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Last night the 2014 Academy Awards aired with Ellen DeGeneres hosting the ceremonies. I thought Ellen did great. She was light-hearted and welcoming, and managed to create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere that is hard to do at the year’s biggest award show. From the selfie that crashed Twitter, to ordering pizza for the hungry stars, Ellen treated the night like a big house party, and it seemed like those in attendance were having a great time.
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As for the winners, there were no surprises last night. Lupita Nyong’o and Jared Leto took home Supporting Actor trophies, while the awards for Best Actor/Actress went to Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett. 12 Years a Slave took home the Best Picture award and Frozen was named Best Animated Feature. Best Director went to Alfonso Cuaron. The speeches were also very good, particularly Nyong’o’s, who once again managed to articulate perfectly everything she was feeling and win hearts at the same time. Cate Blanchett used her speech to point out that movies centered around women can and do make money, something executives in Hollywood continue to ignore, and Leto spoke eloquently about the role his mother has played in his life. McConaughey was humble and thoughtful but still got in his signature “All right all right all right” to which the audience cheered.
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One of my favorite moments of the night was watching Idina Menzel belt out the Best Original Song winner, “Let It Go” from Frozen (although John Travolta did butcher her name).
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Overall, the Academy played it safe this year. The telecast featured montages of movie heroes and there were no surprise upsets. After last year’s controversial show with Seth MacFarlane, it seemed the Academy wanted to return to a more family-friendly atmosphere. Some may miss the snark and jaw-dropping moments of MacFarlane’s hosting, but I enjoyed the pleasantness that Ellen brought to the show. Now, let the race begin for next year!