In an otherwise mediocre show by host Seth MacFarlane, the 85th Academy Awards was saved by impressive singing performances and the night’s most important Oscar presentations. Even though fans and those in the motion picture industry still refer Hollywood’s most important night as the Academy Awards, the name of the show is now simply The Oscars.
The most sought after award, the Best Picture of the Year went to Argo even though members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences snubbed actor-director Ben Affleck for a Best Director nomination. Taiwanese director Ang Lee, who earlier won the Best Director Oscar for “Brokeback Mountain” won the directing award again this year for “Life of Pi”. The Best Actor Award went to Daniel Day Lewis for his uncanny portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln and in a mild surprise, Jennifer Lawrence beat out early favorite Jessica Chastain to win the Best Actress Award for his performance as a young widow in “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Other major awards went to director-screenwriter Quentin Tarantino for Best Original Screenplay for his controversial film “Django Unchained”, Chris Terrio for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Argo”, a radiant Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the ill-fated Fatine in the musical Les Miserables and Christoph Waitz, who beat out a very strong group of nominees to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Dr. King Schultz in “Django Unchained.” A sobbing and very pregnant Adele won the Oscar for Best Song for the James Bond movie Skyfall.
While Seth MacFarlane’s role as host of the 2013 Academy Awards might be his last, he has only himself to blame for some not-so-well received jokes, in particular his “we saw your boobs” song, which at one point showed a very disapproving Charlize Theron in the audience, his comment about the excessive use of the n-word, which was “loosely based on Mel Gibson’s voice mails” and his concern about the show “not being gay enough.”
The Twitter universe has been attacking MacFarlane all night, with some of the best tweets documented by Salon.com. Among the other tweets that criticized the Oscar host were Star Trek’s George Takei writing “The only thing that could make the Oscars gayer, @SethMacFarlane, is if I hosted them”, Perez Hilton tweeting If you're gonna deliver bad jokes @SethMacFarlane, deliver them with conviction! Stop apologizing for your blah humor tonight! But CNN Piers Morgan appeared to come to the MacFarlane’s support, tweeting Amused by Twitter indignation to @SethMacFarlane cracking bad taste jokes. He created Family Guy, not Glee. #Oscars.
The other night’s best moments were by three of the singers who performed on the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Shirley Bassey who sang the original song in the 1964 James Bond movie “Goldfinger” put on arguably the night’s best performance for her reprisal of the song that oddly wasn’t among the nominees for Best Song that year. Adele put on another impressive singing performance of her Oscar winning song, “Skyfall” and in somewhat of a surprise, Barbra Streisand still proved that she is one of her generation’s best singers by reprising her 1973 Oscar winning song. “The Way We Were.”
The evening’s tribute of those in the motion picture industry who passed away featured many well known artists such as Ernest Borgnine, Celeste Holm, Charles Durning, Herbert Lom, Tony Scott, Nora Ephron, Hal David and Marvin Hamlisch but still seemed to be missing some others who have made important contributions to the entertainment industry, most notably Andy Griffith, Sylvia Kristel, Gore Vidal and Whitney Houston.
Despite Seth MacFarlane’s well criticized role as the host of the 2013 Academy Awards, there were a number of great moments and performances to offset the off-color jokes. The Academy can only hope not to invite MacFarlane next year for a repeat performance.