How great was it to see Jared Leto – who left Hollywood to front a band – win the Best Supporting Oscar for his role as a transgender prostitute in “Dallas Buyers Club”? (Actually, the win was sort of a no-brainer. Hollywood loves to reward actors who transform themselves and stories that have their hearts in the right place.)
Leto seems to have his in the right place, too. Of course, there was plenty of Internet snark about his acceptance speech, in which he told the “dreamers” in Ukraine and Venezuela that we were thinking of them. (Apparently, actors aren’t allowed to be human.) I came late to his speech, but I’m glad I caught the end: "This is for the 36 million people out there who have lost the battle to AIDS.” He concluded, “To those of you who have felt injustice because of who you love and who you are, I stand here with you and for you.”’
As he left the stage, host Ellen DeGeneres shook her head and said, “Beautiful.”’
And indeed it was, although it was perhaps surpassed by Lupita Nyong’o (pretty in a custom Prada pale-blue goddess gown) and her emotional win as Best Supporting Actress for “12 Years A Slave.”
Leto was one of the guys who broke with the traditional black tux/white shirt/black bowtie. He went with a white dinner jacket and wine-colored bowtie. Both Kevin Spacey and Jim Carrey channeled the color of the season, blue. Will Smith, who presented the Best Picture Award to “12 Years A Slave,” accented his blue suit with an ascot.
Other hot trends – actors with their moms (Leto again, his “Dallas Buyers Club” co-star, Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughey); standing ovations for singers (an impromptu Darlene Love, a moved Bette Midler, Pink warbling the hell out of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and Idina Mendel performing the Best Song winner “Let It Go” from “Frozen”); bare, Michelle Obama guns; upswept hairdos.
Of course, the ladies overshadowed the gents. There were many striking looks, from DeGeneres’ variations on tuxes (I also liked her interplay with the star-studded audience, included the selfie featuring a seeming cast of a thousand and, of course, the pizza) to Sandra Bullock’s strapless midnight-blue Alexander McQueen mermaid gown. But hands-down, the honors for best look of the night (along with Best Actress) went to the gracious Cate Blanchett in blush Armani Privé with its high neck, cap sleeves and flowing, flared skirt. It’s not just that the tall, slender Blanchett – who struck a blow for women’s pictures – can wear clothes well. It’s that she has an eye for the unusual detail (sequins and light gold Swarovski crystals).
She’s a truly stylish woman rather than a merely fashionable one.