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Home / Mint-lounge / Features /  Oscars 2015: The hits (and Neil Patrick Harris)

What was possibly the driest Oscars ceremony in a long time actually sent out many political messages. There were also two big surprises: Lady Gaga can sing and Neil Patrick Harris is absolutely not funny.

Here’s the best and worst from today’s ceremony:

The Birdman sweep

The cast of Birdman.
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The cast of Birdman.

Awarding Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman in the crucial categories—Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Direction and Best Picture—over Richard Linklater’s arduous and equally engaging coming-of-age epic Boyhood was a big statement by the Academy. In the past many years, it has chosen to award the safe, politically correct films. Birdman is dark, comic and irreverent, and the film’s sweep across categories is a big nod to individuality.

Julianne Moore

This was the most unsurprising of the top awards. Julianne Moore has been missing the Best Actress award for years now despite a few nominations. She has done a wide range of roles in mainstream Hollywood as well as in the indie space, but the top prize had eluded her. Her speech did not crackle, but she was luminous and graceful, as you would expect he to be, pretty much anywhere.

Politics

The most crackling speech was by Patricia Arquette, after she received the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in Boyhood; it was about women’s rights and women’s wage in Hollywood. Singer-songwriters John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn, who bagged the Oscar for the Best Original Song (Selma), delivered a rousing speech about African-American rights, after an equally rousing performance of their song Glory.

Almost every winner had a message—Alejandro Gonsalez Iñárritu on treatment of Mexican immigrants, Julianne Moore on the need to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, the makers of Citizen Four, a documentary on Edward Snowden, on the need for rigorous investigative journalism, among others.

Desperate measures

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Foreign Film

This year there were Best Foreign Film nominations from Estonia and Mauritania, but ultimately the award went to the spiritual home of cinema, Poland. Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida is about a young woman preparing to become a nun. She is sent from her convent home into a secular, modern world to spend time with her only relative, which shakes her sense of her identity.

For a full list of the winners, go to http://oscar.go.com

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