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Highlights from the 2014 Oscars

Host Ellen DeGeneres (center) with pizza delivery man and Brad Pitt in the audience during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2 in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Photo: Image by Getty Images

Highlights from the 2014 Oscars

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Mar 2, 2014

Host Ellen DeGeneres chose to do what she does best while opening the 86th annual Academy Awards after a seven year hosting hiatus. No, not dancing. DeGeneres leaned on her comedic roots and continued for the rest of the witty, "history-making" show.

In her opening monologue, DeGeneres first thanked the millions watching at home. "For those of you watching around the world, it's been a tough couple of days for us [in Los Angeles]," she said. "It has been raining. We're fine. Thank you for your prayers."

DeGeneres continued to crack jokes, singling out "Nebraska" nominee June Squibb, 84, for her age and Jared Leto for being the "most beautiful" guest in attendance. Jennifer Lawrence was also an easy target, as not only did she fall last year on her way onstage to accept her Oscar, but she fell again immediately after stepping out of her car onto the red carpet this year, a move that almost immediately became an internet GIF. "If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar," DeGeneres told her.

Describing the film industry audience in front of her as "one big, frightened family," DeGeneres cruised through the night up and down the star-studded aisles instead of traditionally remaining onstage. DeGeneres not only promised pizza during the live broadcast, but she also promised to make history with the "most retweeted selfie of all time." With the help of some A-listers, DeGeneres succeeded in both.

Late in the show an awkward pizza man followed DeGeneres offstage and into the audience as DeGeneres apologized to him, "I lied, we weren't going backstage." While the Big Mama's and Papa's delivery man held the stacked pizza boxes, Brad Pitt handed out plates and napkins as DeGeneres offered out pizza. Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Jared Leto and Harrison Ford all grabbed a slice, while Leonardo DiCaprio was the only actor to decline on camera. 

Likewise, DeGeneres later enlisted Pitt among numerous others to take the "most retweeted selfie of all time." Not only did it quickly surpass the (now) former most retweeted tweet by President Barack Obama, but once posted, her Oscars selfie temporarily "broke" Twitter.

Other show highlights include: Darlene Love getting the night's first standing ovation after breaking out in song, "His Eye Is On the Sparrow," during the "20 Feet of Stardom" acceptance speech. Bill Murray adding Harold Ramis to the Best Cinematography nominee list. Pink performing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" in celebration of the 75th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz," and Bette Midler's rendition of "The Wind Beneath My Wings" post-"In Memoriam." Oh, and DeGeneres dressed as Glinda, the good witch, arriving on stage just a tad too late for "The Wizard of Oz" tribute.

And the winner of the biggest award of the night: Best Picture of the Year? It was "12 Years a Slave," which DeGeneres had previously mentioned in her opening monologue. “It’s going to be an exciting night. Anything can happen, so many different possibilities. Possibility number one: '12 Years a Slave' wins best picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists," she had said.

Pizza, historic selfies and DeGeneres as the good witch, anything really can happen.

Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Julianne Cassidy is a newly Nashville-based entertainment journalist from Philadelphia.