Awards ceremony broadcasts may have been changed forever at last night’s Oscars when Ellen DeGeneres took a selfie of herself and a dozen A-listers in the theater. She broke the record for most retweets – 3 million-plus and counting — causing a brief service issue with Twitter. “We just broke Twitter,” DeGeneres announced during ABC’s broadcast of the Oscars after word got out.
Related: Ellen Gets Mixed Reviews For Oscars
“The envelope please … to @TheEllenShow — this is now the most retweeted tweet with over 1 million RTs. Congrats!” chimed in Twitter when DeGeneres’ selfie hit that retweeting threshold. (According to Poptip, a platform that analyzes and synthesizes social conversation in real time, among last night’s Oscar highlights, four of the top 15 phrases about the Oscars were about the Samsung selfie.)
OSCARS: A Selfie-Important Academy Awards Honors Our Past And Our Future And Hits Just The Right Notes
In the end the Academy Awards fell right into place with every other awards show this season. Gravity got LOTS of love but it ended with 12 Years A Slave‘s Steve McQueen making the big acceptance speech of the night for Best Picture — just like it went at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Movie Awards, BAFTA, PGA and others. It’s a weird year when a blockbuster picture like Gravity can win seven Oscars including Best Director yet lose the big one. But science fiction is not a category the Oscars have ever embraced in that way, and this year was no exception. In 1977 Star Wars also won seven Oscars yet lost in the end to Best Pic winner Annie Hall, which only picked up four awards overall much like Slave’s haul of three nods this year. The record still stands though with 1972′s Cabaret winning eight Oscars but losing ultimately to The Godfather which won only three including Best Picture.
How do you explain it? It’s called spreading the wealth but wanting to save your most important award for a movie that has real gravitas, one that breaks barriers over what the Academy has ever done before. A movie directed by a black person has never before won nor has a film that so harrowingly details one aspect of the black experience. 12 Years A Slave may have depicted the dark side of this country in a way Oscar had never before recognized, but the Academy wanted to spotlight that and reward it with its highest prize in a year of great films about the black experience. In fact the whole show was full of diversity including numerous black presenters and the Best Director award to Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron.
For the third time in her career, Ellen DeGeneres was asked to host a Hollywood awards ceremony after a tragedy — this time the tragedy being Seth MacFarlane’s Hollywood-savaging Oscars hosting of a year ago. Ellen hosted the twice-delayed Emmy Awards after the September 2001 terrorist attacks and, four years later, after Hurricane Katrina. Tonight she hosted the first Academy Awards since MacFarlane opened the Oscars with “We Saw Your Boobs” and followed it up with a crack about John Wilkes Booth (rather than nominee Daniel Day-Lewis) being the actor who best got into President Lincoln’s head.
“For those of you watching us around the world, it’s been a tough couple of days for us. It has been raining. We’re fine – thank you for your prayers,” DeGeneres joked as she opened tonight’s ABC broadcast — a nod to her deft hosting of the aforementioned Emmy broadcasts, including that twice-postponed ’01 Emmys, which she’d opened with the observation: “What would bother the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews” to gales of laughter.
Related: OSCARS: Deadline’s Live Blog
When tonight’s disjointed show finally ended, a minute or two into Monday morning for about a third of the country’s TV viewers who live on the East Coast, DeGeneres had reminded us she’s likeable as all get out, but her improvised bits did not work so well – Amy Poehler and Tina Fey did it much better at the Golden Globes. She’d called Liza Minnelli “sir”, complimented “him” on his great Liza Minnelli impersonation; shamed Harvey Weinstein into putting $200 bucks into Pharrell’s hat, which she was passing around to collect money to pay for the product-placement pizza she ordered for the A-listers in the front rows; pocketed and used best supporting actress winner Lupita Nyong’o’s pizza-collection contribution (a lip gloss); and maybe crashed Twitter shortly after piling about a dozen celebrities into one selfie during the broadcast in an attempt to break the record for most re-tweets (it was pushing 2 million by the time the trophy show was over, causing the Motion Picture Academy to apologize for contributing to the Twitter traffic jam).
Warner Bros’ Gravity took home the most hardware at Sunday’s 86th Academy Awards and 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture, but everyone was all smiles backstage in the winners’ circle. Check out Deadline’s gallery of photos with the night’s big Oscar winners, including Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong’o, Jared Leto, Alfonso Cuaron, those peppy Frozen songwriters, and more:
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Oscars coverage.
Clearly, God loves a red carpet. How else to explain how the torrential rain miraculously ceased by noon today so we wouldn’t have to see actresses with frizzy hair and streaked mascara in belted trench coats? Instead, this year’s Oscar red carpet brought us a bevy of gold beaded dresses, dozens of bare shoulders, an al fresco Jennifer Lawrence pratfall and many leading men in blue.
That red carpet also brought about $2.3M to our local economy, according to a recent study from a Los Angeles consulting firm that tallied wardrobe expenses for women attending the Academy Awards. (Of course, nominees and presenters don’t have to buy anything — all is custom designed or borrowed.) Celebrity stylists, however, can earn up to $10,000 per day for prepping, pulling looks and fitting clients. (Having co-written a book with Rachel Zoe last year, I can attest to stress of the task. However, any monthlong job that earns enough money to buy a Tesla is no crap gig, eh? )
Related: Oscars Winners List
This year, beaded metallics reigned. Cate Blanchett in pale gold Armani Prive, Angelina Jolie in sparkly Elie Saab Couture, Sally Hawkins in Valentino and Lady Gaga wearing Atelier Versace were reflective. With barely any sunlight, the flashes of paparazzi made these women sparkle. Bare shoulders also were a major trend, and the ones who did it right opted for dramatic bodices and necklines, including Charlize Theron in Christian Dior, Sandra Bullock in navy Alexander McQueen and Amy Adams in Gucci Couture. The lack of straps also makes a great canvas for diamond necklaces, as we saw on Lawrence in $2 million worth of Neal Lane sparklers.
Related: Backstage At The Oscars
In a category that sometimes seemed like a two-horse race between The Great Beauty and The Hunt, with the possible squeaker of The Broken Circle Breakdown, it was ultimately Paolo Sorrentino’s love letter to Rome that triumphed. Great Beauty is the 11th win for Italy at the Oscars and the first time since Roberto Benigni’s 1998 Life Is Beautiful that the boot has kicked up a Foreign Language score. Sorrentino told me in December that he was very honored by just the nomination. “It’s a great responsibility. It’s a case in which I represent Italy and so it’s important in this moment when Italian cinema isn’t having a great time in its life… I hope we go ahead not only for me, but also for Italian cinema,” he said. Go ahead he did tonight and thanked his inspirations who include Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese (in the house at the Dolby Theatre), and Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona. Sorrentino also thanked the cities of Rome and Naples, as well as his family.
The Great Beauty has been compared to the work of Fellini, especially Roma and La Dolce Vita; it’s the story of an aging writer in the Eternal City recollecting his lost youth (see the trailer below). Sorrentino told me late last year that he had long been collecting “little anecdotes” linked to Rome and decided to put them all together into a film so that the lead character would be a witness to that world.
The industry asked, and the Academy listened. At the end of tonight’s In Memoriam tribute to notable Hollywood figures who passed away during the year, the Oscars telecast acknowledged the death of second camera assistant Sarah Jones, who died in a train accident on the set of Midnight Rider less than two weeks ago. Following Bette Midler’s performance of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” after the traditional In Memoriam reel, a graphic memorializing Jones flashed onscreen. Jones is also included in the fuller Oscars In Memoriam gallery online.
Here’s the full list of honorees included in this year’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute. Who else should’ve made the broadcast?
Here we are again after the Golden Globes, Mike Fleming and Anita Busch taking on the task of play by play during the most wide-open Oscar race we can remember. Even on the party circuit, industry insiders who usually have a grasp of who’ll walk away with Oscars were evenly torn between Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D masterpiece Gravity and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Then again, there were so many terrific films that got Best Picture nominations, and all of them have at least a puncher’s chance at an upset.
That includes American Hustle, where David O Russell co-wrote the Best Original Script nominee with Eric Warren Singer and got tour de force performances and nominations for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Perfs so strong there was no room on the nomination roster for perennial Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner. The film is up for 10 awards, and has grossed over $240 million on a $40 million budget.
Then there is The Wolf Of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio giving the most emphatic and complete performance of a great career, and Jonah Hill right there with him as his crazy con man sidekick. The film is up for five nominations, including Martin Scorsese for directing a terrific adaptation from The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire vet Terence Winter.
Anna Lisa Raya, Diane Haithman, and Anthony D’Alessandro are contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage.
Related: OSCARS: Deadline’s Live Blog
So did the 12 Years A Slave team contemplate a potential best pic loss tonight? According to producer and co-star Brad Pitt — it didn’t matter if they won or lost. 12 Years A Slave in and of itself is a benchmark in cinematic history, unlike many films being made today. Asserted Pitt, “I love this story. It’s a historical story of man in an inhumane situation finding freedom. It’s an important film because it deals with our history that hasn’t been shown on screen. It’s important that we understand this era as it explains who we were, so we can better understand who we are now. The film is a gentle reminder that we’re all equal and want dignity for ourselves and for our families.” Fielding a question about how 12 Years A Slave has evolved cinema about African-Americans in the south since Gone With The Wind 75 years ago, McQueen exclaimed, “It’s obviously a progression. The background characters are now in the foreground and now they’re being recognized. It’s indicative of what’s going on; how people are ready for this narrative and how they want to look at this history. It’s like Brad said, ‘If you don’t know your past, we don’t know our future.’” Speaking about 12 Years‘ momentum around the world, producer Dede Gardner pointed out how Solomon Northup’s book is now available in high school libraries throughout the country after being out of print, while producer Jeremy Kleiner said, “the universality of the film’s story has broken down ideological concepts of what is a domestic and what is an international story.”
Related: OSCARS: The Complete Winners List
The 86th Academy Awards are underway at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood (follow Deadline’s live-blog here). Take a peek at the stars who hit the red carpet and awards show tonight in our gallery, updated throughout the night.
The robocalls and emails apparently did the trick. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson reports the 86th Oscar contest is responsible for another significant high mark in the Academy’s efforts to turn out the vote.”As we head toward Oscar Sunday, I am thrilled to report how engaged our members have been this voting season. Your efforts resulted in another record turnout. And we are so happy to see that members have embraced our online voting system, and are voting from all over the world easily and securely. Thank you for participating in this historic year – when all members were able to vote in all categories – and for honoring the brilliant artists in our community,” she wrote in an internal Friday memo. The Academy doesn’t reveal actual numbers but I was told by reliable sources that the turnout for the nominating phase was over 90%, and with a huge last-minute surge (and that effort to get members engaged in the process) the total for the final voting phase which ended last Tuesday may have exceeded that number. But what does it all mean? It’s been said before, but I will say it again, this is one of the tightest and most unpredictable Best Picture races I can remember and I am not sure what the massive turnout of the Acad’s 6028 eligible voters says other than there was obviously a lot of interest within Oscar’s ranks. I have talked to numerous members over the past few days at various Oscar-related events, and while the results vary, it is clear this has all finally turned into a real seesaw race between 12 Years A Slave and Gravity. It appears to be a divide so sharp between those two that Sony’s American Hustle has a fighting chance to be the real beneficiary in what has been widely acknowledged the past few weeks to be a three-way contest.