So last night saw the 85th Annual Academy Awards, held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. This year's Annual Giving Out Of The Little Gold Naked Men (as the Razzies call it) was occasionally funny, occasionally touching and sometimes cringeworthy but nonetheless a great celebration of film.
Seth MacFarlane took up hosting duties for the first time this year and I was a little nonplussed by him, if I'm honest. His opening schtick was nearly twenty minutes long and felt like it, and a few nice touches aside (Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron dancing, Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt joining him for 'High Hopes') it wasn't great. Whilst the idea of having William Shatner come on as Captain Kirk and show MacFarlane destroying the Oscars might have sounded good in theory, in practice it didn't work so well. After he settled into the role, things improved but I don't expect the Academy to be beating his door down to host again. But I will say this: Sally Field is incredibly game for a laugh.
The theme for this year's ceremony was 'music in movies' and a lot of the incidental music was done well- I particularly liked the use of the iconic Jaws theme music as a kind of countdown to wrap the speeches up. I particularly loved the celebration of movie musicals, with Catherine Zeta-Jones vamping it up through a brilliant rendition of 'All That Jazz' from Chicago, Jennifer Hudson belting out 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going' from Dreamgirls and the cast of Les Miserables doing a medley of 'Suddenly', 'I Dreamed A Dream' and 'One Day More'. There were also storming performances by Shirley Bassey (singing 'Goldfinger' during the brilliant tribute to 50 Years Of James Bond) and Adele ('Skyfall', naturally). Barbra Streisand also gave a touching rendition of 'The Way We Were' and a personal tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch at the end of the In Memoriam segment.
As usual, the guest presenters were very hit-and-miss: Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy were deeply, almost painfully, unfunny hosting Best Animated Short and Best Animated Feature, and the cast of The Avengers just about muddled through their awards (with Samuel L Jackson proving the best of them). Mark Wahlberg and Ted were pretty good hosting Sound Mixing and Sound Editing (even with Ted's expected Jewish joke) whilst Christopher Plummer was absolutely great presenting the Best Supporting Actress award. There was also a surprise co-presented for Best Picture... none other than First Lady Michelle Obama!
So, on to the awards themselves.
I was amazed to find my predictions were 100% right. Really wasn't expecting it. I did like that each of the acting winners acknowledged their fellow nominees; it shows a certain level of class, I think. All four nominees were well deserving of their honours. Jennifer Lawrence becomes the second youngest winner of the Best Actress Oscar (second only to Marlee Matlin who won for Children Of A Lesser God) and her speech was controlled and tight, despite her tripping on the stairs on the way up. Christoph Waltz has two Oscars from two nominations, which can't be at all bad. The Best Supporting Actor award was the first one awarded in the ceremony, so at least he got it over with early. Anne Hathaway's acceptance speech was lovely and Daniel Day-Lewis's was probably the best of the evening: how I would have loved to see him play Margaret Thatcher! Day-Lewis now has a unique place in Oscar history as the first actor to win three Best Lead Actor Oscars, and well-deserved it is too.
There was no real runaway winner this year. Life Of Pi won four Oscars (Best Director, Cinematography, Original Score and Visual Effects), with Argo (Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing) and Les Miserables (Best Supporting Actress, Sound Mixing and Make-Up) with three each. Lincoln, Django Unchained and Skyfall all walked away with two Oscars apiece. I was over the moon that 'Skyfall' won Best Original Song, and was pleased that Paperman won Best Animated Short- I caught that before Wreck-It Ralph recently and thought it was beautiful.
Below is the full list of winners at the 85th Annual Academy Awards:
Best Motion Picture of the Year: 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 of the Year: Brave
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: Amour
Best Cinematography: Life of Pi
Best Editing: Argo
Best Production Design: Lincoln
Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Les Misérables
Best Original Score: Life of Pi
Best Original Song: 'Skyfall'
Best Sound Mixing: Les Misérables
Best Sound Editing: Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty (tied)
Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Best Documentary (Feature): Searching for Sugar Man
Best Documentary (Short Subject): Inocente
Best Animated Short Film: Paperman
Best Live Action Short Film: Curfew
Congratulations to all winners!