Academy Awards provided surprises and snubs

Maia Zewert

In the words of Academy Award Winner Matthew McConaughey, the 86th Academy Awards were ‘all right, all right, all right.’ Hollywood’s biggest night is always full of surprises and snubs, but I am overall pleased with the awards this year. Here are the three biggest talking points of the three and a half hour long telecast.

3. The Speeches

I am usually the type to roll my eyes and change the channel once the winner starts gushing about overcoming adversity as they stand in front of a crowd of some of the richest people on the planet. For example, Anne Hathaway’s speech last year? Not a fan.

I was very pleased that all the winners seemed very genuine. Jared Leto kicked off the night on a high note by praising his mother during his speech for Best Supporting Actor.

Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong’o was an absolute inspiration, and Best Original Song winners Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez managed to make their speech adorable as they recited their thank you’s in rhyme. Even McConaughey, a man I will forever see as Benjamin Barry from “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” got in on the heartfelt action.

2. The Musical Performances

The moment Pharrell Williams got Meryl Streep to shimmy, I knew I would enjoy these musical breaks. Each of the Best Original Song nominees preformed, and there was not a dud among them. A special shoutout to Idina Menzel for bringing the house down with ‘Frozen’s’ “Let It Go.” In my opinion, however, the best performance of the night goes to P!nk. Performing “Over the Rainbow” to honor the 75th anniversary of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ I would be rather disappointed if P!nk does not record the song as a single.  

1. Ellen DeGeneres

She absolutely killed as host. This was her second time helming the show, and she handled it like a pro. Just when I thought her opening monologue was running a tad too long, she snapped it together with a joke about Jonah Hill’s performance in “The Wolf of Wall Street” that had me laughing for a solid minute. She was not intimidated by the star power of the room, choosing to spend most of her time mingling among the nominees rather than on the stage. She ordered pizza for the crowd and finagled Brad Pitt into handing out paper plates and napkins. As if this was not enough, she tweeted out a selfie with some of the biggest names in the room and actually broke Twitter (the photo now has more than a record two million retweets). Safe to say, I do not think it will be another seven years before Ellen hosts again.

Before the broadcast aired, members of the Iowa State Daily staff chose who they thought would win in seven categories. Editor-in-chief Katelynn McCollough and I tied for first place with six correct choices each. I thought Jennifer Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress, while she wished the Academy would finally give Leonardo DiCaprio the award he has deserved for a long time. There’s always next year.

Here’s the list of the winners in the major categories:

Best Picture — ’12 Years a Slave’ 

Best Actor — Matthew McConaughey, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Best Actress — Cate Blanchett, ‘Blue Jasmine’

Best Supporting Actor — Jared Leto, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Best Supporting Actress — Lupita Nyong’o, ‘12 Years a Slave’

Best Director — Alfonso Cuarón, ‘Gravity’

Best Animated Feature — ‘Frozen’