Michael Keaton and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu with cast and crew accept the Best Picture award for "Birdman" during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on Feb. 22, 2015, in Hollywood, California.
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The long take of "Birdman" has stretched all the way to the Oscars, where the jazzy, surreal comedy about an actor fleeing his superhero past, took Hollywood's top honor in a ceremony punctuated by passionate pleas for equality.
In a battle of B-movies for best picture, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded "Birdman" best picture, opting for a movie that epitomizes much of Hollywood - showy, ego-mad, desperate for artistic credibility - over one ("Boyhood") that prized naturalism and patience. "Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" also won best director for Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, best original screenplay and best cinematography.
"Maybe next year the government will inflict immigration restrictions, " said Innaritu, recalling last year's best director winner, Alfonso Cuaron. "Two Mexicans in a row. That's suspicious, I guess."
The Oscar for best actor went to Eddie Redmayne, who tackled the real-life role of physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything."
"I am fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man, " he said. "This Oscar, wow! This belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS."
Julianne Moore, winning best actress for portrayal of a linguistics professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, told the audience, "There is no such thing as best actress, as evidenced by the performances of my fellow nominees."
"I'm so happy, I'm thrilled that we were able to shine a light on Alzheimer's disease, " she added. "So many people who have this disease feel marginalized. People who have Alzheimer's disease deserve to be seen so we can find a cure."
Host Neil Patrick Harris kicked off the 87th Academy Awards with a chipper tone that sought to celebrate Hollywood, while also slyly parodying it. "Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest - I mean brightest, " he said, referencing the ceremony's much-discussed lack of diversity.
Harris' opening quickly segued into a "Moving Pictures" song-and-dance routine that celebrated a love for movies, complete with dancing Peter Pan-style shadows, classic movie scenes, a Cinderella-style cameo from Anna Kendrick and a villain to his sunny outlook in Jack Black - who jumped on stage to counter that Hollywood wasn't so fabulous, making movies "opening with lots of zeroes, all we get is superheroes."
"After 'Fifty Shades of Grey, '" Black added, referring to this weekend's top box office draw, "they'll all have leather whips."
The night's first Oscar went to J.K. Simmons, a career character actor widely acclaimed for one of his biggest parts: a drill sergeant of a jazz band instructor in the indie "Whiplash." Simmons fittingly accepted his supporting acting Oscar with some straightforward advice.