For years, Oscar producers and ABC have done anything and everything to try to make the Oscars more advertiser-friendly (read: more young-skewing), all seemingly to no avail.
They increased the number of Best Picture nominees from five to as many as 10 in the hopes that big budget films would be nominated and bring more eyeballs to the kudos, but that didn’t seem to work. Then they hired young hosts like James Franco and Anne Hathaway and cool emcees like Seth MacFarlane, but they were all mostly considered underwhelming or forgettable.
Then came the Oscar selfie that broke the internet. It was Tweeted or re-Tweeted two million times over two hours, breaking the record previously held by a photo of Barack Obama hugging his wife Michele after winning reelection, which was Tweeted 780,000 times.
Depicted left to right in the photo above are: Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club“), Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle“), Channing Tatum (“Magic Mike“), Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts (“August: Osage County“), Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards“), Bradley Cooper (“American Hustle”), Brad Pitt and Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave“), Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o and Angelina Jolie (“Girl, Interrupted”).
DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie proves that it doesn’t matter how old-hat the host may seem at first glance as long as they bring something fresh, relevant and worldly to the show. (And for the record, we thought that DeGeneres did a great job throughout the entire evening.)
Thanks to the record-breaking Oscar picture that temporarily shut down Twitter, people are talking about the Academy Awards in a way they haven’t done in years, even decades. Our nation’s youth obviously had a lot to do with it, as they immediately began tweeting and Facebooking the superstar photo to friends, followers, family members and everyone in between, making it the most shared picture in Twitter history by the time the final credits rolled.
“50 years from now when people talk about the 86th Academy Awards, this will be the photo that’s used in the headline,” I declared in Charles Bright‘s round-up of Gold Derby Editors’ Good, Bad and Ugly thoughts on the Oscars. “Just brilliant.”
I predict that DeGeneres’ all-star portrait will be just as iconic to this decade’s Oscars as Barbra Streisand‘s “Hello, gorgeous” was to the 1960s and Sally Field‘s “You like me! Right now, you like me!” was to the 1980s.
While the majority of the country may have no idea who Lupita Nyong’o is or the purpose of a “Dallas Buyers Club,” thanks to simple Google searches of “Oscar selfie,” more and more people are learning about the stars depicted in the smartphone pic and the films they represent.
In the tech-savvy world we live in now, it’s crazy to think that hashtags, memes and re-tweets may be more integral to a film’s success than any number of Oscars. But DeGeneres realizes this better than anyone else, which makes her one of the most advantageous and forward-thinking hosts in the entire 86 years of the Oscars.
Let’s start the campaign now to bring her back next year!
Re-watch the viral moment here: