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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Oscars 2014: a night to be remembered

Published: March 7, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc.

Oscars 2014 turned out to be one of the most successful Oscars this country has seen. The 86th awards ceremony featured stiff competition. “Gravity” took away many awards such as for best director (Alfonso Cuaron), best cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), film editing (Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger), original score (Steven Price), sound editing (Glenn Freemantle), sound mixing (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro) and for visual effects (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould).

“Gravity” grossed $270 million in North America alone and was the most successful film of the year. Other big winners were Matthew McConaughey for best actor in “Dallas Buyers Club.” I thought he deserved it, but many people believed that Leonardo DiCaprio was snubbed out of yet another Oscar. “Wolf of Wall Street,” however, was not the type of film that deserved an Oscar, and I think that McConaughey’s performance was astounding. Best picture went to “12 Years a Slave,” which several of my classmates believed to be the film of the generation. I have yet to see it, but after hearing the rave reviews, it is definitely on my must-see list. Best actress went to Kate Blanchett for her performance in “Blue Jasmine.” Best supporting actress went to Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave.” Jared Leto took home the prize for best supporting actor in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Now that you know who won, let’s talk about the good stuff, and by that I mean host Ellen Degeneres. She was amazing, and the reason I believe this year’s Oscars to be the best yet. Her witty jokes kept rolling in and the crowd kept laughing. It was like watching an Ellen Degeneres show marathon. Degeneres even ordered pizza for the audience and takers included none other than Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

Along with the amazing presence of pizza at the ceremony, Ellen jumped into the audience to take a selfie with some of the most famous faces in Hollywood. Many people believe that the selfie that was tweeted with Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie and other stars was too much social media. “From a social media standpoint, it was a huge win,” Steve Minichini said. “But it was really geared for social media. It made for a boring live telecast.”

However, the gambit appeared to have worked, with an average of 43 million total viewers tuned in to TV’s biggest awards show. That was 6 percent higher than last year’s much criticized ceremony hosted by “Family Guy” overseer Seth MacFarlane. ABC estimated that almost 72 million viewers watched at least six minutes of the program. During the telecast, 11.2 million tweets poured forth from 2.8 million unique users, according to Social Guide—a 75 percent increase from last year’s activity. Degeneres’ selfie was the first picture to be retweeted more than 2 million times, briefly crashing the the microblogging platform.

Steve Minichini, chief innovation and growth officer at ad firm TargetCast, said of the star-studded selfie, “That was really gold, that was beautiful.”

“It was a great example of how social media can be incorporated into a live telecast, encouraging viewers to tune into the show and take part in it,” said Brad Adgate, an analyst for Horizon Media in New York.

Despite all the great press, however, I think some movies of this year were sub par. In past years, films such as “American Hustle” wouldn’t have even been nominated for an Oscar. It had a predictable plot, with only amazing acting to save it. Many films were just not as mind blowing or on par with some of the winners, such as “12 Years a Slave.”

So this puts another show in the books—the best one yet—and one of the most well received. The movies were amazing, the host was spectacular and the entertainment was superb. Another highlight was Idina Menzel’s performance of the famous “Frozen” song, “Let It Go.” With the Oscars just ending, I’m in the movie mood.