CIA rescue operations and 3D Bengali tigers proved the big winners at the Oscars. Argo scooped the biggy, the Best Picture statuette, along with gongs for adapted screenplay and editing, while Life of Pi earned Ang Lee the Best Director award, plus cinematography, visual effects and original score.
“I’d like to thank Canada, and our friends in Iran, who are going through a terrible time right now,” said a flustered Ben Affleck on stage. “And my wife, who I don’t normally associate with Iran.”
In an unexpected move, the Best Picture winner was announced by Michelle Obama, addressing the Oscars show – and final presenter, Jack Nicholson – by videolink from the White House. “I was hallucinating when that was happening. I was just asking, ‘Was that Michelle Obama?’ The whole thing overwhelmed me. It was an enormous honour. It was very cool,” Affleck said backstage afterwards.
Elsewhere, Daniel Day-Lewis shocked nobody by picking up Best Actor for Lincoln, becoming the first in history to get three such awards. “Strangely enough, I’d been committed to play Margaret Thatcher,” he said on receiving the award from Meryl Streep, proving it wasn’t only Colin Firth who could push the charming British humour buttons. But while everyone expected this win, few expected Spielberg’s historic epic to only get one more Oscar – for production design – from its 12 nominations.
Another surprise came in the Best Actress category, which went to Jennifer Lawrence for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. “This is nuts!” said the visibly shocked 22-year-old, shortly after she’d tripped on the stairs to the stage in a vast Dior gown.
Other acting awards went to Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) in the supporting categories, while a teary Adele got the Best Original Score for Skyfall, which she had sung earlier. Shirley Bassey added to the Bond 50th anniversary celebrations with a fiery rendition of Goldfinger.
The best animated feature film award went to Brave, which beat fellow nominees including the video game adventure Wreck-It Ralph, which had been tipped as the marginal front-runner.
Music played a somewhat prominent part in this year’s event, with A-listers seemingly taking to stage every other minute in what appeared like a Celebrity Singstar competition. At one stage it felt half the audience were up there – Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter and more – for a medley of Les Mis hits.
Even the host, Seth MacFarlane joined in from time to time, clearly trying to add a bit of glitz and razzmatazz to the proceedings in between his Family Guy-style one-liners, which were occasionally a bit too edgy for the crowd (including one in which he asked Daniel Day-Lewis if he got so into character that when “you bumped into Don Cheadle on the studio lot, did you try to free him?”)
A rather cool moment came when MacFarlane’s own talking toy creation Ted came onstage to present an award, offering his usual family-unfriendly comments.
But, by and large, the Oscars passed without any huge shocks beyond Lincoln perhaps not winning as many gongs as expected. There were no major incidents already racking up millions of hits on YouTube or any Angelina Jolie-style exposed limbs now with their own Twitter accounts.
Even Sacha Baron Cohen’s brief performance amid the Les Mis warblers passed without incident, possibly because he hasn’t got a film to promote.
So there we go, the Academy Awards close for another year, meaning we’ve probably got about three days until the wild speculations over 2014’s winners start dominating entertainment headlines. How about the Diana biopic for Best Picture?
FROM THE BLOGS
• From our Fashion blog All Dressed Up find out who we thought were the Oscars 2013: best and worst dressed
• From our Lifestyle blog Scene&Heard recap how Alex Ritman witnessed the night's events with our Academy Awards live blog