The Oscars got off to a slow start but if you were patient and stuck around, there were some gems that pulled at the heartstrings and caused you to say, “Aww.” Other moments shocked you into tears, salty trickles streaming down your face leaving you full-blown verklempt.
J.K. Simmons got us to call our folks
The Best Supporting Actor winner kicked off the night of great acceptance speeches by thanking his wife and children then going on to praise all the parents out there and suggesting that we call our moms and dads and “tell them you love them.” Not a text, not an email, just let them hear the sounds of our voices. *sniffle* Excuse us, we have a call to make.
This is usually the part of the evening where we well up but this was probably the least tear-jerker-y moment of the night — with the exception of the irate people on Twitter who had angry tears in their eyes after realizing Joan Rivers and Elaine Stritch‘s names were missing from the list. A shame.
— Scott Nevins (@ScottNevins) February 23, 2015
Lady Gaga channelled Maria Von Trapp
The outrageous singer proved she was more than just wigs and meat dresses with her jaw-dropping tribute to The Sound of Music, making Julie Andrews and all the rest of us tear up. Brava.
Pawel Pawlikowski kept on going
It was no surprise when Ida was awarded Best Foreign Language Film and director Pawlikowski’s improvised speech went a little long. But it seemed like the more the walk-off music played, and got louder, the more determined he was to keep talking. “And I would like to dedicate [the Oscar] to my late wife. And my parents who are not among the living,” adding, “And my children, who are hopefully watching.” It could’ve been awkward but he won us all over. Take that, orchestra!
Patricia Arquette as Norma Rae
Arquette won for Boyhood, and dedicated her win to womanhood. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” #micdrop
Meryl and J.Lo definitely approved.
Julianne Moore’s hubby is the best
Still Alice star Moore was a lock for the Lead Actress award and opened with a crack about her younger husband, Bart Freundlich. She then got serious and spoke about her family and what it meant to play someone with Alzheimer’s and represent their struggles. We were moved, but still couldn’t get past how cute a proud Freundlich was, snapping photos of his wife during her acceptance speech.
Dana Perry shuts down the orchestra
Perry, the producer of the Documentary Short Subect winner Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, spoke out about her son, whom she lost to suicide in 2005. The orchestra had just started playing the dreaded “get off the stage” music but, perhaps learning from Pawlikowski’s speech, even they recognized the solemnity of the moment and immediately stopped as she said, “We should talk about suicide out loud.”
Eddie Redmayne’s genuine response
It was down to Redmayne and Michael Keaton but the young actor’s transformative turn as Stephen Hawking was enough to clinch the Lead Actor statue. The always-sharply dressed man acknowledged that he is a “lucky, lucky man” but before saying the Oscar belongs to every person battling ALS and Hawking and the Hawking family and thanking the cast and crew, his team, his family and his new wife, he let out a glorious “WOW!” that brought tears of joy to everyone’s eyes. A heartfelt reaction that most winners keep contained.
Graham Moore moved the crowd
After winning the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay (for The Imitation Game), the baby-faced writer used his time on stage to give a powerful speech about suicide awareness and depression, confessing that he “tried to commit suicide at 16” and now he’s standing on a stage in front of millions. Amazing.
— Upworthy (@Upworthy) February 23, 2015
John Legend and Common were in their glory
“Glory” may have been Selma‘s only win at the Oscars but it was beautifully and powerfully represented. First by the performance of the Best Original Song nominee, in which the stage set was made to look like the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which crosses the Alabama River in Selma…
… then they killed it with their much-deserved win, as Common and Legend (P.S. who knew their real names are Lonnie Lynn and John Stephens?!) gave an equally riveting speech, in which they spoke out against the mass incarceration of black men, voting rights, and the struggle for justice for all. The whole room was done for.
Now go and restock your tissues supply.