At the 86th Annual Academy Awards, genteel host Ellen DeGeneres made Hollywood’s biggest night feel as homey as an Oscar viewing party at your best friend’s place. Like DeGeneres’s approach, the Oscars this year were about keeping it real, which seemed appropriate given the number of nominated films based on real-life stories and real-world concerns.
While the full list of winners can be found at the official Oscars site, here are some other awards based on the telecast.
- Best Joke at the Expense of a Nominee: DeGeneres reminded Jennifer Lawrence about how she’d fallen over her oversized ball gown on the way to claim her Best Actress award last year, and the fact that she’d also tripped over a cone this year on the Oscars red carpet. DeGeneres concluded, “If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar.”
- Best Joke about Oscar Politics: At the close of her monologue, DeGeneres said there are “lots of possibilities tonight. Possibility one, ’12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture. Possibility two, you’re all racist.” The joke was a smart way of teasing commentators who examine Oscar wins, looking for deeper meanings.
- Best Off-Color Joke: Mentioning Jonah Hill, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for “The Wolf of Wall Street,” DeGeneres made allusions to both her own sexual identity and to a scene where he’d exposed a prosthetic penis: “You showed us something in that film that I haven’t seen for a very, very long time.”
- Best “Hi Mom” Moment: While many winners throughout the evening praised parents, both living and dead, Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto’s was the first speech of the evening and also one of the most moving. Winning for “Dallas Buyers Club,” Leto told the story of a teenage girl, pregnant with her second child. “She was a high-school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she made a better life for herself and her children… That girl was my mother, and she’s here tonight. I love you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me to dream.” He also gave a shout-out to people in the Ukraine and Venezuela, urging them to make their dreams happen. Momma raised him right.
- Best Back-Up Dancers: Pharrell Williams performed his Oscar-nominated song “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2,” dancing onto the stage between life-sized glowing Oscar statues and then down into the audience. Lupito Nyong’o, who would win Best Supporting Actress later that evening, and Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep, along with some other high-profile actresses, got up and grooved with him as he passed.
- Best Shout-Out to a Co-Worker: In their acceptance speech for winning Best Makeup and Hairstyling for “Dallas Buyers Club,” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews thanked the actors, and especially Leto, “for letting us transform and torture you.”
- Best Consolation Prize: Saying she felt bad for the runners-up, DeGeneres presented a scratch-off lottery ticket to Best Supporting Actor also-ran Bradley Cooper.
- Best Upstaging: When director Morgan Neville and producers Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers accepted the Best Documentary award for “20 Feet from Stardom,” they brought onstage one of the background singers featured in their film. Not content to stay in the background, Darlene Love took the mic to sing a short, powerful gospel tune that won her a standing ovation.
- Best Selfie Ever: Saying she wanted to break a Twitter record for the most retweets, DeGeneres corralled Streep, Lawrence, Leto, Julia Roberts, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, and a number of other A-listers into a photo snapped by Cooper, who had the longest arms. As she sat back down, an excited Streep proclaimed, “I’ve never tweeted before!” The photo was an RT juggernaut, shattering the Twitter record set by the Obama family after the president’s 2012 reelection.
- Best Tribute to the Dead: Accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for “12 Years a Slave,” based on the autobiography of free-man-turned-slave Solomon Northrup, Nyong’o gave a heartfelt speech. About her role as a fellow slave, Patsey, Nong’o said, “It doesn’t escape me that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance.” To director Steve McQueen, she said, “I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching; and they are grateful, and so am I.”
- Best Running Joke: Early in the evening, playing the gracious host, DeGeneres asked her gussied-up audience if they were hungry and wanted her to order pizza. A little later, she came through the front rows, taking orders. Then, shortly after the Best Supporting Actress award presentation, she came in with a pizza delivery person, passing out plates, napkins and pizza! Later, she passed the hat amongst the front rows, asking them to contribute towards the delivery. It’s no surprise that legendary producer Harvey Weinstein put in the most, forking over $200 to go towards a relatively small stack of pizzas.
- Best Tribute to a Friend: Bill Murray, helping to announce the nominees for Best Cinematography, ad libbed, “Oh, we forgot one. Harold Ramis for ‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day’.” Ramis, a longtime friend and collaborator of Murray’s, passed away on February 24.
- Best Costume Change: Throughout the evening, DeGeneres changed into three variations of a tuxedo or suit. But the wardrobe change that brought down the house (pun intended) was her flouncy peach take-off on Glinda the Good Witch’s dress from “The Wizard of Oz,” following a celebration of the film’s 75th anniversary. Similarly inspired, presenter Whoopi Goldberg, while announcing a performance by Pink of “Over the Rainbow,” revealed her own black-and-white striped stockings and red sequined platform “ruby slippers.”
- Best Use of a Soundtrack: As Jessica Biel introduced the nominees for Best Original Score, co-presenter Jamie Foxx hummed the theme from “Chariots of Fire” and pretended to run in slow motion, just like the famous beach running scene.
- Best Proof They Deserved Their Award: Accepting the Oscar for Best Song for “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez turned their thank-yous into lyrics, rhyming the names and even singing a little.
- Best Use of a Hashtag: Cate Blanchett, accepting her Best Actress Oscar for “Blue Jasmine,” began by addressing her fellow nominees. After gushing over the other actresses, Blanchett took a more playful tone with Roberts, presumably referring to an in-joke. She said only, “Julia, #suckit. You know what I mean?”
- Best Tribute to a Dad: In his emotional acceptance speech for Best Actor for his work in “Dallas Buyers Club,” Matthew McConnaughey dedicated the award to his late father, “who I know is up there right now with a big pot of gumbo. He’s got a lemon pie over there. He’s probably in his underwear; and he’s got a cold can of Miller Lite, and he’s dancing right now.” And that’s about as real as it gets.