This year’s Academy Awards telecast ended roughly around the stroke of midnight East Coast time. Host Ellen DeGeneres didn’t insult conservatives with her humor, nor did she even dip a toe in ideological waters.
And no member of the Obama family showed up unannounced like last year’s event.
The 2014 Academy Awards telecast was still too long, and DeGeneres’ opening monologue played out like she scribbled it back stage minutes before show time. Yet the lack of conservative sucker punches and an unexpected shout out to God gave the night a jolt.
And it needed it, since any keen awards observer could have accurately predicted who won all the major honors.
The telecast began badly with DeGeneres serving up a mediocre monologue including a lame old age jab thrown at 84 year old nominee June Squibb of Nebraska fame.
DeGeneres quickly settled into her role, scampering up and down the aisles to chat with the stars, take their pizza orders and pose for one gargantuan selfie. The latter might typify the self-congratulatory nature of the event, but at least for one Oscar ceremony the stars didn’t see fit to air bomb flyover country members.
The honors themselves fell into a predictable pattern. Gravity gobbled up several technical awards as well as Best Director honors for Alfonso Cuaron. Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) triumphed in their respective Best Supporting Actor categories. Let It Go, the uber-popular anthem from Frozen, won an Oscar despite John Travolta mangling singer Idina Menzel’s name before her shortened version of the song.
Cate Blanchett thanked Woody Allen during her acceptance speech for Blue Jasmine, ignoring the public howls following his estranged daughter’s recent rape accusations.
Matthew McConaughey praised God while accepting his Best Actor statuette for Dallas Buyers Club, a move which turned the oft-boisterous theater rather quiet.
And, finally, 12 Years a Slave earned the coveted Best Picture award, the film’s historical weight and dignity overshadowing Gravity’s technical grace and American Hustle’s moxie.