Best Picture: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Birdman also won Academy Awards for Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), Directing (Alejandro G. Iñárritu), and Original Screenplay (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo).
Lubezki's win made him only the fifth cinematographer to be awarded an Oscar in two consecutive years (in 2014 he won for his work on Gravity). The feat was previously accomplished by John Toll, Winton Hoch, Leon Shamroy and Howard Greene.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was the first Mexican-born director to have his film win Best Picture. He was also the second Mexican director to be awarded Best Directing; Alfonso Cuarón won for Gravity in 2014.
Morten Tyldum, who helmed The Imitation Game, became the first Norwegian nominated for Best Directing.
Nearly half of the nominees in the acting categories were first-time Oscar nominees (Steve Carell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne, JK Simmons, Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike, Patricia Arquette and Emma Stone) and three of them won (Redmayne, Simmons, Arquette).
For her performance in Gone Girl, Rosamund Pike became the third Bond girl to be nominated for an Oscar. The British actress played Miranda Frost in Die Another Day (2002). Kim Basinger (Domino Petachi in Never Say Never Again) and Halle Berry (who played Jinx in Die Another Day) both won Oscars: Basinger was awarded Best Supporting Actress for L.A. Confidential (1997) and Berry went home with a Best Actress statuette for her role in Monsters Ball (2001).
The countries of Estonia and Mauritania earned their first-ever Foreign Language nominations. With its win for Ida, Poland broke the streak for most Foreign Language nominations without a win (9).
The Sound of Music celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, which the Oscars commemorated with a special tribute including a performance by Lady Gaga of several of its songs ("The Sound Of Music," "My Favorite Things," "Edelweiss," and "Climb Every Mountain"). When she finished performing, she was embraced onstage by Julie Andrews.
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
To Harry Belafonte: For a lifetime of demonstrating how art is ennobled by ceaseless courage and conscience.
To Jean-Claude Carrière: Whose elegantly crafted screenplays elevate the art of screenwriting to the level of literature.
To Hayao Miyazaki: A master storyteller whose animated artistry has inspired filmmakers and audiences around the world.
To Maureen O’Hara: One of Hollywood’s brightest stars, whose inspiring performances glowed with passion, warmth and strength.