1. Ellen DeGeneres delivered just what the Academy hired her to do in her opening monologue. She scored a few gentle zingers. (“It’s been a tough couple of days for us here – it’s raining. We’re fine. Thank you for your prayers.”) But mostly she was respectful to the Hollywood crowd which had to be a relief after last year's divisive host Seth MacFarlane.
Other snark from Ellen:
• “I did a little research, and between all the nominees you’ve made over 1400 films, and you've gone to a total of six years of college.”
• Razzing Jennifer Lawrence about her propensity for falling. (She did it again on the red carpet.) “If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar.”
• “It’s going to be an exciting night. So many different possibilities. “Possibility 1: ‘12 years a Slave’ wins best picture. Possibility No. 2 : You’re all racists. Please welcome our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway.”
2. Pharrell Williams and his hat. The exuberant singer even got Meryl Streep to do a little shimmy during his “Happy” performance.
3. Jared Leto’s tribute to his mom. His fashion sense is in question, but no one can question his heart-felt tribute to his mother who was a teenage mom and high school dropout. She wanted a better life for her children. “She encouraged her kids to be creative, work hard and to do something special.” If only he could have worked in a shout-out to “My So-Called Life.”
4. Darlene Love took us to church when she burst into song (“I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free.”) after “20 Feet From Stardom” won best documentary feature. Bill Murray shot to his feet, and the rest of the audience rightly followed.
5. Actresses who look like Lupita Nyong’o don’t usually win Academy Awards. In an emotional speech where she thanked everyone from the her director to the Yale School of Drama, Nyong’o ended with this: “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” Fittingly, “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” played as she exited the stage.
• Looking sensational in a ruby red dress, Pink paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz.”
• After delivering pizza to the audience, Ellen wheedled money from the audience: “Sandy (Bullock), you’ve got a lot of money. You can tip him (the delivery guy) right?” Later, she took up a collection.
• Ellen wanted to make history with the most retweeted photo ever, so she recruited A-listers including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Brad Pitt to pose for a selfie. And it worked.