Well, this year’s Oscars have officially come and gone, and at this point, I am already excited for next year’s show. But before I start preparing for another amazing year in film, I wanted to share my reactions of last night’s broadcast with all of you. The Academy Awards has been known in the past to be utterly long and boring. Although the show was still long (about 3 ½ hours), it was far from boring. Ellen DeGeneres was an absolutely, hysterically entertaining host, and I would have zero problem if she was asked to host the show from here on out—her monologue this year was uproarious! With the exception of only a couple, each of her jokes throughout the show were quite humorous and suitable for the Oscars, and even when she did toe the line of appropriateness, it still worked because it was done with Ellen’s trademark repartee.
This year’s Oscars had some tremendous moments, some not-so-tremendous moments, and some downright unforgettable moments, and I am pleased to share my reactions to all of the major highlights from a successful Academy Awards ceremony:
Best Moment: (12 Years A Slave wins Best Picture)
As you all probably already know from my blog, 12 Years A Slave was by far my favorite film from 2013. I have been hoping and praying that it would win Best Picture, and last night, it did! In a night where Gravity took home seven Oscars, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón, it was gratifying that the Academy awarded its most prestigious honor to a film that I believe is one of the greatest of all time. Both Brad Pitt and director Steve McQueen were graciously humble in accepting the award, and after the Academy flubbed last year by giving Argo the award, it was great to see them getting it right this time around. The best part of the acceptance speech, though, was when Steve McQueen began jumping around on stage in celebration of the victory. Well deserved, Mr. McQueen.
Worst Moment: (John Travolta’s mispronunciation of Idina Menzel’s name)
Every presenter at the Oscars is presented with a guide to help them master the names of anyone they must introduce. Despite this, Idina Menzel’s name is not all that hard to pronounce in the first place—it sounds just like it looks. However, John Travolta found some way possible to dastardly butcher the Let It Go-singer’s name as she was introduced to perform. His pronunciation for “Idina Menzel” was as follows: Adele Dah-zeem. HUH????
Most Endearing Moment: (Acceptance Speech for The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life)
The subject matter of this Short Documentary winner is Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, and how music had given her optimism in life. Ms. Herz-Sommer passed away at 110 years old, just one week ago. While accepting the award, director Malcolm Clarke gave an undeniably endearing acceptance speech about this strong-willed, positive-minded woman and the impact she had on the entire filmmaking crew. It was definitely a special moment last night.
Most Boring Moment (Bette Midler’s performance)
Last year, my “Most Boring Moment” went to Barbara Streisand for her musical performance following the “In Memoriam” presentation. Once again, this musical slot takes the cake for the most absolutely boring moment of the entire Academy Awards. Bette Midler performed “Wind Beneath My Wings” following the “In Memoriam” slideshow, and it nearly put me to sleep. For starters, Bette Midler simply does not have it anymore as a singer, at least not last night. She was flat, unengaged, and dreadful, and the best part of her performance was when the music ended and she walked off of the stage.
WTF Moment: (Kim Novak presenting with Matthew McConaughey)
Kim Novak is one of the most well known actresses of her generation, starring in incredible films like Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Joshua Logan’s Picnic. Now, I understand Novak is in her early eighties, but her appearance last night was simply awkward in every sense of the word. She rambled on and on in an extraordinarily incoherent manner, and she clearly was not on the same page with McConaughey; he had to continually pull her closer to the microphone, as well. Also, when they attempted to announce the category for “Best Animated Short Film” in sync, it was a disaster—McConaughey said, “Best Animated Short Film,” while Novak said, “Best Short Animated Feature.”
Best Monologue Joke: (Poking fun at Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar “fall” last year)
As everyone may know, last year, while walking to the stage to accept the “Best Actress” award, Jennifer Lawrence tripped and fell (pictured on the right). This year, while exiting her car for the Red Carpet, Lawrence again tripped and fell. Ellen started the joke off by saying that she was not going to bring up either fall or poke fun because it is embarrassing when people bring those sorts of things up in public—she then went on to bring each of them up in greater detail, and it was hilarious. The best part was when Ellen followed up by saying, “if you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar.” Jennifer Lawrence seemed to get a good kick out of it, and it was most definitely the funniest of Ellen’s many entertaining monologue jokes.
Worst Monologue Joke (the Liza Minnelli diss)
Liza Minnelli was in attendance with her siblings to honor the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, a film their mother, Judy Garland, starred in. Ellen’s worst joke came when she pointed out that one of the best Liza Minnelli impersonators she had ever seen was in attendance (referring to Minnelli herself). Then Ellen said, “good job, sir.” Liza Minnelli did NOT look impressed.
Best Ellen Moment of the Night: (Tie: Celebrity Selfie and Pizza Delivery)
Ellen definitely brought a hip new aspect to the Oscars, and the show’s entertainment value benefited significantly from this. At one point in the show, Ellen rounded up some of Hollywood’s most famous movie stars (and Lupita Nyong’o’s brother) to tweet a selfie in an attempt to break the record for most retweets, which the picture did indeed accomplish. Later in the show, Ellen had a few boxes of pizza delivered to the Dolby Theater, and she spent a few minutes passing out slices to everyone. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kevin Spacey, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Jared Leto, Harrison Ford, Kerry Washington, Martin Scorsese, and many others indulged in the Italian treat—Brad Pitt was actually extremely stoked for the occasion, loudly voicing to the pizza guy that he wanted pepperoni! It was a hilarious interlude during the ceremony, and it was one that has never been seen before.
Best Acceptance Speech: (Lupita Nyong’o for Best Supporting Actress)
In her film debut, Lupita Nyong’o won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Patsey in 12 Years A Slave. She gracefully thanked the real-life Patsey and Solomon Northup for his amazing story. She then, tearfully, thanked director Steve McQueen for the role, saying that being cast in this film was “the joy of [her] life.” With every appreciative comment about the many people that helped her reach this milestone, she spoke kindly and eloquently, and her heartfelt acceptance speech was truly remarkable.
Best Musical Performance: (Pink singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”)
During the Oscars, the Academy paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz,” and Pink performed a beautiful rendition of the infamous “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Pink is by far one of the most talented singers in the music industry today, and her vocals were incredible during this cover of Judy Garland’s signature song. If it were not for Pink’s amazing performance, this award would go to Pharrell Williams for his “Happy” routine earlier in the broadcast, but Pink’s breathtaking command of the stage during this earnest performance is absolutely undeniable.