Academy Awards 2013

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oscarsIf the last couple of months of excitement and unpredictability was any indication, Hollywood’s biggest night might be less predictable than in years past.  Aside from the predictable parade of stars coming out in glamorous gowns and finest tuxes, it certainly was.  It’s already season of extremes in the first place with youngest (Quvenzhane Wallis, 9) and oldest (Emanuelle Riva, 86) nominated performers, while leaving out champion directors (Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hooper) whose movies are up for best picture. 

The 2013 Academy Awards carries a theme, music in films.  Instead of mocked-up movie montages, lengthy musical numbers opened the show shortly after Seth MacFarlane took the stage as host.  Less seasoned than veteran host Billy Crystal, MacFarlane jokingly said that hosting the Oscars this year was an honor bestowed on him as everybody else refused.  William Shatner made an onscreen cameo as Captain Kirk, displaying fake Twitter posts from the next day on how MacFarlane fared as host. 

MacFarlane quickly took a jab at the Academy Award voters for snubbing directing nomination for Ben Affleck, stating that even though “Argo” was a great film, its director was unknown to the Academy.  Later in the show he remarked that the Oscars was just like a church, with people dressing up, only with more praying (for winning).  He poked fun at Tommy Lee-Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Daniel Day-Lewis, George Clooney, among others.

Halle Berry, a former Bond girl, introduced James Bond footage from different generations as a tribute for the 50th anniversary.  Dame Shirley Bassey belted out the theme song from “Gold Finger.”  Adele sang “Skyfall” against a screen backdrop of colorful liquid and grabbed Best Original Song award. 

John Travolta, famous for his musical role in “Grease,” presented selected clips from some of the biggest musicals, capped with standing ovation-worthy singing performances from Jennifer Hudson and the cast of “Les Miserables.” “Les Miserables” claimed Best Sound Mixing award, while Best Sound Editing allowed a surprising tie between “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall.”

Barbra Streisand made a comeback with “The Way We Were” song, following in memoriam segment, flashbacks of those in the industry who passed away in the last year.

Behind-the-scene artists who dress and make up the stars split the awards between “Anna Karenina” (Best Costume Design) and “Les Miserables” (Best Makeup and Hairstyling).

The Avengers” team, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel Jackson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, assembled and presented Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects awards to luminously imaginative “Life of Pi.”  No surprise here. The film also scored Best Original Score. And more significantly, Ang Lee surprisingly took home Best Director gold, beating frontrunner Steven Spielberg (Lincoln). 

On the writing side, Quentin Tarantino took home Best Original Screenplay for “Django Unchained” and made a rousing speech.  Amazing screenplay adaptation and excellent editing net Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing for “Argo.”

Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”) bested Tommy Lee-Jones (“Lincoln”) as Best Supporting Actor.  He bowed and saluted the other nominated actors in the category.  Anne Hathaway predictably won Best Supporting Actress for her heartwrenching performance in “Les Miserables.” She singled out Hugh Jackman early in her speech and thanked him.  It’s a long way for the former princess in “Princess Diary.”

Daniel Day-Lewis as a living, breathing Lincoln, virtually a lock-in for the top acting honor, easily nabbed Best Actor.  He became the first actor in history to have won the award three times in the leading actor category.  His victory speech was humble and hilarious, showing respect for the other actors nominated in the category and humor about wanting to see Meryl Streep, who presented him with the statue, play Lincoln.  The film also earned Best Production Design for its authentic 18th century production. 

Jennifer Lawrence took a tumble down on the way up to the stage accepting Best Actress award.  She recovered quickly and modestly said that people were rising to their feet simply because they took pity on her falling.  Her dramatically grown-up role in “Silver Lining Playbook” was a standout, a more deserving winner than the initially leading actress, Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance via live feed.  Introduced by Jack Nicholson, the first lady took the spotlight with her commentaries on the nominated films and announced Best Motion Picture award.  Crowd-favorite “Argo” ultimately won the hearts of the Academy and claimed Best Motion Picture victory, a very fitting crown.  After being snubbed for directing nomination, Ben Affleck and his “Argo” continued racking up every major award during the awards circuit.  The tidal wave of accolades proved to be unstoppable.  Affleck made a spirited (bordering breathless) and gracious speech, acknowledging the other films nominated for the prestigious prize, everyone and everything associated with the film.

And the winners are…

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Winner: Argo – Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Winner: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Best Achievement in Directing
Winner: Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Winner: Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Winner: Argo – Chris Terrio

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Winner: Skyfall – Adele, Paul Epworth(“Skyfall”)

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Winner: Life of Pi – Mychael Danna

Best Achievement in Production Design
Winner: Lincoln – Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

Best Achievement in Editing
Winner: Argo – William Goldenberg

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Winner: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Winner: Skyfall – Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker and Zero Dark Thirty – Paul N.J. Ottosson

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Winner: Les Misérables – Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Winner: Amour (Austria)

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Winner: Les Misérables – Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Winner: Anna Karenina – Jacqueline Durran

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Winner: Life of Pi – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Winner: Life of Pi – Claudio Miranda

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Winner: Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Winner: Brave – Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

For a complete list of winners, please check out the official website.

Copyright (c) 2013. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, film columnist and travel/lifestyle writer.  She can be reached at  Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter:

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

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