The Academy Awards is my favorite event of the year, hands down. Like, my birthday doesn’t even compare. It’s because I love movies a ridiculous amount, more than some members of my family, probably. I’ve been rather disappointed by the Oscars ceremonies in the past few years. The hosts have been really meh since Anne Hathaway and James Franco a few years ago. Fortunately, Ellen DeGeneres was freaking awesome as host this year, and this show was one of the funniest, most enjoyable Oscars I’ve seen in my young life.
Let’s start by talking about how rad Ellen is. She’s known as being a little ditzy and very sweet, but Ellen brought the sass to the Oscars. She called out the pretentiousness of the event with snarky jokes in her opening monologue, proving that Seth MacFarlane isn’t the only one with claws. But her fabulousness didn’t end with the monologue: she brought spark and humor throughout the show. The highlight of the night (and probably my life) is when she ordered pizza for everyone there. When Ellen and the pizza man started handing out slices to celebrities, I nearly died of laughter. Also, Ellen succeeded in breaking Twitter with the most retweeted (and star-studded) selfie of all time. Bravo, Ellen. You are a goddess amongst mortals.
The greatest selfie in the history of ever. Photo courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres.
As for the winners, I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been raving to everyone I’ve ever met about how phenomenal 12 Years a Slave is, but I and many famous critics were convinced that Gravity would win Best Picture. When the suspiciously youthful Will Smith announced 12 Years a Slave to be the winner, I literally gasped from happiness. The film is stunning, heartbreaking, and incredibly impactful, and I’m so happy it got the recognition it deserves. Now you don’t have an excuse not to see it!
Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor, shocking no one, and proceeded to give the most complicated speech I’ve ever heard. It made me wish I had skipped out on an hour of the Oscars to watch “True Detective,” my current obsession. If I wanted to hear Matthew McConaughey say crazy crap, I’d watch that instead. All jokes aside, I’m happy for the guy, and hope that the McConaissance continues. Cate Blanchett, feminist queen, gave an excellent albeit long speech for winning Best Actress. Galadriel, I knew you had it in you.
Lupita Nyong’o made me cry in her accepting speech for Best Supporting Actress, especially when she said that “No matter where you’re from, you’re dreams are valid.” I want that tattooed on my forehead. Jared Leto remains prettier than I can ever hope to be.
All of the performances were very enjoyable as well. I was dancing to Pharell’s “Happy,” and was eternally jealous of his sparkly red sneakers. Idina Menzel—or as John Travolta called her, Adele Dazeem—crushed it with “Let It Go.” Pink even gave a beautiful homage to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in honor of The Wizard of Oz’s 75th anniversary. Pretty solid night for singing.
What else? Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez gave the cutest speech accepting the award for Best Song for “Let It Go.” The show was filled with super weird montages that I nevertheless enjoyed. (What are the Avengers and Footloose doing in a montage together?) Basically, it was an awesome night. Someday, children, I will be in the Dolby Theater, and you will see me on that screen. Until then, I’ll settle for laughing over Ellen in the comfort of my dorm room. Seriously, I’ll be watching clips of her for days. Now go watch 12 Years a Slave!
Tonight’s awards for excellence in film has gone by several different names over the years, and its famed golden statuettes have transformed with them, as well. But no matter the movies that were recognized or just how “subjective and random” they are, like Best Leading Actress winner Cate Blanchett said, the 86th Academy Awards ceremony was an experience to watch.
First, please join me in thanking God for creating Ellen DeGeneres, the hostess of this year’s awards. She roasted Hollywood’s favorites, handed out lotto tickets to Bradley Cooper, and took this year’s most important selfie to commemorate Meryl Streep’s 18th Oscar nomination with a few other stars (which forced Twitter to crash). Her comic genius and satirical pitchfork brought laughter to everyone in the Dolby Theatre and to millions of viewers watching from home. The hostess also ordered pizza and served it on paper plates. Making everyone feel at home?
The most important selfie of the year. Courtesy: Ellen.
While there were few, if any, shockers of the night, the biggest surprise was perhaps the social justice push by the night’s winners. Jared Leto, who won Best Supporting Actor for his (somewhat problematic) role in Dallas Buyers Club, gave a shout-out to Venezuela and Ukraine, and the Makeup and Hairstyling Designers from the same movie spoke out about AIDS in ‘85. Ellen also played her part when she slipped in a small swipe at the Oscars during her opener: “Possibility number one, 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two, you’re all racists.” Give Ellen a bit of credit for toeing the line of social justice warrior with panache and class. (Spoiler: it won Best Picture).
Tonight’s biggest and most deserved win went to Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave for Best Supporting Actress, making her the seventh black woman to win an Oscar in its history. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Kenyan actress’s full-bodied, courageous, and tear-evoking performance as Patsey would win. On the awards trail, Lupita stole critics’ and audiences’ hearts alike with her iconic block print style and sincerity. Her acceptance speech, both modest and inspirational, reminds us that there are actually good people in Hollywood. With her outcry of “Yes!” the star received a most well deserved standing ovation.
Like a true winner, Lupita said that her Oscar should, “…remind me and every little child, no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”
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On Tuesday January 21, the History Society held their first successful event of the semester, which showcased 2009’s box office hit Inglorious Bastards, directed by Quentin Tarantino. Afterwards, Tufts history professor David Proctor led a follow-up discussion for students to reflect on what they felt about the movie.
Inglorious Bastards tells a fictional tale about two simultaneous yet completely different plots by Jewish cinema owner Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) and a team of soldiers under leadership of American First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) to destroy the Nazi’s political dominance and murder Adolf Hitler. The film uses World War II and Nazi Germany’s takeover in the 1940s as its main setting, yet puts twists and turns to real historical events. What results is an extremely distinct version of the war with black comedy as the main drive for the film. Tarantino’s directing talent, bizarre creativity, and obsession with portraying graphic violence in his movies shone through in Inglorious Bastards, which earned eight Academy Award nominations when it was released.
Despite the movie’s popularity, many attendees at the meeting were only acquainted with the name of the film and had never watched it. With free pizza in one hand and a cup of Coke in the other, students glued their eyes to the screen and immersed themselves in every scene (the reactions to gratuitously violent scenes were priceless.) One minute, everybody would laugh to the comedic characters. The next, they would squint and cover their eyes, horrified at the presence of blood and gore.
After the movie ended, there was silence as students tried to absorb and interpret what they had just seen. Proctor interrupted the silence when he explained what struck him the most about the film.
“There was a huge emphasis on slaughter and senselessness from the characters,” said Proctor, referring to Tarantino’s take on the history during the Nazi era. “Senseless violence and brutality from the ‘Bastards’ was a bit over the top. American soldiers seemed to be portrayed as those who had an ultimate goal to kill all Germans.”
Students also commented about their first reaction to the film. One student said, “This movie was much more serious and visibly violent than I thought it would be since my friends said it was funny. There were some funny moments, but I wouldn’t consider this a funny movie.”
As the event wrapped up later that night, many people still stayed to discuss the movie and European history around the period of World War II.
Baby, it’s really cold outside.
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Besides casting your vote at the Film Series Oscars Watch Party, tell the Daily what you think by tweeting @tuftsdaily with #TDoscars
We have resurrected the infamous duo, the magnanimous two of “Sassy Cinema” to offer our most interesting and necessary comments to the Oscar shuffle – minus the snubs. Have you got predictions yourself? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting @tuftsdaily with #TDoscars and we’ll compile a list of them later!
Oscar himself greets you at the Campus Center
Make sure you fill out one of these to be entered to win DVDs, movie passes and more!
Have you got your popcorn in hand? Good. Fill out your ballot at the annual Film Series Oscar Viewing Party? Great! Now hunker down for some photos of the festivities and our predictions as the evening unfolds!
Popcorn and soda are available as free snacks at the festivites
For more predictions on who this year’s winners will be – check out The Tufts Daily’s Weekender coverage here. And check back throughout the evening, as we liveblog the event with your tweets and comments – compiling your take on the night’s biggest moments, greatest upsets and most thrilling surprises!
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