The 86th Academy Awards came and went last Sunday night with few surprises and forgettable performances. The show was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres who previously had the honor seven years ago, making this her second appearance acting as host.
The most prestigious ceremony on the film calendar was attended by Hollywood’s finest talent and represented the culmination of another excellent year in the artistic medium of cinema. DeGeneres did an admirable job; she managed a few unique gags including a pizza delivery, the most retweeted picture of all time and a hilarious remembrance of Jennifer Lawrence’s fall from last year’s Oscars.
The biggest winner of the night was Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” which took home seven golden statues, mostly for technical achievements. Visually groundbreaking, the big budget film won for best visual effects, achievement in editing, cinematography, achievement in sound editing and sound mixing (often paired together) and best original score. Director Alfonso Cuaron also garnered the coveted best director Oscar for his work on the film.
Each nominee for best original song was performed live throughout the show, nicely segmenting the entire event. The first performance of the evening was Pharrell’s “Happy,” which was a bit casual but lively. The hauntingly subtle “Moon Song” from “Her” was performed, as well as the song “Ordinary Love” by U2 which was featured on the soundtrack of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” The beloved song “Let it Go” from Disney’s “Frozen” was awarded the Oscar and made winner Robert Lopez one of only 12 people to complete the EGOT meaning he has won an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and a Tony award.
“The Great Gatsby” snagged two design Oscars for costuming and production design although the film as a whole was critically tarnished. Best adapted screenplay went to John Ridley who formatted the words of Solomon Northup for the screen giving “12 Years a Slave” the victory. Best original screenplay was bestowed upon writer and director Spike Jonze for the love story set in dystopia that was “Her.”
The somber in memoriam segment of the Oscars featured 47 artists who passed away in the past year, including James Gandolfini, Peter O’ Toole, Shirley Temple, Paul Walker and Philip Seymour Hoffman who closed the montage. Bette Midler performed her rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings” following the presentation.
The first Oscar of the night went to Jared Leto, actor and lead singer of the band “30 Seconds to Mars” who dazzled in his role as AIDS-stricken transvestite Rayon. The best supporting actress Oscar went to newcomer Lupita Nyong’o for her performance as a severely abused slave in “12 Years a Slave.” Cate Blanchett won the best actress Oscar for her character in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.” Possibly the tightest race in this year’s Academy Awards was the one for best actor. Matthew McConaughey, Leonardo DiCaprio and Chiwetel Ejiofor all had a legitimate chance at winning the award but to the dismay of many, the award was given to McConaughey for his performance in “Dallas Buyer’s Club” over Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
The champion of the evening was “12 Years a Slave” which landed the most sought after Oscar of them all, best picture. The film was the heavy favorite going into the night and deservedly won. Another chapter in an exhilarating film year has ended as the 86th Academy Awards have come to a close leaving the world in anticipation for another great year at the movies.