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From pizza to poignancy, the Academy Awards telecast was memorable

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, March 3, 2014, at 6:07 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, March 3, 2014, at 8:25 p.m.

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The Academy Awards on Sunday had some big surprises. I correctly called 20 out of 24 categories (I missed documentary feature, animated short, film editing and a little thing called best picture).

Here are 10 memorable things from Sunday’s Oscars ceremony:

1. Diversity was the real champ – “12 Years a Slave” was an upset win for best picture, and it was the first time a film directed by a black filmmaker – Steve McQueen, who is British – has won Oscar’s top prize. Also, a Mexican – Alfonso Cuaron – won best director in a ceremony hosted by a lesbian (Ellen DeGeneres). Also, this was the first time the academy had a black woman as its president.

2. “Gravity” soared – As expected, the film swept the technical awards (as it should have), also taking Oscars for cinematography, editing, score, visual effects, sound mixing and sound editing.

3. Matthew McConaughey won best actor for “Dallas Buyers Club” – In his acceptance speech, McConaughey talked about heroes and thanked God, his mother, his late father, his wife and his children before working in what everyone was waiting for: “All right, all right, all right,” which brought the house down.

4. Jared Leto gave a moving speech – After winning the best supporting actor prize for “Dallas Buyers Club,” Leto gave a touching and moving speech, thanking his mother for “teaching me to dream.” He also said she “was a high school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged her kids to be creative, to work hard and to do something special.”

5. That outrageous selfie – DeGeneres took to the auditorium floor to take a “selfie” with several stars, then posted it to her Twitter account. Fans re-tweeted it more than 2 million times, promptly causing Twitter to experience technical problems. “We broke Twitter,” DeGeneres said on-air.

6. Pharrell Williams got Meryl Streep to shimmy – While Williams performed the Oscar-nominated song “Happy,” he took to the audience’s first row and got Lupita Nyong’o to stand up and dance with him before moving on to Streep, then Amy Adams.

7. Ellen ordered pizza – A real-life pizza delivery guy brought in by DeGeneres handed out pizzas to the A-listers in the crowd, while everyone got a kick out of watching Streep grab a napkin and Brad Pitt hand out paper plates. Later, DeGeneres collected money from audience members to tip the pizza guy.

8. John Travolta butchered Idina Menzel’s name – Upon introducing the singer to perform the Oscar-nominated song from “Frozen,” he called her “Adele Dazeem,” causing everyone watching to scratch their heads in confusion.

9. Bill Murray saluted Harold Ramis – After announcing the nominees with Amy Adams for best cinematography, Murray quipped: “Oh, we forgot one: Harold Ramis for ‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day.’ ”

10. Nyong’o won supporting actress for “Slave” – The unbridled joy radiating from her while she gave her acceptance speech was simply thrilling to watch. “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid,” she said.

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