Monday, March 3, 2014



It's a glorious night for fashion and film each year, and I admit that I'm pretty easily entertained.  I thought everyone looked great, and I enjoyed the montages quite a bit.

I was thrilled with Ellen's performance, and I thought she did a great job of keeping it light and moving it along.  The opening monologue was terrific (the best Liza Minnelli impersonator is here - great job, sir) and all in good fun, and I felt we were off to a good start.  This is the most thankless job in the industry, and before the presenter even begins, mostly people are criticizing their work.

Overall, I had a pretty good night - I got 21 out of 24 correct in my Who Should Win post, so I feel pretty good about my prognostications.  (If you used my guesses and won your pool, don't forget my cut!)

Before I get to the awards, I have a few general comments.  
- Bette Midler and Pink both killed it.  I was especially relieved that neither Lorna Luft nor Liza Minnelli sang Over the Rainbow because neither sings any better than Judy Garland did (which I think was not well - don't lynch me.)  Pink, on the other hand, was superb.
- The In Memorium section had a bit of controversy this year, and I was pleased to see Sarah Jones (the camera person who was recently killed while shooting a film by being run over by a train) acknowledged right at the end of the necrology report.  It was a good compromise to list her name and refer people to the web site.
- The pizza bit went a little long, but the people in the audience seemed to enjoy it, so what the heck.
- You have to love that the Oscars broke Twitter.  I loved seeing all the celebrities get on board and play along and not take themselves too seriously.  Kudos.

Best Picture - 12 Years a Slave
Kudos and well deserved.  My favorite overall, and one of the rare years that the Best Picture winner and the Best Director winner were not from the same film.

Actor in a Leading Role - Matthew McConaghey
I still think Chiwetel Ejiofor should have won, but McConaghey's speech was lovely and good for him.

Actress in a Leading Role - Cate Blanchett
One of the few winners about which I'm actually mad.  She couldn't touch Judi Dench in Philomena, but she also spoke graciously and beautifully, so fair enough.

Actor in a Supporting Role - Jared Leto
Yes, yes, and yes.  Great speech.  Well deserved.  Mazal tov.

Actress in a Supporting Role - Lupita Nyong'o
Right on!  (Continuing the curse of the red dress, Jennifer Lawrence!)  Also a beautiful speech, and yes, I cried, because I have a rule that no one cries alone.  I'm sure she appreciated my support.  I was also happy that June Squibb's scene at the cemetery where she lifts her dress and yells, "see what you could have had if you didn't talk about wheat all the time!" got shown in the clips.  She was so terrific in that movie, and I wish she had been neck and neck with Lupita instead of Jennifer Lawrence.

Animated Film - Frozen
Let's face it, it was unstoppable, but I hope people will take the time to see Ernest and Celestine.  It's coming out in English, but try to see it in French.  A-dor-a-ble!

Cinematography - Gravity
I know my many readers from the Academy are going to pay attention when I say they should add another category called Hybrid Cinematography.  If we're going to recognize this kind of work, then it can't compete with just good old fashioned camera work with no special effects.

Costume Design - The Great Gatsby
Yup.  But don't bother seeing the movie.  Go online, check out the costumes, and you'll have spent your time better.

Directing - Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
I can't imagine how hard it must be to put together all of the pieces of this kind of film, so I think this award was won for level of difficulty.  Again, it's rare that we say that there is a film that is the absolute BEST and then not recognize the leader who made it happen (Steve McQueen).  But, I loved Gravity, so I don't begrudge this award.

Documentary - 20 Feet From Stardom
Oh, Darlene Love, his eyes ARE on you, you little adorable sparrow.  First he sent you David Letterman (who basically revived her career) and then you get this wonderful recognition.  You go girl.  (Still, how The Square or The Act of Killing don't win the prize, shows a little something about how deep Academy voters are willing to go.  Or maybe they just didn't watch all of the choices since the rule changed to the honors system this year.)

Documentary Short - The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Don't mess with the Holocaust people. Seriously.  This was a beautiful film and how sad that its 110 year old subject didn't live to see the win.  But she lived an amazing life and this was a lovely tribute to her.

Film Editing - Gravity
Yup.  No question.

Foreign Language Film - The Great Beauty (I got this one wrong!)
UGH, the second worst of the lot.  Hard for a documentary to really compete among these kinds of films, but I still really encourage everyone to see The Missing Picture, The Broken Circle Breakdown, and The Hunt - all superb films.

Makeup and Hairstyling - Dallas Buyers Club
Thank goodness - I think I couldn't live in the world where Bad Grandpa wins an Oscar, but this Academy branch needs to step up its game finding better choices for this category.  None of these was that impressive.  Are you telling me there were no cool sci fi choices, period pieces, or full fledged drag queens available to recognize?  We need to get on that.

Original Score - Gravity
The nice thing about this film is that the silence of space made room to showcase a great score, and I think that's what made for this win.  It was easy to be moved by the music next to the quiet moments of the film.

Original Song - Let it Go
Look, I love my Idina Menzel (Adele Dazeem?) as much as the next gal, but this was not a great performance of the song.  Her hand was shaking, and I'm shocked because she does live performance for a living!  It was good throughout, but went really wrong at the end - almost as though they started an octave too high without telling Idina.  She screamed the big note instead of singing it, and her voice cracked throughout the note.  Still, most of the world can't hit that note on their best days, so we can cut her some slack.  I've seen some internet banter that she was frazzled because Travolta mangled her name, but that's absurd.  The woman is a professional singer.  A mispronunciation of her name isn't going to shake her.
After two years flubbing words in the introductions, John Travolta needs to come off the presenter list.  Last year, he mangled Les Miserables (I still can't begin to reproduce what he tried to say), and this year, he mangled Menzel's name.

Production Design - The Great Gatsby
Yes, again, google the sets.  They were spectacular.  But not worth watching the movie.

Animated Short - Mr. Hublot (I got this wrong!)
Ok, ok, I should've known.  This category rarely goes to Disney and Pixar films, and also, usually what wins are the quirky or emotional films.  Since was basically the only other semi-passable choice, I supposed I should've predicted it.  My bad, readers, my bad.  I just thought that Get A Horse film was so clever and creative that they would overlook the source.

Live Action Short - Helium (I got this wrong!)
Look, I like films about kids dying from cancer as much as the next gal, and I did cry at the end of this one, but I still think Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me) should have won.  This was a good film and I think folks went for it because of its emotional component, but wouldn't it be nice if children being kidnapped into terrible lives of murder and rape and losing their souls made us cry as much as cancer did?

Sound Editing - Gravity
No brainer.

Sound Mixing - Gravity
No brainer.  The technical awards were clearly what made Gravity the night's biggest winner.

Visual Effects - Gravity

Adapted Screenplay - 12 Years A Slave
Bravo!  This often goes to films that aren't going to get other recognition so I secretly thought they might choose Wolf of Wall Street.  Choosing NOT to recognize a story about the lowest life forms who basically created class warfare was a great outcome, in my opinion.  I wish that Mandela had been nominated in this category over Wolf of Wall Street.  

Original Screenplay - Her
I was thrilled with this choice.  I loved the movie and I was delighted for it to get some recognition.  My other choice would have been Nebraska, which was such a delightful film.

I will continue to review movies as I see them, so feel free to subscribe to the blog, so you can stay tuned for updates, and I'll see you next year at the Oscars!!!

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