Oscar 2014: Our Favourite Moments

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There were speeches of varying length and entertainment value. Glitches. Tears. Triumphs. All wrapped up in an Oscar ceremony that ran long and faced criticism for being less than thrilling in places. Here are some of our favourite moments...

Host Ellen DeGeneres’ opening spiel drew from the usual Ellen style – gently joshing with just a hint of edge as she pokes fun at some of the nominees. There were some easy targets – June Squibb is old! Amy Adams has several nominations! Jennifer Lawrence is clumsy! And some dicier parts, including an unusually dark gag about Liza Minnelli looking like a Liza Minnelli impersonator. But while not every joke landed, it was still funny and, unlike some other sections of the show, relatively swift.

Pharrell Williams, nominated for the song ‘Happy’ from Despicable Me 2, arrived on stage to sing it and then bounced off, encouraging several front row fellow nominees – including Lupita Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams – out of their seats to dance. He proceeded to bring the rest of the room to its feet with the peppy earworm. And he had his hat! Because of course he did.

Hitchcock blonde Kim Novak and future Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey presented the Best Animated Short Film and Animated Film categories. Novak stumbled over her words, requiring McConaughey to step in and offer some assistance. It all makes us wonder if she’s now forgiven the Academy for giving those awards to The Artist.

20 Feet From Stardom’s Darlene Love blows the roof off the auditorium, deafens the sound technicians and has the audience on its feet (again!) singing her part of the acceptance speech. Followed very quickly by Kevin Spacey stealth-plugging House Of Cards by starting his presenting bit as Frank Underwood.

#Oscars PHOTO: Actor Benedict Cumberbatch jumps behind U2 (REUTERS/Mike Blake) pic.twitter.com/kXCei8UoGt

��� ABS-CBN News Channel (@ANCALERTS) March 3, 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch has proved his skills as a photo bomber in the past, but he really upped his game on the red carpet with an epic steal of a picture (above), then getting in on the action during Ellen DeGeneres’ second selfie effort in the audience. The original all-star selfie, which you can see above, temporarily broke the Internet after DeGeneres asked people to retweet it and they did to the tune of more than two million.

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

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014

Perhaps not a huge surprise, but when Lupita Nyong’o won Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years A Slave there were still plenty of people predicting a Jennifer Lawrence win. She screamed "YES!" in an adorably excited way !as she accepted her trophy. Then, it was on to the speech proper, which was gracious and real. She cried, won our hearts and she finished strong with this: “When I look at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.”

In one of the funnier – but also longer – comedy asides that saw DeGeneres strolling among the starry audience, there was the time she decided to order pizza for those who were hungry. Cue the arrival of several boxes later in the show with Ellen handing them out and wondering how they’ll pay for them. Harrison Ford, Dax Shepard and more were shown eating. And yes, apparently that was a real pizza delivery guy bringing the pies. Ironically, the show could probably have been less hunger-testing without some of these extended bits, but this worked well.

Bill Murray. Bill Motherlovin’ Murray. Presenting Best Cinematographer with Amy Adams, he pulled of the difficult art of making the banter seem almost natural. Unlike several other presenters, he never once stumbled over his worlds, all the while seeming like he’d just strolled in from the set of Wes Anderson’s latest. He handed it over to Adams to list the nominees with "Alright, you're the brains of the operation too, baby; tell them who's up for best shooter.” But before she could announce the winner, he managed to squeeze in a nod to old, recently deceased friend Harold Ramis, which made the room suddenly become dusty. SHUT UP. NO, YOU’RE CRYING.

John Travolta had one job: arrive on stage and introduce Idina Menzel, who was there to sing nominated song ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen. While he hit his mark, he somehow managed to completely mangle poor Menzel’s name into something that still confuses us. Adele Noozel? Pick your own version. Ellen DeGeneres made sure to say Idina’s name properly twice afterwards, presumably to cancel out the bad karma.

Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez (with Robert scoring his EGOT- Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) tapped into their shared musical background for their acceptance as they take home the trophy for Frozen’s 'Let It Go'. The couple's speech was a rhyming delight that included the film’s director, cast, executive producer John Lasseter, their kids and even a sneaky plea for a sequel.

Oscar speeches - Matthew McConaughey and Steve McQueen

Matthew McConaughey span a yarn upon picking up his Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, one that managed to cover God, his concept of himself in ten years as his hero, his late father, his family and his colleagues on the film. We were mostly wondering what his True Detective character, Rust Cohle would’ve made of it. Then it was time for the big final prize as 12 Years A Slave scored Best Picture and a delighted, humbled, historic Steve McQueen was introduced by producer Brad Pitt and gave it his all. “To all the women in my life, they're all women and they're so powerful - my mother, obviously. I'd like to thank the amazing historian, Sue Aiken, who gave her life's work to preserving Solomon's book. And everyone deserves not just to survive but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all who have endured slavery and to the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today. Thank you!"