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2014 Academy Awards: '12 Years a Slave' earns Oscars top honor

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The 86th Annual Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland on Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014 and aired on ABC at 7e/4p this year. The nominations were announced on Jan. 16, 2013 by Chris Hemsworth and Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

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This year the prestigious event was hosted by Ellen Degeneres. The host managed to poke fun of the various stars in attendance while doing so in a more polite manner than the previous host. However, for as many marks as she hit, considering the hilarity of the commercials promoting the event, and her talk show for that matter, I was expecting more. The only bad thing about expecting more is being slightly let down. With that said, she was still my favorite host since Hugh Jackman back in 2009. The best two bits by far was her ordering pizza for the various people in attendance as well as the selfie that included as many stars as Bradley Cooper's arm allowed.

The only true blunder of the night was when John Travolta took the stage to introduce Idina Menzel's performance of the now award winning song "Let It Go." It was quite a surprise to hear that Adele Dazeem was performing the song. Until seeing Miss Menzel on stage I was a little confused. This is not the first time Travolta has made a mistake at the Oscars though as just last year he mispronounced the film "Les Miserables" as well. The mispronunciation has gotten so much talk that one can now get their own name "Travoltaified." Despite the blunder, Menzel let it be known she was the powerhouse that her fans have known for years.

As far as speeches go I have three favorites. Jared Leto's speech happened far earlier in the evening than most expected, but delivered such a powerful message by saying, "To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here and as you struggle to make your dreams happen — to live the impossible — we're thinking of you tonight." Dreams were a common theme of the night and part of what made me grow teary eyed in Lupita Nyong’o's speech when admitting, “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.” And finally, I have to say my other favorite quote that came from the acceptance speeches at last night's event came from Kristen Anderson-Lopez who took time to celebrate her children by stating, “Our girls, Katie and Annie, our song is inspired by our love for you in the hope that you never let fear and shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are. Thank you, we love you."

Overall, while "Gravity" did not manage to name Best Picture, which deservedly went to "12 Years a Slave," the film still walked away from the evening with the total of seven awards. Overall, the event was something that people who normally would not be interested in the Oscars might make them want to tune in next year.

And now, without further adieu, the winners are as follows:

Best Picture
Winner:
"12 Years a Slave"
Other Nominees:
"American Hustle"
"Captain Phillips"
"Dallas Buyers Club"
"Gravity"
"Her"
"Nebraska"
"Philomena"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"

Best Director
Winner:
Alfonso Cuarón for "Gravity"
Other Nominees:
Steve McQueen for "12 Years a Slave"
Alexander Payne for "Nebraska"
David O. Russell for "American Hustle"
Martin Scorsese for "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Actor in a Leading Role
Winner:
Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club"
Other Nominees:
Christian Bale for "American Hustle"
Bruce Dern for "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor for "12 Years a Slave"
Leonardo DiCaprio for "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Actress in a Leading Role
Winner:
Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine"
Other Nominees:
Amy Adams for "American Hustle"
Judi Dench for "Philomena"
Meryl Streep for "August: Osage County"
Sandra Bullock for "Gravity"

Actor in a Supporting Role
Winner:
Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club”
Other Nominees:
Barkhad Abdi for “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper for “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender for “12 Years a Slave”
Jonah Hill for “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Winner:
Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”
Other Nominees:
Sally Hawkins for “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence for “American Hustle”
Julia Roberts for “August: Osage County”
June Squibb for “Nebraska"

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner:
“12 Years a Slave,” screenplay by John Ridley
Other Nominees:
“Before Midnight,” written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips,” screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena,” screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“The Wolf of Wall Street,” screenplay by Terence Winter

Original Screenplay
Winner:
“Her,” written by Spike Jonze
Other Nominees:
“American Hustle,” written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine,” written by Woody Allen
“Dallas Buyers Club,” written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
“Nebraska,” written by Bob Nelson

Animated Feature Film
Winner:
“Frozen”
Other Nominees:
“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Ernest & Celestine”
“The Wind Rises”

For all the other winners of the evening please click <a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/2014-academy-award-winners-continued">he...

Also remember, some of those films are currently available for rental. If you are interested in renting any of the films mentioned from last year, make sure to check your closet video rental store, Videodrome, Netflix, or movie channels based upon your cable or satellite provider for availability.

To purchase any Blu-rays or DVDs mentioned in this review please check out your local Austell Best Buy, Walmart, Target, or Kmart.

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