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From awkward to awesome: The 20 best Oscar moments from the 2015 Academy Awards

87th Academy Awards, Oscars, Telecast
Mark Suban/©A.M.P.A.S.
Another Oscar awards night has come and gone, and, predictably, the star-studded, spectacular event served up plenty to gawk at. Between host Neil Patrick Harris’ opening antics and Lady Gaga’s knock-out vocal performance, one could almost forget there were some little golden statues to hand out.

Sure, the awards are important, but let’s be honest: Long after we’ve forgotten who won the award for Best Sound Editing, or Best Makeup, we’ll have these 20 water cooler moments to relish:

Moving Pictures

Neil Patrick Harris’ (NPH) opening number. From the cool shadow movements, to insinuations about the relationship between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Jack Black stealing the spotlight with a rant about cookie-cutter superhero movies and movie-watching on tiny smartphones; it was one of the best we’ve seen in recent years. Watch it below:


Eddie Murphy being spotted in the audience and presenting: remember when he was this close to hosting? Eddie for 2016, anyone?

Best Earworm ever?

Everything is Awesome: the performance, the song, the decked out dancers. While you love to hate the song because it’s a total earworm, you still can’t deny that the performance – with Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island – was, well, pretty awesome. The only thing that could have made it better was if Chris Pratt and Will Ferrell jumped out to dance and lip-sync along. We’ve got the performance below … just don’t blame us if you’re humming it in your head all day, mmmkay?

Got Balls?

NPH’s perfect re-enactment of a key scene in The Birdman, which led him to appear on stage in nothing but his tighty-whities. Now that takes balls.

Snubbed, but still awesome

The uncomfortable joke about The Lego Movie’s noticeable absence from the nominee list for Best Animated Feature Film. But seriously, the flick was robbed!


The awkward silence between NPH and Steve Carrell when the former tried to engage in some audience chatter. It was only about 5 seconds, but in live television time, it was an eternity of awkwardness, until NPH finally woke up from his frozen state and came up with something – anything – to ask the Foxcatcher actor (and nominee.) Luckily, the quick-witted Carrell saved the moment with a witty retort.

Even more awkward!

The awkward silence between NPH and Robert Duvall, when the former asked the latter a question from the stage, and he responded with a stone face. Luckily, NPH managed to get himself out of it by deflecting the joke to Eddie Redmayne. Whew!

Girl Power!

Patricia Arquette sneaking in a rant about equal pay for women into her acceptance speech, and watching J-Lo and Meryl Streep go nuts with approval. Girl power forever, folks.

Short stuff

Kevin Hart and Anna Kendrick fittingly presenting the award for animated short, and poking fun at the obvious implications. (Hint: Kendrick is only 5’1’’, and though she was wearing heels, Hart was still considerably shorter than her.)

What just happened?

The artistic sketched picture of Robin Williams in the In Memorium feature that looked absolutely nothing like him; and the noticeable absence of Joan Rivers, who once upon a time did some controversial red carpet work for the event, from the tribute.

Even more short stuff

The clear trending of the pixie cut for ladies. Stylists, gear up for an onslaught of hair appointments starting today from anxious fangirls looking to duplicate it.

Wishful thinking

Emma Stone hopefully clutching her Lego Oscar handout as she awaits the reading of the recipient for the Best Supporting Actress award. Well, hopefully she at least got to keep the Lego. Just ask Will Ferrell for a little Kragle to ensure it can never be taken apart, Emma.

Legend is a Legend

How John Legend always seems to truly rock. All. The. Time.

Whip it good

The surprise upset of Whiplash winning a ton of awards.

Grab a tissue

Julianne Moore looking like she was crying every time a camera panned over to her. Was she really that moved by everyone’s speech? Or just practicing her acting skills? It appears there really was nothing to cry about since she won the coveted Best Actress award.

Sweet Revenge

“Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s not only the most awesome name in show business. It’s also the sound you get when you ask John Travolta to pronounce Ben Affleck.” Best joke of the night.Speaking of which, Idina Menzel gets her sweet revenge by introducing John Travolta as her “very good friend, Glom Gazingo.” Followed by Travolta trying to redeem himself by getting Menzel’s name right, but being uber-creepy by caressing and getting right up in her face. Er, tone it down a notch, Danny Zuko!

Gaga for Gaga

If her performance with Tony Bennett didn’t convince you, Lada Gaga’s performance from The Sound of Music in tribute to Julie Andrews will sell you on her incredible singing chops.

But seriously

The inspirational acceptance speech given by Graham Moore, Screenwriter for The Imitation Game, about his suicide attempt at 16 because he felt “weird” and “different.” And his urging to all those kids out there who feel the same to continue to be weird and be different, and their time will come, too, when they can embrace it, and everyone else will, too. Best speech of the night.


But seriously, Academy, you know the broadcast always runs over – do those of us who use DVRs a favor and just book 3.5 hours – you know you’ll need it. There’s nothing worse than getting through the entire recording only to find out that it cuts out before the anticipated Best Actor/Actress and Film awards are doled out.

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Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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