Academy Awards provokes thought

Just as last year and the year before, the 87th Academy Awards were full of surprises, firsts for many nominees and celebration of pivotal past films and late members of show business. 

Thousands crowded into Los Angeles’ Kodak Theater to celebrate their fellow actors, writers and directors as well as musicians and composers on Sunday. 

Neil Patrick Harris of “Doogie Howser, M.D.” and “How I Met Your Mother” led the grand event and proved to be a successful host as compared to the last year’s Ellen DeGeneres and the previous year’s atrocious effort by “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane.

The opening alone, a sequence where Harris dances in the name of moving pictures and is eventually joined by “Into the Woods” actress Anna Kendrick and actor Jack Black, cements his prowess in hosting the Oscars, one that would make viewers want him to host again and again just as Billy Crystal did years ago. 

Musical performances were a rather large part of the ceremony. Canadian twin pop stars Tegan and Sara were accompanied by Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island to perform their hit from “The LEGO Movie,” titled “Everything Is Awesome,” while rapper Common and singer John Legend performed their song from the film “Selma” titled “Glory,” which went on to win Best Original Song. 

In addition to these performances, Lady Gaga came on a falsely wooded stage and sang a medley of songs from the 1965 film “The Sound of Music,” with the legendary and original singer Julie Andrews praising Gaga for her rendition.

Then came the biggest awards of the night: Best Actor/Actress and the coveted Best Picture award. J.K. Simmons won a Best Supporting Actor award for his role as a jazz band instructor from hell in “Whiplash” while Patricia Arquette took home an award for Best Supporting Actress for Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.” 

Arquette then used her time on stage to preach her message of women’s rights and equality for women in the world. 

Eddie Redmayne took the stage with an expression of absolute surprise and excitement as he won Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” thanking practically everyone he could name before finally thanking his wife and the Hawking family. 

Julianne Moore took the time to speak on behalf of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and learning from her film “Still Alice” about what it may be like to be stricken with Alzheimer’s later in life. 

Finally, the nominees for Best Picture were given a montage to hype the audience up for the big reveal by Sean Penn, whose gilded envelope read that “Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” had won it all, collectively winning a total of four Oscars on Sunday night.

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu was ecstatic to have taken his concept and have it produced successfully enough to earn the highest of awards for cinema and give hope to his fellow Mexican citizens in Mexico. 

Iñárritu message to his people said one day Mexico will have a stable government and the nation will prosper. 

He then declared the latest generations of immigrants in the United States have helped transform America into a wonderful country rife with immigrant culture. 

It was truly a night full of strong messages and the communication of love for moving pictures, much like Harris praised as he began the ceremony.