A look back at the 2014 Academy Awards

Photo by Frederick Dennstedt, via flickr

Rafael Abreu/Staff Writer 

The Oscars are a time when Hollywood’s finest dress up and try not to look disappointed when they don’t win the award for “Best Actor.” It’s a time for looking distinguished and honored when your documentary just won “Best Documentary Short Subject.” It’s also a time to see Hollywood pat itself on the back while also laughing at itself.

Ellen DeGeneres hosted this year’s Academy Awards, and aside from Kevin Spacey (or should I say, Francis Underwood), she was my favorite part of the entire ceremony. This was a year where, for almost all the major awards, any winner would have been fine with me. That can make a show boring, especially if the wins are predictable, but Ellen made the show itself one of the best times I’ve had watching the Oscars. Her subtle, simple and casual delivery and way of being stole the show for me, especially with refusing to be a traditional host and just making sure everyone was enjoying themselves.

I absolutely loved seeing Meryl Streep’s husband eat pizza, seeing Brad Pitt hand out plates, and of course, witnessing Bradley Cooper taking the greatest (group) selfie of all-time. Any moment featuring Kevin Spacey was golden, especially when Francis Underwood made an appearance. My personal favorite was when Ellen was asking for money for the pizza and Spacey handed some money to her saying “that’s for you.” Seeing Jim Carrey was also nice, as was Bill Murray taking a moment to remember his fallen comrade Harold Ramis.

There were plenty of award moments that stood out to me, especially when it came to the speeches. Jared Leto’s and Matthew McConaughey’s speeches for winning “Best Supporting Actor” and “Best Actor” in “Dallas Buyer’s Club” were excellent, from addressing important contemporary issues to giving a universally applicable strategy of reaching your goals. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez’s win for “Best Original Song” (“Let It Go” from “Frozen”) gave way to an excellent (and, by the looks of it, rehearsed) speech that gave me a pleasant surprise.

The only award that I was really watching for was “Best Original Screenplay,” hoping that Spike Jonze would win for “Her” (and he did). Some other awards that I also cared a bit about were “Best Original Song” (I wanted “The Moon Song” to win, but of course, it didn’t), “Best Original Score” (Stephen Price for “Gravity”), and “Best Foreign Language Film” (I knew “The Great Beauty” would win).

As for the major awards, I thought any of the men nominated for “Best Actor” deserved it, and when it came to “Best Picture” I expected “12 Years a Slave”, but any of the films would have been fine with me (I was secretly rooting for “Nebraska” if only because it would be an upset). I also expected Alfonso Cuaron to win “Best Director” for the stellar “Gravity”, which also, unsurprisingly, won every technical award. Cate Blanchett for “Best Actress” (“Blue Jasmine”) and Lupita Nyong’o for “Best Supporting Actress” (“12 Years a Slave”) didn’t surprise me too much, neither, but that’s alright.

This was a year where almost anyone was deserving of a win and I was more than pleased with the results, especially since it was the show itself that kept me most entertained.


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