After noting the real-life stars of Captain Phillips and Philomena were in the house, DeGeneres added that the audience also contained one of the most amazing Liza Minnelli impersonators she’d ever seen in her life. “Thank you, sir!” she added, as the 1973 Oscar winner for Cabaret (and favorite subject of the drag set) careened from flummoxed to bemused.
Honestly, we doubt even a robot could listen to Pharrell’s “Happy” without getting caught up in the deep groove and good vibrations. So let’s have a show of hands: Who engaged in a round of couch dancing after the singer waded into the audience and sent Lupita Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams into full shimmy mode?
Most Moving Acceptance Speech
If the Academy gives a course to young actors on how to nail a podium moment, then certainly it’ll need to spend at least one day on Jared Leto’s win for Best Supporting Actor for his role as an HIV-positive transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club. Starting with the inspiring tale of a single, pregnant teenager who wound up raising two kids in Bossier City, La. — Leto and his brother, natch — and then moving on to heartfelt mentions of the political crises in Ukraine and Venezuela, Leto wrapped up by dedicating his statuette to the “36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS” and have faced injustice for who they are and who they love.
Best Extended Penis Joke
The naughtiest throwaway line from Ellen DeGeneres’ monologue came right at the end, when she mentioned The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Jonah Hill had shown her “something I haven’t seen in a really long time” — a reference to the prosthetic wang he flashed in his nominated role. Them after a coy pause, she added, “You get it?” while Hill howled with laughter from the audience. Later, DeGeneres came back from commercial standing next to Hill and scolding, “No. No, I don’t wanna see it!” Call us crazy, though, we wouldn’t mind seeing a DeGeneres-Hill comic pairing in the not-so-distant future.
Biggest Suspension of Disbelief
Nobody really accepts that Oscar- and Emmy-winner Sally Field — killing it in a floor-length, black sequined gown — is actually 67 years old, do they? Or are we all going to accept this truth, and use it to inspire our own journeys to completely defy the laws of nature?
Most Daring Accessory
All hail Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s turquoise socks!
Song We Downloaded Mid-Oscars
Karen O’s hauntingly restrained rendition of “The Moon Song” will be on repeat come Monday morning. And shout-out to guitarist/duet partner Ezra Koenig for matching his socks to the lady’s gown, mmmkay?
Best Advertisement for a Winner
The Best Documentary win by 20 Feet From Stardom will surely boost its bottom line, but one Darlene Love (a subject of the film) shouting “I sing because I’m happy,” then belting “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” at the podium is worth 1,000 statuettes.
Finest Meta Moment
TV lovers, bask in Kevin Spacey’s brief, in-character ad-lib as House of Cards‘ Frank Underwood, mirroring Darlene Love’s joy by declaring, “And I sing because it’s so nice to be out of Washington and here with all my Hollywood friends.”
The “Yes, It’s 2014 and Twitter Is a Thing” Prize
One of the telecast’s zippiest, giddiest moments came as DeGeneres whipped out her camera phone and asked for a selfie with Meryl Streep — with the goal of snapping
the most re-tweeted photo of all time. Seconds later, the twosome was joined by an all-star lineup of nominees, including Jennifer Lawrence, who wondered if someone should “drop a boob” in order to achieve DeGeneres’ goal. “Want me to do it?” one-upped Streep, as the hijinks kept snowballing. Best of all, though, was Streep’s delighted exclamation capping the bit: “Oh! I’ve never tweeted before!” Get this woman on social media, immédiatement!
Most Forgivable Teleprompter Gaffe
The telecast was filled with stumbles from Zach Efron, Harrison Ford, Sally Field and others, but when Charlize Theron missed her cue while presenting alongside Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth, we were honestly too awestruck by the duo’s unspeakable beauty to really care.
Most Quotable Acceptance Speech
Lupita Nyong’o was devastating — and, on a shallow note, devastatingly fashionable — accepting the Best Supporting Actress trophy for 12 Years a Slave. What’s more, she was deeply eloquent, paying mind that “so much joy in my life is due to so much pain in someone else’s,” declaring her certainty that “the dead are standing around [director Steve McQueen] and are watching and are grateful — and so am I.” Finally, the Mexican-born, Kenyan actress looked into the camera and noted, “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” Talented, gracious, gorgeous — and gives a killer speech? Hollywood, keep this woman on speed-dial!
DeGeneres teased mid-telecast that she’d be ordering pizza for the hungry residents of the Oscar audience, and an hour or so later, she made good. “Kerry Washington is pregnant, she needs some!” the host insisted, as Brad Pitt helped distribute napkins and plates, a delivery dude carried the pies, and Jennifer Lawrence (among others) chowed down. When it came time to pay up, though, DeGeneres cried poverty, then called on Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein to pitch in to help with the tip. “No pressure,” she joshed. “Only one billion people watching — whatever you feel is right!”
Best Unscripted Moment
Bill Murray, presenting the award for Best Cinematography, took a moment at the end of the nominees’ list to honor a friend and longtime collaborator: “Oh, we forgot one: Harold Ramis for Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day.” It was a simple, heartfelt farewell in the midst of a tightly controlled telecast — and it was pretty much perfect.
Best Musical Number
Idina Menzel and Bette Midler were in fine voice, but for our money, Pink’s “Over the Rainbow” — set to a backdrop of dazzling Technicolor scenes from The Wizard of Oz — was the one that took our breath away.
Most Embarrassing Moment
All John Travolta had to do was stand in front of a mic, declare his love of musical theater, and introduce “the Wicked-ly talented, one and only” Idina Menzel. Alas, though, he instead choked out a mumbled introduction to Adele Dazim, someone who was most certainly not the woman about to belt out Frozen‘s grand ballad “Let It Go.” Is it too trite to type #fail? Nah.
TV Lovers’ Fever-Dream Moment
Oh. Em. Gee. Alias‘ Jennifer Garner and Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch, presenting together. Dial 1-800-Brain-Exploding!
People We Most Want to Party With Post-Oscars
Sure, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (winners of Best Original Song for Frozen‘s “Let It Go”) may have rehearsed their podium shtick, but dagnabit, we loved every single second of it — from the way they rhymed the names of their “thank yous” to their harmonized request, “Happy birthday Oscars to you/ Let’s do Frozen 2!” And finally, there was Anderson-Lopez’s tearful, touching tribute to her daughters: “Never let fear or shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are.” Bravo and amen!
TVLine Award for Oscar Winner Who Didn’t Forget His TV Roots (or His Source Material)
John Ridley, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave who got his start as a writer for The John Laroquette Show, gave a thoughtful shout-out to his former script coordinator and the notes she’d give him when he was a sitcom writer. And then, most importantly, he thanked Solomon Northup, the man whose memoir served as the source material for Ridley’s script. “Those are his words,” said Ridley. “That was his life.”
Best Wakeup Call
“To those of us in the industry who are perhaps foolishly clinging to the idea that female films — with women at the center — are niche experiences, they are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money,” declared Cate Blanchett, accepting the Oscar for Best Actress for her work in Blue Jasmine. And then, to punctuate her point, the actress shouted another obvious-ism: “The world is round, people!”
Director Steve McQueen, accepting the Best Picture trophy for 12 Years a Slave, sent love to his mother for her “hard-headedness” — then pointed her out all the way in the back row of the theater. Thankfully, ABC had a camera strong enough to capture her elation as her son declared, “Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery, and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.”