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2014 Oscars Recap - Ellen DeGeneres Hosts a Kinder, Gentler Academy Awards

Selfie.at.oscarsAt first I wasn't enthusiastic about Ellen DeGeneres being host of the 2014 Academy Awards, but she eventually won me over (one of her charms is her ability to do this).  Her extensive mingling with the audience gave the telecast somewhat of a relaxed, "Golden Globes" feel.  Not only were the illustrious attendees good sports, they enthusiastically participated in Ellen's pizza delivery scheme and then a group selfie (right).  And I was thankful she didn't dance.

 

  • Ellen diverged from her anodyne presentation style just once, when she remarked, in the show's opening minutes, that the guy who came as Liza looked incredible.  (Liza was there, along with siblings Lorna Luft and Joey Luft, because of a tribute to The Wizard of Oz.)

 

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  • John Travolta actually had somewhat human looking hair, but his mangling of singer Idina Menzel's name (inexplicably calling her Adela Dazeem) made his appearance a new classic Oscar moment.

 

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  • The cutest boy at the ceremony was Anne Hathaway.

 

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  • Jared Leto, made a moving acceptance speech upon winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  However, after mentioning the troubles in Ukraine and Venezuela, he failed to say anything about Uganda and its newly instituted anti-gay laws.  Considering the subject matter of the movie he won the Oscar for, this was an unfortunate omission.

 

Uganda

 

  • Leto's tribute to his mother, who was seated next to him in the audience, brought to mind a similar heartfelt maternal tribute by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman when he won his Best Actor Oscar for Capote in 2006.

 

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  • One of the co-winners for Best Make Up, Robin Matthews (Dallas Buyers Club), made a very poignant remark during her acceptance speech about AIDS awareness among today's younger generation.
  • Kim Novak's appearance was a sadly embarrassing one.  There was a jarring disparity between the voice of an 81-year-old woman coming from a body that resembled a blow-up doll.  Her appearance and somewhat confused state reminded me of AbFab's Eddie.  Novak's appearance might not have been so distressing if she had been paired instead with Bill Murray as her co-presenter rather than Matthew McConaughey.  Then an hour later 68-year-old Goldie Hawn, desperately clinging to her once youthful days of the 1970s (or trying to compete with daughter Kate Hudson?), presented an award.  Struggling with aging is the unfortunate reality of Hollywood.

 

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  • Honor Roll of Dashing Men: Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt and Chris Pine.

 

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  • The two best looking presenter couples: Jason Sudeikis & Kate Hudson and Chris Hemsworth & Charlize Theron.

 

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  • 48 persons were honored during the "In Memoriam" segment (well above the typical 25 or 30), including Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin and Esther Williams.  It was capped off by a divine appearance by Bette Midler.

 

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  • Pharrell William's performance of his nominated song Happy was the most entertaining of the Best Song performances, especially when he went into the audience and danced with Lupita Nyong'o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.  Another Best Song performer, Idina Minzel (aka Adela Dazeem), came in for a rough landing at the end of her song, Let it Go, from the movie Frozen.  Lastly, guitarist Ezra Koenig's red socks perfectly matched the gown of singer Karen O during their performance of Moon Song from the movie Her.

 

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  • Upon receiving her Oscar for Best Actress, Cate Blanchet said that receiving the award from Daniel Day Lewis "exacerbated the honor."  Unfortunately, exacerbate means "to make something worse."  She probably meant to say something like, "enhanced the honor."

 

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  • Matthew McConaughey, who looked so dashing, gave an acceptance speech for Best Actor that not only was vapid and egocentric, but didn't once allude to the subject of his film.
  • Upon winning Best Picture, Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave,  managed to ramble on and thank two dozen people without mentioning one cast member.

 

Some reviews of the telecast criticized it for being boring.  Granted, there were no surprises as far as winners go, nonetheless I was entertained.  Those who were unenthusiastic may have been disappointed by a lack of rudeness or mean spiritedness - the norm of reality shows that blight the TV landscape.      

 

 

 

 

 

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