Oscars break records, celebrate filmmakers


Ang Lee backstage at the 85th annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 24, 2013. 

Life & Arts Editor

The 85th annual Academy Awards proved to be an interesting mix of deserved recognition, snide comments and celebrity flubs.

Host Seth MacFarlane, of ‘Family Guy’ fame, proved that while talented, his sense of humor would be better left to the voices of adult cartoon characters.  His delivery was sarcastic, cavalier and edgy – hardly what one would expect in the world’s most-watched award show.

Despite the painfully long introduction including several musical numbers and an extended cameo from William Shatner, the awards themselves celebrated incredible achievements in film over the past year with some particularly ground-breaking nominations.

Nominated for her work in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Quvenzhané Wallis became the youngest person ever nominated for Best Actress.  The nine-year-old was cute, precocious and graceful even when she lost the award to the second youngest nominee, 22-year-old Jennifer Lawrence.

Amour,” a brutal Austrian film about an elderly couple, won for Best Foreign Film, but earned an impressive four other nominations: Best Picture, Emmanuelle Riva for Best Actress, Michael Haneke Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Also a first, there was a tie for Sound Editing.  Both “Skyfall” and “Zero Dark Thirty” claimed the Oscar.  This is the first tie for the Academy Awards in 43 years.  The last tie came in 1969 in the Best Actress category for Barbra Streisand  in “Funny Girl” and Audrey Hepburn in “Lion in Winter”.

While there were big winners at this year’s Oscars, there was no single movie that swept the awards.  

Life of Pi” proved to stimulate the senses with its wins  for Ang Lee for  Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Original Score.  However, “Life of Pi” seemed to lack the acting prowess and storytelling abilities of its fellow nominees.

Ben Affleck’s “Argo” earned the coveted spot of Best Picture as well as the awards for Film Editing and Adapted Screenplay,  although it also failed to snag any acting awards.

The strongest acting came primarily from historical or period pieces.

Daniel Day-Lewis won his third Oscar for his stunningly realistic portrayal of honest Abe in “Lincoln.”

To no one’s surprise, Anne Hathaway received the award for Actress in a Supporting Role for her raw and emotional Fantine in the movie musical “Les Misérables.”

Austrian-born Christoph Waltz won his second Best Supporting Actor award as Dr. King Schultz in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.”  

Although the acting this year was superb, the ceremony was far from it.

As Jennifer Lawrence walked up to accept her Best Actress award, she tripped on her own dress walking up the stairs.  However, the young actress handled the incident with grace and humor. 

Once she reached the microphone, the audience was giving her a standing ovation.

“You guys are just standing up because I fell and that’s really embarrassing, but thank you,” Lawrence said as she accepted her Oscar.

Quentin Tarantino was his usual scatterbrained self when he accepted his award for Best Original Screenplay. He was sweaty, excited and downright proud of himself as he ended his acceptance speech with the words “peace out.”

Renée Zellweger also had an interesting moment when presenting the Best Original Song with her cast from “Chicago.”  Not only did the one-time Oscar winner seem a little off-kilter, when handed the envelope to read the winner, she squinted and passed it on to Queen Latifah.  Rumors of drunkenness, drug abuse and illiteracy quickly proliferated on the internet.

Despite it being three and a half hours long, the night was littered with pleasant surprises.

To everyone’s surprise, first lady Michelle Obama announced the award for Best Picture from the White House.

“[These films] reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves,” Obama said.

The universe was also blessed with a performance from Adele and her song “Skyfall” from the James Bond movie of the same name.  The anthem also won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Also, Dame Shirley Bassey, performed “Goldfinger” from the 1964 Bond movie.  Bassey was equally as stunning as she celebrated the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise.

The theme of the ceremony was music’s role in film, and the musical numbers ended up being some of the best moments.

Aside from this year’s Best Original Song nominees, several outstanding songs from films gone by made an appearance.

Jennifer Hudson’s “And I Am Telling You” from “Dreamgirls” and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ “All That Jazz” from “Chicago” were a welcome reprieve from the typical awards show fare, though the did ceremony seem more like a Tony awards show.

Despite the length of the ceremony and the hit-and-miss humor of the host, the 85th annual Academy Awards proved to be a success, thanks primarily to the stunning cameos.  From Michelle Obama to Adele to Jennifer Lawrence nearly falling on her face, this was an Oscars to be remembered.