lundi 23 février 2015

Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won the Academy Award for best director Sunday in an early sign the offbeat film was to dominate the annual film awards ceremony.

It also won for best original screenplay and Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki became the first to win best cinematography twice in a row. After winning last year for the lengthy shots of the space adventure Gravity, he won for the stretched out takes of Birdman.

"It sounds like a nightmare," Lubezki said backstage, recalling on his first impression of Inarritu's plans to shoot it as if in one shot. "There was no book on it. It was like an experiment."

Later, British actor Eddie Redmayne, who played cosmologist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of 

Everything, won the Oscar for best actor.

Six of the eight best-picture nominees took awards at the Dolby Theatre: Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel for its hand-made craft; Whiplash for its pulsating pacing and J.K. Simmons' drill-sergeant jazz instructor; Birdman for its elegant cinematography; Boyhood for Patricia Arquette's moving mother; 

American Sniper for its war film sound editing; and Selma for Common and John Legend's best song.

Tony Awards veteran Neil Patrick Harris gave the 87th Academy Awards a chipper tone that sought to celebrate Hollywood, while also slyly parodying it. "Tonight we honour Hollywood's best and whitest -- I mean brightest," he began the night, alluding to the much-discussed lack of diversity in this year's all-white acting nominees.

It was the first salvo in a night that often reverberated with heartfelt pleas for change.
"To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation," said Arquette. "We have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America."

Cheers erupted throughout the Dolby, perhaps the loudest coming from a fellow supporting-actress nominee who Arquette bested: Meryl Streep. "Made my night," Streep told Arquette backstage. Tears streamed down the face of David Oyelowo, who played the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and was famously left out of the best actor nominees, during the rousing performance of the song Glory from the film. Immediately afterward, Common and Legend accepted the best song Oscar with a speech that drew a standing ovation.

"We say that Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now," said Legend. He noted that the Voting Rights Act, whose passage is chronicled in Selma, has been drastically scaled down in recent years.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, a European caper released back around last year's Academy Awards, appeared headed to becoming the night's unlikely leader in trophies. It won for production design, score, costume design and makeup and styling. "Wes, you genius," said score winner Alexandre Desplat. "This is good."

The night's first Oscar went to Simmons, a career character actor widely acclaimed for one of his biggest parts: a drill sergeant of a jazz instructor in the indie Whiplash. Simmons fittingly accepted his supporting acting Oscar with some straightforward advice, urging: "Call your mom. Call your dad."

Backstage, Simmons, known to many from various bit parts or his insurance commercials, recalled a long road as a professional actor that began decades ago in regional theatre in Montana.
"Maybe more people saw me tonight than see me in the commercials," said Simmons.

Canadian director Chris Williams won the Oscar for best animated feature for Big Hero 6. The Kitchener, Ont., animator collected the trophy along with co-director Don Hall and producer Roy Conli. It was the second Oscar nomination for Williams, who also earned a nod for his directorial debut on the 2008 film Bolt.

Canadian sound mixer Craig Mann won an Oscar for his work on the intense drumming film Whiplash. The 38-year-old claimed the sound mixing Academy Award along with co-nominees Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley.

The black-and-white Polish film Ida took best foreign language film, marking the first such win for Poland despite a rich cinema history. Director Pawel Pawlikowski charmed the audience with a bemused acceptance speech that ran drastically over his allotted time.

Pawlikowski remarked on having made a quiet film of contemplation about withdrawing from the world, "and here we are at the epicenter of noise and attention. It's fantastic. Life is full of surprises."

Several of this year's biggest box-office hit nominees -- Clint Eastwood's Iraq war drama American Sniper and Christopher Nolan's sci-fi epic Interstellar -- had to settle for single wins in technical categories. Interstellar won for visual effects, while American Sniper -- far and away the most widely seen of the best-picture nominee -- took the best sound editing award.

The Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, in which Laura Poitras captured Snowden in the midst of leaking National Security Agency documents, won best documentary.

-- The Associated Press

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