Oscars 2014 live: the ceremony

Last modified: 05: 25 AM GMT+0

So that was the 2014 Oscars. We were liveblogging all evening, guiding you along the red carpet, then through the ceremony. See how the night unfolded below

The Oscars done and dusted

It’s over, it’s over, it‘s finally over. What began on the sticky, bloody red carpet culminated - possibly five hours, conceivably five days - later with a last gasp victory for 12 Years a Slave, a sudden turnabout to dent the otherwise impregnable Gravity.

Was it dramatic? Well, it was and it wasn’t. On the one hand the big awards went exactly the way that most people (myself included) had predicted. On the other, the march of Gravity became so thunderous, so all-encompassing that it became increasingly hard to believe that it would not crown its Oscar haul with the biggest prize of them all.

For most of the night Steve McQueen’s searing historical drama was forced to sit on the sidelines, oppressed and ignored. And then in one fell bound it was free. It is a most deserving best picture winner, all the more so for appearing to triumph against against the grain of the event as a whole.

That’s it from us. Thanks for sticking with us; maybe see you again next year. And now, in the words of Matthew McConaughey, “Amen. All right, all right, all right.” We’re off to get our O-shot.


Leaping to victory

“Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live,” director Steve McQueen tells the world. “This is the legacy of Solomon Northup.” He thanks his mother, who is sitting far away, at the back of the hall. She gets to her feet and waves at him wildly; a tiny figure in the distance, utterly heartbreaking and beautiful even at 500 paces.

McQueen grabs the Oscar and then jumps up and down. He’s jumping like a jackrabbit. He has just taken flight.

Steve McQueen jumping for joy after 12 Years a Slave won the best picture Oscar
Steve McQueen jumping for joy after 12 Years a Slave won the best picture Oscar Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters



It could have been Dern, or Ejiofor, or DiCaprio, or Bale. But instead the best actor Oscar goes where everyone always said it would - right into the hands of Matthew McConaughey for his brilliantly robust and committed performance in Dallas Buyers Club.

His grin is as wide as the Rio Grande. He thanks God. He thanks his dad who “liked gumbo” and who “taught him how to be a man and then for good measure he thanks his momma too. He finishes in a ramble by thanking himself - or at least the version of himself that is always ten years in the future and who he is forever trying to catch. “Amen”, he says. “Alright, alright, alright.”

I think he might have just caught himself up.

Matthew McConaughey wins the best actor Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club
Matthew McConaughey wins the best actor Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club Photograph: John Shearer/Invision/AP Photograph: John Shearer/John Shearer/Invision/AP



All night long the evidence pointed in only one direction. Gravity kept amassing the spoils, shutting its rivals right out in the cold. By the end it seemed all over bar the shouting. Gravity would go on to take the crowning best film Oscar.

But no - the Oscar for best picture goes to 12 Years a Slave!

I finished the bottle. 12 Years A Cough Medicine Hangover. BYE THEN pic.twitter.com/yCuQlC6z5a

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014
Steve McQueen swipes the best picture award


Oscar night speeds up

No sooner has Blanchett left the stage, than on comes Jennifer Lawrence to hand out the best actor award.

Say hello and wave goodbye to this year’s contenders.

  • Christian Bale, who went to war with his hairpiece in American Hustle.
  • Bruce Dern, who left his teeth by the tracks in the heart of Nebraska.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, who was lewd and rude on ludes in The Wolf of Wall Street.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, who went south against his will in 12 Years a Slave.
  • Matthew McConaughey, who stuffed his trunk full of meds in Dallas Buyers Club.

And the winner is ... Matthew McConaughey!



Up comes Cate Blanchett. She pays tribute for Hollywood for making films that feature strong women and trust those films to make money. She thanks her husband and her publicist and a whole heap of others (”every single member of the Sydney theatre company”). She thanks her fellow nominees and she thanks writer-director Woody Allen, though she does not stoop to comment on the Controversy that has returned to snap at his heels in recent weeks. Maybe she will in the press conference; maybe she never will.

Cate Blanchett after winning the Oscar for best actress
Cate Blanchett after winning the Oscar for best actress Pho Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters




"Five sublimely gifted women"

Daniel Day Lewis strolls to the podium to announce the nominees for the best actress Oscar. He looks utterly delighted to be here. He’s positively beaming. If we didn’t know better we’d swear he’d had an O-shot.

And the nominees for best actress are ...

• Amy Adams, slipping out the sides of American Hustle

• Cate Blanchett, mauling Martinis in Blue Jasmine

• Sandra Bullock, spinning out in Gravity

• Judi Dench, chasing nuns in Philomena

• Meryl Streep, wailing at the walls in August: Osage County

And the winner is ... Cate Blanchett!



Gravity hits seventh heaven at the 86th Oscars as Mexico’s Alfonso Cuarón takes the prize for best direction. He’s the first Latino to ever take the Oscar directing and his speech slaloms neatly between Spanish and English. Cuarón, it should be noted, has lived in London for the past 13 years.

“For many of us making this film was a transformative experience,” the director says, gesturing at his greying hair. “For a lot of people that transformation was wisdom. For me it was just the colour of my hair.”

Alfonso Cuarón with his Oscar for best director
Alfonso Cuarón with his Oscar for best director Photograph: LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters


The big awards

Angelina Jolie escorts a frail but ever dignified Sidney Poitier to the stage. Just a few years back, Jolie came to this event with a satanic-red dress, one leg of which was sliced clean up to ya-ya. This time around she’s clad altogether more demurely in silver.

But forget the distractions, it’s the award for direction.

• David O’Russell shot American Hustle.

• Alfonso Cuaron played with Gravity.

• Alexander Payne steered a course through Nebraska.

• Steve McQueen broke the chains on 12 Years a Slave.

• Martin Scorsese ran down The Wolf of Wall Street.

And the Oscar goes to ... Alfonso Cuaron!

Angelina Jolie and Sidney Poitier take to the stage at the Dolby theatre
Angelina Jolie and Sidney Poitier take to the stage at the Dolby theatre Photograph: John Shearer/Invision/AP Photograph: John Shearer/John Shearer/Invision/AP


The picture desk have made their prediction for best picture. Can you guess what they’ve plugged for?

Gravity Selfie
An out-of-this-world selfie. Photograph: @TheEllenShow/Twitter for the Guardian Photograph: @TheEllenShow/Twitter/Guardian


Put your hands together for Spike Jonze, the gawky, jumping-bean talent behind the cyber-romance Her. He adds an Oscar to the Golden Globe that he won a few weeks back and splutters disarmingly when he comes to read his speech at the mark. Once upon a time his films were written by the great Charlie Kaufman. He now seems to be doing pretty well on his own.

Yet a win for Her comes at the expense of others. Specifically where on earth is American Hustle? David O Russell’s film came into the night as joint frontrunner with 10 nominations. It now risks being sent home entirely empty handed.

Spike Jonze picks up the Oscar for the best original screenplay
Spike Jonze picks up the Oscar for the best original screenplay Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Stu Heritage - follow the rules of our Oscar drinking game - ask SIRI what to drink seeing as Her has won something. Here’s what SIRI has to say:

Her wins. This means I need to consult Siri. Siri knows pic.twitter.com/Tb6DB3Pyi3

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014



“All the praise goes to Solomon Northup,” says writer John Ridley. “Those are his words. His life.” But Ridley goes on to praise the script editor who first got him started when he worked in TV, and all those who toiled behind the scenes to get 12 Years up and running. His speech is brief, taut and utterly heartfelt. He’s edited himself and he’s done a fine job. He says what he needs to and then heads for the wings.


Weirdest buddy movie ever?

Make way for Robert De Niro and Penelope Cruz. They’re here to present the screenplay Oscar, but who saw fit to send them up there together? They could be the stars of of the wildest buddy movie this side of Twins.

Penelope Cruz and Robert De Niro presenting the Oscars for best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay
The odd couple ... Penelope Cruz and Robert De Niro presenting the Oscars for best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images



And the Academy Award for best original song go to the Lopezes, the boisterous married couple who wrote the theme song for the Disney animation Frozen. They love their daughters and they would really love to do Frozen 2. Almost certainly in that order.

I’d like those two to come to dinner, please. #frozen

— Jennifer Ehle (@jennifer_ehle) March 3, 2014



Gravity hits the half-dozen mark at the 2014 Oscars as Steven Price seizes the Oscar for best score. “Mum, dad, Jenny,” says Price. “Sorry I made so much noise when I was growing up.”

Gravy tea Stockholm syndrome. It's my master now pic.twitter.com/wgoUGijACe

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014


Song alert!

“Please welcome two-time Oscar nominee John Travolta,” instructs the voice in the sky.

“Thank-you,” says John Travolta. “I love you.” I’m not sure whether he loves the audience, or us at home, or the voice in the sky. But he makes this admission with a grimace that suggests that it may be an awful confession, the thing he has wanted to get off his chest for years and years. So he’s probably addressing the voice in the sky. It’s kind of a Her scenario that he has going on.

I’m so intrigued by Travolta’s confession that I sit slack-jawed through Let it Go, the song from Frozen, which is sung with brio by Idina Menzel.


Oscar's greatest legacy?

“We just crashed Twitter,” announces Ellen DeGeneres, referring to her star-stuffed selfie from earlier in the evening.

Sorry, our bad. #Oscars pic.twitter.com/VrjKjZ4YGl

— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 3, 2014

In memoriam

Now is the moment when the Oscar ceremony briefly leaves the land of the living to wander at length through the celebrity graveyard. Glenn Close cues up the graceful, tasteful montage and after that the ghosts come wafting through the auditoreum.

What a lot of ghosts there are this year. It’s hello and goodbye to James Gandolfini, Jim Kelly, Saul Zaentz, Roger Ebert, Paul Walker, Karen Black, Peter O’Toole, Shirley Temple and the wonderful Philip Seymour Hoffman. “We love you, we honour you, we miss you,” says Close. ”But most of all we thank you.”

The montage wraps up and the curtains part. Out comes Bette Midler. She’s singing Wind Beneath My Wings. Memo to the dearly departed. You are in a far, far better place - at least right at this moment. Every cloud has a silver lining.


Quick update on Stuart Heritage, who has been playing our drinking game:

I am approximately one mouthful of cough syrup away from thinking that Ellen Degeneres is my own reflection

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014

He’s doing just fine.



Joining Martin on the stage is Beverly Dunn, who collects the prize for set design. But I’m confused. Are these statues different, or are they like conjoined twins? If the former, then The Great Gatsby is in second place (behind Gravity) with three awards. If the latter, it’s tied with Dallas Buyers Club on two.



Clearly there is some kind of two for one deal at this stage of the Oscars. In one fell swoop, Catherine Martin is called up to collect the award for her Great Gatsby set decoration. But she must share her moment with a colleague.

Backstage at the Oscars

The excitement, it appears, has officially reached code-red. Hadley Freeman mails in a flurry:

Paolo Sorrentino could not sound more bored talking to the press backstage. There is a pleasing Toni Servillo-like languidity to him. Or it might just be that he is really uninterested in endless questions about what his win means to Italy


53rd song of the night

Give it up for Pink. She’s here to sing a medley of songs to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. The film, not the book. Or the wizard.

”If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why can’t I?” sings Pink. But I think the question is merely rhetorical. The audience respond with a standing ovation. Not one of them attempts to answer her.

Pink sings Somwhere Over the Rainbow at the 86th Academy Awards
Pink sings Somwhere Over the Rainbow at the 86th Academy Awards Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images



That rumble you hear is a genuine Oscar landslide. Mark Sanger and Alfonso Cuaron head up to the stage to pick up the editing Oscar for Gravity, bringing the film’s total to five awards and counting. Sanger hogs the microphone and the music rears up just as Cuaron clears his throat.

The director walks back to his seat without saying a word. Cuaron doesn’t look overly concerned about this, however. In fact he’s almost suspiciously sanguine. Perhaps he thinks he might be invited back up there before too long.

And if that weren’t enough, Hadley Freeman has just mailed from the press room:

Lupita was predictably delightful backstage talking to the journalists.
When asked how she felt when Liza Minelli bear hugged her, she replied “I
felt quite fabulous!” She also talked about what her father whispered to
her when she won: “He said, ‘Thank you.’ I feel like Willy Wonka!”
She even dealt with the crazy questions in style. When asked “What have
you learnt about the human spirit on your amazing journey?”, she tactfully
deflected: “That’s a tough one! I guess I’ve learnt I don’t have to be
anyone but myself.” A Mexican journalist, “How much of your triumph
belongs to Mexico?” (Nyong’o was born in Mexico.) Nyong’o replied with a laugh, “I think it all belongs to me!”



Amy Adams and Bill Murray totter out from behind the curtain to read the nominees for this year’s cinematography Oscar.

“Oh, we forgot one,” says Murray right at the end. “Harold Ramis, for Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day.” It’s a warm, rueful (and very Murray-ish) shout out to his old friend and partner, who died last week.

After all that the actual award risks feeling like an afterthought. It goes (as everyone predicted it would) to Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity.

News just in: gravy tea can kiss my arse pic.twitter.com/bViYScvgRr

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014

More Gravity! More gravy tea!


Pizza delivery

Jonah Hill has a slice. Martin Scorsese has a slice. I’m almost feeling sorry for the Oscar winners who have already gone backstage. No pizza for them.

That was a real pizza delivery guy, not an actor. (Well, I guess he might be an actor. It's Hollywood.) #Oscars

— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) March 3, 2014

And the delivery guy? A method actor as it turns out.

Harrison Ford accepts a slice of pizza


Hadley Freeman's reaction

The poor guys who won the documentary Oscar had the misfortune to be backstage and talking to the press when it was announced on the screens above that Lupita had won. The whole room as one burst out in joy, much to the documentary dudes’ bafflement



Up comes Lupita Nyong’o. She’s hyperventilating with emotion; she can barely get the words out. She thanks co-stars Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor. She thanks her friends and her family and pays tribute to Patsy, the character she played, for providing her with guidance.

Most of all she thanks director Steve McQueen:

Thank you so much for putting me in this position. It is the joy of my life.”

Then the tears swell up and the music follows suit. She staggers off to the wings, cradling Oscar in her arms. 

Lupita Nyong’o reacts to winning the best supporting actress Oscar


"All of them are stunning"

Christoph Waltz hops up to pay tribute to this year’s supporting actress nominees. Just for the record, he thinks they’re all stunning. He’s not fussy. He likes all of them just the same.

Anyhow, moving on, let’s recap the stunners.

• Sally Hawkins, who played sweet to Blanchett’s sour in Blue Jasmine.

• Jennifer Lawrence, who blew the doors off the microwave in American Hustle.

• Lupita Nyong’o, who played tragic Patsy in 12 Years a Slave.

• Julia Roberts, who showed up for the funeral in August: Osage County.

• June Squibb, who flashed her pants in the graveyard on her way through Nebraska.

And the Oscar goes too … Lupita Nyong’o!

Lupita Nyong'o, winner of the best supporting actress
Lupita Nyong'o, winner of the best supporting actress Photograph: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images Photograph: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

A win for Lupita means a win for Stuart Heritage. His prize? A swig of Benolyn!

Lupita wins, so I drink Benylin cough syrup. And notice how big my pores are. pic.twitter.com/exDR9IWdAD

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014



Sure enough, Gravity promptly widens the gap. Turns out that Gravity’s sound editing was just as good as Gravity’s sound mixing. Three Oscars and counting.


Back to the business in hand and it’s the second award for the night for Gravity. It wins for sound mixing and nudges ahead of the rest of the pack. Try as I might I can’t see it being overtaken. I think it leads the way from here on out.

Hollywood selfie

Ellen DeGeneres steps down amid the throng to corral the guests into the ultimate Oscar selfie. It’s a little spooky, like something out of a Don DeLillo novel. The most photographed people photographing themselves, live on camera, watched by millions.

She gathers Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, various others and has them mug into the phone. She them requests us all to tweet it, which we shall duly do. “Oh God, I’ve never tweeted before!” says Streep, though I’m not sure DeGeneres was referring to her in particular.

If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars pic.twitter.com/C9U5NOtGap

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014

Of course, we’re used to that sort of glamour in the Guardian office. Gravity’s doing well, so here’s our latest selfie

More gravy tea. And my first deep retch of the night. If you're going to start a vomit sweepstake, get going pic.twitter.com/g1FVmN9Tm6

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014


More from Hadley backstage

Hadley Freeman mails with more insights from behind the scenes at the sausage factory.

Every winner is expected to send a message to each journalist’s nation, eg “I’m from China - the Chinese people would like to know whether you would make movie with a Chinese crew?”
Also, every nominee is asked where they will keep their Oscar. Every winner is like, “Um, why do you care? Are you planning to steal it?”

Third song of the night

Exit Tyler Perry, enter Brad Pitt. He’s here to introduce U2 and U2 are here to play Ordinary Love, their song from the Mandela biopic. Bono appears to have gone up about three octaves since the last time I heard him. Maybe it has something to do with the shorts that everyone seems to be name-checking at this year’s Oscars.

How many more Oscar songs do we have to sit through tonight? I’m still hoping they’ll play Alone Yet Not Alone, the theme from the Christian faith movie that was banned at the eleventh hour. Fingers crossed they can get Jack Nicholson to sing it.

Bono singing with U2. At least someone’s happy

Meanwhile, Meryl’s had another mention. Stu Heritage knows what that means ...

Stu Heritage's Oscars drinking game continues https://t.co/vpDRvECqUv

— Guardian Film (@guardianfilm) March 3, 2014



All hail The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino’s swooning, ravishing satire of the demi-monde of Rome, arguably the standout picture of 2013. It has just won the foreign film Oscar. On stage Sorrentino thanks Rome and Naples, Fellini and Scorsese. He’s listing his inspirations and one feels he could go on and on.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” interrupts the voice in the sky. “Please welcome Tyler Perry.” What a glorious juxtaposition. It brings us bumping down to earth. What does one do after watching The Great Beauty? Where else can one possibly go? Please welcome Tyler Perry.

Director Paolo Sorrentino actor and Tony Servillo accept the Oscar for best foreign language film
Director Paolo Sorrentino actor and Tony Servillo accept the Oscar for best foreign language film Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters


Hadley update

Hadley Freeman mails from the bowels of the Dolby.

I’m backstage in the press room which is the most surreal experience of my life. Jared Leto just described it as an “orgy”, so that should sum up the weirdness. Even Leto was weirded out.


Honorary Oscars

They’re giving them out to Steve Martin and Angelina Jolie and Angela Lansbury and Danny Dyer. They’re giving them away to everyone. Well, possibly not to Danny Dyer, at least not yet. Amid the rash of honorary Oscars it’s hard not to get confused.

Geoffrey Rush just asked Angela Lansbury whether she is “the living definition of range”. That makes her sound like a ranch in Oklahoma.



20 Feet From Stardom, an amiable salute to backing singers, scoops the documentary feature Oscar, which is great news for the film-makers and for fans of the movie. But it’s hard cheese for The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer’s astonishing portrait of the unrepentant “gangster” killers of Indonesia. It deserved to win. It should have won. But the Oscar voters saw things differently. And those that did are just plain dumb.

Bradley Cooper presenting the Oscar for best documentary
Bradley Cooper presenting the Oscar for best documentary Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters Photograph: LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS
Darlene Love celebrates 20 Feet from Stardom best documentary Oscar win



Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer died last week at the age of 110. She was woman who put her longevity down to her boundless optimism. She now lives on in The Lady in Number 6, a film about her life and (specifically) her life in music. It has just picked up the award for best documentary short.



Put your hands together for Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson. They’ve just won the Oscar for best short for their film Helium. “Wow, this is crazy,” says Walter, while Magnusson gives a nice shout to his mum, who’s sick at home. Both thank the Academy for supporting shorts. Pharrell Williams appears to have kickstarted some kind of trend out here tonight.

Second song of the night

The moon rises at the back of the stage at the Dolby theatre and the lights are dimmed. On the steps sit Karen O and her doting male guitarist Ezra Koenig. They have come (fittingly enough) to sing The Moon Song, the dreamy, slightly drippy ballad from the Spike Jonze film Her. The audience’s applause is a little muted. I’m guessing Jack Nicholson has nodded off in his seat.

Karen O and Ezra Koenig perform onstage during the Oscars
Karen O and Ezra Koenig perform onstage during the Oscars Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images



“Ladies and gentlemen,” says the voice in the sky. “Please welcome two exceptional actors - Emma Watson and Joseph Gordon Levitt.” At least I think that’s what the voice said. Joe Gordon Levitt may well have mislaid his original partner.

Anyhow, Levitt and Watson are here to announce the Oscar for best visual effects. It goes, as it surely always was going to, to Gravity, which was largely assembled at the Framestore in London. It’s Gravity’s first award of the night. Chances are it won’t be the last.

I've got a bad feeling about this category pic.twitter.com/BmkhxpJRKA

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014

A win for Gravity is fantastic for Framestore, not so great for Stuart Heritage, who has to try a new cocktail. HB

Jesus pic.twitter.com/L7Bz1eLcEG

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014

That’s what it looks like ...

Gravy and tea. This is the worst thing I've ever tasted. I've gone right off Gravity pic.twitter.com/GzXlyO9kz1

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014

... and that’s what it tastes like. Lucky, lucky Stu.



The Mr Hublot duo should have adopted the tactic of the Frozen team of Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho. They come up together and proceed to give their thanks in unison. They exit stage left with the Oscar for best animated feature film. I’m guessing they now cut it into three separate sections, like Solomon with the baby.

Frozen, it should be noted, is the first Disney movie to ever win the best animated feature Oscar.



Presenters Matthew McConaughey and Kim Novak at the 86th Academy Awards
Presenters Matthew McConaughey and Kim Novak at the 86th Academy Awards Photograph: LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS Photograph: LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS

Kim Novak and Matthew McConaughey walk arm in arm to the podium, although it appears that they have only just met. “How are you?” says the Vertigo with such a bemused air that she might as well have asked “Who are you?”

“I’m doing all right,” McConaughey assures her. Introductions complete, they proceed to hand the Oscar for best animated short to Mr Hublot.

“Thank you for supporting shorts,” says co-director Laurent Witz, possibly thinking of Pharrell’s posturing on the red carpet earlier. But it’s hard cheese for his fellow film-maker, who can’t get a word in edgeways. He stands blinking silently in the limelight as Witz hogs all the glory.


Pharrell’s performance of Happy made many people happy, including happy Meryl Streep and HAPPY Lupita Nyong’o HB

Lupita Nyong’o dances with Pharrell Williams



Is this the first surprise of the night? Heading into the night, I figured that American Hustle was a dead cert to scoop the hair and make-up award, if only because the film is first and foremost the story of what happens to Christian Bale’s hairpiece. The indignities that befall. The horrors that are meted upon it. But no. Shockingly, the Oscar goes Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews for their work on Dallas Buyers Club. In fairness, they look as stunned as anyone.

Quick check of the nominees. It turns out that American Hustle wasn’t even shortlisted for the hair and make-up. My apologies. But what a slap in the face for the Bale wig. What’s wrong with those voters? That’s the big scandal of this year’s Oscars right there.

Samuel L. Jackson presents the award for best costume to Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby
Samuel L. Jackson presents the award for best costume to Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson /Reuters Photograph: LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS



Naomi Watts and Samuel L Jackson take to the stage to hand the costume Oscar to The Great Gatsby. It’s the third Academy Award for Australia’s Catherine Martin, wife of director Baz Luhrmann. “I have a few words tucked inside my bra,” Martin explains - and she digs around to retrieve them.


If you’re one of the people searching Twitter for Ellen DeGeneres, then this is your fault. HB

Searching for Ellen Degeneres breaks Twitter
Searching for Ellen Degeneres breaks Twitter. Photograph: Twitter Photograph: Twitter

First song of the night

Make way, make way for Pharrell Williams, who appears to have found his hat and dropped his shorts and is now blazing his way through Happy, the Oscar-nominated song from Despicable Me 2. Happy is bright and Happy is bouncy. Listening to Happy is like drinking a gallon of Sunny Delight while being spun round and round on a fairground waltzer.

Pharrel's up, performing Happy. Not entirely convinced he's not recruiting for a cult #Oscars2014 pic.twitter.com/jGCXQt2ebi

— Guardian Film (@guardianfilm) March 3, 2014

If so, the crowd don’t seem that keen to join up:

The Oscars crowd reluctantly show Pharrell they’re happy


Consolation prizes

So it’s already a golden night for Jared Leto. But the upside for the losing nominees (for Abdi, Hill and the rest) is that they all take home an official Oscar goodie bag worth a reported $80,000. This bag contains all manner of riches. There are luxury holiday vouchers and a home spa system. There is “horse shampoo” and a pepper-spray gun. Most intriguingly of all, the bag contains a “vaginal rejuvenation” treatment known as the O-shot. Something to bear in mind, what with Mother’s Day coming up.

The Oscar goodie bag may sound outlandish to you and me, but it offers a fascinating snapshot of modern-day celebrity. Its contents provide a kind of composite portrait of the Hollywood thoroughbred. When the likes of Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts are not off gallivanting on a luxury vacation, they can be found tottering around Beverly Hills, reeking of the stables and pursued by horse rustlers. They brandish pepper-spray guns as they dart, loins aflame, from their limo to the lunch.


His red bow-tie blazing, his leonine locks flowing, Jared Leto steps up to collect the Oscar for his acclaimed turn opposite Matthew McConaughey in the rangy, satisfying Dallas Buyers Club. His speech heaps praise on his mother. “I love you mom,” he tells her. “Thanks for helping me to dream.” He goes on to dedicate his award to “all the other dreamers” in Venezuela and the Ukraine.

“We are here,” he informs them. I think he means this as a word of encouragement and it is clearly well-meant, though I’m not sure how much actual comfort it provides. Sleep easy, Ukraine. The celebrities are all inside the Dolby theatre.


First off the blocks

Up steps Ann Hathaway (billed as “the first white presenter of the night”) to announce the best supporting actor prize.

Here come the contenders.

• Barkhad Adbi, the desperate Somali pirate in Captain Phillips.

• Bradley Cooper, the player that was played in American Hustle.

• Michael Fassbender, the sulphurous plantation owner out of 12 Years a Slave.

• Jonah Hill, who played broker house Egor to The Wolf of Wall Street.

• Jared Leto, tottering on heels in Dallas Buyers Club.

And the winner is ... Jared Leto!

Jared Leto, winner of the best supporting actor Oscar
Jared Leto, winner of the best supporting actor Oscar Photograph: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Photograph: Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

And a win for Jared means a beer for Stu. Lucky old Stu.

Jared Leto wins for Dallas Buyers Club. Just some beer. I'm crying grateful tears. Grateful tears of rum. pic.twitter.com/GJTJAjyw7r

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014


The introductions

The 86th Academy Awards are hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, whose easy, convivial manner strikes an immediate contrast with Seth McFarlane’s ill-judged japery in the same role last year. “I hosted this event seven years ago,” DeGeneres points out. “And I’m honoured they invited me back so quickly.”

From here her routine pokes gentle fun at nominees Barkhad Abdi, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence and June Squibb, pausing only to single out a brilliant Liza Minnelli impersonator who may, in fact, turn out to be Liza Minnelli. “Good job, sir!” DeGeneres tells her (or possibly him). Minnelli responds with a pained, frozen grimace.

Dallas Buyers Club, she adds, is a film about “people who have sex at rodeos”. Jonah Hill is praised for his full frontal appearance in The Wolf of Wall Street. “Jonah, you showed me something in that film that I haven’t seen in a long time,” DeGeneres tells him.

The night, she concludes, can go one of two ways. Either 12 Years a Slave wins everything or the voters are racist. And with that we’re pitched, without further ado, into the first prize of the night.


The road to the Oscars ends in oblivion

Stuart Heritage is live-drinking the Academy Awards, following the rules of our Oscars drinking game. Let’s see how he’s getting on ...

Two mentions of Meryl Streep in six minutes. I hate the Oscars. pic.twitter.com/rrPDHMApMv

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 3, 2014


The ceremony

The carpet circus is over, the ceremony is about to begin. It is at this point that we bid a sad farewell to the likes of Ryan Seacrest, Robin Roberts and the bloody carpet and step inside the Dolby theatre. The curtain comes up on the 86th Academy Awards. And not a moment too soon.

10/10 for Margot Robbie

Quick conflab with JCM confirms that this dress is hot. Robbie knows it too. You can tell from her eyebrows. IF

Margot Robbie.
Margot Robbie. Photograph: Ethan Miller/WireImage Photograph: Ethan Miller/WireImage


Why has Angelina brought a Bradford bouncer as her date? IF

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Inside the auditoreum

Backstage at the #Oscars in the #ArchDigestGreenRoom with @KevinSpacey pic.twitter.com/zqwtW4D2Nv

— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 3, 2014

Hysteria takes hold

Alarming scenes on the blood-red carpet outside the Dolby theatre. “The crowds are all screaming!” reports Robin Roberts, clutching her microphone. “And when the crowds are all screaming, it’s hard to tell who they’re screaming for.” Maybe they’re just screaming, Robin. Maybe they have all collectively gone insane.

Undeterred, the celebrities keep filing past the screaming hordes on the sodden bleachers. Jonah Hill thinks they are screaming for Leonardo DiCaprio. Lupita Nyong’o explains that her Prada dress was “inspired by champagne bubbles”. The crowd, in the meantime, continues to scream.

Whither the Oscars?

The carpet has taken over. The carpet is king. Aren’t the Academy Awards meant to start a few minutes from now? Shouldn’t everyone be making there way to their seats by now? Apparently not. The guests are still arriving, the hosts are in full spate. Everybody, it seems, is still stuck outside the Dolby theatre, squishing back and forth across a rug that has turned as red and viscid as beetroot soup?

“Woo hoo!” scream the hosts. “It’s Jamie Foxx!” They are in their element, they can keep this up all night. Maybe they don’t even realise that there are awards to announce. Maybe they think that there’s just these cameras, this carpet, and that the door to the Dolby leads to nowhere, or possibly to death. Apologies for the morbidity. Stare too long at a blood-red carpet and the whole experience starts to feel a tad existential. “Woo hoo, the carpet looks like freshly spilled guts! Woo hoo, Jamie Foxx has just trodden in entrails!” For the love of God, please send the guests inside.


Newsflash.. we think dark nails might be a Thing

Sandra Bullock’s done it, so did Charlize Theron, Emma Watson and Kerry Washington. It works for us. And BTW Bullock looks excellent. Navy blue but in a warm way. Nice counterbalance too between the side hair on the left and the pleated detail on the right. IF

Sandra Bullock.
Sandra Bullock. Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Kate Hudson has come as Gwyneth Paltrow in 2012

Remember, when Gwynnie wore the Tom Ford white dress with the matching cape? Kate does. Also, the pose is weird, it looks like her left leg is trying to escape. JCM

Kate Hudson.
Kate Hudson. Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Penelope Cruz can do no wrong

The palest of pale pink chiffon with a grosgrain ribbon belt. Sounds sugary and bleurgh right? But somehow PC has made it look modern and effortless. We stand in awe. IF

Penelope Cruz.
Penelope Cruz. Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Streep gives red carpet masterclass

See it’s not what you wear, it’s how your wear it. Meryl is wearing a monochrome gown like it’s a sweatshirt and jeans. It’s wardrobe confidence verging on cockiness. IF

Meryl Streep.
Meryl Streep. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Blood on the carpet

My best friend! pic.twitter.com/w4OZtawods

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 3, 2014

The oblivious victim

Cate, giggling pic.twitter.com/8telVoadJq

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 3, 2014

She won’t be laughing when they rip open the envelope and call the accountant to the stage.

Hermione WHO?

That’s the message, loud and clear, from Emma Watson in Vera Wang. The T-shirt shape is cool, not prim, the gunmetal shade is a bit rock’n’roll. And if we’re not mistaken she’s flying the flag for British fashion with an Anya Hindmarch crisp packet clutch. Full marks. JCM

Emma Watson.
Emma Watson. Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Oh the glamour

Backstage at the #Oscars in the #ArchDigestGreenRoom w/ with The Accountants from Price Waterhouse Cooper pic.twitter.com/DQO2RD7pFb

— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 3, 2014

The guy on the left is grinning because he’s just scored out Cate Blanchett’s name and written in his own.


Cate is top of the fashion class as always

Cate Blanchett is in a different fashion league from your average starlet. She has this sexy-froideur thing going on. This Armani dress seems to be made of capiz shells, so I am a bit worried about whether she can sit down? But that’s the sort of thing us pedestrian, non-Blanchett specimens worry about. JCM

Cate Blanchett.
Cate Blanchett. Photograph: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images Photograph: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars: wears Dior, falls over. It's her thing

Dior pay her a lot of money. Not sure what the falling over is about. Anyway, I have been hoping she would wear this shape, the straight-lined column, because (a) it’s a bit more fashion and less Hollywood and (b) the Princess gown was cute but with the short hair this feels more grown-up and modern. Seriously, if she could only learn to walk she’d have the red carpet nailed. JCM

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images Photograph: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Who is she wearing?

Fresh from her insensible, alcohol-fuelled tumble on the sodden carpet, Jennifer Lawrence finds herself cornered by one of those pesky TV hostesses. ”Who are you wearing?” demands the TV hostess and Jennifer Lawrence replies that she is wearing Dior.

Just to be clear: Jennifer Lawrence is not literally wearing Christian Dior. What Lawrence means is that she is wearing a dress (red, pretty) which was devised by designers at the Dior fashion house. So relax; it’s OK. Jennifer Lawrence has not rocked up to the Oscars like some demented backwoods Buffalo Bill, with the rotting skin and pelt of Christian Dior plastered to her naked limbs. Possibly with her teeth filed down to points, just to complete the image. That would be repellent.

But we digress. She is wearing a dress.

The Dior pelt starts to turn ... Jennifer Lawrence on the Oscars red carpet



Well it would be if it weren’t on Anne Hathaway. This is Mirrorball Chic. Whoever designed this dress and I promise to find out in a bit, was in a nightclub, looked up and thought, “Eureka! Black dress, exploded mirrorball breastplate, that’s it.” IF

Anne Hathaway.
Anne Hathaway. Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Shoulders back Julia!

Paging a seamstress! This dress is not fitting the divine Julia Roberts, like at all. Should be tighter at the waist above the peplum section and pulled up a bit on the shoulders. Someone help her out with a bulldog clip or something. IF

Julia Roberts.
Julia Roberts. Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage

British hopes

Some (Bafta for instance) may claim that Gravity is the best British hope at this year’s Oscars, but those of a more sober and sensible stripe are probably rooting for Philomena, which is also up for the crowning best picture prize. Steve Coogan, the film’s co-writer, co-star and producer, has just walked right by Hadley’s perch on the bleachers.

Alan Partridge on the red carpet! pic.twitter.com/9D1gC5jdnO

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 3, 2014

Drunk as a skunk?

On running up to collect her best actress Oscar last year, Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the stairs and momentarily went down. On arriving to (possibly) collect her second Academy Award tonight, she has just managed to repeat the feat. Cynics are already speculating that she’s staging her pratfalls. Alternatively she may be loaded to the gills. If she’s this unsteady at this point of the evening, just imagine what state she’ll be in when she comes to read out her acceptance speech.

Jennifer Lawrence taking yet another tumble


Jacket controversy

Do we like the clotted cream jacket? On balance yes we do. I’m calling this the contingency look because he can whip off the jacket at any point and still have a posh look on with that black waistcoat. See, he’s thought of stuff. IF

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves.
Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Fashion verdict

Julie Delpy wins #Oscars2014 red carpet. Lupita a close second.

— Jason Solomons (@JasonCritic) March 3, 2014

First maternity look

It’s Kerry Washington and she’s gorgeous. So why did she slip on the hotel bedsheets and why didn’t she get someone to steam the dress for her? Could she literally not get the staff? IF

Kerry Washington.
Kerry Washington. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The terrible power of dresses

Back in the TV studio, the fashion pundits tackle the elephant in the living room.

“Can a dress make or break an actress?” asks the first.

“Yes,” replies the second, without a moment’s hesitation. “I think it can.”


Can we talk about those invisi-straps Charlize?

Because they’re just a bit weird and ”underwear solution“ ish aren’t they? IF

Charlize Theron.
Charlize Theron. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images Photograph: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Hadley tweets

Arcade Fire, bringing the hipster to the tux pic.twitter.com/xeMRkbeWjI

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 3, 2014

I love that Glenn Close has no truck with freezing to death just for an audience of twenty zillion

I am a bit obsessed with Glenn Close. I saw her IRL at a fashion party once and OMG her skin, luminous, literally LUMINOUS, and a mean dancer. Also, she wears dresses with sleeves, or matching jackets (I think this is a bolero?) on the red carpet, which is excellent. Not sure who this is by, but in 2012 she wore a dress and matching tux by Zac Posen. JCM

Glenn Close.
Glenn Close. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Pearly Queen

Sally Hawkins is wearing a pearly Crusader look. No need to look all apologetic about that Sal. IF

Sally Hawkins.
Sally Hawkins. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Meet your Oscar host

In case you hadn’t heard already, this year’s Academy Awards shall be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. Here she is in what we presume she will be wearing throughout tonight’s ceremony. “I an [sic] happy,” she declares happily.

Here we go #Oscars pic.twitter.com/IIa8aHXcSe

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014

The roar of the masses

Make way, make way for the excellent Amy Adams, Oscar nominated for her role in David O Russell’s American Hustle. “You’ve just got the biggest roar of the night,” chirrups E! hostess Robin Roberts, though I’m betting she says that to all the guests.

Adams goes on to explain that she is wearing Gucci, and that she loves the 50s, and that her dress is a homage to Kim Novak in Vertigo. Adams’s dress looks OK. And here endeth the fashion critique.

Miuccia Prada is cracking open the prosecco right about now

Because Lupita Nyong’o, the nominee everyone wanted to dress, is wearing Prada. Why don’t more people wear baby blue? It looks amazing against the red carpet. It looks soft and dreamy compared to all the lead-lined corset gowns. But, can I be picky? Lupita has been building a rep for bold fashion choices and this is a bit safe. Also, the headband looks like the kind that crazy parents put on baby girls who have no hair. JCM

Lupita Nyong'o.
The clothes - valiantly trying to wear Lupita Nyong'o. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP


The short version

Sticking with sartorial matters, Hadley Freeman mails with an update on the state of Pharrell Williams, who appears to have rocked up to the Academy Awards dressed as little Jimmy Krankie.

Pharrell update: no hat, yes shorts.
End of Pharrell update.

Julie Delpy. Ooh la la.

You sort of have to be French to pull this off. As my colleague Imogen points out, on a norm, this would like like something from Warehouse circa 2005. But Julie looks foxy. Also, love the double hands-on-hips pose, which is unexpectedly Kardashian. JCM

Julie Delpy.
Julie Delpy. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/WireImage Photograph: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Passion for fashion?

Obviously I feel I have the whole Oscar fashion shebang well covered on this blog. But if, for some reason, you require fashion correspondents who are EVEN MORE knowledgeable and discriminating than me, bespoke dedicated coverage can be found right here.

It's not quite Blue Steel...

...but we quite like Coogan’s red carpet roar thingie. Particularly since he’s gone for a double-breast. No apologies for overuse of the fashion singular. IF

New hair category alert

We’re calling this look (modelled by Naomi Watts) Done Down on the fashion desk. We like it a lot - red carpet flat hair. Oddly, it works. Love the red lips and the black shoes with the cloudy dress, but that necklace is far too similar to one Liz McDonald was wearing on Coronation Street on Friday IF

Naomi Watts.
Naomi Watts. Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage


The first arrivals

Out on the carpet comes the great Sidney Poitier, an Oscar winner himself way back in the 60s and a trailblazer for generations of African-American actors that followed. “How special is it to be here as an Oscar winner?” demands the ABC television host and then repeats the question with the volume turned up. “HOW SPECIAL IS TO BE HERE AS AN OSCAR WINNER?”

“Oh, well,” says Poitier. “It’s something I remember.” The red carpet interview slightly falls apart from here.


Meet Seacrest

Out on the carpet, Ryan Seacrest is currently telling a confused 84-year-old woman that he is officially, right this second “live on E!”. Small wonder she looks so unnerved.

June is looking at Ryan as if he is an actual talking carpet. RT @vulture: Ryan is explaining E! to June Squibb.

— Janine Gibson (@janinegibson) March 3, 2014

Oscar favourites of the stars

Chris Rock tweets from somewhere or other. Conceivably the Smithsonian.

I can't believe it for the first time in my life I'm rooting for slavery.

— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) March 2, 2014

Do we need to give some clarification here? We’re assuming that Rock is pledging his support for the film 12 Years a Slave, which is up for nine Oscars at tonight’s event. He is not saying that he is rooting for slavery, as such, merely for a film that tells us that slavery is bad.

At least that’s what we think he means to say. He could, just possibly, be referring to the cleaners who have just sucked up 60 gallons of rainwater from the red carpet.


Navy. Meh.

This is Amy Adams in a navy blue dress from Gucci. It’s perfectly nice, but it’s not exciting. Good ingredients, but no sizzle. Next! IF

Amy Adams
Amy Adams Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images Photograph: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Best things about this tux shorts number from Pharrell? The fact that you can so tell he’s moisturized his legs. Look - shiny calves! Also loving the studied awkwardness of the pair of them together with their mix and match tux actions. Good work. IF

Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh
Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP


The Hadley eye view

She has no umbrella and she’s tweeting in the rain. Here are the latest pictures from Hadley Freeman, live and loving it outside the Dolby theatre. First up, it’s Liza.

Liza Minelli, Minelli-ing to the max pic.twitter.com/hA9nQxWyhd

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 2, 2014

Second up, it’s Squibb.

June Squibb doesn't give a damn pic.twitter.com/Y8Ut4QAEHW

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 2, 2014

And third up, it’s Harvey Weinstein’s honoured guest.

If it's good enough for Wong Kar-wai, it's good enough for me. Red carpet selfie, yo. pic.twitter.com/buW4Yt9TzP

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 2, 2014


The man on the carpet

Guests arriving for the 86th annual Academy Awards must first brave the E! team on the red carpet outside the Dolby theatre, and the ringleader of the celebrity circus is Mr Ryan Seacrest, who comes to cajole and flatter and occasionally kiss. Here are some facts about your host for the night.

  • Ryan Seacrest used to recite the pledge of allegiance over his high school PA system, sparking a lifelong love of broadcasting.
  • Ryan Seacrest is five-foot-nine-inches tall.
  • Ryan Seacrest was born with a tail that he had surgically removed ahead of his high school prom.
  • One of the above facts is entirely made up.

How to best explain the cultural phenomenon that is Ryan Seacrest. Far better to leave the task to the man himself:

My company is in the business of content, delivering content, so whether you see it or taste it or hear it or smell it, that’s what I do every day.

First you taste him, then you hear him. And then you smell him. Mr Ryan Seacrest will be with us shortly.

Seacrest ... happy with your breath.
Seacrest ... happy with your breath. Photograph: Mike Nelson/EPA Photograph: Mike Nelson/EPA


And the fashion Oscar goes to ...

In the TV studios, the pundits are previewing the red carpet arrivals. Lupita Nyong’o, we are told, is not just the breakout star of 12 Years a Slave (centrepiece of which is a scene of her being whipped senseless for taking a bar of soap); she’s also “the breakout star of the red carpet” and this year’s hottest fashion icon. As the resident expert puts it:

She’s not letting the clothes wear her. She’s wearing the clothes.

Fair enough - but here at the Guardian we’ve been doing that for years. Woe betide the pair of flannel trousers that tries to wear us, or the crumpled plaid shirt that gets ideas above its station. We’ll wear that sucker until it begs for mercy and then economy wash it to within an inch of its life. Nyong’o could learn a lot from the sharp-dressed hacks in the Kings Cross newsroom.

Steve McQueen and Bianca Stigter arrive at the 86th Academy Awards
12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and Bianca Stigter arrive at the 86th Academy Awards. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The view from here

This is how things are looking inside the Guardian office. No view of the red carpet (except on the TV), but we’re just five minutes from the tube. Plus (it seems) we have a greater head count than our American cousins at the New York Times.

@aoscott it's not a competition or anything but we (@guardian) think we win (on numbers AND food) pic.twitter.com/EPnITjvqEN

— catherine shoard (@catherineshoard) March 2, 2014


Um, wow.

Liza Minnelli has arrived, dressed for a Smurfs’ pyjama party. I can’t work out which is more awesome: the blue streak in the hair, or that she hasn’t bothered to change out of the flat shoes she wore for the journey. JCM

Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP


First dress!

It’s a stance that says, “yep, I’m ready.” It’s a green silk dress but she’s wearing it like a red carpet riot shield. IF

Viola Davis
Viola Davis Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP


Fashion tips

Glamour for us stretches to a shirt we’ve worn for only three days. Luckily our friends on the fashion desk are on hand to comment on the Oscar guests’ gladrags and handbags. Look out for their posts over the next hour and a bit. They’ll be the (marginally) less snarky ones. HB


Red carpet blues

Spare a thought for the luminaries of world cinema who are too art-house, too unfamiliar, or just too foreign to spark a delirious greeting from the likes of Ryan Seacrest or Robin Roberts. Wong Kar Wai, for instance, is widely held to be one of the greatest film-makers of his generation, the creator of Chungking Express, Happy Together and the peerless In the Mood For Love.

Plop him down in Cannes or Venice and they would be hailing him as a god. But at the Oscars he’s no one. He might as well be Charlize Theron’s minder, or one of the luckless cleaners sucking water through a straw. He is reduced to standing forlornly in the rain, taking pictures of himself.

Wong Kar-wai taking a selfie on the red carpet. I love that. pic.twitter.com/vHDfmA72Jd

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 2, 2014


Red carpet host Ryan Seacrest arrives at the 86th Academy Awards.
Red carpet host Ryan Seacrest arrives at the 86th Academy Awards. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters Photograph: LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

Behind the scenes

Proof, it proof were needed, that God has hated the Oscars ever since King of Kings failed to sweep the board back in 1961: it’s been raining hard in Hollywood. Outside the theatre, the Oscar statues have been shrouded under plastic and the red carpet has become like borscht. Incidentally, isn’t it high time we had a King of Kings sequel? Perhaps called King of King of Kings.

Hadley Freeman mails from the deluge:

Apparently they had to suck about 60 gallons of rain water out of the red carpet this morning.

I’m not sure who this hard-working, anonymous ”they” might be. It conjures up a depressing image of a band of minimum wage cleaners on their hands and knees outside the Dolby, each personally sucking water through a straw and breaking only to stagger, swollen-bellied, towards the latrines. Perhaps the hosts of E! can interview these people later, if only to get their side of the Oscar night experience.

"They" hard at work ... A worker vacuums water from the red carpet at the 86th Academy Awards Photograph: LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS Photograph: LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS


Alcoholic distractions

If the thought of sitting through the 86th Academy Awards in a sober state is too much to bear, then fear not, we have an alternative. You can now watch the stars though the eyes of a drunk courtesy of our grand (and possibly illegal) Oscar night drinking game. Stuart Heritage slurs the rules and then prepares to lead the way. Stuart’s playing coy, but he’s half-cut already and as purely excited as a small child at Christmas.

Here's the Oscars drinking game. DO NOT PLAY ALONG. It is really fucking stupid and I'm worried it'll kill me: http://t.co/HlhPoEReK0

— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) March 2, 2014


Our Hollywood correspondent

Hadley mails from the bleachers where the forecast is middling:

For some reason the Academy organisers decided in their infinite wisdom to take down the covering over the red carpet and press bleachers, even though it has been raining for 3 days. So the press now all has wet bottoms and are very grumpy.

But no matter! The MC is warming up the red carpet (”Who here loves The Ellen Show?!??!!!”) and the sun is finally coming out. We are set to start.

After the Oscars are done and dusted, we are hoping that Hadley will be heading off to yet another of Harvey Weinstein’s famous parties. She went to the last one, just after the Baftas, and had such a whale of a time that Mr Weinstein promptly joined her on the dance floor (aka wrote a furious clarification).


General housekeeping

At the risk of letting light in on magic, it should be noted that we are actually blogging these Oscars from the heart of the Guardian newsroom in wintry central London. But our esteemed colleague Hadley Freeman is on the ground in Los Angeles and shall be reporting in throughout the night.

Oscars red carpet chic pic.twitter.com/l3r4RZfEFG

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 2, 2014

And look - here she is, living the dream on the Oscar red carpet.

In the meantime, please feel free to send us your own Oscar night pictures, whether you’re parading yourself outside the Dolby theatre or hosting a private party at home. You can tweet us @GuardianFilm or email adam.boult@theguardian.com. Alternatively you can simply ring our editor, Alan Rusbridger, on his mobile throughout the night to let him know how you’re getting on.


The night to come

Buckle up, because we’re in this for the long haul. The next few hours sees the awards race reach its climax. 12 Years a Slave wades into battle against American Hustle, while Gravity attempts to pull weight in the best picture category. The latest odds suggest that it’s looking good for Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence and Jared Leto, The Act of Killing and The Great Beauty. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The night is still young and there’s a red carpet to walk.

The annual celebrity parade kicks off shortly, gleefully hosted (as it is every year) by the Amazing Smirking Imps of E!. For the rest us, there is still ample time to kick back, pour out a stiff drink and preview the Oscars at leisure.

Here’s what we’ve cooked up by way of an appetiser ...

Plus we’ve a whole mess of other Oscar-related trifles.

Welcome to the Oscars

Fans wait by the red carpet as the rain comes down on the 86th Oscars
The end of the world as they know it? Fans wait by the red carpet as the rain comes down on the 86th Oscars. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters Photograph: Adrees Latif/REUTERS

First the bad news. The stormclouds are massing, Russian forces are in Crimea and the world stands on the brink of another cold war.

Now the good news. It’s the 86th Academy Awards, live as a petri-dish from the Dolby theatre in LA. The red carpet has been vacuumed and the stars freshly laundered. We’re all set for a billion dollar spread of bread and circuses to distract us from the burgeoning horrors way out to the east. And thank heavens for that.

So kick back, relax. Everything’s going to be fine. The Oscars have surely never felt more relevant and necessary than they do tonight.



Xan Brooks with Hadley Freeman, Henry Barnes, Stuart Heritage, Adam Boult, Jess Cartner-Morley, Freddy McConnell and Imogen Fox

The GuardianTramp

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Seeing which celebrities wear it well and which look like they've just stepped off the set of Footballer's Wives is now more than just a side-dish to the main feast of Oscar gong-grabbing. Hadley Freeman sorts the independent spirits from the golden oh-nos

Hadley Freeman, assistant fashion editor

24, Mar, 2003 @11:26 AM