The biggest night in Hollywood took place Sunday night March 2, 2014 at the Dolby Theater to celebrate the best talent in film. The prestigious 86th annual Academy Awards were hosted by the lovable and funny Ellen DeGeneres. She opened the show with a comical monologue filled with gags about celebrities in attendance, for instance she quipped about Jennifer Lawrence always falling (last year when she won Best Actress she fell going up the stairs, and last night she fell again on the red carpet) she also joked about how everyone should pray for the stars in Los Angeles due to the weather (it rained last night, which is something most Californians don’t usually see).
The first award to be presented was Best Supporting Actor, which Jared Leto from The Dallas Buyers Club won. He started the night off with a beautiful speech, first thanking his mother who he said “encouraged her kids to be creative, to work hard and to do something special,” and adding “thank you for teaching me to dream.” Then thanking his 30 seconds to Mars front-man and brother, Shannon by saying he’s “the best big brother in the world, you’re a true artist. Thank you so much for sharing this insane and amazing adventure that is 30 Seconds to Mars, and for being my best friend. I love you. Thank you.” He ended his speech mentioning the Ukraine and Venezuela stating that “we’re thinking of you tonight,” and dedicating his Oscar to “the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you. Thank you so much and goodnight.”
A little over and hour and a half into the three and a half hour telecast, Ellen attempts to break records with the most retweeted selfie picture on twitter. She gathers Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongo, Kevin Spacey and Angelina Jolie for a picture. Moments later she states that she “got an email from Twitter and we crashed and broke Twitter. We have made history.”
Shortly after that historic record breaking selfie took place, the second acting award for the evening was presented to Lupita Nyongo for Best Supporting Actress for her work in 12 Years a Slave. Nyongo spoke eloquently discussing her role of Patsey stating, “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own.” She went on to thank director Steve McQueen, her costars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, her family and Yale School of drama. She left the audience gracefully ending her speech with “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.”
More than halfway through the show, Ellen decides to bring out boxes of pizza with a delivery man later identified as Edgar Martirosyan, helping her hand out slices throughout the star studded audience. After a handful of celebs grab their food, Ellen jokes that she doesn’t have money to pay for the order and approaches Miramax film studio executive, Harvey Weinstein and says, “No pressure, only a billion people watching. Whatever you feel is right.” Later on she collects money using Pharrell Williams’ hat from Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey John Travolta, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg took the stage, reminiscing about her childhood days when she would watch The Wizard of Oz every year around Thanksgiving. The year 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the timeless classic The Wizard of Oz and to honor the film, Judy Garland’s three children, Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joseph Luft attended the star studded affair, and singer Pink performed the iconic song Garland made famous from the film, ‘Over the Rainbow’ while clips from the movie played throughout. The performance was beautiful, and she was dressed in a gorgeous ruby red princess-like gown to play homage to the infamous ruby slippers.
The performances of the evening were great, starting it off was Pharrell Williams nominated for his song ‘Happy’ from Despicable Me 2 then, slowing the night down a bit with Karen O’s performance of "The Moon Song" from the Oscar nominated film Her. U2 performed their nominated song "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. and the evening of best original songs ended with Broadway superstar Idina Menzel (although John Travolta screwed up her name and called her something along the lines of Adele Dazeem), singing the Oscar winning song ‘Let it Go’ from the Oscar winning animated film Frozen.
Bette Midler also performed her famous song ‘The Wind beneath My Wings’ from the tearjerker film Beaches. Her extremely moving performance followed directly after the In Memoriam Reel.
The end of the night was finally near, and the Oscar awards everyone stayed up to watch were finally announced. Alfonso Cuaron took home the Academy Award for Best Director for his visually stunning film Gravity (which took home 7 Oscars by the end of the night). He was also the first Latino director to win an Oscar. He thanked actress Sandra Bullock the star of the film, by claiming she was “Gravity” adding she was “the soul, heart of the film," and "one of the best people I ever met.”
The Best Actress award went to Woody Allen’s muse in Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett. She started off her speech thanking her fellow talented nominees, "Amy Adams, everything you do, but your performance in American Hustle blew my mind. And Meryl, what can I say? Sandra, I could watch that performance to the end of time, and I sort of felt like I had. Julia, #suckit. You know what I mean? And Judi Dench, I mean what a career. She’s not here tonight because at the age of 79, her film was so successful that she’s in India doing a sequel. I mean what a career that is, if I could hope.” She thanked her agents, her costars, and Woody Allen along with her family and ending with thanks to “every single member of the Sydney Theatre Company, one of the great theater companies in the world. For me, working on Blue Jasmine, it was a real synthesis of my work in the theater and on film. And not only working with you for the last six years has been the most enormous privilege of my career but it’s made me a better actress. There is so much talent in Australia and Michael Wilkinson and C.M. and I are just tonight’s tip of the iceberg. Thank you so much. Thank you."
Then, one of the most anticipated awards of the evening, mainly because the category was extremely talented this year for Best Actor, was presented to Matthew McConaughey for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey took the stage and was one of the few winners that thanked God in his speech. He of course thanked the Academy, his costars and director, along with his fellow nominees. He added, “There's a few things, about three things to my account that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase. Now, first off, I want to thank God. 'Cause that's who I look up to. He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” He went on to thank his family, which included his mother who attended the show, his wife and three children, and his late father. He then went on to say that he is always trying to be his own hero but knows, “I'm never gonna be my hero. I'm not gonna attain that. I know I'm not, and that's just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing. "So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we're chasing, to that I say, 'Amen.' To that I say, 'Alright, alright, alright.' To that I say 'just keep living.' Thank you."
And of course, the award that ended the night was Best Picture, which went to director Steve McQueen’s film 12 Years a Slave which also garnered Brad Pitt to earn his first Oscar for producing the film with his Plan B production company. All in all, the show was a success and Ellen did another fantastic job hosting the show and will hopefully be back again for next year.
For the complete list of winners be sure to check out the Oscar website.