ABOVE PHOTO: First lady Michelle Obama, appearing on screen, and actor Jack Nicholson (insert) present the award for best picture during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.
(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
By Kam Williams
Ben Affleck got the last laugh after being snubbed by the Academy in the Best Director category when his film, Argo, won the award for Best Picture. However, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi landed the most Oscars overall, four, including an upset of Spielberg for director.
The only other major surprise arrived at the outset of the telecast when Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor (Django Unchained) in a race thought to be between Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook) and Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln). As for this critic’s prognostications, I got 15 of 21 correct, including Argo.
Much of the pre-Oscar buzz had been about Seth MacFarlane’s hosting the Oscars, and how his irreverent brand of humor would be received by the crowd. Although he didn’t take many potshots at Hollywood royalty, his monologue, performances and banter did reflect a disappointing coarsening of the culture.
Whether invoking the name of porn star Ron Jeremy or doing a song and dance celebrating nude scenes “We Saw Your Boobs”, MacFarlane frequently resorted to racy material inappropriate for children. He also took a few jabs at Jews, implying that claiming to be at least half-Jewish or a big supporter of Israel was a prerequisite to making it in show business.
But he leveled the lion’s share of his acerbic barbs at African-Americans. For example, in a skit inspired by Denzel Washington’s film Flight, he had a black, hand puppet drinking alcohol and snorting coke,
Then there was his shockingly-pedophilic sexualizing of 9-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) by speculating about when she’d be too old to date George Clooney. And he made light of domestic abuse when he suggested that Chris Brown and Rihanna considered Django Unchained a date movie because it was about a man trying to get back a woman who’s been subjected to unspeakable violence.
Seth also quipped that it’s okay for Quentin Tarantino to use the N-word “because he thinks he’s black,” and he wondered whether Daniel Day-Lewis might’ve tried to free Don Cheadle had he bumped into him on the studio lot while still in character.
The offensive fare revolving around race was ultimately offset somewhat when they had First Lady Michelle Obama open the envelope for Best Picture from the White House. Still, this Oscar show was anything but a family affair.
Complete List of Oscar Winners:
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BEST ANIMATED FILM
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
BEST MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
BEST MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Life of Pi
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Life of Pi
BEST DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)
Searching for Sugar Man
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Life of Pi
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST SOUND EDITING
Tie: Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)