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7 unforgettable moments from the 2015 Academy Awards

Neil Patrick Harris's underwear, Benedict Cumberbatch's flask, and so much more.


Monica Riese


Posted on Feb 23, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 11:43 am CDT

Sunday night, all eyes were on Los Angeles for the 87th Academy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Overall, the night had its share of shutouts and shockers, snubs and snark, but if you want to keep up at the watercooler tomorrow at work, here’s what you need to know went down.

1) Neil Patrick Harris dropped trou

He tossed out a show-stopping musical opener, plenty of sass, and wordplay left and rightnot all well-received. His legacy as host will probably take a little while longer to fully appreciate, but this particular costume change was all about instant gratification.

Fernando Alfonso III

2) The Lego Movie had its time to shine

After a heartbreaking snub in the Best Animated Feature category, the entire Lego Movie team could’ve sulked away quietly. Instead, we got this epic performance of “Everything Is Awesome,” encapsulating a youthful energy not often within reach of the Academy.

Fernando Alfonso III

3) Lady Gaga delivered an amazing Sound of Music tribute

Lady Gaga—she of the meat dress and terrifying genderbent Christmas carols—might not have been the first, second, or 47th name to come to mind when you hear the phrase “Sound of Music tribute.” But her medley of the show’s favorite tunes (on the occasion of the film version’s 50th anniversary) was pretty impressive, top to bottom. Julie Andrews agreed.

Fernando Alfonso III

4) Common and John Legend brought the theater to its feet—and to tears

John Legend and Common performed a stirring rendition of “Glory” from Selma just minutes before taking home the trophy for Best Original Song.

Fernando Alfonso III

Fernando Alfonso III

5) Equal pay for women got a massive shout-out

Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Supporting Role took a turn for the political when she dedicated her award to women across America, saying “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Meryl Streep immediately jumped from her seat in solidarity, as did no small portion of Twitter.

Jason Reed

6) Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel cleaned up

Alejandro Iñárritu and Wes Anderson’s pictures each took home four awards, with Birdman winning Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, and Original Screenplay and Budapest landing Original Score, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Costume Design.

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Jason Reed

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson

Fernando Alfonso III

7) Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore are your Best Actor and Actress

This largely speaks for itself, but it’s also worth noting that each artist dedicated a portion of his or her award to those suffering from ALS and Alzheimer’s, respectively—the diseases afflicting the characters they portrayed in The Theory of Everything and Still Alice.

Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne

Fernando Alfonso III

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore

Fernando Alfonso III

Here’s the complete list of winners: 

Best picture: Birdman

Best actress in a leading role: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Best actor in a leading role: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Best director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)

Best adapted screenplay: The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)

Best original screenplay: Birdman (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., and Armando Bo)

Best original score: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat)

Best original song: “Glory” from Selma (music and lyrics by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn)

Best documentary feature: Citizenfour (Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky)

Film editing: Whiplash (Tom Cross)

Cinematography: Birdman (Emmanuel Lubezki)

Production design: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock)

Best animated feature: Big Hero 6 (Don Hall, Chris Williams, and Roy Conli)

Best animated short: Feast (Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed)

Achievements in visual effects: Interstellar (Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, and Scott Fisher)

Best actress in a supporting role: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Sound editing: American Sniper (Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman)

Sound mixing: Whiplash (Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, and Thomas Curley)

Best documentary short subject: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry)

Best live action short film: The Phone Call (Mat Kirkby and James Lucas)

Best foreign language film: Ida (Poland)

Makeup and hairstyling: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Costume design: Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best actor in a supporting role: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Now, in the inimitable words of Benedict Cumberbatch, go away.

Fernando Alfonso III

Illustration by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Feb 23, 2015, 3:07 am CST