Last year, MacFarlane's risqué humour offended the sensibilities of conservatives critics, producers and audiences. His opening monologue involved a song about the breasts of actresses in the audience and though the camera cut to the faux reactions of shock from the women involved, it was clear that they took it in the humour with which it was intended. Unfortunately, critics took their reactions literally and MacFarlane was vilified for being sexist and humiliating a room filled with the most beloved women in Hollywood. In reaction, this year producers clearly wanted to be as non-offensive and family-friendly a show as possible... as such, it felt like you were just watching an upscale version of The Ellen Show.
12 Years A Slave won the big prize, but with the film only picking up three awards to Gravity's seven, it seems like not that many people actually thought it the real best film of the list. If you make a list of the composite parts of films and consistently say that Gravity was the best in each consecutive category, what exactly is stopping you from admitting that yes, it could actually be the better film overall? I think the Academy, like most other awarding bodies this year, have been bogged down by the supposed "social importance" of 12 Years A Slave to actually accept that, though it's a very good movie, there were indeed stronger films this year.
Matthew McConaughey gave a long speech, picking up his Best Actor award for Dallas Buyers Club. Arguably it should finally have been Leonardo DiCaprio's this year, for The Wolf Of Wall Street, but I'm glad at least that it wasn't given to Chiwetel Ejiofor. Meanwhile Jared Leto's supporting win for the same film was completely deserved, even if his speech was a little worthy and condescending.
Cate Blanchett won her second Oscar for her amazing performance in Blue Jasmine. This year was an incredibly strong year for female performances, but Blanchett's is one that will be remembered as one of the greatest of the era, so I have no argument at all with it winning. Amy Adam will win one day though, though her performance in American Hustle is arguably her finest so far. Meanwhile, in the supporting category, Lupita Nyong'o predictably took home the gong. She gave an elated and enthusiastic speech, which was a refreshing highlight in the middle of the dry speeches of the others. I'm not sure I would have given the award to her over her peers, but it was a year in which there were no real stand-out supporting roles for women, so I don't protest too much at her winning. Had I a vote, it would have gone to Julia Roberts for August: Osage County.
The show's In Memoriam was a touching segment in the middle of the show, with Bette Midler performing The Wind Beneath My Wings as they paid tribute to the many stars who have passed away in the last twelve months - particularly Peter O'Toole, Joan Fontaine, Paul Walker and Philip Seymour Hoffman. And they also marked the 75th anniversary of the classic film The Wizard Of Oz with an earnest performance of Somewhere Over The Rainbow by P!nk and the appearance of Judy Garland's children, including an incredibly enthusiastic Liza Minnelli.
So now we have another year to wait to see what films will be rewarded from 2014. As yet, no-one has any clue what they could possibly be, but if there's one thing I hope above hope, it's that next year the ceremony is just a little more fun. Please?