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2015 Academy Awards Highlights

by Photo of Sean Driscoll

‘Everything Is Awesome’ for Best Picture Winner ‘Birdman’ and more from last night’s ceremony.

2015 Academy Awards Highlights

Last night, the 87th Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and while many people found Neil Patrick Harris's turn as host to be a little flat and disappointing, the night was still filled with some truly special moments. Big winners Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel both took home four Oscars each. Birdman earned the highest honors with wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore took home Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively.   

While many people tune into the Oscars to see which movies win, it was the speeches given by those winners that truly captured the night and brought forward positive messages of hope and a call to action for equality and tolerance on several levels. Patricia Arquette, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Olivia Evans, a struggling mother working tirelessly to provide for her children in Boyhood, used her time at the podium to discuss the urgent need to wage equality in America. While accepting her statue she said, "To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all. Equal rights for women in the United States of America!” a statement that was met with rapturous applause and a strong display of support from fellow nominee Meryl Streep.

Graham Moore won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, about British cryptanalyst Alan Turing who solved the Enigma Code only to be later persecuted for his homosexuality. Looking back at his own troubles as a teenager, where his own feelings of being weird or different led him to attempt suicide, Moore made an impassioned plea to the young people of the world to "Stay weird, Stay different, and then, when it's your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along." His words are especially poignant when you consider Turing committed suicide at age 41, following his conviction for "indecency."

Along with these unexpectedly poignant acceptance speechs, The Oscars also featured some truly great musical performances. John Legend and Common, who took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for "Glory," from Selma, which told the story of Voting Rights marches led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Their powerful performance left many in tears, and served to highlight the struggle with diversity that the Academy Awards still face, as Selma was snubbed in both the Best Director and Best Actor categories. 

Common and Legend also gave impassioned speeches after winning "Best Original Song":

The show also featured the insanely catchy and fun song from The Lego Movie, "Everything Is Awesome." The song, which is a collaboration between Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island, was arguably the most fun moment of the entire show. The performance featured cameos from Will Arnett as Batman and Questlove as The Boy Wonder, Robin, as well as Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, who produced the song, and saw a very surprised Oprah receiving her own Lego Oscar statue. 

While John Legend and Common delivered the most powerful performance of the night, it was Lady Gaga who surprised everyone. Her breathtaking and flawless medley of songs from The Sound of Music captivated the audience and reminded everyone that beyond her usual theatrics, she still has one of the best voices on the planet. Accompanied by a strings section, Gaga dazzled through renditions of "The Sound of Music," "My Favorite Things," "Edelweiss," and "Climb Every Mountain," recapturing the American publics attention in doing so. 

What was your favorite moment from the Academy Awards? Let us know in the comments section!

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