(As always, B is Ben, and N is Nina, here to provide you with a recap of last night’s Academy Awards!)
N: So. After months of deliberation, Harvey Weinstein-led smear campaigns, and looking at pictures of McConaughey’s gaunt face versus DiCaprio’s coke-smeared one, the Oscars are over, and the awards are, um, awarded.
B: And what’s an awards ceremony without two people nitpicking every detail of the event afterwards? So grab some pizza, and make sure to get an extra slice for Adele Dazeem: this is the 2014 Oscars Post-Mortem!
B: Before we get into the winners, let’s talk about the ceremony itself, starting with our gracious host, Ellen DeGeneres.
N: Well, maybe I like mom jokes, but I liked Ellen. Her brand of deadpan, earnest stand-up does work for me, and if this year’s telecast was a tiny bit safe, I didn’t really mind. After MacFarlane was offensive AND terrible last year, it was kind of soothing.
B: She made the jokes she had to make, she did the silly bits you would expect from her, and she effectively called Hollywood racist if they didn’t award 12 Years a Slave Best Picture. What more can you ask for in a host? She even posted that damn celebrity selfie (seen above) which CRASHED TWITTER because of how many retweets it got. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
N: I’ll also quickly mention how freaking HOT her wife looked. Shoutout to Lindsay Bluth! Anyway, let’s talk about the winners, and the losers, for whom the blow was cushioned by either pizza or scratch-off cards (Ellen still needs that quarter back, Bradley).
B: Whether you were a winner or a loser, everyone was subjected to ALL OF THOSE MONTAGES.
N: So, really, we all lost.
B: I sort of kind of understand the desire to have a “theme” for the Oscars (this year being the fantastically broad “Heroes”), but my goodness, the randomness of those montages just helped elongate an already long evening. Not to mention a tonally off tribute to The Wizard of Oz (Though Pink did sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” beautifully). The beauty of the Oscars is you don’t really need a theme. The theme is THE OSCARS. Celebrating a year at the movies! I don’t think there was one montage that was simply just “Let’s look back at the year in movies in 2013!”
N: Yeah, shouldn’t the “theme” just be, like, movies? I do NOT understand the need to make it about something (particularly in a year where most of our “heroes” were actually victims or scoundrels, 12 Years a Slave and Philomena being the former and American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street being the latter). Those montages killed me. All they did was give Will Smith a chance to have a “hey, I was so good in Ali!” reaction shot.
B: Alright, rants over. Let’s look at the winners! I think this was the first time in YEARS where I wasn’t truly upset or disappointed in any of the winners. What do you think, Nina?
N: Same, but I also wasn’t really SHOCKED. Even the tight races were anticlimactic, like Director, Picture and Supporting Actress, and the locks all unfolded like everyone said they would. I like an upset from time to time, but hey, I can’t complain- those who deserved to win, did.
B: I guess that’s what I mean. The suspense for me came in the possibility of any upsets. Could American Hustle steal Best Original Screenplay? Was Steve McQueen going to upset Alfonso Cuaron for Best Director? Will Leo FINALLY cause a stir and get an Oscar? For me, I just couldn’t believe that those who had been receiving their due over this whole Awards Season were actually getting their recognition. Matthew McConaughey has an Oscar! Lupita Nyong’o has an Oscar! SPIKE MOTHAFUCKIN JONZE got an Oscar! The Academy could have played it safe, but they went with bold choices, fresh faces, and some truly spectacular nominees.
N: Our first winner of the night was the completely expected Jared Leto (who basically pulled off a Waltz/Ledger sweep this awards season), who gave a lovely speech dedicated to his mom and the millions who have lost their lives to AIDS, even throwing in Ukraine at the end (I get what he was going for, I think, but still). I’m also jealous of his hair. After that, the snoozefest awards begin, with hardly any surprises- Gravity took all the technical awards, Gatsby the costume and production ones, and Harvey Weinstein won Best Documentary, I think.
B: I will say, Best Documentary is the one place I think they messed up. While I’m sure 20 Feet from Stardom (which is a Weinstein affair, yes) is a very enjoyable documentary, some of the other nominees were definitely much more powerful entries, especially The Act of Killing, a brutal look at the militia in Indonesia. It’s a gripping and terrifying feature, one which seems all too relevant in our culture right now. But they went with the safe/popular choice, the only time in the evening where that actually happened. But then again, other great things happened like Disney winning their first non-Pixar Best Animated Feature Oscar for Frozen, and Robert Lopez becoming the 12th EGOT after winning Best Song!
N: The rest of the big awards were near-certainties, but exciting nonetheless. No one will forget Lupita Nyong’o’s gorgeous, emotional acceptance speech, nor Matthew McConaughey’s weird, stoned philosophical one, nor Cate Blanchett’s enthusiastically feminist one. And Alfonso Cuaron made history by being the first man of Hispanic descent (specifically, Mexican) to win Best Director. My god, is this postmortem really boring? I feel like it might be, just because most things were good things. It’s a lot more fun when shit goes wrong…
B: Well…..shit certainly did go wrong. As fun as Ellen’s bits were, they definitely went on WAY. TOO. LONG. Delivering pizzas to the audience is fun and all, but my goodness, it just draaaaaaaaaaagged on forever. Not to mention, a LOT of people were having teleprompter trouble. And then of course, there’s John Travolta, who, in the most unexplainable, odd moment of the night, introduced Idina Menzel to sing “Let it Go,” but called her “Adele Dazeem” instead. I’m not sure how you can make up that name from misreading Menzel’s name, but it happened. And the internet won’t shut up about it.
N: Oh, Adele Dazeem. In terms of TelePrompTer flubs, that was a fucking masterpiece. Yeah, the pizza bits were long, but I think they probably WERE really hungry. I was, at that point. But the bits that dragged too long did become interminable, like the weird Wizard of Oz tribute starring Pink, who wasn’t even doing any aerial dancing, and the normal In Memoriam segment being followed by Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” for at least 90 minutes. But let’s talk about the biggest award of the night – Best Picture.
B: Everything was in place; Cate Blanchett won Best Actress, Alfonso won Best Director, and John Ridley won Best Adapted Screenplay for Slave. And the Fresh Prince himself came up on stage to announce the winner…
N: This was actually a super close race, but I feel like we knew Slave was actually going to win all along. Thoughts?
B: It’s been something of a roller coaster experience of Slave’s chances of winning. It won the Globe, but lost the DGA to Gravity. It tied with Gravity at the PGA, but lost to American Hustle at the SAG Awards. It was called a critical darling in the early stages, but was then referred to as “torture porn” or “too hard to watch” later in the race. But there’s no denying the power and emotion this film brings out in the viewer, which ultimately lead to its well-deserved victory. And to finally, FINALLY, see a film featuring a black protagonist, made by black filmmakers, win Best Picture, after 86 years of a black producer NEVER having won Best Picture before, it’s definitely a powerful statement. But that statement shouldn’t take anything away from the fact that this is also a beautiful, amazingly well-made film.
N: What you said. But no, really, I was thrilled to see Slave take it home, for every single reason. Nothing else compared this year. And Steve McQueen’s little jump! I couldn’t take it! The cutest ever!!
B: So a great evening for award recipients, and as per usual, a so-so presentation, maybe a step up from last year’s Seth MacFarlane-hosted affair. Next year’s awards definitely have a lot to live up to. We’d like to thank Brian Pope and Shannon Knapp for covering the awards from our Twitter feed! As always, I’m the blue streak in Liza Minnelli’s hair.
N: You would be. And I’m changing my name to Adele Dazeem. See you next week as our blog officially enters post-Oscars depression!