I can’t quibble with the picks.
“12 Years a Slave” was a big winner. With the local connection to upstate New York, bravo to the inspiring tale of a free man wrongly kept against his will, from the words of Solomon Northup. The pure joy and celebration of the cast on stage and the show-closing dance of joy by director Steve McQueen as they accepted the biggie, the best picture award, was even more uplifting than Pharrell’s team-dance number for his song “Happy” from “Frozen.” Bravo.
“Gravity” was a big winner. Surely this space spectacular was a lesson in teamwork, with so many of the folks who put together the big hit rewarded with an Oscar. They all heaped much credit on actress Sandra Bullock. To the best of my counting abilities, George Clooney was mentioned once, and absent from the theater. Then, when the announcement for best actress came after the others, Bullock was left cheering with everybody else as Cate Blanchett accepted the Oscar.
“Dallas Buyer’s Club” was a big winner. The quirky indie tale of an individual battle against AIDS swept the top two male categories, with Jared Leto winning for best supporting actor and Matthew McConaughey taking the statue for best actor. Those two gave two of the most interesting acceptance speeches, too. Leto opened the show with a warm and heartfelt speech thanking the right people and pushing very deserving causes. McConaughey also thanked a bunch of people, but came back to his own perseverance. Call it interesting and odd.
Ellen DeGeneres won without taking home any awards. The host was warm, brash, irreverent and seriously funny. Her bits of getting a gaggle of stars to pose for a selfie to Tweet, and ordering in takeout pizza and passing the hat among the stars to pay the delivery guy were both fantastic. She’s just the right tone to her relationship with the biggest name over the years to bring out their human side for all to see.
And yet my favorite moment of the night was Robert DeNiro’s speech before the awarding of the best screenplay awards. The actor spoke in front of a background of a hundred or so historic manual typewriters.
DeNiro said: “The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.”
Indeed. But the folks who wrote the great movies in the class of 2013 got through it. In a big way.
You can find a list of the winners here, thanks to npr.org.
Did you watch? What did you think of the Oscars broadcast Sunday night?