Ellen's monologue was so very Ellen in the best (or the worst) way.
Ellen's opening monologue was superb. Ellen's opening monologue was dreadful. Whichever one of those sentences you agree with most depends on your feelings about Ellen DeGeneres, because that monologue was soooo Ellen. As in, soooo shticky. There was the warm, congenial wryness, like her opening line, "It's been a tough couple of days for us here. It's been raining." There was even some unexpected sass, like when she totally dissed Liza Minnelli. But the highlights—or the lowlights, depending on your taste for Ellen-ness—were when Ellen launched those trademark stuttering bits of faux-awkwardness, building in mischievousness and wiliness leading up to the punchline.
"It's the Hunger Games: There are cameras everywhere, you're starving, Jennifer Lawrence won last year…" began one of the best bits, a long meandering remembrance of Lawrence's fall up the Oscars steps last year. The standout punchline was wisely saved to close out the opening monologue. And it was perfect. Previewing the potential outcomes of the night, Ellen said, "Possibility number one: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: you're all racist." That punchline should've won over even those staunchest Ellen haters.
Jared Leto's speech was damn near perfect.
There are only two things we really want when someone wins an Oscar. We want them to cry. And we want them to talk about their mother. Jared Leto may not have cried himself, but god help your robot heart if you weren't weepy when Leto paid tribute to his mother after winning Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. "I love you mom. Thank you for teaching me to dream," he said. "Awwwwwww," we replied. Then, Leto upped the ante, acknowledging "the 36 million who have lost the battle to AIDS" and "those of you out there who have felt injustice because of who you are or who you love." About as close to perfect as a speech can get, right?
Pharrell made us all happy (guest starring Dancing Lupita).
Pharrell's Oscar performance of Best Original Song nominee "Happy" was just gleeful. It was the best Old Navy commercial of all time, basically. It began with Pharrell adorably lurking in the forest of giant Oscar statues while singing the first verse. Then…IT'S LUPITA DANCING! IT'S MERYL STREEP SHIMMYING! IT'S AMY ADAMS DANCING, TOO! To close out the performance, some adorable tiny children start dancing, too. I mean, damn if the whole thing wasn't called "Happy" for a reason.
Karen O performed a gorgeous rendition of "The Moon Song."
Karen O's performance of "The Moon Song" was just about as hauntingly beautiful as it was in Her, which is just about the highest praise that can be given to it.
Darlene Love got a standing ovation.
If you're gonna have Darlene Love at the Oscars, you might as well have the girl sing. For a second I was terrified that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member was going to be played off the stage and I was going to have to figure out how to beat up an Oscars telecast music conductor from the comfort of my New York City couch. But thankfully Love, who is the heart of the Oscar-winning documentary about backup singers, 20 Feet From Stardom, was allowed to deliver her impromptu rendition of "Eye on the Sparrow" uninterrupted, and to a standing ovation from the audience. That 20 Feet From Stardom won Best Documentary Feature is all kinds of silliness, considering films like Act of Killing was nominated against it, but Love—as no doubt you'd agree after you heard her sing—deserved that Oscar moment.
Ellen took the best selfie of all time.
Ellen DeGeneres got Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Kevin Spacey, Channing Tatum, Jared Leto, Bradley Cooper, Lupita Nyong'o, and her brother all to pose together in the same selfie. There are no doubt people who will find the bit silly and insufferable. Those people are the worst. Because this is the best. Sorry not sorry.
Lupita Nyong'o's dreams came true.
A year ago Lupita Nyong'o was an unknown aspiring actress. Sunday night, she was being mauled by Liza Minnelli on her way to deliver her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress. The unbridled joy radiating from Nyong'o after winning Best Supporting Actress (a really strong category this year) for 12 Years a Slave, was, similarly, a joy to watch. "No matter where you're from your dreams are valid," she said. Fittingly, I've also dreamed of being hugged by Liza Minnelli after winning Best Supporting Actress. #Valid
Ellen fed Meryl Streep.
Ellen passed out pizza. The bit was long, as she was in probably the only room in the world where passing out pizza would be a difficult task. But she worked hard to sell it! I was buying. (Mostly.)
Pink gave us chills.
I do not know why Pink was at the Oscars singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and I do not care. It was flawless. She didn't fly like she did at the Grammys, but with vocals so soaring she didn't need to. Pink making a solid run this year for Awards Show MVP.
Bette Midler sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" in honor of those who died this year.
John Travolta was a jerk.
John Travolta mispronounced Broadway queen Idina Menzel's name while introducing her at the Academy Awards. He called her "Adele Dazeem," or some approximation of that, after which we all stood up from our couches and shouted "we got yo' back!" as Menzel presumably plotted to drop-kick Travolta backstage. Like, seriously? Menzel's actual performance of "Let It Go," a song that has taken on a life of its own after the smash release of Frozen, was extremely nerve-wracking for some reason. Well, for good reason, as Menzel totally botched the big note. But that's ok! It happens! The song then won Best Original Song, and in turn won composer Bobby Lopez the final award he needed to be in the EGOT club. That's cool, too!
Cate Blanchett was perfectly Blanchett-y winning Best Actress.
"Splendid" describes Cate Blanchett's acceptance speech, which was extremely gracious and surprisingly rah-rah at one point, cheering on cinema starring and about women. But also, Cate Blanchett did thank Woody Allen. Discuss.
Matthew McConaughey gave an incredibly eloquent acceptance speech.
But we're all still just a little uneasy with the fact that Matthew McConaughey has an Oscar, right?
12 Years a Slave won Best Picture.
Remember that one time Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey both won Oscars?