Monday, February 25, 2013

Argo and Life of Pi Win Big at the Oscars

When the most surprising result came in Sound Editing (a tie!), then you know it was a predictable night. It was a long night full of music and mostly expected winners. For my part, I did 18/24 (75%) in my predictions which is on the high side for me. The full list of winners is below:

Best Picture: Argo
Best Director: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Best Lead Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Best Lead Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, Argo
Best Foreign Language Film: Amour
Best Animated Film: Brave
Best Original Score: Life of Pi
Best Original Song: "Skyfall," Skyfall
Best Editing: Argo
Best Production Design: Lincoln
Best Cinematography: Life of Pi
Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Best Makeup and Hair: Les Misérables
Best Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man
Best Documentary Short: Inocente
Best Animated Short: Paperman
Best Live Action Short: Curfew
Best Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall
Best Sound Mixing: Les Misérables
Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi

4 - Life of Pi
3 - Argo, Les Misérables
2 - Lincoln, Django Unchained, Skyfall
1 - Silver Linings Playbook, Brave, Amour, Anna Karenina, Zero Dark Thirty, Searching for Sugar Man, Paperman, Curfew, Inocente

As expected, Argo took home Best Picture and two more awards for its screenplay and editing. Ben Affleck gave an impassioned acceptance speech thanking everyone from his peers to his wife and probably most importantly to Canada. It was Ang Lee's Life of Pi, however, that walked home with the most trophies with four wins including a second Best Director Oscar for Lee, perhaps my favorite win of the whole night. Other wins that I love were actually in the Animated Short and Live Action Short categories with my both my favorites Paperman and Curfew winning. Now can someone please turn the latter into a kickass HBO/Showtime series, please? The Golden Globes were the only major award show that predicted the acting categories, but then again they do have the advantage of two Actor/Actress awards. In any case, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz, and Anne Hathaway all won with both ladies picking up their first Oscars with their second nominations and Day-Lewis and Waltz winning their third and second Oscars respectively. Day-Lewis is the first man to win Best Actor three times. Seeing him getting handed an Oscar trophy by Meryl Streep was definitely one of the highlights of the evening that unfortunately was hampered by a host that didn't quite gel with the occasion.

Now, I wouldn't say Seth Macfarlane was a terrible host, but more often than not his jokes fell flat or worst were tinged with the kind of sophomoric humor he's famous for. He wasn't exactly helped by whoever wrote the banter for the presenters or structured the show with the former falling into either awkward or forgettable and the latter lacking any kind of flow. Some of that had to do with the still confounding decision to suddenly make this year's theme "Music in Film" which seemed to have been decided solely based on their desire to get the entire Les Misérables cast to sing on stage. To their credit, their performance of "One Day More" was sufficiently great as were the performances by former Oscar winners Catherine Zeta Jones and Jennifer Hudson. And yet the whole theme still felt less than fully realized even if you factored in performances by Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Adele (halfway to EGOT!), Nora Jones, Kristen Chenoweth, Channing Tatum, Charlize Theron, Daniel Radcliffe, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. All were great, of course, but I wished more elements of this bloated ceremony were played out to the Jaws score. Though getting Michelle Obama to present Best Picture (after that misdirection with Jack Nicholson) was pretty brilliant.

Overall, there are plenty of good things one could remember about this year's ceremony and I'd rather focus on those than on any of the bad things. For example, was it just me or did everyone seem to love Beasts of the Southern Wild and Quvenzhané Wallis? That's good! Focus on that! Who cares if it was the only Best Picture nominee to walk home empty handed? That's bad. We're ignoring that! And with that... see y'all next year!

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