Recap: '12 Years a Slave' Triumphs at Oscars
By DAVID WEINER
March 02, 2014
12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Frozen, Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett, 12 Years' Lupita Nyong'o and Dallas Buyers Club's Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were among the big winners during the star-studded telecast of the 86th Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, while there was no statuette love for big contenders The Wolf of Wall Street, Nebraska, American Hustle or Captain Phillips. Read on for the recap...
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The Best Picture
12 Years a Slave, the true story of Solomon Northrup's arduous journey from free man to slave and back again, was named Best Picture of the Year, besting American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street. Hailing Northrup as his inspiration, director Steve McQueen dedicated the night's top award "to all the people who have suffered slavery and who are suffering in slavery today."
The Best Actors
Matthew McConaughey won the Best Actor statuette for his performance as real-life Texas rodeo rider and AIDS victim/activist Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyers Club, a role for which he dropped 50 pounds to appear bone-thin. Praising God, his family and his "future hero" self for his good fortune, Matthew out-rodeo'd fellow nominees Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio and Chiwetel Ejiofor, but complimented, "All these performances were impeccable, in my opinion; I didn't see a false note in them."
Cate Blanchett scooped up the Best Actress statuette for her wry performance in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. Giving fun shout-outs to fellow noms Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock and Judi Dench for setting memorable examples for women's roles in film, she also slammed Hollywood to a certain degree, explaining of female-centric films, "Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people!"
The Supporting Players
Lupita Nyong'o was brought to tears while accepting the Best Supporting Actress statuette for her stunning performance in 12 Years a Slave. "It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain," she said, referring to Patsey, the tortured slave she portrayed in the film based on a true story. Stating that the dead are watching and "they are grateful," she concluded, "When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you're from, your dreams are valid." Lupita's bested the competition of Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts and June Squibb.
Jared Leto was named Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the courageous transgender character Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. Singling out the support of his mother and brother, he dedicated his win to "the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS, and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are and who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you." He beat out fellow nominees Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, Barkhad Abdi and Jonah Hill.
Other Awards Highlights
Frozen won Best Animated feature and Best Original Song (Let It Go); 12 Years a Slave won Best Adapted Screenplay, while Her won Best Original Screenplay; 20 Feet from Stardom was named Best Documentary; Italy's The Great Beauty earned Best Foreign Language Film; Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity took off with Best Directing, Best Cinematography, Visual Effects, Original Score, Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing; The Great Gatsby won Best Production Design and Costume Design; and Best Makeup & Hairstyling went to Dallas Buyers Club.
The Show High Points
In her second hosting gig in seven years, host Ellen DeGeneres kept the audience in stitches, with jokes ranging from the rainy weather to Jennifer Lawrence's tendency to trip and Jonah Hill's The Wolf of Wall Street "overexposure," and suggesting the possible final outcome of the evening: "Possibility No. 1: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility No.2: You're all racists." She bought pizza for the stars, with Brad Pitt handing out paper plates, and hit up producer Harvey Weinstein to tip the delivery guy -- later passing around Pharrell's iconic hat for money from the stars; tweeted live from stage and took the ultimate selfie with the likes of Brad and Angelina, Meryl and Julia, Jared and Lupita, and Bradley and J-Law; and even gave out consolation prizes to the losers of the night, handing Bradley Cooper scratcher lotto tickets!
The theme of the evening was Heroes in Hollywood, illustrated by live-action and animated hero montages, and a stirring edit of "extraordinary, ordinary heroes" portrayed in film such as Captain Phillips, Solomon Northup, Muhammad Ali, Abraham Lincoln, Harvey Milk, Jackie Robinson and Erin Brockovich.
Other highlights included the music of the night: U2's energetic, acoustic version of Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; sporting a sparkling ruby dress, P!nk sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow in a special tribute to The Wizard of Oz; Pharrell Williams gave a toe-tapping performance of Happy from Despicable Me 2; Idina Menzel knocked Frozen's Let It Go out of the park; Karen O sang a simple, understated The Moon Song (A Million Miles Away) from Her -- and Darlene Love belted out her excitement in representing the ladies of 20 Feet From Stardom, the Best Documentary Feature winner.
Glenn Close honored those who sadly departed us over the past year, declaring, "We love you, we honor you, we miss you, but most of all, we thank you." Stars remembered included James Gandolfini, Karen Black, Hal Needham, Jim Kelly, Eileen Brennan, Paul Walker, Elmore Leonard, Annette Funicello, Peter O'Toole, Ray Harryhausen, Sid Caesar, Roger Ebert, Shirley Temple Black, Joan Fontaine, Juanita Moore, Harold Ramis, Julie Harris, Maximilian Schell, Richard Matheson, Esther Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The sequence was bookended by a performance of Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler.
Tune into ET for complete coverage of the 2014 Oscars, before, during and after!