By Eric Kisner, News Editor
Sunday was Hollywood’s biggest night- the time when cinema’s most beloved stars come together in celebration of the year’s trials and achievements, and movie buffs nationwide finally see whose work will be preserved in Academy Award history. The ceremony was Ellen Degeneres’ second gig as host of the Oscars, her first being seven years ago.
Highlights came when Degeneres spontaneously assumed that the stars might be hungry, asking Martin Scorcese and Jennifer Lawrence, among others, if they’d be interested in the prospect of a mid-event pizza break. Surprisingly, Degeneres followed through with her incredible proposition, passing out pizza to the stars, and later, taking a selfie with Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Kevin Spacey, to name a few. The selfie, which Degeneres posted to Twitter, became the most retweeted post of all time, gaining over 1 million retweets in less than an hour after it was posted.
Aside from the ceremony’s sometimes zany antics, however, there were times of intense poignancy. Lupita Nuyong’o, victorious for her portrayal of a slave without hope in “12 Years a Slave,” said, “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.” Jared Leto, of “Dallas Buyers Club,” voiced his support for those struggling with persecution due to sexual orientation and identity. Per tradition, the ceremony highlighted the memorials of those who had recently passed, addressing the recent deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Harold Ramis, as well as Eleanor Parker and a host of other immortal cinematic stars.
The night’s musical performances were as impressive as any element of the ceremony, with appearances by U2 (“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela”), P!nk (“Wizard of Oz” homage, Over the Rainbow), Karen O. and Ezra Koenig (The Moon Song from “Her”), Bette Midler (Wind Beneath My Wings, a tribute to those who died 2013), Idina Menzel (Let it Go, from “Frozen), and Pharrell Williams (“Despicable Me’s” Happy). In the end, however, it was Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson’s “Let it Go,” from “Frozen” that went home victorious in the best original song category.
“Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” were two of the night’s biggest winners, taking home seven awards, and three rewards, respectively. “American Hustle” didn’t cash in on any of it’s ten nominations, missing Eric W. Singer’s and David O. Russell’s projected win for Best Original Screenplay to Spike Jonze’s “Her.” In the best adapted screenplay category, John Ridley’s script for “12 Years a Slave” took home the Oscar statuette.
“Dallas Buyers Club” collected two acting awards, for Jared Leto’s supporting performance, and Matthew McConaughey’s lead role. Cate Blanchett, in “Blue Jasmine,” took home the best lead actress honor, while Lupita Nuyong’o achieved the best supporting actress honor for “12 Year’s a Slave.”
In the ceremony’s final moments, Alfonso Cuaron took home the statuette for his direction of “Gravity,” the peak of the film’s impressive sweep. However, it was “12 Years a Slave” that won the night’s biggest prize of Best Picture. “Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live,” said the film’s director, Steve McQueen, in his acceptance speech. “This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery.”
Locals tuned into the broadcast as well, along with 43 million other viewers. Junior Erin Sherry was particularly pleased with Degeneres’ involvement in the program. “I hadn’t seen many of the movies, but Ellen is basically the queen of the universe, so it was greatly entertaining,” she said. Senior Nathan McGowan enjoyed the night’s music. “I especially enjoyed Karen O.’s and Ezra Koenig’s performance of ‘the Moon Song,’ but was angry that it was cut short.” In response to the night’s winners, McGowan said, “12 Years a Slave’ was totally deserving of the best picture award.”