Oscars 2013 surprises with looser telecast, musical tribute

Ben Affleck does it again. His 'Argo' - a film about a fake movie - wins best picture at the Academy Awards. Ang Lee takes best director for 'Life of Pi' - as Seth MacFarlane plays a little naughty in his first Oscar hosting gig. AP video. (Feb. 25)

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"Life of Pi" proved the biggest winner at the 85th Academy Awards Sunday night, taking home four awards, while Daniel Day-Lewis became the first person to win three Oscars for best actor for his starring role in "Lincoln." But it was Ben Affleck's "Argo" that took the night's top prize, for best picture -- announced from the White House by first lady Michelle Obama.

"You can't hold grudges," Affleck said, accepting the award as a co-producer of the film, though he was not nominated for directing it. "It's hard! But you can't hold grudges."

Anne Hathaway won best supporting actress for her role as the doomed, impoverished Fantine in "Les Misérables," tying "Argo" for second place with three awards, and Jennifer Lawrence won best actress as a mentally unbalanced widow in the comedy "Silver Linings Playbook." "This is nuts!" said Lawrence. "Thank you to the Academy and thank you to the women this year. You were so magnificent and so inspiring."

Many of the awards were expected, but this Oscars telecast was one of the looser and more surprising installments of the last several years.

First-time host Seth MacFarlane seemed to be trying out edgy jokes ("It worked!" he said after getting a laugh at the Kardashians' expense).

Christoph Waltz pulled an upset to win supporting actor for Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" over presumed favorite Tommy Lee Jones for "Lincoln." Choking up, Waltz offered thanks to his character and "to his creator and the creator of his awe-inspiring world, Quentin Tarantino." Later, Tarantino accepted the Oscar for original screenplay.

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Even the normally unexciting category of sound editing saw what was only the sixth tie in Oscar history, splitting the award between the controversial "Zero Dark Thirty" and the James Bond flick "Skyfall."

The show also benefited from a new emphasis on musical numbers, including a medley from "Les Misérables" that featured its entire starring cast, including Hugh Jackman, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks and Hathaway. Jennifer Hudson belted out her "Dreamgirls" number "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." Adele performed her hit "Skyfall," which won the Oscar for original song.

As a tribute to the composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died last year, Barbra Streisand made her first Oscars appearance in 36 years to sing his hit "The Way We Were."

 

Other highlights:

 

No mercy. One of the more inspired ideas of the evening was using the theme from "Jaws" to warn overly voluble award acceptors that time had run out on their speeches. Tweeted CNN's Piers Morgan: "It's the greatest addition to awards ceremonies ever. I'd add real sharks."

Return of the dame. Shirley Bassey, 76, got the night's first standing ovation for a powerful rendition of her 1965 James Bond theme "Goldfinger." She was decked out in a gold gown complete with full-length gloves.

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Sick semper tyrannis. "I would argue that the actor who really got into Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth," MacFarlane said, drawing displeased groans. "A hundred and fifty years and still too soon, huh?"

No local winner. "Mondays at Racine," a documentary about an Islip beauty salon that offers once-a-month special services for women with cancer, lost in the documentary short subject category to "Inocente."

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