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Photo Credit: PR Photos 

Last night's Oscars were full of stunning celebrities, jaw-dropping performances and of course, an unanticipated acceptance speech by the writer of Imitation Game, Graham Moore. While most actors thanked the Academy and fellow actors for support, Moore did one better and promoted the importance of being different.

"This sort of felt like the thing I always wanted to say and I never thought in my life I'd actually be on a stage and say it," Moore said.

After taking home the award for Best Adapted Screen Play Moore referenced his life-long battle with depression and mental illness.

“I deal with depression every day,” he told reporters in the press room. “I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I'm standing here.”

His film, Imitation Game is centered Alan Turing, a man who solved the Enigma Code and helped the United States defeat Nazi forces in WW2. Turing was the founder of computer science and is also considered a philosopher, mathematical biologist and long distance runner. Despite making huge contributions to science and technology, Turing was never recognized for his brilliant achievement. He killed himself at the age of 41 in 1954.

"Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out at all of these disconcertingly attractive faces. I do! And that's the most unfair thing I've ever heard," said Moore. 

As a graduate of Columbia University, Moore also mentioned the importance of marching to your own beat. 

“Stay weird, stay different and then, when it's your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along,” said Moore.

 

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Photo Credit: PR Photos

The question "Who are you wearing?" has become as much of a red carpet staple as the physical carpet itself. It's the first question asked in any actress' interview. This year though, there is a public push for more insightful questions to be asked to actresses via the viral campaign #AskHerMore. 

The social movement challenges the idea that red carpet interviews should be focused only on an actress' fashion and beauty choices. It encourages interviewers and reporters on the carpet to ask more substantial questions. If they're struggling for ideas, Twitter users are meant to use the hashtag to share their own questions. The campaign looks at the red carpet as a place where actresses should be able to talk about their careers, projects and causes they support. 

 

"Imagine a world where celebrities were championing their causes on the red carpet," Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of the Representation Project that started the campaign, told The Hollywood Reporter. "Can you imagine the impact? Their messages would trickle down as inspiration for others to get involved in causes."

The #AskHerMom campaign garnered a lot of attention last night at The Oscars, but it was actually started more than a year ago at the 2014 Emmy Awards. It's also not the first time anyone has suggested interviewers ask actresses more thoughtful questions during award shows. Red carpet host extraordinaire Ryan Seacrest tried in 2010 to eliminate the question "Who are you wearing?" in favor of more in-depth questions during his Oscar coverage, to which he was extremely criticized. This year he again tried to get more creative with his questions, which unfortunately led him asking Oscar nominee Naomi Watts about her breakfast frittata instead of you know, her career.

But just because Seacrest is having a little difficulty expanding his question repertoire, doesn't mean every interviewer is. We got a few wonderful questions and answers on the Oscars red carpet last night, particularly when Julianne Moore was able to speak up about the misnomer that Alzheimer's was a normal a part of aging and not a disease. Lupita Nyong'o told Entertainment Tonight she enjoys being asked about her profession, as it's where she's an expert. 

The argument is there that discussion about an actress' dress is necessary as many designers lend, and some times even pay, the actresses to wear their gowns for publicity purposes. 

Designer Reem Acra told Refinery 29, "You have someone big wearing your dress on the red carpet and automatically the next day the emails or orders will pour in." 

So a mention of what designer an actress is wearing may be fair, but it also doesn't mean it's the only thing the actress should have to talk about. Reese Witherspoon said it perfectly in her interview with ABC Robin Roberts, "We are more than just our dresses."  

The Oscars proved to be another glamorous evening with beautiful dresses, an energetic Neil Patrick Harris, phenomenal performances, and more importantly, amazing speeches that held important messages. Here are some of the best acceptance speeches of the night that had the audience cheering for more!

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Patricia Arquette

Best Supporting Actress - Boyhood

Arquette took the stage with emotion in her voice as she read through her written list of those to thank, which included family, friends, agents, Richard Linklater (Boyhood director), the cast and crew, and those she has worked with to aid developing countries along with give.org. Before she wrapped up her words, she gave thanks to "every woman who gave birth to every tax payer and citizen of the nation."

"We fought for everybody else's equal rights, it's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."

The Dolby Theater was filled with resounding applause and shouts approval as the camera panned throughout the audience showing an ecstatic Meryl Streep and wide smile from Arquette co-star, Ethan Hawke. This was Arquette's first Oscar and what a memorable moment it was!

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J.K. Simmons

Best Supporting Actor -Whiplash

Simmons kept a heart-warming smile on everyone's face as he thanked his wife and children, joking throughout. As many are used to laughing along with Simmons and his witty dialogue, he had the room's attention when he said, "Call your mothers. Everyone."

"Call your mom, call your 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."

With a round of applause, he thanked his own mother and father and exited with a big grin. The night was on track for meaningful messages.

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Common and John Legend

Best Original Song - "Glory", Selma

After an emotional performance that brought the audience to tears, Common and John Legend took the stage again to accept their award. With the power of Dr. Martin Luther King that inspired Selma and their song "Glory," the speech reflected a call to action for injustice that still exists in this time.

"Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now." John Legend went onto say that, "When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on. God bless you."

Common went on to speak about what the bridge that Dr. King marched on in Selma meant as a symbol to him, and what it still means.

"The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status," he said. "This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated with love for all human beings."

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Graham Moore

Best Adapted Screenplay - The Imitation Game

Graham Moore won his first Oscar and felt it was unfair that he got to stand in front of a crowd for recognition and Alan Turing (the cryptanalyst The Imitation Game is based on) never did. Instead he was prosecuted for homosexuality and ended up committing suicide at the age of 41. Moore took his moment and dedicated it to suicide prevention and comforting those who do not feel like they are understood.

"When I was 16 I tried to kill myself because I felt weird, and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong. And now I'm standing here," he said. "I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she's weird, or she's different and doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes you do. I promise 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."

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Eddie Redmayne

Best Actor - The Theory of Everything

Redmayne went forward to accept his award with such glee and shock, so much so that he had to pause and say "wow" while on stage. He humbly thanked the Academy and went on to dedicate the award to those with the disease that he learned so much about and even embodied as he portrayed Stephen Hawking.

"This belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS. It belongs to one exceptional family, Stephen, Jane, Jonathan, and the Hawking children."

With buzzing excitement, he thanked his co-star and "partner in crime" Felicity Jones, everyone involved with the film, and his wife who he told they will have a "new little fellow living with us in the apartment."

Who was your favorite winner of the night? Share with us what speech took your breath away on Twitter @WomensForum!

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Award season has just ended and movie lovers are reflecting on the 87th Annual Academy Awards held Sunday night in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. With Boyhood and Birdman winning big, and Neil Patrick Harris killing it as host, it might be difficult to recall every favorite moment of the night. Luckily, we’ve listed some of the best...

1. Patricia Arquette for Wage Equality

Patricia Arquette, who was expected to win the Best Supporting Actress award for her work in Boyhood, was well prepared with an emotional speech. After thanking her family, friends, etc., the actress went on to voice her hopes for wage equality among women. Arquette said, "To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody’s else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America." And Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez agreed with every word.

2. John Legend and Common Bring Tears to the Audience

"Glory," the anthem of Selma which won the Oscar for Best Original Song, was performed by John Legend and Common and received an emotional response from the Oscar crowd. Both artists were reportedly nervous for the performance, but knocked it out of the start-studded park! Stars including David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, and Chris Pine were seen crying in the audience while the song played. 

3. Neil Patrick Harris' On-Stage Package

Neil Patrick Harris’ Oscar predictions weren’t the only precious cargo he brought with him Sunday night. The host paid homage to Best Picture winner Birdman when he was scurrying around backstage with only his underwear on. Like Keaton, Harris was jokingly flustered and anxious before walking by drummer and star of Whiplash, Miles Teller. Harris snapped at him like Simmons and screamed, "That’s not my tempo!"

4. Lady Gaga Sings Sound of Music

Recently engaged Lady Gaga belted out her best vocals for the Julie Andrews tribute. Momma Monster sang ballads from The Sound of Music, and not only did she bring the crowd to a standing ovation, Julie Andrews herself appeared on stage after the performance where she told Gaga how touched she was.

5. Terrence Howard Chokes Up

Terrence Howard became surprisingly emotional when showcasing the Best Picture nominees of the night. Before introducing The Imitation Game and Selma, Howard trembled when saying, “Our next film… our next film is amazing, I’m blown away right now myself.” Howard then spoke of The Imitation Game and Alan Turing who was prosecuted for being gay.

6. Name Flubs

Neil Patrick Harris wasn’t quite perfect, but he was close. The charming actor stumbled over some difficult names including David Oyelowo, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Margot Robbie.

7. Name Flubs Pt. 2

Speaking of name flubs, John Travolta returned to the Oscars stage with Idina Menzel! Menzel introduced her friend John Travolta jokingly and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage my dear friend, Glom Gazingo.” Travolta replied, “I deserve that.”

8. Awkward

Before the show even began, the 50 Shades of Grey actress Dakota Johnson, and mom Melanie Griffith stepped onto the red carpet together again. Things got super awkward though when Lara Spencer from ABC brought up the classic question to Griffith, “Are you going to see the film?” When Griffith suggested that she would probably take a pass, her daughter did a classic "Wow, mom" reaction.


 

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If there is one thing we all know about Neil Patrick Harris, it is that he can command a room. This was absolutely the case as he hosted the 87th Academy Awards with charm, performance, comedy, and class. Even when the clock was ticking faster and faster and the acceptance speech cut-off music began to play sooner and sooner, NPH stuck with the program and kept the show moving right along.

The Opening Number

Neil Patrick Harris showcased his musical background with none other than a grand opening number at the Oscars. He sang his way through Oscar tropes such as stars enjoying a little too much drinking throughout the night of which he stated, "no one's drunk and bitter yet 'cause no one has lost." Of course the camera cut to a dapper Benedict Cumberbatch glugging away at his own flask. 

NPH then went into a tribute of many classics in cinema history and glamorous stars, such as Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe, with a wonderfully choreographed dance with his own shadow. Anna Kendrick joined him in a beautiful duet about moving pictures and their happy endings, except in Gone Girl where NPH meets a nasty fate.

The laughs continue as Jack Black essentially pulled a "Kanye" (however this one was clearly planned and excellently rehearsed) and rants about the film industry and how now we only watch "the screen in our jeans" (a terrific term for our cellphones). Black was soon chased away by Kendrick's shoe being thrown across the stage at him and then the number can come to an end with the same high energy as the beginning. The number was met with a huge round applause, clearly a success.

Aisle Activity

It has become a very common element during award shows for the hosts to walk up and down the aisles while telling their jokes and making sure to include some of the big names of evening. NPH continued with the tradition and was very active in the aisles.

As he addressed seat-fillers for presenters who had to run backstage, he asked the name of each, as well as an unsuspecting Steve Carell. Carell however, is always a good sport and played along with the charade and even gave an answer to who was the celebrity he was most excited to meet: "Oh, Edward Norton, he's right over there!" This seemingly simple act was a huge hit with the crowd and got big laughs.

The Birdman Tribute

Returning from a commercial break, the showrunners seemed to have lost sight of their host and snaked the camera backstage through all of the hustle and bustle to find a stripped NPH. Wearing only tighty whities, black socks, and black shoes, he made his way through the crowds, people heckling and trying to take pictures. This was a hilarious throw to the iconic scene in Birdman where Michael Keaton's character must run through Times Square in that same state after being locked out of a theater.

On the way out to the stage, NPH passed Whiplash star Miles Teller on the drums and tells him, "Not my tempo," referencing to J.K. Simmons. The crowd laughed and cheered on through the entire act and even more so when he carried on hosting as if everything was normal on stage... still in those tighty whities, stating, "Acting is a noble profession."

One-Liners

NPH did well with one-liners and jokes that poked fun at some sore issues. Here are some of the best of the evening.

"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."

“If you're at the Oscar party with the guys who directed 'The Lego Movie,' now would be a great time to distract them." (This is of course in reference to the heated response after the nominees were announced and The Lego Movie did not receive a nomination for Best Animated Feature.)

"This year the nominated actors will receive gift bags containing $160,000 worth of merchandise, including two vacations, makeup, clothes, shoes and an armored-car ride to safety when the revolution comes."

When introducing Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain, "In 'Long Walk to Freedom' he liberated South Africa. In 'Zero Dark Thirty,' she brought down Osama bin Laden. In 'A Million Ways to Die in the West,' I pooped in a hat."

The Predictions Gag

Now on to the recurring joke of the evening that did not have a satisfying payoff. There was a huge setup of locking away NPH's Oscar predictions and checking in every few commercial breaks with Octavia Spencer, who was put in charge of making sure no one tampered with the locked box. Each time there were laughs, fewer and fewer as the night went on, and by the time every award had been announced except for Best Picture, the audience was over it.

The second half of the show was clearly being rushed for time, but the Oscar show-runners decided to go through and finish the big joke (which wasn't really wanted at this point). The predictions were one-liners referencing the events of the show that could have worked if they were opened earlier in the evening. NPH had to power through line after line, joke after joke, and the response was just not there. If all of the energy and attention spent on this locked prediction box had been cut from the show, there would have been a little extra time for more successful jokes and entertainment rather than this flop. 
 

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