The 86th Academy awards, hosted by the incomparable Ellen DeGeneres, provided an evening of surprises, upsets, and nostalgia not to mention highs, lows and suspense as the envelope bearing the names of those who for this moment captured the hearts of their peers.
As expected throughout the entire Awards season the Best Picture and Best Director awards were a split decision which is unusual and attest to the talent, the richness and depth of the films made over the past year.
“12 Years A Slave,” the bio-picture of a free slave, Solomon Northrup who was kidnapped, returned to slavery and remained a slave for twelve years, took home awards for Best Performance by a Actress (Lupito Nyong’o) in a Supporting role, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.
“Gravity,” the sci-fi drama from Alfonso Cuaron, had a big night taking seven awards – the most of any film, and ending with a Best Director OSCAR. Sandra Bullock whom he paid tribute to repeatedly in the Winner’s Room, was shut out for her performance as stranded Astronaut Ryan Stone.
In speaking of Ms. Bullock, Mr. Cuaron stated, “Well, the surprising thing was Sandra. That under the conditions that she was performing, the relationship actor/director was as if we were doing just a scene at the dinner table. So there was no obstacle around all the physicality, all the strain, all the complicated amount of cues that required ‑‑ and the amazing amount of make‑believe that it was required. It’s like she had to absorb absolutely everything. Her power of abstraction was fantastic. And no, not because I did a good job, it’s because Sandra is amazing.”
“Gravity,” which all assumed would win every technical category did not disappoint, with all awards except Best Director, Original Score and Film Editing, coming in the technical categories.
Cate Blanchett , who won every talent award this season for her portrayal of a neurotic, drug dependent Jasmine , in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” continued with her streak taking home the Oscar for Best Performance for an Actress in a Leading Role.
The evening saw a few upsets such as Lupito Nyong’o who captured the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for “12 Years a Slave.” Awards predictors had expected golden globe winner Jennifer Lawrence to walk away with her second OSCAR.
“Dallas Buyers Club” ended the evening with three OSCARS with both male acting nods and Hair and Make-up. Jared Leto picked up his first academy award for his performance as Rayon, a crossing dressing transvestite opposite McConaughy’s Ron Woodroof the AIDS infected homophobe.
“Dallas Buyers Club” script was turned down 137 times, according to Matthew McConaughy who took home the OSCAR for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. McConaughy explained during his backstage interview his game plan was to work, not to concentrate on the possibility of awards or accolades.
“Dallas Buyers Club” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, on a total budget of $350.00, took home OSCAR gold for Hair and Make-up.
Foreign Langue Film went to Italy for “The Great Beauty” directed by; The OSCAR for Animated Short Film went to Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares for the endearing and charming “Mr. Hublot.” The OSCAR for Live Action Short went to Kim Magnusson and Anders Walter for “Helium,” the story of love, hope, and comfort.
The OSCAR for Documentary Short subject went to “The Lady in Apartment #6 – Music Saved my life” the story of Alice Herz Sommers from Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed. OSCAR golden for Best documentary feature went to the “20 feet from Stardom” by Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers.
The “In Memory” montage which ended with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who on February 2, 2014 died from a heroin overdose, was genuinely moving and extremely heartfelt. Bette Midler followed by singing “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
The OSCAR for Best original score went to Steven Price for “Gravity” and the OSCAR for original song went to the husband and wife team of Kristen Anderson-Lopes and Robert Lopez for “Let it Go” from the OSCAR winning Animated feature “Frozen” by Chris Beck, Jennifer Lee Peter Del Vecho.
Original Screenplay OSCAR went home Spike Jonze for “Her.” Best Adapted Screenplay OSCAR went to John Ridley for”12 Years A Slave” which also won Best Picture produced by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Director Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas.
Having the opportunity to speak with the cover the Winners Room, below is an excerpt from my questions.
Janet Walker: You said during your acceptance speech that the actors worked for free and that it was such an inspiration. Where did you get the inspiration for the film? It’s very moving.
Kim Magnusson: I mean this is a story that kind of celebrates fantasy and the way kids uses fantasy and then it builds imaginary worlds, and I did that as a child a lot. And I just think it’s a very beautiful thing to do, to come up with, you know, imaginary worlds in order to ‘ to ease pain. If life gets too hard on you, it’s ‘ it’s a fantastic way to escape and make life more beautiful. And I wasn’t ‘ I just always wanted to tell my kind of story on that theme, and it became “Helium.”
Janet Walker: The film is endearing and how did you come up with the inspiration for your character, “Mr. Hublot?”
Laurent Witz: There is a fantastic sculptor we work with, Stephane Halleux. He’s doing fantastic sculptor and characters. So, that was the first inspiration of “Mr. Hublot” and he’s a great man. Yeah.
Janet Walker: All right. Congratulations. The documentary is amazing. I wanted to ask, there’s so much ‑‑ I mean, she had over a century of material, and is any of that still on footage somewhere? Are there, your original piece cut to the 38 minutes, and you have footage that’s not ‑‑ that you didn’t show? Is there anything else, basically?
Malcolm Clarke: Oh, yeah. I mean, this is a lady who loved to talk, and she was extremely engaging, and she was extremely eager to talk to us. So, yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that didn’t make it into the film. I’d like to think the best stuff made it into the film, but there is certainly a lot more material and a lot more we can probably learn from Alice.
But I ‑‑ as I say, the trick was to be reticent about ‑‑ I don’t want to use everything, every single word out of her mouth. I wanted to use what ‑‑ what most typified who she was and what her kind of view of the world was; and I think we got that. But, absolutely, there are hours and hours of footage of Alice.