J. K. Simmons has won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Whiplash. He portrays a cruel and exacting jazz band conductor who torments and humiliates his students.

60 year old Simmons picked up his first ever Oscar nomination for the role as the domineering Terence Fletcher, and first time out he’s gone all the way to scoop the overall prize.

J K Simmons
J K Simmons in 'Whiplash' - winner of Best Supporting Actor at 2015 Oscars

He beat Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Edward Norton (Birdman) and Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) to the prize, which was presented by Lupita Nyong'o.

It’s a huge achievement for Simmons, who has starred in tons of films down the years but has usually been somewhat overlooked for big roles. Decades of work in films like Thank You For Smoking, Spider-Man, Juno – and even the series of Farmer’s Insurance commercials - has finally paid off.

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In his speech, Simmons thanked everyone who was involved with the making of Whiplash but then turned his attention to his family. “I am grateful every day for the most remarkable person I know, my wife Michelle Schumacher.”

“I’m grateful for your love, your kindness, your wisdom, your sacrifice and your patience - which brings me to the above-average children,” he said, calling his son and daughter “extraordinary human beings.”

His performance was widely hailed by many critics, and has even overshadowed Miles Teller’s brilliant role as his drumming student Andrew. In particular, the scene in which he brings Teller to the point of tears in front of the rest of the band is extraordinary and terrifying.

The 87th Academy Awards ceremony is being broadcast live on ABC, and is presented by Neil Patrick Harris.

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