Damn, those Oscars were not bad. Well, they weren’t great, but the show was much better in comparison to the dreadful 2011 Academy Awards hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco.
This year’s 85th Annual Oscars was hosted by the occasionally witty and occasionally awkward Seth MacFarlane, whose monologue proceeded into one lengthy set of uncomfortable musical numbers, so-so jokes, and a shtick with William Shatner as Captain Kirk from Star Trek. Other than the embarrassing and controversially sexist “We Saw Your Boobs” tribute, which spoke about all the A-list actresses who got naked in several movies, MacFarlane did a fair job of making one-liner gut-busters (“the quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins now”).
The 3-hour-long award ceremony continued through suspenseful award presentations, a visually and audibly gratifying James Bond tribute, and three musical numbers from the cast of 2002’s Chicago, 2006’s Dreamgirls, and this year’s Les Misérables.
Most of the celeb presenters were endearingly dorky at some points, but just utterly disappointing at others (cough, Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy, cough). A few surprises in the show included a tie between Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty for Best Sound Editing, as well as an unexpected appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama, who presented the Best Picture award via telecast.
Other than the performances and the presenters, the awards given were actually not so bad: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) for Best Supporting Actor, Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) for Best Supporting Actress, Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) for Best Actor, and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) for Best Actress. Quentin Tarantino reclaimed his Best Original Screenplay award for Django Unchained, after previously winning it in 1994 for the American classic Pulp Fiction. Chris Terrio’s audacious script from Argo won Best Adapted Screenplay. Austrian hit Amour won Best Foreign Language Film. Searching for Sugar Man, the incredible untold story of a forgotten musician pioneer, won Best Documentary. Pixar claimed yet another win for Best Animated Feature with Brave (the Disney-associated company previously won 7 awards in the same category). Adele’s beautiful and compelling Bond theme, “Skyfall,” won Best Original Song.
Ang Lee was the biggest winner of the night, when his epic survival drama Life of Pi won the most awards (4) of the night for Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and the one of the biggest honors, Best Director. But in all honesty, Ben Affleck was the true triumphant victor of the award show when his acclaimed Argo won Best Picture, despite him winning only two other awards (Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing) and his snub for Best Director. Although he choked with tears of joy through most of his speech, it was indeed valiant, uplifting, and heartbreaking all in one. The show ended with another mediocre musical number, performed by MacFarlane and Broadway star Kristen Chenoweth, who both sang a tribute to all the “losers” at the Oscars that night. Some may disagree, but despite MacFarlane’s sporadic irreverent antics, as well the show’s excessive length, this year’s Oscars wasn’t that bad. Next year, though, not only will we experience yet another set of excellent films, but hopefully we will also get an actually interesting and engaging host(s). Tina Fey and Amy Poehler again? Let’s hope so.