Oscar 2013 Postmortem: Who Won, and How I Did

E: I have to tell you, I feel pretty damn great about that.  Especially after the nominations proved so fiendishly difficult, I’m feeling pretty satisfied.  And exhausted, because I was too excited to sleep last night – but mostly just happy.  I was a bit dubious about Seth McFarlane, but in the end, I thought he was pretty terrific.  Oh, sure, his monologue went on to long, but the song and dance numbers were fantastic (Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum!  Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe!  Alex Wong! the L.A. Gay Mens Chorus singing about boobs!), the sock puppets killed it, and way more of his jokes made me laugh than groan. Let’s talk Oscar!

I’ll just move through the winners, my predictions, and general thoughts on the evening.

Best Adapted Screenplay

I said: Chris Terrio, Argo

Winner: Chris Terrio, Argo

While I really really really wanted Tony Kushner to win, Terrio’s happiness was really enjoyable.  I loved when he tossed referenced director Ben Affleck who won an Oscar for writing his first movie, too.  That’s a pretty awesome start in the business. And I will say, much as I grumble about the lack of characterizations, the Argo script was incredible tight and structured for maximum impact.  And I loved Terrio’s ode to all those who solve problems non-violently, by using their wit and creativity.  Here here!

Best Original Screenplay

I said: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Winner: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

The big QT – who gave a really humble nod to the actors who make his words come to life and create the characters he believes he’ll be remembered for – becomes only the fifth writer to pen two Oscar winning original screenplays.  Um, good for him?

Best Supporting Actor:

I said: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

The Winner: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

I’m quite pleased about this – I thought he was the best bet, even if EW listed him as the fourth most likely of the nominees to win.  I got a little spooked to see statistics guru Nate Silver choose Tommy Lee Jones, because as I read them the stats pointed more clearly to Waltz than anyone else in this muddy race – but apparently I didn’t need to worry.   Getting it right just means more when it’s hard.

Waltz is just adorable; I mean, that little bow?  Love it.  I thought his little speech about the hero’s journey was adorable, and the words he took from his writer, Tarantino, were perfectly apt for the whole artistic enterprise: “you cross through fire because it’s worth it.”  Good job, sir!  A nice speech, a terrific role, and two Oscars for you in four years.  This is a great partnership.  Honestly, I’d have been happy with pretty much any outcome here, because these are all just great, exciting performances.

Best Supporting Actress:

I said: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

The Winner: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

No surprise.  Dress, meh; the color was odd, no, even with the party in the back and amazing jewels?  Anne said two things of interest, at the start and end of her speech.  When she first arrived at the podium, she beam and squeaked “it came true!” which I thought was adorable.  Then she did the whole laundry list thing – and, okay, I get it.  It’s only meaningful to those 10 people whose names you remember, and maybe a couple hundred in the film industry.  Now, it’s totally fair that these people care more about the 10 people in their lives than the tens of million in the audience, but OH MY GOD!  I love hearing people thank their parents or partners.  I don’t really care who their agent is, though, not unless they’re going to personalize their relationship with that agent.

Anyway, she tried to redeem herself at the end with the hope that someday Fantine’s story “will only be found in stories and not in real life.”  Agreed, Anne.

Best Actor:

I said: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Again, correctly predicting this category was no virtue on my part; anyone who follows awards would have told you the same.  What no one could have predicted, though, was that speech!  First there seemed to be tears in his eyes, and then he spoke eloquently about his wife, his gracious acknowledgement of his fellow nominees as his equals or betters.  And then, with a perfectly straight face, he told us that one hiccup in making the film was that he’d originally signed on three years ago to play – Margaret Thatcher!  I was so shocked by his reference to Meryl Streep’s winning role that I couldn’t even process it at first.  Just fantastic.  And then of course he joked that she was Spielberg’s first choice to play Lincoln; I’m right with you in wanting to see that version, DDl!  Lovely, just lovely.

Best Actress:

I said: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

The Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

This is another one I feel pretty pleased about – all day I was worried that perhaps I should have guessed Riva, but I thought that this was Harvey Weinstein’s one big chance for a win, and he’s really good at helping people get Oscars.  On a more basic level, it makes me happy because I think she’s great.  She was so shocked she tripped walking up the stairs in her gorgeous, massive ballgown, and then when the crowd rose to its feet (typical for the lead awards) she waved them off, saying that they were only giving her the standing ovation out of pity.  She far more flustered than we’ve ever seen her, and whenever a winner’s clearly moved by genuine emotion it’s a good thing for the audience at home.  She even forgot to thank Harvey!  I’m sure she rectified that situation backstage.

In a somewhat related note, how adorable was Quvenzhane Wallis when they announced her name, and how great was the crowd at supporting her?  Loved that.

Best Director

I said: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

The Winner: Ang Lee, Life of Pi

I’m so annoyed with myself, because I changed this from Lee to Spielberg on Saturday right before posting it.  If  you got back and re-read the Best Director section, you can see how conflicted I was.  Life of Pi did really well last night; with four Oscars, it actually won more awards then any other film.  Like I said in the prediction post, it was a great year for film, and the Academy spread the love all around.  I’m thrilled for Ang, who gave a short speech and a lot of adorable smiles, though I think it’s got to be some sort of weird record that he now has 2 director Oscars without ever having won Best Picture.

Best Picture

I said: Argo

The Winner: Argo

And there it is. 7 of 8 right.  Grant Heslov asked to speak first so he could thank Ben Affleck (“I thought it would be awkward for Ben to thank himself”), which he did beautifully.  And Ben, of course, brought down the house with his open armed joy. “I never thought that I would be back here,” he said of his win fifteen years ago for writing Good Will Hunting, before going on to essentially thank everyone he’d ever met.  (I got a good laugh out of his extending thanks to Canada, then Iran, then wife Jennifer Garner “who I don’t normally associate with Iran.”)  The local boy does gratitude good.  The boy done good, period.

And that was it!  In the categories were I didn’t make official predictions, I did still correctly assess visual effects, song, cinematography (boo!), and costumes.  And my instincts were on target with Brave beating Wreck-It Ralph for animated feature.  I’m quite excited about that – and I loved that Mark Andrews wore a kilt!  Way to commit to your film, sir.  There was a lot of great fashion; I adored Jessica Chastain’s Rita Hayworth/Marilyn/Jessica Rabbit Old Hollywood glamor beaded gown, as well as Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams in feather gray, and Jennifer Garner in a simple wine-colored column with a ruffled train.  Reese Witherspoon definitely gets my award for best hair, and Naomi Watts for best fit of a weird neckline.

I loved hearing the dance number from Chicago (wow, does Catherine Zeta-Jones look amazing), and hearing Shirley Bassey, Jennifer Hudson and Adele all perform their signature Oscar song; I can’t help thinking it would have been even more awesome to have them sing together, though.  Dueling Bond themes!  I wish there weren’t sound level issues during the Les Mis group performance (and Adele’s performance, too).  I loved hearing Jean DuJardin say the word “sexy” and I even liked the ending song, “Here’s To the Losers,” especially the verse about Quvenzhane Wallis, who will still be making movies “when the rest of us are dead.”  Ha!  “You have all Tom Cruise’s talent, and you’re equally as tall.”

Really, this morning I’m just a ball of enthusiasm.  Good times, guys, good times.  Very soon I’ll be back with more analysis along with My Movie Going Friend.  What did we think of the winners?  Who should have won?  How psyched are we that there was a tie?  Tune in soon for a fun conversation.

 

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