10 Things We Learned Following The Oscars on Social Media
It turns out Hollywood knows about selfies
Remember that president guy? Barack somethingorother? Cast your mind back a couple of years to the point at which Obama was re-elected and you’ll recall that iconic image of him hugging his wife with the pithy caption “Four more years.” The internet went wild!
But not that wild. Because this historic moment, as captured in a tweet, has only been retweeted a lousy 781,042 times since.
Cue your Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres, who’d already been busy snapping selfies in the ceremony like a fully fledged member of the yoof by the time she handed her phone to Bradley Cooper, and a bunfight ensued. In they quickly crowded, Hollywood’s finest: J-Law and Channing Tatum, Meryl and Julia Roberts, Ellen herself, Kevin Spacey, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o, and that’s Lupita’s brother on the right, by the way. Oh and there’s Angelina Jolie, although only half of her face is visible in the image, plus a teensy bit of Jared Leto.
“If only Bradley’s arm was longer,” joshed Ellen’s caption. Had it been, we’d probably have seen some men from Mars in the image.
Within an hour, the picture had been retweeted well over a million times and reimagined in ways that were claimed to be amusing. By the end of the ceremony it had been retweeted over 2 million times
Next year, if we’re lucky, they’ll just Snapchat the entire ceremony.
(A big hand to Liza for trying, at least. )
Hollywood also knows about photobombing
As U2 lined up to pose with partners on the red carpet, Benedict Cumberbatch leaped into the picture. Luckily Bono has yet to grow eyes at the back of his head, or he might have been forced to raise the upper corners of his mouth.
Kevin Spacey took up the baton. “My photobombing gets better and better!” he tweeted (though it isn’t really a photobomb if you’ve been asked to pose).
The Academy soon felt that they too were getting the hang of this malarkey and started to post other “photobombs”. Michael Fassbender!
Meryl Streep may not tweet, but she sure can boogie
Performing his hit Happy – from the soundtrack to Despicable Me 2, don’tcha know – Pharrell Williams got just a little bit fresh with the august Academy crowd, imploring the audience to get on their feet and dance. Well, of course Lupita Nyong’o and Amy Adams did just that, but surpriiiise! .... because someone just topped them, and that person was Meryl Streep.
Everyone knows that the 64-year old Streep knows how to move – her turn in August: Osage County (for which she was nominated for best supporting actress) perhaps didn’t best display her talents in this regard, but we all remember Mamma Mia!. And here she didn’t disappoint, half rising from her set and near-on hypnotising the 40-year old pop poppet and friend of that Robin Thicke with her brazen gaze.
The British are coming! Sorry about that
It was a good night for British accents. Even if no Britons had won any Oscars, the presence of Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomi Watts and Daniel Day-Lewis among the presenters guaranteed a healthy dose of RP through the evening. However, Gravity’s success meant the stage was rarely short of flat vowels and awkward apologies. Tim Webber opened the space epic’s account on the night, accepting the visual effects award with his Framestore co-workers. Next up was Glenn Freemantle for sound editing, followed shortly after by the award for sound mixing - more Brits (and an Israeli) - and Mark Sanger, who was responsible for Gravity’s production design. Steven Price, who wrote the film’s score, made sure he reinforced a national stereotype by using his speech to apologise to his family. Finally, the evening was capped by 12 Years a Slave director and producer Steve McQueen’s acceptance speech, in which he too said sorry, this time for boring the audience. If it’s an invasion, it’s a very polite one.
Academy voters need to come here more often
It’s almost as if members of the Academy aren’t Guardian readers, because the message sent from these quarters couldn’t have been clearer: Joshua Oppenheimer’s extraordinary film The Act of Killing wasn’t just this newspaper’s favourite documentary of last year, it was our favourite film, period. Better than Gravity. Better than World War Z.
So, what happened here exactly? Killing had also won in this category at the Baftas, but here … no. Nor – it might be mentioned – did The Square claim victory. Nope, instead of Jehane Noujaim’s similarly politically charged picture (concerning the revolutionary maelstrom of Cairo’s Tahrir Square), the Oscar for best documentary went to 20 Feet From Stardom, an examination of the lives and experiences of backing singers in the music industry. The award was accepted with an arresting rendition of gospel hymn His Eye Is On The Sparrow by one of the film’s stars, Darlene Love.
Still, at least one of the Guardian’s favourite pop stars, Janelle MonÃ¡e was happy.
Even though one of our own favourite writers made a pertinent point thereafter.
Can I just remind you that the Act of Killing people were quite good singers too.— jonronson (@jonronson) March 3, 2014
Twitter can also be used for abuse, especially if an old woman appears
The appearance of Kim Novak, 81, at the Oscars was not an unmitigated triumph. The actor, most famous for her roles in Vertigo and The Man With the Golden Arm, took to the stage with Matthew McConaughey to present the award for best animated feature to Disney’s Frozen. In the process she became one of the most tweeted-about people of the night, with social media commentators taking umbrage at her inexpressive face and her stilted script-reading.
Kim Novak just became the first presenter to announce a winning movie that best describes her face” said one tweeter, very much typifying the kind of comments that made ‘Kim Novak’ a trending topic throughout the ceremony. “Anybody else find it ironic that Kim Novak gave Frozen the Oscar?” said another. These tweets were at the kinder end of the spectrum – others used their 140 characters to paint vivid pictures of exactly how harshly they were judging the appearance of this octogenarian cancer survivor. Some posted cautionary, speculative comments about the horrors of plastic surgery. Many compared Novak’s appearance to other mature women who’d appeared on stage over the course of the evening, using her as a kind of yardstick for ‘how not to get old.’ “Look at Sally Field instead,” some urged. “She looks much more normal!”
Pizza is popular even among the unfathomably rich
One of the most surreal moments in this year’s ceremony was when DeGeneres, bravely clad in all-white, went down into the crowd with three takeaway pizzas – and a genuine delivery guy – to divvy them out among the carb-fearing celebs. It was heartening how many seemed keen to get a slice of the action – perhaps mindful of the fact they were on international television with an unlined stomach and a free bar.
Chiwetel Ejiofor tried to swipe a whole box to himself; Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep both went in with elbows flying. Harrison Ford proved himself an expected master of logistics – get your plate underneath quickly to prevent a toppings landslide, Harrison, that’s the way. Even Martin Scorsese looked at home with a recycled paper plate. Good old Jared Leto took a slice for his mum.
The only major refusenik was Leonardo DiCaprio – disappointing, since his Wolf of Wall Street character would have slammed a piece up his nostril before you could say “sharing is caring, Jordan”. This was DeGeneres at her aura-ignoring, glamour-dissipating best – making a beeline for the pregnant Kerry Washington, and enlisting Brad Pitt as a napkin boy. And who do you tap up for a tip but Harvey Weinstein? “No pressure – only a billion people are watching,” she called across the floor. “Whatever you feel is right.” $200, it turned out. $200.
Nobody’s ever kidding
In a night of no surprises, it seems churlish to complain about spoilers. But on reflection, Ellen’s opening monologue quip about how either Slave would win best picture or the voters are racist smacks less of edginess than of uncanny prediction. DeGeneres was wheeled on after the debacle of Seth MacFarlane to be a safe pair of hands. This alone should have tipped us off to the fact that she was unlikely to start proceedings with a pretty heavy slur. Slave went into the ceremony the favourite. But you knew in the first 10 minutes it had won.
Matthew McConaughey’s quite special
McConaughey’s acceptance speech opened conventionally, with a laugh and easy formalities, thanking the Academy, his fellow nominees, his director and co-stars with trademark Texan charm. Then it got weird.
“There are three things that I need each day,” he said. “One is something to look up to, one is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase.” To a mixture of surprise and applause, he revealed that the person he looks up to is God, who has shown him that “it is a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates”. Next he thanked his family, especially his father, “who is up there with a big pot of gumbo, he’s got a lemon meringue pie over there, he’s probably in his underwear and he’s got a cold can of Miller Lite and he’s dancing.”
Finally, he thanked his hero. Who could it be? Who could possibly stand in the same exalted company as God and his late father in heaven? “When I was 15, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say, ‘Who’s your hero?’”
No clues so far.
“I said, ‘I‘ve got to think about that, give me a couple of weeks. Two weeks later this person comes up and says ‘Who’s your hero?’”
Still no clues.
“So I said, I’ve thought about it, and it’s me in 10 years … and that same person comes up to me when I’m 25 10 years later and says, ‘So, are you a hero?” And I’m like, not even close! She said “Why?” and I said, ‘Because my hero’s me at 35’”.
Of course! McConaughey’s hero is himself!
And then, just as it had begun in the style of a sermon, so it ended with a lesson. “So to any of us … whoever it is we’re chasing, to that I say amen! To that I say all right, all right, all right! To that I say just keep living!” And so ended the gospel of Matthew.
Lupita is the new Jennifer
The undisputed queen of this year’s ceremony was Lupita Nyong’o, who walked away with best supporting actress and dissolved Twitter into shameless wibbling with a note-perfect acceptance speech. The tone was set early when she stole the red-carpet spotlight in a “Nairobi blue” Prada dress she designed herself, before she sprang up to dance with glorious arm-waving unselfconsciousness to Pharrell Williams’s Happy while half of the audience were working out whether to clap along. She also chucked her lip balm into his hat when Ellen was collecting for pizza money.
In the meantime, she bagged a place in the most retweeted image of all time, smuggled her little brother in beside her and won the hearts of the watching public with her generally outrageous levels of humility and charm. One or two corrected missteps showed her speech was rehearsed to a tee, but the sentiment was unarguably heartfelt: “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. Thank you so much for putting me in this position. It has been the joy of my life. 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.” A star is born. Let’s just hope she remains so unstarlike for ever.
This article was amended on 3 March 2014. The original stated that Bradley Manning took Ellen’s selfie. In fact, it was Bradley Cooper. This has been corrected.
Article by Guardian Writers Caspar Llewellyn Smith, Clare Margetson, Alan Evans, Peter Beech, Adam Boult and Catherine Shoard