Neil Patrick Harris, an awards show veteran, opened the 87th Annual Academy Awards, just as we expected – with a dizzying musical intro, referencing the year's big films and stars in a self-conscious love letter to moving pictures, with some comic back-up from Jack Black and Anna Kendrick. Patrick Harris, served more as a nonintrusive guide through the evening's proceedings and winnings, than an in-your-face-host, and a fine job he did. 

The night threw very few surprises our way, instead, the road to the finish line of award season trod a fairly familiar path. This is no more true than in the case of the four main performance categories. 'Best Supporting Actor' winner J.K Simmons was the first win of the night for his visceral and frightening role in Whiplash. His co-star Miles Teller popped up in a comic backstage link in the show that saw Patrick Harris seemingly locked out of his dressing room and run to the stage in his 'tightie whites' a-la Michael Keaton in Birdman, whilst Teller played the drums. 

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

Eddie Redmayne brought home 'Best Actor' for his superb performance in The Theory of Everything. Having won the SAG, The Golden Globe and the BAFTA, Redmayne still seemed humble and a little stunned to hear his name called and admitted to knowing how lucky he is to be there. We think there was a bit more than luck involved Eddie, but his acceptance was adorable nonetheless. His partner in award-season crime, Julianne Moore, won 'Best Actress' for the raw story of a woman suffering from early on set Alzheimer's disease in Still Alice, Moore was tipped as favourite to win at the polls. 

Patricia Arquette swiped up the 'Best Supporting Actress' award for Boyhood and took the opportunity to speak out about equal pay for the genders in her speech, which won the support of the star studded audience, especially seat buddies Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez.

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

Birdman flew to new heights by winning the biggest gong of the night – 'Best Film', as well as swooping in to collect a 'Best Director' gong for Alejandro González Iñárritu, who used highly technical, long tracking shots in the making of the film. 

Wes Anderson's styalised and quirky  The Grand Budapest Hotel came away with a respectable bounty of technical awards for costume and best make-up among others. 

The Imitation Game, at last saw some reward for its tireless awards campaign, with a win for 'Best Adapted Screenplay' gaining the film some award recognition just in time, before the curtain closed on this awards season.   

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

Music was a strong theme of the evening, which saw performances from Adam Levine, Tegan and Sara along with Lonely Island performing Everything is Awesome from the Lego Movie, Jennifer Hudson belted a ballad at the close of the 'In Memoriam' tribute and Tim McGraw sang a stripped down rendition of I'm Not Gonna Miss You. 

The real magic happened when John Legend and Common performed Glory from the film Selma, with choral accompaniment. There wasn't a dry eye in the house from Chris Pine to David Oyelowo (who stars as Martin Luther King in Selma.) And the pair won 'Best Song' just after their performance, which kept the audience on their feet in appreciation and in solidarity to the song's poignant message. 

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The surprise performance of the night came from Lady Gaga who abandoned the Gaga gimmicks and delivered a note perfect tribute medley of The Sound of Music before introducing the original Maria herself – Julie Andrews – to the stage, who presented an award. 

The ceremony felt a bit less Hollywood-in-crowd than in recent years, it had a relaxed flow which is in large part due to Neil Patrick Harris, who (intentionally or not) didn't hog the limelight with too many gags and quips, or maybe we just missed them. For once, we were allowed to feel a bit like we were part of the gang...

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances

The Ceremony, Winners and Performances