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Blanchett in Armani
Charlize Theron in
OSCARS 2014: The
A Review of the 86th Annual Academy
All right. All right. All right.
Sure it went on
about a half hour too long but on balance (and admittedly, the grading curve is
steep), it was one of the most enjoyable Oscar broadcasts in a long, long time.
Yes, at times, it felt like the awards were a version of hosts
Ellen DeGeneres talk show on steroids, but there were so many moments of
pure fun from Pharrell Williams downright joyous performance of
Happy to the taking of the supersized celebrity selfie of all-time
that set a record for retweets (2.3 million) that it all worked for the most
part. (Were not sure how we feel about the pizza bit, though). For her
second stint as Oscar host, DeGeneres kept the energy level high and managed to
engage the A-list crowd throughout. If only shed gotten John Travolta to
come to rehearsal.
Like every Oscar broadcast, there were the
requisite emotional moments, but last night they seem to come just when the
evening needed a lift. The first, of course, was Jared Letos pitch
perfect acceptance speech which was textbook which hit all the right notes.
This years award show darling, Lupita Nyongo, radiated happiness
when she took to the stage to receive her Oscar for her first film role and you
could feel the audience rooting for her. In a year when a seemingly inordinate
number of film industry heavyweights were lost, the In Memoriam
segment was tender and deeply felt particularly by Bette Midler (I knew
Wind Beneath My Wings was in the offing when she told preshow host
Ryan Secrest she was there to perform for the first time).
Of all the
lovely moments in last nights broadcast, I found Pinks gorgeous
rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow set against a giant screen
of the films most iconic images to be the best. It was positively
magical. This years musical performances were all top notch. Weve
come a long way from the eye rolling performances and terrible dance numbers
that were once the most dubious hallmark of the awards. See, I told you this
was one of the best Oscars in a while.
So lets talk fashion
now, shall we? After days of biblical rain, peeks of sun came out in time for
the A-list arrivals . Lest you think that we weather weary New Yorkers are the
only ones who have been battered by the elements, a little birdie told me that
several nominees had to make some last minute wardrobe changes when their care
packages from designers got stuck in the black hole between LAG and LAX. One
source told me: There were more than a few hysterical stylists and
actresses this weekend who were frantic waiting for dresses that were really
really late. One nominee decided to switch designers because they just got too
nervous at the last minute.
No word on why two of the most
fashion savvy women who have dazzled this awards season Cate Blanchett
and Jennifer Lawrence did not deliver the wow factor as expected. Yes,
they all looked pretty but I expected MORE. Its the Oscars, for
Petes sake. Surely they had ample time to choose a dress for
Hollywoods biggest night. Cate Blanchetts intricately beautiful
black Armani Prive she wore to the Globes was so much more regal than the heavy
looking, too pale dress from the designer that did not photograph well at all.
Jennifer Lawrence, paid to wear Dior Couture, chose a strapless red column with
a peplum (and, inexplicably fell again this time on the red carpet). A
surprising choice since she has worn a red column on Oscars red carpet
before when she was first nominated for Winters Bone.
Of all the actresses who walked Oscars red carpet, there was
probably more anticipation about what Lupita Nyongo than anyone else. Her
Grecian goddess Nairobi blue Prada accessorized with a diamond
headband from Fred Leighton was lovely, but it didnt dazzle like the
absolutely perfect red Ralph Lauren dress and cape she wore for the Golden
Globes. But when she won her Oscar it hardly mattered. She absolutely glowed
with happiness and when she left the stage with the evenings most
coveted accessory hoisted over her head, she was the queen of the night.
The evenings best dressed actress was Sandra Bullock who stunned in
a navy Alexander McQueen. The Best Actress nominees makeup and cascading
hair were absolutely flawless.
Other stand-outs: Charlize Theron, who
never gets it wrong, looked impossibly glamorous in her intricately beautiful
black Christian Dior. Last year, she dazzled in a sculpted white Dior. Of
course, it would be next to impossible to make this statuesque woman look
anything close to average but she still manages to hit it out of the park every
time. Kate Hudson showed off her killer body in an elegant and sexy Versace
Atelier. Naomi Watts sparkled in white Calvin Klein and a Bulgari
statement necklace. And Amy Adams looked so chic --and comfortable
-- in a strapless navy column from Gucci accessorized with colorful Tiffany
drop earrings. Its a tie for Best Dressed Pregnant Actress: Olivia Wilde
looked beautiful in Valentino and Kerry Washington was perfect is Jason Wu.
In the spirit of this Happy Oscars, Im not going to
call out the misses. Im sure by now we all know who they are .
Nyong'o in customized Prada and
Fred Leighton jewels
Heres my minute-by-minute
recap of last nights highs and lows:
8:30 Ellen DeGeneres
opens the show over the strains to Hooray for Hollywood Its
been a tough couple of days for us here
its been raining.
Ellen tells what was probably her only seemingly mean-spirited joke of the
evening : One of the most amazing Liza Minnelli impersonators is here too
.. Good job, sir. Liza laughed, but the crowd did really know how to take
8:35 Ooooh, Leonardo DiCaprio looks so handsome
and he brought his mom as his date.
8:38 Cate Blanchett and
Sally Hawkins: separated at birth? No, but I bet they wished they were
separated in the theater. Their Armani and Valentino dresses seen side by side
make them look like cousins who shopped at Neiman Marcus together for a
Westchester wedding. The nights biggest fashion disaster.
Jonah Hill is the subject of a very funny dirty joke. Good one, Ellen.
8:43 Jared Leto wins a much deserved best supporting actor Oscar and dedicates
his award to his mother. I love you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me to
dream. He goes on to give one of the most eloquent Oscar acceptance
speeches of all time acknowledging AIDs patients as well as reminding the
audience of those suffering in Ukraine and Venezuela. Well done.
Jim Carey has apparently escaped from the witness protection program.
8:50 The audience erupts with applause when Pharrell Williams and that
hat -- performs Happy. This Oscars feels like Ellens show on
steroids when he goes into the audience and dances with Meryl, Lupita and Amy
Adams and gets the crowd on its feet. Fun!
8:58 Catherine Martin wins
her third Oscar for Costume Design for her work on The Great
Gatsby. How can such a brilliant costumer choose such a hideous dress for
such a huge moment? Discuss.
9:00 Naomi Watts is forced to utter:
Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa when reciting the names of the
nominees for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.
Harrison Ford shrinking?
9:09 Angelina Jolie manages to steal the show
at Oscars. This time in the commercial for her upcoming film Malenficent. Wow.
9:10 For some unexplained reason, Kim Novak is presenting with Matthew
McConaughey. I always feel a little sad when screen icons from the past attempt
some awkward repartee with their co-presenter.
9:17 Oh my God! What
happened to Bill Murray?!?
9:30 Kate Hudson looks dazzling in a dress
definitely not from Ann Taylor. Cut to nice shot of proud mama Goldie Hawn and
9:35 I love John Stamos but what is he doing there?
9:41 Kevin Spacey acknowledges Jean Hersholt Award winner Angelina
Jolie who received her Oscar along with other recipients Angela Lansbury and
Steve Martin. Whos the genius that decided to give those awards at a
separate untelevised event? Judging by the clips of their acceptance speeches,
tonights viewers missed some truly incredible moments. Bad call.
9:54 I hope Brad Pitts unfortunate hairstyle is for a film. He introduces
U2 who performs Ordinary Love, the nominated song from
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. The crowd gives them a standing
ovation. This years Oscars have better musical performances than the
10:02 Ellen takes what is to become the most retweeted selfie
ever. Funny or borderline annoying? Ask me in two hours
star is born. Lupita Nyongo wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress
for her performance in 12 Years a Slave and gives a wonderfully
heartfelt and extraordinarily poised acceptance speech.
begins serving pizza to the audience. Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Channing
Tatum, Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kerry Washington dig in. At this rate,
shes also going to be serving breakfast, but no one seems to care. Then
she remembers she has no money. Wheres Harvey Weinstein?
10:27 Bill Murray gives a sweet shout out to his longtime friend
Harold Ramis, who died last week, when announcing the name of the nominees for
the cinematography Oscar.
10:34 Pink, in a glittering red ruby gown,
sings Over the Rainbow in a stirring tribute to The Wizard of
Oz and gets a standing ovation. Gorgeous.
10:53 A dignified and
restrained Glenn Close introduces the In Memoriam segment. John
Williams haunting theme from Somewhere in Time serves as the
soundtrack. James Gandolfini is first in the segment and, as expected, Philip
Seymour Hoffman is the last. Afterwards, Bette Midler appears on stage in front
of a somewhat eerie set of Oscar figures and sings Wind Beneath My
Wings. Clearly overwhelmed after getting through the song, she starts to
address the audience as the show cuts away to the commercial. Its okay if
you teared up, I did.
11:08 John Travolta and his toupee mangle Idina
Menzels name as he announces her performance of Let It Go. He
calls her Adele Dazeem. Come on, man! Afterwards, Ellen,
re-pronounces her name correctly. Remember when he used to be cool? I know, it
was a long time ago.
11:22 Ellen passes Pharells hat for pizza
money and gets a few bucks from Harvey Weinstein and Brad Pitt among others but
she pockets Lupitas lip balm (Your stock just went up).
Im sure this will become a running bit on her show this week.
11:23 Penelope Cruz must have been in a hurry tonight. She takes to the stage
with Robert DeNiro wrapped her in pink bed sheets.
Jolie and Sidney Poitier announce Alfonso Cuaron as Best Director for
Gravity. He thanks the wise guys and then charmingly
corrects himself and offers he meant the wise people.
11:41 Daniel Day Lewis presents the Best Actress Oscar to Cate Blanchett who
acknowledges her fellow nominees saying she knows how random and
subjective winning is. She goes on (and on) thanking everyone
shes ever known but also brilliantly makes the point that films starring
women make money. Her shot at Gravitys running time seems a
bit snarky, dont you think?
11:48 Jennifer Lawrence takes to the
stage and doesnt fall. She presents the Best Actor Oscar to
Matthew McConaughey who thanks God (Its a scientific fact that
gratitude reciprocate), family and his older, wiser self. Somewhere, some
enterprising soul is printing T-shirts with All right, all right, all
right emblazoned across the front. McConaughey is officially the coolest
guy in Hollywood.
11:56 Will Smith announces 12 Years A
Slave as Best Picture and Brad Pitt becomes Hollywoods newest elder
statesman. Poor Steve McQueen can barely get through his list of names to thank
but when he literally jumps for joy on stage, he says all he needs to.