I have not missed a single Oscars award ceremony since 2002, and as a devoted viewer, it’s no surprise that I watched them again this year. Feb. 24, 2013, marked the 85th presentation of the annual Academy Awards to highlight cinematic achievements. The red carpet leading into the Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak Theater) held the attention of the public as celebrities sauntered down its length adorned in luxurious evening gowns and smartly tailored suits. My favorite dresses this year was one worn by Amanda Seyfried, designed by Alexander McQueen, and another worn by Jennifer Lawrence, designed by Dior. Both of these gowns were white, and decorated with subtle, intricate floral patterns. The Dior dress resembled a huge layered cake, carefully iced around the edges.
This year’s host, Seth MacFarlane, is known for his famous television series Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show. He kicked off the show with the help of Captain Kirk (William Shatner), who had come from the future to prevent him from ruining the Academy Awards with his profanity and borderline offensive jokes. After the initial skit with Shatner, the ceremony turned back to business. The first Oscar award was presented to Christoph Waltz for the role of best supporting actor, followed by an Oscar to Paper Man for best animated short.
Instead of leggy, homogenous models carrying the gold statues, this year’s trophy carriers were six college students who competed in an essay contest for their chance to be on the red carpet. The contestants to the essay contest were presented with the prompt: “How will you contribute to the future of film?” Over 1,100 students entered the contest, and the six winners attended their first rehearsal on Wednesday. One of the lucky six included Hearin Ko, a sophomore at Boston’s Emerson College. The co-producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan created the challenge to give people who actually care about the future of films the opportunity to carry the trophies, rather than the usual models.
Following the traditional Academy Awards format, the Oscars progressed with the perfect balance of performance spectacles and award presentations. Some notable performances include the song “Skyfall” by Adele, “One Day More” by the cast of Les Misérables, “All That Jazz” by Catherine Zeta-Jones from Chicago, and “Dreamgirls” by Jennifer Hudson. My favorite part was when the famous teddy bear from TED showed up and presented awards in the unmistakable voice of Seth MacFarlane (with MacFarlane’s normal caliber of offensive jokes, of course).
As always, the most prestigious awards were left to the end. Contenders for best actress included Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Naomi Watts (The Impossible), and 9-year old actress Quvenzhané Wallis (Beast of the Southern Wild). The prize went to Jennifer Lawrence, who tripped on her way up to the stage to receive her Oscar. Best actor contenders were Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), and Denzel Washington (Flight). Daniel Day-Lewis won the category and gave an eloquent acceptance speech.
Finally, the last category rolled around just before midnight EST. It’s always fun to predict the winner of these categories, and I’ve noticed a pattern from watching past awards: the one to win best original screenplay will probably also win best picture. This year, the pattern continued, with Argo winning both best original screenplay and taking home the Oscar for best picture.