Oscars 2015: Everything you need to know about what happened at the 87th Academy Awards

From Neil Patrick Harris' jokes falling flat to people protesting about pretty much everything - here are the main events from last night in Hollywood

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The Independent Culture

Birdman struck it lucky, Boyhood was robbed and Eddie Redmayne ran away with the Oscar for Best Actor, but what else went on at last night’s 87th annual Academy Awards?

Oscars 2015 winners list in full

It was the most political Oscars ceremony for... ever?

Forget Michael Moore protesting the war in Iraq, or Marlon Brando sending a Native American rights activist up to accept his award for Best Actor. Last night’s was the most campaigning crop of Oscar winners in memory. There were calls for women’s rights, African-American civil rights, immigrant rights and gay rights. Did I miss anything?

Reese Witherspoon, Patricia Arquette and Julianne Moore lent their voices to a red carpet campaign to take women more seriously. The #AskHerMore campaign encourages journalists to ask Hollywood actresses more than just what they're wearing. As Witherspoon said: "It's hard being a woman in Hollywood."


Arquette also called for equal pay for women at the end of her acceptance speech for best supporting actress in Boyhood. 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 time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Civil rights groups staged a protest outside the Dolby Theater intending to "send a message to Hollywood and the film industry" that this year's "white wash" (all 20 acting nominees were Caucasian) was not acceptable.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hailed Birdman's win as a triumph for Mexico and during his acceptance speech said he "he prayed and hoped [the country] can build the government that we deserve" and urged Americans to treat immigrants "with the respect they deserve".

The Imitation Game: Graham Moore (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Dana Perry, the co-director of Best Documentary Short winner Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, called for greater public awareness of suicide. Graham Moore, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, revealed he had attempted suicide at 16 because he felt “weird”. “This is for that kid who feels like they don’t fit in,” he said: “Stay weird, stay different.”

Redmayne, meanwhile, dedicated his win to ALS sufferers around the world – specifically Stephen Hawking, whom he portrayed in The Theory of Everything. Julianne Moore, who won Best Actress for her portrayal of a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in Still Alice, reserved particular thanks for her co-director Richard Glatzer, who also suffers from ALS.

Does that mean it was boring?

The verdict on social media is that it was pretty average as the Academy Awards go. It didn't offend too many people, but the laughs weren't exactly abundant. This GIF of David Oyelowo sums things up nicely.


Everything went according to the script

It was a night of few surprises. Moore and Redmayne had both become the runaway favourites in their categories, while Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) and JK Simmons (Whiplash) were long-destined to win Best Supporting Actress and Actor respectively. While Boyhood led the field for Best Picture in the early days of awards season, by last night Birdman had the momentum.

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s black backstage comedy won four awards including Best Picture and Best Director. That tally was matched by Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, which won awards for its costumes; make-up and hairstyling; production design and original score.

The Mexicans are coming

Despite all the fuss about the Academy’s lack of diversity, a Latin American filmmaker has now won the Oscar for Best Director two years in a row. In 2014 it was Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity; this year it was Iñárritu, who also shared the gong for Best Original Screenplay. Meanwhile, his fellow Mexican, Birdman cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, took home his second Oscar in as many years – he also won last year for Gravity.

“I want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico,” Iñárritu said as he accepted the Best Picture statuette. “And the ones that live in this country, who are part of the latest generation of immigrants, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect as the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.”

Patricia Arquette making her Best Actress acceptance speech and calling for equal pay at the Oscars

Who cares who wore who?

Patricia Arquette, named Best Supporting Actress for her 12-years-in-the-making turn as a working mother in Boyhood, ended her acceptance speech with a demand for gender equality, which was cheered enthusiastically by her fellow nominee Meryl Streep. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” Arquette said.

Her remarks came on a night when the hashtag #AskHerMore trended on Twitter, encouraging journalists to ask actresses better questions than simply which designer created her outfit. “This is a movement to say we’re more than just our dresses,” Best Actress nominee Reese Witherspoon told one interviewer on the red carpet. “It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood.”

JK Simmons accepting his Best Actor Award

It’s good to talk

The most touching acceptance speech of the night was the first: JK Simmons, named Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a terrifying music teacher in Whiplash, urged everyone in the crowd – everyone in the world, in fact – to call their parents. “Call your mom, call your dad,” Simmons said. “If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call ‘em. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone. Tell ‘em you love ‘em, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”

Chris Pine cries during performance of Selma's 'Glory'


Consolation prize

It may have got fewer nominations than it deserved, but the Martin Luther King biopic Selma still provided the ceremony’s emotional high point: Common and John Legend’s rendition of “Glory”, the civil rights anthem they composed for the film, which left several audience members in tears and earned a lengthy standing ovation – not to mention the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Legend noted the continuing struggle for civil rights in his acceptance speech, saying: “The Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now, in this country, today. We know that right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today then there were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you. We see you, we love you, and march on. God bless you.”

Eddie Redmayne picks up his award for Best Actor (Robyn Beck AFP)

A fine night for British film

Redmayne isn’t the only Brit who’ll be flying home with an Oscar in his suitcase. British filmmakers Matt Kirkby and James Lucas triumphed in the Best Live Action Short category for their film Phone Call, starring Sally Hawkins. Anna Pinnock, the production designer for the next Bond film, won an Oscar for her work on The Grand Budapest Hotel. And the British team who created the deep space setting of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar – Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher – won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

Neil Patrick Harris presenting the 87th annual Academy Awards


Neil Patrick Harris is no Hugh Jackman. Then again, he’s no Seth MacFarlane either.

He’s very hard to dislike, but after a strong opening number, host Neil Patrick Harris’s jokes mostly fell flat. His best gag was his first – “Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – I mean, brightest...” – a dig at the Academy’s diversity woes. Still, he was funnier than James Franco.