Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 Oscar Recap

The Academy Awards have come and gone, but the memories will last a lifetime. Ellen DeGeneres proved to be a hilarious choice as host of an evening that spotlighted amazing speeches from first time winners such as Matthew McConaughey and Lupita Nyong'o, as well as a magical rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Pink. As always, Oscar night failed to unravel without a hitch as low points included the Pizza Delivery Guy joke that ran about 5 minutes too long and Bette Midler's raspy performance of "Wind Beneath My Wings". But all in all, the 86th annual Academy Awards was a crowd-pleasing affair that we're guaranteed to never forget.

The competitions went almost entirely as expected. In fact, this year's crop of winners felt extremely scripted as presumed frontrunner 12 Years a Slave took home the major hardware with a Supporting Actress win by Lupita Nyong'o and a Best Adapted Screenplay victory to back it up. Meanwhile, the groundbreaking technical achievements from Best Director winner Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity went completely recognized as the film finished the evening with a total of 7 awards, the most of any movie in competition last night.

It was also a successful affair for the drama Dallas Buyers Club which found a pair of first-time acting winners in Jared Leto (Supporting Actor) and leading star Matthew McConaughey. The film also took home an award for Make-Up giving it 3 victories all together. McConaughey's speech was uplifting and heartfelt as the officially transformed actor even gave the audience his trademark "Alright, Alright, Alright!". Congratulations to him as he was clearly, in my opinion, the most deserving actor of the year.

Furthermore, in expected fashion, Cate Blanchett took home the Best Actress award for her phenomenal early-year work in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. One of the most polarizing films of the year, Spike Jonze's Her, took home the final major win for Best Original Screenplay. With a huge outspoken fan-base that clamored for the semi-futuristic relationship movie as a legitimate Best Picture contender, this is a consolation prize they'll graciously accept. On the other hand, loyal fans of David O. Russell's American Hustle (myself included) had to sit through a shutout as the film finished a whopping zero for ten ... ouch!

*** On a side note, congratulations to our Oscar Pool winner Amy Shoffner out of Lewisberry, Pennsylvania. Amy finished in a four way tie for 1st place with three others who managed to pick an astounding 22-2 on the evening, however Shoffner's tiebreaker answer put her over the top. Thanks to everyone who participated and I hope to see each of you return to the competition next year!

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