The theme for the 86th Academy Awards ceremony was celebrating heroes. That is exactly what the show needed when it teetered into telethon territory, clocking in at three and a half hours. Though, a telethon-like Oscars show would not be the worst thing in the world if it meant I could dial a toll-free number to talk to Christian Bale and have him praise me for my charitable contributions. This year’s host, Ellen DeGeneres, easily handled the Hollywood crowd on her second outing as MC. The comedienne’s likeability factor meant that the folks in the audience could rest easy if they found themselves on the receiving end of a DeGeneres bit, knowing that it would feel more like being wrapped in a warm blanket than being hugged by a cactus. But, awards shows, thank God, follow some basic principles of Physics: for every applaud-worthy, tear- jerking moment, there is an equally cringe-worthy, head-scratching episode. On to some of those moments:
Yay!: DeGeneres made headlines back in the 90's when she announced she was a lesbian. The personal revelation resulted in a downward spiral of sorts for the performer, but last night it gave her the best joke of the night, when she told Best Supporting Actor nominee Jonah Hill, in regards to his performance in the highly sexualized flick, Wolf of Wall Street, “You showed us something in that film that I have not seen for a very, very long time.”
Nay!: Perhaps the night’s most awkward exchange came in the form of former screen siren, Kim Novak, and Best Actor winner, Matthew McConaughey, as the two struggled to present their award, with McConaughey attempting to be the anchor. Novak’s demeanor suggested that, perhaps, it is possible to suffer from vertigo without reaching great heights.
Yay!: As the camera panned the photogenic audience, I noticed none other than "Uncle Jesse" aka John Stamos in the crowd. Not that I mind a Stamos sighting, but it did have me wonder what he was doing at the Oscars. Perhaps the attendees were snacking on Greek yogurt?
Nay!: Call it the “Butchering Heard Around the World”. Having a name that has seen and heard dozens of variations other than its actual, correct spelling or pronunciation, I was aghast when John Travolta introduced Broadway singer/actress, Idina Menzel, as, well, something so far removed from Idina Menzel, that the man actually created a whole new name for her. Not cool, Mr. Travottoria, not cool.
Nay!: The night seemed to suffer from some, um, technical issues. Presenters, and at times, Degeneres, appeared to be at the mercy of a teleprompter that was showing signs of perhaps visiting the bar one too many times, as there were moments of delay and actors who were stumped as to their next line. It wasn’t just the teleprompter that was missing its cue. Best Supporting Actress nominee, Sally Hawkins, couldn’t quite attract the cameraman’s lenses, as the camera went dark after a clip of her performance was shown and when back on, zeroed in on fellow nominee, June Squibb. Cheer up, Sally. You could’ve been introduced by Travolta, forever having to explain the origins of your name, Shaker Heeney.