Neil Patrick Harris opens Oscars 2015 with a bang in his opening monologue

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Best Moments: Neil Patrick Harris' 2015 Oscars Monologue

BY MARY KINNEY

Neil Patrick Harris had big shoes to fill after Ellen DeGeneres hosted last year -- but Harris killed it with his opening monologue. He began with a dig at the white-washing of this awards ceremony, noting that they were celebrating "the best and the whitest." After 'Selma' was famously snubbed, this hit the Academy where it hurt.

Yet the jabs at the Academy were swiftly outshadowed by an incredible musical production. Neil Patrick Harris famously hosted the Tony Awards and the Emmys -- and he definitely has a knack for musical theater after his leading role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch.'

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Neil Patrick Harris opens Oscars 2015 with a bang in his opening monologue
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Host Neil Patrick Harris speaks onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Host Neil Patrick Harris performs on stage for the 87th Oscars February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Host Neil Patrick Harris performs on stage for the 87th Oscars February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Host Neil Patrick Harris performs onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Host Neil Patrick Harris performs onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Host Neil Patrick Harris performs onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actor Neil Patrick Harris attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards held at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Host Neil Patrick Harris performs onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Host Neil Patrick Harris performs on stage with actress Anna Kendrick for the 87th Oscars February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Host Neil Patrick Harris (R) and actor David Burtka attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Host Neil Patrick Harris attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Neil Patrick Harris (R) and his husband David Burtka arrive on the red carpet for the 87th Oscars February 22nd, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Host Neil Patrick Harris (R) and David Burtka attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage)
Neil Patrick Harris(R) and David Burtka arrive on the red carpet for the 87th Oscars on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
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The star-studded musical monologue featured Anna Kendrick lending her beautiful voice. Dancers began to join in the song devoted to "moving pictures" -- after a brief interruption from angsty Jack Black.

At the end of the massive production, the 'How I Met Your Mother' star added, "That was all improvised." The host proved once again that he could host the Oscars with grace -- and a little bit of biting humor.

See the Oscars behind the scenes:
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video at top: Inside the Oscars moments 2015
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Neil Patrick Harris opens Oscars 2015 with a bang in his opening monologue
Rain begins to pour on best actor nominee Michael Keaton from the film "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" as he is interviewed on the red carpet ahead of the Academy Awards ceremonies in Hollywood, California.
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actress Reese Witherspoon takes a selfie at the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Dwayne Johnson arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)
Dwayne Johnson arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)
Felicity Jones arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Editors Note: (This image has been editted using digital filters) Actress Sienna Miller (L) and her dad Edwin arrive at the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Chris Pratt arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)
Rita Ora, left, and Georgina Chapman arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Eddie Redmayne, left, and Cate Blanchett arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actresses Jennifer Aniston (L) and Emma Stone attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
J.K. Simmons arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: David Oyelowo and Michael Keaton attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actor Ethan Hawke (R) and Ryan Hawke attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/WireImage)
Chris Pratt, left, and Anna Faris arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Host Neil Patrick Harris performs at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Singer Lady Gaga onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Adrien Brody is seen before the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
John Legend, left, and Chrissy Teigen stand in the audience at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Adam Levine arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)
Edward Norton, left, and Naomi Watts speak in the audience at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Host Neil Patrick Harris, left, and Anna Kendrick perform at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
J.K. Simmons, left, and Michelle Schumacher are seen in the audience at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
J.K. Simmons, left, and Meryl Streep stand in the audience at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
David Oyelowo, left, and Ava DuVernay appear in the audience at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Director Clint Eastwood (L) attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Clint Eastwood, left, and Bradley Cooper arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Steve Carell, left, and host Neil Patrick Harris talk in the audience at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actress Scarlett Johansson attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actress Zoe Saldana (L) and artist Marco Perego attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Tegan Quin and Sara Quin of 'Tegan and Sara' and Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone of 'The Lonely Island' perform 'Everything Is Awesome' from 'The Lego Movie' onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Host Neil Patrick Harris (C-L) interacts with actor David Oyelowo (R) at the 87th Oscars February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Jennifer Lopez reacts during the 87th Oscars February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Host Neil Patrick Harris stands unclothed onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
J.K. Simmons, left, and Michelle Schumacher are seen in the audience at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actress Sienna Miller and actor Chris Evans speak onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actor Bradley Cooper reacts from the front row during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Ethan Hawke, left, congratulates Patricia Arquette after she wins the award for best actress in a supporting role for “Boyhood” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Singer Rita Ora perfoms 'Grateful' from 'Beyond the Lights' onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Anna Kendrick, left, and Kevin Hart present the award for achievement in an animated short film at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Emmanuel Lubezki celebrates with actress Emma Stone after Lubezki wins the Best Cinematogrphy Award for 'Birdman' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, right, congratulates Emmanuel Lubezki after he won the awardsfor best cinematographer for “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Jared Leto talks with Lupita Nyong'o in the front row during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Maya Rudolph, left, and Michael Keaton are seen in the audience at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actor Idris Elba and actress Jessica Chastain speak onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: John Legend performs 'Glory' from 'Selma' onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
John Travolta (R) and Idina Menzel present an award on stage at the 87th Oscars February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Oprah Winfrey, left, congratulates John Legend after he won the award for best original song in a feature film for “Glory” from “Selma" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Lonnie Lynn aka Common hugs actor David Oyelowo and John Stephens aka John Legend hugs Oprah Winfrey after winning the Best Original Song Award for 'Glory' from 'Selma' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Singer Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Alexandre Desplat hugs director Wes Anderson after Desplat wins the Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score for 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Lady Gaga, left, and Julie Andrews speak at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Hans Zimmer, right, congratulates Alexandre Desplat after he won the award for original score in a feature film for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Edward Norton, right, congratulates Alejandro G. Inarritu after he won the award for the best original screenplay for “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: (L-R) Actors Scott Adsit, Damon Wayans Jr., Jamie Chung, director Don Hall, actor Ryan Potter, producer Roy Conli, actress Genesis Rodriguez, director Chris Williams, and actor T.J. Miller attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actor Eddie Redmayne accepts the Best Actor in a Leading Role Award for 'The Theory of Everything' from Cate Blanchett onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Felicity Jones, left, congratulates Eddie Redmayne after he won the award for best actor in a leading role for “The Theory of Everything” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Julianne Moore reacts in the audience after winning the award for best actress in a leading role at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Matthew McConaughey, right, presents Julianne Moore with the award for best actress in a leading role at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Neil Patrick Harris presents his Oscar predictions at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Neil Patrick Harris, and from left, Benedict Cumberbatch and Naomi Watts are seen backstage at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Hudson are seen backstage at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Common, left, and John Legend pose in the press room with the award for best original song in a feature film for “Glory” from “Selma” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actress Margot Robbie (L) attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actress Nicole Kidman (R) attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Show producer Neil Maron and singer Idina Menzel backstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
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