The 86th annual Academy Awards happened last night and despite its lengthiness and epic teleprompter reading fails (ahem, John Travolta), the show managed to stay fresh and entertaining.
Major props to whoever decided to let Ellen Degeneres host the entire show sans an elaborate, cheesy song-and-dance opening number. With Ellen at the helm, this year’s show seemed more in tune with the zeitgeist than ever. Not only did she order pizzas for the audience, she introduced screen legend, Meryl Streep, to the power of Twitter with the most retweeted Tweet ever—a record-breaking selfie that included almost every attendee in the first two rows of the Dolby Theater.
The musical performances also helped keep this year’s Oscars from going stale. Pharrell Williams’ upbeat performance of his infectious “Happy” from Despicable Me 2was a real crowd-pleaser that got the stars up out of their seats and shaking a tail feather. But it was Adele Dazi, better known as Idina Menzel, whose performance of “Let It Go” from the animated film Frozen took home the Oscar for best song in a motion picture. Serious question: Where was John Travolta’s head when he introduced Menzel?
[Photo: John Shearer/Invision/AP]
There were some surprises when it came to the night’s winners. While it was no surprise that Gravitycleaned up in all the technical categories, it was a bit surprising that director, Alfonso Cuaron, won best director over front runner, Steve McQueen. Cuaron is the first Mexican in Academy history to win an Oscar for best director.
And speaking of firsts, first-timer Lupita Nyong’o took home her first Oscar for her first role. The 31-year-old starlet took the prize in the best supporting actress category for her role as Patsey in 12 Years A Slave. In her teary-eyed speech, Nyong’o said, “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.”
Just try watching Nyong’o’s acceptance speech without crying funeral tears. I dare you.
Nyongo’s win wasn’t the only “W” for 12 Years A Slave. John Ridley won best adapted screenplay for the film (side note: Anyone else notice some shade between Ridley and McQueen?). But it was the mother of all awards that had producer Brad Pitt near tears and Steve McQueen jumping for joy when 12 Years A Slave won the award for best picture. McQueen ended his acceptance speech on this heart-felt note: “Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live. This is the most important legacy of the Solomon Northup film. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery. And the 21 million people who still suffer in slavery today.” Congratulations to all the winners!
See who else took home a golden statue at the 86th annual Academy Awards.