When I was working, I never stayed up to watch the entire Oscar awards ceremony. Since I live in Florida and the ceremony is in California, that three hour time zone difference meant that when the last award (usually Best Picture) was handed out at nine it was midnight for me. I didn’t want to call in “sick” or drag myself in to work with only six hours sleep.
Now that I’m retired I can stay up as late as I want and so last Sunday, I watched the entire ceremony. I tuned in at 7:30 Eastern time to catch some of the “red carpet” chat / fashion show and stayed all the way to midnight. I can’t remember the last time I watched TV for that long. But it was well worth it!
Ellen DeGeneres was indeed the hostess with the mostest. That “selfie” which began with one star (Meryl Streep I think it was) soon became a group effort to break a Twitter retweet record and was a success. Early last week, there had been over 3 million retweets of that photo. In case you missed it…
And Ellen’s ordering pizza for the nominees, and then hitting up the audience for money to pay, was also “not your father’s Oscar.” The pizza delivery guy was no doubt thrilled to be in front of a world-wide audience of hundreds of millions and be that close to big name movie stars. He also received a nice tip… $1,000. If you missed the pizza, here it is:
As for the awards themselves, I was happy to see two awards go my way. First, Best Supporting Actress, awarded fairly early in the ceremony, went to Lupita Nyong’o for her performance in “12 years a Slave.” That broke a “tie” she had with Jennifer Lawrence for that award category.
Jennifer shocked me (and probably herself, judging from her flustered acceptance speech) by winning at the Golden Globes. But Lupita came back with the award from the Screen Actors Guild, which suggested to me that the “professionals” recognized what she brought to the role and that portended well for the Oscars.
Lupita’s acceptance speech was one of the most authentic and emotional ones I’ve seen (at least the beginning and the end). But maybe it’s that way when you win that first Oscar. Check it out:
Then there was Best Picture, which was awarded just before midnight as the ceremony came to an end. I favored “12 years a Slave” but did not think it would win. “American Hustle” won the category at the Golden Globes. And that film had a lot going for it, including…
Healthy ticket sales with over $147 million (U.S.) as of March 5, whereas “12 Years A Slave” was in the bottom third of the nine nominees, with under $51 million as of the same date. Tough to award “Best Picture” to a film not many folks have seen.
“American Hustle” also boasted a great ensemble cast with five strong actors, whereas “12 years a Slave” was mostly “newcomers.” And “American Hustle” was just an entertaining, and somewhat “over the top” romp which I doubt that any 2013 film can come close to matching. (It will be one of the few film DVDs that I buy, the last one being “Kill Bill 1” which is from 2003.)
But I perked up at Ellen’s opening monologue comment about the “possibilities” that evening: “Possibility 1: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility 2: You’re all racists!” That drew a big laugh. But I did mentally note that February was Black History month.
I was also heartened that “Slave” won the Oscar for best screenplay adaptation. It was among a number of other “Best Picture” nominees that were based on true events, including “Philomena” and “Captain Phillips” (both of whom were in the audience as special guests). Even “American Hustle” is loosely based on the Abscam sting.
As a poker player, I’m always on the lookout for a “tell” to guide my play, especially in a tight hand. So when Will Smith strode out to present the “Best Picture’ award, for me that was a tell…”Slave” was going to win!
I was both surprised that “American Hustle” did not win but pleased that the award went to a serious, “in your face” film. Until it was announced by the commentators, I was unaware that it is the first film by a black director (Steve McQueen) to win an Oscar for “Best Picture.”
If you weren’t up at midnight to see his reaction, which included jumping a good foot in the air, here it is:
The only other award I was interested in was “Best Actress.” A friend used to say “The best surprise is no surprise” so I was pleased that there wasn’t a surprise with someone other than Cate Blanchett receiving it. She’d already won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for that role, so the Oscar was a no brainer.
As for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, there was little doubt in my mind that those would go to Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, respectively, for their performances in Dallas Buyers Club. No surprise there…
I found it remarkable that besides winning for Best Director there were many “technical” awards for Gravity. These included cinematography, visual effects, film editing, sound editing, and sound mixing.
I’m looking forward to next year’s ceremony!