Somehow every year we have amnesia about last year's Oscars show, anticipating that we'll be surprised or at least entertained during the broadcast. The fact that the Golden Globes have recently become a delight to watch --- thanks largely to Amy Poehler and Tina Fey --- and that even the Grammys were amazingly good this year set the bar even higher. Plus the quality and range of movies in 2013 were better than usual.
But we ended up again with wins that were all expected, except Best Picture --- we were betting on Gravity, as it seemed to have all the perfect elements for the top Academy Award: beautiful visuals, action, emotion and uplift. How could it not? All that plus some deplorable musical performances ("Somewhere Over the Rainbow" sung schmaltzier than ever? Standing ovation for bland and boring U2? "Wind Beneath My Wings" in 2014??) made us wish we had watched a movie instead.
Kurt Andersen's Top 5 Oscar 2014 Takeaways:
- Biggest injustice: The Act of Killing not winning for Best Doc.
- Saddest thing outside the In Memoriam segment: Kim Novak's plastic surgery.
- Only surprise in terms of winners: Her, happily, for Best Original Screenplay.
- No surprises at all in terms of onstage spontaneity.
- In every sense one of the blandest, most forgettable Oscars ever.
Complete list of winners:
Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Directing: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty (Italy)
Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her
Animated Feature Film: Frozen
Production Design: The Great Gatsby
Sound Mixing: Gravity
Sound Editing: Gravity
Original Score: Steven Price, Gravity
Original Song: "Let It Go" from Frozen
Costume: The Great Gatsby
Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club
Animated Short Film: Mr. Hublot
Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom
Documentary Short Subject: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.
Film Editing: Gravity
Live Action Short Film: Helium
Visual Effects: Gravity