By Noah Sunshine || Senior Staff Writer

The Oscars came and went this year, just like every year prior, and people around the world have added films like Birdman and Whiplash to their watch lists (finally). It was an excellent year for filmmaking, launching stellar careers but also seeing different kinds of Academy Award winners, and perhaps setting a precedent for less predictable picks in the future. The term “Oscar bait” may no longer be a thing.

Instead of one of the half-dozen biopics in the running this year, Birdman took Best Picture, marking the first time in twelve years that even a slightly fantastical film came out on top, preceded by The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2003. It’s bizarre camerawork and candid view into an unstable mind make it a novel choice, but one that was well deserved and received. Birdman’s Director, Alejandro G. Inarritu, also won Best Director and Best Screenplay for this picture, making this his most successful awards season ever, and being the most awarded individual of the night.

Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything won Best Actor in a Leading Role, somewhat of a surprise considering the novelty and unconventionality of the role. Nevertheless, Redmayne imparted significant complexity in spite of the limited expression afforded to him by the character. His endearing acceptance speech and contagious enthusiasm only solidified his place as crowd favorite.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was Julianne Moore, taking home the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for a dark sleeper hit, Still Alice, about a woman fighting the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Many hadn’t seen Moore since 2013’s Don Jon, as this year’s film was shown in limited release. The movie will certainly receive more traffic now, thanks to Moore.

Other awards of the night:

  • Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons in Whiplash
  • Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
  • Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu for Birdman
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Ida
  • Best Animated Feature: Big Hero 6
  • Best Original Song: “Glory” for Selma by John Legend and Common
  • Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat for The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman
  • Best Original Screenplay: Alejandro G. Inarritu for Birdman
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore for The Imitation Game
  • Best Makeup: Mark Coulier and Frances Hannon for The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Best Sound Editing: Bub Asman and Alan Robert Murray for American Sniper
  • Best Visual Effects: Paul J. Franklin and Andrew Lockley for Interstellar
  • Best Live Action Short Film: The Phone Call
  • Best Animated Short Film: Feast
  • Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero for The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Best Documentary Feature: Citizen Four
  • Best Documentary Short Subject: Veterans Press 1
  • Best Film Editing: Tom Cross for Whiplash
  • Best Sound Mixing: Thomas Curley, Craig Mann and Ben Wilkins for Whiplash
  • Best Production Design: Anna Pinnock and Adam Stockhausen for The Grand Budapest Hotel

In the end, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, my two Oscar favorites of the season, won the most Academy Awards by far, overshadowing box office blockbusters like Interstellar and American Sniper.

This was the season for the weird and outlandish, it seems, a trend that will hopefully continue as it redefines what it means to make a truly successful film.


Noah Sunshine is a senior staff writer. His email is