There were no big surprises at the 86th annual Academy Awards, except for one: MC Ellen DeGeneres was actually pretty funny.
Hosting the telecast for the first time since 2007, although she was hit and miss at the start of her monologue she quickly started to find her comedic groove before it concluded. Her Liza Minnelli zinger was a particular standout gag. As the night wore on, there were amusing bits involving selfies and pizza, and the occasionally pointed introduction, the Jim Carrey one being the best. (“Citizen Kane. Lawrence Of Arabia. Ace Ventura. Our next presenter starred in one of them.”) Speaking of Carrey, his Bruce Dern impression is perfect.
As for the awards themselves, as expected Gravity was the big winner snagging an impressive seven gongs. Directors Guild of America winner Alfonso Cuaron made history by becoming the first Latino to win a Best Director Oscar. He also shared the award for Best Film Editing. Gravity also won for Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.
But it didn’t win Best Picture. That honour went to 12 Years A Slave, the highly acclaimed historical drama that was the audience’s favourite feature at last September’s Toronto International Film Festival. Yale graduate Lupita Nyong’o was named Best Supporting Actress and John Ridley took home Best Adapted Screenplay.
Dallas Buyers Club won three trophies of its own. Besides taking Best Make-Up, rocker Jared Leto sweetly paid tribute to his mother and brother in a very good speech as he accepted the award for Best Supporting Actor while Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor in a presentation that felt quite arrogant at times. The usually likeable Texan proceeded to give way too much credit to God for his success as well as oddly naming himself ten years in the future as his hero, “someone to chase”, someone he’ll never quite become. You lost me, man.
Frozen won Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song for Let It Go and The Great Gatsby received awards for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design. Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann’s production/costume designer wife Catherine Martin, like Alfonso Cuaron, won two gongs at the event.
Despite my prediction of an upset, frontrunner Cate Blanchett wasn’t punished for starring in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. She walked away with Best Actress, her second acting Oscar. (As an aside, doesn’t her co-star, Best Supporting Actress nominee Sally Hawkins look uncannily like PJ Harvey?) After graciously paying tribute to her fellow nominees for their performances, she remarked that it’s finally time for the business to stop considering movies with women in them as “niche” pictures. “They earn money,” she noted.
The complete list of winners:
BEST PICTURE – 12 YEARS A SLAVE
BEST DIRECTOR – Alfonso Cuaron (GRAVITY)
BEST ACTRESS – Cate Blanchett (BLUE JASMINE)
BEST ACTOR – Matthew McConaughey (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Jared Leto (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Lupita Nyong’o (12 YEARS A SLAVE)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – 20 FEET FROM STARDOM
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – FROZEN
BEST FOREIGN FILM – THE GREAT BEAUTY
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Spike Jonze (HER)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – John Ridley (12 YEARS A SLAVE)
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – GRAVITY
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – GRAVITY
BEST FILM EDITING – GRAVITY
BEST SOUND MIXING – GRAVITY
BEST SOUND EDITING – GRAVITY
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – THE GREAT GATSBY
BEST COSTUME DESIGN – THE GREAT GATSBY
BEST MAKE-UP – DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – GRAVITY
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – Let It Go (FROZEN)
BEST ANIMATED SHORT – MR. HUBLOT
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – HELIUM
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT – THE LADY IN NUMBER 6: MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, March 3, 2014