As predicted by everyone, including us, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won Oscars (best actor and supporting actor, respectively) for their performances in the stirring fact-based AIDS-themed drama Dallas Buyers Club when the 86th Academy Awards were handed out in Hollywood Sunday night. Cate Blanchett, another popular winner, took home the statue for best actress for Woody Allen’s contemporary riff on Blanche DuBois in Blue Jasmine. Other big winners including best picture choice 12 Years a Slave, a harrowing look at slavery during the 19th century. The film also earned supporting actress honors for the stunningly beautiful Lupita Nyong’o, who made her film debut in the drama, and who gave what was perhaps the most memorable speech of the evening. Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron became the first Latino to win best director for helming the massive hit Gravity.
While McConaughey’s speech, in which he seemed to thank himself for being his own hero, confounded many viewers, Leto’s words were passionate and perfect. The actor, who won for his vivid portrayal of a transgender woman dying of AIDS, closed his remarks by saying, “This is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS. And to those of you who have ever felt injustice because of who you are and who you love, I stand here in front of the world with you and for you.”
Following the mixed reaction to last year’s irreverent host Seth MacFarlane, out super-producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron persuaded nice-lady comic Ellen DeGeneres to return as emcee after a seven year absence. DeGeneres delivered a relatively witty opening monologue (a joke about Jonah Hill’s penis went over especially well) but afterward most of her material seemed lackluster and her laborious running gag involving a pizza delivery was, well, cheesy. She did score a major victory by persuading numerous A-listers including Meryl Streep, Leto, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and others to join her for an epic selfie. DeGeneres tweeted the pic and encouraged viewers to help make it the most popular retweet of all time. The photo (below) was quickly retweeted more than two million times and caused Twitter to go down for a few seconds.
And what would a live broadcast be without the occasional gaffe? One of the biggest came from noted musical lover John Travolta, who butchered Idina Menzel’s name when he introduced her performance of the best song nominee (and eventual winner) “Let It Go” from Frozen, which also won best animated film. Travolta spouted something that sounded like Adele Dazeem, and a Twitter account for that name was launched immediately and tweets were sent out that mocked the star’s mispronunciation.
The Oscars are
notorious famous for the live musical productions. Iconic entertainer Bette Midler made her Academy Awards performing debut by singing her hit “The Wind Beneath My Wings” (a too obvious, if not downright maudlin choice) following the In Memoriam reel to honor film industry pros who died during the past twelve months.
To honor the 75th anniversary of the classic 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz, pop star Pink, clad in a ruby red slipper-inspired gown, performed a breathy, somber rendition of the Oscar-winning “(Somewhere) Over the Rainbow.”
Friends Children of Dorothy, Liza Minnelli, Lorna and Joey Luft, nodded their approval from the audience.
The crowd in the Dolby Theatre seemed to be easily impressed for much of the evening. Standing ovations became so frequent that one began to wonder about whether blue-haired Minnelli, forever battling ill health, might need a knee replacement if forced to rise from her seat once more. We say that with love. Liza, indisputably one of the great entertainers of the past century and a best actress Oscar winner for her dazzling performance in 1972’s Cabaret, seemed a good sport throughout the evening, even during Ellen’s odd, mean-ish joke about Minnelli being a female impersonator, that landed with a thud and ended with the comic saying, “Good job, sir.” We wish we could say the same to you, Ellen.
For a full list of winners go here. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Big night for Latinos. Even though 12 Years a Slave is a damn good movie, Gravity should have taken best picture. It’s a huge technical achievement.
I love Ellen, but really feel she never got energized during the broadcast. It was like I was still waiting for the main act to come out, even after the first hour. He humor was wooden and lackluster; predictable. And that thing with the pizza delivery… yes, just swing greasy pizza around people who paid tens of thousands of dollars for an outfit.
Not the best of shows. Not the best of MC’s. But the winners were spectacular. No sure things, but all from the heart.
I liked Ellen, but there were times she could have cut some of her acts. That walking down the aisle asking how people are doing until finally she made the pizza joke.
I got to say, i was glad, really glad they let the winners speak. Though it seems they gave more time for the actors than they did with the other categories, because some of them did get played out. Good show. Like always, a bit too long.
I thought Ellen was good, not spectacular, but good. Its the first time in a long time I’ve actually watched the whole show. Overall:
– I loved Jared Leto’s acceptance speech, as well as Lupita Nyong’o’s who looked absolutely stunning in that egg shell blue Prada dress. Her skin tone has been her best accessory this red carpet season. What a run for her in her first film debut.
-Pharrell’s performance of “Happy” was a highlight as I don’t know how that song doesn’t get anyone in a good mood. Meryl Streep shimmying was everything.
-Gravity winning all of the technical awards was no surprise, but the overall story of the film was lacking for me.
-Biggest highlight was 12 Years A Slave winning best picture; also John Ridley winning best adapted screenplay for the film. It was very well deserved and a great recognition of the entire production and all of its talent. Just an amazing film which it took me awhile to actually see because I had to be in a certain mood to see a film like that because I know it was going to anger me. So I had to see it in a controlled environment with certain people.
P.S. Was that a lace front John Travolta had on? Can’t believe how much he butchered Idina Menzel’s name.
@Mdterp01…you are so right. I thought I was hearing things but he did butcher her name didn’t he. What a foul. why was he acting brand new. He loves muscial theater so he says. He should have known how to pronounce Idina’s name.
btw…was Idina nervous last night? Because it sounded as though she was struggling to sing the song.
one of the most boring shows I’ve seen- totally predictable- I got 21/24 in Oscar pool.
I thought Ellen’s joke about Liza was tasteless and shockingly mean…..
McBongo’s speech was supremely narcissistic, and it’s unforgiveable that he couldn’t say the word “AIDS” even once.
I thought Ellen did a great job, Jared Leto has a perfect face, Matthew McConaughey seems to want to start a self loving, religion and Liza Minnelli has been replaced by Aunt Clara from Bewitched.
Let’s face it–hosting the Oscars is a thankless job. Everyone is watching and everyone is waiting to pounce on the slightest gaffe or misstep. That said, I thought Ellen was fine–the jarring exception being that joke at Liza’s expense–and delivered pretty much what people wanted from her: low-key, joshing humor that put her celebrity audience at ease and made them laugh along with us. IMO the pizza gag and the group selfie was very funny (Though the beautiful Lupita should have been front and center in the pic, not her brother…was that her brother? Oh, well).
The musical performances were wonderful–in particular Pink’s salute to “The Wizard of Oz” had me all misty-eyed. Some are complaining that Bette should have been singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” during the In Memoriam clips rather than after, but this was her debut on the Oscar stage so I get it that she wanted her moment. I completely disagree that her song selection was maudlin; many of the deceased were behind the scenes pros and I suspect that Bette (like many in the audience) wanted to pay tribute to people usually unsung.
I loved the look of the theater and the staging; the lighting and that gliding, fluid camera. And I have to say, last night’s broadcast offered some of the classiest and most moving acceptance speeches I’ve heard in a long time…
…the possible exception being the weirdly narcissistic Mr. McConaughey.
Is JT dyslexic? That seems to be shaping up as the official explanation for his mangling of Idina Menzel’s name.
@tardis: …and it was rewarded in that aspect, was it not?!
Ellen was about as flat as her talk show is. Yawn, boring, lets order a pizza and put some unsuspecting JoeBlow on the spot, ha ha, how funny.
Portia couldn’t have look less interested in being.
Can we say LESBIAN DIVORCE.
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