Although Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln led the pack with 12 nominations going into the 85th Academy Awards Sunday night, it was Life of Pi that walked away with the most Oscar statuettes – four, including Best Directing for Ang Lee. However, the night really belonged to Argo, which, despite the Academy snubbing Ben Affleck in the directing category, came out on top by nabbing the coveted Best Picture award.
Argo beat out eight other films – including Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, Lincoln and Life of Pi – and picked up two additional awards, Best Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing. A sweaty, stunned Affleck gave a humble, if not quick-lipped, speech that ended with him saying, “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, ’cause that’s gonna happen, all that matters is that you get up.”
Meanwhile, in addition to the directing award, Life of Pi, the 3D fantasy adventure about a boy and a tiger, picked up Best Cinematography, Original Score and Visual Effects. A cheery Lee beat out the likes of Spielberg and Silver Linings Playbook’s David O. Russell for top director.
The Oscars ceremony, hosted by a hit-or-miss Seth MacFarlane, fluctuated between predictable – with expected wins for Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway – and surprising, such as Christoph Waltz besting Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Alan Arkin for Actor in a Supporting Role for his turn in Django Unchained. (Writer-director Quentin Tarantino took home Best Original Screenplay for Django, too.)
In a category that boasted the oldest-ever nominee (85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva) and the youngest (9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis), Jennifer Lawrence walked away with her first Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Silver Linings Playbook, surpassing other fellow nominees Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts. After tripping and falling on the stairs on the way up to the podium, Lawrence got a standing ovation, to which she quipped: “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell.”
With his win for his role in Lincoln, Day-Lewis became the first actor to win three Oscars in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category, prompting him to make a joke at presenter Meryl Streep’s expense about how he had actually been picked to play Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady first.
The award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role was Anne Hathaway’s to lose – but lose she did not. After sweeping up numerous pre-Oscar accolades, the Les Misérables star gasped, “It came true,” as she took the stage to pick up her first-ever gold trophy.
With a theme of Music in Film, the awards show was packed with musical moments – including Adele performing the title song from Skyfall, which won Best Original Song; a timeless-looking Barbra Streisand singing an in memoriam tribute of “The Way We Were”; and Catherine Zeta-Jones strutting through “All That Jazz” from the musical Chicago, among numerous other performances. (However, in a questionable move, the show used the jarring Jaws theme to cut off some rambling award recipients.)
In other notable moments, there was a tie in the Best Sound Editing category, with statuettes going to both Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall; Searching for Sugar Man, about the musician Rodriguez, nabbed the Best Documentary Feature award; and there was a tribute celebrating the 50th anniversary of James Bond, featuring a performance by Shirley Bassey.