Oscars Highlights And Lowlights 2014

The 89th Academy Awards kicked off in fine style, and once again Hollywood darling Jennifer Lawrence trip over her own frock and nearly broke her neck. She was helped up by Nicholas Holt and a policeman who jumped into action. The rest of the arrivals had less trauma with the usual frock winners and failures of the red carpet.

Historical drama 12 Years a Slave has won best picture at the 86th Academy Awards, while space drama Gravity won the lion’s share of awards.

The utterly talented Cate Blanchett won the Best Actress award at the for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. In her acceptance speech, she chastised those in Hollywood “who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the centre are niche experiences.” “They are not,” she said. “Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.” OK Cate, but we want to see women playing feisty roles and not just copying men. I think audiences definitely want to see women at the centre but they also want to see them in all shapes and sizes, the good, the bad and the very, very ugly. In Blue Jasmine, Blanchett does just that. She plays a condescending Manhattan socialite who has lost her fortune, her family and possibly her mind. Feeling sorry for her? Well don’t.

Unless you were hiding under a bucket yesterday, you won’t have failed to see photographs of a victorious -on her debut!- Lupita Nyong’o in a pale blue Prada gown at the Oscars.

The silk georgette soleil pleated dress, which has now well and truly cemented itself in Hollywood history, was designed by Nyong’o’s stylist Micaela Erlanger in collaboration with Italian fashion house Prada, and the actress herself also had a lot of input. I have to say that Liz Taylor had a very similar gown for the Oscars in ’69 by what I’ve seen and the cut would’ve suited Lupita better. Lupita’s ensemble shows too much chest with no cleavage to carry it. Liz’s crosses over thus shortening the cleavage area. 

 

Lupita Nyong’o had a label with a frog – her family totem – on it sewn into the gown.                                      Photo: @lupitanyongo/Instagram

The “colour was for her family heritage,” a nod to Kenya, where Lupita was raised – the actress told a red carpet host that the particularly shade of blue reminded her of Nairobi, and #NairobiBlue quickly started trending on Twitter. Don’t know why, as its just a ‘colour’! But hey ho, its Twitter folks.

Meanwhile, “the neckline and silhouette were reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor,” someone Lupita has previously said she looks to for style inspiration, and the Fred Leighton jewels “a nod to Hollywood glamour.” Nyong’o added a tiny frog-adorned pinky ring as the amphibian is a family totem – it also appeared on a label hidden inside the dress. 

It is a universal truth that there are certain things that are best in white. Such as bridal dresses. Or fridges. Or swans. Especially if you’re Natalie Portman. Or snow. Which, let’s face it, loses much of its glamour when it is, say, yellow.

But on the other hand, there are some things for which white is disastrous.

For men, never trust a man in a white limousine; if you really must, at least have the decency to make it black. And teeth. Particularly if your skin happens to be orange. Which, if you are considering a teeth-whitening procedure, is likely.

After seeing coverage of the Oscars this week, to this latter group I would add the dinner jacket.

What were those Hollywood chaps playing at?

It wasn’t all bad. Many had enough self-awareness to go classic. Leonardo DiCaprio, despite going home empty-handed, avoided adding insult to injury by donning a decent, black Armani number, tipped with patent shoes; other play-it-safe winners included the magnificent Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ethan Hawke, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.

But some men clearly decided to “go a bit crazy”. And the results were, shall we say, mixed.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt went for a charcoal-flecked Calvin Klein number. Not exactly traditional; but he would have got away with it if he hadn’t decided to desecrate the lapel with a silly red badge advertising his production company.

Kevin Spacey went one step further with a Burberry dinner jacket in blue – blue! – and Chris Hemsworth went for burgundy. Both of these worked, I think, sort of.

Which brings us to the white knights of the Oscars. Spearheading this unhappy movement were Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. The latter even punctuated his fashion disaster with a clownish scarlet bow tie (it’s called black tie for a reason, Leto).

What on earth were these people thinking? Gentlemen, a rule of thumb: if you don’t want to be mistaken for a sommelier, for god’s sake consider not dressing like one.

THE NUDE SQUAD

Call them what you will – beige, blush, barely there – but the ultra-feminine, nude gown, embellished with silver beading was so popular this year, it almost deserved an Oscar of its own.

Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé, Angelina Jolie in Elie Saab, Jessica Biel in Chanel Haute Couture and Julie Delpy in Jenny Packham

Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie

THE PASTEL PRINCESSES

Could Penelope Cruz and Lupita Nyong’o look any prettier? Their delicate pastel dresses had us sighing and wishing we were Hollywood princess.

LADIES IN RED

Breaking the mould in bright red were Jennifer Lawrence in Dior and Bette Midler in Reem Acra. By the way the woman on the right is 68. Yes, that’s THREE TIMES the age of the woman on the left…. As you can clearly tell.. Even from a distance. Sorry, but its true.

 

Jennifer Lawrence & Bette Midler

IN BLACK

Julia Roberts has a chequered red carpet past, starring in both our best Oscars dresses of all time countdown -in Valentino-, and our worst -remember those hirsuit pits?-, so thank god -Riccardo Tisci- for this flawless ensemble. Charlize followed suit in a similarly vampish, low-cut black gown by Raf Simons at Dior.

Julia Roberts & Charlize Theron

MIXED BAG OF PREGGOS

We sympathise with your plight Elsa, we really do. Who wants to get trussed up like a turkey in tinsel when their ankles are swollen and just getting in and out of a chair is a mission in itself? However, we’re calling Elsa out on this grabby look, i’m afraid. Kerry Washington, however, hit the mark in her understated Jason Wu wrap dress. We just wish she’d packed a steamer in the back of her limo to combat those creases.

Elsa Patakis & Kerry Washington

LIZA MINELLI CAR CRASH

Fanfare please! Liza Minelli had it all going on – a colour so bright it sears your retina, a coordinating hair streak, and some extremely ill-advised flower-shaped nipple shields. There’s a time and a place for wearing a good bra. This was it.

Liza Minelli

HARD TO LOOK LIKE A WINNER IN WHITE

Now for something a bit different… With the girls playing it safe, the boys seized the chance to experiment, nowhere to better effect than this pair. Did the Dallas Buyer’s Club duo discuss their coordinating white tuxedos before the ceremony? It cetainly made for some lovely group shots later in the evening when Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto picked up the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards.

Matthew McConaughey & Jared Leto

PHARRELL WILLIAMS UTTER DISASTER

Check out Pharrell Williams – possibly the first man in Oscars’ history to work the red carpet in shorts. He wore a dinner jacket with a cretinous pair of shorts, which were truly awful. He also forgot his skateboard.

Later he changed into jeans, a tracksuit top, trainers and his signature tall hat to treat the crowd to a performance of his ridiculously catchy song, Happy.

Pharrell Williams

Oscars fashion: Prada officially the luckiest Oscar label

Prada dressed five winners and five nominees at the 2014 Oscars, clocking up the most points on the ‘Oscars Fashion Chart’ 

Oscars 2014: The most famous ‘selfie’ in the world

How a blurry group self-portrait taken on a mobile phone became the sensation of the Oscars – with disappointment for one superstar. (Liza Minelli)

This image released by Ellen DeGeneres shows actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a “selfie” portrait. DeGeneres tweeted the picture -which was actually taken by Bradley Cooper- from her @TheEllenShow account. Within a few hours it had been retweeted by more than 2.5 million people, creating a new record for the microblogging site.  Photo: Bradley Cooper/Ellen DeGeneres. And the Oscar smart phone goes to… Samsung

The Oscars created the most retweeted photograph ever, and it was taken on a Samsung phone.

While the selfie was an undeniable stroke of genius, and there were a couple of good jokes, there were also mutterings in Hollywood that Ellen’s gags at the expense of Liza Minnelli and Amy Adams were harsh, and also that the show went on ‘way too long’. The Hollywood Reporter’s withering headline today read: ‘Ellen flops in long, boring, self-involved show.’ The trade publication said she was ‘way off her game’ and described the ceremony as ‘turgid, badly directed, poorly produced and featuring an endless string of tired or wince-inducing moments from host Ellen DeGeneres.’ Ouch. The Los Angeles Times review was better, but still mixed. It said: ‘Watching DeGeneres wander through the audience to pat ‘Marty’ and ‘Brad’ on the shoulder or hand Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper pieces of pizza was not as hilarious as many people clearly thought it would be.’ It’s a tough gig hosting the Oscars if you’re not Billy Crystal. Anyone for Ricky Gervais next year? CNN had questioned the performance of Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres, and they were not alone. I just didn’t think it was THAT funny. Of course one has to understand that it is a monumental task to host such a long show and LIVE. The longest -live- show you’re ever likely to host, not an easy task to keep everyone happy.

The 5 Biggest Oscars Bloopers 

1. Kim Novak still suffers from Vertigo

First she quit Hollywood and moved to the country; then she accused the makers of The Artist of “rape” after they appropriated the music from Vertigo; and she’s often described as “a recluse”. So it’s safe to say that Kim Novak was always going to be a wild card on Oscar night. The first shock was her face, bisected as it was by a Heath Ledger-esque Joker smile. Even more startling was her apparent lack of knowledge about how microphones work, leading co-presenter Matthew McConaughey to place a gentlemanly arm around her shoulder in a bid to pull her towards it. Once there, she talked over him, seemed a little addled, and generally behaved like a supremely ironic choice to present Best Animation.

harrisonford_2840433c

2. Harrison Ford: out of his crystal skull?

Is Harrison Ford the best actor who ever lived? In films he often seems charming and able to speak in full sentences, yet in real life these powers seem utterly beyond him. He must be quite a performer. The 71 year-old’s single earring and increasingly teeny-bopperish hair have long been an object of internet fascination, but no amount of hipster accoutrements could hide his perpetually befuddled, cranky ‘get off my lawn!’ demeanour last night. Depending on which Twitter wags you believe, Ford introduced his Best Picture clips either high, in a very bad mood, or having recently emerged from a carbonite casing and trying to get to grips with the world. He perked up considerably when Ellen DeGeneres began handing out pizza; make of that what you will. 

3. John Travolta lets himself go

Yes, he’s dyslexic; and no, her name doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue the first time you say it. But couldn’t John Travolta have spent a little bit of time practising how to say Idina Menzel’s name before introducing her performance of Let it Go? She’s probably laughing about it now, but Menzel – or “Adele Dazeem”, as she’ll be known from now on – seemed noticeably off her usually flawless game once she arrived on stage.

4. Zac Efron: an aspiration to us all 

On hand to prove that autocue flubs aren’t solely the preserve of old-timers, former High School Musical pretty-boy Zac Efron described Best Song nominee Karen O as an “aspiration”, rather than an “inspiration”. Back to school, Efron.

5. Goldie Hawn perks up slavery

Did Goldie Hawn really have to announce the title of the grim, gruelling Best Picture with such peppy enthusiasm? Her reading of ‘12 Years a … Slave!’, delivered with that huge three-martini smile, made it sound like a Mel Brooks chucklefest, or the beginning of a Louis CK routine. Luckily, Steve McQueen was too busy jumping up and down to care. 

Leo: will Leonardo DiCaprio ever win an Oscar? What does he have to do??!!

Leonardo DiCaprio, star of The Wolf of Wall Street, has now lost at the Oscars four times. In the words of everyone on the internet right now: poor Leo. Last night’s Academy Awards marked the 20th anniversary of Leonardo DiCaprio’s first Oscar nomination, and it was also the fourth ceremony from which he went home empty-handed. I am sure his time will come. Leo is an acting legend.

The full list of Oscar winners 2014 is as follows: 

BEST PICTURE:

12 Years a Slave – WINNER

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:

Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club – WINNER

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine – WINNER 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club – WINNER

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave – WINNER

BEST DIRECTOR:

Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity – WINNER

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

The Great Gatsby – WINNER

BEST MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING:

Dallas Buyers Club – WINNER 

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED):

Mr Hublot – WINNER

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:

Frozen – WINNER

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION):

Helium – WINNER

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:

The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life – WINNER 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

20 Feet from Stardom – WINNER 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

The Great Beauty (Italy) – WINNER

BEST SOUND MIXING:

Gravity – WINNER 

BEST SOUND EDITING:

Gravity – WINNER

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

Gravity – WINNER 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Gravity – WINNER

BEST FILM EDITING:

Gravity – WINNER

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

The Great Gatsby – WINNER 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

Gravity – WINNER

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:

Let It Go – Frozen – WINNER

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave – WINNER

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

Spike Jonze – Her – WINNER 

 

 

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