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Oscars 2013: 'Argo' wins best picture, 'Life of Pi' wins four awards

Actor/producer/director Ben Affleck accepts the best picture award

Actor/producer/director Ben Affleck accepts the best picture award for "Argo" onstage along with members of the cast and crew during the Oscars held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. (Feb. 24, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Although he was snubbed for a directing nomination, Ben Affleck still got his Oscar as “Argo” won the Academy Award for best picture.

“I want to acknowledge the other eight films. There are eight great films that have as much a right to be up here as we do,” said Affleck, one of Argo’s three producers, during his best picture acceptance speech. “I was here 15 years ago, or something, and I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here in front of you all — really just a kid. And I went out, you know, and I never thought that I would be back here, and I am because of so many of you, who are here tonight, because of this Academy, because of so many wonderful people who extended themselves to me, when they had nothing to benefit from it ...”

“Argo,” the first best picture winner not to be nominated for best director since 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy,” also won Oscars for adapted screenplay and film editing.

Helmed by best director winner Ang Lee, “Life of Pi” took home four awards, including wins for cinematography, original score and visual effects.

“Thank you, movie god,” Lee said during his acceptance speech. “I really need to share this with all 3,000 [people] — everybody who worked with me on ‘Life of Pi.’ I really want to thank you for believing this story, and sharing this incredible journey with me.”

Lee, a former Larchmont resident, won his first directing Oscar for his work on 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain.”

Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence won acting awards for “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” respectively, and Anne Hathaway won the best supporting actress Oscar for “Les Misérables” and Christoph Waltz won the supporting actor trophy for “Django Unchained.”

“I really don’t know how any of this happened,” said Day-Lewis, who also won best actor Oscars for his performances in 1989’s “My Left Foot” and 2007’s “There Will Be Blood.” “I do know that I’ve seen so much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life, and I’m so grateful to the Academy for this beautiful honor.”

“Lincoln” also won an Oscar for production design.

Lawrence, who tripped up the stairs on the way to the podium and called her win for best actress “nuts,” thanked the Academy and her fellow actresses.

“You were so magnificent and so inspiring — and not just those of you in my category — and it’s been so amazing getting to know you,” Lawrence said. “You’ve made this experience so unforgettable.”

Hathaway, a former Vassar College student, won for her portrayal of Fantine in “Les Misérables.”

“It came true,” she said as she accepted her award. “Thank you so much to the Academy for this, and for nominating me with Helen Hunt, Jacki Weaver, Amy Adams and Sally Field. I look up to you all so much, and it’s just been such an honor. Thank you.”

“Les Mis” also won for sound mixing, and in the makeup and hairstyling category.

Waltz, who previously won an Academy Award in the same category for 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds,” thanked his fellow nominees, which included former Chappaqua resident Alan Arkin, then acknowledged “Django” director Quentin Tarantino.

“You scaled the mountain because you’re not afraid of it,” said Waltz to Tarantino, referencing his “Django” character’s lines. “You slay the dragon, because you’re not afraid of it. And you cross through fire, because it’s worth it.”

Quentin Tarantino, who later won his second Oscar for best original screenplay for “Django,” used part of his acceptance speech to thank his cast.

“I actually think that if people are, like, knowing about my movies 30 or 50 years from now, it’s going to be because of the characters that I created,” he said. “I have to cast the right people to make those characters come alive, and hopefully get it right. And, boy, this time, did I do it!”

In other categories, best foreign language film went to Austria’s “Amour.” “Brave” won for best animated film, continuing Pixar’s dominance in the category, and “Searching for Sugar Man,” the story of a ’70s rock star who found a new life overseas, won the award for documentary feature.“ Adele, who sang the theme to “Skyfall” during the broadcast in a sparkling silver dress, later claimed an Oscar of her own for co-writing what was honored as best original song.

“Thank you so much. This is amazing,” she said, choking up when she thanked co-writer Paul Epworth for “believing in me all the time.”

Her performance was part of an Oscar tribute to the James Bond movie franchise that’s celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Oscar broadcast also included a salute to movie musicals, which began with "Chicago" Oscar winner and Bedford resident Catherine Zeta-Jones’ performance of “All That Jazz,” and wrapped with a medley from “Les Misérables,” that featured best actor nominee Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter, Amanda Seyfried and Middletown native Aaron Tveit.

The In Memoriam segment honored many Hollywood icons who passed away in the past year, including Jack Klugman, Nora Ephron and former Beastie Boys member Adam “MCA” Yauch, the last of whom briefly attended Bard College in Poughkeepsie. Honoring the memory of Marvin Hamlisch was Barbra Streisand, who performed his song, “The Way We Were.”

Host Seth MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth closed the show with a musical performance of their own. The live audience’s reception to MacFarlane’s hosting was mixed, with some zingers landing — including jokes about Affleck’s snub and Tommy Lee Jones’ famous frown at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony — and others falling flat.

Other celebrities with Hudson Valley ties were nominated for major awards. Denzel Washington, who was raised in Mount Vernon, was nominated for best actor for “Flight,” as was the film’s screenwriter, Vassar College graduate John Gatins, for best original screenplay. Former Hastings resident Benh Zeitlin was nominated multiple times for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” for best director and best adapted screenplay (with co-writer Lucy Alibar). 

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