Los Angeles | Dark comedy Birdman, the story of a former superstar struggling for career revival on Broadway, walked away with four Oscars including best picture and director honours. It was a big moment for Mexican director Alejandro G Inarritu, 51, who shared three of the four wins of his film that also bagged cinematography and original screenplay awards at the song-and-dance filled ceremony where winners made passionate speeches about equality.
In honouring the small-budget film with the top prize over Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, the 87th Academy Awards echoed the tradition of recognising Hollywood stories like The Artist and Argo. British star Eddie Redmayne interrupted Birdman’s winning march by clinching the best actor trophy for his physically- transformative turn as physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
It was a close call for Redmayne, 33, as Michael Keaton was his strongest competitor besides Benedict Cumberbatch, Bradley Cooper and Steve Carell. Julianne Moore, 54, won a long overdue Oscar in the best actress category for her poignant portrayal of a mother and academic struggling with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice. Both the top acting categories honoured the indomitable spirit of people fighting rare diseases. Redmayne was visibly nervous as he walked up to the stage to receive his first ever Oscar trophy for portraying Hawking’s gradual physical decline after he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (ALS) at the age of 21.
I am fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man. This Oscar belongs to the people around the world battling ALS. It belongs to one exceptional family: Stephen, Jane, Jonathan and the Hawking children. And I will be its custodian, he said. Moore too threw light on the neurodegenerative disease that leads to memory loss, in her acceptance speech. I’m so happy, I’m thrilled that we were able to shine a light on Alzheimer’s disease. So many people who have this disease feel marginalised.
People who have Alzheimer’s disease deserve to be seen so we can find a cure. Birdman entered the race with nine nominations where it tied with The Grand Budapest Hotel and they were equal in their wins too though Wes Anderson’s quirky period drama won in technical categories like original score, hair and make up, costume and production design.
As the best picture was announced at the end of the ceremony, a beaming Inarritu took to stage with the entire Birdman team. He joked about his poor English-speaking skills besides referring to last year’s best director winner, fellow Mexican Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. The director, however, hoped that Mexicans living in the US can be treated with the same dignity and respect as the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.
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