Even though the 87th annual Academy Awards show seemed to go on forever (seriously, the Oscar telecast beat the 2 hour and 45 minute running time of Boyhood by almost an hour), the ceremony provided us with the expected parade of disconnected film clips, breathless speeches, and actors who struggled to read the teleprompter, but it also offered a few genuine surprises. From the numerous calls to action from this year’s Oscar winners to memorable musical performances to the one of the most effortlessly elegant actors in recent memory, we call out our favorite moments for last night’s interminable, uneven, but nevertheless enjoyable Oscars ceremony.
Preach it, Patty!
Well, it finally happened. One of the cast members from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors has an Oscar (you were close, Laurence Fishburne, but no cigar). Patricia Arquette was rightfully recognized by the Academy for her role as a struggling, but capable single mother in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, an epic 12 years in the making.
After dropping an F-bomb and thanking the usual suspects—cast, crew, family, etc—Patricia decided to take her moment and deliver a bold, badass and unabashedly feminist message. Watch her speech below:
“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Essentially, Arquette used her limited time in front a billion viewers to stand up for the many women who work hard to make ends meet and deserve to be treated fairly. Patricia, we are not worthy.
Oscar Winners Inciting Change!
Not only did John Legend and Common deliver a stirring performance of Glory at the 2015 Oscars, but the duo also reminded audiences that many Americans still are being denied their civil rights.
“When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you that we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on.” In their two-minute speech, Common and John Legend also spoke about the international struggle for justice and about the mass incarceration of black men in the U.S.
Glad #AlejandroGonzalezInarritu reminded ppl that this is a nation built on immigrants & that they should be treated with dignity & respect.— Christina Minikon (@Songstress24) February 23, 2015
"I pray that we can find and build a government that we deserve.” When he accepted the Best Picture Oscar for Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu also raised awareness of the struggles that his fellow Mexicans face in this country because of harsh immigration laws. His inspiring words caused even the glib Neil Patrick Harris to sign off the telecast with “Buenos noches.” We love it when Oscar winners use this opportunity to speak about issues impacting so many people in the real world.
If child survive cancer they throw a party; if child survives suicide there is a stigma attached to talking about. Thank you #GrahamMoore— jane rosenthal (@janetribeca) February 23, 2015
Best Adapted Screenplay winner Graham Moore and Best Documentary Short winner Dana Perry both brought attention to the issue of suicide during their acceptance speeches. Perry dedicated the award to her son, stating “We need to talk about suicide out loud to try to work against the stigma and silence because the best prevention is awareness and discussion.”
Victorious Tribeca Alumni!
No surprise that writer/director Mat Kirkby gave a delightful acceptance speech after The Phone Call won for Best Live Action Short. Kirkby and his co-writer James Lucas premiered this moving film at TFF 2014 where it won the Best Narrative Short prize. We’re sure their gracious thanks will get them all the free donuts from Pump Street Bakery that they can eat!
The TFI-supported The Imitation Game won one Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay for Graham Moore, a survivor through and through, who encouraged people watching to “stay weird. Stay different.”
Whiplash really is just The Academy's tempo. #Oscars— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) February 23, 2015
Damien Chazelle’s sophomore feature, Whiplash, took home 3 awards: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Film Editing, and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing. Chazelle has certainly come a long way since delighting New York audiences with Guy and Madeline On A Park Bench at TFF 2009.
Continuing Creepshow of John Travolta!
What is going on with John Travolta? And more importantly, why isn’t Kelly Preston trying to rein him in? After last year’s infamous butchering of Frozen sensation Idina Menzel’s name, Travolta returned to wreak his own special kind of havoc. After playfully “greeting” former co-star Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet, Travolta for some reason was allowed to present the Oscar for Best Original Song with Menzel.
Then this happened:
Instead of gaining the redemption he so sorely needed, Travolta sunk further with his misguided and creepy antics (and questionable accessories). You’re better than that, John!
Good thing John Travolta wasn't terrifyingly creepy this year— elan gale (@theyearofelan) February 23, 2015
I'll prove I'm not a creepy weirdo with this perfectly mormal human interaction where I rub her face like a cat. -John Travolta— Guy Endore-Kaiser (@GuyEndoreKaiser) February 23, 2015
Oh god. Oh no. John Travolta touches will haunt my dreams forever.— Kate Spencer (@katespencer) February 23, 2015
All Hail, David Oyelowo!
It’s difficult for as actor to take on the task of playing an icon without coming off as merely an impersonator. David Oyelowo inhabited the role of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s Selma, but was shamefully snubbed by the Academy. Instead of being bitter or angry, Oyelowo attended the Oscars to celebrate the film’s 2 nominations with his peers. And Oprah, of course.
Neil Patrick Harris acknowledged the “whiteness” of this year’s Oscars within the first minute of the telecast—a comment that was seemingly directed towards Oyelowo and the incomparable DuVernay. That eased the tension enough for Oyelowo to do a comedy bit.
Donned in a burgundy suit, Oyelowo remained on camera throughout the entire evening, but let his guard down during Common and John Legend’s moving performance of Glory. With tears in his eyes, Oyelowo seemed to allow the passions of the night and the powerful words from the artists wash over him. In addition to his awe-inspiring performance in Selma, his regal presence last night made such an impact, we hope that Oyelowo will soon get his due.
I never shared this. I saved it for today. A special outtake of my hero. I love you, David. You are my Best Actor. https://t.co/hb26gg7fjc— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) February 22, 2015
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and be the star of your next independent film conversation!