Oscars 2013 – Results, Reactions, Snubs and General Fallout.

25 Feb

OscarsThe 85th Academy Awards (or, The Oscars) is now done and dusted. Having forsaken the opportunity to stay up all night to watch the ceremony (the show begins at midnight here in Ireland; scandalous, right?) in order to actually sleep for once, I was actually mostly pleased with the results upon hearing them this morning over the radio. Seth MacFarlane’s tiresome antics aside, the show was as glitzy and glamorous as always. Below are my reactions, judgements and other ideas regarding this year’s Oscars.

Best Picture

Winner: Argo

I have absolutely no qualms with this whatsoever. Of all of the nominees, no other film really captivated me in the same way Affleck’s masterpiece did. I outlined my love for this movie quite clearly in my review, and my opinion certainly has not changed. Lincoln was a similar masterpiece, Django Unchained was heaps of fun and Life of Pi was a feast for the eyes – but none matched the sheer virtuosity that was Argo.

Affleck’s movie holds an interesting stat: it is the first film since 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy to win Best Picture without a directing nomination. The two fields usually line up, however this year’s ceremony is a bit of an anomaly in that only two of the nine Best Picture nominations were also up for directing awards – that was Lincoln and Spielberg, and Life of Pi and Ang Lee.

Best Director

Winner: Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Not so sure about this one. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Life of Pi and felt it worthy of some recognition, certainly from a technical standpoint. But Best Director? Nah, the movie wasn’t that great. It truly was a visual treat, and I admire the effort to produce a philosophically innocuous ending, but had this maddeningly unnecessary framing device and a Coldplay song was used in the advertisement – unforgivable. However, I understand why the Academy chose the way they did: they see this as the make-good for depriving Lee of his more than justified 2005 Oscar for Brokeback Mountain. Though the latter is a vastly superior film, I congratulate Lee on this year’s accolade.

The crew behind Argo enjoying their much-deserved time in the spotlight.

The crew behind Argo enjoying their much-deserved time in the spotlight.

Best Actor

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

A no-brainer really. Day-Lewis’ magnificent and classy performance in Spielberg’s epic cements what we already knew about the man – he is a master of his craft. The only real competition he had this time round was against a similarly legendary actor – Denzel Washington, for Flight. Bradley Cooper was great in Silver Linings Playbook but doesn’t hold a candle to either of these behemoths; Hugh Jackman deserves nothing for Les Mis, and though I love Joaquin Phoenix as an actor, he was hardly the most interesting aspect of The Master. Any other day, Washington would have won: but Day-Lewis is just too awesome for him.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

I love (read: LOVE!) that Christoph Waltz won in this category, because frankly he is the main reason why Django Unchained is so much fun. Jamie Foxx is great too, as are the other supporting roles, but Waltz really made this film. A bit of an upset – Tommy Lee Jones was the bookies’ favourite for Lincoln, and he would have deserved it too. Also noteworthy is that Waltz previously won an Oscar for a relatively similar role in a relatively similar movie (Inglorious Basterds). But Django Unchained would have been a far less interesting, funny and generally unenjoyable movie without Waltz; Lincoln would have still ruled without Jones. I would have enjoyed seeing Philip Seymour Hoffman win either – his crazy cult leader character was easily the best part of The Master.

Best Actress

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

The Best Actress award was such a close race that it really could have gone any way; the unpredictability of this category made it, for me, the most interesting. Naomi Watts’ performance in The Impossible was quite good (my problems with that movie lay elsewhere) though I find Jessica Chastain’s nomination a bit of a stretch. Two records were smashed this time: both the oldest and youngest actresses ever nominated featured – Emmanuelle Riva for Amour and Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild, respectively. One of them winning would have been interesting, though I do not begrudge Jennifer Lawrence on her win. She was great in Silver Linings Playbook!

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

UUGGGHHH! I despise Les Mis: everything from its incredibly close-up shots of people’s mouths to the lacklustre vocals just irked me the wrong way. I have never suffered more in a cinema than I did at that screening. However, I think Anne Hathaway deserves an award for two reasons: one, she was the sole redeeming feature of that dreadful musical, and secondly that her performance as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises earns her at least a degree of recognition. Amy Adams had a subtle but fantastic role in The Master, and Sally Field more than deserved her nomination for Lincoln. I loved Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook, though I must admit that The Sessions, and therefore Helen Hunt’s role, completely passed me by. Must catch up with that one!

Oscar Winners! L-R: Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Christoph Waltz.

Best Animated Feature

Winner: Brave

Oh, this one infuriates me. All five nominees vary from good to excellent, and they pick the only one in the lower end of that spectrum? Aside from her gorgeously-animated hairdo, Brave is an entirely forgettable (not to mention rather dull) hiccup from Pixar. Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph deserved the title most of all, though Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie is quite an underrated little gem, and would have been a great win for him. ParaNorman is an equally fun and rather lovely 3D effort also worthy of being voted Best Animated Feature, as is The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! Basically, any film other than Brave and I’d have been happy. Seriously though, who in their right mind prefers it to something as magnificent as Wreck-It Ralph!?

I don’t have enough to say on each of the other categories, so here’s just a few tidbits:

  • Amour is a fabulous film and I’m glad it’s getting the international recognition it deserves. Je l’adore!
  • The fact that How to Survive a Plague didn’t win Best Documentary – Feature really annoys me. Had the Academy not mostly been comprised of old, white, straight men, I guarantee this result would have been different. Perhaps the best documentary I’ve ever seen.
  • Paperboy was an absolutely delicious starter for Wreck-It Ralph. Such a charming little production!
  • I’m not that into Adele’s song for Skyfall, and I’m no Adele hater. I think her strength is in her range, which isn’t demonstrated that well in this particular tune.
  • How on Earth did bloody Les Misérables beat The Hobbit for Best Makeup and Hairstyling!? The latter is so intricately detailed, with not only ridiculous amounts of makeup and madcap hairdos but also lots of cosmetic games being played with height and depth perception; in the former, people are made to look unclean, and fail, because they remain impossibly beautiful (lookin’ at you, Hathaway). An enigma which I shall never understand.
  • Finally, Life of Pi is probably the most deserving in its category for Best Cinematography. However, The Master is noticeable by its exclusion. Its colour coding, camera angles and oddball musical interludes are probably the most subtly wonderful of the lot!

Simon says: which year do I get my invite!?

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