This week saw the return of everyone’s favourite red carpet fandango. Usually just a hangout for the richest and smarmiest, this year’s Oscars ceremony seemed particularly political.
The #askhermore campaign picked up traction after Reese Witherspoon called for journalists to ask more interesting questions of female celebrities than ‘who are you wearing?’. But are audiences and the fashion industry ready to listen? Ryan Seacrest tried ditching the question in 2010, leading to an outcry from fashion designers. “It was almost like he wasn’t that interested in the designers. He seemed more interested in the celebrities and their careers” puzzled designer Nicole Miller.
Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech, championing equal rights for women, was met with raucous approval from some of the audience. Host Neil Patrick Harris poked fun at the Academy’s lack of diversity with a quip about Hollywood’s ‘best and whitest’ – hammering home the disturbing fact that all of this year’s 20 acting nominees were white. John Legend and Common performed their Oscar winning song ‘Glory’, from ‘Selma’, and spoke of the struggle for justice.
Issues surrounding degenerative illnesses were prevalent. Julianne Moore won best actress for her portrayal of a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s and Eddie Redmayne took home the best actor prize for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking.
‘Citizenfour’, the controversial documentary about Edward Snowden, won in its category, thrusting his plight back into the limelight. It was also the year that‘cheaper’ films took the lead. The average budget of the nominees for the top prize was $21m, against $153m for the top grossers of 2014.
Despite all this, Bing successfully predicted all the top awards of the evening. In total, Microsoft predicted 84% of the 24 results. That’s either a testament to the infamous search engine, or the predictability of the Academy.