Academy Awards prove predictable, ups, downs forseeable

[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center”]Day-Lewis, Lawrence, Argo receive top awards while MacFarlane surprises as host[/pullquote1]

BY SOPHIE AFDHAL ’15
Contributing Writer

Last Sunday night, weeks of speculation and excitement over the 85th Academy Awards came to a close after a night of both surprising and expected wins.

The night began with the typical red carpet; however, this year the wardrobe choices were surprisingly underwhelming. While usually the red carpet is highly enjoyable, there were few standouts as best dressed. Recently named the new Miss Dior spokeswoman, Jennifer Lawrence stood out beautifully in her blush Dior gown. Lawrence’s fellow best actress nominee, Emmanuelle Riva, wore an elegant, cobalt blue Lanvin cape dress. As the actress celebrated her 86th birthday on Oscar night, she was the epitome of class.

Amanda Seyfried was also among the best dressed on Sunday. She wore a stunning organza gown with embroidery in a delicate shade of lilac. The gown was very flattering and tasteful. Among the worst was Jane Fonda in a bright canary yellow dress that was very unflattering; not to mention Anne Hathaway whose dress featured many cutouts that made it look like parts of her dress were missing. Overall, it was a disappointing red carpet, which left me questioning the taste of the stars.

After the red carpet ceremony ended, the awards commenced. The Oscar host this year was Seth MacFarlane, known for Family Guy and American Dad. He was an interesting choice for host, as he is known for his rather crude humor. However, he proved to be adequate. His opening monologue was a intricate production in which Captain Kirk came from the future to warn MacFarlane about how he was the worst Oscar host ever. The monologue then became MacFarlane striving to change his terrible reviews. While funny, the whole thing was slightly crass and made it seem as though MacFarlane was just working towards positive reviews. He did make several good jokes about nominees and at the expense of the Academy.

He pointed out the clear snub of Ben Affleck for Best Director by the Academy; it was a major shock that Affleck was left off the list of nominations. In reference to the extreme over-use of the n-word in Django Unchained, MacFarlane said, “I believe the screenplay was loosely based on Mel Gibson’s voicemail.” So MacFarlane’s jokes were rather crude; however, his performance as Oscar host was at a higher standard than expected.

The first major award of the night went to Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor in Django Unchained. Waltz won the Golden Globe for this role several weeks ago, and, typically, the Golden Globes serve as a prediction of Academy Awards. Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Les Misérables. Hathaway beat out Sally Fields, who played Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincoln for the award. The cast of Les Misérables also performed a stirring song.

In a very different musical performance, British artist Adele belted out the titular song of the new James Bond film, Skyfall. She won the award for Best Original Song, which was an expected but well deserved honor, another accolade to add to her pile.

After Adele’s performance, Life of Pi took the award for Best Cinematography. The stunning visual effects in the movie made it an unsurprising shoo-in.

Then began the first of the “big four” awards of the night: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, and Director. For her role in Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence took home the award for Best Actress. In the film she plays a mentally ill woman who is coping with the loss of her husband. Lawrence was the favorite for the award and beat out several strong competitors. Upon receiving the Oscar, Lawrence tripped on the stairs, and Hugh Jackman rushed to her rescue. Other than some embarrassment, she was fine and looked very surprised to be winning the award.

Following Best Actress was the award for Best Actor, which was awarded to Daniel Day-Lewis for his role in Lincoln. Lewis played the titular role of Lincoln in the film and was also the favorite for the award. He made Oscar history last week as the only actor to receive the award of Best Actor three times. This milestone made this Oscars ceremony particularly memorable.

For Best Director, Ang Lee won for Life of Pi. This win was particularly shocking due to the controversy surrounding this category. Ben Affleck was passed over for a nomination, and it was then expected that Steven Spielberg would take home the award for his work.

Finally, for the biggest award of the night, Argo won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was certainly one of the best films I saw all year. It was a well-deserved award and Ben Affleck went home with a gold statuette at the end of the night, despite being snubbed for directorial accolades.

Overall, the Oscars were entertaining, surprising, and consistent. There were a few shocks and a few laughs, and it provided, as it has for so many years, a fitting tribute to all the wonderful work done in the film industry this year. Now that awards season is coming to a close, I look forward to next year and can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring.

Questions? Email Sophie at safdhal@fandm.edu.

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