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Oscars round-up: The 85th Academy Awards

Ben Affleck's Iran hostage drama 'Argo' was the big winner of the night, taking home 4 statues including best picture

AFP and Ahram Online, Monday 25 Feb 2013
Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth MacFarlane and Daniel Radcliffe perform onstage during the Oscars (Photo: AP)
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On Sunday, the 85th Academy Awards made Hollywood's biggest night even bigger with surprising guest appearances, dazzling performances and history-making winners.

Hollywood's biggest night began on the red carpet with a two-hour A-list fashion parade, with plenty of old-school Hollywood glamour on display.

Oscar host and creator of Family Guy Seth MacFarlane started off the ceremony with a joke about Ben Affleck, quipping about the lack of best director nomination by saying he was "unknown to the Academy."

MacFarlane invited several Hollywood A-listers to join his on-going act, including Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron. Both started off with a graceful ballroom dance that captured the dance routines of legendaries like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Rita Hayworth.

Later, one of MacFarlane's more recent creations, potty-mouthed bear Ted, appeared with his big screen buddy Mark Wahlberg and made some off-colour jokes about an orgy at Jack Nicholson's place afterwards, and being Jewish in Hollywood.

In a heavily musical show, Adele sang Oscar-winning 007 theme 'Skyfall' as part of a segment feting 50 years of Bond films, while Shirley Bassey belted out 'Goldfinger.'

Legendary diva Barbra Streisand also gave her first Oscars performance for 36 years, singing 'The Way We Were' as part of a tribute to late composer Marvin Hamlisch.

Catherine Zeta-Jones meanwhile performed 'All That Jazz' ten years after winning best supporting actress for her role as Velma Kelly in the musical Chicago.

As for the winners, history was made when Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor to win three best leading actor goings in the Academy's history.

As anticipated by film critics, Lewis won this year for portraying the 16th American president in Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln.'

But veteran filmmaker Spielberg, whose presidential drama had the most nominations with 12 nods, went home from Hollywood's biggest awards show with only two awards--best actor and a technical prize for production design. 

Jennifer Lawrence was named best actress in a leading role, the youngest name to be added to the Academy's list of Hollywood's leading ladies. The announcement took Lawrence by surprise, and she tripped on the steps to the stage when she went up to receive her award.

Austrian actor Christoph Waltz seemed to have Academy voters in his pocket, gaining a second best actor in a supporting role gong for his portrayal of Dr. King Schultz in Tarrantino's blood-spattered spaghetti western tribute 'Django Unchained.'

Waltz received his first Oscar for playing a Nazi in Tarantino's 2009 war thriller Inglourious Basterds.

Best supporting actress went to Anne Hathaway, who earlier during the ceremony joined fellow 'Les Miserables' cast members singing hits from the movie. 

The awards continued with Taiwan-born Ang Lee taking the coveted best director prize for spectacular 3D fantasy 'Life of Pi.'

Overall, 'Life of Pi' won the most Oscars, gaining four, against three for 'Argo' and 'Les Miserables,' two each for 'Django Unchained' and 'Lincoln,' and one for 'Zero Dark Thirty.

Austrian director Michael Haneke's Cannes-winning 'Amour' won the best foreign language film prize, while best animated feature film award went to Scottish-themed 'Brave,' which beat fellow nominees including video game adventure 'Wreck-It Ralph,' which had been tipped as the marginal frontrunner.

Then came the icing of the cake; Ben Affleck's Iran hostage drama 'Argo' won the best film Oscar.

Affleck is the first person to win best picture without being nominated for the best director gong since 'Driving Miss Daisy' in 1990. Affleck has also racked up awards from the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Producers Guild of America (PGA) in the weeks before Sunday's Academy Awards show. 

The honours for the Iran hostage drama marked a triumphant comeback to Hollywood's mainstream for director Ben Affleck, who failed to get a nomination in the directing category six weeks ago, and who struggled for years to rebuild his reputation after tabloid ridicule over his 2002-2004 romance with Jennifer Lopez, according to Reuters.

Ben Affleck's cherry on top of the cake was the surprise guest appearance of First Lady Michelle Obama, celebrating Argo's victory from the White House. Via a recorded video message, Obama named 'Argo' the best feature film of this year's Oscars.

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