TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: And the Award for Best Picture Goes To…

12 Years a Slave took home the biggest award of the night

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It didn’t come as a surprise when 12 Years a Slave took home Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards — it was the favored pick for the biggest award of the night — but it was still a delight to see the cast and crew pile up on stage to accept the award.

Producer and co-star Brad Pitt took the mic first: “I know I speak for everyone standing behind me that it’s been an absolute privilege to work on Solomon [Northrup]‘s story,” he said. “And we all get to stand up here tonight because of one man who brought us all together to tell that story, and that is the indomitable Mr. Steve McQueen.”

McQueen took over, first returning the gratitude to Pitt — “Without him, this film would not have been made,” he said — then going on to thank his industry cohorts, most of whom were female. “I have all women in my life,” he said. “They’re all the most powerful.”

If he seemed flustered, he recovered nicely in his final moments on stage — after a heartfelt message to everyone who has endured or continues to endure slavery, he turned around and quite literally jumped for joy. His jubilance was well-earned.

TIME Oscars

Watch Pink Sing ‘Over the Rainbow’ at the Oscars

She took on the classic tune as part of a tribute to 'The Wizard of Oz'

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Seventy-five years ago, Hollywood welcomed a very special movie: The Wizard of Oz. In honor of that milestone, the Oscars ceremony paid tribute its star, Judy Garland, by inviting her three children (Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft) to celebrate.

And the Academy also invited a non-relative to get involved: Pink.

(PHOTOS: Celebrities Walk the Oscars Red Carpet)

As the Los Angeles Times points out, the tribute wasn’t totally random. The theme of the broadcast (as viewers may have noticed from the evening’s multiple montages) was about heroism, and Dorothy Gale was counted among those ranks.

(PHOTOS: TIME’s Portraits of the Winning Actors from the 2014 Oscars)

Our vote for the real hero of the performance, however, goes to Pink’s gown. Over the rainbow? More like over the top.

(MORE: Rare Publicity Photos from The Wizard of Oz)

TIME Oscars

Explaining Matthew McConaughey’s Confounding Acceptance Speech

Matthew McConaughey accepts the Oscar for best actor for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club" at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood
Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

We parse it all for you — "Amen and Alright Alright Alright"

What exactly did he mean by all that?

After winning for his role as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyer’s Club, Matthew McConaughey launched into a semi-bizarre tale about his inner life. Here is what we learned:

1. He needs someone to look up to, something to look forward to and someone to chase.

2. He wants to thank God, who he looks up to. God is all about gratitude.

3. He wants to thank his family, who he looks forward to. His deceased father, he believes, is celebrating with a big pot of gumbo and a can of Miller Lite. His mother, still with us, taught him how to respect himself.

4. The person he chases is himself, 10 years into the future. He knows he will never catch up, but he wants to find out who that guy will turn out to be.

5. To all of that, he says “Amen,” “Alright, Alright, Alright” and “Keep on Livin’.”

(PHOTOS: TIME’s Portraits of the Winning Actors from the 2014 Oscars)

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014 Superlatives: The Real Winners and Losers from the Academy Awards

86th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Kevin Winter—Getty Images

Our Oscars go to...

If the Academy asks us to sit down for over three and a half hours to watch an awards ceremony, you better believe that we are going to make a list of superlatives that chronicles the good, the bad, and the ugly.

With that in mind: Here is TIME’s real winners and losers of the 2014 Academy Awards:

Most likely to get lice: Everyone in this selfie

Biggest missed opportunity: Lice or not, Liza missed out the most viral tweet of all time

Most beautiful: According to host Ellen DeGeneres, “I’m not going to say who looks the most beautiful, but it’s clear: It’s Jared Leto.”

Most appropriate award presenter: Kim Novak for Frozen

86th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Most likely to be the butt of a joke: Jonah Hill’s penis, which actually got called out by DeGeneres more times than Jennifer Lawrence’s fall last year.

Dress most likely to cause a seizure: Anne Hathaway. So. Many. Sparkles.

Biggest snub: Leonardo DiCaprio to the pizza guy. Say yes to the carbs, Leo.

Most appreciated off-book moment: Bill Murray’s tribute to Harold Ramis

Best source of current events: Jared Leto’s Oscar acceptance speech

Most likely to get a Dancing with the Stars deal: Pharrell and Meryl

Biggest Twitter fail of the night: NBC News

It was corrected to this:

Best blazer: Nicholas Reed, Oscar winner for documentary The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Most likely to shatter our Frozen hearts: Idina Menzel.

Most likely to be sold for tens of thousands of dollars on eBay: Lupita Nyong’o’s lip balm

Best mea culpa: And the Oscar goes to … The Academy

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: Watch Lupita Nyong’o’s Emotional Acceptance Speech

Lupita Nyong'o won Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave, then gave an acceptance speech reminding viewers of her own personal journey while also giving a nod to history, saying the dead "are greatful" they brought the past to life

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A year ago, most of the world hadn’t heard of Lupita Nyong’o — but in her acceptance speech for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar she just took home for her work in 12 Years a Slave, she reminded viewers that there’s a long history behind how she got to that stage.

“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is due to so much pain in someone else’s,” she said in reference to Patsey, the slave she portrayed in the acclaimed film, which was based on a real-life memoir.

(PHOTOS: Celebrities Walk the Oscars Red Carpet)

In addition to thanking the usual Academy Awards suspects — castmates, her drama school, the Academy — she drew attention to the real people whose stories she helped bring to the big screen: Speaking to director Steve McQueen, she noted that the dead are watching, and that she believes “they are grateful” that he brought their history back to life.

But her speech didn’t just stick to the past. In a tear-jerking conclusion, she expressed her wish that her unknown-to-Oscars trajectory would inspire someone watching at home to go for it — because, as she explained: “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

Watch her speech below.

(MORE: Give All the Awards to Lupita Nyong’o for Her Inspirational Speech About Beauty)

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: Watch Jared Leto’s Amazing Acceptance Speech for Supporting Actor

Jared Leto took the night's first award and made it a doozy

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Jared Leto took the night’s first award and made it a doozy. Here’s what he had to say, touching on everything from his dear old mom to current events:

“Incredible. Ellen, I love you. To my fellow nominees, I’m so proud to share this journey with you. I’m in awe and have so much respect for you all. To the Academy, thank you.

(PHOTOS: TIME’s Portraits of the Winning Actors from the 2014 Oscars)

In 1971, in Bossier City Louisiana, there was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged here kids to be creative and work hard and do something special. That girl was my mother and she’s here tonight. I just want to say ‘I love you mom, thank you for teaching me to dream.’

To my brother Shannon, the best big brother in the world: Thank you so much for sharing this insane adventure that is 30 Seconds to Mars and for being my best friend.

(PHOTOS: Your Favorite Celebs on the Red Carpet)

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

[Then he did the typical Oscar thank you....before moving one to a more heartfelt subject:]

This is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS. And to those of you who have ever felt injustice because of who you are and who you love, I stand here in front of the world with you and for you.

Thank you so much, and good night.”

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: Watch The Best Jokes From Ellen’s Monologue

86th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Kevin Winter—Getty Images

Host Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the Oscar ceremony with a straight-up stand-up monologue

Host Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the Oscar ceremony with a straight-up stand-up monologue. She wasn’t quite in the same league as Tina and Amy at The Globes, but she landed a few solid jokes. Here are the ones that grabbed the Academy audience.

On the Weather: “For those of you watching around the world, it’s been a tough couple of days for us. It has been raining. We’re fine. Thank you for your prayers.”

On the Elderly: “June Squibb is nominated for Nebraska. At 84 she is the oldest nominee. She was wonderful in Nebraska. (Addressing Squibb) I’M TELLING EVERYONE YOU WERE WONDERFUL IN NEBRASKA.”

(PHOTOS: Your Favorite Celebs on the Red Carpet)

On Actors from Foreign Countries: “Lupita Nyong’o is here. She is from Kenya. She is a Kenyan. Barkhad Abdi from Captain Phillips is here. He is nominated He is from Somalia. He is a sommelier. So he knows a lot about wine. Who’s the wine captain now?!?!?”

On Hollywood Narcissism: “I’m not saying movies are the most important thing in the world, because we all know the most important thing in the world is youth. But really, we know that the most important thing in life is love and friendship and family. And if people don’t have those things, they usually get into show business. We are all one big, frightened family.”

On Top Nominees: “One of the nominees is her. And by ‘her’ I mean Meryl Streep.”

(PHOTOS: TIME’s Portraits of the Winning Actors from the 2014 Oscars)

To Jennifer Lawrence, who tripped last year and stumbled on a parking cone on the way to this year’s show: “If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar.”

On Oscar Vanity: “I’m not going to say who looks the most beautiful, but it’s clear: It’s Jared Leto.”

On Dallas Buyer’s Club: “It deals with the important issue of people who have sex at rodeos.”

TIME Oscars

These Are The Most Shared Oscar Photos On Twitter

TIME Oscars

Call It the Independent Oscar Awards

“In case this is the last time I get to thank anyone,” Jared Leto said yesterday on receiving the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male, “I wrote down a couple names.” He then thanked his costar Matthew McConaughey, adding, “After Dallas Buyers Club I think I’m gonna pull an opposite McConaissance and just do romantic comedies.” He also thanked homemade burritos, the makers of vegan butter, “Whitcomb L. Judson, the inventor of the zipper,” Wayne Gretzky, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Ansel Adams, Jackson Pollock, Steve Jobs and Baby Jesus.

And “I want to thank all the women I’ve been with, and all the women who think they’ve been with me.” And “my future ex-wife Lupita” Nyong’o, the 12 Years a Slave actress whom the press has linked romantically, and perhaps fancifully, with Leto. “I’m thinkin’ about ya.” Finally he acknowledged “the 36 million who have died of AIDS and the 35 million who are still living with HIV-AIDS around the world. I dedicate this to you, to the LGBT and Q community. Here’s to life.”

(READ: Why Jared Leto will win Best Supporting Actor)

A saving grace of the Independent Spirit Awards, which pay tribute to films with budgets under $20 million, is that the winners don’t get played off the stage after 45 seconds. They get to talk as long as they want; McConaughey, in his speech for winning Best Actor, went on for six (agreeable) minutes. He may have spoken longer: the evening TV version of the afternoon awards, played on IFC, trimmed some of the acceptance speeches, including Leto’s. And it didn’t air or even announce the awards for Foreign Film (Blue Is the Warmest Color), Cinematography (12 Years a Slave), Editing (Short Term 12) or Ensemble Cast, which went to Mud, starring… Matthew McConaughey.

IFC cut those important parts of the ceremony for time, yet kept all of host Patton Oswalt’s subpar opening monologue plus many lame all-star presentations (excepting Andy Samberg and Bill Hader’s droll listing of the women who had inspired them, including Cher, Justine Bateman, Ann Romney, “the queen alien from Aliens,” “the ladies of Living Single” and “the girl with the horns attached to her head in True Detective” — which led them to surmise who is the Yellow King in McConaughey’s HBO series). That the channel also found time to run about 30 minutes of commercials, including seven promos for its own sitcom Portlandia, betrayed the very notion of film independence. Do your own thing and we’ll reward you for it, the show might have told the honored moviemakers. Just don’t expect us to let people see it.

(READ: Why Matthew McConaughey will win Best Actor)

In a way, though, people will get to see a replay of the Independent Spirit Awards tonight; it will be called the 86th Academy Awards. If the predictions of all-knowing outsiders (including me) are accurate, five of the six “major” categories will have the same winners. Leto will have one more chance to thank people, as will McConaughey. Cate Blanchett, for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, and Nyong’o are favored to be the laureled actresses, and 12 Years a Slave the Best Picture.

The one likely difference: Alfonso Cuarón, not Slave’s Steve McQueen, should be named Best Director for Gravity. Only if the unlikely occurs — if Gravity manages to win Best Picture, and Nyong’o gets outpointed by Jennifer Lawrence for her role in American Hustle — will the pack of winners be considered mainstream. Otherwise, this is the year the Academy went off-Hollywood.

(READ: Why Alfonso Cuarón will win Best Director for Gravity)

Of the nine nominees for Best Picture, only four — Gravity, American Hustle, Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street — had production budgets higher than $25 million. The movies that cost more earned more at the domestic box office: more than $100 million for those four, with Gravity the breakout hit, registering a $270-million North American gross. The five low-budget movies — Slave, Dallas, Philomena, Nebraska and Her — never broke through to the mass audience. Slave reached $50 million just this weekend. Philomena is nearing $35 million, Dallas and Her are stuck at $25 million, and Nebraska scraped up $17 million. Together, these five films have been seen by about the same number of people as saw American Hustle.

Even with the big Gravity number, the nine Best Picture finalists earned about $775 million, or 20 percent below the $940 million amassed by last year’s nine, when six of the finalists (Lincoln, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Argo, Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook) pulled in more than $100 million, and a seventh (Zero Dark Thirty) made $92 million.

(READ: Why Gravity should win Best Picture, but won’t)

Of course a film’s budget, let alone its box-office showing, is incidental to its quality — or to whether it wins an important Oscar. Four years ago, Avatar (cost about $270 million, earned $2.8 billion worldwide) lost Best Picture to The Hurt Locker (cost $15 million, earned less than $50 million). But fewer hit films that dominate the public conversation means fewer people tuning in to the big show. The lack of moviegoers’ investment in more than half of the nine Best Picture nominees is one reason that tonight’s Oscar-cast, however charming Ellen DeGeneres may prove as host, will suffer worse ratings than last year’s.

The program is usually a snooze-a-thon anyway; it’s less appealing and less fun than the Grammy, Emmy or Tony awards. If the television audience is to be entertained, the producers better hope for some blips in the script — like McConaughey removing his shirt to display those fab abs, or Leto thanking Ted Cruz. Then again, Blanchett might save the evening. In 2005, when she won Best Supporting Actress for The Aviator, she told her director, Martin Scorsese, “I hope my son will marry your daughter.” If she made the same vow to her Blue Jasmine director, she could light up the Twitterverse.

TIME Oscars 2014

Oscar’s Hottest Tinder Profiles: Which Way Will You Swipe?

It's going down, the Academy's yelling "Tinder!"

Filled out your Oscar ballot yet? Better hurry — the days are whizzing by.

To help with your choices — after all, the acting categories involve some tough decisions — we decided to turn to our favorite dating app and Tinderize some of the year’s best characters. Should you find yourself in the Dolby Ballroom on Sunday night, be sure to swipe right — you’re in good company.

Profiles are (obviously) fictitious.

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