|Steve McQueen jumps for joy over 12 Years a Slave's Oscar win.|
|Cornbread for 12 Years a Slave|
|"Eat this fish, bitch!"|
Food was a highlight of the evening both at the party and at the show. One of the best gags from Ellen was a random interlude of serving pizza to Oscar guests. She squeezed three sets of laughs out of the joke by taking orders, serving, and then passing around Pharrell’s big hat to collect tips for the pizza man. It was fun to see the stars chomping down on greasy pizza, and how often does one get to see Brad Pitt serve a slice to Meryl Streep? (Pitt seemed to enjoy the pizza most of all.)
Brad Pitt eats pizza at the Oscars. pic.twitter.com/icg5Tflt6Y
— Chase Whale (@ChaseWhale) March 3, 2014
It was a good show for Meryl fans even though Streep didn’t take home the prize, which went to the long-presumed winner and much-deserving Cate Blanchett for her performance in Blue Jasmine. Streep might have earned more airtime than most of the other nominees, as she offered some of the show’s highlights by giving Pharrell a shake during his performance of “Happy” and by joining in the group selfie with Ellen and company. Folks should nominate her more often!
Blanchett, on the other hand, offered one of the night’s better speeches from the winners’ circle. Thankfully taking the time to note the efforts of Woody Allen, whom some speculated she might try to avoid citing, and praising the roles of her co-nominees, Blanchett used her speech to make a solid point that films led by women can indeed make money. Her shout-out to Sally Hawkins was much appreciated and her final nod of thanks to the Sydney Theatre Company was a fine nod to the theatrical experience that helped make her Blanche Dubois-infused performance such a stunner.
The other winners of the acting prizes ranged from one of the night’s most squeamish speeches to one that had party guests in tears. The gong might go to Matthew McConaughey’s bizarre, rambling speech for his win for Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey fumbled after a season of entertaining and gracious thank you speeches by going on about God and calling himself his own hero. (I can appreciate that a winner must be in a daze, but it was just a weird speech.) McConaughey’s Dallas Buyers Club co-star Jared Leto started the night with a mixed bag of a speech when he scooped Best Supporting Actor for his performance as transgendered AIDS patient Rayon and made a touching point by taking his mother, but he then plugged his band, and rambled on into “give him the hook territory” before acknowledging real-life heroes in a finish that redeemed the speech.
The night’s other big winner, 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o, also spoke at length without being played off, but her speech was easily the best of the night and could have gone on for as long as she pleased. Nyong’o was adorable and eloquent as she received the prize and earned a standing ovation. Nyong’o began by saluting her character Patsey and delivered a sincere point in conveying the cultural, social, and cinematic significance of 12 Years a Slave before urging viewers to follow their dreams.
Nyong’o’s win marked a necessary prize for 12 Years a Slave over fellow Gravity rival American Hustle. The stiff competition between Nyong’o and Hustle’s Jennifer Lawrence seemed like an important indicator for Slave’s chances at winning Best Picture. American Hustle, surprisingly, went home empty-handed and joined the likes of Gangs of New York and True Grit to go zero for ten at the Oscars. The prize seemed uncertain for Slave in the final days, for numerous anonymous reports from Oscar voters admitted to having skipped 12 Years a Slave because they didn’t think they could handle it. 12 Years a Slave’s overall triumph, though, marks a notable step for the Academy, which often shies away from acknowledging controversial and provocative filmmaking in favour of mainstream entertainment. The win also marks an important step for diversity in the Academy’s history, as does the Best Director Oscar for Alfonso Cuarón, who is the first Hispanic director to win the prize.
Slave’s win also boosts the stock of the Toronto International Film Festival, as it became an Oscar frontrunner after winning the People’s Choice Award at TIFF last fall. 12 Years a Slave joins The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, and American Beauty as films to win Best Picture after receiving the endorsement from Toronto audiences. Triple Oscar-winner Dallas Buyers Club also premiered at TIFF 2013, so the festival’s track record as an Oscar Launchpad continues.
Other notable highlights among the winners were the well-deserved prize for Best Documentary Feature, which rightfully went to 20 Feet from Stardom, and Italy’s win for Best Foreign Language Film for The Great Beauty (I would have given it to Belgium’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, but Beauty is a strong choice) and the Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez’s rhyming acceptance speech for Best Song for Frozen’s “Let it Go.” Idina Menzel’s performance of “Let it Go” was a highlight for the show’s entertainment value, as was Pink’s strong rendition of “Over the Rainbow” to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.
If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars pic.twitter.com/C9U5NOtGap
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
The Wizard of Oz also gave Ellen one of her best zingers as host when she roasted the impressive male Liza Minnelli impersonator. Ellen’s second stint as Oscar host was a lot of fun, as she filled the night with safe, quirky humour. Her joke with Jennifer Lawrence’s serial tripping was Ellen-ish fun, but the pizza gag and the selfie (plus her appearance as Glinda) were the highlights of her hosting duties because she interacted with the stars and made the night all about the nominees. Despite a few prompter guffaws and some unnecessary montages, Ellen gave the movie year a show it deserved. 12 Years a Slave won and the Oscars were basically The Meryl Show... all in all I'm happy with how the year went down.
- Brad Pitt, Dede Gardener, Steve McQueen, Jeremy Kleiner, Anthony Katagas; producers.
★ Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
★ Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
★ Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Best Supporting Actor
★ Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actress
★ Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Best Original Screenplay
Best Adapted Screenplay
★ 12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
Best Documentary Feature:
Best Animated Feature:
Best Foreign Language Film:
★ Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Film Editing:
★ Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
★ Gravity, Steven Price
Best Production Design:
Best Visual Effects:
Best Sound Mixing★ Gravity, Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
Best Sound Editing★ Gravity , Glenn Freemantle
★ Dallas Buyers Club, Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
Best Short Film - Live Action:
And, of course, my picks for the best dressed stars of the night:
Best Dressed: Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence walks the red carpet at the Oscars. (ABC/Rick Rowell) pic.twitter.com/SusmcU1HXG
— RogerEbert.com (@ebertvoices) March 3, 2014
Congratulations to actress Lupita Nyong'o for winning Best Supporting Actress at the 86th Academy Awards! pic.twitter.com/Kqs4NSaOgS
— Cultural Voice eZine (@culturalvoice) March 3, 2014
Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) arrives #Oscars2014 pic.twitter.com/XyUHaD9yTE
— Globe Arts (@GlobeArts) March 3, 2014
Pretty woman Julia Roberts is #redcarpet perfection in Givenchy... and how about that megawatt smile? pic.twitter.com/KOe2bkpNUz
— HELLO! Canada (@HelloCanada) March 3, 2014
Photo: Kate Hudson wearing Atelier @Versace - Who else wants a bejewelled cape now? pic.twitter.com/wKhalB7NaT
— ET Canada (@ETCanada) March 3, 2014
Angelina Jolie's #Oscars Dress: Love It or Leave It? http://t.co/D1iVPiqDwk pic.twitter.com/PgzY3oagGd
— Yahoo Celebrity (@YahooCelebrity) March 3, 2014