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To end the lackluster show, Kristin Chenoweth teams up with host Seth MacFarlane for a musical tribute to all the "losers" after the Best Picture award is handed out. A sample lyric? "Bradley Cooper/Get your chin off the floor/Here's your Silver Lining/You'll do Hangover 4." It was clever enough, but as it was the 47th musical number of the evening, we'd had enough of Oscar's musical stylings for one year.
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The Avengers join forces to present the Academy Award for Best Cinematography and just like the movie, all the attention goes to Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. In praising cinematographers, Jeremy Renner notes the challenges they must face, like "an aging star whose years, make that decades, of wanton self-abuse, leaves his face looking like a lunar landing surface." Fellow semi-old superhero Samuel L. Jackson tries to defend himself, saying it was "more like a decade," but Downey is more than happy to make himself the butt of the joke. "Two-and-a-half years times ten, or a quarter century," he says. Somewhere, we can hear the makers of Botox cackling loudly.
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Most Obnoxious Play-Off
Don't get us wrong. We love Jaws as much as the next film buff, but when the Academy uses those ominous opening notes — with ever-increasing volume — to play off the Best Visual Effects winners for Life of Pi, that's just annoying, not to mention rude. Get ready for a bloodbath of a backlash!
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Christoph Waltz takes home the first award of the night for his Best Supporting Actor role as bounty-hunting dentist Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained. In his thank-you speech, Waltz gives shout-outs to his co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx, as well as director Quentin Tarantino, whom he honors by quoting back the movie's lines, "You slay the dragon ... you cross through fire because you're not afraid of it."
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Most Egalitarian Award
Whoa! The voting for Best Sound Editing resulted in a tie between Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall. Surprised? So was presenter Mark Wahlberg, who raised his eyebrows and said "No B.S." upon opening the envelope. But it's not unprecedented: Ties have previously occurred for Documentary Short, Documentary Feature, Live Action Short, Best Actor and Best Actress (between Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn in 1969).
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With Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow famously snubbed from the Best Director category for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively, who would take home the trophy? When Ang Lee’s name is called for the against-all-odds survival picture Life of Pi instead of flashier names like Steven Spielberg or David O. Russell, the win feels a little bit sweeter. “Thank you, movie god,” Lee sweetly says before thanking his cast, his agents (“I have to do that”) before ending on the peaceful note of “Namaste.”
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Best Audio Time Capsule
After an In Memoriam segment that honors departed stars like Michael Clarke Duncan, Nora Ephron and Tony Scott, Barbra Streisand sings "The Way We Were" from the 1973 film of the same name as a tribute to her friend, composer Marvin Hamlisch, transporting the audience back to that time when Babs was the go-to songstress for soundtracks.
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Best Naked Honesty
Argo's Best Picture win brings two of the most attractive men in Hollywood to the stage: director-producer Ben Affleck and producer George Clooney. After a too-long speech by the film’s third producer, Grant Heslov — one of the three “sexiest producers alive,” he jokes — a teary Affleck takes the microphone. He thanks his wife, Jennifer Garner, for working on their marriage for so many years. “It’s the best kind of work and there’s no one I’d rather work with,” he says.
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Most Heartfelt Speech
Anne Hathaway (and her amazing cryface) wins the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Fantine in Les Miserables. "It came true," she says, as if answering the title of her signature song, "I Dreamed a Dream." She gives a breathless acceptance speech thanking the cast, crew, her husband and then adds, "Here's hoping that in the not-too-distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and not in real life."
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Most Mediocre Ascent
In her first awards show performance this season, Adele gives a surprisingly dull rendition of her James Bond theme "Skyfall." We still love her, though — and so does the Academy, giving her the Best Song award later in the evening.
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After host Seth MacFarlane pokes fun at presenter and nominee Ben Affleck by reminding everyone that he starred in Gigli and by likening him to one of the Kardashians, the snubbed director takes the stage and verbally hits MacFarlane right where it hurts by taking a stab at his pitiful hosting job thus far. “I actually thought the show had been going pretty well, but maybe you can turn it around,” Affleck jokes drily. Argo f--- yourself, Seth.
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Stickiest Envelope Seal
Although the famed Academy Award envelope has been engineered like a German car, Oscar winner Sandra Bullock still had a wicked-hard time breakng the seal in order to present the Best Editing award. Exhibit A. Don't get a paper cut, Sandy!
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Best Post-Fall Recoup
The ever-charming Jennifer Lawrence trips and falls on her huge skirt on the way to accepting her Best Actress award for Silver Linings Playbook. Undeterred, she quips, "You're standing up because you feel bad because I fell ... This is nuts." After thanking the usual suspects, she wishes fellow nominee Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) a happy birthday for turning 86 on Oscar night. You're a class act, J. Law!
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Worst Oscar Opening in Recent Memory
First-time Oscars host Seth MacFarlane makes one good joke about Tommy Lee Jones — which actually makes Jones laugh! — and it all goes downhill from there. To the viewers’ surprise, his monologue is only half tasteless, unused Family Guy jokes (see: the "We Saw Your Boobs" song), while the other half basically involves embarrassing A-list talent. He makes out with Sally Field and forces Charlize Theron, Daniel Radcliffe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum to sing and dance to boring old-school standards. Since Tatum never disrobes in the process, this segment gets an automatic F.
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Brassiest James Bond Tribute
Following a montage of some of the best songs from all the James Bond films, Shirley Bassey takes to the stage to sing her hit "Goldfinger," the theme song from the 1964 Bond film of the same name starring Sean Connery. It's a fitting homage, given that the theme of this year's Academy Awards is "Music in the Movies." And, at 76, Bassey proves she can still belt with the best of them, earning a standing ovation for her performance.
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Best Party Crasher
Apparently getting Jack Nicholson to present the Best Picture award isn't enough to impress these jaded Hollywood types, he throws to surprise co-presenter First Lady Michelle Obama, who beams in via satellite from the White House. Looking as polished as ever with various servicemen and -women standing behind her, FLOTUS not only introduces the nine nominated movies, but also gets to announce Argo as the winner while Nicholson stands jobless on stage, nonetheless delighted to be there.
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Most Presidential Jokester
In what is maybe the only "sure thing" of the night, Daniel Day-Lewis takes home Best Actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. During his acceptance speech, he jokes that he and presenter Meryl Streep, who won last year's Best Actress award for The Iron Lady, have something in common. “It's a strange thing, because three years ago, before we decided to do a straight swap, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher, and Meryl was Steven’s first choice for Lincoln. And I’d like to see that version." Fun fact: It's the first time anyone has ever won an Oscar for playing a U.S. president.
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One of These Things Is Not Like the Other Award
The Oscars bring back former winners Catherine Zeta Jones (who won Best Supporting Actress for Chicago) and Jennifer Hudson (who won the same award for Dreamgirls) to pay tribute to their acclaimed performances in musicals alongside the cast of this year’s nominated musical, Les Miserables. Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and the rest of the Les Miz cast earn a standing ovation, as does Hudson for her moving rendition of "And I Am Telling You." But Jones drops the ball in a big way with a flat, lip-synched performance of “All That Jazz.” When even Russell Crowe’s vocal chops get more acclaim, you know you’re not doing it right.