BY HEATHER HACKNEY
Ladies and Gentlemen this year that has brought so much loss to Hollywood. Yet in the midst of a rainy morning, as the sun peaked over Hollywood Boulevard, excitement started to grow. Welcome to the 86th Academy Awards. Mini gold men standing only 13 ½ inches flooded the inside of the Dolby Theatre. Oh yeah and the celebrities were there too!
This year’s festivities were hosted by the amazingly charismatic and official Twitter officianato, Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen opened with a monologue that rivaled last year’s master of ceremonies, Seth McFarlane. And all night, one cut away after another, Ellen didn’t fail to keep us glued to the television.
At one point, for one very lucky pizza delivery boy, Ellen called upon his service to help deliver food to “starving” celebs. Good thing that kid walked away with a couple hundred dollars tip from various who’s whos. Though the highlight of her ceremonial shenanigans was the picture Ellen tweeted of her in an all-star pileup mid ceremony! Not only had Ellen set the record for most retweeted tweet of all-time, but she’s also the first user to top 1 million retweets for a single Twitter post. With over 1,300,000 retweets in less than half an hour @TheEllenShow was on fire! The picture consisted among others, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie and Bradley Cooper who snapped the shot.
Though the night was filled with the usual Oscar hoopla of longer than needed speeches and boring technical categories, one couldn’t help but notice all the soon to be Oscar buzz moments. Presenting awards this year, the Academy seemed to have dug deep into the Hollywood barrel. I thought for a moment I saw the Joker come out on stage, but realized a minute late it was Kim Novak.
After that I was waiting for the Hitchcock cameo as it must have been a horror film. Then it got worse when Goldie Hawn came out. At least I think it was her. With that much plastic surgery it’s hard to tell. But the most anticipated televised moment is one that turned into a vocal cord bloodbath. After a touching In Memoriam segment, we said goodbye to the likes of Shirley Temple Black, Roger Ebert, Sid Caesar, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and James Gandolfini, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Bette Midler came on stage and “sang” her song Wind Beneath My Wings. I would like to say it was heart moving, but all it did was move my stomach… Sorry Bette, somewhere the 1980s are rolling over in their grave.
Other performances were scattered over the evening. While normally all genres seem to show up for the event, this year the Academy seemed to have found their inner rock n’ roller. Pharrell Williams brought the room to their feet by performing “Happy” from the film “Despicable Me 2.” U2 performed their song “Ordinary Love” from the film “Mandela.” A very regretful John Travolta attempted to introduce the Broadway veteran Idina Mezel for her performance of “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” but soon became the laugh of the after party as he missed that mark by a mile by being unable to pronounce her name. “Adele Dazeem” was the name he invented, leading people the world over to ponder their own “Travolta names.”
The best performance, by far for this wide-eyed reporter, was the performance given by P!nk as she sang Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.” It brought Garland’s daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft, who were present, to tears.
Now down to business. Who won what, right? Well this year’s awards were pretty much what everyone expected them to be. The expectation of upsets this year seemed to differ from past years. It wasn’t as if there were dark horses but a true fight of equal talent. Both “Gravity” and “American Hustle” were nominated this year for an amazing 10 awards each. Yet they had “12 Years a Slave” right on their heels with nine nominations.
“Gravity” was the winner of the night bringing home seven Oscars including Best Director. The film lost Best Picture to “12 Years a Slave,” which also beat out fellow nominees “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena” and “Wolf of Wall Street.”
While Mathew McConaughey took home Best Actor and Jared Leto left with Best Supporting Actor, I wonder, how did Cate Blanchett win Best Actress, for the Woody Allen film “Blue Jasmine” over Sandra Bullock? The most tear jerking moment of the night was the speech from Lupita Nyong’o whose win of Best Supporting Actress for her work in “12 Years a Slave” brought her not only a statue but a standing ovation.
Also notable was the win of Disney’s “Frozen” for Best Animated Feature Film, which brought an Oscar back to the house of mouse after 14 long years. This was Disney’s first win since 2000’s “Tarzan.”
For those nominees who didn’t take home a tiny gold man this year, there’s always your consolation prize. A nominee gift bag worth over $20,000. Celebs like Neil Patrick Harris donated his to charity. The bag this year consisted not only of random items of local companies, but five separate trips including destinations such as Hawaii, Mexico and Japan. Yet the most shocking addition to the gift bag was not the Hydroxicut, the mace, organic maple syrup or even the $1,600 worth of pet supplies. It was “O-Shot,” a procedure designed to help a woman’s sex drive (courtesy of the people that brought us last year’s “Vampire Facelift” gift).
So after all is said and done, and all the awards are given out, the stars headed out to the after parties. Wolfgang Puck was hard at work all day preparing for the Governor’s Ball After Party among many others including the infamous Vanity Fair Oscar After Party. As for us mild-mannered reporters, we head to bed and dream of standing where they are…on stage, holding a little gold man of our own.
So till next year we will roll up the red carpet and store it away. In the words of the late Roger Ebert “I’ll see you at the movies.” Stay Tuned…