Review: The 86th Academy Awards (2014)

The annual Academy Awards happened last night which was hosted by the fantastic Ellen DeGeneres, a safe choice, sure, especially compared to the controversial Seth Macfarlane last year (which I liked…) but still, the choice of a universally liked host like this certainly paid off. Hit the jump to read my review of the night!

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Her opening monologue had quite a few laughs and she kept them in a steady supply throughout the entire three and a half hours of broadcast. While there were elements of comedy that could definitely be categorize as “a miss” such as the first half of the awkward ‘pizza’ scene, it quickly picked up later on. Also in perhaps one of my highlights of the night, and in some ways a blatant advertisement for Twitter, Ellen took the greatest selfie in the world featuring her pals Bradley Cooper, Queen Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong’o, Jared Let’s left eye, Channing Tatum, Brangelina, Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Spacey .. oh yeah, as well as Lupita’s brother (for some reason), which has already recieved over two and a half million retweets, making it the most retweeted picture on the twittersphere and here it is in all it’s glory: Also its amazing to note that Jennifer Lawrence suggested getting her boobs out in order to get the most retweets.

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The big winners of the night (apart from Twitter’s popularity) were as follows:

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave

Although it looked as though Gravity was on a fast track to win the award due to its multiple wins and recent hype, it was 12 Years a Slave that took home the biggest award of the night and Steve McQueen’s genuinely shocked speech was so wonderful to watch and you could really see how passionate he was in regards to making this powerful movie.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

No surprise here, but McConaughey completed his “McConaissance” by securing the Best Actor award, beating out the likes of multiple nominee Leonardo DiCaprio (poor Leo) and veteran Bruce Dern. He gave a powerful, thought provoking speech that was both well written and well said. My words cannot fully describe to you how amazing the speech was, you’ll have to watch this and watch it NOW:

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

In one of the most unsurprising and most deserving winning moments, Cate Blanchett took home the award for Best Actress in a leading role (duh!). The aussie beauty added humor and grace to her speech whilst thanking her recent theater experience in Sydney as the reason why her performance in Blue Jasmine was one of the finest pieces of acting ever done and also adding powerful Feminism overtones as to why female-led movies should be made more often. Afterwards, however, was where she really let down her hair in the winners room in this fantastic Q&A session:

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

He’s been picking up the big awards for his role as trans woman Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club and last night he won the biggest one of them all, the Oscar. Like his co-star, Leto’s speech was emotional, beautifully worded and felt very humbled. You can’t help but love this man.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

It was a toss up between Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita, but the latter managed to swoop in and secure her very first nomination and award for her very first film award, I guess Yale’s acting school certainly paid off! – Lupita has an aura of innocence and purity that is making her the new resident “it girl” and I do hope the fame doesn’t get the better of her. She gives a highly quotable speech here that makes you want to run on stage and give her a big squeeze:

Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron

The man who has been universally praised in Hollywood for the way he has revolutionized film as we know it won the award for Best Director and taking 7 years to make Gravity certainly reflects that of a man of patient, enthusiasm and passion for his work. Well done Cuaron!

Best Original Song – Let it Go by Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez

In one of the greatest speeches ever made, the dynamic duo behind the music of Frozen gave a delightful acceptance poem/song that made me laugh and utterly love the fact they won this award, purely so we could all witness this speech.

(No video on youtube yet! but as soon as one is up, I’ll add it to the blog post ASAP)

Throughout the ceremony, we were greeted to many fantastic musical performances, featuring the nominees in the “Best Original Song” category as well as other performers.

Pharrell Williams – Happy (Despicable Me 2)

Pharrell opened the show with his uplifting and incredibly catchy song “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 that got the audience clapping and dancing a long, such as Lupita Nyong’o and Amy Adams as well as Meryl Streep, any performance that has the most critically praised actress of all time jiggling her boobs gets a thumbs up from me. 

Karen O – The Moon Song (Her)

The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s frontwoman gave a haunting, hypnotic performance of her track from the Best Picture nominee “Her” with Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig providing guitar and added vocals, as well as red socks to match her dress! In a very subtle performance, Karen kept the audience in a trance with her ghostly-romantic melody that was an underrated highlight of the night.

U2 – Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Iconic band U2 defied their age and still performed like rock-stars for “Ordinary Love”, an inspiring song written for the Mandela biopic starring Idris Elba. It’s great that this song received a nomination, well deserved.

Idina Menzel – Let it Go (Frozen)

The Broadway legend performed the song that’s taking the world by storm and let the storm rage on! especially with this fantastic performance that the world was waiting for, it’s a shame about the last note, but nerves got the better of her and the Orchestra trying to speed her up wouldn’t have helped her, either way, it was still my highlight. 

Now, here are those extra performers I was telling you about:

Pink – Somewhere Over the Rainbow

In a touching tribute to the beloved Wizard of Oz and its star, the late, great Judy Garland. Pink sang its timeless Academy Award winning ballad “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. The raw emotion and range in her voice made the tribute that more moving and the Academy chose the right person to perform the song.

Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings 

The Divine Miss M herself sang her classic hit from the movie Beaches during the ‘In Memoriam’ section of the Oscars that pays tribute to the producers, actors, directors and everyone else who makes the films we know and love. A predictable, but simply perfect song to sing for this part of the show, Bette Midler knocked it out of the park.

(unfortunately there’s no clear performance on youtube yet, but I will put one up ASAP when there is one available)

Most Awkward Moment

John Travolta couldn’t pronounce Les Les Misérables properly last year and his terrible tongue didn’t hold back this year as he introduced the great Idina Menzel as … wait for it … “Adele Dazeem” or something ridiculous like that. I’m sorry, but he has an autocue and so how in the hell do you see the words “IDINA MENZEL” and pronounce it completely, totally and incomprehensibly wrong? – he has however, become an overnight sensation with a number of parodies and memes acknowledging his train wreck of a mistake, poor Idina, can you imagine if he had to introduce I don’t know .. Chiwetel Ejiofor? or worse .. Benedict Cumberbatch? 

(I cringe so much, yet I can’t stop watching)

And finally, I had to include this wonderful picture of arguable the four sexiest, most ravishing quartet of actors/actresses in Hollywood:

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To finally end this very long article, I believe 2013 was a year of impressive films and overall raised the bar for filmmaking and our standards of quality in film. I can’t say there’s a winner out of all the categories that I didn’t think deserved it and we can only look forward to the 87th Ceremony next year and be once again amazed at the appreciation of talent in this industry.

So I wanna hear from you! Did you enjoy the Oscars last night? Was Ellen a hit or a miss? Did the right people win?

 

 

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