Let’s face it, the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony was decidedly lacking when it came to surprises. With so many high profile releases vying for Oscar statues it seemed like there would be at least a few upsets or dark horse wins, but alas most of the films, actors, and crew members that we thought would win did. Still, this year’s ceremony was not without its fair share of great moments, many of which centered on host Ellen DeGeneres. Read on for our favorites.
1. The Record-Breaking Selfie
While Ellen DeGeneres got off to a somewhat rocky start with a series of mean-spirited jokes, she was able to bounce back and hit her stride about three-fourths of the way through her monologue. DeGeneres’ monologue, however, was but an appetizer when compared to her antics once the show got going in earnest. Perhaps her greatest moment came when she decided to hit up Meryl Streep (a nominee for August Osage County) in the hopes of snapping a selfie worthy of a record-breaking amount of retweets. It was supposed to be a brief gag, but before Ellen knew it her selfie included heavy hitters like Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, and Bradley Cooper. The image eventually did break the record for retweets, and single-handedly crippled Twitter for a brief span, so job well done.
2. Lupita’s Emotional Speech
With so many awards shows leading up to the Oscars, it’d be hard to blame actors for expecting to hear their name called when the golden envelope eventually opens. Especially, in a year where there were very few surprises. But, when Lupita Nyong’o heard her name called for 12 Years a Slave, there was genuine surprise and emotion in her reaction. Nyong’o’s acceptance speech was a true highlight and quintessential Oscars – a tear-filled attempt to express gratitude while trying to reconcile an amazing achievement. Her award was well deserved, and her speech was perfect.
3. Gravity Dominates
Regular listeners of the Screen Rant Underground know that we, along with a large portion of America, are huge fans of Gravity. Alfonso Cuarón’s effects-driven thriller was certainly deserving of every technical award, and so we were elated to see the film make a clean sweep in that regard. Cuarón taking home Best Director was merely the icing on the cake, proof that the hard work that goes into bringing a passion project to life can pay off.
4. Ellen Orders Pizza
If her appearance in full Wizard of Oz garb told us anything it’s that Ellen knows how to commit to a bit. And so, when she floated the idea of ordering pizza, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that the host would eventually show up with a few slices. What we didn’t expect was that DeGeneres would drift around the entire front row offering pizza to everyone from Brad Pitt to Harrison Ford. DeGeneres’ interactions with the audience helped break the tension and allowed viewers to see a playful side of their favorite stars. She even came around a little later to collect money for the pizzas and, again, the celebs were good sports and actually forked over real cash… a surprising amount of cash, in fact.
5. The Tao of McConaughey
To be fair, Matthew McConaughey was the frontrunner to win Best Actor for Dallas Buyers Club since the Golden Globes, and so he likely had plenty of time to prepare a speech. His Globes speech was a little all over the place – likely due to the shock – but it had some of that signature McConaughey flair, ending with a very appropriate, “Alright, Alright, Alright.” McConaughey’s Oscar speech ended in a similar fashion, but the journey to that destination was much different this time around. His acceptance was anything but stereotypical, and was all the better because of it. In it McConaughey stressed three things: God, family, the future. We don’t know what the future holds for the star, but on Oscar Night 2014 Matthew McConaughey was more than “alright.”
6. Standing Ovations for All
On a night where there can only be one winner out of (typically) five, this year’s Academy Awards show was filled with a surprising amount of support. While one or two standing ovations are typical when preceded by a Hollywood legend or surprising win, this year the standing ovations were a regular occurrence. It felt like there was a general sense that the person most deserving of the award won, and the lack of surprises seemed to reinforce that idea. Sure, standing ovations add to the show’s run time, but it’s always nice to see an audience show a little extra love beyond your average claps and cheers.
7. 12 Years Wins Big Prize
After its debut at the Telluride International Film Festival, 12 Years a Slave emerged as the early frontrunner to take several Academy Awards including Best Picture. Steve McQueen’s powerful adaptation of Solomon Northup’s true story of survival in the face of unspeakable horrors had its fair share of competition, but it always lingered as an Oscar favorite. The film ultimately didn’t take home too many awards on Oscar night, but it did win the biggest prize. McQueen’s reaction to the win says it all – from his inability to pronounce the names of longtime colleagues to the jubilant jump.
What Will Win Next Year?
What were your favorite moments from this year’s Academy Awards? What did you think of the show as a whole? Also, you can find the full list of winners HERE.