Reasons the Oscars Did Not Suck This Year!



Kevin Spacey. That is all.

By now, you've heard most of the buzz, highlights, and spoilers from the 2014 Oscars. Ellen DeGeneres was a fine but forgettable host, an infamous selfie stole the show,  Lupita Nyong'o is the new Jennifer Lawrence (as in, this year's Oscars sweetheart), and "Gravity" won seven Oscars, but "12 Years a Slave" won Best Picture. 

Really, it was once again a wonderful night for film lovers. But for a clearer look at just what made the 2014 Oscars special, here are our five favorite things about Oscar night. 


Lupita Nyong'o


Okay, so we already mentioned Nyong'o as one of the highlights of the night, but the "12 Years a Slave" star and Best Supporting Actress winner was truly the brightest star of the evening. From her infectious smile, to her heartfelt, humble acceptance speech, and even her spur of the moment dance with a crowd-roaming Pharrell Williams in a ridiculous hat, Nyong'o exhibited an incredible amount of joy.

Humility is always a part of the Oscars, and there are always a few stars who steal our hearts with how genuinely they seem to appreciate their opportunities and success. Nyong'o took this to another level, and she and her brother looked to have more fun at the ceremony than anyone in recent memory. 


It Turns Out No Surprises- Is a Good Thing


Every year in the weeks following the Oscars, we inevitably see articles written about snubs and surprises. This year, there weren't any! The snubs took place beforehand, with the Academy having committed the unthinkable and ridiculous crime of failing to nominate Tom Hanks for his incredible work in "Captain Phillips." But at the actual ceremony, things went more or less according to plan. 

Screen Rant posed the question: Were there any surprises? Really, the answer is no. Some were surprised Nyong'o beat out Jennifer Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress, and perhaps "Gravity" pulled in more hardware than anyone expected. But there weren't any huge surprises, and while that made the Oscars more predictable, it was sort of refreshing not to have to get angry or frustrated about anything (other than poor Leonardo DiCaprio's ongoing lifelong Oscar drought).




Superheroes Were Completely Absent


Superheroes are flat out everywhere these days. Frankly, it's getting annoying to think of the film industry and see nothing in your mind but Iron Man whizzing around. Scroll through Moviefone and half of the news you'll find will be about casting rumors for a Marvel or DC film scheduled for a 2020 release (only a slight exaggeration). Browse through the iOS app store and you'll find various mediocre arcade games built around Marvel characters. Even at popular online gaming platform Betfair Arcade, you'll find casino style games with Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, etc. as themes. We can't even pull an arcade slot machine handle these days without comic book infusion. 

The Oscars were a delightful, refreshing, head-clearing exception, because there was hardly a hero to be seen. While hero films don't necessarily tend to rack up the awards, they still seem to overshadow the film industry—just not on its biggest night.


The Show Blended Old & New


All of the old, standard Oscar faces (as well as last year's headline performers) were present. Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and company all had prominent seats and were on television quite a bit. While these stars aren't quite as overwhelming as the superheroes being featured in daily film news and online gaming platforms, it was still nice to see them taking a back seat to some fresh new faces. 

On stage, the focus was largely on people we haven't necessarily seen a whole lot of. Okay, so Cate Blanchett was in familiar territory bringing home the Best Actress award, and it's not as if Best Picture director Steve McQueen is a nobody. But how about Nyong'o, Jared Leto, and Matthew McConaughey taking home top honors, or Spike Jonze winning Best Original Screenplay for a film about a man falling in love with a simulation? There was a fresh look to this year's Oscars on stage, and the night was all the better for it. 


Brad Pitt Was Front & Center


Brad Pitt is arguably the biggest movie star in the world. Even if he didn't have an extremely prominent role in 2013 (he played a small part in "12 Years a Slave"), it seemed only fitting that he was prominent at the show. Pitt spoke for the Best Picture reception, played an amused role in several of Ellen's antics, and even helped the hostess pass out pizza when she somewhat awkwardly ordered it to the ceremony. 


To be that pizza.

It really just seemed only right that Brad was a part of things. Not to mention, as Daily Mail notes in some detail, his romance with Angelina Jolie was adorable and fun for fans to see. This was just one more example of all the little things that made the 2014 Oscars a pretty great time.


I'm sorry this is a little late! Want to be a guest writer on the Useless Critic? Send me something, please! theuselesscritic@gmail.com

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