And so it begins. Hello and welcome to Platform Online’s rolling coverage of the 86th Academy Awards, live from the Dolby Theatre in the beautiful bubble that is Hollywood.
Having already feasted on the breezy delight of the Golden Globes and the unbearable stuffiness of the dear old BAFTAs, it is finally time to indulge in the solemn self-importance of the Academy. Of course, after mistakenly flirting with lightness last year with the appointment of Seth MacFarlane as host, the return of such serious, back-slapping formality is likely to feel like a warm hug. Nevertheless, in order to ensure things don’t get too stale, I will be documenting every detail with a willing irreverence for all you lovely film buffs/insomniacs. From the tomfoolery of the red carpet – I wonder what endearing, quirky thing Jennifer Lawrence is going to do this time – to the awarding of the famous statuette: it will all be detailed here with the sheer, unbridled enthusiasm you’d expect from one who is using the awards as a way of avoiding his dissertation.
Refresh the page throughout the night for live updates.
Incidentally, tonight’s ceremony is being hosted by the ever-lovely Ellen DeGeneres, a decidedly safe pair of hands after the MacFarce that was last year’s Boob Song. Obviously, I’m still resisting the fact that Tina and Amy can’t host everything, however, you can watch their uproarious opening monologue from this year’s Globes here:
Hands up who wants them to narrate their lives. Swoon.
In the Best Picture category, it seems destined to be a two-horse race between 12 Years A Slave – Steve McQueen’s best picture since The Great Escape Hunger – and Gravity, Sandra Bullock’s interpretation of Bowie’s Space Oddity. The also-rans include the immensely entertaining Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks in, arguably, his greatest ever performance; Scorsese’s ode to hedonism (and tedium) The Wolf of Wall Street and the compelling Dallas Buyer’s Club. Personally, I have a real soft spot for the stylish caper, American Hustle. I mean, how can you not love a film that gives us this scene:
Matthew McConaughey is, the bookies are telling us, a shoo-in to win Best Actor but one can’t help feeling a deep sense of dread and inevitability about Leo winning a cumulative Oscar – or, as it’s known in the industry: doing a Woody Allen.
The Best Actress also seems sown up with Blanchett the odds-on favourite, however, the Academy don’t seem awfully fond of awarding Oscars to people who have already won in the same category , therefore, lumping a sneaky quid on Amy Adams – the only nominee not to have won this award before – isn’t completely bonkers.
It therefore falls on the Best Supporting categories to provide us with an upset. Barkhad Abdi pipping Jared Leto to the post would certainly make the world a brighter, more hopeful place, while patriotism compels us to cheer Sally Hawkins to glory against the splendid Lupita Nyong’o.
Elsewhere, I predict wins for Ernest & Celestine – the masterful French remake of the John Lewis ads –in Best Animated Feature and the fine lot of Arcade Fire to pick up an award for Original Score in Her – a win that would surely resuscitate the glorious Who the F*** is Arcade Fire campaign after their Grammy win for The Suburbs. See here: http://whoisarcadefire.tumblr.com/page/2
All in all, it promises to be a deeply entertaining, if a little over-long, evening. So, sit back, relax and let all that beauty and charisma wash over you – and that’s just me, before the famous folk take to the red carpet.
23:19 As we await the bombardment of the botoxed, it’s worth mentioning some of the Oscars’s customary baffling omissions. As already alluded to, Tom Hanks’s performance in Captain Phillips is nothing short of exceptional and his exclusion from the Best Actor category is so head-scratching it’s virtually a scalping.
Frankly, it is beggar’s belief that Blue is the Warmest Colour hasn’t managed a nod in any category; certainly Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos’s omission is glaring – the latter delivering a performance that looks certain to be a lifetime-best.
There has been nothing short of sheer outrage among hipster circles that indie film darlings Greta Gerwig and Brie Larson haven’t been honoured, and rightly so. Larson’s performance in Short Term 12 – my favourite picture of the year – is a joy to behold and she certainly has reason to feel aggrieved; when the Best Actress contains so many seasoned performers in putting in steady, but unremarkable, performances, it might have been refreshing to see a nomination that was out of left field. Shailene Woodley’s inclusion in Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the charming picture The Spectacular Now would also have made this particular misery guts slightly less jaded.
Finally, a posthumous nod to James Gandolfini’s performance in Enough Said would have been, in no way, mawkish or undeserved. That Academy, eh? So stuck in their ways.
Oooooh, the red carpet malarkey is beginning to get under way as the pretty ladies of Associated Press ask the suited and booted an astounding array of vacuous and inconsequential questions. Forgot just how dreary this is. Here, amuse yourselves with Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s tale of the time they took acid at the Oscars. We don’t condone acid. Obviously.
23:54 Oh, and remember Oscar-winners:, please, please, please, refrain from boring us with an exhaustive list of every person you’ve ever come into contact with. Unless you’re Roberto Benigni. If you’re Roberto Benigni, you can do whatever the hell you want – namely, climb over the chairs and go ‘clean, buck mad’ – as we say in Ireland.
Steve McQueen has just admonished an interviewer for treating Lupita Nyong’o like a ‘clothes horse’. What a hero. I’m really struggling with this red carpet stuff; I really should have hoodwinked some poor, unsuspecting fashion student into helping me out.
Pharrell Williams is wearing shorts though: even I know that that’s misjudged.
00:21 Sorry to be a Weary William so early in the evening but this is interminable. When will all these inane questions end? Complete dross. Everyone’s favourite man-crush Benedict Cumberbatch has just taken to the carpet, talking about how it is important to remember that slavery still exists today. Forget it, Benedict, they don’t want to know; just regale them with tales of how fun the movie was to film.
Don’t worry, it’ll pick up. Bear with us.
00:54 Jennifer Lawrence has done a whoopsie. Again. That’s about as notable a happening as there’s been in this red carpet nonsense. https://vine.co/v/MAa1uZLP1dH
We’re tantalisingly close now. Aaaaaaaaaah.
This is unquestionably the best red carpet photo of the evening. Not so much for Cumberbatch’s photobombing, but more for the Edge’s beanie hat. Audacious.
01:45 And we’re off…finally. Ellen comes in looking dapper and makes a few safe wise-cracks before introducing the gamine Anne Hathaway who, in turn, introduces the nominees for Best Supporting Actor.
And the winner is…pretty old Jared Leto. That’s one in the eye for those who enjoy an upset. Don’t worry Barkhad, you might not have won the Oscar, but you’ve won my heart.
Leto makes a reference to Ukraine in his speech. Is that nice or pompous? I’m undecided. Nonetheless, he’s a worthy winner.
01:57 Jim Carrey comes onstage and pulls a face. Classic Carrey. He introduces a montage of animated films for a reason which has somehow escaped me. Some great shows in there, though. I sort of want to switch this off and just watch Fantasia now.
Pharrell Williams has put some trousers on and is now roaming around the stage in a hat that screams Gunther Von Hagens. I always knew that Gunther was going to be a trendsetter, sooner or later
02:18 Having a little difficulty with my live stream but I’ve been reliably informed that The Great Gatsby has won Best Costume, while Dallas Buyers Club scoops the award for hair and make-up, beating that sumptuous Christian Bale comb-over.
Meanwhile, a suave Matthew McConaghey announces – after some forced and scripted bonhomie with his co-host – that Frozen has won Best Animated Feature. My tip (Ernest & Celestine) falls flat on its face. Hey, what do I know?
02:29 Entirely unsurprisingly, Gravity and the team of Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould have won for Visual Effects. But much more importantly, it transpires that Tim Webber might just be the love-child of Tim Robbins and Tom Hanks.
02:39 And we have our first upset of the night…sort of. The heavily fancied Act of Killing is beaten to the Best Documentary gong by 20 Feet From Stardom. We’re then treated to a not-so-small sample of what one of the back up singers from the winning film is capable of: much to the delight of Bill Murray. Some maintenance: Helium wins Best Short and The Lady in Number 6 wins Best Documentary Short.
02:54 Breaking! It’s time for Best Foreign Language Film:
The Great Beauty wins it. Inevitable, that. U2 now perform Ordinary Love. Come on Bono, whale sounds and the sea lapping the shore are more likely to wake these lot up than your droning monotone.
03:15 Gravity wins a further two awards consecutively – Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. There’s an ominous pattern emerging here.
A tardy Christophe Waltz grinningly waltzes (eh?) out onto the stage to present Best Supporting Actress. Terribly Exciting. And the winner is…aw, how lovely, it’s Lupita Nyong’o. No one can begrudge her that. She subsequently delivers a tearful and eloquent speech under the proud watch of Steve McQueen.
3:26 Ellen Degeneres takes a brief interlude to hand out some pizza (See, stars are normal people too!) and then for some selfies with stars. Here’s her attempt to get the most RTs on a selfie ever. I give it less than a week till The Simpsons does a version.
03:39 Is it just me or are these awards going by as slow as molasses? We’ve barely scratched the surface here and I’m already growing non-functional through sheer fatigue. Talking of fatigue: it’s yet another two awards for the Gravity juggernaut for Editing and Cinematography. As it is nailed on for Best Director, it is destined to be tonight’s runaway winner. I fail to see how it is the best, most well-rounded film that was released this year. Not that the Academy’s judgement has ever been suspect in previous years, of course. *cough* Crash *cough*
03:50 Another completely meaningless montage, there. Come on America, have some consideration for your European cousins with heavy eyes and seductive beds.
And now for the In Memorium section. I can’t cope; this is enough to turn anyone into a quivering Halle Berry, this.
Meanwhile, Bette Midler has inexplicably taken to the stage to rehash no one’s favourite song Wind Beneath My Wings. Stop this madness.
Oh, Bette. This song has never quite felt so appropriate:
04:10 How do you top Bette Midler? Answer: with an even more middling, forgettable performance: this time it’s of Let It Go from Frozen, a song which promptly wins Best Song to approximately no one’s surprise. Best Original Score goes to Gravity: its 79th award of the evening. Yawn. WHEN DO THE UPSETS HAPPEN?
04:40 Ask and you shall receive: Spike Jonze wins Best Original Screenplay for Her. A very popular win, that.
Elsewhere, 12 Years a Slave wins best Adapted Screenplay, much to the presumable chagrin of Alan Partridge and Lynne in a Norfolk Travel Tavern.
You’ll notice these updates are becoming more and more staggered: my brainbox has gone into stand-by. Best Director, presented by David Brent’s favourite actor, Sir Sidney Poitier, goes, as expected, to Alfonso Cuaron of – you’ve guessed it – Gravity. Can you remember a more lacklustre Oscars?
04:49 Daniel Day Lewis – the third most famous D Day after David Van Day of Dollar and mid-life crisis fame, and the Normandy landings – comes on to present Best Actress.
And so the 86th Annual Meryl Streep Award for Meryl Streeping goes to Mer…Cate Blanchett. You’ll not be surprised to hear that she was the overwhelming favourite. It’s been that sort of night.
Streep, in fact, is somewhat of a perennial runner-up at the Oscars: this is the fifteenth time she’s had to clap politely through gritted teeth while some young thing collects her rightful award. FIFTEENTH!
04:53 But lookie look, it’s Jennifer Lawrence – ALL IS NOT LOST. Out she trots in her undiminishing radiance to present the Best Actor award.
And, in probably the most satisfying inevitability of the night, it goes to Matthew McConaughey. Was there ever any doubt?
04:59 And finally, we reach our denouement: Best Picture, presented by this year’s Razzie winner Will Smith – A deeply curious and confounding choice of presenter, no?
And it goes to…12 Years a Slave. The favourite prevails again, perhaps deservedly. Yes, for months we were all beaten over the head with the certainty that this picture would win the Oscar, however, I’m sure most of us will agree that it was the outstanding movie of the year. Steve McQueen leaps with joy and Ellen hastily wraps the ceremony up while we’re subjected to yet another musical montage.
05:05 And, on that profoundly underwhelming note, the 86th Academy Awards are concluded. The big winners of the night being, predictably, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity and the bookmakers.
Thank you kindly for allowing me to watch the pretty people being unremarkable on your behalf. I’ll leave you with this: it sums it all up fairly nicely. Sleep tight.
Live reporting by Christopher Moffat
Additional reporting by Chris Collins