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Oscars 2014: Live Report

Date:

05:22 GMT – That’s a wrap – And so, the Oscars is over for another year.

“12 Years A Slave” had the last word, but the epic drama shared the night’s spoils with “Gravity”.

The top-grossing space disaster won a leading seven Oscars, including best director for Alfonso Cuaron, while Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave” won three – best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o, best adapted screenplay and the night’s top honor – best picture.

“Dallas Buyers Club” also triumphed, winning three Oscars, including best actor and best supporting actor for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.

“American Hustle”, which was nominated in ten categories, however, emerged the loser with no Oscars.

Also empty handed were “The Wolf of Wall Street”, which had five nominations, “Nebraska” and “Captain Phillips”, which both had six nominations, and “Philomena”, which had four.

“The Great Gatsby”, which wasn’t shortlisted for best film, won two Oscars while “Frozen” scored the best animated feature award and best original song. “Her”, meanwhile, won best original screenplay.

As expected, Cate Blanchett added a best actress Oscar to her haul of trophies for her riveting performance in “Blue Jasmine”.

Host Ellen DeGeneres spared us the song and dance numbers and a pre-recorded skit featuring humorous references to nominated films.

She made the audience laugh but never wince as she poked fun at stars, ordered in pizza, broke Twitter with her A-lister overloaded selfie and handed lottery scratch cards to Bradley Cooper as a consolation prize.

She wasn’t around too much and when she was, moved things along as briskly as possible for the lumbering three-and-a-half hour awards show.

And those watching at home seemed to like what they saw; in a snap poll by CBS, 88 percent of voters said they thought the well-loved talkshow host so good she should return next year. Will she be back? We’ll have to wait and see what the ratings say.

05:13 GMT – ‘American Hustle’ shut out – The failure of “American Hustle” to win one of any of its 10 nominations puts it level with “True Grit” from the Coen Brothers and “Gangs of New York” for worst shutouts.

Two films – “The Turning Point” (1977) and “The Color Purple” (1985) had 11 nominations and won nothing.

The show is over

04:55 GMT – Best Picture – Will Smith introduces the nine nominees for best picture, and the winner is “12 Years A Slave”.

Directed by Steve McQueen, the film was nominated for nine Oscars tonight. Lupita Nyong’o won best supporting actress for her role in “12 Years,” and the film took home the prize for adapted screenplay as well.

This is the first time a black director’s film has taken the top Oscar.

Including his nomination this year for the directing award, this is the second Oscar nomination for British director McQueen, and his first win.

Based on a true story, “12 Years A Slave” stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free African-American man in the 19th century who was kidnapped and forced into slavery. It won the Bafta award for best film and the best drama Golden Globe award this year.

Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas accept the award. This is the fifth Academy Award nomination and first win for Pitt. This is the second Academy Award nomination for Gardner, and the first nomination for both Katagas and Kleiner.

Pitt takes the stage for preliminary thanks before handing over to McQueen.

McQueen appears nervous as he rattles off a long list of thank yous, apologizing in advance. “The last word – everyone deserves not just to survive but to live,” he says. “This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup.”

McQueen dedicates the award to “everyone who has endured slavery” and the 21 million still enslaved today. Then he does a little dance and bear hugs fellow producers.

04:48 GMT – Best Actor – Jennifer Lawrence, best actress winner last year, comes on to present the best actor award.

The Oscar goes to Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club.”

This is his first Academy Award nomination and win. McConaughey won a Golden Globe for his performance as well.

In “Dallas Buyers Club” he plays Ron Woodroof, a rodeo cowboy who learns he is HIV-positive. Determined to survive, Woodroof organizes an illicit trade in a drug cocktail that shows signs of slowing the virus’s progress.

A tearful McConaughey thanks God, the Academy, his fellow nominees and their “impeccable” performances, co-stars Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, and the film’s director Jean-Marc Vallee before finishing with his trademark line from Dazed And Confused, “alright, alright, alright’.

04:41 GMT – Best Actress – Daniel Day-Lewis comes on to present best actress. And the winner is – no surprises here – Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine”.

This is her second Oscar and sixth nomination. She previously won the award for best supporting actress for “The Aviator” in 2004.

In “Blue Jasmine” Blanchett plays a New York socialite who moves to San Francisco to live with her sister when her life falls apart. She also won a Golden Globe for her performance.

Blanchett gets a standing ovation as she goes up to the stage. “Sit down, you’re too old to be standing,” she tells the audience.

“It means a great deal. In a year of extraordinary, yet again, extraordinary performances by women,” Blanchett says. She acknowledges her fellow nominees – Amy Adams and her “extraordinary performance” in American Hustle, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts (“hashtag suck it”) and Judi Dench.

She thanks Woody Allen for the screenplay and “for casting me” in it and reminds those who think female-led films are a niche market, “they are not. Audiences want to see them and they earn money.”

04:33 GMT – Best Director – Angelina Jolie and Sidney Poitier enter to another standing ovation. The pair hug before presenting the Oscar for best director.

The prize goes to Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity.”

This is the sixth nomination for the Mexican director, also nominated for two other awards tonight. With his win tonight for film editing, this is Cuaron’s second Oscar.

The 52-year-old film maker says the lengthy making of the film was a transformative experience for those involved; for him, that meant the color of his hair.

“I want to share this with all of the people who made this happen,” Cuaron says. “My amazing son and co-writer, Jonas Cuaron. Sandra Bullock. Sandy, you’re “Gravity.” You are the soul, heart of the film.”

“Gravity” received 10 nominations overall, and this is the seventh win for the film tonight.

04:26 GMT – Best Original Screenplay – The award for best original screenplay goes to Spike Jonze for “Her”.

This is his first Oscar, he also won the Golden Globe for best screenplay this year. The film received five nominations overall.

“Her” stars Joaquin Phoenix as a heartbroken man who develops an unlikely relationship with a new advanced operating system named Samantha, that deepens into love.

04:24 GMT – Best Adapted Screenplay – The Oscar goes to John Ridley for “12 Years A Slave”.

This is his first Oscar nomination and win. The film received nine nominations overall. “12 Years A Slave,” based on a true story, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free African-American man in the 19th century who was kidnapped and forced into slavery.

04:16 GMT – Best Original Song – The winners of the Academy Award for best song are Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez for “Let It Go” from the animated film “Frozen.” They are both first time nominees and winners.

The pair have obviously been rehearsing their speech and it’s a tight and funny list of thank you’s.

“To all of our fellow nominees, you are rock stars. Literally,” Anderson-Lopez says.

Robert Lopez now has the rare EGOT: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.

04:13 GMT – Best Original Score – Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel are on stage to present the music categories. Foxx does some faux slow motion “Chariots of Fire” humming and running before the first music award is announced.

The Oscar for best original score goes to Steven Price for “Gravity”. This is the first Academy Award for the 36-year-old British composer.

This is the sixth Oscar for “Gravity” tonight. The film received 10 nominations overall.

The 3-D spectacle stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts adrift in space after an accident.

04:11 GMT – Idina Menzel performs – Only a few more awards to go.

Here’s John Travolta to introduce best original song nominee “Let It Go”, from “Frozen”, performed by Idina Menzel.

Another standing ovation as Menzel finishes belting out the song.

04:08 GMT – Oscars ‘selfie’ goes viral – “So, this is true, we just crashed Twitter,” says DeGeneres, back onstage in a black suit. “We made history, the most retweets ever.”

“If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever,” DeGeneres posted along with the photograph on her Twitter feed, @TheEllenShow, during a break in her hosting duties.

Within five minutes, it had nearly 100,000 retweets, and about 45 minutes after that, her tweet it had garnered more than one million retweets.

Goldie Hawn then comes on to introduce the final nominees for best picture – Captain Phillips, Philomena and 12 Years A Slave.

04:04 GMT – Bette Midler debuts on Oscar stage – Another standing ovation, this time for Bette Midler, performing at the Oscars for the first time.

04:03 GMT – In memoriam – Glenn Close is on stage to introduce the in memoriam segment, which includes James Galdolfini, Paul Walker and Harold Ramis, Elmore Leonard, Peter O’Toole, Shirley Temple Black, Joan Fontaine and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

03:58 GMT – Nyong’o, trophy in hand – From AFP reporter Rob Woollard, behind the scenes in the trophy room:

“I feel like Willy Wonka in the Chocolate factory,” Nyong’o says.

“I’m a little dazed. I can’t believe this is in my hands,” she says, gesturing to the Oscar. “I can’t believe it’s real life. I’m really overwhelmed….I don’t think that it has sunk in.”

“I’m so happy to be holding this golden man.”

03:44 GMT – Achievement in Production Design – DeGeneres is back in a giant pink fairy dress and crown.

She introduces presenters Jennifer Garner and Benedict Cumberbatch.

A second win for “The Great Gatsby.”

This is Production Designer Catherine Martin’s second win tonight.

This is the first nomination and win for Set Decorator Beverley Dunn.

Nothing so far for American Hustle, which started the night with a leading 10 nominations.

03:40 GMT – Pink honors ‘The Wizard of Oz’ – Whoopi Goldberg – in ruby slippers – celebrates the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz”.

She invites Judy Garland’s children Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joseph Luft to stand up to mark the legacy of the film and its star.

Then Goldberg introduces Alecia Moore, aka, Pink, who performs a musical tribute to the film.

03:30 GMT – Achievement in Film Editing – “Gravity” now has five wins.

This is the sixth Oscar nomination for Alfonso Cuaron, second in this category. He is also nominated tonight for Best Director and the film could still win Best Picture.

This is the first nomination and win for Mark Sanger.

03:29 GMT – About that selfie… – From AFP lifestyle correspondent Robert MacPherson:

That group selfie that Ellen DeGeneres wants to set a record for the most retweets was retweeted more than 100,000 times in less than five minutes off her @TheEllenShow account.

In a bit of genuine Hollywood product placement, it was snapped with a Samsung smartphone like the one Samsung is pitching during commercial breaks amid the Oscars telecast in the United States.

The most retweeted tweet of 2013 was “Glee” star Lea Michele’s first public comment about the death of her co-star and partner Cory Monteith — it was shared 408,266 times.

03:27 GMT – Best Cinematography – Amy Adams and Bill Murray are on stage to present the Oscar for cinematography. Murray reads out the nominees and then adds – “We forgot one – Harold Ramis – for “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day” – Ramis died last week. “Please forgive me, gentlemen,” says Murray.

“Gravity” is the winner again.

This is the sixth Oscar nomination and first win for Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. His most recent nod was in 2012 for “The Tree of Life.”

03:27 GMT – DeGeneres impressing as Oscar host – DeGeneres has ordered pizza and wanders around the A-listers handing out paper plates and slices to Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Martin Scorsese and Julia Roberts, a bemused looking pizza deliverer carrying the boxes.

“I don’t have any money? Who here has…?” DeGeneres says, looking over to Sandra Bullock.

“Sandy? You’ve got a lot of money?” (the best actress contender is reportedly earning $70 million from Gravity) “Where’s Harvey Weinstein?” DeGeneres continues. “Harvey? No pressure only a billion people watching. Whatever you feel is right.”

03:20 GMT – Lupita Nyong’o wins her first Oscar – In her emotional acceptance speech, Nyong’o says:

“Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. So, I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance.”

“This has been the joy of my life.”

03:13 GMT – Best Supporting Actress – It’s the best supporting actress category and last year’s best supporting actor, Christoph Waltz, is on stage to present the award.

The Oscar goes to Lupita Nyong’o. This is her very first Oscar.

The 31-year-old first time nominee wins an Oscar for her first feature film role. The audience rises to its feet for a standing ovation. She beats Julia Roberts, June Squibb, Jennifer Lawrence and Sally Hawkins.

In “12 Years A Slave,” Nyong’o plays Patsey, a slave and mistress of a cruel plantation owner in the deep south.

In a tearful acceptance speech, Nyong’o says, “no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

03:11 GMT – DeGeneres takes a selfie – DeGeneres snaps a selfie with Liza Minnelli then approaches Meryl Streep. She suggests that because Streep has a record breaking 18 Oscar nominations, they should attempt to take a record re-tweeted photo.

DeGeneres calls over the surrounding stars and Bradley Cooper snaps a pile-up of A-listers including Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Kevin Spacey and Channing Tatum.

Streep is centre and seems excited. “Oh, I’ve never tweeted before,” she says. DeGeneres then takes one of her with Chiwetel Ejiofor. Brad Pitt muscles in too. “Photo hog!” DeGeneres says to him.

@TheEllenShow tweets: “If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars

The tweet goes viral.

03:09 GMT – Achievement in Sound Editing – “Gravity” wins again. This is the second nomination and first win for Glenn Freemantle. He was last nominated in 2008 for “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The space blockbuster, which took over four years to make and has grossed more than $700 million world wide, was expected to dominated the technical categories.

03:06 GMT – Achivement in Sound Mixing – “Gravity” wins.

This is the first win for Skip Lievsay. It’s his sixth nomination, third in sound mixing, including two nods in this category tonight.

This is the first nomination and win for Niv Adiri and Christopher Benstead.

It’s the fourth nomination for Chris Murno including two nominations in this category tonight. It’s his second win, he won in the Sound category in 2001 for “Black Hawk Down.”

02:57 GMT – Costume change – DeGeneres is back in her first costume change – a white suit. She gets a few whistles as she introduces “a man who needs no introduction” Brad Pitt.

Pitt then introduces U2, who perform their best original song nominee “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

U2 also gets a standing ovation and the supergroup waves to the audience as they leave the stage.

02:52 GMT – Honorary Oscars – The recipients of this year’s honorary Oscars are announced, Steve Martin, Angela Lansbury and Angelina Jolie. The honorary Oscars were awarded at the Governors Awards ceremony in Hollywood in November 2013.

Jolie gets a squeeze from partner Brad Pitt as a clip of her acceptance speech is played.

02:50 GMT – Best Foreign Language Film – Ewan McGregor and Viola Davis announce the Oscar for best foreign language film.

The Oscar goes to “The Greaty Beauty”.

This is the 11th Oscar and 28th nomination for Italy in this category. The film, by director Paolo Sorrentino, focuses on a journalist exploring the beauty of Rome. “The Great Beauty” also won Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes this year.

Italy’s last win at the Academy Awards was in 1998 for the film “Life is Beautiful”.

Back to the show

02:40 GMT – Jared Leto backstage – From AFP reporter Rob Woollard backstage:

Leto passes his Oscar around to reporters at the start of a press conference.

Asked why he paid tribute to his mother and brother, Leto says, “This is the best thing, being able to get on stage and to thank people that are important to you. I thank my mother because she’s everything. She has inspired me in ways that I could talk about for days.”

Leto jokes with the press while showing off his award: “Pass it around — but if you have swine flu, please don’t touch it.”

He explains why he mentioned Ukraine and Venezuela in his acceptance speech.

“Because of Thirty Seconds to Mars, because I’m in a band, these global issues impact us in a really direct way. We have a show in the Ukraine in a couple of weeks. We have a show in Thailand in a few weeks. We had a show in Venezuela.”

When asked how he is going to celebrate, Leto says he’ll be “celebrating to the break of dawn.”

“I never ever dreamed in a million of years that I would be standing here talking to you. It wasn’t even a fantasty because it was too far-fetched.”

Backstage scoop

02:37 GMT – Best Documentary Feature – “20 Feet From Stardom” takes home the Oscar in a competitive category. The film follows the lives of pop music back-up singers.

This is the first nomination and win for Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers.

The producers take the stage along with one of its stars, Darlene Love, who belts out her thanks in song and gets a standing ovation.

02:33 GMT – Best Documentary Short Subject – “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” wins. The film profiles Alice Herz Sommer, a 109-year-old pianist and Holocaust survivor.

This is the first nomination and win for Nicholas Reed. This is the third Academy Award nomination for Michael Clarke. He won this category in 1988 with the film “You Don’t Have to Die.”

02:30 GMT – Best Live Action Short Film – “Helium” wins the Oscar. The Danish film focuses on a hospital janitor who tells a dying boy stories of a magical land called Helium.

This is the first nomination and win for Anders Walter. This is Kim Magnusson’s fifth nomination and second win. He won this category in 1998 with the a film called “Election Night” (“Valgaften”).

02:28 GMT – Karen O sings sweetly – Zac Efron introduces Karen O, who performs her track “The Moon Song”, from best film contender “Her”, with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig.

The ballad is in the running for the Oscar for best original song.

02:21 GMT – Achievement in Visual Effects – The Oscar goes to “Gravity.” This is the first nomination and first win for Chris Lawrence and Dave Shirk. It’s the second nomination and first win for Tim Webber and the fourth nomination and second win for Neil Corbould. Corbould won this category in 2000 for his work on “Gladiator.”

02:15 GMT – Best Animated Feature Film – Kim Novak and Matthew McConaughey announce the best animated feature winner, and as expected it’s the Disney blockbuster “Frozen”.

The award goes to Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho. They are all first time winners, and this is the first animated feature Oscar for Walt Disney’s legendary film studio.

“Frozen” tells the story of a kingdom trapped in eternal winter, and follows the adventure of Anna, Kristoff and a snowman named Olaf as they try to lift the spell.

The film was nominated for two Oscars tonight. These are the first Academy Award nominations for Lee and Del Vecho. This is the second nomination for Buck.

02:12 GMT – Best Animated Short Film – “Mr. Hublot”, a story of an eccentric, isolated man, Mr. Hublot, who finds his carefully ordered world disrupted by the arrival of Robot Pet.

This is the first nomination and win for Lauren Witz and Alexandre Espigares.

02:05 GMT – Best picture clips – Harrison Ford enters as the “Star Wars” theme plays. He introduces clips from three of the nine films nominated for best picture – “American Hustle”, “Dallas Buyers Club” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

01:59 GMT – Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling – “Dallas Buyers Club” wins. This is the first nomination and win for both Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathwes. They beat The Lone Ranger and, probably this year’s unlikeliest Oscar contender, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.

01:57 GMT – Achievement in Costume Design – The Oscar goes to Catherine Martin for “The Great Gatsby.” Martin is married to director Baz Lhurmann, this is her sixth nomination and third win. She won for both Costume Design and Art Direction-Set Decoration in 2002 for Lhurmann’s film “Moulin Rouge.” She has two nominations for “The Great Gatsby” tonight.

01:56 GMT – The hat! – Kerry Washington introduces Pharrell Williams – and yes, he’s wearing his hat, the now signature Vivienne Westwood 100 gallon number. As he performs “Happy,” his hit from “Despicable Me 2,” the prolific hitmaker is accompanied by a host of multicolored backing dancers of all ages. Amy Adams also gets up to have a little dance with him as he walks by the front row of the audience.

01:46 GMT – Jared Leto wins first Oscar – Leto, who’s been winning all the precursor awards, hugs his mom and co-star Matthew McConaughey and shakes Jonah Hill’s hand as he takes the stage.

In a long and eloquent speech, Leto dedicates the award to his mother – “a high school dropout and a single mom” in 1970s Louisiana who taught his how to dream.

Leto, who won the best supporting award for his role as a transgender AIDS patient in “Dallas Buyers Club”, says:

“For the 36 million people who have lost the battle to aids, and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight, I stand here in front of the world with you and for you. Thank you so much.”

He also spoke to the current unrest in the Ukraine and Venezuela. “To all the dreamers out there in the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we are thinking of you tonight.”

01:42 GMT – Best Supporting Actor – Anne Hathaway, last year’s best supporting actress winner, takes the stage to announce the winner of the best supporting actor awards. The nominees are Jared Leto, Jonah Hill, Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper and Barkhad Abdi.

And the winner is, as expected, Jared Leto.

This is Leto’s first Oscar. In the film, Leto plays a transgender AIDS patient in Texas who teams up with a homophobic rodeo cowboy to import medication from Mexico to the US. Leto also won a Golden Globe for his performance.

01:40 GMT – Opening – Ellen DeGeneres brings out a set of excellent one-liners to start the show. She finishes her monologue saying, “Possibility number one — ’12 years a slave’ wins best picture. Possibility number two — you’re all racists.”

The show begins

01:29 GMT – The show is about to start – Five minutes to go and the stars are taking their seats – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are at the front along with Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Bruce Dern and his date, daughter Laura.

Kevin Spacey, asked what’s so special about tonight, says it’s a chance for people in the business to come together and celebrate the work they do all year long, which isn’t glamorous,” he adds. “We don’t get dressed up like this.”

01:25 GMT – Sandra Bullock on making ‘Gravity’ – Sandra Bullock, best actress nominee for “Gravity”, is grilled about her dress (Alexander McQueen) and how making the 3D space thriller changed her. “Well, that’s hard to do in a soundbite,” the 49-year-old replies, adding that the person who went into the production was not the same person that came out.

“My moments with Alfonso (Cuaron) (brought) up a lot of emotional stuff,” adds Bullock, who won a best actress Oscar for “The Blind Side” as her marriage was imploding. She said her “experience at work, helped sort out a lot of life stuff.”

Although it didn’t solve everything. “I’m still problematic,” Bullock says. “Just not as problematic as I used to be.”

01:14 GMT – ‘People in glass houses…’ – Jimmy Kimmel turns up, in a shirt and jeans, to plug his post-Oscars show while chatting to Lara Spencer.

In a skit, he climbs into the living room of a couple of scruffy couch bloggers, live-tweeting snarky comments from their sofa in sweats and underwear. Kimmel chides them for their snarky remarks. “People in glass houses…” he says. Pretty funny.

01:09 GMT – Best supporting actor nominees – Bradley Cooper, best supporting actor nominee for “American Hustle”, gets the crowd roaring as he shares a joke with Jonah Hill, with whom he’s competing for the award.

Meanwhile another competitor in the category, Barkhad Abdi, the former Minneapolis limo driver who earned an Oscar nomination for his first acting role, is asked what it feels like to be driven in a limousine to the ceremony. “Well, I’m feeling great, just happy to be here. It’s a dream come true.”

01:02 GMT – Jared Leto with his family – Jared Leto is “sharing it (the Oscars) with the family”, he tells ABC, attending the awards with his mother and brother.

The 42-year-old star, front-runner for the best actor award, says he feels “really lucky to have been a part of” the film “Dallas Buyers Club”, in which he plays transsexual AIDS sufferer Rayon.

“It’s been six years since I made a movie so to return with this, with so much love and support in an independent film that was barely made, is a dream.”

00:56 GMT – Lupita Nyong’o stuns in Prada – Lupita Nyong’o, best supporting actress nominee, is drawing some appreciative gasps as she wends her way down the red carpet. The 31-year-old newcomer, who is fast becoming a style icon after an awards season of stunning outfits, wins again in a custom-made Prada light blue silk gown with a plunging neckline and flowing skirt. In an interview, she said the blue of her gown reminded her of Nairobi, “so I wanted to have a little bit of home.”

00:46 GMT – Jennifer Lawrence falls, again – Uh oh – Jennifer Lawrence is in danger of making the Oscar tumble her signature move.

The best supporting actress nominee slipped on the red carpet on the way to the Dolby Theatre and had to be caught by those around her. Last year the unstoppable star tripped on her way up the steps to the stage to collect her best actress Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook” and before this year’s ceremony she said in an interview she didn’t want to trip again so would chose a gown that was “more accessible for stairs”. Oops.

00:29 GMT – One hour to showtime – The accountants from Price Waterhouse Coopers have arrived with the results of the Oscar ballots in locked briefcases. The pair have known the results since calculating them on Friday but shared the intelligence with no-one. But there’s only an hour to go until the first awards are announced.

00:22 GMT – Amy Adams in Gucci – Amy Adams admits she put her red hair up in a chic bun because of the rain. “I have a lot of hair so, play it safe.”

The star, the only best actress nominee who hasn’t previously won an Oscar, shows off her Tiffany jewels and Gucci Couture sheath dress and tells Robin Roberts her up-do was inspired by Kim Novak, who is presenting at the ceremony. This is my “Vertigo homage”, she says.

00:06 GMT – Stars arrive on the red carpet – The stars have begun arriving on the giant red carpet outside Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. Amy Adams, best actress nominee, is making her way down in a gorgeous, glove-like navy strapless sheath dress.

Meanwhile Philomena Lee, whose real life story was the inspiration for best film contender “Philomena”, is on the red carpet with her daughter. They tell KTLA interviewers they didn’t take comedian Steve Coogan seriously when he first approached them with the idea of the film but were soon won over. Lee, who is played by best actress nominee Judi Dench in the film, describes being at the Oscars as “the highlight of my whole life”.

Best actor contender Bruce Dern, 77, nominated for “Nebraska”, arrives with his daughter, Laura Dern. The actress gushes about her father’s many qualities including the fact “he demands the truth from everyone around him”. Dern is equally full of praise for his daughter, who was nominated for a best actress Oscar in 1992 for “Rambilng Rose”. This is the second Oscar nomination for Dern Sr, who was last nominated in 1979 for best supporting actor for “Coming Home”.

Those keen to see the return of the Jared Leto ‘man bun’ are disappointed to see the best supporting actor’s locks flowing freely down his back. The 42-year-old frontrunner, who has been cleaning up at the precursor awards, is almost certain to take the stage again tonight. It’s a far cry from “My So-Called Life”.

00:00 GMT – Welcome to AFP’s live report – The 86th Academy Awards is one of the most exciting in years, a race packed with critically acclaimed contenders that has left some of the top categories still impossible to call.

The unusually suspenseful contest has made for some aggressive, down-to-the-wire campaigning as Hollywood titans and red carpet regulars vie with breakout stars for gold.

Best picture appears a three-way race between harrowing period epic “12 Years a Slave” (9 nominations) and top-nominated contenders 3D space blockbuster “Gravity” and comic drama “American Hustle” (both with 10 nominations).

Top acting honors, however, are likely to go to other films. Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) has an apparent lock on best actress while Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) seems set to collect his first Oscar, unless “12 Years” star Chiwetel Ejiofor or Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) can pip the former rom com beefcake to the best actor prize.

History could be made if Steve McQueen wins best director for “12 Years” and becomes the first black director to do so. And Jennifer Lawrence could become the youngest actress with two Oscars if she beats rival Lupito Nyong’o (“12 Years”) in the best supporting actress category.

On stage, expect plenty of music as all four best song contenders perform – will Pharrell Williams manage to leave his giant Vivienne Westwood hat at home? Meanwhile Ellen DeGeneres is back for her second hosting gig, a bid to return to safer waters after last year’s controversial turn by Seth MacFarlane, whose abrasive routine raised as many hackles as laughs. Can the 56-year-old showbiz veteran keep the viewers laughing? Let’s go the Dolby Theatre to find out.

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