This year’s Oscars ceremony just ended and I have to say I couldn’t be more pleased with both the ceremony itself and the overall winners.
Seth MacFarlane, at his first hosting gig for pretty much anything, was funny, energetic, and had great timing. His voice over for the skit of his Ted and Mark Wahlberg was great, he used his very beautiful and sultry voice for some very funny songs (his closing one with Kristin Chenoweth is a case in point), and he was never out of pace, boring, or awkward.
The stage was beautiful and used very effectively and dynamically. I was amazed to find out that the live orchestra this year wasn’t actually in the Kodak theater but in another building across the street. Everything went down without a glitch.
- Seth’s initial zinger to the Academy about snubbing Ben Affleck for Argo.
- His song “We Saw Your Boobs” interspersed by some of the actresses’ reactions.
- Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum’s dance routine, as well as Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s.
- The dresses of Octavia Spencer and Jennifer Lawrence (the latter looked like a princess at the ball).
- Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy’s routine, as well as that of the five guys from The Avengers.
- Nora Jones’ performance of her song for Ted. Not only was it good, but it was also perfectly placed, injecting some needed energy this late in the telecast. It also explained the apparent snub of having only Adele perform her song. Given that Les Misérables’s song had already been performed earlier in the ceremony, evidently the producers couldn’t secure the original performers for the other two songs and opted not to have them performed by someone else instead (a wise choice in my opinion). The clips from the movies were very satisfying.
- The tribute to the 007 franchise, both the montage and the performance of the great Shirley Bassey (damn those are powerful pipes!!).
- The tribute to the musicals: Catherine Zeta-Jones was great, Jennifer Hudson (that voice!!) was phenomenal, and the cast of Les Misérables almost brought me to tears and gave me goose bumps. I can’t wait to see that movie now.
- Adele’s performance, even though there were some sound issues and at times her voice felt suffocated (the song was also inexplicably shortened here and there).
- The Gay Men’s Chorus.
- Barbra Streisand, who sang a wonderful tribute to her beloved Marvin Hamlisch, a great composer who left us suddenly and too soon. When she appeared at the end of the In Memoriam montage, right under Hamlisch’s portrait, it became clear how the producers had managed to convince her to sing at the Oscars after 36 years. She was clearly overwhelmed by his memory. A really memorable and classy performance. She almost felt mystical.
- Michelle Obama’s appearance at the end of the telecast and her announcing the Best Picture winner. A remarkable feat pulled by this year’s great producing team!
So it is without further ado that I present the list of winners with some interspersed commentary:
Best Motion Picture of the YearWinner:
Argo: Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney
So glad that Ben Affleck’s movie triumphed. It is the best revenge for having been snubbed in the Best Director category and his speech was very nice.
Amour: To Be Determined
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald
Django Unchained: Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone
Les Misérables: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh
Life of Pi: Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark
Lincoln: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
Silver Linings Playbook: Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon
Zero Dark Thirty: Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleWinner:
Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Likely the most inevitable winner of the night, Day-Lewis gave a gracious and funny speech and quite surely deserved the win. It’s still a little upsetting to thing that while last year it seemed like such a big deal to hand out the third Oscar to Meryl Streep (a woman), this year no one even mentioned the fact that Day-Lewis (a man) would have brought home his third Oscar. Go figure…
Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
Denzel Washington for Flight
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleWinner:
Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook
Another win that seemed inevitable, I’m happy for her because from what I have seen of her work she’s a very good actress with a brilliant future ahead. I just wish it had gone to Naomi Watts, another fantastic actress who will not likely come upon many other chances to the home the little bald guy.
Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty
Emmanuelle Riva for Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts for The Impossible
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleWinner:
Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
One of the night many upsets, I had expected Tommy Lee Jones to win this category. Waltz is now 2 for 2, but he’s really a wonderful actor, so I’m not that bitter. I’m just glad it didn’t go to Robert De Niro, whose chances had lately gone up substantially, given that this onetime great actor hadn’t done any appreciable work in over 2 decades!!
Alan Arkin for Argo
Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master
Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RoleWinner:
Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables
The second most inevitable win of the night after Best Actor, Hathaway finally took home her long sought after Oscar. She gave a nice speech and was gracious as always. I can’t wait to see her in Les Misérables.
Amy Adams for The Master
Sally Field for Lincoln
Helen Hunt for The Sessions
Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook
Best Achievement in DirectingWinner:
Ang Lee for Life of Pi
A big upset by Ang Lee over Spielberg, who was somewhat considered the shoo-in given Affleck’s absence in this category. My friend Vittorio and I are convinced that there was some sort of software glitch in the online voting that assigned all of Affleck’s votes to other candidates (likely Haneke and/or Zeitlin). Either way, from what I’ve heard of Life of Pi, this win was well deserved. Lee is now the first director in the history of the Oscars to have won 2 Best Director Oscars without his movies taking home the top prize.
UPDATE: I stand corrected! I had jumped on this bandwagon before verifying the information and it looks like Ang Lee is far from the only director to ever win 2 Best Director Oscars without the corresponding movie taking Best Picture. From The Film Experience:
He is not however the only director to win twice despite having never directed a Best Picture winner. That trick was also performed by Frank Borzage in the late 20s/early 30s (his two wins: Bad Girl lost to Grand Hotel, and Seventh Heaven lost to Wings), George Stevens in the 50s (his two wins: Giant lost to Around the World in Eighty Days and A Place in the Sun lost to An American in Paris). [Note: John Ford actually won Best Director without winning Best Picture THREE times. But for How Green Was My Valley he won Best Director and the film also won Best Picture]
Michael Haneke for Amour
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino
What can I say, I’m not a fan of the guy. Some of his work I enjoy, other I just don’t get or detest. He sure looked like a slob on stage.
Amour: Michael Haneke
Flight: John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty: Mark Boal
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Argo: Chris Terrio
From what I heard, Terrio adapted the whole movie from a magazine article about the whole Iranian ordeal. Quite the feat!
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi: David Magee
Lincoln: Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook: David O. Russell
Best Animated Feature Film of the YearWinner:
Brave: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Another upset, give that Wreck-It Ralph was the heavy favorite, but a win for Pixar is always welcome in my book. Mark Andrews in that kilt looked totally hot!
Frankenweenie: Tim Burton
ParaNorman: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
The Pirates! Band of Misfits: Peter Lord
Wreck-It Ralph: Rich Moore
Best Foreign Language Film of the YearWinner:
Amour: Michael Haneke(Austria)
Given Amour’s nomination for Best Picture, a prize it could never win, as well as other main categories, no other movie really had any chances here.
War Witch: Kim Nguyen(Canada)
No: Pablo Larraín(Chile)
A Royal Affair: Nikolaj Arcel(Denmark)
Kon-Tiki: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg(Norway)
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Life of Pi: Claudio Miranda
Anna Karenina: Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained: Robert Richardson
Lincoln: Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall: Roger Deakins
Best Achievement in Editing
Argo: William Goldenberg
Life of Pi: Tim Squyres
Lincoln: Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook: Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty: William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor
Best Achievement in Production Design
Lincoln: Rick Carter, Jim Erickson
Anna Karenina: Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright
Les Misérables: Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson
Life of Pi: David Gropman, Anna Pinnock
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Anna Karenina: Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables: Paco Delgado
Lincoln: Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror: Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman: Colleen Atwood
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Les Misérables: Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell
Hitchcock: Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samuel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Peter King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Life of Pi: Mychael Danna
Anna Karenina: Dario Marianelli
Argo: Alexandre Desplat
Lincoln: John Williams
Skyfall: Thomas Newman
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Skyfall: Adele, Paul Epworth("Skyfall")
So happy for Adele and she got so emotional even though her win was totally expected. It just goes to show how “real” she is deep down. GO ADELE!!
Chasing Ice: J. Ralph("Before My Time")
Les Misérables: Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer("Suddenly")
Life of Pi: Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree("Pi's Lullaby")
Ted: Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane("Everybody Needs a Best Friend")
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Les Misérables: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes
Argo: John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, José Antonio García
Life of Pi: Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Drew Kunin
Lincoln: Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ron Judkins
Skyfall: Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Zero Dark Thirty: Paul N.J. Ottosson
Skyfall: Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker
Witnessing an actual tie is such a rarity that this prize became an immediate sensation!
Argo: Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn
Django Unchained: Wylie Stateman
Life of Pi: Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Life of Pi: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott
The Avengers: Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Daniel Sudick
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White
Prometheus: Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Phil Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson
Best Documentary, Features
Searching for Sugar Man: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn
5 Broken Cameras: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
The Gatekeepers: To Be Determined
How to Survive a Plague: To Be Determined
The Invisible War: To Be Determined
Best Documentary, Short SubjectsWinner:
Inocente: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix
Kings Point: Sari Gilman, Jedd Wider
Mondays at Racine: Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan
Open Heart: Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern
Redemption: Jon Alpert, Matthew O'Neill
Best Short Film, Animated
Winner:Paperman: John Kahrs
Adam and Dog: Minkyu Lee
Fresh Guacamole: PES
Head Over Heels: Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare: David Silverman
Best Short Film, Live Action
Curfew: Shawn Christensen
Asad: Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura
Buzkashi Boys: Sam French, Ariel Nasr
Death of a Shadow: Tom Van Avermaet, Ellen De Waele
Henry: Yan England
So that concludes the 2013 Oscar marathon. The ceremony went grossly overtime but it was so entertaining I could have sat there another hour!!
My only disappointment is that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a movie that’s technically impeccable, went home empty handed. Hopefully the dragon that will take center stage in the second chapter will bring some gold to the trilogy.
It’s a wrap, see you next year!!!