While many have thought Seth MacFarlane's performance could be described as uneven, sometimes funny, sometimes downright crass, audiences didn't seem to care. The awards show ratings were up 19% from the following year. That could be attributed to the broad appeal of host MacFarlane and his songs about boobies and sock puppets (my favorite bit of the night). More likely it was due to the fact that the movies were much more successful at the box office than in previous years. As opposed to last year where The Artist was the big frontrunner that took home the big award, audiences have actually heard of and seen Lincoln, Argo, Life of Pi, Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook. It also was an interesting year because there was no movie that swept every category. I have to say that I liked this better, because it did feel like we had many different movies and artists honored for their work – not just one.
Taking home the big prize was the Ben Affleck directed Argo. This was not much of a surprise as it has won awards from almost every recent guild and critics circles. When the race began many thought it would go to Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty, but both were left slightly marginalized with only one or two awards. Now, one of Lincoln's awards was a big one with Daniel Day-Lewis taking home the prize for Best Actor in a leading role. Seeing the clips of his performance I was once again reminded of the incredible job he did with the role and how truly deserving he was. Zero Dark Thirty tied for an award for Best Sound Editing, and the fact that it tied left the movie almost locked out. If you have heard my thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty, you would know that I am not sad about this omission.
My person favorite movie of the year – Silver Linings Playbook – was mostly shut out save for the award for Jennifer Lawrence's performance which won her a Best Actress statue. The subtleties of her performance were wonderful, uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time and I am glad she was recognized for that fact. Christoph Waltz won for his incredible performance in Django Unchained and his speeches prove to always be entertaining. In no surprise, Anne Hathaway won for her performance in Les Miserables and she got up there and read her very scripted and very stoic speech thanking everyone she "should."
I think the biggest surprise likely was how many awards Life of Pi took home. This felt like a big underdog as it has not won many awards previous and in many ways came out of nowhere. Ang Lee took home the Best Directing award. I don't know that you could call this an upset because most would have predicted it would have gone to Ben Affleck for Argo, yet there was the slight problem that he was not even nominated. With that omission, the field was wide open and was oftentimes predicted to go to Steven Spielberg. I have yet to understand a system that makes that possible and was happy that producer Grant Heslov gave major props to Affleck for his efforts. Whether you think it deserved the top prize or not, the fact that it was even considered means that Affleck should have been recognized. A film is no film without its director making and leading all decisions and having a hand in every aspect of production.
Life of Pi also took home several of the more technical awards. It also took home awards for Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects. Life of Pi was very much deserving of the visual effects award, but the nomination and win likely caused the biggest controversy of the night. It was not talked about much, but there were over 400 visual effects artists protesting close to the ceremony to try to bring attention to the broken industry. As Bill Westenhofer accepted the award for Best Visual Effects, he tried to bring light to the issue and the fact that the company (Rhythm and Hues) that did a majority of the VFX for Life of Pi is now in the middle of bankruptcy and most of the artists and producers were unexpectedly laid-off last week. The Oscars producers chose to play his speech off with the music for Jaws and eventually cut off his mic completely. I didn't understand the Jaws music at all that was used throughout and thought it was extremely poor form. Extremely. (I'm not going to hijack this piece with that rant as the movies deserve to be honored, so if you want to find some initial thoughts on the issue, I will try to post some information in the forums and feel free to ask me any questions. I am very close to many that work in this industry and have a lot of insight into the sad troubles.)
I also found many things about the awards ceremony to be almost bizarre. They tried to create a theme of honoring musicals but it never felt very fleshed out. There were a few musical pieces, but nowhere near enough to honor the genre. Really there were only a couple nods to Chicago, Les Miserables and Dreamgirls. Ironically, both movies Bill Condon (the director of the Oscars) either wrote and/or directed. How about a nod to Singin' in the Rain or The Sound of Music that truly helped popularize the genre? I also found it odd that they allowed Adele and Norah Jones to perform two of the nominated Original Songs live, but the other three were barely even played, let alone performed live. More poor form.
However, no matter how it turns out, I love the experience of watching the Academy Awards. It might have been an odd year that the Golden Globes were the better of the awards shows, but it is still a great night. Thank you to everyone who joined the Live Screened Chat! It always makes it more fun to share the experience with people that are like minded and you can share thoughts and feelings without being judged. It is what makes the Screened community the best.
will be tabulating the predictions and we will announce the winner soon!
Full list of winners below:
Best picture: Argo
Best actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Best actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Best supporting actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best supporting actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Best director: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Best original screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Best adapted screenplay: Chris Terrio, Argo
Best animated feature film: Brave
Best cinematography: Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Best costume design: Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Best documentary feature: Searching for Sugar Man
Best documentary short subject: Inocente, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
Best film editing: Argo, William Goldenberg
Best makeup and hairstyling: Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell
Best original score: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Best original song: Skyfall from Skyfall, Music and lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Best production design: Lincoln, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson
Best animated short film: Paperman, John Kahrs
Best live action short film: Curfew, Shawn Christensen
Best sound editing: (tie): Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
(tie):Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson
Best sound mixing: Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
Best visual effects: Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
EDIT: Congrats tofor winning our Screened Prediction contest!