Another year of the Academy Awards has come and gone. This year, the big winners were “Gravity” winning seven Oscars, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron and Best Cinematography, while “12 Years A Slave” also came up big, with Lupita Nyong’o winning Best Supporting Actress and the coveted Best Picture Award.
The biggest surprise for me was “Dallas Buyers Club” winning two acting awards, specifically Jared Leto for Best Supporting Actor and Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor. At this time, I have not bought into the McConaughey-craze yet. He just hasn’t gotten my attention yet. I’ve enjoyed Leto’s ability to create characters with such emotion, so that award comes as no surprise to me.
Overall, I believe that I predicted the majority of the winners, with the few exceptions being “The Great Gatsby” walking away with two awards for Costume Design and Production Design.
Yet, I felt like I walked away from this years awards with something more than just learning the winners. These Academy Awards had some wonderful moments, but at the same time was bogged down by some very incompetent moments. Some will remember it for Ellen’s photograph becoming huge on social media, while others will think of how pointless and unfunny it was for Ellen to order pizza.
Here are what I felt were some of the highlights and low lights.
The Good: I felt the best part of the awards for 2014 was the acceptance speeches. Not once did anyone get interrupted by the orchestra telling them to speed it up, and the majority of the speeches were memorable and heartfelt. Everyone got to say how they really felt about winning these awards, and got to thank everyone they felt like thanking. Even if it meant that the show ran longer than usual, these speeches were touching and added a lot to the impact of winning an Oscar.
My favorite speeches were Robert Lopez and Kristen Andersen-Lopez’s duet of thanking all of their loved ones for winning Best Original Song, “Let It Go” from “Frozen” and Matthew McConaughey’s speech on those who have changed his life for winning Best Actor.
Both of the Lopez’s were in perfect sync that each time they exchanged lines, it felt like they were planning yet another musical number in their head. While McConaughey gave words of advice that can used by anyone to better enhance their own lives, especially the part of looking up to someone, looking to love someone and looking to chase someone.
Honorable mention goes out to Jared Leto for giving a very descriptive and loving depiction of his mother and the impact she has had on his life.
The Bad: The worst part of this years awards was most certainly the presenters. Many of them came off as unprepared, unintelligent and just made a fool of themselves. The teleprompter must have been broken or something, because many of the presenters fumbled over their own lines and some didn’t seem to understand what they were saying.
These included Will Smith presenting the award for Best Picture, when the only work he did this year was “After Earth” which was nominated for several Razzies, with Smith even winning won for Worst Supporting Actor.
Seriously, why did Will Smith present the biggest award of the night?
Another unfortunate one was Kim Novak. Let’s put aside the fact that she had way too much botox and plastic surgery. She rambled, mumbled and probably didn’t know where she was. It was hilarious to watch, but I don’t think that was what the Academy was going for.
But the real zinger of them all was John Travolta, who completely and utterly butchered Idina Menzel’s name when she came up to sing “Let It Go.” The closest approximation to what Travolta said was “Adele Dazeem.”
I mean no disrespect when I say this, but did John Travolta have a stroke when he said her name? Because that wasn’t even close.
He will never be able to live that down now. That’s why I mean by the presenters being unbelievably incompetent this year. Whether it was because of going way off-script, being unprepared or somewhere in between, most of them did a terrible job.
The weird: The strangest part of the night was Ellen Degeneras as the host. I honestly don’t know how to feel about how she did.
Keep in my, I think Ellen is generally a funny person. Able to come up with jokes and comedic possibilities on the seem and a fun loving person who wants to be friendly to everyone is wonderful. For whatever reason, she was having an incredibly off night with the Oscars.
Many of the jokes missed their mark and just weren’t that funny. There was a lot more of the host this year than in previous Academy Awards, so that meant Ellen had to come up with more material. This would probably explain why she ordered pizza, which was awkward and went on for much longer than it needed to.
Now, Ellen did have a few genuinely funny moments, specifically with taking the picture that had a plethora of celebrities and her interaction with some stars, mostly Jonah Hill. Overall, it came across like Ellen didn’t know where to go with some of her jokes, like she was hesitant to say most of them.
With how much he was in the show, I felt like Kevin Spacey would have been a better host than Ellen. He rolled with the punches and came up with some of the best jokes of the night with split second thinking. At least he didn’t have to borrow Pharrell’s giant Arby’s hat to ask for tips.
If I could describe Ellen’s performance as host in one word, it would “awkward.” This would be fine if it felt like that was what Ellen was going for, but I don’t think she was. If you’ve seen her talk show or even watched “Finding Nemo” then you know her style of comedy is very energetic and upbeat, not awkwardly funny like this. At times it worked, but it mostly came off as strange and out of place.
Overall, I enjoyed this years Academy Awards for the same reason I usually enjoy them: To see Hollywood celebrate the best it created over the past year. Sometimes there was an occasional joke that made me laugh, but most fell flat. It was wonderful to see the winners finally get all the time they needed to give their speeches, but I wish we didn’t have to sit through so many bad presenters first.
Hopefully the Academy will realize the things it needs to correct and be better prepared for next year. There is always room for improvement.