by Roger Walker-Dack
ELLEN DEGNERES was back to host again after a 7-year break and kicked in to top gear from the word go with her hilarious monologue by referring to LIZA MINELLI as being represented by a female impersonator. Flash to Miss Minnelli sitting with her half sister LORNA LUFT and you can see that they do unmistakably look like a couple of drag queens.
The sisters were there as part of the celebration for their mother’s classic movie THE WIZARD OF OZ that was introduced by WHOOPI GOLDBERG, complete with striped stockings and red Dorothy shoes. And then came PINK, looking shockingly feminine in her sparkly red dress, who simply blew the audience away with her spine tingling version of SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW, which bought the whole house to its feet.
There had been an earlier standing ovation for DARLENE LOVE who had been on stage to help accept the well-deserved BEST DOCUMENTARY OSCAR for ‘TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM’, the compelling story of all the Back Up singers who stayed out of the spotlight. Instead of a speech, Ms Love simply sang her thanks in her own inimtable style
Kudos to JARED LETO for his stirring tribute to his mother when he won his BEST SUPPORTING OSCAR for playing a transgender character in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, and for the very moving dedication of his Award to all the people that had died from AIDS. A similar and equally touching gesture was made by ADRUITHA LEE & ROBIN MATHEWS who won Oscars for hair and makeup for the same movie.
The most excited winner was young Kenyan actress LUPITA NYONG’O who picked up BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS OSCAR for her part in 12 YEARS A SLAVE proving that well-deserved unknown actors can still break through. Her exuberance was matched by her British Director STEVE MCQUEEN when the movie beat the favorite (GRAVITY) to pick up the BEST PICTURE OSCAR and, as the closing credits of the telecast rolled, he was literally jumping up and down on the stage with sheer joy like a kid.
Most heartfelt and genuine speech was from CATE BLANCHETT when she picked up her BEST ACTRESS OSCAR, and for my money, her elegant beaded GIORGIO ARMANI DRESS was the best of the bunch, too.
A no-thrills BETTE MIDLER making her very first singing appearance at the OSCARS followed the IN MEMORIUM TRIBUTE to all the Hollywood greats who have gone to the movie theatre in the sky this year, with her ‘anthem’ WIND BENEATH MY WINGS that insured there were not many dry eyes in the audience.
In was a fun, albeit overly long, evening with none of the usual big production numbers and had ELLEN mixing in with the star-studied audience a great deal ….. the popularity of hilarious ‘selfie’ she shot on her phone with MERYL STREEP and other front row stars actually managed tip bring Twitter to a grinding halt. The whole night was just like the running gag had about JONAH HILL literally exposing himself in a scene in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET that Ellen declared was something she had not seen in a very long time.