There were no runaway winners at the 2013 Academy Awards, broadcast tonight live on ABC. It is, perhaps, a testament to how good a year it was for the movies, and moviegoers. It was such a great year that it was virtually impossible to predict many of the awards with any degree of certainty.
Argo won Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay (Director Ben Affleck was snubbed for Best Director). Daniel Day-Lewis beat four other stellar performances to take away Best Actor for Lincoln, and Jennifer Lawrence came away with Best Actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained took Best Original Screenplay.
In any other year, Les Miserables would have walked away with numerous awards, and if there was any “loser” at the Oscars, I guess it would be Les Mis, which for all its nominations ended the night with only Anne Hathaway’s Supporting Actress (probably the most predictable award of the night) and Sound Mixing.
For those of us who like to go to the movies (or watch them on the small screen), 2012 was an amazing year. Of all Best Picture nominees, I would have thought it was a toss-up between Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Les Mis, and Argo; all of them were Oscar-worthy. Any of them might have won.
The Oscar broadcast itself gets a mixed review. It seemed to go longer than usual; perhaps it featured too many straight-on musical performances, beyond the nominated songs.
Yes, it was great to see Shirley Bassey belt out “Goldfinger” (and despite a slightly clipped top range, the lady still has the pipes), and as part of the Bond tribute, it fit. But I could have done without Barbra’s “Memories” and the movie musical tribute. The performance from the Les Mis cast made some sense (and was excellent), but “All that Jazz?”
I was also disappointed with the lackluster James Bond tribute (except for Bassey). What, they couldn’t do something live? Maybe a meeting of the Bonds (or Bond villains). And how could they forget Andy Griffith, who died in July? Shameful that he was left out, even as an oversight!
As for the MC, I thought MacFarlane started off strong; I liked the William Shatner bit (although it, like much of the broadcast bits, was overlong), but his humor began to wear thin long before the broadcast passed the three-hour mark, becoming increasingly strident and mean-spirited, it seemed to me.
I loved Daniel Day-Lewis’ modest (and drily humorous) acceptance speech, and thought it was fitting that Argo‘s producers called out the Academy for its egregious snub of Affleck’s directorial achievement. I enjoyed the First Lady’s participation in a year that saw many of the nominated films carry forth historical and political themes.
In general, I am happy with the outcomes, but ever so slightly disappointed that Hugh Jackman didn’t win for his incredible, brave Jean Valjean. (Although it’s hard to argue with Day-Lewis’ impeccable Lincoln.) This was one of those wonderful years in film where there was an abundance of riches and so many beautifully done, and thought-provoking films that made us laugh and weep. They entertained us, and best of all, they made us think.