Monday, March 3, 2014

12 Years a Slave and Gravity Win at the Oscars

For a night full of predictable winners, flubbed presentations, and an inordinate number of standing ovations, I actually thought last night's ceremony was one of the better ones in recent years. It certainly helped that a lot of the winners were of films or performances I enjoyed. The complete list of winners is below:

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Best Lead Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Lead Actress: 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: Her
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Best Animated Film: Frozen
Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty
Best Original Score: Gravity
Best Original Song: "Let it Go," Frozen
Best Editing: Gravity
Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby
Best Cinematography: Gravity
Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby
Best Makeup and Hair: Dallas Buyers Club
Best Documentary: 20 Feet From Stardom
Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Best Animated Short: Mr. Hublot
Best Live Action Short: Helium
Best Sound Editing: Gravity
Best Sound Mixing: Gravity
Best Visual Effects: Gravity

7 - Gravity
3 - 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club
2 - Frozen, The Great Gatsby
1 - Her, Blue Jasmine, The Great Beauty, 20 Feet From Stardom, The Lady in Number 6, Mr. Hublot, Helium

12 Years a Slave took home three awards including the big one, Best Picture, at last night's ceremony. Its ecstatic cast and crew had to wait just before midnight to hear an ascot-wearing Will Smith make the announcement, but it was certainly worth the wait. Producer Brad Pitt took the mic to express his thanks then immediately gave director Steve McQueen center stage. McQueen, the first black director to have a Best Picture film, jumped for joy after his speech. Another director, Alfonso Cuarón, had a lot to celebrate as well as his film Gravity won seven oscars, the most of any film, including Best Director making Cuarón the first Latino filmmaker to do so.

The acting awards went to the presumed frontrunners, Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto, and Lupita Nyong'o. Interestingly enough, they were all honored previously at the BFCA, SAG Awards, and the Spirit Awards. Their speeches ranged from okay to sublime, but more importantly they were all sincere. Nyong'o's win and elegant speech was my favorite of the night. Other wins that made me so very happy include Spike Jonze's screenplay for Her as well as the two that went to Frozen for Animated Feature and Best Song (the latter making Robert Lopez the latest EGOT member). Prediction-wise, I went 20/24 (83.33%), which would've been better if I kept Leto and went with my gut on the Live Action Short, but even with that it's the best I've done in years.

Host Ellen Degeneres was fine with most of her highlights coming less from her monologue and more from all of her interaction with the celebs. Lots have already been written about the epic selfie and the pizza delivery, but I enjoyed them immensely even if Ellen's laid-back and conversational hosting pushed the running time. The fact that of last night's winners were able to finish their speeches also contributed to the glut, but it's a welcome change in my opinion.

There were fun unplanned moments as well such as Darlene Love belting out after her film won Best Documentary or Pharrell having an impromptu dance party with Nyong'o, Meryl Streep, and Amy Adams. The latter was part of a show full of performances from Pink's beautiful rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to Bette Midler's singing "Wind Beneath My Wings" after a particularly tough In Memoriam segment to the planned performances from fellow Best Song nominees, Karen O, U2, and Adele Dazeem... I mean Idina Menzel. Yes, the numerous and shrug-worthy "heroes" montages probably could've been executed a lot better and more awards could've been given out earlier, but these weren't so bad as to take away from the night. Another thing I enjoyed about last night was the fantastic graphics used to present the nominees designed by Henry Hobson and Manija Emran.

So overall, I really thought it was a fun evening. Liza Minnelli showed up with a blue streak in her hair, Pitt delivered pizzas, Lupita's little brother has a new Facebook photo, Kevin Spacey turned into Frank Underwood, and John Travolta became an internet meme. Oh and a bunch of great films were awarded.

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