Birdman soars at Oscars

2015-02-23 08:49

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The dark comedy Birdman held up a mirror to Hollywood and its struggling actors and received in return the film industry’s highest recognition – the Academy Award for best picture.

Director Alejandro G Inarritu’s story of a washed-up, former superhero actor attempting an improbable comeback on Broadway won four Oscars, including best director, the second consecutive win in that category for a Mexican filmmaker.

Inarritu thanked the star-studded audience for seeing his “crazy film”.

The reward for the satire hews to an Academy tradition of awarding films that honour the entertainment industry, such as Argo and The Artist in recent years.

Eddie Redmayne won best actor with his painstaking portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, robbing Birdman lead and former superhero actor Michael Keaton of a big comeback moment.

Each of the eight best picture nominees went home with at least one award, but it was a disappointing night for Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s unprecedented endeavour to depict the simple story of a boy growing up over 12 years, all with the same actors. It won one Oscar for its six nods.

Wes Anderson’s colourful caper The Grand Budapest Hotel proved popular among the 6 100 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who vote for the Oscars, winning four awards on its nine nominations.

Whiplash, the independent film about an aspiring jazz drummer and his tough mentor from young director Damien Chazelle, won three Oscars.

It was a night in which the controversy over the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees was front and centre. First-time host Neil Patrick Harris opened the telecast with a quip: “Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest, I mean brightest.”

But the race theme resonated in a more serious way too, when Common and John Legend got a standing ovation and made many in the audience cry with their performance of Glory from the 1960s civil rights drama Selma.

It won best song, delivering the sole victory to Selma, the film at the centre of the diversity debate, sparked by the exclusion of ethnic minority actors from the four acting categories. The nominations sparked the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. “Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now,” said Legend in the aftermath of recent racially charged protests in America.

The Academy rewarded heavy favourites and veterans with their first Oscars in the three other acting races.

Five-time nominee Julianne Moore won best actress for her portrayal of a woman suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice.

Patricia Arquette won best supporting actress for her role as a struggling single mother in Boyhood, while JK Simmons won the best supporting actor as a monstrous music teacher in Whiplash.

For the biggest televised event outside the sports world, the Academy aimed to attract young viewers who may not care much about the films but who could tune in for the musical acts.

A bridge between the young and old, pop diva Lady Gaga received a standing ovation for her medley of tunes from The Sound of Music before introducing that film’s star, Julie Andrews.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.