I love awards shows. Like, REALLY love them. I like the fashion and the red carpet, but what I like best are the speeches. This year, the Oscar winners did not disappoint.
Here’s a list of my top five Oscars moments:
5. Host Neil Patrick Harris opens the show with what we’re all thinking
At least the Oscars were self-aware of their lack of diversity? Or at least NPH was. One of his first lines of the night acknowledged what everyone’s been talking about since the nominees were announced.
“Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest.”
4. JK Simmons wins an Oscar, tells us to call our parents
JK Simmons won Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash, and during his acceptance speech he took a moment reminding us to honor our parents.
“Call your mom, everybody. I’ve told like a billion people or so. Call your mom, call you’re dad. If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone. Tell them you love them, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”
3. Multiple winners acknowledge that suicide is a problem we need to talk about openly
There were many touching moments this year, but two winners in particular showed tremendous courage in talking about how their lives have been touched by suicide. First, Dana Perry (Best Documentary Short for “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”) dedicated her award to her son, who she lost to suicide.
“We should talk about suicide out loud,” Perry said as she accepted her award.
The Imitation Game screenwriter, Graham Moore, also spoke about his own experience with suicide.
“I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message along.
2. Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore
Best Actor (The Theory of Everything) Eddie Redmayne and Best Actress (Still Alice) Julianne Moore paid tribute in their speeches to all the folks battling debilitating illnesses like Alzheimer’s and ALS.
Moore, who won for playing a 50-year-old woman with early on-set Alzheimer’s, said:
“So many people who have this disease feel marginalized. People who have Alzheimer’s disease deserve to be seen so we can find a cure.”
Redmayne, who won for portraying Stephen Hawking battling ALS, to Hawking’s wife, Jane, and all the people around the world battling ALS.
1. Common and John Legend won Best Song for “Glory,” from Selma, a movie about the American Civil Rights movement.
Their performance was incredibly moving, leading Selma star David Oyelowo (not nominated) and Chris Pine (among others, I’m sure) to be moved to tears.
Common and Legend spoke about how Selma is a movie about the past and the present, touching on the mass incarceration of black men, the Voting Rights Act and efforts to restrict voting access, and the struggle for justice for all. You have to watch the performance and Common and Legend’s acceptance speech.
Are the Oscars going to solve these problems? No. But for an evening honoring Hollywood’s achievements, this year’s winners highlighted some important issues facing us today.