You can’t say Seth MacFarlane doesn’t commit to a bit. At the Oscars telecast he committed to plenty of bits, a few of which were even funny. Others flamed out as spectacularly as the 12-car pileup at Saturday’s Nationwide Race. Veering from powerhouse performances to unfunny (and lengthy) gags, it was one of the most musical — and most schizoid — Academy Awards shows in modern memory. People were waiting for the creator of Family Guy to be controversial when in fact MacFarlane, who looked like a grown-up Peter Brady, was just as hit-and-miss as any other host.
He had a few great jokes at the start, as when he queried Daniel Day-Lewis on his infamously immersive process: “If you bumped into Don Cheadle on the studio lot, did you try to free him?” There were also musical numbers, a sock puppet version of Flight, more musical numbers, rote jokes about the length of the broadcast, and Carson-meets-Kimmel lines like, “I was talking to Jennifer Lawrence today; she told me whether she wins or loses, it’s just an honor Meryl Streep wasn’t nominated.” Below is a list of the real winners.
Best Allusion to Star Trek IV (That Didn’t Work): Captain James T. Kirk came back in time to warn Seth MacFarlane about the perils of hosting the Oscars — but, curiously, not about the dreadful decision to include James T. Kirk coming back in time to warn Seth MacFarlane about hosting the Oscars. Next year, get Rian Johnson to do the time travel bit.
Best Wedding Cake Topper Look: Jennifer Lawrence
Who wouldn’t trip trying to walk in that outsize marzipan pouf of fabric?
Best Hair: In a year when Anne Hathaway and Charlize Theron were sporting pixie cuts and Melissa McCarthy borrowed Adele’s beehive, the real style mavens were men who probably spent no time styling their hair. Life of Pi cinematographer Claudio Miranda sported long gray wizard locks while winning sound dudes Per Hallberg (Skyfall) and Paul N.J. Ottosson (Zero Dark Thirty), with their flowing manes, resembled roadies for a Nordic metal band or aging Die Hard villains.
Best Winner and Loser — Same Moment: In the Best Editing category, William Goldenberg won for Argo beating… William Goldenberg, also nominated for Zero Dark Thirty.
Best Cameo: Michelle Obama
In her brief video appearance, FLOTUS outshone most of the live presenters and more than a few nominees. Wearing a silver and black gown she looked stunning and had poise to spare. Take notes, Kristen Stewart.
Best Introduction: Seth MacFarlane on Meryl Streep: “She needs no introduction.”
Best Record-Setting Moment — Anticipated (tie): Daniel Day-Lewis wins his third Oscar and Argo wins for Best Picture, becoming only the fourth film in 85 years to win the top honor without also being nominated for Best Directing. The last time this happened was in 1989 with Driving Miss Daisy. Before that, you have to go back to the ’20s and ’30s with Wings and Grand Hotel.
Best Record-Setting Moment — Unanticipated: For only the sixth time in the history of the Academy Awards, there was a tie — and it was the first tie in the sound editing category. (See Best Hair, above)
Best Speech — Anticipated: Daniel Day-Lewis
Awestruck, funny, lyrical, with a lipstick-stained cheek.
Best Speech — Unanticipated: Chris Terrio
Heartfelt, exuberant, surprisingly poignant.
Best Project That Never Came to Fruition: Daniel Day-Lewis starring in a Margaret Thatcher biopic. (See Best Speech — Anticipated, above)
And now, the official winners:
Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
Short Film (Animated): Paperman, John Kahrs
Animated Feature Film: Brave, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Cinematography: Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)
Visual Effects: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, Donald R. Elliott (Life of Pi)
Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina)
Makeup and Hairstyling: Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell (Les Misérables)
Short Film (Live Action): Curfew, Shawn Christensen
Documentary Short Subject: Inocente, Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine
Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man, Malik Bendjelloul
Foreign Language Film: Amour (Austria)
Sound Mixing: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes (Les Misérables)
Sound Editing (tie): Per Hallberg, Karen Baker Landers (Skyfall) and Paul N.J. Ottosson (Zero Dark Thirty)
Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
Film Editing: William Goldenberg (Argo)
Production Design: Rick Carter, Jim Erickson (Lincoln)
Music (Original Score): Mychael Danna (Life of Pi)
Music (Original Song): “Skyfall” from Skyfall, Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Chris Terrio (Argo)
Writing (Original Screenplay): Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Directing: Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Best Picture: Argo