Oscars 2014 Final Recap: I Liked Some Things, I Didn’t Like Some Things


I found this on Twitter. I am really sorry I can’t provide proper accreditation but whoever did this, you freaking rock.

The cinema lover’s Christmas happened last night. And now it’s time to go back and talk about normal stuff like The Muppet and upcoming Wes Anderson films.

For a year that seemed to be incredibly unpredictable, the Oscar winners sure were predictable. As expected, 12 Years a Slave took home the top prize while Alfonso Cuaron was crowned the best director in all the land. This happened to be a really good year for film, so none of the winners were exactly infuriating. The only really upsetting thing was that I had to listen to Bono sing instead of Oscar Isaac. And there’s plenty of more Bono ranting where that came from!

This year’s Oscar ceremony was overlong, indulgent, and only funny in small portions. Which is to say it was just like any other year. Read on to find out what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what I wasn’t sure if I should love or hate, during this year’s Academy Awards:

What I Liked

Matthew McConaughey’s Speech- I don’t feel comfortable with the fact that I had to root against Leo in order to win my Oscar pool, but it was worth it to see McConaughey’s fantastic acceptance speech. It got only a little bit weird when he basically said he worships himself. But that is not surprising coming from the guy who is shirtless most of the time he is in public. The seemingly genuine way in which he views luck and family is exactly the way that a sane person should view celebrity, and it shows that there is much more to this man than the lovable stoner we all thought we knew. McConaughey then talked about how his constant path for self-improvement. Then, he ended up his speech by saying “alright, alright, alright.” Well, Rust Cohle was right: time really is a flat circle. While McConaughey will become a better and better actor, deep down he will always be Wooderson.

U2 Didn’t Win an Oscar- I have not seen Frozen yet, but I am assuming that it is a good thing that Robert Lopez became an EGOT before Bono did.

Oscar Winner Spike Jonze- Oscar Winner Spike Jonze. It has a nice ring to it. I have been a fan of this guy since I was in eighth grade. I wasn’t sure what would happen to Jonze after the disappointment of Where the Wild Things Are. But with Her, Jonze showed that he could didn’t need a Charlie Kaufman script to make something wonderful (though I would love to see them reunite again in the near future). Oscar Winner Spike Jonze.

Cate Blanchett- So everybody expected her to win. That does not mean that she wasn’t actually deserving of the award. Her performance in Blue Jasmine is the best thing since sliced bread gave a really good performance in that one movie.

Bill Murray Pays Tribute to an Old Friend- In one of the nights most pleasant surprises, Bill Murray, who was presenting the award for Best Cinematography, threw Harold Ramis’ name onto the list. Ramis passed away this past week. The two of them had a falling out and had not worked together since Groundhog Day. It was a quick yet moving impromptu shout out. In one little moment, an entire feud was possibly solved. There were many more movies that Murray could have listed besides CaddyshackGhostbusters, and Groundhog Day, but he is Bill Murray so he gets to do whatever the hell he wants.

What I Didn’t Like

Ellen DeGeneres- Besides that awesome selfie, Ellen DeGeneres was a let down as this year’s host. The best her writers could do was a gag where they brought pizzas out to the audience, which would have been way better if a) Brad Pitt smeared his slice all over his Macklemore haircut or b) somebody had to refuse because they are lactose intolerant. Ellen loves to dance but she never got to. During most of the show, it just seemed like Ellen was in the middle of telling jokes that were predictable and uninspired to begin with (not to brag or anything, because this is not something to brag about, but I totally predicted that Jonah Hill/prosthetic penis joke). There are so many young and bold hosts they could get for next year. Jimmy Fallon. John Mulaney. Amy Schumer. Or if you want a safe bet: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

The Show- This was one of the most poorly produced Oscar shows that I have seen in my lifetime. “Half-assed” might be the nicest thing to say about it. The “Hollywood Heroes” theme was inconsistent and inexplicable. The fact that they showed more footage from Man of Steel than Inside Llewyn Davis is all you need to know about how I felt about the Oscars this year. Unfortunate, given that 2013 was a fantastic year for film.

Jared Leto (The Non-Actor Human)- Hey Jared. I can call you Jared, right? Do you prefer Jar-Bear? Or Girlie Jesus? Anyway, you were great in Dallas Buyers Club, and your win was well deserved. You have also been making great choices for years, from Fight Club to Requiem for a Dream to American Psycho. Wow. Those are some of my favorite films of all time. You can act; nobody denies that. However, you just find new ways to make me hate you as a person every single day. There are very few times where it doesn’t look like you’re thinking to yourself “hey girl, I am awesome” like some d-bag version of Ryan Gosling. And then you just had to be that guy who brought up the Ukraine in his acceptance speech. I thought Bono would be the first one to say that. Yes, the people protesting in Kiev are dreamers, but they are not dreaming of winning statutes shaped like naked gold dudes. If you want to be the man filled with zen inspiration, then start acting more like Matthew McConaughey and less like a rejected Entourage character. 

The Act of Killing Loses- I am sure that 20 Feet from Stardom is good and all, but it is not The Act of Killing, a documentary that is by far one of the most important films so far this decade. I guess the Oscars saw 12 Years a Slave and thought that they had honored enough brutally honest depictions of history for one lifetime. Sure, Darlene Love sang, and it was nice and everyone was happy about it. However, who knows what song Anwar Congo would have belted out on stage if only The Act of Killing had won.

How Do I Feel About This?

Kim Novak- Come on, guys. She’s 81-years-old. Lay off on the jokes about her frozen face and all of that. And if you are wondering who Kim Novak is, she starred in Vertigo. And she used to do respectable things like make out with Jimmy Stewart.

Leo Doesn’t Win- Like Leo really cares. At the end of the day, he’s still Leonardo DiCaprio.

  • Andy Striph

    I totally understand that the Academy was going for the anti-Macfarlane host this year, but Ellen was just so bland. While none of her jokes were distasteful or offensive, they were hardly even jokes! When the best your writers can muster is selfies and pizza, they’re not writing for the biggest night of the year for film, they’re writing for a slumber party. What a shame.

  • cmlavin

    Dame Edna has been doing a ‘feed the audience’ routine for years, but brilliantly. When it was announced that the ‘selfie’ was a planned product placement for the camera phone that snapped it, come on. Pink is a wonderful performer, but showed limited technique and nerves trying to tackle one of the best-loved songs in the American canon. It’s a variety show with ups and downs, and you’re right, it could have been so much better.

    Regarding another story of yours — the one about great films that haven’t won Oscars, I agree wholeheartedly that “Almost Famous” should have gotten one. I always felt, however, that its vague, innocuous title worked against it. I esp love the director’s cut, but I didn’t see the film til it was on HBO. That title to me was so weak I didn’t expect much from the film. A good title is so important.

    One thing I disagree with in that piece — just because “Inside Llewyn Davis” didn’t win an Oscar, and “Singin’ In The Rain” didn’t win an Oscar, doesn’t mean ILD is in the same league. “Plan 9 From Outer Space” didn’t win an Oscar, either. Neither did “Showgirls.”

    It’s no secret that people deeply familiar with the folk scene of the 1960s thought the film was dreadful — I don’t think the Coens will ever make a film “inspired by” anyone who has living friends, fans, or relatives again, surprised as they were by the number of friends/fans of Dave Van Ronk who were baffled how such a colorful character who wrote such a lively book inspired such a dull leading man and plotless flick. Before that film was released, everyone I knew in the folk scene was very excited about it and couldn’t wait to see it. And we all wanted to love it.

    After seeing it, very few liked it, and very few could say anything positive about it. Despite the glowing reviews by critics, aggressive marketing campaign, and numerous TV ads in the NYC area, the poor word-of-mouth doomed it.

    Folk music is all about getting to the heart of the matter, stripping away artifice, telling the truth. That film was about anything but. Oh, it did look pretty and sounded nice (and those two Oscar noms WERE deserved), but it was like an expensive fancy frame around a dull, out-of-focus copy of a polaroid.

    But I like your writing a lot and expect big things from you after you graduate.