’12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture as less-than-Jewy Oscars closes
Liveblog (now closed): 2014 Academy Awards

’12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture as less-than-Jewy Oscars closes

The Times of Israel liveblogs the Academy Awards from the trendiest spot in all of entertainment journalism — our couch

Director Steve McQueen (C) accepts the Best Picture award for '12 Years a Slave' with (back row) actors Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong'o, screenwriter John Ridley, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, producers Arnon Milchan, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Anthony Katagas, actress Adepero Oduye and producer Brad Pitt onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo credit: AFP/Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Director Steve McQueen (C) accepts the Best Picture award for '12 Years a Slave' with (back row) actors Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong'o, screenwriter John Ridley, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, producers Arnon Milchan, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Anthony Katagas, actress Adepero Oduye and producer Brad Pitt onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo credit: AFP/Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — After five-and-a-half hours of television watching (no, that isn’t a joke) the Academy Awards and the all-important red carpet arrivals are done.

It wasn’t the Jewy-est of Oscar broadcasts, though host Ellen Degeneres had her share of zings.

Writer Spike Jonze (Adam Spiegel) and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki were among the more highly visible members of the faith who won anything. But there were also appearances by Goldie Hawn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Idina Menzel, Daniel Day-Lewis, Harvey Weinstein, Bette Midler and Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg’s a Jewish name, right?

And while we’re mostly pleased with how the awards went down, never forget that the best movie of the year, Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Inside Llewyn Davis,” was completely shut out. There’s Llewyn himself… looking lost, cold and bewildered. The wandering Jew ignored by his brethren.

The Coen Brothers' 'Inside Llewyn Davis' (photo credit: courtesy)
The Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ (photo credit: courtesy)

So, let’s go back in time and re-read the play by play of the whole evening. Please, I spent all night watching. The least you could do is read it!

Red carpet gauntlet

The stars have been marching for an hour and there’s two more to go. There’s a live stream on EOnline’s website, but watching that really feels like you’re on security guard duty. In thirty minutes or so ABC will begin their red carpet coverage. That feels a lot more civilized.

But here’s a scoop – Liza Minnelli has a streak of blue dyed into her hair. This is some very elaborate Lea Seydoux cosplay!

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 6.28.57 PM

Who are you wearing?

It’s amazing, really, that this question is asked without irony. It’s as if Hollywood stars club someone over the head and then drape themselves in their carcasses. Then again, this is a crazy industry, maybe it happens.

Sidney Poitier was one of the first people interviewed and the joker with the microphone tried to clown around with him. It was quite possibly the most uncomfortable thing ever televised. When asked if he was rooting for a particular film, he said he was, but refused to say which. Class act!

Viola Davis was interviewed on the red carpet and she seemed like an actual human being, joking around with her husband.

Amy Adams is another sharp cookie, able to speak extemporaneously, joking about her hair in the humidity and wearing a lovely dark purple dress.

Bruce Dern suffered the indignity of having people make jokes about his age. “Will you be taking a nap tomorrow?” How humiliating. This is a great actor who gave a terrific performance in the film “Nebraska” and he has to deal with this? Oy vey.

Idina Menzel (New York City Jewess in the house!) was seen looking sleek and sexy. She’ll be singing “Let it Go” from the movie “Frozen” later tonight. You know, the song your kids have been singing nonstop for six weeks.

However, earlier today she tweeted this photo of herself, with the caption “Glamorous warm up before the final run through at the #Oscars”

Idina Menzel's glamorous selfie (courtesy: Twitter.)

Idina Menzel’s glamorous selfie (courtesy: Twitter.)

Woody’s leading lady and Jonah Hill

Woody Allen isn’t coming to the Oscars. I mean, he wouldn’t be coming anyway because he hates the Oscars, but he’s REALLY not coming this year.

Nevertheless, Cate Blanchett is the frontrunner for her live performance in Woody’s “Blue Jasmine,” and looked pretty stellar on the red carpet.

Cate Blanchett, not mentioning her controversial directors' name (courtesy: E! Online.)

Cate Blanchett, not mentioning her controversial directors’ name (courtesy: E! Online.)

Jonah Hill earned major mensch points by bringing his MOM as his date. That sound you just heard was a million Jewish mothers saying “such a nice boy!” as one. Even though he had to do such nasty things in that “Wolf of Wall Street” movie (oy, with the goldfish), we’re still proud of him.

Jonah Hill doing gross things in "The Wolf of Wall Street" (courtesy: Paramount Pictures.)

Jonah Hill doing gross things in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (courtesy: Paramount Pictures.)

Not that kind of Hamish

If you just heard the shoutout from the control booth to Oscars telecast director Hamish Hamilton, don’t get too excited. It’s the Gaelic version of the name James, not the Yiddish term for “good” or “familiar.” It’s possible Hamish Hamilton, born in Blackpool, UK, is actually Jewish, who knows? Anyway, the show is about to start. Let’s do this thing.

Best Supporting Actor

The first award, as is customary, went to Best Supporting Actor. The nominees were:

Barkhad Abdi as the Somalian pirate in “Captain Philips,” Bradley Cooper as the in-over-his-head FBI agent in “American Hustle,” Michael Fassbender as the sadistic slave owner in “12 Years A Slave,” Jonah Hill as the schlubby Jewish sidekick to Leonardo DiCaprio in “Wolf of Wall Street” and Jared Leto as the AIDS-afflicted transsexual in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

All five of these performances are top notch, but there can only be one winner.

Jared Leto got the prize, and, even though he kinda acts like a bozo space cadet in every interview, he’s a very talented guy who did a striking job.

He told a nice story about his mother, gave a shout-out to his band (30 Seconds to Mars,) mentioned the Ukraine and Venezuela and didn’t say anything substantial about transgendered people.

Jonah wuz robbed.

Pharrell’s hat

We members of the Jewish faith have no business mocking headgear of any kind. But what in the world is up with Pharrell’s hat?

His song “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2” is very catchy, however.

Pharrell's hat makes me happy. (courtesy: YouTube)

Pharrell’s hat makes me happy. (courtesy: YouTube)

Best Wardrobe, Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“The Great Gatsby” won for Best Costumes. Sure, that works. The movie was kinda flat but everyone was dressed nice.

Best Makeup and Hairstyle went to “Dallas Buyers Club.” Shouldn’t that go to a fantasy film or a horror film? Well, “Dallas Buyers Club” is a very moving film. I can see voting for it.

Best Animated Films

Frozen,” the best animated film of the year, also won the Oscar.

The imaginative, fun and (somewhat) progressive film about an ice princess features a hit song from Idina Menzel and a hilarious vocal performance from Josh Gad.

The Best Animated Short went to a French film called Mr. Hublot. When the guy gave his speech (either Laurent Witz or Alexandre Espigares, I’m not sure) his hands were visibly trembling.

Frozen (courtesy: the Walt Disney Company.)

Frozen (courtesy: the Walt Disney Company.)

Best Visual Effects

Nice Jewish boy Joseph Gordon-Levitt stood beside Emma Watson to announce the award for Best Visual Effects.

The winning film was, of course, “Gravity.”

I don’t think this should have won. I mean, what’s the big deal? They just went to outer space and made a movie.

Wait, what? Y’mean. . .that wasn’t real? Oh. Okay. Good pick, Academy!

"Gravity." Which wasn't actually filmed in space. (courtesy: Warner Bros.)

“Gravity.” Which wasn’t actually filmed in space. (courtesy: Warner Bros.)

Best Short Films

Jewish-American actress Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis, (Bradley Cooper lite) gave the awards for the Best Short Films.

Helium” won for Best Narrative film. Two very nice seeming Danish men picked up the award.

As we predicted, “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” won for Best Documentary. The film is about Alice Herz-Sommer, a concentration camp survivor/philosopher who lived to the age of 110. The film is available to rent for a mere five bucks on most streaming platforms. You really should check it out.

Best Documentary

This was a huge year for documentaries with some fantastic picks.

“The Act of Killing” is an almost indescribable film about the perpetrators of the Indonesian death squads of the 1960s (who are hailed as heroes in their country.) “Cutie and the Boxer” is a remarkable story about old, poor artists living in New York City. “Dirty Wars” is another leftwing jeremiad about how America is the Great Satan. “The Square” is a from-the-field look at the Arab Spring in Egypt.

But the winner went to the good-but-not-great look at backup singers called “20 Feet From Stardom.” It’s a feel-good movie, and it is quite enjoyable. But it is ephemeral. I don’t think people will remember it by next year, unlike the other picks, but that’s showbiz.

Darlene Love blew out the audio levels as she picked up the award, bringing the audience to their feet. I think they were happy for an excuse to move their legs a bit – things were getting a little boring.

Best Foreign Language Film

The Great Beauty (courtesy: Sundance Selects.)

The Great Beauty (courtesy: Sundance Selects.)

Italy’s “The Great Beauty” wins. It’s a marvelous movie about excess and elegance.

Frankly, Israel’s “Bethlehem” should have won, but it didn’t make it to the final round of nominees. But this is a decent second pick.

It beats out “Omar” from the Palestinian Authority which, it can not be denied, is a very good film. It’s a biased and perhaps dangerous film in the way it portrays Israel’s defense policies, but as a movie, it’s good.

It’s no “Bethlehem,” but it’s good.

In addition to “Omar,” the other nominees were Belgium’s touching, beautiful “Broken Circle Breakdown,” Denmark’s thriller “The Hunt” and the truly creative first person documentary “The Missing Picture,” which mixes stock footage and clay animation.

All of these movies are worth checking out.

Is Tyler Perry converting?

Tyler Perry took to the stage to introduce a clip from the film “Nebraska.”

Is that a mezuzah on his lapel? You tell me.

Tyler Perry at the Oscars. (courtesy: Twitter.)

Tyler Perry at the Oscars. (courtesy: Twitter.)

Best Sound: An Israeli win!

Israeli sound designer Niv Adiri was part of the winning sound mixing team for “Gravity,” along with legendary technician Skip Lievsay. “Gravity” also won for Sound Editing. I’ve been covering entertainment for years and I still don’t know the difference between the categories. But who cares? Mazel tov, Niv!

More on Adiri here.

Best Supporting Actress

Lupita NyonG’O Girl!

The Academy makes the right call by awarding Lupita Nyong’o the statue for Best Supporting Actress. I can’t even think about her performance as Patsey, “the Queen of the Field,” from Steve McQueen’s outstanding film “12 Years a Slave” without tearing up a little bit.

Her speech was touching, emotional and respectful to those who suffered so she could have such a joyous day.

She beat out Julia Roberts for “August: Osage County,” June Squibb for “Nebraska,” Sally Hawkins for Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” and Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle.”

Lupita Nyong'o, winner for "12 Years a Slave." (courtesy: Fox Searchlight.)

Lupita Nyong’o, winner for “12 Years a Slave.” (courtesy: Fox Searchlight.)

First Jewish joke of the night

Ellen Degeneres, doing a good but not great job hosting, did a little schtick when she ordered pizza for the stars. Then it was time to give the delivery guy a tip. When no one had any cash she shouted “where’s Harvey Weinstein?”

Eh, when she does it, it’s okay.

Best Cinematographer

Emmanuel Lubezki, a Mexican Jew whose previous work includes “Tree of Life” and “Children of Men,” won for his remarkable work on “Gravity.” No surprise there.

He beats out Roger Deakins, probably the most important cinematographer alive who has never won the award. But it wasn’t his year with the so-so picture “Prisoners.” Someday, he’ll win. He also beat Bruno Delbonnel for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” which, as I mentioned earlier, is actually the best movie of 2013, but nobody listens to me.

Best Editing

“Gravity” wins.

But those first shots are, like, 18 minutes long. How is that editing?

Off to see the wizard

Whoopi Goldberg (honorary Jew?) led a tribute to “The Wizard of Oz.” Lorna Luft was in the house. I took this opportunity to get a drink and use the facilities. I haven’t moved from my couch in four hours and I can’t feel my feet.

Best Production Design

The Great Gatsby (Courtesy: Warner Bros.)

The Great Gatsby (Courtesy: Warner Bros.)

The Great Gatsby” wins, beating “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” “Her” and “12 Years a Slave.”

Did you see that house? Whoof, that stuff wasn’t bought at Ikea.

In Memoriam

The annual “death montage,” as some call it, featured a number of Jewish performers who passed away in the last year.

Sid Caesar may have been the most legendary of them. Also included were Writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who worked with the Merchant-Ivory team and writer-director-actor-philosopher Harold Ramis.

Maximilian Schell was a refuge from Nazi Germany and often played Jews on film, but was, in fact, not Jewish.

After the reel of clips, Bette Midler came out to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings.” It was a touching moment, but I think I’m ready to pay a yearly fee of maybe twenty or twenty-five dollars to ensure that I never have to hear that song again.

Best Score

“Gravity” won again. In space, they can’t hear you scream, so you better have some exhilarating music on the soundtrack.

Composer Steven Price kinda spoiled the movie in his acceptance speech, but I guess if you haven’t seen it by now, it’s your fault.

Here is the Main Theme from “Gravity.”

Best Song

“Let It Go,” the song from “Frozen” popularized by the Queens born Jewish-American Idina Menzel won best song.

Of course it did. Because the whole world has been singing it for months.

The composers, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, gave a really fun, rhyming speech. Robert is now a member of the elite “EGOT” club, meaning he has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.

He still has to put his pants on one leg at a time, but he’s got a lot of cool stuff on the shelf.

Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Screenplay

Not surprisingly, John Ridley won Best Adapted Screenplay for “12 Years A Slave.” It’s a masterpiece, truly, and the language in it, even though taken from Northup’s book, sings out like poetry.

Best Original Screenplay went to Spike Jonze (aka Adam Spiegel) for “Her,” the wildly creative movie about love and solitude and technology. He thanked “all of my friends” and was extremely upbeat.

He beat out a fellow Jewish writer whose name may not be mentioned (*cough Woody Allen cough*) but that guy’s won a bunch of times before.

Joaquin Phoenix in "Her." (courtesy: Warner Bros.)

Joaquin Phoenix in “Her.” (courtesy: Warner Bros.)

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron, a true maverick and innovator, wins for “Gravity.”

The movie is more than just a thrill ride, it is a formalist extravaganza and a touching story. His previous works, “Y Tu Mama, Tambien” and “Children of Men” are worth checking out, if you haven’t seen them. Can’t wait to see what the guy does next.

Alfonso Cuaron directing his stars among the stars in "Gravity." (courtesy: Warner Bros.)

Alfonso Cuaron directing his stars among the stars in “Gravity.” (courtesy: Warner Bros.)

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in "Blue Jasmine." (courtesy: Sony Pictures Classics.)

Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine.” (courtesy: Sony Pictures Classics.)

Anglo-Jewish actor and milkshake drinker Daniel Day-Lewis presented the winner of the Best Actress award.

It went to Cate Blanchett as the boozy, soon-to-be-schizophrenic woman in “Blue Jasmine.” Her speech was elegant and upbeat, and she reminded the world that movies with women in the lead do, indeed, make money. “The world is round, people!”

She beat out Amy Adams as the con artist in “American Hustle,” Sandra Bullock as the born again space visitor in “Gravity,” Judi Dench as the mother searching for her lost child in “Philomena” and Meryl Streep as a drag queen version of an angry, Southern Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County.”

Best Actor

Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas Buyers Club" (courtesy: Focus Features.)

Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club” (courtesy: Focus Features.)

It’s a shonda!

Matthew McConaughey, who I love, and who was great in “Dallas Buyers Club” won the Oscar for Best Actor. He’s terrific, but he doesn’t deserve it.

Chiwetel Ejiofor gave one of the most memorable and iconic screen performances in the history of cinema in “12 Years A Slave.” We’ll be talking about his work in this movie for generations.

McConaughey is lots of fun and gave an energetic speech about his belief in God and how his hero is his future self. He also gave his catch phrase “all right, all right, all right.” Eh, maybe I’m getting sick of this guy.

He also beat out Christian Bale as the Jewish con artist in “American Hustle,” Leonardo DiCaprio as, uh, the other Jewish con artist in “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Bruce Dern as the mean old man reconnecting with his family at the end of his life in “Nebraska.”

Best Picture

Best Picture winner "12 Years a Slave." (courtesy: Fox Searchlight.)

Best Picture winner “12 Years a Slave.” (courtesy: Fox Searchlight.)

The Academy did the right thing.

Chiwetel Ejiofor may’ve been robbed, but “12 Years A Slave,” won the Best Picture award. While my personal favorite of 2013 was “Inside Llewyn Davis” (not even nominated) this was the best film of the nominated group and, truly, the most important film of the year. The United States of America has a history built on slavery, and the country has yet to really reckon with that. “12 Years A Slave” is a brutal and shocking story – but it isn’t just a long guilt trip or a torture porn. It is a rich drama and an artfully made film.

Brad Pitt, one of the film’s producers, gave a short speech then gave the mic to director Steve McQueen. Behind him, Israeli producer and former spy Arnon Milchan beamed with pride. It was a mitzvah for all.

And, just like that, after five-and-a-half hours of television watching, it was over.

I am completely exhausted and never want to think about awards again.

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