Oscars: Gown and out in Beverly Hills

GLAMOROUS, ALWAYS, occasionally shocking and never short of controversy. It can only be the Oscars.

Eddie Redmayne, winner of the award for best actor in a leading role for The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne, winner of the award for best actor in a leading role for The Theory of Everything

The stardust had barely settled in Hollywood before commentators were calling this year’s ceremony the most politically-charged in its history.

While the acceptance speeches contained the annual onslaught of false modesty and ‘thank-yous’, some A-Listers used their time on the stage to flag up issues of the day.

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Equal pay for women, immigration and gay rights were just some of the topics which prompted rapturous applause from the star-studded audience.

Eddie Redmayne, winner of the award for best actor in a leading role for The Theory of Everything

Picking up a best supporting actress statuette for her role in Boyhood, Patricia Arquette called for the leading ladies of Hollywood to be paid as much as their male co-stars.

She said: “Every woman who gave birth… we have fought for everybody else’s rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

And the ongoing debate over the Academy’s failure to recognise artists of colour - this year’s acting nominee list was 100 per cent white - dominated the conversation online, inspiring the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

Civil rights protesters also staged a demonstration outside the Dolby Theatre and inside, first-time host Neil Patrick Harris alluded to the race row in his opening line of the night.

“Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest - sorry, brightest,” he joked.

Politics might have taken centre stage for some of the ceremony, but there were all the usual trappings of Tinseltown’s biggest night of the year, along with a couple of surprising Yorkshire connections.

Still Alice, directed by Wash Westmoreland, a former pupil at Fir Tree Middle School in Moortown, and his partner Richard Glatzer, won Julianne Moore her first Oscar. The critically-acclaimed film depicts a college professor coming to terms with early onset Alzheimer’s.

The five-times nominated star said: “I’m thrilled actually that we were able to hopefully shine a light on Alzheimer’s disease.”

Meanwhile, Hull-born film producer Chris Hees proved a gracious loser when his Bafta-winning The Bigger Picture lost out in the best animated short category.

Tweeting from the ceremony, the 27-year-old said: “Being pipped by Disney isn’t the worst thing!”

British actor Eddie Redmayne was praised by Professor Stephen Hawking after his portrayal of the famous physicist landed the best actor Oscar.

The 33-year-old won the gong for his performance in The Theory Of Everything after being pitted against another favourite - Michael Keaton - and fellow Briton Benedict Cumberbatch.

Prof Hawking, who has made huge breakthroughs in science while battling motor neurone disease, told of his delight on his Facebook page.

“Well done, Eddie, I’m very proud of you,” he said.

In an emotional response to the “big win”, Redmayne dedicated the win to “all of those people around the world battling” motor neurone disease.

Best director and best picture went to critics’ favourite Birdman, which stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up actor making a stage comeback on Broadway.

AT A GLANCE

Best picture - Birdman

Best director - Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)

Best Actor - Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Best actress - Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Best supporting actor - JK Simmons (Whiplash)

Best supporting actress - Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Best original song - Glory from Selma (Lonnie Lynn, John Legend)

Best adapted screenplay - Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)

Best animated feature - Big Hero 6

Best foreign language film - Ida