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Oscars recap: Marquette alum Stockhausen among winners

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photo via indiewire.com

photo via indiewire.com

Photo by Kristian Dowling

Photo by Kristian Dowling

photo via indiewire.com

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Oscar Sunday began with a rainy red carpet ceremony. Stars strutted down the carpet, showing off the usual glamour. Nominees felt nervous, and rightfully so. It’s only Hollywood’s biggest night of the year. No pressure.

The show began with an extravagant musical number led by host Neil Patrick Harris, later joined by Anna Kendrick and Jack Black. The song was accompanied with a video that digitally inserted Harris into some of the most memorable scenes in movie history. We saw Harris walk the yellow brick road, appear out of the field of dreams and battle with stormtroopers alongside Darth Vader.

The first award of the night was Best Supporting Actor. The Oscar went to J.K. Simmons for his role as Fletcher in “Whiplash.” Simmons is most recognizable as the bald-headed insurance agent in television ads. He took the stage and encouraged everyone to tell their mom and dad how much they love them; he told the audience not to text, but to call their mom and dad and exchange actual words of love.

After Simmons left the stage, Harris walked on and sang, “He won an Oscar. Bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum!” to the tune of the insurance jingle.

Harris had a bit more fun with the crowd as he asked famous celebrities if they were “seat-fillers” for the stars who were up on stage, failing to recognize their star status. Harris worked his way down the line to Best Actor nominee Steve Carrell (“Foxcatcher”).

“Hi, is this your first time at the Oscars,” Harris asked Carrell, followed by a long, humorous pause with Harris awkwardly smiling. He asked Carrell which celebrity he was looking forward to meeting the most.

“Ed Norton,” Carrell responded, pointing across the aisle. “He’s right over there!”

Patricia Arquette took home the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the mother in “Boyhood.” Arquette’s acceptance speech consisted of inspirational words directed towards women fighting for gender equality. The speech sparked positive emotion in the audience, most notably Meryl Streep.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” had a great night and its third Oscar of the evening had huge significance on campus. Marquette alumnus Adam Stockhausen (Diederich College of Communication, Class of ’95), took home the Oscar for Best Production Design. His work included intense changes of scenery, ranging from hotel lobbies to prisons. Stockhausen was previously nominated last year for the same award on his work in “12 Years a Slave.” He is the first Marquette alumnus to achieve an Academy Award since Don Ameche won Best Supporting Actor in 1986.

The ceremony continued with the annual “In Memoriam” tribute to those in the film industry who passed away within the last year. The list included Maya Angelou, Robin Williams and Mike Nichols.

The tribute was soon followed by a performance of “Glory,” the soon-to-be Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, performed by John Legend and Common, creating one of the most memorable moments of the night. The performance touched on racial issues in our nation drawing parallels from the March on Washington 50 years ago. It received a standing ovation from the audience. Tears rolled down the faces of Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo (“Selma”) and Chris Pine (“Into the Woods”).

To announce that award, Idina Menzel took the stage and intentionally screwed up the introduction of her partner John Travolta, poking fun at last year’s notorious botching of Menzel’s name.

“Oh, Idina Menzel,” Travolta said, looking away from her and towards the audience. “Is that right?”

Lady Gaga performed a tribute to “The Sound of Music,” commemorating the film’s 50th anniversary. Gaga was congratulated and thanked by actress Julie Andrews, who was nominated for Best Actress 50 years ago for her role in the film. Andrews said that music is essential to moviegoing.

“Great music does more than enhance a film,” Andrews said. “It cements our memories in the filmgoing experience.”

The ceremony’s last hour awarded the “Big Five:” Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Picture. Best Original Screenplay went to the four writers of “Birdman,” Best Adapted Screenplay went to Graham Moore for “The Imitation Game.” Best Director was awarded to Alejandro G. Iñárritu for his work on “Birdman,” raking up another award for the film.

The Academy Award for Best Actor was given to Eddie Redmayne for his emotional portrayal of physicist and ALS sufferer Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” Many thought the award would go to Michael Keaton, but went to the younger talent instead. Redmayne showed the utmost enthusiasm upon winning the award, shaking the trophy on stage, breathless as the words tried to leave his mouth.

Julianne Moore took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance as Alzheimer’s patient Alice Howland in “Still Alice.” Moore said in her acceptance speech that movies play a significant role in raising awareness for the condition.

“So many people with this disease feel isolated and marginalized,” Moore said. “One of the wonderful things about movies is that it makes us feel seen and not alone and people with Alzheimer’s deserve to be seen so we can find a cure.”

Neil Patrick Harris opened the briefcase that remained untouched on stage up until that point. Not only were the predictions for the awards correct, but Harris successfully predicted the topics of the acceptance speeches. The case was not tampered with at all during the show. ABC.com even featured a “Case Cam,” where viewers can watch the case for the entirety of the ceremony. Magic, simply magic.

It’s only fitting that the most prestigious award in Hollywood went to the film dealing with prestige itself, “Birdman.” The movie took home Best Picture, earning its fourth Oscar of the night, tying with “The Grand Budapest Hotel” for winning the most wins.
The 87th Academy Awards were a huge success and lived up to the expectations set by its predecessors. Moviegoers have a lot of cinematic greatness to look back on in the past year and even more greatness to look forward to in 2015.

 

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