TIME movies

Captain Phillips Co-Star Barkhad Abdi Is ‘Struggling’

His work alongside Tom Hanks in his debut role grossed $200 million, but Academy Award-nominated actor Abdi only made $65,000 from the film and now relies on loaned clothes and help from friends to get by until his next big paycheck comes in

He may have made waves in the smash hit Captain Phillips and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, but Somali American actor Barkhad Abdi is struggling to keep his head above water financially, according to an article in the New Yorker.

While the film was a critical and financial success after netting more than $200 million globally, the first time actor was reportedly only paid $65,000 two years ago for his contribution, along with the occasional per diem for promoting the film.

Since relocating to Hollywood from Minnesota, the actor has had to rely on loaned clothes and the good graces of friends, including a Somali cabdriver who gives him free rides, to get by.

While the actor claims he’s in the process of reading through scripts, he has no nailed down roles lined up for the future, according to his IMDB page.

[New Yorker]

 

TIME Oscars

John Travolta Apologizes for Butchering Idina Menzel’s Name at the Oscars

Presenter John Travolta speaks during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Presenter John Travolta speaks during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. John Shearer—John Shearer/Invision/AP

Saturday Night Fever actor John Travolta said he's been "beating himself up all day" over his flubbed Oscars introduction of Frozen star Idina Menzel, who performed that movie's hit song "Let It Go" at the Academy Awards

After botching his introduction to Broadway actress and Frozen star Idina Menzel at Sunday night’s Oscars, John Travolta issued an apology of sorts Tuesday, but offered no explanation on why he called her “Adele Dazeem.”

“I’ve been beating myself up all day,” Travolta said in an emailed statement to the LA Times. “Then I thought…what would Idina Menzel say, She’d say, Let it go, let it go! Idina is incredibly talented and I am so happy Frozen took home two Oscars Sunday night!”

Menzel was at the Oscars performing “Let It Go,” the hit song from the animated picture.

[LA Times]

TIME movies

Forget The Oscar: Jared Leto Was Miscast in Dallas Buyers Club

Jared Leto as Rayon in Jean-Marc Vallée’s fact-based drama, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, a Focus Features release. Photo Credit:  Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features
Jared Leto as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. Anne Marie Fox—Focus Features

Imagine how many trans people could become stars if just given a chance

I didn’t need to glimpse even a single frame of Dallas Buyers Club to know that casting Jared Leto in the role of a trans woman was just plain wrong. I wasn’t interested in Leto’s acting capabilities, the portrayal of the character, or the quality of the film overall. I just couldn’t understand why another film had been created with a trans character that had no trans actor in that role. Now that he’s taken home the Oscar for best supporting actor for that role, the question matters even more.

As a trans woman, I’ve been watching movies that have major roles with trans characters for years. Film after film, I’ve sat on my couch or theater seat and wondered to myself why the directors almost never get it right. Why is the main or supporting character played by a cisgender person when they have plenty of other actors in the film that are trans, and giving a stellar performance? Did the investors of the film decide it was too risky? Was it the director who felt that the trans people who auditioned were not good enough? Did the director even audition trans people?

I found my answer when I listened with jaw dropped to what director Jean-Marc Vallee had to say on CBC Radio about casting a trans person as the role of Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. “Never,” he said. “Is there any transgender actor? To my knowledge — I don’t know one. I didn’t even think about it”. When the interviewer interjected with, “Of course there are transgender actors,” Vallee answered with, “Which ones? There’s like five, or three, or what — two? I never thought of that. I never thought of hiring a real rodeo guy to play the rodeo Ron Woodruff. And just like in every film — we’re actors, we’re directors. I’m not aiming for the real thing. I’m aiming for an experienced actor who wants to portray the thing.”

(MORE: Don’t Applaud Jared Leto’s Transgender ‘Mammy’)

Vallee’s response makes me wonder if he would ever take, or has taken, the time to search for a black person to play the role of an essential black character in any of his films? Would he find it prudent to dress up a white man in brown make up, teach him how to “act black” and put him in the role simply because he just didn’t think about it, or because he thought black actors were just not experienced enough?

It’s one thing when actors take on other races or genders in movies like Cloud Atlas. After all, that was a part of what that movie was all about, and it was equal across the board in terms of actors switching roles. But, not considering a minority to play an essential minority role? Not honestly searching for that breakthrough ‘undiscovered’ actor in an acting school, or local film and theater scene across this country?

Every year we have breakthrough performances by cisgender actors with relatively little experience. My personal favorite is Michelle Rodriguez in her role as Diana Guzman in Girlfight. Or more recently Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, and Mahat M. ali in Captain Phillips. These four men with Somali roots were picked out of obscurity with little to no acting experience out of a casting call of around 700 men –Abdi was even nominated alongside Jared Leto for best supporting actor. Their superb acting abilities showed there are times when no previous acting experience is necessarily needed when one has authenticity.

How many trans people could become stars if just given a chance? How many more actors like Orange Is The New Black’s Laverne Cox are out there? Or are we to believe she is the only one? With the amount of time spent on Dallas Buyers Club, couldn’t the director have spent some of it on finding a trans actor? He could have come up with at least 10 trans actors within just a few minutes of a Google search, and way more if he actually thought about it.

(MORE: Hollywood’s Surprising New Character)

On Saturday I finally saw the film. It was indeed moving, as moving as all of the other movies that I have watched in the past that have tackled LGBT or HIV/AIDS issues and have had a trans character’s role played by a cisgender person. But I can’t shake the sense that this is reminiscent of when black roles in film were few to none. I can’t seem to shake how Laverne Cox hasn’t had an Oscar nominated role, no matter how admired she is as the only major American trangender actor, nearly reaching the status of Sidney Poitier to her fans.

Dallas Buyers Club also got me thinking about movies I loved, and one in particular: Haywire, starring Gina Carrano. After Gina’s run as an MMA fighter she moved on to secure acting roles in action films, which is quite common for MMA fighters with no acting experience. I wondered if there would be any such possibility for me or any other trans person on the face of the planet. Could I imagine that? A serious trans action star? Or a trans role in an action or SCI-Fi movie that wasn’t just there to be made fun of, or to redeem another character? I’d like to imagine a groundbreaking trans hero.

I’d like to imagine a writer and director with enough imagination, passion and guts to create a story that humanizes a trans character and is brought to life with the kind of vivid details a trans actor could bring to the role. Yes, in addition to the many missed opportunities for trans actors, having enough roles in film that positively portray trans people is another problem I often ponder.

Having the opportunity to play positive roles seems slim for trans actors when I look at the abysmal lack of confidence and intestinal fortitude of Hollywood. I can’t be the only one to have dreamed of such uplifting opportunities for our community. But that will never happen if no one sheds light on the absence of trans actors and no one dares to challenge the absence of trans actors and the unequivocal celebration of cis actors in trans roles.

Fallon Fox is a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, and one of only a few out Trans athletes competing on the professional level, her participation and unwavering determination to continue in her sport caused commissions to look into creating guidelines for trans athlete participation. Fallon’s story has inspired millions inside and out of the LGBT community.

TIME Ukraine

Russia Denies Cutting Jared Leto’s Ukraine Shoutout From Oscars Broadcast

After the state-run television station canceled planned live coverage of the awards ceremony

Russia’s state-run television station station is denying it aired a censored version of the Academy Awards ceremony that omitted Jared Leto’s mention of Ukraine in his acceptance speech.

“The channel aired a 90-minute international version of the Oscar ceremony, which was not to be cut and was provided by the rights holder,” a spokesperson for Channel One told The Hollywood Reporter.

Channel One was criticized after it canceled planned live coverage of the Oscars ceremony, opting instead to air a recorded version later. Large segments of the ceremony were omitted from the trimmed down recorded version, including Jared Leto’s award acceptance speech in which he made reference to the turmoil in Ukraine.

“To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight, in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say: We are here, and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight,” he said.

The Russian station acknowledges Leto’s speech was not in its Oscars broadcast but denies the station was responsible for the censoring.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: The Internet Loved Ellen, Selfies, Kerry Washington’s Unborn Child

Oscar Statuettes On Display At Chicago Museum Of Science & Industry
Oscar statuettes are displayed on Jan. 23, 2004, at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois Tim Boyle—Getty Images

Conversation on Twitter was nearly 100% positive when it came to this year's Oscars host

At last night’s Oscars ceremony, the unspoken winner was Twitter — and the winner of Twitter was Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres.

Even if her sunny take on the Academy Awards got some critical demerits for being bland, social-media data put together by the research company Fizziology shows that Twitter conversation about DeGeneres’ hosting gig was pretty unanimously (as in 99%) positive, and her opening monologue scored marks nearly that high. Basically, nobody had anything bad to say about her — or if they did, they kept their comments to themselves.

On the other hand, those who did like her and her stunts were very vocal: more than three-quarters of all the people tweeting about the Oscars during the broadcast were talking about her record-breaking selfie — and the volume of conversation jumped 3,000% in the selfie-centric moments around 10:00 pm. (The second-most-vocal group was comprised of people who thought Leonardo DiCaprio should have won.)

(MORE: Oscars 2014 Recap: 12 Years a Slave Is King, and Lupita Nyong’o the Princess Bride)

Meanwhile, over at Google, people who wondered how many times he’s been nominated (answer: this year makes four acting nods) made that question one of the most-asked Oscars-related queries during the broadcast. The only ones that were more popular than that were:

  • Who presented with Matthew McConaughey?
  • Who is Jennifer Lawrence dating?
  • When is Kerry Washington due?
  • What is Dallas Buyers Club about?

So, to save time for those of you who haven’t joined the searching hordes yet, here are your answers: Kim Novak, of Vertigo fame; X-Men co-star Nicholas Hoult; “Spring,” says TVLine.com; and a real HIV-positive Texan man who smuggled experimental drugs into the U.S. for AIDS patients.

You’re welcome.

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: Inside the Rhyming “Let It Go” Acceptance Speech and ‘Frozen 2′

For the legions of Frozen fans out there, a Best Song win for “Let It Go” may have seemed like a foregone conclusion — but not so much to its creators.

“The [nominated] songs were all so good and they were presented so well that it was underlining how close the race probably was,” Robert Lopez, who wrote the song with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, tells TIME. “It was making us very nervous because we knew how exciting it would be to win.”

But, of course, they had no reason to worry. They won — and Lopez scored an EGOT along the way.

(MORE: Oscars 2014 Recap: 12 Years a Slave Is King, and Lupita Nyong’o the Princess Bride)

“When they called our names, what really was going through my mind was how great it was to be going through this with Kristen, who is really my best friend, my wife, and the mother of my kids,” says Lopez. “It’s a real blessing.”

It was also good news for fans of rhyming couplets. The ultra-cute rhyming acceptance speech that the pair delivered was his wife’s concept, says Lopez.

In fact, she had come up with the idea — and convinced her somewhat reluctant husband to play along — back when they were nominated for a Golden Globe; they didn’t win, however, so they were able to use the same speech on Oscars night. Well, almost: the other awards show was close to Pixar exec John Lasseter’s birthday, which has now passed, so they had to update a “Happy birthday to you” to a “Happy Oscars to you.” (Despite the second line of that couplet, Lopez says not to get too excited. Frozen 2 just rhymes with “you”; it doesn’t actually exist — yet.)

As for that EGOT, Lopez says there’s been no secret handshake or club induction. (Or is he just not telling us?) “I’m waiting for the email from [most recent EGOTer] Scott Rudin,” he jokes. “I’m really honored to be part of it, but I know it’s just a statistical coincidence.”

But the EGOT does help with at least one thing: interior-decorating decisions. Asked where he’ll keep his new statuette, Lopez has an answer ready: “Probably next to the the Emmy, Grammy and Tony!”

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: Viewership Hits 10-Year High

86th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Ellen DeGeneres onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Kevin Winter—Getty Images

The fun-but-safe show brought in impressive ratings

Sunday night’s Oscars scored 43 million viewers this year — up 2.5 million from last year, according to Nielsen ratings — meaning that Ellen DeGeneres courted the most viewers since Billy Crystal in 2004.

Only NFL playoff games have earned comparable viewership numbers in recent years. The Oscars telecast was the biggest non-sports audience on network television since the 2004 season finale of Friends.

It turns out the awards show is better off erring on the bland side than when they stir up controversy. A wider audience tuned into DeGeneres’ unexciting but fun hosting stint than Seth MacFarlene’s boob-gate Oscars last year, which earned only 40.4 million viewers.

DeGeneres and her writers stayed mostly on the safe side with her jokes, opting for a long bit in which the host distributed pizza to Hollywood starlets over, say, jabs at Leonardo DiCaprio about his sex life. The harshest stab went to Liza Minnelli: “And I have to say, one of the most amazing Liza Minnelli impersonators I have seen in my entire life,” DeGeneres said, as the camera showed the real Minnelli in the crowd. “Good job, sir.”

This year’s show even stayed steady in the finicky 18-49 demographic with a 12.9, down from 13.0 last year — either thanks to or in spite of the incessant Twitter and selfie jokes. Hashtag blessed.

TIME Oscars

Review: Pizza Night at Ellen DeGeneres’ 2014 Oscars

86th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Host Ellen DeGeneres (right) and actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (far left) with pizza delivery man in the audience during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood. Kevin Winter—Getty Images

The 86th annual Academy Awards, hosted by television funnywoman Ellen DeGeneres, was bland and predictable as the host focused more on creating "moments" -- like one heck of an epic selfie -- rather than making jokes, writes James Poniewozik

As a TV show, last night’s was not an exciting Academy Awards. It was not very risk-taking or memorable, and I’d have a hard time coming up with a line from the host you’re likely to remember and quote in years to come, or maybe even tomorrow. Of course, last year’s Oscars did, and that line was “We saw your boobs.” That may give you some idea of what the Oscars were going for, a year after Seth MacFarlane celebrated topless actresses, with second-time host Ellen DeGeneres and a generally friendly but tepid and slack awards-cast this year.

DeGeneres’s most distinctive acts as host were less about making jokes than creating moments. At one point mid-ceremony, she crowded together a gaggle of celebs near the stage–Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, Lupita Nyong’o, and many more–for a cheery, crowded group selfie, with the goal of creating the most-retweeted photo ever on Twitter. It worked; the pic blasted through Barack Obama‘s record, collecting millions of RTs in a few hours. And the smartphone, in the outstretched hand of Cooper, happened to be a Samsung–a major sponsor.

It was Oscars in miniature–a little stuffed and crowded, designed to involve the folks at home and show the stars in a good light, not take itself too seriously or make anyone too uncomfortable, and sell a bunch of stuff along the way. Seth MacFarlane saw your boobs. Ellen DeGeneres saw you take a really cool selfie with the Samsung Galaxy!

For a few minutes in the monologue, it looked like DeGeneres might take a different, sharper tone: she and her writers worked up a set of zingers just this side of mean, and maybe on the other side of it, as when she cited Liza Minnelli as “One of the best Liza Minnelli impersonators that I have seen in my entire life… Good job, sir!” She closed with her best joke, which both foreshadowed the predictability of the major awards (a lot of people did really well in their Oscar pools last night) and hinted at their pop-cultural stakes: “Possibility number one: Twelve Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists. And now welcome our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway!”

After the monologue, DeGeneres settled into her comfort zone, which was helping everyone else settle into their comfort zones. She wasn’t a host, like Jon Stewart or Chris Rock in the past, firing barbs from outside; she was a go-between for the viewers at home and the celebrities in the room. Unlike in many recent awards shows, the host didn’t vanish halfway through the awards; she went into the crowd and worked the room, notably with an extended bit in which she ordered pizza for the crowd (or at least those lucky folks down in front).

The running jokes about paying the delivery guy didn’t kill, but like the selfie stunt, the gag created some funny visuals and had the side benefit of letting the Stars Be Just Like Us, chowing down on slices (or at least seeming to get ready to) in front of a pizza-loving America. (Compare that with a really cringe-making pre-Oscar skit by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, who walked through a TV and lectured a slovenly couple, cheese-puff dust on their fingers, for writing mean tweets about celebrities.)

The whole broadcast, really, was like a party-sized order of standard cheese pizza. You weren’t going to go to your grave craving it. It was a little bland. But nobody actively hates it, and at least there was a lot of it. A whoooooole lot; while the broadcast ran an unfortunately standard three and a half hours, it felt slack and slowly paced by the producers. There were interminable clip jobs of movies from Hollywood’s past. (Don’t like this year’s movies? Hey, you can always rent these!) There was a squishy, vague “Heroes” theme, unassertive policing of winners who ran long at the podium, and momentum-killing productions like Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” after the In Memoriam reel.

But the plain-cheese pie that was the 2014 Oscars did provide a canvas for the toppings, the unpredictable moments created by the stars and newcomers the night is meant to celebrate. Lupita Nyong’o of Twelve Years a Slave gave an absolutely stirring acceptance of her first Oscar for her first movie, honoring the real-life slave woman her character was based on and telling the world audience, “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” Songwriter Robert Lopez–accepting with a dueling-lines speech with his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez–won the real-life version of 30 Rock’s coveted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards). Singer Darlene Love belted an a cappella acceptance for the documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom. Kevin Spacey won big sheers slipping into the voice of House of Cards’ Francis Underwood, a reminder of the increasing cachet TV carries now even on the movies’ night. And it wouldn’t be Hollywood without at least one head-scratcher: John Travolta, introducing Frozen singer and Broadway star Idina Menzel as–I think?–“Adele Dazim.”

Year after year, the Oscars attempts a feat, bringing a world audience together to see blessings showered on the already blessed and to feel good about it. I can’t say I was wildly entertained by DeGeneres or the show producers built around her. But if they managed to get a crowd at home chuckling at the site of take-out being ordered for a theater of people already going home with platinum goodie bags, they accomplished something. Ellen DeGeneres did not show up at the Oscars to deliver blistering comedy. But at least she delivered pizza.

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014 Recap: ’12 Years a Slave’ Is King, and Lupita Nyong’o the Princess Bride

Lupita Nyong'o
Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

On a ragged Oscars show, the Best Supporting Actress gave the year's most powerful performance

“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,” said Lupita Nyong’o, accepting the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 12 Years a Slave. She paid tribute to Patsey, the doomed, winsome slave she played, and to her director, Steve McQueen, “for putting me in this position. This has been the joy of my life.”

Tears of joy overwhelmed Nyong’o for a second, but she pressed on, emotion not impeding but rather, stoking her eloquence. “I’m certain that the dead [slaves] are standing about you and watching, and they are grateful, and so am I.” She glanced at the award and added, “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.” As she strode off stage to cheers from the Hollywood swells who, six months ago, didn’t know her name — let alone how to pronounce it — she cradled the Oscar like her own newborn.

Among the major awards show, the Academy bash is at a disadvantage. On the Grammy and Tony programs, performers sing the number that got them nominated. The Emmys are at least consistent: TV stars get prizes on TV, and the TV audience watches. But the Oscar winners, the famous ones, are actors who strain for one night to play the public version of themselves — unless a ray of genuine emotion fills this cathedral of self-congratulation, as with Nyong’o’s two minutes in the spotlight. Radiant in her ice-blue Prada gown, with a headband as a talisman of her Kenyan home, she gave testimony that was both nakedly honest and some kind of great acting. No wonder she won. Primed by her work in 12 Years a Slave, the voters wanted to see her give another passionate performance, and she rewarded their faith.

(SEE: Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar acceptance speech)

Good thing, too, for the 86th Academy Awards, which was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and lasted three-and-a-half hours — or, and just try comprehending this, longer than The Wolf of Wall Street — was a glam but tame affair. Its winners held few surprises for the cognoscenti (i.e., the readers of our Oscar predictions package last week).

McQueen’s scalding antislavery document — and, in a way, the anti-Gone With the Wind — took Best Picture, Supporting Actress and, for John Ridley, Adapted Screenplay. The space-survival drama Gravity won seven awards, most prominently Alfonso Cuarón’s Best Director prize. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto took their expected citations as Actor and Supporting Actor in Dallas Buyers Club, and Cate Blanchett was named Best Actress for Blue Jasmine. Disney’s Frozen received its inevitable awards for Animated Feature and Best Song —”Let It Go.”

(READ: Why Gravity was never going to win Best Picture)
Slave, Gravity, Dallas and Frozen accounted for 15 of the 21 feature-film awards; the others winners, besides Blue Jasmine, were Her for Original Screenplay, The Great Gatsby for Production Design and Costumes, The Great Beauty for Foreign Language Feature and Twenty Feet From Stardom for Documentary Feature. That means a lot of major contenders got nothing but a slice of the pizza that DeGeneres handed out to the more celebrated members of the Dolby Theater audience. Of the nine finalists for Best Picture, five got totally stiffed: a putative frontrunner, American Hustle, plus Captain Phillips, Nebraska, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street. That’s just one reason that the Academy should trim the number of Best Picture nominees from the current bloated nine or 10 to the old svelte five: It would keep the producers of the bottom four or five films from spending millions on Oscar campaigns likely to result in soul-crushing disappointment.

There’s a certain charm in DeGeneres’ pretense that hosting the movie industry’s most watched and important show is no big deal; less charm when the whole enterprise carries the whiff of amateurism. Her call for an all-star selfie, which briefly busted Twitter, was fun (for Twitter), but the pizza-delivery gag quickly turned cold and soggy. The cameras didn’t always pick up the celebrity who needed to be glimpsed at a telltale moment. The film-clip tributes to Heroes, the evening’s theme, were often perfunctory, outshone by the clever or affecting two-minute commercials for GooglePlay, iPad Air, Pepsi and Chobani Yogurt. Oscar commercials are as fancy as Supper Bowl spots but are aimed at the predominantly female viewership; they have more references to movies and fewer kicks in the balls.

(READ: Why Twitter was the biggest Oscar winner)

Dropping the usual opening musical number was a good idea — DeGeneres also refrained from dancing with the stars — since later Pink would be performing “Over the Rainbow” (including the infrequently heard intro) and Bette Midler was to follow the Deceased Artiste photo montage (sadly ignoring Alain Resnais, the great French director who had died at 91 the night before) with “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” The two divas were fine, but Idina Menzel gave a sloppy, overly mannered reading of “Let It Go.” Perhaps she was frazzled when presenter John Travolta, in an almost Olympic feat of dyslexia, announced, “Please welcome the wickedly talented, one and only Adele Dazeem.” Now everyone wants a John Travolta-style name at an awards show.

So one had to go trolling for incidental pleasures, guilty or otherwise: Leto’s pledge of solidarity to viewers in Venezuela (where the broadcast network had dropped carrying the show) and Ukraine; Bill Murray’s elegiac adding to the list of cinematographer nominees “And Harold Ramis for Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day“; cinematographer Emanuel Lubezki’s thanking of his teachers — “not all of them but some of them”; and the acceptance speech of Laurent Witz, the upset winner of Animated Short for Mr. Hublot. (How could we not have urged readers to vote for that wonderful film?) Holding a paper with the names to thank, the director’s hands literally shook with nervous joy. In front of a billion or so viewers, Witz was palsied with pleasure.

Nyong’o, another Oscar novice, was more poised, and even more touching. She gave the finest performance of the young 2014.

TIME

See TIME’s Portraits of the Winning Actors From the 2014 Oscars

Beautiful photographs of the four winners in the acting categories show their craft

The Oscars have come and gone, but these four performances are enduring. Here, find TIME’s portraits of the actors who took home the top prizes at the 86th Academy Awards: Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o.

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