The 85th Annual Academy Awards didn’t have a lot of surprises — it was widely expected that “Argo,” Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Day-Lewis would win and they did — but let’s take another look what Oscar voters declared 2012’s best in film.
It starts with “Argo,” the Best Picture winner, which overcame the nomination morning snub of Ben Affleck in the Best Director category to dominate pretty much all of Hollywood’s award season. In doing so, “Argo” became only the fourth movie in history to win a Best Picture Oscar without at least receiving a Best Director nomination. “Argo” also claimed wins in the Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay categories.
But “Argo” was not the night’s most honored film. That was Ang Lee’s visually dazzling literary adaptation “Life of Pi” which took home four Oscars: Best Director for Lee, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score. Lee’s directing prize is the Taiwanese-born filmmaker’s second Oscar in the category. He previously won in 2006 for “Brokeback Mountain” (which also went on to lose the Best Picture Oscar — to “Crash”). Lee was first nominated as Best Director for 2000’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which brought him a Best Foreign Language Film prize.
This year’s winner of Best Foreign Language Film was Austria’s “Amour,” directed by Michael Haneke. The win was widely expected since “Amour” earned additional nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva).
Although some thought Riva might score an upset victory (the oldest ever nominee for Best Actress, Riva actually celebrated her 86th birthday on the same day as the Oscar ceremony), Best Actress ultimately went to frontrunner Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook.” The rising star of “The Hunger Games” had previously been nominated in 2011 for “Winter’s Bone,” which was her breakout film as an actress.
The evening’s other female acting winner — Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables” — also collected her first Oscar on her second acting nomination. Hathaway had previously been nominated for Best Actress in 2009 for “Rachel Getting Married.”
Both male acting winners already have Oscars at home. Best Supporting Actor winner Christoph Waltz pulled off a rare feat of earning two wins in four years. And both were for movies directed by Quentin Tarantino. He won in 2010 for playing a smooth talking Nazi in “Inglourious Basterds” and again this year for the considerably more heroic role of a slick talking bounty hunter who takes a runaway slave (Jamie Foxx) under his wing in “Django Unchained.”
“Django” also won for Best Original Screenplay, the second time Tarantino (who won in 1995 for “Pulp Fiction”) has taken that prize.
Daniel Day-Lewis, meanwhile, became the first person in history to win three Best Actor Oscars. Having first won in 1990 for “My Left Foot” and then again in 2008 for “There Will Be Blood,” Day-Lewis has Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” to thank for getting him to that unprecedented third win. (And in the process, Day-Lewis became the first actor to ever win an Oscar for a Spielberg film.)
The victory puts Day-Lewis ahead of the eight other men who have won two Best Actor Oscars — Fredric March, Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn, though the last four are still acting and could potentially challenge Day-Lewis’ new record.
Despite heading into the ceremony with 12 nominations — the most of any 2012 film — “Lincoln” didn’t fare particularly well over all. The only other Oscar it won was Best Production Design.
The James Bond film “Skyfall” matched that total (an unusual achievement for a franchise generally ignored by Oscar), picking up wins for Adele’s title theme as Best Original Song and — in the night’s most unexpected surprise — Best Sound Editing in a tie with “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Ties are extremely rare at the Oscars — they’ve only happened five times before tonight, and never in a technical category — so when presenter Mark Wahlberg opened the envelope and announced there was a tie, he had to make it clear he wasn’t joking.
Among other notable wins, Pixar’s “Brave” triumphed in the Best Animated Feature Film competition. It’s the seventh win for Pixar in the 12 years Oscar has given out awards in the category.
A shorter film from Pixar sibling Disney Animation — the beautifully crafted romance “Paperman” — took home the Best Animated Short Film Oscar. Although Pixar has won three Short Film Oscars, Walt Disney Animation Studios hasn’t won in the category since 1970’s educational short “It’s Tough to Be a Bird.”
The other short winners were “Curfew” (Live Action Short) and “Inocente” (Documentary Short), while “Searching for Sugar Man” won Best Documentary Feature.
“Anna Karenina” won a single Oscar, for Best Costume Design. “Les Miserables” claimed the Oscars for Best Makeup and Hairsty
ling and Best Sound Mixing.
The only film nominated for Best Picture that didn’t win an Oscar in any category was “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” But that’s OK, we still think it’s pretty great.