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Putting the 2013 Oscars to Bed

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Sunday night, the film world spoke, and the big winner at this year’s Academy Awards was … uhh … anyone know?

Sure, Argo took home the night’s top prize—Best Picture. It was a win for the ages as no film since 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy pulled off a similar feat without a Best Director nomination. Affleck’s still-stunning miss in that category benefited Ang Lee and Life of Pi. He won his second Best Director prize, which, oddly enough, also came for a film that missed out on winning Best Picture (his first award came in 2006 for Brokeback Mountain).

Argo ultimately took home a total of three awards, including Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. Pi led all films with four wins—Director, Original Score, Cinematography, and Visual Effects.

Daniel Day-Lewis won his third career Best Actor prize (a record) for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which also won Best Production Design. Jennifer Lawrence earned her first Academy Award and the only award for Silver Linings Playbook—a Best Actress prize.

Supporting Actor and Actress prizes went to Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), respectively. The former was arguably the closest any major category came to a surprise, though Best Original Screenplay (which also went to Django Unchained) was in doubt right up until the opening of the envelope.

But the biggest surprise of the night—one that actually elicited gasps from the Dolby Theatre audience—came in Best Sound Editing. “It’s a tie,” said Mark Wahlberg (standing next to an animated teddy bear) before calling up crew members of both Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall to claim their prizes. It was the sixth tie in Oscar history and the first since 1994 (Live Action Short Film)

Best Documentary Feature went to Searching for Sugar Man, while Best Foreign Language Feature was awarded to the Best Picture-nominated Amour. And Brave presumably squeaked one out over Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph in Best Animated Feature.

As for the show itself, Seth MacFarlane certainly surpassed my low expectations and acquitted himself surprisingly well. His opening monologue started out oddly before settling into a fun rhythm, and the re-enactment of Flight with sock puppets was genius. He nailed the Sound of Music bit halfway through the ceremony, and while the musical stuff didn’t quite work, it was probably the best overall production since Hugh Jackman hosted back in 2009.

Speaking of the musical stuff, Catherine Zeta-Jones’ big lip-synched number flopped, if only because Jennifer Hudson blew her out of the water just moments later. The Les Mis crew sounded decent—including Russell Crowe, the easiest target in the history of the internet—but it’s hard to capture the majesty of the theater (or even the big screen) during a show like this.

Ultimately, I suspect this year won’t be remembered for any one winner (or non-winner) on his or her own. Instead, it will be remembered as an unpredictable year with a deep field of quality films. An impromptu Twitter poll before the ceremony said it all. I asked my followers which film they’d support with a Best Picture vote. Thirteen responses came in, all nine films received at least one vote, and no film received more than two votes. That’s awesome. It’s hard to hate on any award when you’ve got stats like that, and the fact that nearly everything got something brings a smile to my face.

And today, that smile is replaced with a frown. I’m sad it’s all over—the glitz, the glamour, the speculation, the discussion, the arguments, the catching up, the falling behind, the ebb and flow of Argo and Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty. It was all tremendously exciting for an Oscar dweeb like me. I had fun—so much so that I’ll kick off the 2014 Oscar season tomorrow—and I hope you did too.

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