Night of redemption

BIG WINNERS: FROM LEFT: Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Christoph Waltz pose with their Oscars.
FROM LEFT: Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Christoph Waltz pose with their Oscars.

His film Argo took the best picture Oscar on Sunday night at the 85th Academy Awards – more than a little solace, perhaps, for being snubbed in the directing category.

Other marquee winners were Daniel Day-Lewis for lead actor for Lincoln, Jennifer Lawrence for lead actress for Silver Linings Playbook and Ang Lee for director for Life of Pi, which won four Oscars, the most for any film.

Anne Hathaway won supporting actress for Les Miserables, and Christoph Waltz received supporting actor for Django Unchained. The slave revenge Western also won original screenplay for Quentin Tarantino.

But it was a night of redemption for the affable Affleck. Ever since the producer-director-star of Argo was a surprising omission in the director category when the Oscar nominations were announced in January, he and his film has been on a roll.

The drama about a plot to rescue Americans in Tehran during the Iranian revolution has won nearly every major honor this awards season, including the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Producers Guild Award and the Directors Guild Award.

“I never thought I would be back here,” Affleck said as he held the trophy aloft. He’d won an Oscar 15 years ago with Matt Damon for original screenplay category for Good Will Hunting, but since then he has seen several career lows, including the ill-fated Gigli, which he made with then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez.

His star began to rise again as he turned to directing. “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, ’cause that’s gonna happen. All that matters is you gotta get up.”

FIrst Lady Michelle Obama announcing the Best Picture award from the White House.
FIrst Lady Michelle Obama announcing the Best Picture award from the White House.

Argo won three Oscars, including adapted screenplay for Chris Terrio and film editing for William Goldenberg. It’s only the fourth time that a film has won best picture without its director being nominated.

The win also made Oscar history: It was presented by First Lady Michelle Obama via satellite from the White House.

Though it was Day-Lewis by a landslide for Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s epic about the nation’s 16th president was largely overlooked.

It went into the evening with a dozen nominations – the most of any film. But it won only two, including production design.

Day-Lewis’ win also made history: He is the first to win three lead actor Oscars. He previously won for 1989’s My Left Foot and 2007’s There Will Be Blood.

Lawrence’s win capped a golden girl run. “This is nuts!” the 22-year-old said after tripping on her way up the stairs to the stage at the Dolby Theatre. As if to help her on her way, many in the audience took to their feet to cheer her on.

The win for her performance as a neurotic widow in the romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook wrapped up an awards season during which she won nearly every award out there – the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, and more.

But the biggest winner of the night was Life of Pi, which has defied expectations at every turn.

While it took a leap of faith to bring the bestselling book to the big screen, it has earned nearly $600 million worldwide – more than any of the other best film nominees.

“Thank you, movie god,” the Taiwanese filmmaker said as he collected his trophy and bowed before the standing, cheering audience. “Thank you for taking the leap with me,” he said to the executives at Fox who backed the costly CGI-driven film.

Early into the ceremony, the Internet was ablaze with early reviews for Oscars host Seth MacFarlane.

MacFarlane – and his raunchy sense of humor – was an edgy choice for the Oscars. And some of those fears came true. There was a song about boobs, jokes about Jews in Hollywood, cracks about Lincoln’s assassination and Latino accents, and talk of post-Oscars orgies – lines that had the audience groaning at times.

However, he did the impossible Sunday night as he kicked off the awards: He made Tommy Lee Jones smile. (

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