The good, the bad, and the ugly of the Academy Awards

The good. The bad. The ugly.

It’s all over for another year, and what a year it’s been. The closest Oscar race in years, with some of the best films we’ve ever seen in the running. And yet, somehow it all pretty much went to plan. There’s always a slight tinge of disappointment when this happens. We all want the deserving frontrunners to win, but we all secretly hope for a few shockers in the mix too, and this year, well they just weren’t there. To predict 22 out of the 24 categories correctly is a nice achievement, and sure I’m proud of myself for sticking to my guns and not being swayed into shocker territory, but it also shows that this year was far more predictable than everyone was letting on.

It’s actually quite difficult to write a good, bad, and ugly type post, because there’s a lack of major moments that fall into these three categories. But alas, that’s how I like to look back on these things, so here we go.

THE GOOD
Lupita Nyong’o. What a star. What an absolute bonafide star. You know I wanted J-Law to pull off the upset, but in the end, I was glad they went with Lupita. Not only did she look absolutely exquisite, she carried herself in such a way as well. Her speech was beautiful, her reaction was priceless, and ultimately it’s better to give it to someone who truly needed and deserved it. Lupita dancing with Pharrell was just the icing on the cake of her amazing night. Lawrence is the biggest star in the world. She didn’t need a second Oscar so soon, but one day I do hope she’s up there again.

Jared Leto, and his truly beautiful acceptance speech. The man has been giving amazing speeches at every turn this awards season, and he saved the best til last. So eloquently spoken, so perfectly delivered, and so moving on many levels. He paid tribute to everyone from the victims of HIV/AIDs, to the transsexual community, and finally to his brother and mother. No one managed to match this speech the rest of the evening. And he’s just so pretty.

Ellen Degeneres. A wonderful hosting job. She was hilarious, without being crass or offensive. She gave a fantastically witty monologue, and dismissed the obvious gag of her dancing into the audience. She was heavily involved throughout the entire show, without ever overstaying her welcome. She completely relaxed the usually tense crowd, and made the toughest gig in showbiz seem easy. She gave the starving celebrities pizza. And she managed to break Twitter with the greatest selfie of all time. What more can you ask of a host? Bring her back next year. Start a new tradition.

The ‘In Memoriam’ segment. The Oscars generally handle this part the best of any award show, and once again they created a beautiful tribute to our departed idols. The audience waited (I’ve heard they were instructed) until the very end to applaud, instead of the usual incredibly awkward awards show staple, where everyone claps after each person, as some sort of morbid popularity contest for who gets the biggest clap. I thought Bette Midler’s involvement at the end was wondrous.

Frozen wins the double. Thank you, Academy. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for not giving that god awful U2 song the award. Sorry, Bono. Go back to writing albums, and leave the movie awards to the movie folk. Animated Feature was never in doubt, but it was still wonderful to see Disney FINALLY win this award, for a non-Pixar film. Bonus points for creating a new EGOT recipient in Robert Lopez.

Kevin Spacey breaks into character as Frank Underwood while presenting. Too much to handle.

None of the major winners were cut off by the orchestra. This needs to continue. Let them speak. Let everyone speak. Let the awards go for five hours. I will never complain about that.

The selfie. A stroke of genius.

THE BAD
American Hustle – 0 for 10. I knew it would happen. It still hurt. Whatever David O’Russell does next will win everything it’s nominated for.

Leonardo DiCaprio loses, yet again. Oh, poor unfortunate Leo. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. We all love the McConaissance, but we would’ve loved a Leo triumph even more. It’s bound to happen the next time he’s nominated…but I’m sure I said that in 2007 too.

Harrison Ford presenting…something. I don’t even remember what it was, but he looked and sounded about as uninterested to be there as he did throughout the entire production of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Wake up, Han. You’re at the Oscars!

The tribute to The Wizard of Oz. Not the P!NK performance of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, because that was flawless. I’m referring to the idiocy of having Judy Garland’s three children just sit in the audience, and then awkwardly get up and just stand there for 30 seconds. I know Liza is a bit of a loose cannon, but give her the right pills and surely she could pull it together to actually present the tribute on-stage?

THE UGLY
John Travolta – you had one job. Her name is Idina Menzel, not Adele Dazeem. Go back to Xenu, champ.

Jamie Foxx’s ad-libbing. It was cute when you were doing Ray Charles impressions back in 2004, but now it’s just annoying. You were essentially talking over poor Jessica Biel, who was doing her best to get through her bit without slapping you in the face.

Kim Novak. Enough said.

Goldie Hawn. She has fulfilled the First Wives Club prophecy, and can now blink her lips.

Will Smith presents Best Picture. So you had legends like Sidney Poitier, Harrison Ford, Glenn Close, Sally Field, Robert De Niro and Bill Murray there, but for the biggest award of the night you go with the man who literally just won a Razzie Award for Worst Actor for the worst film of 2013? If you wanted to go with an African-American, because of the 12 Years A Slave angle, go with Samuel L. Jackson. At least his career isn’t in the toilet.

Overall, it was a splendid ceremony, perhaps even one of the best in recent years. 12 Years A Slave goes into the history books, but thankfully so does Gravity. American Hustle – I still love you. See you next year.

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