The Academy Awards were held Sunday evening and there were many noteworthy moments. The awards season for 2014-2015 was riddled with controversy due to the dismal lack of diversity in nominations. However, that does not mean there weren’t wonderful moments throughout the evening. Below are significant moments of the show.
1. Julie Andrews
All Hail the Queen. Julie Andrews (The Queen of Genovia) graced the Academy Awards with her presence Sunday night. It has been 50 years since the Sound of Music received 5 Oscars at the 1966 Academy Awards. As tribute to the film and to Andrews, Lady Gaga performed a medley of the film’s songs and introduced the magnificent Julie Andrews on stage.
2. Patricia Arquette’s
Arquette won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the film Boyhood and had a wonderful speech. In it, she discussed the atrocious wage gap and the need for its removal to the applause of the audience- and Meryl Streep’s enthusiastic cheers. It is important to note that although Arquette’s onstage speech was a step in the right direction, her comments backstage were problematic in many ways. She failed intersectional feminism, through her inability to recognize the LGBT community and women of color. The dialogue that this creates about the intersectionality of so many important causes is necessary and it’s about time people started talking about it.
3. John Legend and Common’s Performance and Speech
John Legend and Common performed the song “Glory” from the film Selma and it was exquisite. The performance emphasized MLK’s historic march and how civil rights are present in our lives today. “Glory” also received the Oscar win for Best Original Song and the two made a passionate speech for civil rights.
4. Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore received an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in Still Alice. Surprisingly, this was her first Oscar win. From early on in her career, Moore has portrayed realistic women and has done so magnificently. In all of her roles she pushes the boundaries to achieve truly emotional and fearless performances. Therefore, it’s about time she was recognized at the Oscar’s for her talent. In her touching speech she speaks on Alzheimer’s awareness and about the importance of visibility for people living with Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Graham Moore
Moore won his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in The Imitation Game. In his speech he discussed the importance of suicide awareness and how his life has been affected personally. He spoke about the importance of accepting one’s uniqueness, the problem with his speech was his specific word choice. Moore implored today’s youth to stay “weird”, without realizing the negative effect that could have on LGBT youth today. Weird has a negative connotation, and for youth that may already be uncomfortable or unhappy with who they are the phrasing is not as empowering as it should have been.
5. Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne won the Oscar for Best Actor Sunday evening. His performance in the film as Steven Hawking is phenomenal, and Redmayne certainly deserves the award. In his passionate speech he provided awareness to those living with ALS.
6. Alejandro G. Iñárritu
The Oscar for Best Picture went to Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole. The directors are of mixed Mexican and Argentinian descent, making them one of the few minorities to win an Oscar in a major category this year. In his speech, Iñárritu discussed immigration and embracing where you come from. Prior to receiving the Oscar for Best Picture the presenter, Sean Penn, made an incredibly inappropriate green card joke about Birdman’s directors. His comments were wildly crass, and it’s sad to see comments like this on the national stage. Thankfully, Iñárritu didn’t flinch for a moment and immediately shined a positive light on diversity.
Although there were many interesting moments of the night, many occurred before the event on the red carpet. Throughout the awards season the #AskHerMore Campaign began, and its purpose is to change the way the media asks women questions on the red carpet. It promotes reporters to ask important questions and not focusing solely on wardrobe choices. For example, during Laura Dern’s interview she passionately explains why her jewelry choice was more than just aesthetically pleasing; she chose it to support Lung Cancer Awareness. Many actresses and celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Robin Roberts, and Gloria Steinem have voiced their support for the campaign and have been providing greater awareness to why it’s necessary to #AskHerMore.