By NATALIE COPELAND
First time host of the Oscars Award Ceremony, Neil Patrick Harris, strutted onto the bright stage of the grand, Dolby Theatre clad in just his undies, this past Sunday. Although critics had doubts about Harris, he shined as Oscar host, successfully holding together the award ceremony, which lasted almost 4 hours long. Harris’s spoof of Birdman, was just one of his memorable acts throughout the night, although his workouts did make this impersonation quite enjoyable. The handsome, and well-respected actor began the celebration by joking, “today we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest. Sorry, brightest.” He then continued his monologue, which transformed into a funny singing duet with Anna Kendrick, and later, Jack Black.
Despite the impressive vocals of Harris, Kendrick, and Black, the audience was mesmerized by both performances by renowned music artists, Lady Gaga and John Legend. Gaga’s beautiful rendition of The Hills are Alive honored the fiftieth anniversary of The Sound of Music. None other than Julie Andrews joined her on stage, to receive a standing ovation from the audience.
Co-writers, John Legend and Common provided an emotional performance of their song, Glory, from the motion picture, Selma. Just before their win, the two singers were joined onstage by a chorus, slowly marching to emulate civil rights protestors, as images of the march on Selma and the civil rights movement flashed on large screens in the background. The production, which brought many starlets to tears, earned another standing ovation from the audience.
Later, in his acceptance speech, Legend declared, “we wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say that Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now… we live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. We people are marching with our song, we want to tell you ‘We are with you’ … ‘We love you. And March on.’ Legend’s model-wife, Chrissy Teigen beamed offstage with pride.
While speaking of political statements, Patricia Arquette, who was awarded Best Actress in a Supporting Role, sparked positive reinforcement from many audience members, such as Jennifer Lopez and Meryl Streep, when advocating for equal pay and women’s rights.
Additionally, Julianne Moore, and Eddie Redmayne respectively received Oscars for Best Actress and Best Actor, while Birdman won best picture. Although all of these awards were exciting, the lasting memories are of the performers, especially of Legend and Common, who outdid the glamour of the red carpet, and the hype of who was there, as they managed to turn the focus away from themselves and onto greater issues.