The rather drab 87th Academy awards wasn't without its share of high points.
It wasn’t the finest, funniest event, but the Oscars gave out more well-deserved awards this year than they normally do. Despite some ennui spreading across the ceremony, the Academy Awards always brings us something memorable.
Here, then, are my top ten moments from the show:
1. Lady Gaga’s tribute to The Sound Of Music
This wasn’t Gaga as we know her, wearing an apparently inedible dress and belting out songs from The Sound Of Music, which will turn 50 in March, with loyalty and affection.
She did excellently, and Julie Andrews, who took the stage later, made the moment much more magical by thanking “lae-dee Ga-Gah” in that way only Mary Poppins could.
2. The Moving Pictures opening number
Neil Patrick Harris might not have had the best night, but he started it off phenomenally well with a musical number about the glory of the moving pictures -- where he referenced everything from Sharon Stone’s uncrossed legs to Kanye West -- with musical guest-stars Anna Kendrick and Jack Black doing wonderfully too.
If only Harris hadn’t stopped singing.
3. The Meryl Streep reaction to the Patricia Arquette Speech
In her wonderful acceptance speech for the Best Supporting Actress trophy, Boyhood star Patricia Arquette spoke about wage-equality for women.
'To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation: we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America,' Arquette said to loud cheers, the loudest from a tremendously animated Meryl Streep, sitting next to a visibly aroused Jennifer Lopez.
4. The Birdman win for Best Picture
Sean Penn took his time with the Best Picture envelope.
He looked at the name, took a deep breath, and mock-complained about “whoever gave the son of a b**ch his green card”, in reference to Birdman maestro Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu.
Inarritu, who came up with his whole team, including Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and leading man Michael Keaton, was clearly overwhelmed and flustered and rightly proud, making for a lovely closing moment.
5. The moment Emma Stone clutched her Lego Oscar in wide-eyed hope
Speaking of Emma Stone, the irrepressible young starlet -- up for her excellent turn in Birdman -- made the most of the Lego Oscar handed to her by dancers during the Everything Is Awesome song performance.
The Best Supporting Actress category had long been assumed a lock for Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette, but that didn’t stop Stone from holding up her Oscar earnestly and working those giant eyes to hugely emotional effect.
6. Glory, from Selma
'Even Jesus got his crown in front of a crowd / They marched with the torch, we gon’ run with it.'
John Legend and Common brought the house down with their stunning rendition of the song from Selma -- which soon picked up the Best Original Song award.
The performance was one that stopped a rambling, dragging Oscar night in its tracks, and the speech about human rights even stronger.
Somewhere in there the camera cut to Chris Pine, tears rolling down his cheeks as he applauded.
7. The Best Adapted Screenplay acceptance speech
The Imitation Game might not have been a great film, and most folks were rooting for Whiplash in this category, but Graham Moore’s acceptance speech was wonderful, a strong statement about the importance of being different, in any way.
'Stay weird, stay different,' he said, and the world applauded, taken aback by his well-crafted sincerity.
8. The In Memoriam segment
Nineteen-time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep introduced this year’s In Memoriam segment -- one including names as varied and iconic as Lauren Bacall, Mike Nichols, Robin Williams and Anita Ekberg -- and, as the faces faded in and out of view, the music that played was Marvin Hamlisch’s beautiful theme music from Streep-starrer and classic tearjerker Sophie’s Choice.
9. The Batman appearance in the Everything Is Awesome performance
The Lego Movie was shunted out of the Best Animated Feature category, an omission that justifiably led to a fair bit of outrage.
Yet because its anthemic song Everything Is Awesome was nominated, everything went yellow-brick for a while as the Lego gang took over with a joyous performance, made iconic by a cameo of Lego Batman standing in a corner going all deathmetal about his dead parents.
10. The bit at the end
Neil Patrick Harris, as mentioned earlier, didn’t have the best night as a host but he did pull off one clever trick where -- after showing a locked briefcase containing his Oscar predictions, kept in plain sight all evening -- he opened it at the end of the night and showed off a printed list of ‘predictions’ that covered everything from the wins to the speeches to John Travolta’s creepiness.
That’s what you get when you hire a magician to host.