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OSCARS 2013: The
A Review of the 85th Annual Academy
There was no
mistake. This was not your grandmothers or your mothers
Oscars. A song about boobs? Long-winded winners being played off the stage by
the theme from Jaws? All that was missing was a trap door in the
floor. With Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane as host, the
producers did everything they could to try to shave off a few years from this
years Oscars even dropping the official name of the broadcast
The Academy Awards was never mentioned. Its the Oscars now!
It was, on paper at least, supposed to be a younger, hipper Oscar (even if the
old boy is 85!) courtesy of MacFarlane, a face largely unknown to many faithful
A broadcast that was a tribute to movie
musicals had an uneven rhythm that dragged on in spots (the opening monologue
was completely self-indulgent) and MacFarlane often seemed to forget this was
an event watched by a billion people not a special on Fox. MacFarlane and the
producers just couldnt seem to decide what they wanted the show to be and
at times, their self-consciousness was painful. Sock puppets, really?
It was a maddening evening. The highs were stellar many courtesy of
truly amazing musical performances (Adele, Jennifer Hudson, Shirley Bassey, the
entire cast of Les Miz) and several speeches (most notably Ben
Affleck and a surprisingly funny Daniel Day-Lewis) were heartfelt and moving.
But the jarring moments of outright crassness marred what was otherwise could
have been a peppy, much better broadcast.
MacFarlane did get off some
genuinely funny bits (The Sound of Music gag to introduce
Christopher Plummer was a nice touch and his self-deprecating barbs about his
own credits worked well You guys have made some inspiring movies.
I made Ted. Your movies are going to win awards. My movies are in
Redboxes outside grocery stores being urinated on by bums.) He also
proved he could occasionally be reverential when needed.
Like many of
the pictures honored this year, the show didnt know when to end on a high
note. The closing Heres to the Losers number by MacFarlane
and Chenoweth (if you were still watching by then) was horribly ill-conceived.
The producers brought out the big guns only occasionally. In fact, the
presence of Michael Douglas and an ageless Jane Fonda to present the Best
Director Oscar felt like it was from another broadcast. Did Jack Nicholson
really need a beamed in Michelle Obama as a co-presenter? Since when was a solo
Jack not enough?
The fashion wasnt dazzling as most actresses
played it safe. There were too many pale colored dresses that while pretty, did
little to help the actresses (Amy Adams, Amanda Seyfried) stand out from the
crowd. The big winner hands down, was Charlize Theron, who dazzled in stark
white Dior Haute Couture. Best dressed by a mile. She never misses. Who else
could pull off that pixie cut (shorn off completely for her role in the
upcoming Mad Max Fury Road)?
For those actresses who
went for color, Jessica Chastain scored her personal best in a copper beaded
column by Armani Privé that fit the way all her dresses should. Reese
Witherspoon looked every inch the yummy mummy in royal blue Louis Vuitton.
Jennifer Aniston finally left those black interchangeable sheaths behind and
chose a sweeping red ballgown from Valentino. It looked good, but she would
have benefited from something more elegant with her hair. Presenter Kerry
Washington brought an infusion of color to red carpet in her youthful, pretty
Miu Miu coral beaded dress. Jennifer Garner looked perfect in a purple column
from Gucci with cascading ruffles down the back of her dress. I didnt
like the canary color, but Jane Fonda was spectacular in her Versace. The woman
is 75 for goodness sakes!
As for the misses, there were many. Halle
Berry looked like an eighties refugee in her shoulders out to there Versace. Nicole
Kidman also must have gotten the memo asking the biggest stars to dress like
Vegas showgirls. Salma Hayeks Alexander McQueen made her neck disappear
and squashed her. Helen Hunt proudly told reporters her eco-friendly dress was
from H&M and it looked it. Zoe Salandas embellished, belted dress was
a total mess. The evenings worst dressed goes to Catherine Zeta Jones who
came masquerading as an Oscar statuette in a gauche gold number that looked
like something a Real Housewife might wear on a reunion show. Yikes!
Is anyone really capable of making a truly great Oscar broadcast? Not yet, but
theres always next year. I vote for Hugh Jackman as host remember
how great he was? Why not give the guy another chance?
Heres my minute-by-minute
recap of last nights highs and lows:
8:30 Oh look, Beaver
Cleaver is hosting The Oscars. Oh no, wait a minute -- a joke about
Django Unchained being the perfect date movie for Chris Brown and
Rihanna and another about Mel Gibson and the N word indicate
otherwise. The overly looong, uneven bit featuring everything but the kitchen
sink and presided over by William Shatner as Captain Kirk back from the future
to prevent Seth MacFarlane from being the worst Oscar host ever begins. Does
that sound confusing? It was even more so on stage.
8:37 A musical
number entitled We saw your boobs? Really? Really? Really stupid.
Helen Hunt does not look amused. Neither are we.
8:39 Channing Tatum
and Charlize Theron do a blink and youd miss it Fred Astaire and Ginger
Rogers to The Way You Look Tonight.
8:41 A sock puppet
version of Flight. I imagine Denzel isnt very pleased.
8:42 MacFarlane enlists Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who
kills it) to do a little soft shoe.
8:44 A taped bit shows Seth
MacFarlane wearing a costume from The Flying Nun hitting on Sally
Field (who was very game, I must say) in the green room and ends up with the
pair running off leaving the Oscars in the dust. A hint perhaps? Somewhere
Billy Crystal is crying (or maybe laughing)
8:50 The first upset. Best
Supporting Actor goes to Christoph Waltz who gives one of the most gracious
acceptance speeches Ive ever heard. Thats the way its done.
8:55 Why is the theme from ET playing? 8:56 John Travolta
gives presenter Melissa McCarthys dress an approving once over. Just
wondering: where do you think hed wear it?
Witherspoon in Louis Vuitton wins Best Performance by a Celebrity Hairstylist.
9:05 A bearded George Clooney (hirsute for the upcoming Monument
Men) is spotted in the audience. Not good. Whats up with all the
gorgeous guys having facial hair?
9:11 Life of Pis
Bill Westenhofer, winner for Best Visual Effects, gets played off by the theme
song of Jaws. He tries to keep going but cant. By far, the
most cringe worthy moment of the evening. The audience is horrified. Even
Nicole Kidman feels bad for him.
9:14 Brad Pitts really bad
Chanel commercial makes me miss Angelina Jolie and her leg on
tonights red carpet.
9:16 Channing Tatum and Jennifer Aniston
gets my vote for the most attractive pair of presenters. And note to Kelly
Osbourne: I dont think a purple haired tattooed C-lister has any fashion
cred to criticize Jennifers simply beautiful dress. (I expected
9:21 Halle Berry, channeling David Bowie,
introduces a clip package saluting 50 Years of James Bond. Remember when the
actress dazzled on the red carpet? Her wardrobe choices may be dreadful, but
that body is sheer perfection. The woman might have one of the most screwed up
personal lives in Hollywood, but she obviously isnt a stress eater.
9:22 The Bond tribute was a real miss. Thats it? I was expecting
the actors to be standing there when the clips were over. What happened? We
werent shaken or stirred.
9:24 Shirley Bassey sings Goldfinger.
I got chills. She even rolled with it when the sound got screwed up (which
better not happen when Barbra Streisand sings The Way We Were later
if the producers know whats good for them). A standing ovation.
Liam Neeson presents the first Best Picture clip package. I know
its been years since Natasha Richardson died, but he looks so sad to me.
9:45 More Jaws theme music to hurry off another winner.
Wasnt funny the first time. More like something theyd do on
Saturday Night Live the second time. Totally undignified and so
beneath Oscar. Or at least youd hope so.
9:49 Jennifer Garner
(in Gucci) and Jessica Chastain (in Armani Prive), two of the nights best
dressed, present Best Foreign Language Film. Looking good, ladies.
9:53 John Travolta and his black tie toupee introduce a trio of musical number
with Catherine Zeta Jones (obviously lip-synching), Jennifer Hudson and the
entire cast of Les Miz.
I was standing next to Catherine
at Saks in Greenwich two weeks ago and I can tell you that she looked nothing
like she did this evening. Perhaps thats why she was lip-synching
its hard to sing when youve just had a head transplant.
10:00 Standing O for Jennifer Hudson who brought the house down
with her reprise of And I Am Telling You Im Not Going.
. Excuse me, is this the Oscars or the Tonys?
10:04 Whatever it is, I got chills from the Les Miz cast even if
half the microphones didnt work as they should have. Brilliant.
10:16 Whats with all these long haired dudes winning Oscars?
10:20 The brilliant and charming Christopher Plummer presents Best Supporting
Actress to Anne Hathaway who is going to regret her wardrobe choice when she
sees the photos from last night. Her Prada dress, chosen at the last minute,
did not fit. Those darts (or are they nipples?) in the bodice looked horrible.
The necklace was wrong from that neckline. Clearly she was going for her
Gwyneth Paltrow Oscar winning moment and missed. So disappointed she ditched
the Valentino she planned to wear since she the house has supported her for so
long. Loved the hair and makeup, though. I also thought her acceptance speech
sounded awfully rehearsed and fell flat. Totally underwhelming.
Sandra Bullock, a woman with great taste in clothes and really lousy taste in
husbands, presents the Oscar for Best Editing.
Lawrence, looking gorgeous in Dior Haute Couture, introduces Adele who gives an
effortlessly stunning performance singing the theme from Skyfall.
But whats with the sound?
10:48 I just dont get the appeal
of Kristen Stewart
10:53 Just three more hours to go
10:57 George Clooney introducing In Memoriam strikes me as very
odd. Its duty usually given to a lesser star.
11:01 Is there a
single ounce of botox or filler left in Hollywood? I think not.
It breaks my heart to say this, but Barbra Streisand gave the weakest musical
performance of the night singing The Way We Were in tribute to
Marvin Hamlisch. The voice just wasnt there
musical number with Nora Jones. I dont think there were as many
performances at the Grammys. Why is the sound so dreadful?
wins Best Original Song. Love her. I dare Rex Reed to say a word.
11:23 Charlize Theron is truly the most breathtaking woman at the Oscars.
Gorgeous dress. Fabulous hair, Glowing skin. Flawless.
Quentin Tarantino snags the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay after
many reports said hed never win. They try to play him off with the
Gone With The Wind theme. I guess only the lesser winners are to be
embarrassed by Jaws.
11:32 Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas
present Ang Lee with the Oscar for Best Director. Now this feels like the
Oscars. And Jane Fonda, you rock.
11:37 Seth MacFarlane gets
off his best line of the night before going to commercial. Of the upcoming best
actress Oscar he says: Will it go to Quvenzhane Wallis who is nine or
Emmanuelle Riva who was nine when this show started?
Jennifer Lawrence, who just cant seem to make it to any podium in one
piece, falls up the stairs on the way to accept her Oscar for Best Actress. At
least shes wearing the right dress for it. It looks better draped across
the steps than it did on the red carpet. Once she gets to the stage, she gets a
standing ovation and charmingly tells the audience: You guys are standing
up because you feel bad because I fell. True enough, but with her swift
recovery and her great performance in the film, she earned the applause and the
statuette. She also graciously wished fellow nominee Riva a happy birthday. A
shot of a beaming Bradley Cooper in the audience looks like a man in love to
11:45 I not sure Meryl Streep even opened the envelope when
announces Daniel Day-Lewis as the winner of the Best Actor Oscar. Not that she
needed to. The actor, who made Oscar history by nabbing his third win in this
category, gives a funny, articulate speech where he salutes Abraham Lincoln and
the other nominees. Loved the bit about swapping their Lincoln-Thatcher roles
with Meryl. If anyone could pull that off, its those two.
Jack Nicholson co-presents the Oscar for Best Picture with none other than
Michelle Obama via satellite, a set-up that made absolutely no sense and seemed
forced. Weve seen the bangs, they look good. Now lets move on,
shall we? She announces Argo as the winner. Ben Affleck, who seems
genuinely touched by the tidal wave of support hes received this season,
delivers a fabulous Oscar speech and tells the crowd: It doesnt
matter how you get knocked down in life. All that matters is that you gotta get
up. Indeed. Clooney, a producer on the film, looks on proudly with Oscar
in hand but doesnt say anything. He doesnt have to. Hes
George Clooney. Even with that bead.
11:57 Seth MacFarlane says
hell be back with a proper goodbye after the last batch of commercials
(who paid for all this stuff). Mistake. Big mistake.
MacFarlane and the incredibly annoying Kristin Chenoweth sing,
Heres to the Losers and name them all in verse while the
credits role. Completely unnecessary and, I thought, mean-spirited. Memo to the
Family Guy creator: sometimes bits arent edgy and funny,
theyre just nasty. And that was no way to end such an historic Oscar
Grade: The Show: C
- Diane Clehane
is Lookonlines Entertainment Editor. She is the author of several New
York Times best sellers and is currently at work on a novel. She also writes
about fashion, entertainment and pop culture for many other outlets including
Forbes and mediabistro.com. For more information go to
dianeclehane.com. Email her at DClehane@aol.com
DFR: New York Fashion