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Last night was the most exciting event of the cinematic year, the Academy Awards. Hollywood’s finest gathered in Los Angeles to reward this year’s best pictures and celebrate a year of great cinema. From the thought-provoking speeches to the gorgeous dresses to the ceremony’s standout moments, Culturefly has it covered. Read on for more Oscars news and for a round-up of other movie updates from the last week.

78th Academy Awards: Eddie Redmayne wins Best Actor and Julianne Moore wins Best Actress, #AskHerMore takes control

The Oscars is widely considered the highlight of the cinematic calendar and last night’s ceremony was no exception. Eddie Redmayne was crowned Best Actor at for his acclaimed turn as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Redmayne’s genuine, gleeful excitement and emotive speech was a heartfelt highlight of the ceremony and he chose to dedicate the award to all ALS sufferers around the world and to the Hawking family. Julianne Moore was rewarded for her role as a woman suffering from early on-set Alzheimer’s in Still Alice and won the Best Actress trophy.

Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons and Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette gave some of the best and most heartfelt speeches of the night, with Simmons thanking his parents and advising the world to do the same: “Call your mom, call your dad. If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call ‘em. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone”, ordered Simmons. “Tell ‘em you love ‘em, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you. Thank you. Thank you, Mom and Dad.”

Arquette, meanwhile, accepted her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Boyhood and dedicated her award: “To every woman who gave birth to every citizen and taxpayer in this nation. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and to have equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Arquette’s speech received enthusiastic applause from the audience and huge praise across the web, but no one reacted better than Meryl Streep whose delighted wooping and cheering alongside J-Lo quickly went viral.

The Imitation Game won Best Adapted Screenplay and screenwriter Graham Moore gave an equally moving speech, in which he gave hope to all young people who might feel out of place or feel as if they don’t belong: “When I was 16 years old I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and different and did not belong… and now I’m standing here. So I would like this moment to be for that kid out there who feels they’re weird and doesn’t fit in. Stay weird, stay different, and when it’s your turn to stand on a stage like this, pass the message along.”

Other highlights from the ceremony included host Neil Patrick Harris’ musical opening monologue, in which he celebrated the history of moving pictures with references to classic movie moments and the nominated films. The number was bold in scale and very well delivered, with Harris getting brilliant support from Anna Kendrick (in her Into the Woods Cinderella ball gown) and Jack Black, who gave a wonderfully cynical alternative to the number’s celebratory tone. Viewers argued Harris failed to sustain the heights of his opening number, but nevertheless the song was a great way to start the night. More musical highlights included Common and John Legend’s moving rendition of their Oscar-wining song ‘Glory’ which features in the movie Selma and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. The performance moved many audience members to tears and provoked a standing ovation.

The Sound of Music was also celebrated during the ceremony. The classic film turns fifty this year and Lady Gaga took to the stage to perform a medley of the film’s most iconic songs: The Sound Of Music, My Favourite Things, Edelweiss and Climb Ev’ry Mountain. Gaga, known for her outrageous outfits and over-the-top staging, kept things simple and her pitch-perfect, gorgeous performance was greeted with universal acclaim. The film’s star, Dame Julie Andrews, joined Gaga on stage and lauded her with praise:

Dear Lady Gaga, thank you for that wonderful tribute. Oh my God. It really warmed my heart, it really did. It’s hard to believe that 50 years have gone by since that glorious film was released. I blinked and suddenly here I am. I think that I do speak for everyone connected with the movie when I say we all really felt blessed to have been a part of it and as for me, well, how lucky can a girl get?”

The mutual respect between the two stars and Gaga’s stellar performance was a highlight of the night.

The Academy Awards are always rightly recognized for the beautiful fashion. This year was no exception, with Julianne Moore’s sequined Chanel gown and Lupita Nyong’o’s white beaded Calvin Klein number two of the highlights, but notably stars such as Reese Witherspoon were championing the #AskHerMore campaign, spearheaded by The Representation Project. Witherspoon wrote on Instagram:

“It’s meant to inspire reporters to ask creative questions on the red carpet. I love the Oscars AND fashion like many of you – and I am excited to share #WhoAmIWearing later tonight. (not yet!!) But I’d also love to answer some of these Qs … And hear your suggestions?!”

Lupita Nyong’o, last year’s Best Actress winner for 12 Years A Slave, agreed wholeheartedly with Witherspoon: “I enjoy being asked about my craft, my profession. That’s where I’m an expert.” The Oscars red carpet fashion is always a highlight and celebrating the gorgeous gowns is important, but it was wonderful to see actresses being given the opportunity to answer more in-depth questions on the red carpet.

In other film news: 

– Scarlett Johansson is known for her varied career choices. Since her break-out role in Lost in Translation, Johansson has balanced her commitment to blockbusters such as The Avengers with roles in acclaimed independent movies such as Under the Skin. This week it was announced that Johansson will star in the film adaptation of acclaimed novel The Psychopath Test. The film is being adapted by Kristen Gore, daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, and is an in-depth discussion of what defines a person as a psychopath.

– Jennifer Lawrence was sadly missed at this year’s Academy Awards, but the actress was instead busy filming her latest film Joy, her third collaboration with Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell and her fourth with co-star Bradley Cooper. The movie tells the story of Joy Mangano, a single mother who became one of America’s most successful entrepeuners thanks to the creation of Mircale Mop. 20th Century Fox recently released a statement about the film: “Written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker, David O. Russell, Joy is the emotionally compelling and often comedic journey of a woman who triumphed over personal and financial challenges by inventing the ‘Miracle Mop,’ which she sold on QVC and went on to become a hugely successful entrepreneur.”

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