Ellen’s Viral Oscars Selfie: 5 Years Later

Joe Wolff
Joe Wolff
Jun 20 · 5 min read

I retweeted Ellen Degeneres’ Oscars selfie in 2014. Seriously — was there anyone who didn’t?

But a few days ago, as I combed through tweets in an effort to avoid (insert problem or work-related project here), I realized something: Like many things in life, the once viral photograph has not aged well.

No, not because selfies are old news. The reason’s much more tangible…and balding.

Do you see him there? With that whimsical “It’ssss meeee” smile, forever tainting a priceless photograph? Damn you, Kevin Spacey!

Alas, poor maturation aside, the picture did get me thinking — where are all these people now? This was — is — of course, a representation of Hollywood. And an actor’s “spark” tends to ebb and flow almost as much as that of a long-term relationship.

So, without further ado…

Where are they now?

  1. Jared Leto

The 2014 Oscars were big for Leto. Despite only getting half of his face in Ellen’s selfie, he did end up taking home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyer’s Club.

High off his success, he then decided to play a new version of the Joker in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. That was, er, not well received, and Leto apparently method acted to the point of annoyance with his fellow Suicide Squad co-stars.

Currently, Leto is filming Morbius, based off the Marvel comic of the same name that follows Dr. Michael Morbius as he tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease but ends up accidentally turning himself into a vampire. Fun!

2. Jennifer Lawrence

J-Law’s been taking risks that haven’t always paid off. Her Hunger Games tenure ended with the release of Mockingjay — Part 2 in 2015. Her third collaboration with David O’Russell (Joy) didn’t quite pan out like American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook (which won her an Oscar).

Since then she’s continued to throw on blue body paint for X-Men, played house alongside Chris Pratt in a “meh” science fiction film, pissed mainstream movie goers off with Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, and become a Russian spy in Red Sparrow.

Up next? Playing real-life entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes in the Adam McKay-helmed film Bad Blood. Intriguing to say the least.

3. Channing Tatum

Since 2014 Tatum’s movie roles have been sporadic. He’s worked with the Coen brothers on Hail, Caesar!, dabbled with Tarantino in The Hateful Eight, and also played an American cowboy spy named Tequila in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Regretfully, he also saw his marriage dissolve last year and has since been pretty quiet on the movie front.

There have also been years-long rumors about him playing Gambit in an X-Men spin-off, but who knows what will happen now that Disney has acquired Fox.

4. Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep is Meryl Streeping. Yes, her name can be a verb. She’s pretty much a lock to succeed in anything she does and is more often than not guaranteed an Oscar nomination at least once every two years.

Most recently, she joined the cast of HBO’s Big Little Lies for its second season (despite the show already employing the talents of Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Nicole Kidman — way to be greedy HBO!).

5. Julia Roberts

Roberts has been pretty muted over the past few years. However, she starred in the Peter Hedges-directed film Ben [Julia Roberts] is Back last year, and is now leading in the Amazon-produced television series Homecoming.

6. Kevin Spacey

There’s no need to spend much time on this one. Kevin Spacey’s (well-deserved) demise has been equally well-documented. Now he spends his days in court and making weird, in-character Christmas Eve videos.

He is also, if it has not been stressed enough, the reason this once quirky, “actors are human beings too” photo has lost its clout.

7. Brangelina

Brangelina is“officially” no more because true love apparently doesn’t exist and is a made-up term intended to help sell Hallmark cards.

Or at least that’s my opinion.

Since her directorial debut in 2014 with Unbroken, Jolie has gone onto direct two more films (By the Sea and First They Killed My Father). Her acting has been sparse, but we’ll see her on the screen again this October in her Maleficent follow-up Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (not knocking Jolie here at all but…does the world really want another Maleficent flick?).

Pitt has had his producing hands on everything and anything in between over the past few years. He’s also shown up here and there in films like Adam McKay’s The Big Short and the Netflix film War Machine (where his performance — or at the very least, vocal inflection — was eerily similar to his Inglorious Bastards character Lt. Aldo Raine).

Speaking of Tarantino, Pitt’s next big acting role will be in the much anticipated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino’s 9th film that’s set to release in late July. Get pumped!

8. The Nyong’o siblings

Lupita has been killing it. After her break-out role in 12 Years a Slave, she’s seen her star power grow. Most recently, that’s carried over to roles in the Ryan Coogler-helmed Black Panther and Us, Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his Get Out debut (and, seriously, she deserves massive Oscar attention for her performance).

Meanwhile, her brother, who so famously ended up a focal point of Ellen’s Oscars selfie, has been killing it in a completely different industry — fashion. Also, quick shout out to him for graduating from Stetson University in DeLand, FL (my high school hometown).

Don’t let “small” town central Florida life fool ya — DeLand is growing and growing in a BIG way!

9. Bradley Cooper

After his leading role in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, things got a little helter-skelter for Cooper. Aloha was a catastrophe, Burnt didn’t really work out, Joy fell flat…

…but hey, at least he still laid claim to the voice of Rocket Raccoon in all things Marvel-related.

Then came this past year where he teamed up with Lady Gaga and directed / starred in the fourth revival of A Star is Born. A great decision.

The film was a critical success and garnered several Oscar noms (despite Cooper himself being arguably snubbed out of a Best Director nomination).

Up next for Cooper? Directing and starring in a Leonard Bernstein biopic!

10. Ellen Degeneres

Last but certainly not least, there’s Ellen. Still doing Ellen things. Still being awesome. The Ellen Show continues to thrive and Ellen herself continues to be everything right with stardom.

Down to Earth

Perhaps the coolest thing about Ellen’s Oscars selfie was its normalcy. Here were these widely-perceived “mega” stars gathering around to take a picture in the style of countless other “normal” people.

And while Spacey’s presence in the photo certainly sours its longevity, it still maintains, like all pictures, a moment frozen in time. A moment that doesn’t have to change because it never will. In that moment we knew only what we knew then. Saw only what we saw then. Lived only what we lived then.

Joe Wolff

Written by

Joe Wolff

Author, screenwriter, educator. How about a free collection of short stories? → https://www.joewolffwrites.com/

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