Last night, the stars shone brightly at the 86th Academy Awards, as this year’s show was the most viewed since 2005. The audience who tuned in definitely would not have been bored, since there was so much going on and many memorable moments during the show.
The show opened with host Ellen DeGeneres’ monologue. In tradition, she spent her time poking fun at the nominees, show business and surrounding issues; she even went on to compare the show to The Hunger Games. Ellen’s unique brand of humour is a medium between casual civilian opinions and Hollywood outlook, and truly summed up the show when she said at the end of it “Anything can happen.”
And that it did! Ellen brought three surprises that no one could have expected. For one, she carried boxes of pizza around and served various nominees and audience members a slice.
She also kept her vast Twitter following entertained; not only with her tweets throughout the night, but with one particular selfie (does it still count as a selfie if a group of people are being captured?) with a spontaneous star studded scene that was retweeted so many times, Twitter actually crashed during the broadcast.
But most of all, no one could ever have predicted the sight of Ellen DeGeneres in a dress! Yes, after a touching tribute to The Wizard of Oz, Ellen came out on stage dressed as Glinda the Good Witch, pink frills, wand and all.
Ellen wasn’t the only memorable figure last night. Many of the stars presenting awards last night created a fair bit of buzz. While some presenters were a bit off the mark-John Travolta mispronouncing Idina Menzel’s name, Charlize Theron missing her line, Harrison Ford looking like he genuinely did not want to be there- some of them really gave it a good go. Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel spiced up their introduction for the award for Best Original Score by providing a score of their own and screen legend Sidney Poitier made an appearance alongside Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award winner Angelina Jolie.
The Oscar performances this year landed across a broad spectrum of impact. Pharrell Williams’ performance of Happy from Despicable Me 2 brought the show to life with vibrant colours and choreography, and who could resist the floating minions on the screen in the background?
Both Karen O and U2 went for minimalism and gave touching performances of their nominated songs, The Moon Song from Her and Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom respectively.
The aforementioned tribute to The Wizard of Oz included a powerful performance from pop icon P!nk, whose rendition of the classic Over the Rainbow added a touch of a rock edge and left a big presence, despite the fact that the cameras were focussed on the screen behind her and she looked like a tiny red ant in front of it, save this shot.
This year’s In Memoriam featured Bette Midler, whose hit Wind Beneath My Wings has become an American novelty.
But stealing the show with her performance was the highly anticipated Idina Menzel, whose soaring power ballad with simple light effects in the background showed us why her hit went on to win.
Speaking of winning, the awards this year were extremely focused in terms of winners. Of the nine Best Picture nominees, 5 did not go on to win any awards. Spike Jonze took Best Original Screenplay for Her and Dallas Buyers Club took 3 awards, including Best Actor and Supporting Actor. Gravity won the most awards of the night, nearly sweeping all of the technical categories AND taking Best Director for a total of 7 awards. But strength did not come in numbers this year, for the big winner was 12 Years a Slave. Even though they only took home three awards, those three were among the most important of the night, including the highest honour of Best Picture. Also winning big last night were Frozen and The Great Gatsby, taking 2 awards each. The complete list of winners is at the end of the article.
Overall, the show was both entertaining and memorable. The theme this year was heroes, and while many don’t see filmmakers as heroes, it is them who have the power to inspire audiences and tell stories that will take us far beyond what we think that we are capable of. Most of this year’s major nominees involved some form of hero or overcoming adversity and can hopefully inspire others to be their own hero. So I conclude with Matthew McConaughey’s words of advice in his acceptance speech.
“You see, every day, and every week, and every month, and every year of my life my hero is always ten years away. I’m never going to be my hero. I’m not going to obtain that and that’s fine with me because it keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”
Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Best Writing-Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze (Her)
Best Writing-Adapted Screenplay: John Ripley (12 Years a Slave)
Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen
Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty (Italy)
Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom
Best Documentary Short Subject: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Best Live Action Short Film: Helium
Best Animated Short Film: Mr. Hublot
Best Original Score: Steven Price (Gravity)
Best Original Song: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (“Let It Go” from Frozen)
Best Sound Editing: Glenn Freemantle (Gravity)
Best Sound Mixing: Skip Lievsay et al. (Gravity)
Best Production Design: Catherine Martin and Beverly Dunn (The Great Gatsby)
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Costume Design: Catherine Martin (The Great Gatsby)
Best Film Editing: Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger (Gravity)
Best Visual Effects: Tim Webber et al. (Gravity)
Photo Credits: heyuguys.co.uk, sheknows.com, blog.zap2it.com, twitter.com, glamourmagazine.co.uk, billboard.com, justjared.com, rickey.org, peoplestylewatch.com, movies.yahoo.com
About the contributor: Ashley Moniz is a new contributor to The International Passion. He is studying Political Science and Drama Studies at York University-Glendon College. He hopes to go on to law school. He has enjoyed the experience that he has gained writing his own movie reviews on his Facebook page, Ashley Moniz’s Movie Reviews. His words were also published on the cover of Martin McAlear & Lyndsay Sinko’s novel, The New King. You can read his movie reviews on the above listed page and follow him on Twitter at @AshleyMoniz