So, 21 out of 24. Not bad I should say, with help from all the film critics and industry insiders weighing in on their picks. I was hoping for an upset in the Best Actor category for Chiwetel Ejiofor, because he was brilliant in 12 Years a Slave, and such roles will be hard to come by in future; but as everyone predicted, Matthew McConaughey won.
(And honestly, people should stop pitying Leonardo DiCaprio with all the “Poor Leo” memes. I feel sorrier about the fact that people are pitying him than the fact that he hasn’t won an Oscar yet, because I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want to be pitied. He was great in The Wolf of Wall Street, but so were the other nominees in their respective films. His blow-everyone-else-out-of-the-water performance — like Daniel Day Lewis’ in Lincoln — hasn’t come yet, and when it does, I’ll be the first to shout it from the rooftops. But it is not this year.)
But anyway, 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture. I’m glad it made it all the way to the Oscars, despite Gravity threatening to dethrone it. As a fairly good consolation prize, Gravity won the most awards for the night: all the well-deserved technical awards as well as Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. (His reverence for Sidney Poitier — who presented him the award — and subsequent awkward handshake was cute.)
Below are my thoughts on the show, in a stream-of-consciousness state:
Jim Carrey had one of the better intros from host Ellen Degeneres: “Citizen Kane. Lawrence of Arabia. Ace Ventura. Our next presenter was in one of those.” ?
She stumbled over her lines several times during the night though. Was it nerves?
Why does Harrison Ford sound so gruff and bored? He made the three Best Picture nominees he was introducing seem so dull. “Fasten your seatbelt,” he monotones.
While several of the other presenters sounded like they were rushing through the very clearly scripted teleprompter lines.
I know there are seat-fillers, but do the celebrities themselves play musical chairs during breaks? Lupita Nyong’o suddenly appeared in the front row — in Chiwetel Ejiofor’s seat, not sure where he went — when Pharrell Williams was performing “Happy”, and then went back to her seat in the third row for the rest of the show; while Sandra Bullock swopped seats with Leo’s mum for a period.
Kim Novak looks dreadfully botox-ed.
The director of Hublot — winner of Best Animated Short Film — was visibly trembling nervously when he was giving his thank-you speech! It’s a huge moment for anyone.
Bill Murray was so enthusiastic about Darlene Love’s impromptu song burst. Brad Pitt looked bemused.
BEST. SELFIE. EVER. I cannot get over how fun the entire thing was. They all just piled behind Meryl Streep and Ellen so enthusiastically! (Celebrities! Pal-ing around and taking selfies just like us, except at the Oscars, in front of a worldwide audience.) Even if it was a stunt to promote Samsung, it was amazing. And kudos to Lupita’s brother for managing to photobomb his way into one of the most memorable photos ever taken at the Oscars.
For those who didn’t catch it, here’s the conversation while they were taking the picture:
(All talking at about the same time.)
Jennifer Lawrence: “Somebody should drop a boob if you want it to be retweeted this many times.”
Ellen: “Wait a minute, Meryl–“
Channing Tatum: “Drop a boob, somebody drop a boob.”
Meryl Streep: “Want me to do it?”
Bradley Cooper: “Here, I’ll take it.”
Ellen: “No, Meryl can take–“
Channing Tatum: “Here, I’ll drop a boob. It’s fine I swear.”
Ellen: “–can you take it Meryl?”
Julia Roberts: “What does that mean, ‘drop a boob’?”
Ellen: “Meryl can you take it; I can’t get everybody in here.”
Channing Tatum: “All right, I got a boob. I got a boob.”
Julia Roberts: “You’ll be fine.”
Jennifer Lawrence: “Is my arm further?”
Meryl Streep: “Your arms are better.”
Bradley Cooper: “My arm’s way further.” (Ellen hands him the phone)
Jennifer Lawrence: (laughing at herself) “My arm’s definitely way better.”
Ellen: “Hey that’s good, look at us.”
Bradley Cooper: “Here we go, that’s it. Ready? Ready? (takes photo) Nice!”
Brad Pitt: (nods approvingly) “Not bad.”
Ellen: “Oh yes! We did it!”
Meryl Streep: (kisses her on the cheek) “Congratulations! Oh, I’ve never tweeted before!”
Benedict Cumberbatch was positively delighted to be at the Oscars. He didn’t get to join in the above selfie, but he attempted to photobomb one with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ellen, and Brad Pitt. Sadly, she didn’t post that one up.
Ellen, on finding out that Brad Pitt snuck into that photo too: “Oh, did you get in on that too? God you’re a photo hog.” ?
Wow, Charlize Theron is tall! She nearly matched Chris Hemsworth in height (he’s about 1.93m?); and while I know she’s wearing heels, many other actresses wearing heels don’t even come close to him.
So happy that Lupita Nyong’o won Best Supporting Actress! She walked up the stage in wide-eyed wonder as though she couldn’t believe her luck, holding her gown like a princess. Sadly, Michael Fassbender wasn’t there to share the joy, because of all times to go to the toilet/the bar/wherever he went, he had to choose the moment they were announcing the winner for that category.
I swear David O. Russell wanted to run up and grab a piece of pizza when Ellen was handing them out. Unfortunately for him, she didn’t go that far into the audience, and I suppose he didn’t want to seem so brazen, so he sat back down. And for all the talk of getting Kerry Washington a piece of pizza because she is pregnant, the broadcast only showed Ellen giving her a plate and forgetting about the pizza. (For her sake, I hope she managed to get a piece off-camera.)
I kept thinking the guy next to Emma Watson looked so familiar, and then I realised who he is: Luke Windsor, Tom Hiddleston and Emma Watson’s PR rep! (I’ve seen pictures of him shepherding Tom around on red carpet events.) Lucky bastard. He could have looked more enthusiastic though. He’s at the Oscars!
Bill Murray’s scripted lines calling Amy Adams “baby” were kind of inappropriate, but Amy Adams helped him pull it off with her charm. His unexpected shout out to Harold Ramis was nice though.
I noticed empty seats! Which means the seat fillers aren’t very good this year, ha.
Chris Evans mustn’t have started filming Avengers: Age of Ultron yet, or he wouldn’t be so bearded. And who better than Captain America to introduce the pop culture heroes montage? (Though the whole theme of “heroes” and montages inserted into the show felt very incongruent. They shouldn’t have bothered with a theme at all.)
Why and HOW on earth did John Travolta introduce Idina Menzel as “Adella Dazeem”?? Poor Idina Menzel! Perhaps because of that, she had a shaky start and sounded a bit off (and too fast for the music), and afterwards looked a little bit sheepish too, like someone who knows she didn’t do as well as she could have. Ellen tried to mend John Travolta’s mistake after she finished the song by saying her name twice — probably for the benefit of viewers at home — but it was too late. I do think that the standing ovation she got was partly the audience’s way of comforting her after that world-class flub.
Jamie Foxx was one of the funnier presenters this year, and so were the writers of “Let it Go”, who gave a quirky speech in unison when they won the Best Original Song.
When John Ridley was walking up to the stage to collect his award for Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, you would have thought the people he was hugging and getting congratulations from were the filmmakers of said movie. They weren’t. He walked past them. (Update: And now I know why. No wonder he barely thanked the cast and crew, and was so insistent that all the credit went to Solomon Northup.)
For all my wish that Matthew McConaughey didn’t win, he gave a very eloquent speech that was entertaining and humbling despite being long. Ten years ago, you would never have pegged him to be up on that stage some day.
In contrast, Steve McQueen lost all ability to control his speech, or his limbs, when 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture. He usually is quite cool and unperturbed in public.
And that’s it for the Oscars. Here’s a final fun shot. On to the next, great year of the movies!