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The 2014 Academy Awards Meme Roundup

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Internet culture is invading the old world of TV more and more each day. I mentioned just the other day how people who’s been watching The Tonight Show since Johnny Carson took over for Jack Paar are now scratching their heads at Jimmy Fallon’s “hashtags” and “memes.” News programs are asking viewers to “Tweet” them. And the Academy Awards program last weekend was not only full of “selfies” and “photobombs,” but the celebrities in the auditorium were fully aware of such things, even more so than the average TV viewer. Or live TV viewer, that is. Many internet citizens caught the high points of the evening on DVR, YouTube, or even Twitter.

The Selfie Seen 'Round the World

Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres highlighted the Samsung Galaxy Note phone, which sponsored the show, by taking selfies with the seated celebrities. It’s the kind of thing that DeGeneres would do anyway. One selfie managed to pack in more than the usual number of movie stars.

When DeGeneres Tweeted the photo, the response was so immediate that Twitter went down for a short while. Within a few hours, it had become the most-retweeted Tweet ever, and within a day it garnered over three million retweets. And the parodies began immediately.

Matt Groening of The Simpsons drew his version of the picture, with a wider angle showing what else was going on just outside the frame.

Brick artist Ochre Jelly (Iaian Heath) went to work immediately to enshrine the scene in LEGO bricks.

Everyone wanted to alter the picture just a little. Find some of the earliest Photoshop jobs in this roundup. My favorite was this scene from The Shining in which you will find some familiar faces -if you look hard enough. Bonus: this one also contains Jack Nicholson.

You can be in the picture, too! Here’s an application in which you can insert your own picture into the selfie. I tried it, but no matter how tiny a picture I uploaded, it was too big to fit in with the crowd. I’m sure there’s some kind of adjustment somewhere, because others have managed to make it work. The selfie shown here is from anabela.cruz.568

Adele Dazeem

The next most-talked-about meme from the Oscars was John Travolta introducing Idina Menzel when she sang “Let It Go.” He mangled the phonics of her name so badly that it came out “Adele Dazeem.” Billboard imagined how Travolta would pronounce other singers’ names.

Travolta’s name was properly misspelled all over the internet as Jorm Tramolta, Don Gibraltor, Travis Jarvolta, etc. And Slate invited you to “Travoltify” your own name, with generator that mangles the pronunciation appropriately. David Letterman offered a list of the Top Ten Ways to Mispronounce Idina Menzel

But the real winner of the flub was Adele Dazeem. The name that belongs to no one now has a Twitter account in which names are spelled any which way. And the musical If/Then appears to have replaced Idina Menzel with a new actress named Adele Dazeem

Someone even made up flyers to insert into the show programs, but it wasn’t the production’s management. And everyone else had a joke to make about it. 

Poor Leo

A lot of the buzz leading up to the Oscars was how Leonardo DiCaprio has made so many hit movies and has yet to win an Academy Award. Would this be his year? He was nominated (for the fourth time), but was not an odds-on favorite for the prize. No one was surprised when he didn’t win, but many were ready with the appropriate images for the internet.

See more of the viral images here.

Jennifer Lawrence Falls Again

Jennifer Lawrence is a wonderful actress and a good sport, but she doesn’t have great luck with evening gowns. Last year’s best Oscar meme was when she fell ascending the stairs to accept her Oscar. This year she managed to trip over her dress walking down the red carpet. Gifboom user ditzkoff, who uploaded this gif, captioned it “Jennifer Lawrence in Gravity 2.” Uproxx dubbed it the “Now-Annual ‘Jennifer Lawrence Trips At The Oscars’ GIF.” We can’t wait to see what dress causes her to do it again next year!

There are more (pizzas, photobombs, etc.), but these are the most popular memes to result from this year’s Academy Award ceremonies. And the images are still coming in thick and fast, because everyone’s a comedian on the internet.

EduardKhilFans, YouTube
Eduard Khil: The Soviet Union Pop Star Who Became a Meme
EduardKhilFans, YouTube
EduardKhilFans, YouTube

If you haven’t seen Eduard Khil in the flesh, you may have seen any number of parody videos acknowledging his internet infamy. Shows like Family Guy and Jimmy Kimmel Live! have referenced Khil’s peculiar 1976 performance, where the Russian singer performs a non-lexical, vocable version of a song—a wordless, carbonated babble baritone that’s better seen than described.

Khil is the recent subject of a Google Doodle, the search engine's landing page spotlight on interesting figures in history, and it's led to another wave of publicity in what could be considered a third act in his long career.

Born in 1934, Khil’s hometown of Smolensk was eventually occupied by Nazi Germany: A budding performer, he sang for wounded soldiers at area hospitals. Though he later studied opera at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, he fell in love with pop music and pursued it as a career. In the Soviet Union, however, the kind of provocative lyrics and performances being seen in America were simply not possible: Anything even remotely sexual or suggestive would be censored. When he chose to sing about a cowboy riding home to his wife on the farm, he substituted the actual lyrics for nonsense syllables like “tra la la” or “trololo.”

Footage of his 1976 performance—where Khil appears in a muddy brown suit against a pallid backdrop while singing with great enthusiasm—eventually made its way online. Viewers were taken with his stage presence (he sometimes matched his eyebrows to the beat) and the fact that his “trololo” was an anachronistic reference to “trololol,” internet shorthand for trolling. American entertainers like Stephen Colbert latched on to the footage, and Russia even took note of the interest: The song was played during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In 2010, just two years before his death at age 77, news outlets began to reach out to the now-retired singer to get his reaction to the sudden surge in interest. "I'm very pleased, but I wasn't surprised because it is really a beautiful tune," he told Radio Free Europe in 2010. "I tried to make it cheerful. It's such a radiant song. Even though it was composed in 1966, it doesn't sound outdated."

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Leo Wins an Oscar: The Meme
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Leonardo DiCaprio has been on our screens (and in our hearts) since he was just a kid, and he's been earning Oscar nominations since he was a teenager. Starting with his Best Supporting Actor nod for What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), to his more recent Best Actor nominations for The Aviator (2004), Blood Diamond (2006), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and The Revenant (2015), the 41-year-old has proven to be a resilient and reliable leading man. And although there have been plenty of actors who take years to get their due, the good people of the Internet made DiCaprio’s lack of an Oscar a particular pet project.

Various Leo memes have been around since 2011, when Funny or Die remixed the movie J. Edgar (for which DiCaprio was nominated for a Golden Globe, but snubbed by the Academy) to tell the story.

In the years since, there have been plenty of jokes about Leo's quest for the elusive Academy Award. And then Sunday night, it happened.

Was it real? There was some doubt, especially when we recall what happened at the Miss Universe pageant when host Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner.

Other things could have gone wrong. After all, his Oscar win was for the movie The Revenant. Another possible outcome is illustrated in this flip book from The Flippist.

The original flip book is up for auction on eBay, with proceeds going to the the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. And then there’s this animation of the years-long saga.

DiCaprio seems to have a good sense of humor about his 20-plus year quest for an Oscar. After the ceremony, he was recorded joking about his lack of knowledge about post-winning protocol as his name was engraved on the statuette.

"You do this every year? I wouldn't know."

So, do you think that will be the end of the jokes? We doubt it.

The end of one meme is the beginning of another.

But all kidding aside, the award is official, and no one can take it away now. Jack Dawson finally won an Oscar, and you can get a custom T-shirt (design above) to celebrate. Congratulations, Leo!


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