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Sunday, March 2, 2014

The 86th Annual Academy Awards: Results and Reactions

Oscar Winners and Surprises

By Chris Sabga

The 86th Annual Academy Awards have now come and gone!

My thoughts throughout the evening:

Before the Show

I thought Seth MacFarlane – the previous Oscar host – was the best in years, but he received a controversial mixed reaction for his bawdy jokes and inappropriate skits during the 2013 ceremony. Personally, I much prefer someone who will take chances and get people talking. Even though we all love the Oscars, let's face it, the whole thing can often be dull and overlong. A wild card like MacFarlane made the never-ending evening much more memorable. But the Academy apparently disagrees. This year, they're playing it safe with Ellen DeGeneres. Then again, the fact that an openly gay entertainer like Ellen is now considered "playing it safe" shows how far we've come. That's a good thing. Besides, who doesn't love Ellen? I am happily hoping she will exceed my expectations and surprise me.

Red Carpet

I don't care who wore what. Find a fashion blog – they'll have you covered. I'm all about the movies.

But in case you care: Silver Screen Sister said Cate Blanchett was the best-dressed because she had on a beautiful diamond outfit. Cate: a winner on the red carpet and – maybe – at the Oscars!

The Oscars are about to begin… I have my bag of popcorn ready.

The Academy Awards are Here!

Full results are listed at the end.

Ellen is off to a good start with several great one-liners and zingers. I laughed constantly at the beginning.

Very touching speech by Jared Leto.

Funny forced smile by the Somali actor from "Captain Phillips," Barkhad Abdi. But I can't blame him for being disappointed. Who wouldn't be?

I hate the filler on these Oscar shows, particularly the various highlight reels and live songs. Aren't the Academy Awards already long enough as it is? But this is hardly a new objection – it's the same ol' same ol' every year.

So glad "Dallas Buyers Club" won for makeup. It was an incredible what they did with a $250 budget. Yes, you read that right!

Poor Bradley Cooper. The joke with Ellen giving him a scratch lotto ticket so he'd win something tonight seemed to hit him a little too close to home.

It was very cool to see Kim Novak of "Vertigo" fame up on stage.

Kudos to the "Frozen" team for letting everyone who won for Best Animated Feature actually speak. I hated the recent trend of only one person in a group of winners speaking for all. I don't know if the rule changed or if the "Frozen" crew emboldened others to follow their lead. Either way, I'm glad.

Classy speech by Lupita Nyong'o from "12 Years a Slave."

Ellen's gags – such as the pizza delivery bit – were all incredibly hokey, yet also quite endearing.

Nice shout-out to the late Harold Ramis by Bill Murray during the Cinematography Award.

With "Gravity" winning so many awards, Silver Screen Sister feels like she can go to sleep and not miss anything. We'll see.

I love Whoopi. That's all.

Despite my feeling that there are too many filler segments during the Oscars, a tribute to the incredible "Wizard of Oz" is something I can get behind – and I like Pink too. (She performed a song celebrating the all-time classic film.) 

Did Bette Midler get cut off at the end by a commercial? If so, that's a shame. The "In Memorium" video tribute was once again very classy, and Midler's beautiful rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings" was the perfect way to honor them.

Jamie Foxx was awkwardly hilarious in a seemingly unplanned moment, pausing inconveniently at the word "blow" before concluding with "your mind."

"12 Years a Slave" writer John Ridley delivered what might be my favorite Oscar speech this year – and Robert De Niro's introduction about the craft and pain of writing was pitch perfect.

I couldn't quite bring myself to love "Her" but I'm glad to see originality get rewarded. Awarding Spike Jonze the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay was the right move.

Silver Screen Sister about Cate Blanchett's acceptance speech: "Sandra was crying, either because she lost or because that speech bored her to tears." Ouch! But, hey, at least Cate looks great in a dress (according to Silver Screen Sis) and commands the screen no matter what she's wearing.

Matthew McConaughey's speech was certainly a bit strange, but it was also very memorable and heartfelt. His win was a given but completely well-deserved. I was rooting for him.

There were really no huge surprises at tonight's ceremony, but that's okay.

Overall, Ellen was a fun, lively, and entertaining host – but the ceremony itself felt too long, too dull, and too self-congratulatory. It seemed that every other speech was dedicated to the victims of AIDS/slavery/fill in a cause here. I'm sure everyone was very sincere in their sentiments, but it became too much after a while.

Full Results

Best Motion Picture of the Year: 12 Years a Slave 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave

Best Achievement in Directing: Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Her: Spike Jonze

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published: 12 Years a Slave: John Ridley

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year: Frozen

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: The Great Beauty: Paolo Sorrentino (Italy)

Best Achievement in Cinematography: Gravity: Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Achievement in Editing: Gravity: Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger

Best Achievement in Production Design: The Great Gatsby: Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn

Best Achievement in Costume Design: The Great Gatsby: Catherine Martin

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club: Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score: Gravity: Steven Price

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song: Frozen: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez ("Let It Go")

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing: Gravity: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro

Best Achievement in Sound Editing: Gravity: Glenn Freemantle

Best Achievement in Visual Effects: Gravity: Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould

Best Documentary, Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom: Morgan Neville

Best Documentary, Short Subject: The Lady In Number 6: Malcolm Clarke, Carl Freed

Best Short Film, Animated: Mr Hublot: Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares

Best Short Film, Live Action: Helium: Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson

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