude while giving his speech.

4. The opening musical number – Neil Patrick Harris’ hosting job went downhill as the night went on, but he opened with a bang, singing a tribute to the movies called Moving Pictures. I found it catchy and cute, even if from then on, his work wasn’t nearly as memorable. Harris potentially won’t be back anytime soon as host, but if this is his one shot, at least he gave us Moving Pictures.

3. Interstellar doesn’t get shut out – I was somewhat nervous that Christopher Nolan’s epic would go home empty handed, especially since it had stiff competition in the three sound categories and was destined to lose in Best Production Design. That left just one shot in Best Visual Effects to hang the Interstellar hat on, but luckily the Academy as fit to honor it there.

2. Graham Moore’s acceptance speech – I wasn’t thrilled with The Imitation Game winning Best Adapted Screenplay, but scribe Graham Moore made up for it with a truly moving speech. Bringing to light his childhood struggles and urging youths to accept and embrace their quirks nearly brought me to tears. It was a special moment from a writer speaking from his heart.

1. Whiplash takes home three Academy Awards – Apparently the little movie that could, more so than Boyhood, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash managed to win three of the five Oscars that it was nominated for, only coming up short in Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. The Academy Award wins came for Best Supporting Actor (Simmons), Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing, furthering my notion that it was far from the number eight spot in Picture.

Stay tuned for more on the show this week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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