By Sam Bertschmann
Though the winners of this year’s Academy Awards shocked absolutely no one, host Ellen DeGeneres filled the evening with other surprises, the biggest being that she only brought up Finding Nemo once.
“It has been raining,” said Ellen of the hardships she and her fellow Oscar attendees faced during the days leading up to the show. “We’re fine. Thank you for your prayers.”
Ellen tried to convince the audience that the Oscars should be a celebration, not a competition, before conceding: “Who are we kidding? It’s the Hunger Games. I mean, there are cameras everywhere. You’re starving. Jennifer Lawrence won last year. It is the Hunger Games.” She then promised not to remind anyone that Lawrence tripped on her way to the stage last year and that she had done so yet again on the red carpet earlier that night.
“If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar,” said Ellen.
Ellen broke Twitter when she gathered Meryl Streep, Lawrence, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong’o and Junior Nyong’o for the world’s greatest selfie. This legendary photo is the most retweeted picture of all time. If only Cooper’s arm were a little bit longer so that we could have seen all of Leto’s pretty face.
We finally learned the true purpose of Pharrell’s hat: pizza money collection basket. Ellen asked early on in the show if anyone wanted to order with her (pregnant Kerry Washington was down), and when it arrived, she and the luckiest pizza delivery guy ever distributed slices to the stars. Leo DiCaprio politely declined. Pitt handed out plates. Nyong’o paid in lip balm.
As part of the ceremony’s celebration of movie heroes, tributes to many of cinema’s bravest figures aired Sunday night. After the last montage of this sort, the camera cut to the inexplicably omitted Emma Watson (Harry Potter himself was featured alone four times). Has no one else wanted to be Hermione since age seven? Just me? Rude. At least Katniss got some love, considering how much this segment lacked in heroines.
The robot formerly known as Anne Hathaway presented the first award of the night to Jared Leto for Best Supporting Actor in Dallas Buyers Club. Let us pray that Hathaway won’t give any Oscar-worthy performances this year so that no one will have to invite her back in 2015. Leto gave a sweet speech in honor of his family before sending kind thoughts to Ukraine and Venezuela. I’m not sure any of them actually caught his shout-out, but it was a nice sentiment.
Catherine Martin cleaned up for her work in husband Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, winning Best Costume Design and Best Production Design; she shares the latter with Beverley Dunn. Despite his film’s success that night, DiCaprio himself remains Oscar-less. Be patient, Leo. Your day will come.
Kim Novak presented the animation awards with her crack spirit guide, Matthew McConaughey. Frozen took home Best Animated Feature.
Idina Menzel (or, as John Travolta called her, “Adele Dazeem”) performed Frozen’s “Let it Go,” sounding as pitchy on the high note as the first round of American Idol contestants. Karen O and Ezra Koenig delivered an even stranger musical number earlier in the night, singing “The Moon Song” from Her as if they were at a coffeehouse open mic. U2 took to the stage for “Ordinary Love,” since I assume they are contractually obligated to perform at every awards ceremony.
The flawless Nyong’o nabbed Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave. I would also like to award her Best Dancer for her delightful shimmy with Pharrell.
The Oscars honored Judy Garland this year, for some reason choosing P!nk to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” even though Liza Minelli and Ellen the Good Witch of the North were both present. Should we expect a mash-up of “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “Get the Party Started” soon?
The “In Memoriam” segment is always upsetting, but this year’s was particularly painful to watch. 2013 and early 2014 saw the losses of incredible talent, including James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman and, more recently, Harold Ramis, who Bill Murray nominated on the spot for Best Cinematography for Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. My only gripe: no Cory Monteith? Seriously?
Spike Jonze won Best Original Screenplay for Her while John Ridley won Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave. With that, Elana Katz ’14 won the Concordiensis Oscar pool.
Alfonso Cuarón nabbed Best Director and Best Film Editing for Gravity, which also took home Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, making it the biggest winner of the night. I’m not on board with the sound prizes, since the only sound I remember hearing was Sandra Bullock breathing loudly.
Cate Blanchett got her bajillionth award for Blue Jasmine, winning Best Actress and informing viewers that the world is, in fact, round. Who knew the Oscars could be so educational?
McConaughey did, as predicted, go git it, taking home Best Actor for Dallas Buyers Club. His speech suggested that, if this whole acting thing doesn’t work out for him, he might have a promising career as a minister. In the Church of McConaughey, “amen” would be replaced with “all right all right all right.”
12 Years a Slave won Best Picture, the final award of the evening. The cherry on top of seeing this film earn this well-deserved prize was watching director Steve McQueen literally jump up and down for joy. I hope they ordered more pizza for the after-party.