The 87th Annual Academy Awards had a great opening number (love you Neil Patrick Harris, Ann Kendrick, and Jack Black), a lot of wins for Birdman, a wee bit of a surprise with Eddie Redmayne sneaking past Michael Keaton, and a weird ending, with a comment from Sean Penn about his pal Alejandro G. Iñárritu that would have worked better backstage. Patricia Arquette was a predictable winner for Best Supporting Actress (Boyhood), but gave a surprising speech about equal rights and pay for women, which prompted a “Yeah! Yeah!” from Meryl Streep. Back in the press room, Arquette elaborated. “I didn’t see Meryl Streep’s reaction but I heard about it,” she said, “and I hugged her afterwards. She’s the queen of all actresses, patron saint of actresses.”
David Oyelowo and Chris Pine had tears streaming down their faces as John Legend and Common sang “Glory” (which won Best Original Song). In the press room the fellas went by their given names, John Stephens (Legend) and Lonnie Lynn (Common), and fielded questions as Julianne Moore picked up her Oscar for Best Actress (Still Alice). “Y’all knew she was getting that, didn’t you?” Lynn said with a smile. There was a Bjork swan dress moment when Best Documentary Short Subject Director Dana Perry won and got on the stage in a dress with a top made of what looked like Star Trek tribbles. Twitter calmed down when she referenced her 15-year-old son’s suicide. Backstage Perry was all smiles about the dress chatter, saying that she’d raided her mother-in-law’s attic for the outfit. “That’ adorable,” she said when she heard about the humorous reaction to her gown. “I invite anyone to feel my furry balls.”
Eddie Redmayne was still beaming (he has perfect hair, doesn’t he?) as he made his way into the press room clutching his newly won prize for Best Actor. His feelings when he heard his name called? “Just trying to bury all this frenzy of nerves and white noise and trying to speak articulately…but it just felt like a euphoria really, an extraordinary euphoria.” Julianne Moore (Best Actress) said something she hadn’t mentioned before last night about the first time she saw the movie with her husband. “I heard him crying,” she said, “and was like ‘What’s going on?’ When we walked out of the there he said, ‘You’re going to win an Oscar.’”
When the night’s big winner, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, made it backstage he answered questions about Sean Penn’s green card joke that went over like a lead balloon. “I found it hilarious,” the director, who directed Penn in 21 Grams, said of the remark. “Sean and I have that kind of brutal relationship where only true friendship can survive…I didn’t find it offensive, I thought it very funny.” On a fashion note, was he really wearing Michael Keaton’s tighty whities from the movie for luck as he mentioned in his acceptance speech? “I wish I was in a more intimate setting to prove it,” was his answer.
Just like Poland’s Best Foreign Language Film winner Director Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida), no one wanted to leave the Dolby Theatre (the press was cheering as he talked over the wrap-it-up music not once, but twice). Then everyone dodged the rain that was still falling on their way to the rooftop Governor’s Ball where the talk was all about host Neil Patrick Harris. He’d be better a second time around seemed to be the consensus. Iñárritu, meanwhile, couldn’t walk a step without being mobbed by well-wishers and Julianne Moore and her husband snuck in a kiss here and there.
The party’s décor drew appreciative gasps from the party-goers who popped in for golden edged glass Sterling Gold Standard Reserve (nice). The red carpet continued on the floor, black and white photographs in all shapes and sizes covered everything, and scenes from Oscar-winning films sort of just materialized over the entrance to the award-engraving station in a dreamy loop. Chef Wolfgang Puck wandered the ballroom greeting guests and his menu (parsnip soup with white chocolate dipped spoon) was particularly inspired this year. It was so dark Octavia Spencer came up to me like a long, lost friend only to realize I wasn’t who she thought I was. Oprah cut a swath through the crowd, still holding her Oscar made of Lego. But it wasn’t so dimly lit you couldn’t spot Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Clint Eastwood, or Wes Anderson.
Sergio Mendes and will.i.am got everyone dancing and were followed by a DJ set by Solange Knowles. Best Adapted Screenplay writer Graham Moore followed up his immensely moving speech (#stayweird has now gone viral) by hitting the engraving station to get his name on his Imitation Game trophy. Then there was a back-up with the engravers as Iñárritu stopped in to get all of his trophies (Best Director, Original Screenplay, Picture) engraved. Partiers taking cell phone pics of him ran about six deep. He dabbed at his forehead with a red napkin before swooping up his trophies and heading back into the dark room. On the way out partiers received framed black and white photos of stars like Cary Grant or Sophia Loren.