'Birdman' soars to Oscar heights on best picture win

( Agencies ) Updated: 2015-02-23 12:49:42

'Birdman' soars to Oscar heights on best picture win

Singers Common (L) and John Legend take the stage to pose with their Oscars after winning the award for best original song for "Glory" from the film "Selma" during the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 22, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

It was a night in which the controversy over the lack of diversity among this year's nominees was front and center. First-time host Neil Patrick Harris opened the telecast with a quip: "Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest, I mean brightest."

But the race theme resonated in a more serious way too, when Common and John Legend got a standing ovation and made many in the audience cry with their performance of "Glory" from the 1960s civil rights drama "Selma."

It won best song, delivering the sole victory to "Selma," the film at the center of the diversity debate, sparked by the exclusion of ethnic minority actors from the four acting categories. The nominations sparked the Twitter hashtag "#OscarsSoWhite.

"'Selma' is now, because the struggle for justice is right now," said Legend in the aftermath of recent racially charged protests in America.

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