The 87th Academy Awards took place on Sun., Feb. 22. Mixed in with all of the awards and movie clips, were stellar performances by artists, such as Adam Levine and Lady Gaga, and moving speeches by a variety of winners. Neil Patrick Harris opened with a stunning and elaborate ode to “moving pictures.” He incorporated a lot into his performance, as he sang, danced, and told the a brief history of movies. Anna Kendrick also appeared in her princess garb from Into the Woods and spoiled a part of Gone Girl. Jack Black, portraying a villain, briefly interrupted the performance, but was cut off by Kendrick’s golden slipper flying at his face. Harris concluded his energetic song by saying, “That whole thing? Completely improvised.” He continued this energy with jokes and and a light, playful manner during the show.
Adam Levine made his debut early in the show, singing “Lost Stars”. His performance was simple, but elegant. Later Tegan and Sara, the Lonely Island, and others took over the show to perform “Everything is Awesome”. It was upbeat and explosive, with breakdancing construction workers, a rapping Andy Samberg, and bright, lively music. The real eye catcher, however, were all of the Lego statutes that were given to various stars sitting in the audience, including Oprah and Steve Carell. The singers captivated the crowd and made the Academy Awards truly awesome.
Other performances included Tim McGraw’s “I’m Not Going to Miss You,” Rita Ora’s “Grateful,” and Jennifer Hudson’s performance of “I Can’t Let Go.” All three artists graced the stage and received well deserved applauses. Their performance was clean, focused, and powerful.
Break out performances came from Common and John Legend’s “Glory” and Lady Gaga’s Sound of Music ode. The “Glory” singers brought tears to everyone’s eyes with their inspiring lyrics and recreation of Selma, Alabama’s famous Edmund Pettus Bridge. They were soulful and erupting with passion. They received a standing ovation from a very moved crowd. Lady Gaga displayed her raw talent and voice control as she did a medley of classic songs from Sound of Music. There were no outrageous meat costumes or distracting makeup, only her beautiful voice reminding the audience of the classic and beloved movie.
Beyond the performances and awards themselves, the winners’ speeches captivated the audience and discussed crucial issues prevalent in today’s world. J.K Simmons took home the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Whiplash. While onstage, he reminded everyone to “Call your mom. Call your dad.” He reminded people of the importance of family and the crucial support and guidance that comes with it, something that can easily be lost in modern society due to technology. Moreover, Graham Moore, winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay award for “The Imitation Game,” gave a powerful speech about suicide awareness and depression. He told people to embrace who they are and “stay weird. stay different.” Conversely, Patricia Arquette discussed the importance of equal pay. She stated her beliefs with confidence and declared, “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all.” She received shouts of support from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez. While accepting the Oscar for Best Picture, Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu took a few moments to push for immigration reform. Lastly, Common and John Legend revealed the importance of civil rights. They recognized the bridge as a symbol of hope that people had built upon. John Legend noted that the “struggle for justice is right now” and that “the struggle for freedom and justice is real.” They demanded that people realize that injustice exists in our society and continue to fight to fix it.
Actors, singers, writers, and directors alike looked at the Oscars as an opportunity waiting to be seized. They used their time to inspire those around them and call upon society to make changes. By speaking about their beliefs and current issues rather than merely thanking people, the Oscars became more than just an awards show. They became a rallying cry for equality and liberty.