From songs about boobs to CGI teddy bears
By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
The 85th Academy Awards happened on Sunday, February 24, and it was, to say the least, interesting. First-time host Seth Macfarlane managed to keep the otherwise mediocre show afloat with—what oftentimes felt improvised—semi-offensive jokes. An apparent “musical theme” ran throughout the ceremony as well, and while most of the songs performed were from previously Oscar-nominated films, this failed to take away from the handful of amazing musical performances. As usual, the worst part of the show was the awkward banter between award presenters.
But back onto the positives, the majority of the awards handed out this year felt very fair. Some were pretty obvious wins, such as Christoph Waltz’s second win for Actor in a Supporting Role (although Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Master was definitely a close second) and Daniel Day-Lewis’ third win for Actor in a Leading Role for Lincoln. As always though, the surprises were the real treat of the night, with some of the bigger ones including Searching for Sugar Man for Documentary Feature, Anne Hathaway—who I might add gave a tearfully heartfelt speech—for Actress in a Supporting Role, and the biggest surprise of the night, Argo for Best Picture. Argo’s win was such a surprise because so many other excellent films were nominated with it, all of which were fair game. This year’s Oscar ceremony had one of the best film lineups in recent years—though I will say that I think Life of Pi got a little too much love for many of the same reasons that Avatar did back in 2010.
What I feel people will be Googling most though is if there’s ever been another tie in Oscar history, since both Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty won for Sound Editing… either way, good for both of them!
Finally, my last and most important award reaction, Animated Feature going to Brave? Bull. Shit. Go watch Wreck-It Ralph or ParaNorman. Now those films deserved an award!
Going back to Seth Macfarlane, I knew from the moment he was announced as a host that I would love him. If he were the go-to host for the next… we’ll say five years, I’d be ecstatic. Whether his jokes were on or off-script, the majority were fairly hilarious. His little dance numbers and brief songs at the start of the show were definitely some of the stronger moments—although the “intro” also ran longer than it should have. With a very strange drop-in by an elderly James T. Kirk (William Shatner), the odd skit was greatly livened up by some classy dance numbers performed by Channing Tatum with Charlize Theron, and Daniel Radcliff with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (and Flight recreated with sock puppets was pretty amazing too). Even as the show ran about 40 minutes overtime, Macfarlane, albeit nervous, never completely lost his cool, and brought some of the better-improvised jokes of the evening during that time period.
What kept the class-factor up as Macfarlane stood to the side for those always god-awful award presentations were, again, the song performances. From Catherine Zeta-Jones’ lively rendition of “All That Jazz” to 76-year-old Shirley Bassey’s jaw-dropping performance of “Goldfinger,” the musical performances never failed to impress. One of the bigger highlights though was definitely the live full-cast performance of “Suddenly” from Les Misérables—Hugh, Anne, Amanda, and even Russell were all fantastic to watch.
As for the weirder moments, I suppose a good place to start might be the CGI recreation of Ted (voiced by Seth Macfarlane) for an award presentation with Matt Damon. While I’ll say the CGI on Ted was incredibly lifelike, it was also unsettling to look at, especially during the many zoom-ins. Then there was the co-presentation of Best Picture, done by Jack Nicholson—which made me happy—and for some inexplicable reason, Michelle Obama—which made me confused. Without exaggeration, there was no reason for the First Lady (via video feed, I should add) to be presenting that award. There was also poor Jennifer Lawrence’s fall on her way up to the podium for her speech, but she recovered with a delightfully self-aware acceptance. Speaking of speeches, the most entertaining speech of the night belonged to Ben Affleck after Argo won Best Picture—speeding along, stumbling, and seemingly on the verge of tears, Affleck’s speech made sitting still for nearly four hours almost worth it.
And with that you have the 85th Academy Awards summed up in a nutshell. The ceremony wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was largely a treat to watch, and it’s raised the bar for next year’s ceremony. Until then, go watch some quality movies!