The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates the previous year's (2013) achievements in film.The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates the previous year's (2013) achievements in film.The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates the previous year's (2013) achievements in film.
As usual, the list of presenters was a sorry sight: these included a few youthful non-entities (Zac Efron, Channing Tatum), some uneasy-looking stars unwilling to lay down their boots (Harrison Ford, John Travolta) and a couple of old-timers who rather than adding to the lustre made a spectacle of themselves by exposing just how far gone they were to millions of spectators (Kim Novak, Sidney Poitier)! The latter two were especially embarrassing to watch: what was husky-voiced and Botox-riddled Novak doing presenting the Animation categories, and what was the point of having Poitier (who was leaning on Angelina Jolie all the time) present the Best Direction Oscar when it was obviously not going to Steve McQueen (if anything, they should have had them replace Will Smith in the Best Picture category thus allowing Jolie to give the Oscar to partner Brad Pitt)?! Another irritating presence was that of a seemingly tipsy Liza Minnelli, who was there (with two of her siblings) to watch pop-star Pink cover her mum Judy Garland's signature tune "Over The Rainbow" on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the release of THE WIZARD OF OZ – I would think they are the only surviving relatives of actors who were alive in 1939, known as Hollywood's greatest year ever! With respect to the "In Memoriam" section, I was disappointed to see Philip Seymour Hoffman take the spot that ought to have been reserved for Peter O'Toole – and, how come some "inventor" no one has ever heard of rates a mention but not comic Jonathan Winters, master Hungarian film-maker Miklos Jancso, prolific writer/director/actor Bryan Forbes or film noir stalwart Audrey Totter (on the other hand, Harold Ramis got remembered twice, firstly by way of presenter and former colleague Bill Murray)?! Having a theme for the whole show is silly in the first place but to choose "Heroes" and include clips from recent superhero movies (as if we needed to be reminded that they were still being made!) - but none from the earlier SUPERMAN franchise with the late Christopher Reeve?! To add insult to injury, they included clips from classic movies like CASABLANCA (1942), IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), BEN-HUR (1959), LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)...seriously?!
With respect to how the awards went, I was obviously let down since my top three films of the year – in order of merit, American HUSTLE, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET and NEBRASKA – all went home empty-handed! Conversely, 12 YEARS A SLAVE and GRAVITY were the most awarded (3 and 7 Oscars respectively) but my least favourites! GRAVITY's technical categories sweep killed the suspense, naturally, but there were a few surprising upsets regardless: I cannot fathom why the Best Supporting Actress Oscar went to Lupita Nyong'o, who had only one good scene in the entire film; the Best Adapted Screenplay also went to 12 YEARS A SLAVE over the no-less-reprehensible but far more inventive THE WOLF OF WALL STREET; ditto for the Original Screenplay category – the loss of American HUSTLE (which can only be explained by the plot's derivative nature) proved Spike Jonze's gain with the futuristic and bittersweet HER; another unexpected win was FROZEN's for Best Song over U2's "Ordinary Love" for that Mandela movie (I am sure Bono was itching to deliver a heartfelt speech about the recently-deceased South African leader!); as I said, Alfonso Cuaron was so sure of his eventual directorial win that, when he was named earlier for Best Editing, he did not even deliver a speech (I was actually praying he would subsequently lose and see him left with egg on his face for failing to put in his two words when he had the chance)! As ever, a number of speeches were well-prepared and hit the audience in the right spots – notably all the acting categories and Matthew McConaughey's in particular but Steve McQueen (what gall to keep such a name, I must say!)'s tongue-tied roll-call of gratitude (sounding like Leonardo Di Caprio's drug-fuelled phone conversation from THE WOLF OF WALL STREET!) was not a high spot, yet the heavy-set guy made up for it by leaping with joy at the conclusion of his triumph for co-producing the year's Best Picture!
- Mar 3, 2014