Oscars 2014: The Roundup
'12 Years A Slave' and 'Gravity' win big; Ellen takes an epic selfie
You can be cynical about the voting process, or the studios’ shameless marketing campaigns, or the generally WASPy choices of the shortlist, but when Oscar day rolls around, we defy you not to get even the teensiest bit excited about it. It’s the Oscars!
The 86th Academy Awards got off to a good start when Dior-clad Jennifer Lawrence performed her customary awards ceremony tumble on the red carpet (love you, J.Law), which led host Ellen DeGeneres to joke afterwards, “If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar.” Benedict Cumberbatch then did an excellent red carpet photobomb of U2. If anyone is in need of a good photobombing it’s earnest old Bono, so nice work, Sherlock.
Pharrell set the cat among the fashion pigeons once again, this time arriving in shorts. The cheek. But never fear because once the awards were underway he changed into trousers and popped up on stage to sing ‘Happy’, his Oscar-nominated hit from the soundtrack to Despicable Me 2, wearing … The Big Hat! Yes, the sequel. His performance not only gave Ellen an excuse to dance at last (as if one is ever needed), but had Meryl Streep shimmying out of her front-row seat and Lupita Nyong’o getting all hands in the air like she just don’t care.
But enough mucking about; it’s time to get down to the awards. First out of the blocks was Best Supporting Actor, which went to Jared Leto (who, by the way, is 42. 42!), he of the perfectly ombred leonine locks, for Dallas Buyer’s Club.
Australia’s Catherine Martin (AKA CM, and wife of Baz Luhrmann) then won best costume design for The Great Gatsby (easily the best thing about the film). It was her third Oscar, and she came prepared. “I have a few words tucked inside my bra,” she said, fishing around for them. Gatsby also later won Oscars for set design and production design – all the things CM was responsible for, basically. Baz will be on dishwasher emptying duties for the next year, at least.
With Ellen as host it was back to the frivolity before long. First she recruited J.Law, Meryl, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Lupita and her brother, Brad and Angelina to pose for the world’s most star-studded selfie, which promptly broke the world record for the most retweeted picture ever. She perfectly walked the line between fawning and insulting comedy throughout. She even ordered in pizza! (And Jared Leto happily tucked in.) Clearly, all awards shows should be hosted by female comedians in future.
Back to the awards. By the time Best Supporting Actress rolled around, we were a bundle of nerves. Would our style (and substance) crush Lupita Nyong’o (read our interview in ELLE’s March issue) take the honours for 12 Years A Slave? She would. Not only that but she gave one of the most moving acceptance speeches we’ve heard.
“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is because of so much pain in someone else’s, and so I want to salute the spirit of Patsy [her character in 12 Years a Slave] for her guidance,” she said. If you can watch her speech without shedding a tear then you have a heart of stone.
Cate Blanchett, in shimmering nude Armani, was the not remotely surprising winner of Best Actress, for Blue Jasmine. Her gracious speech was a lesson in class, as she heaped praise on her fellow nominees, saying Amy Adams in American Hustle “blew my mind.” She then called out the “fools” who still think films with women at the centre are niche experiences. “They are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact they earn money.” Bravo.
Who else? Spike Jonze continued his winning streak by nabbing the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Her, Matthew McConaughey took the Best Actor award for Dallas Buyer’s Club, but the night’s biggest winner was Gravity, which took home a staggering seven awards. None were for acting (bad luck Sandra and George), but the film dominated in nearly every other category it was eligible for. And the night’s big loser (that’s mean, but really, this is a staggering fact) was American Hustle – ten nominations, no wins.
Finally, the big award of the night – the Oscar for Best Film – went, so deservedly, to Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. As he and the film’s stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Lupita and Benedict took the stage, the audience erupted. “Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live,” said McQueen. “This is the legacy of Solomon Northup.” [The film is based on Solomon’s memoirs.] McQueen thanked his mother, who stood up and waved frantically from the very back row, and then he proceeded to grab the Oscar and jump up and down like a jack rabbit.
It was a feelgood moment, for a feelgood Oscars.
(Fun fact: Frozen is the first Disney movie to ever win the best animated feature Oscar. Strange but true.)
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