For months, we've been waiting with bated breath to see who would be taking home the top awards at the Oscars, arguably the most important series of recognitions the industry offers. As President of the Academy Cheryl Boone Isaacs said, “We’re here to celebrate storytellers.” Every year, the competition is steep, and this year was no different. So who went home with the big wins? Perhaps more importantly, who should have been presented with an award?
1.YAY: J.K. Simmons for Best Supporting Actor
We'll admit it, we've had our fingers crossed for J.K. We started the night off right when J.K. won for his incredible performance as tyrannical music teacher. People had been predicting Simmons' win since the release of Whiplash and it's always nice to see a talented, hard-working actor get rewarded for his or her work. Not to mention, an Oscar win will mean great things for up-and-coming director Damien Chazelle. We hear that a musical might be brewing from the director and actor Miles Teller.
2. NAY: Malificent snub
Yes, we all know Wes Anderson films are all about aesthetic. But TBH, we were sort of hoping that Malificent would win for Best Costume Design. Shameless, we know.
3. YAY: Big Hero 6 for Best Animated Picture
Animation has never been one of the Academy's favorite genres. Acadamy voters have admitted that they are unfamiliar with the animated films that have been nominated, and we usually rely more on the Annie Awards to see what's shaking up the animation world. Audiences were initally surprised to see the runaway hit The Lego Movie go without a single nomination, but in all honesty, we shouldn’t be surprised that a Disney film took home the gold. We are happy, though, that it was one of Disney's more unique and diverse films that won. (Japanese-American Ryan Potter lead the film and it featured two awesome/smart/non-love interest female characters.) It's also a plus that a Marvel comic book movie adaptation got some love from the Academy.
4. YAY: Patricia Arquette for Best Supporting Actress
The most powerful performance in Disney's adaptation of Into the Woods goes, hands down, to Hollywood's favorite actress, Meryl Streep. There's a reason that the seasoned actress shows up time and time again at pretty much every major awards ceremony. It seemed a given that Meryl had it in the bag, until... plot twist! Patricia Arquette was given the award for Best Supporting Actress and she totally deserved it. Boyhood is one of this year's nominated films that actually passes the Bechdel Test (which requires that two women in a work of fiction talk to each other about something other than a man) with flying colors, thanks in part to Patricia's performance. Not to mention, the actress used her acceptance speech as a powerful statement about women’s rights and wage equality.
5. YAY: John Legend and Common for Best Original Song
The theme song to the poignant and powerful Selma came from the musical prowess of John Legend and Common. The song speaks volumes about the United State's struggle with racism and how we have a lot of work still left to do to achieve racial equality. A beautiful performance of "Glory" on Oscars night brought the audience to tears. It would have been surprising to see such a compelling, honest song not go home without an award.
5. YAY: Alejandro González Iñárritu for Best Director
Imaginative Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu won for both Best Picture and Best Director for his work on Birdman, a film that demonstrated his unique outlook on film and storytelling. A movie about movies was sure to win with Academy voters. We couldn't be happier that Latino representation is starting to gain traction in Hollywood. Hopefully Birdman's win will help propel that trend.
6. YAY: Julianne Moore for Best Actress
They said movies about women don't sell. A movie about a middle aged woman? Even slimmer chance. There simply aren’t a lot of roles for women in Hollywood. Sad, but true. So leave it to an incredible actress like Julianne to win for a movie about a woman dealing with a terrible disease. Her win not only brought Alzheimer's disease to the spotlight, but showed that a female can lead a drama just as well as her male counterparts do.
8. NAY: Birdman for Best Picture
Wait! Before you go into a rage, we are not saying that Birdman didn't deserve to win. But, consider this: how amazing would it have been for Selma to win? In light of the political turmoil that had Ferguson, Ayotzinapa, Hong Kong and the world fighting for social justice, it would have been made sense for the Academy to honor a film covering one of the world’s peace leaders. It would have even sufficed to get an Oscar nod to black female director, Ava DuVernay. The National Action Network was planning to protest the lack of diversity at this year’s Oscars, but decided to cancel at the request of Selma's director. Best Picture is always a tough fight and we wish that Selma, a film that is painfully relevant in today's world, would have won.
Do you agree with our conclusions? Who do you think should—or shouldn't—have won an Oscar this year?