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Ellen DeGeneres' Oscars Opening Delights The Academy Audience

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THE OSCARS(r) - Television icon Ellen DeGeneres returns to host the Oscars for a second time. The Academy Awards(r) for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre(r) at Hollywood & Highland Center(r) and televised live on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Andrew Eccles/ABC via Getty Images)
THE OSCARS(r) - Television icon Ellen DeGeneres returns to host the Oscars for a second time. The Academy Awards(r) for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre(r) at Hollywood & Highland Center(r) and televised live on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Andrew Eccles/ABC via Getty Images)

Ellen DeGeneres took the stage at the 86th Annual Academy Awards, kicking off the awards show with her signature charm. She poked fun at Californians' struggle with rain, the number of repeat-nominees, and her history with the Oscars. DeGeneres also took time to recognize June Squibb, Lupita Nyong'o, and even Liza Minnelli, calling the famed actress "sir" and complimenting her for being the best Liza impersonator she had ever seen.

"One of the nominees is 'Her.' And by her, I mean Meryl Streep," DeGeneres continued, recognizing the number of times Streep has been nominated for an Academy Award. She turned from Streep to Lawrence, commenting on the young actress' fall at last year's Oscars and referencing this year's fall.

DeGeneres went on to mention Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave," joking that there are two possibilities for the night: "Possibility number one: '12 Years A Slave' wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: you're all racists."

This isn't DeGeneres' first time hosting the Oscars. The comedian also hosted the show in 2007, when "The Departed" took home the award for Best Picture. She stands in stark contrast to Seth MacFarlane, who hosted last year's 85th annual Academy Awards and made waves with his off-color jokes.

"We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres host the Oscars," Oscar telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said in a statement when DeGeneres was announced as host last year. "There are few stars today who have Ellen's gift for comedy, with her great warmth and humanity. She is beloved everywhere and we expect that the audience at the Dolby Theatre, and in homes around the globe, will be as excited by this news as we are."

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An historic night for Steve McQueen and "12 Years a Slave," wins for Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o, seven Oscars for "Gravity" and no love for "American Hustle." These were your 2014 Oscars. Hope you enjoyed it!

12 years a slave

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As expected, "12 Years a Slave" won Best Picture. Producers Brad Pitt and Steve McQueen accepted the award.

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#truedetectiveseason2 is McCounaughey and his Oscar. He won for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club."

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She also gave an impassioned plea to Hollywood to acknowledge that people want to see movies with female leads. One of the night's most memorable speeches.

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Will Cate Blanchett thank Woody Allen? Let's find out!

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"American Hustle" has lost seven times, thus far, on Oscar night, including in the Original Screenplay category where Spike Jonze's "Her" took top honors.

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Just because it's great and you need to know that.

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Cuaron wins his second Oscar of the night for "Gravity."

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Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez accepted the award with a speech that rhymed.

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Listen here:

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Or, well, Adele Dazeem. Or whatever John Travolta called her when he introduced Menzel.

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Bette Midler sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" after the list of deceased stars was shown. Among those stars left out of the In Memoriam segment were Cory Monteith and James Avery. Sarah Jones, the camera woman who was killed on the set of "Midnight Rider," the Gregg Allman bio film, was also not mentioned.

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Catherine Martin gets another Oscar, giving her two for the night.

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She sings "Over The Rainbow" to pay tribute to "The Wizard Of Oz," which is 75.

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lupitaliza

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That gets director Alfonso Cuaron his first Oscar of the night. Cuaron co-edited the film with Mark Sanger.

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Bill Murray and Amy Adams gave out the award. Before announcing Emmanuel Lubezki as winner, Murray paid tribute to the late Harold Ramis, who died last week.

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Put those think pieces away: Nyong'o topped Jennifer Lawrence for the award and received a standing ovation in the process. "No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid," she said.

lupita nyongo

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That's three Oscars for "Gravity," if you're keeping score at home. It has received the most awards this evening.

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But for those still awake: U2 played "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" and Brad Pitt introduced the band.

More on the U2 performance is here.

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Director Paolo Sorrentino accepts the award and thanks, among others, Martin Scorsese. "The Great Beauty" was Italy's entry at the category.

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And Darlene Love got to sing on the Oscars stage. Here's what Love told HuffPost Entertainment last year about a potential Oscars appearance:

That would be the ultimate. Never say never! Fate has been very good to me. I've been in the right place at the right time for the last 20 years. For one thing, it would give a lot of people the chance to see me. "Wow, that's Darlene Love. She really can sing! And she looks good."

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Stars' First Oscars
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