The Good, the Bad, and the Oscars

The Good, the Bad, and the Oscars

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Photo Courtesy MCT Campus Wire Service

Matt Shelar and Ryan Hoffman

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables

Joaquin Phoenix – The Master

Denzel Washington – Flight

Though this humble genius is in one movie every two or three years, Daniel Day-Lewis has continuously confirmed himself to be one of the best actors ever to live; and if his intense performances don’t make it evident enough, know he is the only actor ever to win three academy awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Upon receiving Sunday’s award, Lewis commended his wife, saying she had lived with many strange men over the years. From the stern Daniel Plainview of “There Will Be Blood” to the compassionate John Proctor of “The Crucible,” this well-calculated and versatile actor has proven himself once again to be a living legend.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Alan Arkin – Argo
Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

The first time American audiences met this artist, he was an S.S. Colonel for the German Army in World War II. For his role as Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Waltz was the recipient of the same Oscar in 2010. And three years later, Waltz paired up with Tarantino for another go-around as Dr. King Shultz. This year the Austrian actor was up against some of the stiffest competition with which this category has ever been faced, as all of his fellow nominees are previous Oscar winners. However, once again, Waltz rose to the occasion with his beautifully spoken dialogue and gentle (though ever-so-violent) mannerisms. He was ruthless and kind at the same time, and only when necessary. And though the award would have suited any one of his competitors, it was certainly not undeserved by him.

 

Best Picture

Amour

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

While I’m happy to see how far Ben Affleck has come as a filmmaker, I still have two undying one-word questions:

Really? “Argo?”

Maybe I need to watch it again. Was it that good? This movie had a tremendous cast and some noteworthy acting. Additionally, it was a true story well-told with intensity and humor. Not to mention the film’s strong “we are the world” vibe; and that’s all great. The nomination was enough of a nod to “Argo’s”
filmmakers.

When I walked out of the theater after seeing this picture, I didn’t get a sense of unforgettability or masterpiece. To me it was an above average piece of work. To think it stood out enough to be regarded as the best picture of the year makes me a bit unsettled and generally unsatisfied by the Academy. Though I don’t think they dropped the ball entirely, (I mean, it’s not like they gave it to Ted) I can only wonder what they were thinking with this category. Think of it like this: technically, Argo is considered to be on the same level as “The Godfather” parts I and II. I would love to know Francis Ford Coppola’s thoughts on this.

Best Director:

Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

Michael Haneke for Amour

Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

When Lee’s name was called, the crowd gave a well-deserved standing ovation. I don’t think this one was as much of an upset as some other critics think it is; Spielberg’s direction in Lincoln was typically great, but Life of Pi was definitely a harder story to pull off in terms of an emotional journey, and Lee deserves every bit of praise he gets.

 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Jennifer Lawrence —Silver Linings Playbook

Jessica Chastain—Zero Dark Thirty

Emmanuelle Riva­­—Amour

Quvenzhané—Beasts of the
Southern Wild

Naomi Watts—The Impossible

Even though she was a front-runner, Jennifer Lawrence’s win was still a bit of a shock, considering Jessica Chastain’s fiery performance as Maya in “Zero Dark Thirty” was the favorite to win.

Lawrence is a great actress, no doubt about it, and she has a promising career ahead of her, but in terms of versatility and emotional breadth, Chastain should’ve received this one.

 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

 

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Misérables

Amy Adams as Peggy Dodd in The Master

Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincoln

Helen Hunt as Cheryl Cohen-Greene in The Sessions

Jacki Weaver as Dolores Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook

 

Everyone knew Hathaway was a shoo-in and for good reason, but Sally Field’s performance in Lincoln was certainly nothing to joke about. I’m still flabbergasted  Jacki Weaver is even here; her motherly role in Playbook, while serviceable, is nowhere near nomination-worthy, let alone a potential win.

 

5 Moments in the Oscar Telecast Almost Everyone’s Talking About

1. Seth MacFarlane gives Hollywood a verbal spanking. During his monologues, the creator of Family Guy and Ted threw in typically offensive jokes, commentary and musical numbers including a pre-recorded song entitled “We Saw Your Boobs” which name-checked every actress in a movie ever who has shown some serious skin. Best of all of the moments of wacky comedy were the few times MacFarlane threw in some zingers, criticizing the predictable nature of the Awards themselves, making fun of Hathaway’s Les Miz win and Daniel-Day Lewis’ Lincoln win.

2.  Related to #1, Ted actually showed up. Proving  humanity is getting ever closer to the point where artificial intelligence takes over the world, Mr. Theodore showed up to present the sound awards along with fellow human co-star Mark Wahlberg. Except Ted wasn’t actually there (wait, so it wasn’t an animatronic?). In a recent article in IGN by Jim Vejvoda, it was revealed visual effects house Tippett Studio had pre-animated Mr. Talking Teddy Bear with five different outcomes for the nominees(for the producers to push the button when the correct winner of the night was announced) and then seamlessly integrated the footage into the live broadcast. Though once you realize this, you really feel for the all the famous actors and actresses who were only watching Mark Wahlberg talking to an empty stool.

3.  Life of Pi’s visual effects crew gets cut off by Jaws. The visual effects team who won for Life of Pi got their acceptance speech cut off mid-sentence, embarrassing not just the winners but also presenter Naomi Watts, who was visibly disappointed. Specifically  after his obligatory thanking of crew, family and friends, visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer attempted to make a point about his company Rhythm & Hues’ bankruptcy (the company initially found success with the animal effects for Babe and other films) and the need to pay visual effects artists higher wages. Since his speech was going on too long, the orchestra started to drown him out with the theme music to Jaws and then his mic was abruptly cut off. In any other circumstance, the use of the music from Jaws (DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN) would’ve made the situation laugh-out-loud funny, and this is probably what the producers were initially going for when they thought about long acceptance speeches, but in this case, it just came off as cruel.

4.  Fifty Years of Bond with Dame Shirley Bassey and Adele. In a show of respect for everyone’s favorite classic action franchise, the Academy decided to celebrate the legacy of the James Bond movies by showing a montage of clips from all the movies and a special surprise performance of “Goldfinger” from Dame Shirley Bassey, the soulful vocalist who sang most of the classic Bond themes. Then, if the night couldn’t get any classier, for recognition of the Best Original Song category (which she went on to win), Ms. Adele herself came on stage to belt the recent popular self-titled theme from Skyfall, with a full orchestra backing her, one of the highlights of the evening.

5. Michelle Obama presents Best Picture?! It had been announced before the show that Jack Nicholson would be presenting the one and only Best Picture award at the end of the evening. Or so everybody thought. When the First Lady of the United States beamed in via live telecast to reveal that she had the winning envelope in her hands both the crowd at the Dolby Theatre and viewers at home were astonished and then appreciative, possibly the biggest surprise of the night.