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“Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” are the popular winners today, but this year’s Academy Awards ceremony was full of heart and politically-charged moments as stars took advantage of their moment in the sun.

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 87th Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles Sunday night, successfully providing his talent for on-stage entertainment and comic relief.

Although a few of the categories were close calls, the winners were fairly predictable, including the biggest prize of the night. “Birdman” walked away with the Oscar for best picture, but director Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” could have easily won and fans would have been just as pleased.

Eddie Redmayne won best actor for his transformative performance in “The Theory of Everything.” Redmayne gained some serious award-winning momentum before Oscar night, lifting him above Michael Keaton, who was a long-time frontrunner for his role in “Birdman.”

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Julianne Moore was one of the sure bets this year for best actress. Her role in “Still Alice” details the experience of early onset Alzheimer’s and the impact the disease has on the subject and the people around them. Even though this category was full of great performances, Moore was going to win this category. If there were any viewers last night who hadn’t seen any of the performances in this category, the clips before the announcement clearly worked in Moore’s favor, and one could easily see she was the frontrunner.

J.K. Simmons was the other actor locking up a category weeks before the ceremony. Simmons won for best supporting actor in his role as crazed instructor Terrence Fletcher in “Whiplash.” Before the Oscars, Simmons swept the supporting actor categories at every other award ceremony, making this an easy choice and a deserving award.

Patricia Arquette represented “Boyhood” in the core acting category wins, as she has in many award shows this year, but unlike Simmons, this did not grant her a guaranteed victory. Emma Stone was close behind for her role in “Birdman,” but Arquette prevailed and delivered a powerful speech about equal rights for women in the workplace.

Arquette wasn’t the only political voice. John Legend and Common performed their award-winning song “Glory” before the category for best original song was announced. The song is featured in Ava Duvernay’s film “Selma,” and the two artists took the stage to give their own moving speech, declaring “Selma is now.”

After the nominations were announced for the Oscars several weeks ago, “Selma” was the popular topic after only receiving a nomination for best picture and original song. Many expected the film’s leading role, David Oyelowo, to earn a nomination for best actor, and Ava Duvernay was expected to be one of the front-runners for achievement in directing. With all of the “Selma” snub talk leading up to the Oscars, it was clear last night that the film and its messages rightfully stole the show’s spotlight.

Published by The O’Colly: http://www.ocolly.com/blogs/entertainment/article_cb0cfe88-bb86-11e4-a396-ef813511fe3f.html?mode=image&photo=0

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