On Feb. 24, the who’s who of Hollywood got together once again to celebrate the best movies, actresses and actors, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, visual effects artists, film editors, production designers, composers, sound editors and mixers, make-up artists and costume designers at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Every year before the actual award show, media outlets and bloggers all try to predict the winners by using statistics or polls, by looking at sales numbers or previous awards or simply by relying on their personal experience as film critics. This year, these predictions proved more accurate than usual. However, there were still some surprises.
One hard-to-guess category was Best Director. Ang Lee (who The Telegraph predicted as the winner) won the award for Life of Pi, although some predictions (such as the Huffington Post’s or the Los Angeles Times’s) had Steven Spielberg as the front-runner for Lincoln. Another surprise choice was Christoph Waltz winning the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his role as Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained. He had been going head-to-head with Tommy Lee Jones for the latter’s role in Lincoln, but Jones seemed to have gained the upper hand leading up to the ceremony. Both Waltz and Lee were visibly moved and surprised when receiving their golden statuettes. This was reflected in their humble speeches.
Michelle Obama presented the Best Picture award, which fittingly went to Argo, a political movie about the Canadian Caper during the Iran hostage crisis.
Best Actress went to Jennifer Lawrence, who made her own mini-headlines throughout the award show. On the red carpet, the down-to-earth actress was bleeped for using a swear word, and she revealed to the viewers that she had just ordered food from a nearby McDonald’s because she was starving. Later, when she was getting on stage to pick up her golden statuette for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook, she tripped on her dress. She recovered with a slightly nervous yet sweet speech, wishing her co-nominee Emmanuelle Riva a happy birthday; Riva had turned 86 that day.
Daniel Day-Lewis, who won the award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, was humble as usual, yet surprisingly funny. Some said that Day-Lewis was better at making jokes about Lincoln than this year’s Oscar host, Seth MacFarlane.
MacFarlane split the opinion of the audience and viewers. He started the award show by bringing William Shatner — who appeared on a SciFi set on screen dressed as Captain Kirk — to tell MacFarlane that he’d be the worst Oscar host ever because of a series of scandalous jokes and sketches, among them a song about actresses’ breasts and a black sock puppet adaptation of a scene from Denzel Washington’s Flight.
Throughout the show, MacFarlane made numerous controversial remarks about presenters, nominees and guests, leading to many Tweets and comments. He referred to Django Unchained as a date movie of Chris Brown and Rihanna’s relationship. (In 2009, Brown assaulted his girlfriend Rihanna.)
MacFarlane’s comment after Adele’s performance of the song Skyfall (which won the Oscar for Best Original Song) — the theme song for the movie of the same name — was also one of his harsher remarks. He said that Rex Reed, a film critic and show host, would review Adele’s performance. Reed was recently under public scrutiny for commenting on Melissa McCarthy’s weight by calling her “tractor-sized” in his review of the film Identity Thief, which was published in the New York Observer on Feb. 5.
Skyfall also shared the Best Sound Editing award with Zero Dark Thirty in an unexpected and highly rare tie — the last tie occurred 1994 in the category Best Live-Action Short Film. A surprised Mark Wahlberg and Ted, the CGI teddy bear and title character of the movie Ted, presented the award.
Adele was certainly not the only musical entertainment during the show. Scenes from musicals and other performances from musicians, actresses and actors filled the breaks between the awards. One musical film got much of the spotlight, and it was not Les Misérables. It was, instead, the 10-year-old Chicago. The main cast of Richard Gere, Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah were co-presenters, and Zeta-Jones performed the song All that Jazz, which led to confusion among the Twitter community. It makes much more sense, however, if you know that the producers of the Oscars 2013, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also produced that film.
While Chicago and Seth MacFarlane took centre stage at this year’s Oscars, some topics were overlooked or even tuned out — literally. During the Oscar speech of Life of Pi’s visual effects team Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, Donald R. Elliott and Bill Westenhofer, the Jaws theme began to play, cutting off Westenhofer’s words. The interruption came right at the point he wanted to comment on the awful conditions of visual effects workers and the fact that many companies in that field are struggling financially. Currently, a lot of visual effects artists are protesting, and their cause has been gathering popular support on social media networks. Light-green squares (representing the green screen that visual artists work with) instead of a profile picture are used as a symbol of compassion for the visual effects industry.
All the winners can be found on the official website of the Oscars.