Updated 12:05 a.m.
"Birdman," the story of a movie star struggling to rejuvenate his career with a play on Broadway, won Best Picture this evening at the Academy Awards.
Meanwhile, actor Eddie Redmayne took the Best Actor statuette for his work in the film "The Theory of Everything," in which he played Stephen Hawking. "I am fully aware I am a lucky, lucky man," he said. "[The Oscar statue] belongs to one exceptional family, Stephen, Jane, Jonathan, and the Hawking children, and I will be its custodian." Actress Julianne Moore of "Still Alice" won the Best Actress prize for her role as a woman who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. "There's no such thing as Best Actress, as is evidenced by the performances of my fellow nominees," she said.
Alejandro González Iñárritu took Best Director for "Birdman." The other movies in his category "can't be compared, can't be labeled, can't be defeated because they exist," he said. "And our work only will be judged, as always, by time."
Actor Eddie Murphy presented the Best Original Screenplay Oscar to “Birdman," while Oprah Winfrey presented the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar to "The Imitation Game."
The secret of Harris's briefcase was revealed: the briefcase, which was apparently locked in a case, contained details of ceremony events. How did the magician do it?
Earlier in the show, after the In Memoriam reel was shown, displaying those involved in the industry who had died over the past year, actress and singer Jennifer Hudson performed the song “I Can’t Let Go.”
The Best Film Editing prize went to the film “Whiplash," while the Best Documentary Feature prize went to the movie “Citizenfour,” the film about Edward Snowden.
Another Best Original Song was performed – singers John Legend and Common sang the song “Glory,” which came from the movie “Selma.” Common performed on a model of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where those participating in the march to Selma, Ala. met law enforcement. “Glory” ended up receiving the Best Original Song prize. “We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say that Selma is now,” Legend said upon accepting the award.
A tribute to “The Sound of Music,” which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year, included a montage of scenes from the film and singer Lady Gaga impressively performing a medley of songs from the film. “Music” star Julie Andrews appeared to praise the medley and present a prize. “It really warmed my heart,” she said of the tribute. “We all really felt blessed to be a part of [the movie].” She presented the Best Original Score Oscar to “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
Updated 10:26 p.m.
When reenacting a scene from the film “Birdman,” Harris recruited actor Miles Teller, who plays a gifted drummer in “Whiplash,” to play the drums for the portion. “Birdman” featured a famously drum-heavy soundtrack.
And the film “Whiplash” received even more recognition when it got the Oscar for Best Sound Mixing. Soon after, the movie “American Sniper” got the statuette for Best Sound Editing.
And we learned who received the Best Supporting Actress prize. Actor Jared Leto, who won the Best Supporting Actor prize last year for the movie “Dallas Buyers Club” and announced this year’s Best Supporting Actress prize, joked that the nominees for Best Supporting Actress were four actresses and “in accordance with California state law, Meryl Streep.”
Actress Patricia Arquette won the prize for her work in “Boyhood.” “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” she said during her speech. This message got an especially enthusiastic response from Streep.
Later, singer Rita Ora performed the song “Grateful,” which is nominated for Best Original Song and is from the movie “Beyond the Lights.”
The Best Visual Effects award went to the space-set Christopher Nolan movie “Interstellar.”
Things soon turned visual with the announcement of some animated prizes. The Best Animated Short award went to the movie “Feast,” while the Best Animated Feature prize went to “Big Hero 6.” (Harris mentioned another snub when introducing the category. “The LEGO Movie” was not nominated – if anyone is at an Oscars party with the creators, Harris said, “now would be an excellent time to start distracting them.”)
The Best Production Design prize went to “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” while the Best Cinematography award was given to the movie “Birdman.”
Meanwhile, Harris keeps telling Spencer to keep an eye on that briefcase. What’s going to happen there?
Updated 9:45 p.m.
The movie “Ida,” which came from Poland, took the Best Foreign Language film prize. Meanwhile, host Harris took to the audience to interact with the people in the seats but encountered two seat-fillers (people who occupy seats if one is empty or if someone has to get up). However, he did chat with Steve Carell, who played along with Harris's questions about which famous person he was most excited about and said he was very glad to see "Birdman" actor Edward Norton.
Singing duo Tegan and Sara and the musical group The Lonely Island performed a version of the “LEGO Movie” song “Everything Is Awesome." "LEGO" famously missed out on a Best Animated Feature nod but "Awesome" received a nomination for Best Original Song. The number included lots of flashing lights and dancers dressed as construction workers, while some audience members like Oprah Winfrey and Carell received Lego Oscar statuettes.
Later, Harris expressed confusion with some of this year’s film titles. One example? “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” It gives away that the first film “did an unsufficient job of helping people train their dragons,” Harris says.
Meanwhile, the award for Best Live Action Short Film went to the movie “The Phone Call” and the award for Best Documentary Short Subject went to the film “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1.”
Harris took to the audience again to chat with David Oyelowo (“Sure, now you like him,” he told the audience after there was applause, referencing Oyelowo’s lack of a Best Actor nomination for the movie “Selma”) and asked him to help with a joke. “I think it’ll be way funnier because you’re a Brit,” he said. Oyelowo then read that the year saw the end of some movie series, including the last “Hobbit” movie and “the last-ever attempt to remake ‘Annie.’” “With a British accent, it’s not at all insulting,” Harris assured him.
Singer Tim McGraw performed the song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” which is nominated for Best Original Song and appeared in the film “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.”
Updated 9:04 p.m.
Host Neil Patrick Harris lost no time in commenting on the controversy over what critics say is a lack of racial and gender diversity in this year’s Oscar nominees.
“Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest,” Harris said at the beginning of the show. “Sorry, brightest.”
Harris, the veteran host of various awards ceremonies and a Tony Award-winning actor, then launched into a song, “Moving Pictures,” that found the actor jumping into scenes from “Ghost,” “Star Wars,” and “The Avengers,” among many others. Clips from this year’s nominated films were shown as well. Harris was soon joined by actress Anna Kendrick, who showed off the singing talent she displayed in this year’s movie “Into the Woods,” in which she played Cinderella. The shoe she carried came in handy when actor Jack Black joined Harris and Kendrick to complain about the shortcomings of contemporary Hollywood and Kendrick threw it to get him off the stage.
Soon after, a big prize was given out when “Whiplash” actor J.K. Simmons was awarded the Best Supporting Actor prize. He centered his acceptance speech on family, thanking his wife, children, and parents.
“Call your mom, call your dad,” the actor said. “Don’t text, don’t e-mail… listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”
Harris, who sometimes performs magic during the awards shows he hosts, also gave us what may be the introduction to one. He has put his guesses as to who will win what Oscar in a briefcase, which is inside a glass case. He’s assigned actress Octavia Spencer to watch it.
Meanwhile, Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine performed the song “Lost Stars,” which is nominated for Best Original Song for its appearance in the film “Begin Again.”
Other prizes given out include Best Costume Design, which was given to the Wes Anderson film “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and Best Makeup and Hairstyling, which also went to “Budapest.”
Stay tuned for more awards!
Will the tale of a boy in Texas or a struggling actor trying to make his mark on Broadway be named as the best picture of 2014?
As Oscars night approaches, many are pointing to the movies “Boyhood” and “Birdman” as the two frontrunners in the Best Picture race. The two are very different films – “Boyhood” was filmed over 12 years and follows a boy and his family, with star Ellar Coltrane and Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as his parents aging in real time, while “Birdman” is the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) living in a magical-realism world where he is trying to revive his career by directing and starring in a Broadway play but is haunted by memories of his past glory playing a superhero.
We may have a fair idea of some of the acting winners already. Actress Julianne Moore has taken such prizes as the Best Actress in a Drama Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Best Actress award, so she seems a very good bet to take the Best Actress Oscar statuette for her work as someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the movie “Still Alice.” Similarly, Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress SAG Award and the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe, while J.K. Simmons has taken the Best Supporting Actor SAG Award and Golden Globe for his role as a tough music instructor in the movie “Whiplash."
The Best Actor race may be a little harder to predict. Keaton won the Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical award at the Golden Globes, while Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor in a Drama Golden Globe for his role as Stephen Hawking in the movie “The Theory of Everything.” When the two faced off in the same category at the SAG Awards, Redmayne took the prize, so he seems like he may have the stronger chance, but Keaton could come out on top.
It’s almost time to find out. Let’s discover which movies were the best of the year.