The 5 Most Annoying Moments of the 2014 Oscars

When the show wasn't boring, it got a little grating.

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The mostly boring Academy Awards was not without its high points. The Pharrell performance was fun, with the Meryl Streep shimmy and all, and man, was Lupita Nyong'o’s speech for best supporting actress a real tear-jerker or what? But plenty of other moments disappointed or just fell flat. Here are just a few:

Alfonso Cuarón accepts the award for best director of the year for "Gravity" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Alfonso Cuarón accepts the Academy Award for Best Director.

1. The lack of upsets: Host Ellen DeGeneres started the show with her own comic pseudo-Oscar prediction: “Possibility number one, '12 Years a Slave' could win. Possibility number two, you’re all racists.” Indeed, “12 Years a Slave,” took home the big prize – as it should have – and the Oscar voters, who are 94 percent white, could go to sleep Sunday knowing they hadn’t denied a masterpiece its due accolades because it was too tough to watch. But DeGeneres’ comment also underscored that the contest – all the contests, really – was already settled before the Oscar ceremony even started. The “12 Years a Slave”-“Gravity” best picture-director split had been a compromise long agreed upon in conventional wisdom. That “American Hustle” was shut out may have seemed inexplicable considering it tied for most nominations, except that it had been pretty well explained by the time the show rolled around. The conversation surrounding the acting races centered not on who would win, but who would be thanked. (Would Cate thank Woody? Would Leto thank the trans community?). Even the best adapted screenplay win for “Her” -- an underrated film – had its precedent in the Golden Globes. It was great to see the Academy spread the wealth among a variety of impressive films. But it certainly wasn’t the source of much surprise.

2. Jimmy Kimmel’s preshow Twitter-bashing skit: ABC bit the hand that feeds it with a Jimmy Kimmel skit that aired during its preshow coverage of the red carpet. Riffing off the “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” segment on his show (a gag that may be also one of his many hoaxes), Kimmel invaded the living room of some poorly dressed, dowdy-looking viewers to mock them for making fun of Oscar celebrities on Twitter. In essence, Kimmel condescendingly lectured the Oscar audience for participating in the so-called "second-screen experience” that makes such canned, stale shows worth watching. We get it. We all should be nicer on social media. But it seemed a little rich that Kimmel would tear apart some Average Joes tweeting about the show they were watching considering that Twitter is a ratings-driver for live television events like the Oscars, that the Oscar producers would shamelessly pander to Twitter users in an obvious effort of product placement, and that ABC tapped Twitter to promote the show’s advertisers. Not surprisingly, the skit spurred a mean reaction on Twitter.


3. The obnoxious Samsung product placement: Look at Ellen’s Samsung Galaxy! Isn’t it fun? Look at the pictures she’s taking with it! And it’s so good for selfies – particularly for selfies with a boatload of famous people plus Lupita Nyong'o’s brother. And that selfie just broke the Twitter record for most retweets. Wow! Ellen must love that Samsung Galaxy. Except – awkward – she ditched it the second she got offstage to tweet a picture from her iPhone. Whoops. It looks like Samsung could only buy so much Oscar loyalty.


4. John Travolta butchering Idina Menzel’s name: When you are a presenter you have one job – one job – and that is to get the name of the person you are introducing correct, particularly when that person is a Tony-award winning Broadway star whose song is a heavy Oscar favorite and on the repeat playlist of millions of children and professional adults, alike. But apparently John Travolta had never heard of Idina Menzel and what came out of his mouth instead was “Adele Dazim.” It set a jarring tone for a lackluster performance of "Let It Go," and birthed not one, but two parody Twitter accounts. Look what you’ve done, John Travolta.

Actress Cate Blanchett accepts the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role award for 'Blue Jasmine' onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by
Cate Blanchett accepts the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

5. The mostly male “heroes” montage: While the show’s winners were mostly set in stone, there were two other aspects of the Oscar broadcast that needed some explanation: the random selection of actors – B-list, relative newcomers, not the typical nominee types – recruited to present, and all of those montages. One moment brought both of those puzzling elements together, when Chris Evans introduced a montage reflecting the night’s theme “The Heroes of Hollywood” (because he plays Captain America, a superhero. Get it?). The heroes, as the gender of the noun suggest, are mostly male, it turns out. We got Iron Man, Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, "Men in Black," John Wayne, Jaden Smith and "Gladiator." But where was Erin Brockovich, Thelma and Louise, Lisbeth Salander, that redhead from “Frozen” or Lara Croft? We were left to settle for “Cool Girl” Katniss Everdeen. Thankfully, we also later had best actress winner Cate Blanchett to talk some sense to the Academy, calling out, “those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences." She went on in her acceptance speech, "They are not. Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.”

Now there’s a Hollywood hero for you.