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The 85th Academy Awards

… And the Oscar goes to …

Well, I must say, I found this year’s Academy Award selections very satisfactory, although the awards ceremony itself at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre was thankfully brief and relatively uneventful. First Lady Michelle Obama perked the proceedings up a bit with her appearance via satellite from the White House to support Jack Nicholson in announcing the best picture winner. Anne Hathaway, Quentin Tarantino and Adele (who also performed her SKYFALL song) were among the winners who gave poignant acceptance speeches.

Had I placed any bets like I usually do – I would have cleaned up! As opposed to most of its history, where one film has scooped up every prize going, Oscars were spread around this year, with LIFE OF PI winning four, ARGO three, and four other pictures picking up two statuettes each.

Firm favorite ARGO won Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing – although Ben Affleck himself was eloquently omitted from the Best Director category – while Daniel Day Lewis won best actor for LINCOLN, which also took the Oscar for production design. None of which comes as any surprise after the Golden Globes, which are usually indicative of forthcoming Oscar wins. I was personally delighted with the Academy’s choice of Ang Lee as Best Director (as well as Oscars for Best Cinematography, Original Score, and Visual Effects) for LIFE OF PI –  truly the most spectacular film of the year – as well as Quentin Tarrantino’s win for Best Original Screenplay with Christoph Waltz named as Best Supporting Actor for DJANGO UNCHAINED, and no significant wins for ZERO DARK THIRTY – apart from tying with SKYFALL for what is said to be only the third time in Oscar history – for Sound Editing. Let’s face it, if ZERO was the most superfluous film of 2012, than DJANGO was certainly the most entertaining.

LES MIS walked away with Oscars for make-up and hairstyling, Sound Mixing, and a Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway – which could also have been for the year’s most depressing performance, but the movie was pipped at the post by ANNA KARENINA for costume design.

One of my own personal favorites, SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN, was named Best Documentary Feature, while Austria’s AMOUR won Best Foreign Language Film – quite right, too, I don’t know how it actually crept into the Best Picture category in the first place.

SKYFALL was the evening’s other multiple winner, with Oscars for original song and sound editing, while Jennifer Lawrence’s wonderfully manic performance in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK nabbed her the Best Actress award, which kind of makes up for the HUNGER GAMES snub. The other indie outsider, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, surely one of the year’s most unique films, went uncelebrated.

***

Full list of winners from the 85th Academy Awards:

Best Motion Picture: ARGO – Producers – Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney

Best Foreign-Language Film: AMOUR, Austria

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year: BRAVE – Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman

Best Animated Short Film: PAPERMAN, John Kahrs

Best Live-Action Short Film: CURFEW, Shawn Christensen

Best Documentary Feature: SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN – Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn

Best Documentary Short Subject: INOCENTE – Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

Achievement in Directing: LIFE OF PI, Ang Lee

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis in LINCOLN

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz in DJANGO UNCHAINED

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway in LES MISERABLES

Original Screenplay: DJANGO UNCHAINED, written by Quentin Tarantino

Adapted Screenplay: ARGO, screenplay by Chris Terrio

Achievement in Cinematography: LIFE OF PI, Claudio Miranda

Achievement in Visual Effects: LIFE OF PI – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott

Achievement in Costume Design: ANNA KARENINA, Jacqueline Durran

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling: LES MISERABLES – Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

Achievement in Sound Mixing: LES MISERABLES

Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes

Achievement in Sound Editing (tie):

SKYFALL, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
ZERO DARK THIRTY, Paul N.J. Ottosson

Achievement in Film Editing: ARGO, William Goldenberg

Achievement in Production Design: LINCOLN – production design: Rick Carter; set decoration: Jim Erickson

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score): LIFE OF PI – Mychael Danna

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song): SKYFALL – music and lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

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