Lights…camera…action! Out rolled the red carpet, and in its wake descended the crème de la crème of the film industry to celebrate yet another year of spectacular movies. Every year, the Oscar night is nothing short of glitz, glamour and grandeur and this year was no different. Boasting of another spectacular night to pay tribute to and honor the best in movies, the 85th Annual Academy Awards were held at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, February 24th.
Life Of Pi – Four awards, including best director for Ang Lee
Argo – Three awards, including best film
Les Miserables – Three awards, including best supporting actress for Anne Hathaway
Django Unchained, Lincoln, Skyfall – Two awards each
Highlights of the show
Adele gave her first televised performance after giving birth to her son in October last year. The orchestra was rather overpowering, however, drowning out her powerhouse voice on the ‘Skyfall’ original soundtrack. Having said that, she showed a notable improvement in the wardrobe department, adorning an all black-sequined dress.
A salute to movie musicals saw Catherine Zeta-Jones reprise her Oscar-winning ‘Chicago’ performance and Jennifer Hudson flawlessly belting out a song from ‘Dreamgirls’, the movie that landed her an Oscar win in 2007. The tribute to musicals was rounded off by a theme song from ‘Les Miserables’, performed by its stellar cast comprising Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham-Carter and Amanda Seyfried .
Lots of singing, dancing and merriment was in store for Oscar viewers this year as host Seth MacFarlane kicked off the night’s proceedings, lending his vocals to some Hollywood classics, perfectly complemented by dance duets from Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron as well as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe.
During the section of the show that pays tribute to those who died in 2012, Barbra Streisand sang the late Marvin Hamlisch’s ‘The Way We Were’, from the 1973 romantic drama in which she starred with Robert Redford. This was Streisand’s first Oscar performance in 36 years.
Day-Lewis achieves Oscar history!
Daniel Day-Lewis made Oscars history by winning the best actor prize for a third time, which is the highest number of wins by an actor in this category. This was a win that puts him ahead of Hollywood legends Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Hanks, all of whom have two best actor wins to their names. The British star’s victory celebrated his astounding portrayal of America’s 16th President in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln.’
“I really don’t know how any of this happened. I do know I’ve received much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life,” he said.
The actor, with a reputation for immersing himself in his roles, previously won best actor for ‘My Left Foot’ (1990) and ‘There Will Be Blood’ (2008).
Lawrence’s tripping saga
The 22-year-old, who stumbled over her dress in a fit of undisguised shock and jubilation on her way to the stage, joked: “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell over and that’s embarrassing.”
Affleck’s simultaneous loss and win
Ben Affleck’s Iran hostage thriller ‘Argo’ beat Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ in the best film category. Argo, featuring Affleck as a director, producer and actor, is the first best picture winner to be excluded from the best director category since 1989′s ‘Driving Miss Daisy.’
Affleck’s snub has been much talked about in the media, with the night’s host Seth MacFarlane joked at the start of the ceremony: “Argo’s story is so top-secret that its director remains unknown to the Academy.”
Referring to his previous Oscar success for 1997’s ‘Good Will Hunting’, Affleck said: “I never thought I would be back here and I am because of so many of you who are here tonight…It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, all that matters is that you get up.”
With her cropped hair and pale gaunt face, Hathaway’s teary version of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ had made her an Oscar favourite. “It came true,” the actress said when she collected her statuette.
Hathaway’s Oscar was her first after previously being nominated in 2008 for ‘Rachel Getting Married.’
She rounded off her acceptance speech by saying, “Here’s hoping that someday in the not too distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and not in real life.”
Waltz waltzes away with yet another victory
Picking up the award, Waltz offered thanks to his character Dr King Schultz and to, “His creator and the creator of his awe-inspiring world, Quentin Tarantino.”
The Austrian actor won his first Oscar as a Nazi colonel in Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ in 2010.
Lee’s solidified star status
Ang Lee won his second Oscar for directing ‘Life of Pi’, the adaptation of Yann Martel’s fantasy novel about a boy stranded in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. The film’s four Oscars made it the top Oscar scorer of the night.
The Taiwan-born director, who previously won for ‘Brokeback Mountain’ (2006), exclaimed: “Thank you, movie God!”
‘Life of Pi’ also picked up the Oscars for cinematography, original score and visual effects.
Although during the pre-awards season, ‘Lincoln’ was being considered as a front runner with a massive 12 nominations, but could only manage to take home a meager two
Other notable wins
Tarantino won the original screenplay prize for ‘Django Unchained’, adding to the Oscar he won for writing ‘Pulp Fiction’ in 1994. “I have to cast the right people to make those characters come alive and boy this time did I do it,” he said.
The best adapted screenplay Oscar went to Chris Terrio for ‘Argo’, while Pixar’s Scottish adventure ‘Brave’ won best animated feature film.
The award for costume design went to Briton Jacqueline Durran for ‘Anna Karenina’, who described the win as “completely overwhelming” and paid tribute to her children, who were “fast asleep in England.”
British singer Adele won in the best original song category for her Bond theme song ‘Skyfall’. Struggling through tears, the British songstress thanked the Bond producers and her co-writer Paul Epworth, who collected the award alongside her.
The makeup and hairstyling award went to fellow Brits Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell for Les Miserables. Tom Hooper’s musical also picked up the Oscar for sound mixing.
A tie, which came as a surprise to many, was seen between ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and ‘Skyfall’ for the sound editing category.
Austrian drama ‘Amour’ won the Oscar for best foreign language film. The French-language film, directed by Michael Haneke, portrays the indignities of an elderly Parisian couple as they cope with Anne’s wish to die after a stroke.
- It was the first time since 2006 that the Oscars for best picture, director and four acting categories all went to different films.
- For the first time in the history of the awards, the Best Supporting Actor category consists only of previous winners. Alan Arkin, Tommy Lee Jones, and Christoph Waltz have each won Best Supporting Actor, while Phillip Seymour Hoffman has won Best Actor and Robert De Niro has picked awards for both categories.
- ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ became the first film in 31 years to receive nominations in all four acting categories. The last film to do so was ‘Reds’ in 1981. It also became the first film in eight years to be nominated in the “Big Five” categories; the last film to do so was ‘Million Dollar Baby’ in the 2004.
- ‘Amour’ became the first film in 12 years to be nominated for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. The last film to do so was ‘Crouching Tiger’, ‘Hidden Dragon’ (Mandarin) in 2000. ‘Amour’ also became the first foreign-language film in six years to earn a Best Picture nomination, with ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ (Japanese) being the last one to do so in 2006.
- Several age-related records were also set: Emmanuelle Riva, at 85, became the oldest nominee in the Best Actress category. This record was previously held by Jessica Tandy, aged 80, who was nominated (and won) in 1989. Nine-year old Quvenzhané Wallis became the youngest nominated actress in the Best Actress category. This record was previously held by Tatum O’Neal, age 10, who was nominated for (and won) Best Supporting Actress in 1973. Jennifer Lawrence, at 22, became the youngest two-time nominee, having previously been nominated in 2010 for ‘Winter’s Bone.’
The Unabashed host
The ceremony was hosted for the first time by Seth MacFarlane, the creator of animated comedy TV series ‘Family Guy’ and director of the 2012 movie ‘Ted.’
“I honestly cannot believe I’m here,” he quipped at the start of the show. “It’s an honor that everyone else said ‘No’!”
MacFarlane did a good job overall, although critics did regard some of his jokes as sexist, racist and downright derogatory. Say all they please,the 2013 Oscars brought in 40.3 million viewers up from the 39.3 million for the 2012 Oscars’, which were hosted by the Academy’s favorite, Billy Crystal.
MacFarlane, however, fell short of Crystal’s whopping 1998 ratings of 57.3 million viewers. With the Academy aiming for a much younger audience for its shows, it might be safe to assume that coming years will be no different as far as the entertainment level goes.