86th Academy Awards: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Another Oscar night has come and gone, and post-awards depression is gradually sinking in. It was a wonderful year for film, and the ceremony was a great way to wrap it up. Let's recap:

The Good:

1. Gravity winning seven Oscars including Best Director - This film was a stunning achievement on every level that truly transformed the film medium.

2. Frozen winning for Best Animated Film and Best Song - The loveable Olaf was an easy call, but it still warmed every heart. Too bad that cold weather seemed to affect Idina Menzel's voice.

3. The Lopez team's acceptance speech for "Let It Go" - They had the best speech of the night. It was touching, included all the necessary people, sent a message to their kids, and even rhymed.

4. Ellen DeGeneres - She did an amazing job hosting. Most of her bits were really funny, and even her awkward silences were in character. The twitter thing was a little too much, but the pizza was spot on.

5. Matthew McConaughey's acceptance speech - Yes, it was too long, but he started by acknowledging the primacy of God (if with some strange theology) and the existence of Heaven.

6. Pharrell Williams getting movie stars to dance - That was a big : )

7. Best Dressed: Kate Hudson, Kristen Bell, Amy Adams, and Matthew McConaughey.

The Bad:

1. Gravity loosing Best Picture to 12 Years a Slave - 12 Years was an excellent film, but Gravity is the film people will be talking about for the rest of cinematic history. It broke all the rules in all the right places. It a massive success story.

2. Dallas Buyers Club winning Best Makeup - It was the only real choice in a terribly botched category.

3. Roger Deakins getting passed over again - Prisoners was his best work. Gravity was, however, an excellent contender.

4. Worst Dressed: Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, Portia de Rossi, Pharrell Williams (Mike Nelson of MST3K tweeted, "somewhere Smoky is looking for his hat"), and Ellen DeGeneres' first outfit.

The Ugly:

1. Predictability - As likeable as DeGeneres was, there was something missing this year. It was just, kind of boring. This likely stems the ridiculous predictability of the Oscars. There were only two upsets, Best Documentary Feature and Best Animated Short. Everything else went according to plan, almost like they were working from a script. No dark horses broke through. No one was caught off guard. Jennifer Lawrence didn't fall. Boring.

2. Those creepy McDonald's commercials - Apparently, obesity will make you smarter and improve your family life.

3. American Hustle and Philomena walking away empty - I was rooting for Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence the whole time, but nothing came of it. Philomena was a beautiful and difficult film that captured the attention of the Academy enough to nominate it but should've gone further.

4. 12 Years a Slave smugness - As mentioned before, 12 Years a Slave was a magnificent film, my #5 for the year. It was spoiled, however, by many critics who insisted again and again that it must win because "it was time." DeGeneres even quipped (half-jokingly) that if you didn't vote for 12 Years, you were a racist. A film should always rise and fall on its own merits.
    To his credit, Steve McQueen never bought in to this; he's too great an artist. Slavery is a very important topic, and I not unhappy 12 Years won, but we should remember the words of MLK: "I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."