In a year when it seemed that every film was incredible, it seemed difficult to decide which one is the best. However, that's exactly what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has done tonight. With such remarkable nominated films such as American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave, the Oscars were buzzing with who would win.
Host Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted once before back in 2007, seemed like her nerves may have been besting her, as she stumbled over some of her jokes, while others just seemed like they were grasping to be funny. While she was certainly humbled to return to host the biggest Hollywood awards show, her jokes were flat in comparison to Seth MacFarlane's outrageous performance last year. Of course, it didn't help that she was wearing something that Austin Powers would wear.
The jokes weren't all bad. For instance, telling Jonah Hill on his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, "You showed me something in that film that I haven't seen in a long time."
The strangest bit of the evening, however, is when Ellen literally ordered pizza for the attendees, and the chaos that ensued trying to divvy it up -- especially when she hit up Sandra Bullock and Harvey Weinstein to pay for it. Easily one of her funnier bits as host, and certainly a very creative bit.
Jim Carey, when introducing the Animated Hero segment, stole the spotlight with his hilarious Bruce Dern impersonation and likening animation to LSD. However, DeGeneres tried stealing the show back by saying, "Was it me, or was that a little light on Finding Nemo?".
Another highlight of the broadcast was the return of performances of each of the nominated songs for Best Original Song. Pharrell Williams' performance of "Happy" was toe-tappingly infectious and vibrant, which was quite a lot of fun to watch. Karen O's minimalist performance of "The Moon Song" was both touching and haunting. U2 tried a similar approach with their performance of "No Ordinary Love", but Bono's screeching voice was too jarring to be enjoyable. Of course, for me, there was no better performer than Idina Menzel's stirring performance of Frozen's "Let It Go".
This year's Oscars celebrated the beloved film The Wizard of Oz, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. Introduced by a ruby-slippered Whoopi Goldberg, the montage of footage was serenaded by Pink singing "Over the Rainbow", who gave a stirring rendition of the classic song.
While he still doesn't have an Oscar yet, Bill Murray certainly took home the award for the classiest guy in the joint when he paid special tribute to Harold Ramis while presenting the award for Best Cinematographer. Another comedy genius who never won an Oscar for his talent.
Here are the winners below with my commentary. Enjoy!
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
After taking a hiatus from acting for six years, Leto earned a remarkable amount of buzz with his daring portrayal of Rayon. Unlike at the Golden Globes, Leto took the time with his speech to be poignant and touching, showing he was truly humbled by the win, while dedicating his win to all those who lost their struggle with AIDS.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN: Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby
This was a bit of a shock, seeing that this was one of the few awards Gatsby was nominated for. However, one of the highlights of the dismal F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation was the costume design, and it's hard to deny the film its due.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIR DESIGN: Robin Mathews and Adruitha Lee, Dallas Buyers Club
Let's face it: any team that can turn Jared Leto into a convincing transvestite deserved this award.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM: Mr. Hublot
It is interesting to note that Disney didn't take it this year. Moreover, two newcomers won. It was quite nice to see.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Frozen
With as great as The Croods was, was it any surprise that Frozen won? Again, this is the best Disney film in the last ten years, touching the hearts of both kids and adults. It was predictable, but deserved.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS: Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, and Neil Corbould, Gravity
This was truly a tough race, but, in the end, Gravity was just too much. It was a visual spectacle and journey, and it was easily one of the best sci-fi films in the last decade.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: Helium
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
It's always heart-warming to see first-time nominees win Oscars, and I have always loved these categories for this reason.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: 20 Feet From Stardom
It's definitely not the typical documentary to win at the Oscars, but a documentary about the world of professional backup singers is a stellar win for music documentaries everywhere.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Great Beauty
While I didn't get a chance to see any of these movies, The Great Beauty did take home the Golden Globe this year as well, so this isn't the biggest surprise.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro, Gravity
Is this a surprise? Not really. This is a much-deserved win.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING: Glenn Freemantle, Gravity
See the comment above.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Well, I'll be damned. This was unexpected. Nyong'o's first win was quite the surprise, and her speech was easily the best of the evening. Still, I'm a little disappointed that Jennifer Lawrence didn't win, but it doesn't matter. Both Lawrence and Nyong'o both have long careers ahead of them.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Lubezki's first Oscar win couldn't have been for a better film. Nominated five other times for films like Tree of Life and Sleepy Hollow, Lubezki is truly talented and deserved this win tonight.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING: Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, Gravity
For those playing the home game, this is what we like to call "a pattern". For a film as technically superior as Gravity, it's hard to compete against it. Could this mean a Best Picture win? Keep reading!
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN: Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn, The Great Gatsby
Another shocker. I don't know if it's a bigger shock that Gatsby won two Oscars or that this was one award that didn't go to Gravity.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Steven Price, Gravity
Price's score paved the backdrop for this harrowing tale, and it was an absolute gem this year.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: "Let It Go", Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Frozen.
Robert Lopez is one of the few people to be an "EGOT" winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony recipient), and it couldn't be for a better song. Thank god the Academy acknowledged how wonderful this song truly is. And, yes, I truly hate U2 that much.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
Easily the best reviewed film of the year, Ridley's script for Slave has touched many lives since its release. It's not a surprise this award went this way.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Spike Jonze, Her
It's wonderful to see moments like this when the Academy awards true originality. Jonze's Her was truly the most unique tale of the year, and this award couldn't be going home with a better writer. Jonze is an amazing filmmaker, and it was awesome to see his first win tonight.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
As much as David O. Russell, Steve McQueen, and Martin Scorsese could have won this year just as easily, none of them directed the action film that captured audiences' imaginations worldwide. This was seriously one of best films of the year, and certainly one of the most thrilling. A true masterpiece. Cuarón deserved this one, folks. Deal with it.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Remember folks: never underestimate the power of Woody Allen. He manages to give award-worthy roles to his leading ladies, and this was no exception. Amy Adams will see hers soon, and Sandra Bullock already has one, so she's not crying. And, as Blanchett said in her acceptance speech to Meryl, "#SuckIt!".
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
McConaughey has had a strange career. Who would have thought that everyone's favorite dirtbag from Dazed and Confused would have classed up so much and become the actor he is now? The most impressive was his acceptance speech, which was the most surprisingly eloquent speech about hero worship, while following up with his classic "Alright alright alright" line.
BEST PICTURE: 12 Years A Slave
If you're going to win, win big, right? While this win was far from a surprise, seeing that, as I mentioned earlier, it was the best reviewed film of the year. But, I have to admit I'm filled with immense disappointment. With films like Gravity, American Hustle (which came up completely empty-handed out of 10 nominations), and The Wolf of Wall Street, it's hard for me to say this truly was the best film. With that being said, it's nice to see the film that topped many Best of 2013 lists across the country get its appropriate due as well.