— Jenn McBride
Managing Editor, CBSLA.com
HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — The title of Sunday night’s show was shortened to the “2013 Oscars” — abandoning what traditionally would have been the 85th Annual Academy Awards — but the performance-filled production was anything but abbreviated.
“Since we’ve been here so long, we’re going to start the 2014 Oscars right after this,” host Seth McFarlane quipped about the nearly four-hour program.
With performances by Adele, Norah Jones, Barbra Streisand and the casts of musicals such as one of the night’s big winners, “Les Misérables”, the ceremony indeed proved the Academy is looking to make the Oscars more of a show and less of an awards presentation.
Fresh off yet another Grammy win, Adele, along with Paul Epworth, picked up her first Academy Award for Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures for “Skyfall”.
The show certainly didn’t fall flat, but Jennifer Lawrence took a big spill while walking up the stage to claim the award for Best Actress, which she earned for her captivating role as Tiffany in “Silver Linings Playbook”.
After receiving a standing ovation, 22-year-old Lawrence told the crowd: “You guys are only standing up because you feel bad that I fell.”
“What went through my mind? A bad word. A bad word that starts with ‘F,'” she quipped backstage, and also admitted that she had just taken a shot. “The process today was so stressful; I felt like Steve Martin in “Father of the Bride”.
Anne Hathaway, who took home the award for Best Supporting Actress for her highly acclaimed performance as Fantine in “Les Misérables”, offered a heartfelt thanks to Adam Shulman, her husband of five months.
“To my husband, by far and away, the greatest moment of my life was when you walked into it,” she said.
Backstage, she struggled to hold back tears when asked about beginning her speech with “it came true.”
“I had a dream and it came true. And that can happen. All I was saying was that it can and that it did,” she said.
Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln made history in more ways than one, as he became the first person to win the award for Best Actor three times.
“It certainly had a paralyzing quality,” the always eloquent British actor said of his role in “Lincoln”. “If we got it wrong, which was perfectly possible, quite likely even, I might not be able to show my face in this country again.”
Other repeat winners included Quentin Tarantino, who received his second Original Screenplay Academy Award for “Django Unchained”, and Christoph Waltz, who picked up his second Best Supporting Actor win for his performance as Dr. King Schultz in the film.
“We participated in a hero’s journey; the hero here being Quentin,” said Waltz, who took home the same award in 2010 for his part as Jew hunter Col. Hans Landa in Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”. “You scaled the mountain because you’re not afraid of it. You slay the dragon because you’re not afraid of it, and you cross through fire because it’s worth it. I borrowed my character’s words. I’m sorry I couldn’t resist.”
Ang Lee, whose 3D film “Life of Pi” is based on Yann Martel’s novel of the same name, picked up the award for Best Director.
“Thank you, thank you so much. Thank you, movie god. I really need to share this with all 3,000 [people] — everybody who worked with me on ‘Life of Pi’,” he said. In all, the cinematic masterpiece claimed four awards.
The night’s top prize, however, went to “Argo”, which also claimed the award for Adapted Screenplay.
As the final accolade of the evening, Best Picture was announced live by First Lady Michelle Obama, who was surrounded by servicemen and women at the White House.
An emotional Ben Affleck — who was notably absent from the Best Director category — was poignant, humorous, and at times tearful while accepting his golden statuette.
“I never thought I’d be back here, and I am because so many of you in this academy,” said Affleck, who along with Matt Damon, won an Oscar 15 years ago for “Good Will Hunting”.
He also dedicated the award to his daughters and wife Jennifer Garner.
“I want to thank my wife, who I don’t normally associate with Iran,” he said through laughter and tears. “I want to thank you for working on our marriage. It is work, but it is the best kind of work.”
Producer George Clooney, a staunch supporter of President Obama, joked backstage that seeing the first lady made him think they might have won. Affleck added that he was “sort of hallucinating when that happened.”
The show closed with McFarlane and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth performing a song dedicated to the night’s many losers.
“To Bradley Cooper, get your chin off the floor. Here’s your silver lining: you’ll do ‘Hangover’ number four,” she sang.
After several shots and champagne toasts backstage, perhaps some of the winners will, yet again, give him some fresh competition.