It was Ben Affleck's night as his film, "Argo," earned the top prize at the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Despite Affleck being shut out of the Best Director race, his CIA-meets-Hollywood drama snagged the top prize of Best Picture in a night of scatter-shot awards distribution. "Argo" also earned Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay for Chris Terrio and for Best Editing. Outside of the Best Picture race, there was no movie that had a clean sweep. Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" came closest, earning four awards — the most of any film this year — including Best Director for Lee, while "Les Miserables" scored three. Jennifer Lawrence earned the only award for "Silver Linings Playbook," winning her first Oscar for Best Actress.
In a rare Oscars tie, the award for Best Sound Editing was shared by "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Skyfall." For history buffs, the last time there was a tie for an Oscar was in 1968, when Barbra Streisand shared the award for Best Actress with Katharine Hepburn. Daniel Day-Lewis also made history Sunday night by becoming the first actor to win three Best Actor trophies after his win for "Lincoln."
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As expected, Michael Haneke's "Amour" won for Best Foreign Language Film and Anne Hathaway earned a trophy for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Les Miserables" as the tragic Fantine. "I look up to you all so much, and it's just been such an honor," Hathaway said, paying tribute to her fellow nominees. And Adele easily took the Best Song category for "Skyfall," breaking down in tears in the middle of her speech and letting co-writer Paul Epworth finish up.
Awards aside, the ceremony itself was something of a mixed bag, led by host, "Family Guy" creator and Best Song nominee Seth MacFarlane, known for both his love of old-school crooning and envelope-pushing humor. MacFarlane opened the show by doing the seemingly impossible: making usually dour Tommy Lee Jones smile and laugh. He also poked fun at other nominees — "If you bumped into Don Cheadle on the studio lot, did you try to free him?" he asked nominee Day-Lewis. "How far did your Method go?" — and himself. His monologue was interrupted by William Shatner on screen chastising him for doing a poor job, including singing a song about Oscar-nominated actresses going topless called "We Saw Your Boobs."
But it was rough sailing from there, including awkward bits by Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy and the cast of "The Avengers." The choice to use the theme from "Jaws" to play off winners when they go long was particularly odd. One of the highlights of the ceremony was a rendition of "Goldfinger" by Dame Shirley Bassey during a tribute to the Bond franchise, even if it did seem too brief. Later in the show, Best Song nominee Adele kept the Bond love going with a stirring rendition of "Skyfall." And Catherine Zeta-Jones wowed the audience with "All That Jazz" from "Chicago" during a tribute to movie musicals.
Even before the Oscars had been handed out, some were already looking toward next year's contenders, with deals reportedly in the works for perennial awards season heavyweight the Weinstein Company to acquire "Grace of Monaco," starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," starring Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, according to Deadline Hollywood.
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES, BY AWARDS WON:
"Life of Pi": 4
"Les Miserables": 3
"Django Unchained": 2
"Zero Dark Thirty": 1