The Oscars 2014 Review

This past Sunday, at the 86th Academy Awards, the annual celebration kicked off with the return of past host Ellen DeGeneres, comically targeting stars and cracking jokes towards whatever she could. From arising Jennifer Lawrence's continual falls up stairs and out of cars to calling out Liza Minnelli as an impersonator, Ellen brought her charismatic and comical nature from her show to the big awards once again to deliver a decent beginning monologue. Then, to get the large room of nervous stars and yawning directors to their feet, the incomparable Pharrell Williams exploded the stage with his hit from Despicable Me 2, "Happy", bringing the crowd to their feet and starting the show with a boom.

Later on, we continue the awards, bringing up pairs of old and new stars to present the nominees for a variety of topics in film. From the most touching presentations, like Matthew McConaughey helping out Hitchcock blonde Kim Novak present for the Animated Film categories, to random film montages presented by the ever-excited Harrison Ford and the comic-we've-sorta-missed Jim Carrey, the awards move swiftly along. While some of the awards seemed redundant, like Gravity taking home a number of awards from Best Sound Editing to Best Visual Effects to Best Score and so on, others seemed perfect like The Great Gatsby's Catherine Martin taking home the much deserved Best Costume Design, and Best Original Screenplay going to Her director Spike Jonze (even if that movie was a bit creepy).

Between the awards and performances (from the rockers of U2 to the low-key songs from Frozen and Her), Ellen returns to the stage (and the aisles) to take Twitter-killing selfies and order a reasonable amount of pizza for the audience. Later on, she comes in with news of a broken social network and about 3 pizzas for a lucky front row of hungry stars. Overall, Ellen was a memorable host yet again, and should be welcomed back anytime the stars need free pizza and a good laugh.

The big awards of the night, in which we all wait up for, were pretty surprising to say the least. To start off, Dallas Buyers Club stars Matt McConaughey and Jared Leto dominated, winning both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. In the Supporting Actor category, my top choices were either Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips or American Hustle's Bradley Cooper, both bringing powerful performances to the big screen. However, it was a bit unlikely that Adbi would win, being a first-time nominee and actor (wait...what about Lupita Nyong'o? Oh nevermind). Either way, all of the Supporting Actor nominees are such amazing actors, and Jared Leto probably deserved it, even if I haven't seen him in his role yet. For the Best Actor category, while I think McConaughey deserved to win, I feel like some of the nominees didn't get as much love as they've earned. Honestly, I haven't seen all but one film on the list, so I'm probably just rambling on about something I shouldn't, but I think actors like Leo DiCaprio and Christian Bale should be more recognized for their works. Even if DiCaprio played a boozy drugged-up playboy from Wall Street (no, I haven't seen the movie, but that's what I got from it), or Christian Bale wasn't at his best as a clever con-man from Brooklyn (I did see this movie, and it was excellent), these actors deserve more recognition every once in a while. However, McConaughey was probably amazing in Dallas Buyers Club, earning him another win and another chance to say his "alright alright alright" catchphrase. Next came the ladies' awards, Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett and 12 Years A Slave's Lupita Nyong'o taking home the gold statues. Even if Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence were purely amazing in American Hustle, and Sandra Bullock captivated us in Gravity, I think these talented women, Blanchett and Nyong'o, deserved it for their spectacular roles as fierce ladies in their films.

Then, after Gravity's Alfonso CuarĂ³n took home another award for Best Director, the final (and biggest) award of the night came: Best Picture. With 9 fantastic films in the race to the top, from dirty con-men and even dirtier stock-brokers from New York to captive captains at sea and captivating Sandra Bullocks in space, the one who made it to the top was the true story of slavery, 12 Years A Slave. To end this long and glorified night of awards and selfies, 12 Years director Steve McQueen delivered a closing speech about the legacy behind the film and his amazing team of actors and writers.

Well, that's all I have to say about that. Thanks for reading my rushed rant on the Oscars, this being my only entertainment on a Tuesday morning when school is closed (a bit of an ice storm here in North Carolina). Now that I'm through, tell me what you thought of the Oscars: Did you agree with the winners? Who was left out? Was Ellen a good host? Was Wolf of Wall Street a good movie? Should Jared Leto cut his hair? Am I asking too many questions? Yes, yes I am. Anyway, I plan to see all of the nominees eventually so I can share my reviews and thoughts about who really should have won the big awards last Sunday.      

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