Beastly Reviews: The 2014 Academy Awards

Hey you,

I don’t know if you got to watch the Oscars, but I did, so here’s a recap.

Bradley Cooper is hot, but so is Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, which scooped up wins. Bafflingly, the film was given the Oscar for Best Cinematography, even though the entire film is CGI. What “cinematography” actually exists in the film will be a question debated in film classes for the next few years.  This New York Times article explains how the film was made. Similar to Avatar a few years ago, the creative team had to invent a new form of moviemaking. This seems to be a growing trend since Best Cinematography awards have gone to CGI-heavy flicks in recent years.

Sanda Bullock's performance in Gravity is one of the best of her career.

Joaquin Phoenix won nothing for his career-defining performance in Her, even though he delivered, in my humble opinion, this year’s most complex performance. Her did win Best Original Screenplay. When I saw Dallas Buyers Club its opening week, I thought, “This film is so hard to market that it’s going to get utterly ignored.” I was wrong.

Matthew McConaughey seemed out of place in the main role, but he delivered the performance of his career. McConaughey started changing audience expectations in 2012 with dark indies like Mud, Killer Joe, and Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy. I saw all of them, watched the evolution happen, and still felt McConaughey was an odd choice for a role that could easily be hated by Queer audiences. But maybe that’s the point. The actor has sustained the image of a red-blooded conservative, someone out of place among AIDS-addled drag queens and activist fags during the plague years.

Queer people are offended that Dallas erases us from our own tragedy, commits pinkface with the invention of Jared Leto’s “Rayon” character, and awards a hero’s medal to the lone hetero savior — all valid issues with the film — but even so, McConaughey’s casting carries the ensemble. His character — a straight, homophobic, womanizing Ron Woodroof — was a real asshole before he became our unlikely ally.

Jared Leto took home the award for Best Supporting Actor for his turn as a Dallas trans woman named Rayon. The role has caused some controversy. Yes, there are trans actresses that could have played the role. But before the part became political, it was just a job for Leto, one he did well. He delivered a powerful and stirring performance. It is more precise to take issue with the casting director who chose Leto or with the screenwriter responsible for the off-color trans jokes in the film.

oscars 2014 2

Now, about the looks. Guys in suits generally get overlooked by gown-wearing starlets, so I’ll simply mention a few passing remarks over the dreadful white dinner jacket thing that invaded this year’s red carpet. Along with McConaughey, Jared Leto and Ryan Seacrest also wore white jackets. Thespians: white jackets belong to jackasses on prom night, guys who show up in fedoras and walking canes, who later pull stupid senior pranks and get DUIs. Gross.

white jacket

Pharrell Williams wore a Lanvin jacket and shorts. Yes, shorts. I loved the look. Bradley Cooper rocked a simple black bowtie and some dashing scruff, proving that a gentleman doesn’t have to go for flash. After starring in two films that rocked the Oscars (Silver Linings Playbook last year and this year’s American Hustle) I wish Bradley would win something. And Ellen, thanks for the legendary selfie.


The night was hot with tension and social politics, but overall I felt rewarded, if not a little unmoved, at this year’s winners. Bradley, your icy baby-blues still burn in the tunnels of my heart.

Love, Beastly 

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