There were few surprises at the Neil Patrick Harris-hosted 87th Academy Awards.
“Birdman” won for Best Picture, beating out main rival “Boyhood.” The film's director and screenwriter Alejandro Iñárritu also won in the directing and screenwriting categories, making "Birdman" the night’s big winner.
“Two Mexicans in a row, that’s suspicious I guess,” Iñárritu joked, after the award’s presenter and friend Sean Penn cracked: “Who gave this son of a bi**h his green card?”
Fellow Mexican director Alfson Cuaron won for "Gravity" in 2014.
Eddie Redmayne won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” beating out co-favorite, "Birdman" star Michael Keaton.
“This Oscar – wooow!” Redmayne exclaimed before continuing more soberly. “This belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS. It belongs to one exceptional family, Stephen J. Hawking and children.”
Julianne Moore received a standing ovation for winning the Academy Award for her leading role as a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in “Still Alice.”
“I read an article that said that winning an Oscar could lead to living five years longer,” she said. “If that’s true I’d really like to thank the academy because my husband is younger than me.”
The evening’s festivities got off to a slow start, with just one major award presented in its first hour and 15 minutes.
That Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor, went to J.K Simmons for his role as a domineering music teacher in “Whiplash.” It was the first Oscar nomination for Simmons, 60, a longtime character actor (and the guy on the Farmer's Insurance commercials).
Patricia Arquette spiced things up a bit when she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Boyhood," a movie shot over a 12-year span.
Bleeped for a curse word early in her acceptance speech, Arquette thanked everyone from friends and family and cast to her favorite painter, before getting political. Arquette dedicated her win to "to every woman who gave birth," saying "it's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."
The night had some other notable winners and moments. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” scored a handful of trophies, nabbing four Oscars for Best Original Score, Makeup and Hairstyling, Costume Design, and Production Design.
Graham Moore won for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game.” His list of thanks included one for Oprah, who presented the award. He also admitted to trying to commit suicide when he was 16 because he felt “weird” and "different,” and urged other kids who might feel the same way to “stay weird, stay different” so that one day they can be the ones up on the stage helping the next generation.
The Academy Awards had been criticized for omitting “Lego Movie” from the list of nominees for Best Animated Film. “Big Hero 6” ended up taking home the award.
The Song “Glory” from the film “Selma” won for Best Original Song, and winners John Legend and Common gave emotional speeches about equality, voting rights, and the incarceration rates for African-American men in the U.S.
Oh, and Lady Gaga sang a “Sound of Music” medley on the occasion of the movie’s 50th anniversary, and she was good. Then the subject of the tribute, Julie Andrews, came out and gave her a great big hug.
Neil Patrick Harris started the show with a tip of the cap to one of the controversies surrounding this year’s awards, which saw almost all of the major nominations go to white people.
“Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest, sorry I mean brightest,” he joked.
Joined by Anna Kendrick and Jack Black, Harris then broke into the night’s big opening number “Moving Pictures,” the kind of lavish song and dance number for which the perennial Tony’s host has become famous.
The night's first big laughs came over an hour into the program, when Harris came out onto the stage in tightie whities like Keaton wore in “Birdman” during a bit in which he was locked out of his dressing room.
A running gag involving Octavia Spencer keeping an eye the host’s Oscar Prediction Box did not fare as well, recalling the time former host David Letterman repeated a lame introduction joke, “Uma, Oprah, Oprah, Uma,” over and over and over again.
When Harris' Oscar Prediction Box was opened at the end of the show revealing highlights of the show, the laughter was weary.