The 86th Academy Awards: A Night of Stars, Songs, and Smiles

By Rachael Mayrose, Arts & Entertainment Editor

“Welcome to the Oscars! For those of you watching around the world it has been a tough couple of days for us here…it has been raining. We’re fine, thank you for your prayers.”

The impeccably dressed members of the Hollywood elite burst into laughter, their voices echoing through the Dolby Theater in response to the opening words from their host, the comedic talk show entertainer and Cover Girl, Ellen DeGeneres.

DeGeneres had previously hosted the Academy Awards seven years ago, and her experience was quite apparent. DeGeneres handled the daunting task of hosting the 86th Academy Awards with the ease of a season pro. At what is arguably the most prestigious and competitive event of the award show season, DeGeneres herself called it the “Hunger Games”, she found a way to keep the overall atmosphere lighthearted and relaxed.

From crashing twitter by taking a star-filled “selfie” to dressing up as Glinda, the Good Witch from “The Wizard of Oz”, DeGeneres added her own personal touch to this year’s show, and the audience seemed to be quite receptive. Ward Melville Senior, Bridgette Thornton stated, “my favorite part was when Ellen handed out pizza to everyone and Brad Pitt handed out paper plates because it made the show feel like a celebrity children’s birthday party.”

The Oscars was like a giant party, except instead of handing out goody bags filled with items from the dollar store, some of the attendees went home with the coveted Oscar. The big winner of the night was “Gravity”, which won a total of seven awards, many pertaining to special effects and editing.  “12 Years a Slave” also did very well, winning Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Lupita Nyong’o winning Best Supporting Actress for her role in that film.

Of course, public opinion will not always match up with the Academy’s selections. This year one of the biggest disagreements between the public and Academy was the winner of Best Actor. The Oscar was given to Matthew McConaughey for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club”, but many people were disappointed that this award was not given to Leonardo DiCaprio for his role in “Wolf of Wall Street”. Ward Melville Senior, Arezu Esmaili, stated, “he has worked so hard for many years, successfully portraying diverse roles, but has yet to be recognized for his talent.”

Overall, this year’s Academy Awards was a mix between a completion, concert, stand up comedy show, and fashion week. All the nominees and attendees appeared to have a genuinely good time, despite the immense pressure they were under. And as DeGeneres’ said, “I think you should think of yourselves as winners. Not all of you, but the people who’ve won before — you should think of yourselves as winners.”