The winners are in, and I feel like overall, 2012 was a pretty great year in film. From Argo, to Les Miserables, to Zero Dark Thirty, this was the year of the historical drama. We also had both our youngest and oldest nominees ever for the category of Best Actress—9-year-old Quvenzahné Wallace and 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva. Oscar night was filled with noteworthy moments, but there were several in particular that I found especially memorable.
I’m having a hard time thinking of one word to sum up Seth MacFarlane as host of the evening’s ceremonies. He actually kept things classier than I expected given what I know of his work, but he still managed to be a bit over-the-line offensive for me on numerous occasions. Some of the moments I found most distasteful were when he described Zero Dark Thirty as a “celebration of every woman’s innate ability to never let things go,” when he commented while speaking about Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance in Lincoln that “the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth,” and when he took an ethnic jab at Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, and Javier Bardem by saying, “We have no idea what they’re saying but we don’t care because they’re so attractive.” MacFarlane is a skilled comic, so it’s a shame he had to tarnish his overall performance with some of his gags.
I was very happy to see Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway win Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Anne Hathaway has grown so much as an actress since I first saw her in The Princess Diaries back in 2001 and gave an amazing performance is Les Miserables. Jennifer Lawrence strikes me as someone who’s very dedicated to her craft, but also very down-to-Earth as a person. She doesn’t play the Hollywood game, even if refusing to do so sometimes causes her to put her foot in her mouth, and I love that about her. I have to ask what it says about the world we live in that as soon as I saw Lawrence trip on her way to the stage to accept her award, I knew it would be all over the internet in a matter of seconds. Yes, she tripped. Yes, I’m sure it was embarrassing, but she handled it gracefully. Now get over it.
I thought it was cool that Amour was nominated for Best Picture as a foreign film. I feel like it isn’t too often that I see a foreign film make it onto that list, so I’ll definitely have to see that one later.
Given the success of his film Argo, it was a surprise to see Ben Affleck left off of the nominee list for Best Director (actually, it was a surprise to see Kathryn Bigelow and Zero Dark Thirty left off of the list too), so it was a perfect end to the night to see Argo win Best Picture. Affleck gave the best acceptance speech of the night, thanking everyone from his wife, actress Jennifer Garner, to Canada and the people of Iran, before taking a moment to note that he never thought he would be on that stage again after winning his 1998 Oscar for Good Will Hunting. “You have to work harder than you think you possibly can,” he said, addressing what he’s learned from others in the film business during his career. “You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard, but you can’t hold grudges. And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, because that’s going to happen. All that matters is that you’ve got to get up.”
Now that this year’s Oscars are over, I’m already looking forward to next year. Each year brings new talent, or simply talent that has gone unrecognized, and allows its possessors to shine. This year, I feel like Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, and even Ben Affleck were a few people who had their careers bumped to the next level by their Oscar nominations and wins. I can’t wait to see who will get that opportunity next.
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