The 87th Academy Awards is a night of firsts for many of the nominees and the show\’s host but has so far proven predictable as heavy favorites won in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories.
First-time host Neil Patrick Harris opened the night with a quip about the lack of diversity among the nominees for the film industry\’s highest honors and later came out in his underwear in a spoof of best picture favorite "Birdman.\’\’
Patricia Arquette won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for "Boyhood" in which she played a single mother struggling to bring up two children.
It was the first Oscar win for Arquette, 46, who swept the movie awards this season for playing the ups and downs of an every day mom in the independent coming-of-age drama by director Richard Linklater that was filmed with the same cast over a period of 12 years.
It\’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and for equal rights for the women in the United States of America,\’\’ Arquette said during her acceptance speech.
Best Foreign Language Film
"Ida", a Polish drama, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film – the country\’s first Academy Award.
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, the stark black-and-white film was considered a favorite to win the honor. The film follows a novice nun in 1962 Poland who discovers she was born Jewish.
Pawlikowski pushed the 45-second acceptance speech limit to thank "my Polish friends who are in front of the TV, the crew who were in the trenches with us and who are totally drunk now, and you were fantastic.\’\’
Best Supporting Actor
The star-studded awards ceremony\’s first Oscar statuette went to actor J.K. Simmons for Best Actor in a Supporting role for his performance in "Whiplash".
It was the first Academy Award for Simmons, 60, who played Fletcher, a sharp-tongued brutally demanding jazz teacher at an elite music school who pushes a drummer to the edge.
He had been a favorite to win for the film, after sweeping the supporting actor category in all the major awards shows before Sunday.
In his acceptance speech, the actor thanked his wife and his children and then made a family-centered plea to the audience and those watching at home.
"If I may, call your mom everybody, call your mom, call your dad. If you\’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them,\’\’ Simmons said.
The son of a university professor of music, Simmons has previously said that he believes his obtaining the role was an instance of "kismet,\’\’ or fate.
Simmons is known for playing another wise-cracking authoritarian in newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson from the "Spider-Man\’\’ franchise, a role he has reprised as a voice actor in a number of animated television shows.
He also played a neo-Nazi in HBO\’s prison drama "Oz\’\’ and a psychiatrist in police procedural show "Law & Order,\’\’ and has been the face of Farmers Insurance in a number of commercials.
This year\’s Oscar race for best picture is expected to be a showdown between "Birdman", about a former superhero actor, and the 12-years-in-the-making "Boyhood", the chronicle of a boy\’s life, for best picture and the best director race.
While no one from "Boyhood" was nominated in the best actor category, Michael Keaton, the star of "Birdman", is in the best actor race. He is facing strong contenders Bradley Cooper from "American Sniper", Benedict Cumberbatch from "The Imitation Game", Eddie Redmayne of "The Theory of Everything" and Steve Carell of "Foxcatcher".
The best actress category has French actress Marion Cotillard of "Two Days, One Night" competing against Julianne Moore of "Still Alice", Felicity Jones of "The Theory of Everything", Rosamund Pike of "Gone Girl" and Reese Witherspoon from "Wild".
Lack of diversity
This year\’s awards have been criticized for their lack of racial diversity, but the Academy Awards has always been particularly stingy with recognizing the accomplishments of the actors and craftspeople of color.
"Selma", a film about America\’s civil right movement, was nominated for best picture, but many observers thought director Ava DuVernay and leading actor David Oyelowo were snubbed when they failed to land a nomination.
Civil rights groups called for a boycott of the Oscars to protest the lack of diversity, but cancelled the planned protest.
SOURCE: VOA NEWS