Oscar night is still rich with the thrill of victory but not, I'd argue, with the agony of defeat. At least not anymore. The Oscar race has never been as sports-analogous as some would like but the victory part in the modern awards season maybe. That requires true endurance... months of campaigning and appearance and interviews and people whisking you here and there. The agony of defeat is surely now lessened by way of expectations. There didn't use to be all these signposts along the way that you're never going to win which might account for how polite and calm the losers are in their little live-television grids. Nevertheless we still love to slow-mo the shit out of those moments.
We're doing three and a half categories (Supporting Actress, Director, Actress, and ?) starting now...
So many people manhandled Lupita Nyong'o on her way to the stage - including inexplicably Liza Minnelli but we'll get to her later -- that I hope she had lots of purex handy. Don't you just adore her 'My God. Who Me?' face to Brad Pitt (speaking of that "Heroes" theme - he deserved that Oscar for getting this movie made) as she tries to process amongst all the grabby well wishers.
But let's skip back a moment to the envelope opening.
Row 1. Julia and Sally are smart cookies and know it's not them. I like to think Julia is like "oooh c'mon on Lupita. Defeat that "america's sweetheart impostor!" Who knows what June Squibb is thinking. But Jennifer and Lupita are so frozen tense, but same thought bubble for sure "Let it be Lupita!"
Row 2. June's all 'ah well, lotsa parties and guest star gigs!' No one is happier than Lupita. Except Jennifer Lawrence. "Thank God! Whooooooo"
Row 3. Everyone's calm down except Lupita whose name forever gets 8 extra syllables "Academy Award™ Winner Lupita Nyong'o"
We'll skip BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR since everyone in that category was under no illusion that anyone but Jared Leto as Jesus as Rayon was going to win. A TV talking head last night who shall not be named even went so far as to tell us on the red carpet that...
Rayon is one of the all time great characters committed to film"
In related news: people should see more than 10 movies in their lifetime. All the nominees including Jared were emotion-free during the announcement.
This one isn't usually as exciting. Though it seemed like everyone knew Cuarón would win, the directors all seemed tense anyway. Was it how long it took Sidney Poitier to open the envelope? Angelina Jolie to the rescue!
Row 1. Alfonso Cuarón is the only one smiling. "I got this"... but it's a fake it till you make it moment because in Row 2 His eyebrows shoot up and in Row 3 they stay there. "I really did get this?!?!?! The Losers: Steve McQueen is a cool character just clapping; Marty processes and frowns (They're not all going to be The Departed good sir!); Alexander Payne closes his eyes and then nods, and Russell is tense lipped clapping.
The drama of it all! But with Payne and Russell, who can blame them. At this point they must be wondering what they have to do to win the whole Best Director game. They recover quickly though. I imagine they're thinking "Next time" or...
We'll skip Best Actor because it makes me uncomfortable. I hate it when contestants thank God. Like for example, both McConaughey and Bruce Dern were pleading with the man Upstairs as Jennifer Lawrence opened the envelope.
But if He cast the deciding vote, he's kind of an asshole because Dern wanted and need it more, you know? McConaughey has no time to worship the golden idol -- too busy worshipping the McConaughey.
But I'm skipping it mostly because the internet has amply covered Leonardo's loss with moist recollections of the McConaughey hug that was held a beat too long and with "Poor Leo" memes popping up making this tweet the truest thing ever. The internet is really invested in DiCaprio's career, isn't it? It's kinda great to watch from a detached perspective.
My absofav editorial commentary on Leo, though, comes from a cartoonist at The Guardian. Click on the photo to read the full pretty great comic.
Despite Slate and Salon's best efforts to derail Blanchett (seriously what was up with the constant articles about her & what she should do about Woody?) the goddess prevailed and took her second, enormously deserved Oscar for a career-topping performance. Still, despite being the frontrunner she seemed super nervous during the envelope opening and her hugs and kisses from her husband and Sally Hawkins were just so much genuine thrill.
The rest I'll leave to you to parse...
What were Amy, Meryl, and Sandra thinking?
And do you think Judi Dench was even watching at home? Read their minds in the comments!