Reward Rewind: Oscars 2013

Anne Hathaway showed too much nipple;  Jennifer Lawrence didn’t show any; And Oscar host Seth MacFarlane sang a song about it all. Oh, and Daniel Day-Lewis won. Surprise! <—We DID see Jennifer Lawrence trip on her way up to accepting the Best Actress award for her work in Silver Linings Playbook and the internet went crazy creating memes, gifs and bad jokes related to the Hunger Games.  Granted, if I was dressed like I was a bride-to-be on my wedding day, I’d probably trip too. Nonetheless, Jennifer Lawrence handled it with grace and humor like she always does even at the tender age of 22. She even gave a shout-out to fellow nominee Emmanuelle Riva who was celebrating her 86th birthday on Oscar night (making her as old as the Academy Awards themselves.)

Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor EVER to win 3 Oscars in the Lead Actor category for his work in Lincoln. Even though no one was surprised, what I found the most heart-warming was the gracious, humorous and utterly breath-taking acceptance speech that DDL gave. Not surprising, given the fact that he’s won every major award for that role this season, he’s probably had a lot of practice and time to think about what he’d say on Oscar night.

Anne Hathaway took home an Oscar for Les Miserables which surprised no one as well. The fellow nominees in that category were actually looking directly at  Hathaway the entire time the category was being announced. Everybody knew. No one was shocked. Sally Field was really happy for Anne. Awesome. Did anyone notice that it was Captain von Trapp who presented the award to Fantine? Yep.

Christoph Waltz took home Oscar number two in 3 years,becoming one of the most bad-ass Oscar winners ever in my book, for his stellar work in Django Unchained.

What was most surprising of the night was the win for Best Director. The upset over that category was already brewing due to the fact that Argo director Ben Affleck was snubbed and everybody knew it. Ang Lee took home the statue for his CGI-heavy direction of Life of Pi, shocking everyone, even Lee himself.  Life of Pi, unbeknownst to me, has been the subject of quite a controversy.Since my own knowledge on the subject is foggy, you may read more about it here.

Argo won Best Picture (again, not really surprising, but really really awesome) and Ben Affleck finally got to get back up on the Oscar stage. What I find most surprising, and I’m going to play devil’s advocate at the moment, is that the First Lady, Michelle Obama, helped announce the winner for Best Picture. Ironic? I think not. Some have even been saying that Argo is a propaganda film and to be quite honest, I can see why. I can also see that had Argo NOT won, the First Lady would have been in quite an awkward position and it might have been a tad uncomfortable.

All in all, the awards were good. Not great. But good. There was a solid opening by Seth MacFarlane who ending up hosting quite a long show. For those of us on the east coast, it got over the next day, but it was still fun to watch. Something tells me he’s going to be getting a lot of calls from Broadway producers in these next few weeks due to his kick-ass singing voice.

Speaking of singing, Shirley Bassey brought down the house and showed us all what a real DIVA can sing like with the tribute to James Bond. Side note: Where were all the Bonds? I mean, they had the perfect opportunity to bring them out onto one stage.  Jennifer Hudson showed us just why she got an Oscar for her first film and Catherine Zeta-Jones tried to relive her glory days by re-creating and lip synching to “All That Jazz” from Chicago. Adele is reaching for EGOT status with her win for penning and adding her sweet vocals to the theme from Skyfall. All she needs now are the Tony and Emmy awards. Barbara Streisand matched the backdrop as she sang “The Way We Were” during the  In Memorium segment. Like Michael Buckley said in his recap, “The mirror has two face-lifts, and I like them both.” Truth. She can still sing and she looks good while doing it.

The most awkward moment of the night was when those who won awards in the minor categories seemed to come out of the wood-work. Literally. Did they shove them all in the coat room? What was with the booths to the sides? Were they not worthy enough to sit in the main area? Come on.

Kristin Chenoweth should also host the Oscars next year simply due to the fact that I wanted to hear her sing more. They truly save the best for last, and her send-off duet with Seth MacFarlane was the best.

Two By Two: The Battle of Jen and Jess-Oscar Edition

I’m starting a new new section, especially due to Oscar weekend. It’s something fun called Two By Two. Essentially, it’s comparing performances of actors and actresses and (if it’s awards season) their chances to take home accolades. Welcome to the Oscar edition. According to various other predictions, it’s down to Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook and Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty. I’m not discounting the other three: Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis, or Naomi Watts. They all give fantastic  performances. In fact, Emmanuelle Riva could surprise us all and so could the 9 year old dynamo of talent that is Quvenzhané Wallis. Or, the Academy could just give it to Naomi Watts and really shock us. For the sake of comparison however, I am only focusing on Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence.

First up, Jennifer Lawrence. When the Screen Actor’s Guild nominated both Jennifer and Jessica, I’ll admit, it was a difficult decision. With the exception of Naomi Watts also in the category for Best Actress, the list included two other completely different nominees. Helen Mirren was nominated for Hitchcock and Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os.) Several of my colleagues voted for Marion Cotillard and to be quite honest, voting in the SAG awards, especially in the Best Actress category, was a difficult decision because of the pure strength of performances. What’s even more surprising is the fact that Marion Cotillard didn’t get an Oscar nod.

I voted for Jennifer Lawrence in the SAG awards which was surprising to a few people. Let me explain my reasoning. I thought it was more of a stretch (other than Marion Cotillard) for her to portray her specific character. As an actor, I think it’s more difficult to play older than it is to play younger simply because you can remember what it was like to be younger. However, it takes talent to play older, even if you just have exude “older.” An actor’s power for people watching and research come into play. I thought she had emotional depth that was beyond her years (she’s only 22) and she prevailed. She plays a woman just as broken and fragile as Bradley Cooper’s character Pat (who suffers from bipolar disorder.) Jennifer does it with such poise and maturity it’s easy to forget she’s younger than her character. As of this posting, she has won The Golden Globe (in the Comedy or Musical category),  SAG Award and the Independent Spirit Award for her performance and is on her second Oscar nomination (her first was Winter’s Bone.)

In fact, both Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence won the Golden Globes for their performances which is why this race is so tough.

Jessica Chastain won the Golden Globe and the Critics’s Choice for her portrayal of Maya in Zero Dark Thirty. The film itself has been the target of extreme controversy ever since it went into production simply due to its subject matter. It chronicles the decade long man-hunt to capture and kill Osama bin Laden and the woman who was in charge. Members of the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have been protesting it from the beginning and especially now that it has actually been receiving praise as some view it as being too violent. Controversy aside, there is no denying that Jessica’s performance is virtually flawless. The Julliard grad, whom I met at an industry event, is a truly talented actor. She may not have had the fancy Southern accent she touted in The Help, but her performance is so understated that it’s hard to tell when she’s acting. As much as Academy voters love physical and vocal transformations, they also love the understated ones as well. There is evidence of Maya simmering with anger and emotion under the surface as well as lack of emotion (which was a clear character choice on her part.) Jessica might take home the Oscar for knowing how to work an understated, subtle performance. And with her second nomination as well, her training has certainly paid off.

I would love both of them to win because both performances were so vastly different. Then again, there are five nominees, so we’ll just have to wait and see.