87th Academy Awards Winners (2015)

Inconsistencies marked the awards show last night. The opening number was so fascinating that it had set a standard and expectation that could not be met for the rest of the evening, from Neil Patrick Harris’s jokes to the incredulous performance by Lady Gaga singing a medley from The Sound of Music. Was that just to open for Julie Andrew to come out to present the Best Original Score? As for NPH’s Birdman imitation game, the naked escapade was a little too desperate an attempt to shock. But his guessing game was mind boggling I must admit.

There were notable high points though, most memorable being the performance of the Oscar winning song ‘Glory’ by John Legend, Common, and a massive group of backup singers re-enacting a Selma scene. Tears rolled down the face of David Oyelowo’s who played Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie, and Chris Pine’s, who played… uh… Captain Kirk.

Speeches were heartfelt and imbued with family value. J. K. Simmons had set it off with a passionate plea for all to thank their parents, mothers, spouse, and children. Patricia Arquette brought the house down with her cry for equal work, equal pay for the females in the movie industry. Is she now considered a whistleblower? Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez almost jumped out of their seats with approval. Ironic to think that some of those applauding were the gatekeepers of the system.

Major winner was Birdman, grabbing all the most coveted prizes, albeit a let down for Michael Keaton. The Grand Budapest Hotel tied with Birdman in the number of Oscars won, the exact categories predicted in my review written in April last year. Just sayin’.

Boyhood only got one nod, a gem of a film that is the epitome of innovation, perseverance, and risk-taking. The fact that it has travelled so far all the way to Oscar night, thirteen years by now, is already an admirable success for the filmmakers and all involved, albeit I’d like to see them win a few more, especially for director Richard Linklater.

Excited to see Ida honoured as the Best Foreign Language Film of the year, and to hear director Pawel Pawlikowski’s take on the occasion: Ida was intended to be a quiet film of contemplation about withdrawing from the world, “and here we are at the epicenter of noise and attention. It’s fantastic. Life is full of surprises.”

CitizenFour won Best Documentary, deservedly. Director Laura Poitras had done an extraordinary job capturing (no pun intended; better than NPH’s ‘treason’) Edward Snowdon’s initial coming out with all the classified materials, filming his meeting with journalist Glenn Greenwald in a Hong Kong hotel room. Considering how the events unfolded later, these footage are now invaluable. The film is on my Top Ripples 2014 list.

Here are the major Oscar 2015 winners:

Birdman (4) – Best Picture, Directing, Original Screenplay, Cinematography.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (4) – Best Makeup, Costume Design, Production Design, Original Score.

Whiplash (3) – Best Supporting Actor J. K. Simmons, Film Editing, Sound Mixing

Boyhood (1) –  Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette.

The Imitation Game (1) – Best Adapted Screenplay

The Theory of Everything (1) – Best Actor Eddie Redmayne

Still Alice (1) – Best Actress Julianne Moore

American Snipper (1) – Best Sound Editing

Selma (1) – Best Original Song ‘Glory’

Ida – Best Foreign Language Film

CitizenFour – Best Documentary

Interstellar – Visual Effects

For a complete list, CLICK HERE.


Click on the links to my reviews of Oscar Movies:

The Budapest Hotel: A Grand Escape

Whiplash: What Price Perfection?

Boyhood: The Moment Seizes Us

Ida’s Choice

Interstellar and Ida: The Sound and Silence of Exploration

Leviathan: The Beast Within Us


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

23 thoughts on “87th Academy Awards Winners (2015)”

  1. I find it remarkably “small world” and rather blissful to know that one one night on the year at least two or three of the people I know in countries or cities not my own will be doing exactly the same thing at the same moment! You were in my thoughts last night, to be sure.

    I pulled in 18 of the 24, one of my better years. (I vote the odds, not necessarily my choices if I was voting). Those shorts always mess me up. And I really thought they might split film and director this year and voted for Linklater. I can’t imagine doing the same movie for 12 years!

    I loved the speeches — I’ve been getting tired of the same old thanking everybody and started to like the thematic speeches more in recent years. Enjoyed the Gaga thing since I always liked Sound of Music and was shocked she sang it so well. I’ve heard her sing standards — this was beyond. The only thing that could have made it better was instead of introducing just Julie, they brought in the whole Von Trapp family cast grown up. (Saw a recent photo of that on FB; made me smile.)

    You know I was thrilled with Budapest wins — one of my Desert Island movies and my favorite of the year just for its enchanting charm. I’d hoped Wes Anderson would win too but I loved his face during the other acceptance speeches.

    Oh, and here’s how I think they did the predictions. Some were very safe based on previous speeches. The others, I think, were rigged in advance with the presenters/winners. And, being the actors they all are, they pulled it off beautifully!


    1. Jeanie,

      But the predictions had involved actual results, which I assumed nobody knew beforehand, not even the presenters. Anyway, I know, watching the Oscars for decades now has stripped off the naivety in me.

      I was disappointed that Boyhood didn’t win. But then again, not surprised at the results. But a least I hope Richard Linklater could have been honoured. Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor may have disappointed Birdman fans, but I feel this is continuing the Anglo chapter of British film infusion (was going to say ‘invasion’) since Colin Firth’s win. I’m excited about this of course, I feel British filmmaking does have very positive influence on this side of the Atlantic.

      And yes, overall, I’m happy for the four Oscar wins for Grand Budapest Hotel. It deserves the nods for all those categories, and especially for composer Alexandre Desplat who has been prolific for decades, long due. Too bad Ralph Fiennes is totally invisible and unrecognized throughout the awards season.


  2. Here’s how plugged in I am. I went with a friend yesterday afternoon to see “The Imitation Game,” not realizing it had been nominated for awards. Oh, my. Then I found out that lovely woman playing in the film — what was her name? — had been nominated for best supporting actress. Well, she deserved it.

    We both really enjoyed the film. I found it engrossing from beginning to end, and even found the flashbacks well done. In some films they seem disconnected, and irritate me, but not here.

    As for the Oscars? We clicked in and found — some guy standing on stage in his underwear. We turned the show off at exactly that minute. I understand that Hollywood’s what it is, and everyone likes to make their statements, but good grief…
    Of course, I know now that the man was Neil Patrick Harris, but that doesn’t help me much. I have no idea who he is, and I’m not interested enough to look him up.

    I remember when we used to watch the Academy Awards every year, and look forward to them, because they were interesting and classy. I’ll give them this. They seem to reflect certain trends in American society pretty well. Just count me as your “not a fan” comment of the day. 🙂

    On the other hand, we did see a preview of “Leviathan,” read your review, and decided to see it, too. It’s cold, wet, and gloomy here, perhaps for all week, so it might be the perfect time to go see it!


    1. Linda,

      I admit one thing. The Oscar Awards show is an acquired taste. Even after decades of annual watching, I still haven’t fully acquired it, so you can tell I watch with filters and skepticism. However, and it’s a big however, I do like to see innovative and well-made films recognized, and talents, not just in directing and acting, but in all the sights, sounds and designs that make up the ingenuity of a production. That’s why I’m still watching the Oscars, still hopeful every year that some deserving people will actually get praises. This year, three of the top films are all ‘indies’ outside of Hollywood’s studio, and made with relatively low budget: Birdman (18m), Boyhood (4m), Whiplash (3m). How they choose the Oscar host remains a puzzle to me, and how the host handles the show doesn’t affect the actual awards given out, so, I’m willing to sit through often despite not fully engaged with the ‘entertainment’. This year is no exception.

      As to Patricia Arquette’s call for equal work, equal pay and the overall equality for women in society, this is a justified outburst. Five years ago, Kathryn Bigelow made history by being the first woman to win Best Director Oscar, calling our attention to ‘the celluloid ceiling’. Has the situation changed since then? Not much. During the Oscar show last night, the camera may have rested on Meryl Streep and J. Lo, yes, they may be the top 1 percent, but there are hundreds of workers and crew in a production who aren’t privileged enough to be in attendance. Arquette may have released some insider’s knowledge we don’t know about, and I don’t doubt the disparity a bit, learning the stats from a study that says the median salary of an actor is about 52,000 a year (another stated $38,000). As a matter of fact this is what Arquette had said about her role in Boyhood when she won the Golden Globe in January: ‘I paid more money to my babysitter and my dog walker than I made on Boyhood, and to be in Boyhood!”.


      1. I do wonder if Canadian/American plays into our different views of the Academy and the speeches. Many of us are becomging tired of politicians and bureaucrats who want to be celebrities as welll as of celebrities who imagine they’re informed enough to be policy makers.

        You’re immersed in film, so it makes sense that you’re willing to invest a good bit in the various award nights. But for those of us who go to see an occasional film, and tune in to see a nice program that honors people who do quality work — well, things have changed over the years.


  3. As usual, I had the tv on a watched the Oscars while I was not occupied. I was not that interested this year because other than Selma and Imitation Game, the movies nominated didn’t grab me. And the fact that they could overlook the actor and director of Selma was disgusting.

    But I had to say it’s the first Oscars that I really enjoyed because I lucked out and got to watch 2 great performances–one of Glory and the other one of Lady Gaga doing the Sound of Music. The performances of Glory were incredible and the 2 tearing actors added to its authentic power. It was the first time I was moved by an Oscar performance since Celine Dion sang the Titanic song way back.

    Arti, I have to disagree with you on the Lady Gaga performance. I thought she did an amazing job. I always know she is a great singer but her vocal skills are overlooked because of her outrageous costumes and behaviors. But last night’s performance confirmed what I have known about her as a singer. And she showed great respect for the classic tunes by just singing the songs and showed humility when the legendary Julie Andrews showed up.

    Those 2 performances, and the moving speech by the kid from Imitation Game who won the adapted screenplay award, made this the best Oscars I have seen.


    1. Bob,

      I may not have seen and heard enough of Lady Gaga to judge last night’s performance, although I agree with you that she does have a good voice. It’s the ‘showiness’ that I feel a bit contrived and incompatible… considering Maria of The Sound of Music’s natural and down-to-earth demeanour. I’m a fan of The Sound of Music too, and love that original singer.

      Also, thanks for pointing out the other moving speech. Yes, ‘that kid from the Imitation Game’, Chicago born Graham Moore is a published novelist and a worthy winner of Best Adapted Screenplay. A worthy film to watch.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. These ripples from the pond are what make writing this blog worthwhile.


      1. Me and my wife are Gaga fans and we went to her concert. I really found no “showiness” in last night’s performances. I had covered some high school plays where the kids tried to change those classic songs and made a mess out of them. But last night was not the case.Gaga stood there and sang those great songs. A lot of times, these mega popular singers have a hard time getting accepted by the more artistic communities. I can think of when Madonna did Evita. I loved it but critics slammed her. This is more of the same with Gaga doing Sound of Music.

        Any way, I really enjoyed what I saw. I heard there were other great speeches I missed by Arquette and Moore. If that’s true, it was indeed a good Oscar show.


        1. Yes, all the speeches were heartfelt. I wrote about Arquette’s speech a little in my post, and some felt that who were they to address inequality since they were all rich and famous. I disagree, My reply to one commenter above expressed my view. Remember Kathryn Bigelow’s win for The Hurt Locker? She drew our attention to the ‘Celluloid Ceiling’, which I’m afraid is still there. As for Lady Gaga, I must pay more attention to her from now on. 😉


  4. I tuned in just as Lady Gaga sang the tribute to Julie Andrews. I was pleasantly surprised. There seemed to be a lot of people tearing up in the audience at different times. That was one of my observations. I have not seen any of the movies nominated…


    1. Ellen,

      Well, I’m not a Gaga fan, but as comments go, she did a marvellous job. The song ‘Glory’ was very moving too… with tears streaming down many faces.


  5. We watched the Oscars as we usually watch it every year even though we don’t go to the movies often. I like it because it is a different spectacle than usual TV fare and for me, it’s Hollywood in all its grandeur and tackiness. There are always beautiful dresses to look at, and unusual speeches. I was happy that the Grand Budapest Hotel won so many Oscars because I have heard it is a fine film. Of course I was very happy that French man Alexandre Desplat won the Oscar for Best Original Score as I remember his soundtracks from both Argo and The King’s Speech for which he was nominated earlier.
    Usually I hope that some movie or actor/actress win because I have seen the films but since I did not see any of the nominated this year I was hoping for something else. I was hoping Julianne Moore would win because the film was about Alzheimer and it might bring more attention to the disease. I have the book but have not had the strength to read it and of course I won’t be able to go and see the movie with my husband as I don’t know how it would affect him – too personal I guess. Then there was a movie I was hoping would not win, even though I have not seen it but I read a lot about it. Since I remember WWII slightly and my father was badly injured in it I do not like war movies. So, I was hoping American Sniper would not win. I understand that Bradley Cooper was very good in it and I like him, but I did not want the film to be a “statement” for the US. I read that in the book and also in the movie, it showed that 9/11 and Iraq were connected, when they were not. I know that films can take latitudes about their stories, but in this case, it is supposed to be a “true” movie.

    I did like the speech by Imitation Game writer Graham Moore as I felt it came straight from his heart. I was also very surprised to learn that there were more African Americans incarcerated in the US now that there had been enslaved in the 1850s and thought that it was very good that John Legend mentioned it. He also said that their voting rights are being taken away, and that it certainly true, especially in the South. As for Lady Gaga, I never knew much about her until I saw her with Tony Bennett and liked her very much. I thought she showed a very different side of her personality and voice for the Sound of Music. She was a nice surprise.


    1. VB,

      Did you see Marion Cotillard? She was a Best Actress nominee last night, and I think you’d be very eager to see the film she got her Oscar nom in: Two Days, One Night.

      As for Alexandre Desplat, long due. You know he’s had over 130 nominations and 60 wins but never an Oscar. I like many of his previous works, as you mentioned, The King’s Speech is among them. Actually, he’s the composer in many of my favourite films including The Tree of Life, Zero Dark Thirty, The Upside of Anger, Girl With A Pearl Earring… just to name a few.

      You’re right, last night’s speeches were full of social activism, some say ‘too political’. But I say, that’s what filmmaking is all about… depicting life, truth, mashing reality with ideals, and for some, re-creating reality with fantasy, like The Grand Budapest Hotel.


  6. I found this year’s Oscars pretty much what I expected, but with winners deftly hopping aboard the important cause bandwagon to get the orchestra to stop playing so they could speak longer. For me the biggest and best surprise was Lady Gaga’s sensational performance. Julie Andrews stepping onto the stage and embracing her was lovely. I thought NPH was a decent master of ceremonies, so I’m surprised that he’s been so criticized. Hosting that show is one of those impossible jobs that no one in their right mind should want to do. Maybe next year the Academy will get Mitt Romney to do it.


    1. LA,

      Never realized there are so many Gaga fans out there. (I thereby take cover) As she said, Julie Andrews is inimitable (I thought she said that… maybe it was in my dream) That’s all.

      As for future hosts, responding to Patricia Arquette’s call to arms to fight inequality, my suggestion is to have the duo Tina Fay and Amy Poehler try out. Also, your friend Milton has many hit on his predictions. Hope he had put down some bet to make it all worthwhile. 😉


      1. Milton used to organize an Oscar pool, but he’s stopped doing that. He might have gotten bored with it. Last year, he aced almost every single category, including the more obscure ones like documentary short. This year he missed six or seven, way more than usual. That surprised me.

        I don’t hate Lady Gaga, but I’m not one of her Little Monster’s either. She did an excellent job hosting SNL in 2012 or 13. She does impress me. As for Tina and Amy hosting, I don’t think they’ll want near it. The Monday Morning quarterbacking the day after is harsh.


        1. LA,

          I admit I’m not into contemporary music or musicians, so I have no real reference to see how their Oscar performance compares with their usual faire. Like, I haven’t seen the film Selma, But when I heard John Legend’s beginning piano chords I was totally captivated already. That whole performance was the highlight of the show for me.


  7. You already know I’m no kind of film person, Arti, so it will not come as a surprise to you that nearly all I learn about the current films, I get from you 🙂 So thank you for your ever informative reviews of many things I’d rather not see first hand. I am rather tempted by The Imitation Game, however.


    1. nikkipolani,

      Thanks for visiting all these years and your kind words. I feel a little more weight now to make sure I deliver worthy info and commentary on films and related subjects. And yes, I think you’ll enjoy The Imitation Game.


  8. I imagine the Oscars ceremony happens at some impossible time long past midnight when it reaches the UK, so I don’t get to see it and always rely on you for the news! But I have heard a lot of surprise that Boyhood didn’t win the best picture. I was pleased for Eddie Redmayne though! When I visited a good friend of mine at my old college yesterday, she said that the scene in which Stephen Hawkins falls over for the first time was filmed right outside her door and she watched them take it over and over again. I haven’t seen the film yet (typical of me) but I do hope to.


    1. litlove,

      How cool is that! That was a memorable shot; I’ve been wondering all this time how it was done, I mean, with his face fall flat on the concrete pavement. And they have to film it over and over? O my. Yes, this is one film I think you’ll enjoy, with all the Cambridge setting and a unique story about a past fellow colleague. Thanks for tuning in all these years for my movie commentaries! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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