2014 Live Oscar Recap

Once again, it is time for Hollywood to congratulate on a job well done. It is time for most moviegoers to complain that there’s not enough Oscars given to Marvel blockbusters and it’s time for me to complain about the fact that AMPAS rewarded the wrong film.

Usually I’m joking about that fact. But this year I’m seeing nothing but hype for 12 Years a Slave winning Best Picture. Guess what? It doesn’t deserve to. I’m hoping for Gravity or American Hustle. But honestly, I’ve been having trouble figuring out what will win. The best films this year were also quite unusual to AMPAS voters. Gravity was my pick for the best film of the year, but reads as a science fiction thriller rather than a traditional activist drama. Her had the best screenplay of the year, but is also highly unusual to the average movie goer. I can’t think of Nebraska without smiling, but the theater I saw it in was mostly filled with older movie goers and its humor is not something that translates well to everyone.

I’ve seen stories that AMPAS no longer reflects what the public wants. They’ve been saying that since Wings won the first Best Picture statuette. Quality is not based on the box office returns of a picture, but there is a cause for concern with this trend. Why is it that the public does not wish to seek out these films for themselves. Why is it that these films are no longer cultural touch stones, as they would have been in the past? Is it because Hollywood tends to reward the same types of films repeatedly with little regard for what they’re actually trying to accomplish or without examining whether or not those things have already been done before? I don’t know and I doubt I’m going to get answers to those questions tonight.

But hopefully I will get a good show and see people who actually deserve to be rewarded for their remarkable achievements.

As usual, I will be updating this space throughout the night as winners are announced. I will also be adding relevant media. Keep watching this space starting at 8:30 ET.

OK, here we go. Last year was Seth MacFarlane singing about female nudity and hoping he would be considered a good host when all was said and done. This year we get Ellen DeGeneres dressed as though she’s auditioning to be the 13th Doctor. Or Elton John’s backup singer.

And the first joke she makes is about the rain in LA. I live in Atlanta, so jokes about the weather seem dull compared to the snowpocalypse. Sill, it is rather funny. She points out how the same people that were nominated the last time she hosted are nominated again. And then makes a June Squib joke. I think June had the final word in the film when she lifted her skirt at a gravestone telling the dead guy he never had her. Also, pretty sure Lupita was Mexican…IMDB agrees with me.

And Amy Adams didn’t go to college? I never knew that. DeGeneres seems to be moving away from the pageantry of the past. There’s not even any music. But there are plenty of Jennifer Lawrence falling jokes. And jokes about Jared Leto being the prettiest woman there.

And DeGeneres makes a joke about those who hated 12 Years a Slave are racist. Right…it’s going to be one of those evenings.
OK, Anne Hathaway is first. So Supporting Actor is first? Weird they’d start that way. My ballot is Jonah Hill but I wouldn’t mind the guy from Captain Phillips winning either. I can’t spell his name. Shame on me.

And the winner is Jared Leto. I didn’t see Dallas Buyer’s Club. All I know is my ballot is already screwed. This is going to be an interesting night.

Anyone else still think of this guy as Jordan Catalano? Just me? OK then.

OK, Degeneres is making a Twitter joke. So 2010, Ellen. And a hashtag joke? And don’t speak blasphemy of Kane. Carrey’s presenting, no doubt to complain about the fact he wasn’t nominated in the late 90s and to complain about the fact some movies have guns in them.

Carrey is here to make Bruce Dern jokes and showcase animated films of the past.

Nothing from outside America, of course. and mostly stuff from the past fifteen years. Also Roger Rabbit. I do like Roger Rabbit. But what was the point of that? Come on, if you want to pay tribute to a medium, go all out!

Kerri Washington is presenting. And, hey, they’re performing the nominated songs! Pharrell Williams is performing “Happy” from Despicable Me. I hate when people wear jeans at the Oscars. Come on…how did you even get in? And that hat is not doing you any favors.  Nice enough performance though, especially when he dances with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.

OK. First commercial. I’ll be back in a few.

OK, Samuel L Jackson and Naomi Watts are our next presenters. Was Watts ever nominated for an Oscar? I can’t remember. We’re up to technical awards now. First is Costume Design. And the winner is Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby. I’m still kind of mad that wasn’t nominated for Best Original Song. As far as I’m concerned, that DID have the best original song in Florence + The Machine. But what do I know?

Next is Makeup. I just heard the word “Jackass” during an Oscar telecast. My life is complete. The winner is Dallas Buyer’s Club. I guess I was stupid for missing that movie. Let me know when it’s coming to Blu Ray.

OK, I hear the Indiana Jones theme. Harrison Ford steps out to thunderous applause. And I feel excited. Is he wearing an earring? Anyway, he’s here to present the first three nominees for Best Picture – American Hustle, Dallas Buyer’s Club, and Wolf of Wall Street. I did see two of those and they were great. This really is a challenging year to predict and seeing these clips reminds me of that. I want to see Wolf of Wall Street again.

Channing Tatum is up to present the winners of college short films challenge. Best of luck to them in their future careers.

Ellen DeGeneres hates standing on the stage. She’s back in the audience talking about bringing conciliation prizes – lottery tickets for Bradley Cooper. He declines to scratch them. Kim Novak and Matthew McConaughey are presenting the award for Best Animated Short film. Wow…Kim Novak. And the winner is Mr. Hublot. The title sounded very similar to M Hulot. I figured it would win.

Now the Animated Feature award. And the winner is Frozen. I just won $20 from someone, I think.

Ellen is back on stage, far off camera. She talks about the importance of hitting your marks. Hehehe…anyway, Sally Field is presenting next. I love Sally Field even if I don’t like Forrest Gump. She’s talking about biopics, essentially. I hope they show Last Emperor clips. But there are a lot of good movies shown. Milk, Lincoln, Captain Phillips, Schindler’s List, All the President’s Men, Untouchables, Argo, Norma Rae, To Kill a Mockingbird, Born on the 4th of July, In the Heat of the Night, Apollo 13, Braveheart, The King’s Speech, Lawrence of Arabia…wow.

Now Emma Watson and Joseph Gordon Levitt. They are here for the Visual Effects award. And the winner is Gravity. Who else? I do think it’s quite bad that so many of what we saw was green screen work. I miss actual physical effects. Gravity was well deserved. Just incredible effects.

DeGeneres is in Zach Efron’s seat, because Efron is the next presenter. Why exactly? I mean, what has he done? Well he’s here to introduce “The Moon Song” from Her. Karen O gets up there and performs the usual acoustic ballad that gets nominated. When I think of Karen O I think of her performing “The Immigrant Song” with Trent Reznor. Just saying. Her song is quite appropriate for Her but why is it that those songs ALWAYS get nominated?

Now Ellen has the guitar and introduces Kate Hudson and Jason Sudekis. They’re hear for the short film categories. First up live action short film. And the winner is Helium. You know, in the past, these would be shown in theaters before the feature. Now we have obnoxious ads with camels telling us to turn off our phones. What happened? I haven’t seen Helium, but I want more exposure for these.

Now it’s the documentary. Why was Ellen holding that guitar? They could make a documentary on that. And the winner is The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.

Ellen is back in the audience. Martin Scorsese has an iPad. People are applauding over Ellen’s offer to order pizza. Hey, I’ll take pizza. Bradley Cooper is the next presenter. You know, something about this seems so unrehearsed. What’s going on? Everyone is tripping over everyone’s names.

Cooper is up there for Best Documentary. Dirty Wars deserves to win. It’s on Netflix. Go watch it. And the winner is 20 Feet From Stardom. I saw Sting in the clip….that’s something I guess.

Look, Dirty Wars exposed a lot of important information about some of the unethical, clandestine military operations and coverups that the U.S. is performing in the Middle East. It is important. This film is not. I don’t care if one of the winners is singing about God or whatever.

Kevin Spacey is up there and he speaks in the Frank Underwood voice. Evening over. Go Frank. He talks about the Governor’s awards – Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, and Piero Tosi. Angelina Jolie won the humanitarian award. Why are they not giving speeches? I miss those. I don’t want the clips of the ceremonies. Some of my favorite Oscar moments have been the honorary speeches. Like this one:

These clips are just not the same.

One more honorary speech during the break. Seriously – I could do this all night. This one is probably the greatest Oscar moment ever:

Next up is Ewan McGregor and Viola Davis. They’re up for Best Foreign Film. The fact Blue is the Warmest Color was not nominated is a tragedy. I’ve heard it was for technical reasons but…that was one of the greatest love stories ever filmed. Anyway, the winner is The Great Beauty. It’s getting a Criterion release soon. I’ll have to check it out.

Now it’s Tyler Perry, here to hopefully apologize. No, he’s here to talk about Nebraska. What Tyler Perry would understand about quality comedy, I haven’t the foggiest. He’s also talking about Her. What Tyler Perry would know about a quality script, I haven’t the foggiest. Next is Gravity.

Just get off the stage, Tyler Perry.

OK, Ellen changed backstage. We don’t know why. She introduces Brad Pitt. He’s cut his hair since World War Z. He introduces U2 to perform their song from Mandela.

This is probably the best performance of the night. There’s energy and life to the song. Its’ great.

OK, now that it’s a commercial, I want to say how disappointed I’ve been in Ellen DeGeneres as a host. She’s not funny, she’s not engaging, she acts rather awkward. I sort of appreciate her going down into the audience, but that’s not enough. I was surprised by Seth MacFarlane last year. He actually served well as an MC. One thing he did Ellen has not? Given bumpers before the commercial break. That seems so simple but it’s being ignored this year. What’s going on? I know Ellen can be charming and funny and smart. What’s happening here?

We’re back. Ellen is back in the audience. She’s talking to Lucille 2 and they’re taking a selfie. And then Meryl Streep – so they can break a record for most retweets of a photo. Umm…ok. Bradley Cooper offers to take it…and then everyone joins on. Jennifer Lawrence is sitting on Meryl Streep’s lap. OK then…that was rather awkward. Someone let me know if they break the record.

Now Michael B Jordan and Kristen Bell are up to present. Hi Miss Bell. Now are the highlights of the Science and Technical awards. It’s actually quite interesting stuff. But why aren’t these people receiving awards at the ceremony?

Now Ellen, and if she breaks out the phone again, I’m smashing my TV. Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron are out. Hi Miss Theron. Whatcha doing later. They’re here for the sound awards – specifically, Sound Mixing. That is, after Theron’s gaffe. Seriously, was this rehearsed? And the winner is Gravity.

Gravity is sweeping the technical awards, as I expected it to do. Hopefully it wins Best Picture in a few hours.

Now Sound Editing. And the winner is Gravity.

Ellen is back with a scarf. Christoph Waltz is here for Best Supporting Actress. This is going to be interesting. I know everyone wants Jennifer Lawrence to win, but Lupita N’yongo deserves it more. Hey, camera cut out there. And the winner is Lupita N’yongo. Called it.

This is the one award 12 Years a Slave deserved to win. So I’m glad it did. But we shall see how the rest of the night goes. It looks like we’re about halfway through the night and so far I’ve not encountered any controversial choices or huge upsets. But then the big awards haven’t been given. Really, I’m just disappointed in Ellen’s hosting duties.  Actually, don’t bother to tell me if those pictures are being retweeted.

We’re back and the pizza Ellen ordered finally arrived. This is why this is wrong. It’s a funny idea but goes on way too long to be effective. It is amusing seeing Brad Pitt handing out plates.

Cheryl Boone-Issacs, the president of AMPAS, takes the stage. She’s talking about film culture throughout the world. Is she getting pizza? She also wants to talk about the museum that’s supposed to open in the future – 2017. Eh…remind me again in 2016.

Amy Adams and Bill Murray are up next. Bill Murray is openly flirting with Amy Adams – who can blame him? They’re up to present Cinematography – or as Murray calls it, “best shooter.” And the winner is Gravity. Murray, of course, toasts his old friend Harold Ramis before announcing the winner.

Man, the in memorium this year is going to be sad.

We actually only have ten winners left to announce. Editing and Production Design will be next, then songs, then the big awards.

Now it’s Anna Kendrick and whoever played Precious. Editing is next. Although we should just keep Anna Kendrick up there talking. Pretty please?

Anyway, the Oscar for Best Editing goes to Gravity. Which also means Alfonso Cuaron has an Oscar from tonight. But of course he was cut off.

Whoopi Goldberg is up. Yes, she’s still around. And she’s talking about the Wizard of Oz – and she’s wearing the ruby slippers. Because of the 75th anniversary. Then she introduces Lucille 2, who I am incapable of calling anything but Lucille 2. Also, Judy Garland had other kids. I didn’t know that. And then Pink comes up to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Hey, remember that whole “Pink Floyd syncs to Wizard of Oz” thing? Is that why they got Pink up there? It’s a rather tenuous connection but that’s about all I can think of to explain why they selected her.

Great version of the song though. Really great. Not as good as the original, but then, what is?

OK, now it’s Ellen DeGeneres as the the Good Witch. Seriously, in full costume. She’s slightly growing on me. Anyway, Jennifer Garner and Benedict Cumberbatch are up. For Production Design. After this it’s all the big ones – songs, actors, scripts, everything.

Anyway, the winner is The Great Gatsby. That was a fabulous looking film, even if it didn’t understand why the novel matters. Oh well.

Now it’s Chris Evans (Captain America) to talk…about the most popular heroes. Sure, why not? That’s just large enough to justify showing clips from The Karate Kid and Independence Day. Also Star Wars.

That Pepsi commercial pissed me off. “Say hello to my little can?” May you be caught in a burning vault.

We’re back with Glenn Close.  She’s here to do the in memorium. This is going to hurt…I’ll be back in a few minutes.

They included Ebert…

I’m not even gonna criticize the choice of Bette Midler to send them off. We lost a lot of talent last year and we’re still feeling the loss.

Ellen talks about how she crashed Twitter. And then Goldie Hawn comes up. It’s going to be the songs very soon. Well, Score and Original Songs. First Hawn introduces Philomena, Captain Phillips, and 12 Years a Slave.

John Travolta is next, coming out to the Pulp Fiction. Right, final nominated song,
“Let it Go.”

It will win. Great, lively performance of what was actually a pretty complex song.

Now Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel for Best Original Score. What is that on Foxx’s mouth? That makeup? He starts singing the Chariots of Fire theme. The winner is Gravity.

Now for Best Original Song. And the winner is “Let it Go” from Frozen.

Now we’re on the big six. Congratulations to all the winners so far tonight. However, this Oscar night has the potential to go very wrong depending on how this goes. We shall see in a few moments.

Alright, here we go. Ellen is back collecting money for the pizza from Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. Lupita donates her lip balm.

Robert DeNiro and Penelope Cruz take the stage for the writing awards. First is Adapted Screenplay. DeNiro’s speech is great. And true. And the winner is 12 Years a Slave.

Well…no. You wrote a bad script with poor characterization and a very poor third act.

See what I mean when I said this has the potential to go very wrong? Let’s see if Spike Jonze wins.

And the winner for Original Screenplay is Spike Jonze. Awesome, awesome, awesome. His screenplay transcended what is possible for a screenplay. Congratulations good sir.

OK, the actors are next. Bruce Dern needs to win for actor. Actresses is a toss up for me – I could go with either Sandra Bullock or Amy Adams. And director needs to be Alfonso Cuaron.

Angelina Jolie comes out with Sidney Poitier to present the award for best director. It is also a tribute to Poitier. Hey, 12 Years – that’s the face of a man who shattered racial barriers in Hollywood. And the winner is Alfonso Cuaron. Amen.

Acting awards are next. Stayed tuned. I’m still celebrating Cuaron’s win. Also, yes, I am aware there is supposed to be an accent over the “o” in his name. I’m doing this on the fly – my keyboard is not kind to accent marks.

Now, Ellen asks Matthew how he lost his weight. Daniel Day Lewis is up to present the award for best actress. He wastes no time reading the nominees. And the winner is Cate Blanchett. I haven’t seen Blue Jasmine, so I present this information without comment.

Now, the presentation of Bruce Dern’s award. At least, it had better be. Anyway. Jennifer Lawrence comes out to present the award for Best Actor. Who is she talking to offstage, exactly? Someone I guess was laughing at her. She didn’t fall down this time.
And the winner is Matthew McConaughey. Again, didn’t see Dallas Buyers Club. But Bruce Dern gave an incredible performance of a lifetime in Nebraska. It’s hard for me to imagine how McConaughey topped Dern. It’s funny to listen to McConaughey channel Wooderson in his speech. He even says “just keep living.”

Now, onto Best Picture. I will write a full post show blog tomorrow. I may have a lot to celebrate or I may have a lot to criticize. Despite what people think, I always hope it’s the former.

Will Smith comes out to present Best Picture. This after he won a Razzie yesterday. At least Michelle Obama isn’t crashing the show again.

And the 2013 Best Picture is 12 Years a Slave. No.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

After its almost total shut out tonight I thought we were beyond this. But oh well. I guess I’m going to have to do a lot of criticizing tomorrow. I mean, why? Ladies and gentlemen, 12 Years a Slave was a very flawed film that offered no new insight onto the institution of slavery in America. That is a very important subject that needs to be constantly re-examined. I wholeheartedly endorse that and think that such a large national shame should never, ever be forgotten. But 12 Years did not offer anything original or fresh. It had no new ideas and no new things to say. Had it been released in 1965, it would have been one of the most legendary films of all time. But time and technique has marched on. You cannot expect those same things to work for us now.

I’m going to sign off before I have an aneurysm. Good night and thanks for reading.

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