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Monday, March 3, 2014

Ellen's Pizza Party (aka the Oscars)

I give Ellen DeGeneres and the 86th Annual Academy Awards a grade of B. Last night's telecast was not helped by the fact that there were so few surprises among the winners. It was a fairly predictable evening, but some of Ellen's attempts to liven things up worked quite well, including her pizza party in the audience and the star-studded "selfie" that quickly became the most retweeted pic in Twitter history. However, the show never reached the comedic heights of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's Golden Globes - but the Academy Awards have always had a much more highfalutin vibe than the loosey-goosey "have another drink" Globes. That being said, last night was still a lot better than last year's Oscars with Seth MacFarlane. Ellen may have played it too safe with her jokes, but I really didn't want a repeat of Mr. MacFarlane's lame sense of humor. Billy Crystal still remains the best Oscar host of all time (with Johnny Carson a close second) - and I do not envy anyone who tries to fill those big shoes. Now let's move on to the best and the worst of this year's Oscar telecast:

Most "Controversial" Joke in Ellen's Opening Monologue: Some folks took offense at her "mistaking" the real Liza Minnelli in the audience as a Liza drag queen. I thought it was amusing and perfectly harmless as Ellen was, of course, just poking fun at female impersonators who love to dress up like Liza. Lighten up, people!

Best Speech Honorable Mention: A tie between Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey, who won Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor for their performances in Dallas Buyers Club - and both of them gave sweet shout-outs to their parents.

Best Speech Runner-Up: Cate Blanchett, who won Best Actress for her performance in Blue Jasmine.

Best Speech: Lupita Nyong'o, who won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in 12 Years a Slave, gave a heartfelt speech filled with joy.

Most Amusing Moment During an Acceptance Speech: When Alfonso Cuarón, who won Best Director for Gravity, thanked the "wise guys at Warner Bros." before correcting himself.

Most Deserving of a Standing Ovation: Everyone and their mother got one except 81-year-old Kim Novak, who starred in Picnic, Vertigo, The Mirror Crack'd and TV's Falcon Crest. It was great to see her again.

Other Hollywood Legends Worthy of a Standing Ovation: 87-year-old Sidney Poitier received one - but he and Ms. Novak were the only stars from the 1950s and '60s (unless you count 68-year-old Goldie Hawn, who won an Academy Award for 1969's Cactus Flower). The telecast was sadly lacking in Hollywood royalty.

Acceptance Speech I Would Have Liked to Have Seen: It's a shame that they don't give out the Honorary Awards during the telecast because I would have liked to have seen Hollywood legend Angela Lansbury receive the one she got back in November (I know it's on YouTube, but it should be part of the actual Oscar ceremony).

Most Disappointing Moment: Nothing against Whoopi Goldberg, who introduced the 75th anniversary tribute to The Wizard of Oz, but I would have preferred to see Judy Garland's children - Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft - do the introduction. Having the three of them just awkwardly stand up in the audience for a few seconds was just wrong - but maybe they wanted to watch the tribute to their mother from that vantage point. Hopefully they - and not the telecast's producers - decided this.

Best Musical Performance Honorable Mention: 72-year-old Darlene Love unexpectedly sang when 20 Feet from Stardom, in which she appears in, won for Best Documentary Feature. It was a nice moment - and she deservedly received a standing ovation.

Best Musical Performance Runner-Up: Lupita Nyong'o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams moved to the music of Pharrell Williams' fun performance of "Happy" from Despicable Me 2.

Best Musical Performance: Pink did an outstanding job singing "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz.

Most Pointless Film Montage: If you're going to show a clip of animated heroes, doesn't it make sense to then announce the awards for animation?

Most Popular Dick of the Evening: I guess I should check out Jonah Hill's prosthetic penis in The Wolf of Wall Street since Ellen enjoyed poking fun at it.

Most Amusingly Bizarre Moment: Seeing director Martin Scorsese eat pizza during the Oscars.

Best Shout-Out: While presenting the award for Best Cinematography, Bill Murray briefly paid tribute to his late friend, director/screenwriter/actor Harold Ramis, who never received an Academy Award nomination.

"In Memoriam" Tribute: I loved it - nice and simple with no distractions - and then the divine Miss M (Bette Midler) sang "Wind Beneath My Wings".

Worst Fuck-Up of the Night: John Travolta introduced the Tony Award-winning Idina Menzel (who sang "Let It Go" from Frozen) as "Adele Dazeem". It appeared that he couldn't read her name without his glasses, which is not a good excuse. However, his embarrassing fuck-up did spawn "What's your Travoltified name?" at - mine is "Mia Hargision" (click here to get your name).

Hottest Hunk at the Oscars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his turquoise socks.

Hottest Hunk Runners-Up: Jason Sudekis and his sexy beard, Brad Pitt and Chris Hemsworth.

Most Gorgeous Gal at the Oscars: I have to choose Sandra Bullock, who we got to see in the audience every time Gravity won an award. She looked fabulous.

Gorgeous Gal Runners-Up: Anne Hathaway and Sally Field.

And that, folks, is my review (click here for a complete list of the winners). I had a fantastic year with my predictions, selecting 17 out of the 24 categories. But I only got 3 out of 9 categories correct with my predictions for this year's Razzie Awards, which were announced on March 1. Below are the "lucky" Razzie winners:

Worst Picture: Movie 43
Worst Actor: Jaden Smith in After Earth
Worst Actress: Tyler Perry (in drag) in A Madea Christmas
Worst Supporting Actor: Will Smith in After Earth
Worst Supporting Actress: Kim Kardashian in Tyler Perry's Temptation
Worst Screen Combo: Jaden Smith & Will Smith in After Earth
Worst Director: The 13 People Who Directed Movie 43
Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel: The Lone Ranger
Worst Screenplay: Movie 43

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