The 2012 Oscars: My Final Thoughts

After a whole lotta speculation on this here blog, the 2012 Oscars have come and gone. Soon enough, I’ll be speculating on what/who gets nominated for 2013 movies. That’s a little ways off, however, so let’s talk about the ceremony last night.

As far as the winners, no huge surprises. I went 15/20 on my picks (not bad). In the six major categories, it was 5 for 6. I picked Tommy Lee Jones to win for Lincoln, but the Academy honored Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained. As I mentioned before on the blog, this category was more wide open than many others and I saw Jones, Waltz, and De Niro as real possibilities to win. Needless to say, Mr. Waltz’s association with Mr. Tarantino has turned out quite well.

The precursor award ceremonies like the SAG and Golden Globe awards made it much easier to predict Argo for the win and that’s what happened. When I made that decision, it made it easier to predict Ang Lee would get honored for his achievements directing Life of Pi, with Argo director Ben Affleck not being nominated. The folks out there expressing shock that Lincoln and Spielberg didn’t win probably should have paid more attention to the precursors… in which the film and Mr. Spielberg pretty much got nothing. While the film and director weren’t victorious, Daniel Day-Lewis being honored was a foregone conclusion and he becomes the first to win Best Actor three times. Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook had gained the momentum in the last few weeks, giving her the edge over Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty. And Anne Hathaway, like Day-Lewis, was an obvious choice as she’d won every major precursor.

I was slightly surprised Brave won Best Animated Feature over Wreck-It Ralph, but lesson learned. Don’t bet against Pixar in that category. I also predicted Anna Karenina would win Production Design. Lincoln won. I picked up Skyfall for Sound Mixing and Les Miserables won. And I wrongly picked against Les Mis for Makeup/Hairstyling, incorrectly guessing The Hobbit. An interesting note in another race: I did correctly pick Skyfall for Sound Editing, but it actually tied with Zero Dark Thirty. That is the only the sixth time in 85 years of Oscars where a tie has occurred.

Interestingly, the six major categories were awarded to six different movies that were all nominees in the Best Picture race. This shows you more than anything else what a strong year 2012 was in the theaters.

As for the ceremony itself? Eh, it was decent. It went way longer than it should have, like it always does. Seth MacFarlane proved to be an adequate host. He was probably a bit tamer than some would have expected, but “edgy” and “Oscar host” usually doesn’t mix. I love David Letterman and Chris Rock, but they seemed a bit out of place when they handled hosting duties. There was nothing particularly memorable about MacFarlane in his hosting gig (let’s face it: it’s a thankless job). But he was pretty solid. If I was producing the Oscars, I’d have Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake co-host. I think they’d be great.

The show’s focus on musicals produced a mixed bag. For me personally, there were probably a couple too many song and dance numbers. And I found it a strange choice to honor “the history” of musicals with Chicago, Dreamgirls, and Les Miserables, three films released in the past decade. I mean, Jennifer Hudson is a wonderful singer, but I seem to recall that same Oscar performance only six years ago. On the flip side, two terrific musical moments came from the James Bond franchise, with Shirley Bassey and Adele killing it with “Goldfinger” and “Skyfall”, respectively.

Some of the acceptance speeches were quite good. I’m particularly thinking of Mr. Day-Lewis and a clearly emotional Ben Affleck accepting Best Picture. And J-Law is just great!

All in all, the Oscars closed a chapter on a truly impressive year in film in satisfactory fashion.

We’re two months into 2013 and I think I can safely say none of next year’s Best Picture nominees have come out yet. Not even Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

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