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Oscar results versus My Picks (and a review of the show, too!)
Well, I guess I didn't do as badly as I thought with my predictions. Overall I got 9 out of 19 picks right. (I discovered afterwards that I forgot to post my pick for Best Cinematography - Life of Pi. You'll have to take my word for it, but that was indeed my choice for that category.
I was disappointed that Argo beat out Lincoln for Best Picture. Argo was good, but Lincoln was a contemporary masterpiece directed by a magnificent director. While Spielberg's loss is also disappointing, Ang Lee is absolutely deserving of the award. Life of Pi was visually stunning and dramatically compelling.
The acting awards were no surprise to many either. There were some utterly fantastic portrayals this year, but Daniel Day Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence both stood out. Likewise, Anne Hathaway. I need to learn to trust my instincts more, though. While I originally selected Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor (I loved his portrayal of the likable German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained), I instead went with Tommy Lee Jones (who was also terrific). So much for sweeping the acting category.
The rest of the major awards in many cases went by the numbers. Both sound categories were predictable, given the nature of the content, but it was surprising that Sound Editing resulted in a tie between Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall (I picked ZDT). I picked Avengers as a sentimental favorite to win Special Effects even though I knew it was a long shot.
The show itself was well done, but nothing unexpected. Seth McFarlane was amusing at times, borderline vulgar at others, but I guess that's what we can expect from Hollywood these days. I miss the days of the classy hosts like Bob Hope who were able to entertain without offending, or at least overly offend the audience with tasteless jokes.
The tributes to the musicals were spot on. I especially enjoyed the full cast tribute to the big screen masterpiece, Les Miserables. Even though it was summarily snubbed on most of it's nominated categories, the tribute extoles exactly what worked remarkably well and proves once again that commercial success does not necessarily equate to accolades and recognition.
And Shirley Bassey's performance during the James Bond tribute was exceptional. She had the distinct achievement of being the only singer to perform the songs for three Bond movies - Goldfinger (which she sang that night), Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker. Even at her age, Her voice is still extraordinary and she can still hold that last note with the best of them.
As a final note, William Shatner's opening cameo appearance was, perhaps, one of the most amusing bits of the show (for me, anyway). It was nice to see him one more time in that classic big screen uniform. He is, and always will be, the consummate ham.
I give the Academy Award presentation 4 out of 5 stars.