Oscars 2013: Academy Awards coverage

February 24, 2013

Follow our merry band of reporters, bloggers and movie critic Ann Hornaday as we covered the 85th Annual Academy Awards. We tracked everything from the red carpet to the best picture, with reports from Dan Zak straight from the Dolby Theatre and beyond. Share your questions and feedback in the comments or tweet us @washingtonpost.

Thanks for watching the Oscars with us

Thanks, everyone, it’s been fun. For those of you who’ve been waiting until it’s all over, we’ve got a couple of solid news stories for you:

Our TV critic Hank Stuever reviewed it: At the Oscars, the same old song and dance.

Hank actually liked the “Jaws” cut-off music but thought it could have been used on host Seth MacFarlane: “What you got was a combination of sicko and retro, an Oscar show hosted by someone who waited until Oscar night to discover that he’s only so-so at stand-up comedy.” Read more. . .

Here’s the full list of Oscar winners. “Life of Pi” took home the Oscars, just four.

Monica Hesse recaps the awards and their significance: At the 2013 Oscars: A night of Hollywood as theater

Monica notes: “As this year’s Oscars approached, the evening was hailed as a showcase of Hollywood-in-Washington (Hollyton? Washingwood? Los Sequesterlos?). . . [but] the awards were spread among a far more disparate group of honorees.” Read more. . .

Robin Givhan reviews the fashion of the evening: On Oscar’s red carpet, an actress’s choice means business.

Robin on Jessica Chastain’s welcome-to-the-Hollywood-establishment gown (copper, strapless, Giorgio Armani): “It was the perfect branding moment in an era when an actress is no longer merely a thespian but a high-class worker bee whose every public appearance — from Starbucks to the Oscars — is in service to her bank balance and her bankability.” Read more . . .

And return to washingtonpost.com/style later on Monday for Dan Zak’s dispatch from the legendary Vanity Fair party. (To get you ready, here are the stories from the 2012 party and the 2011 party.)

Thanks for joining us. This is Amy Argetsinger wishing you Champagne kisses and caviar dreams.

The year the Oscars spread the wealth

The Oscars broke a lot of rules this year.

We typically see one or more movies dominating. Sometimes the Best Picture winner is the one that cleans up; other times, it’s the movie with the most nominations.

But this year, the night’s Best Picture winner, “Argo,” won only two other prizes. The same thing happened with “Crash” in 2005 and with “Rocky” in 1976.

Meanwhile, though “Lincoln” racked up the most nominations, at 12, it won only two of those. We are still checking the records here, but it appears that only two other 12-nominee movies (“Johnny Belinda,” 1948; “Becket,” 1964) won fewer than that.

Instead, it was “Life of Pi” that won the most Oscars tonight — a mere four. “Les Miserables” won three, while “Skyfall” and “Django Unchained” matched “Lincoln” with two. “Zero Dark Thirty,” once considered a frontrunner in the trophy race this year, took only one.

Meryl Streep didn’t even open Best Actors’ envelope

No, you didn’t miss it — Meryl Streep announced Daniel Day-Lewis’ best actor win without opening the envelope on-stage. Maybe she wanted to avoid an incident like Sandra Bullock’s.


Courtesy AOL Tumblr

Streep fans have their own theories.

 

 

Best Picture: ‘Argo’

And the Oscar goes to . . . “Argo”

In a big surprise, Jack Nicholson turned the announcement duties over to Michelle Obama, beamed into the theater via satellite.

And finally, a chance for Ben Affleck, who did not get a nomination for Best Director, to take the stage. Co-producer Grant Heslov spoke first: “The reason I wanted to speak before Ben is because Ben. . . was also our director. I thought it would be Ben to thank himself but it’s not awkward for me.”

Ben Affleck (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)
Ben Affleck (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

Affleck, exuberant, went on at some length, thanking “everyone in the movie, on the movie, who had anything to do with the movie.” He thanked Canada, Iran and his wife, Jennifer Garner. He recalled his 1997 screenwriting Oscar (with Matt Damon) for “Good Will Hunting.” “I was a kid. . . I never thought I’d be back here.”

Third co-producer George Clooney — now in the elite club of actors who have won acting and producing Oscars — took a pass on giving a speech.

Michelle Obama presents Best Picture

There’s only one person who could upstage Jack Nicholson. FLOTUS, straight off of her “Mom Dancing” Internet sensation, presented the biggest award of the night.

 

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis

Well, Meryl Streep didn’t try to build any suspense, and why should she? (Did she even open the envelope?) We all saw that coming.

He’s the first actor in Oscar history to win three prizes for a leading role. And the first actor to win an Oscar for a Spielberg movie.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Rebecca Miller (Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Daniel Day-Lewis and Rebecca Miller (Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

But who would have expected DDL to bring some of the night’s only spontaneous seeming humor?

“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,” Day-Lewis deadpanned, “and Meryl was Steven’s first choice for Lincoln. and I’d like to see that version.”

“Steven didn’t have to persuade me to play Lincoln, but I had to persuade him that if we were to do it that it shouldn’t be a musical.”

Maybe you had to hear the way he said it.

Here’s DDL when he won his first Oscar and when he won his second.

Could have used an upset

Another expected win — I could have used an upset by Ms. Riva…But I know when I’m licked. “Happy birthday, Emmanuelle,” OUCH!

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

Oh! She just tripped walking up the stage!

Jennifer Lawrence trips up the stairs. (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)
Jennifer Lawrence trips up the stairs. (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

She laughed at the standing ovation: “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell and that’s really embarrassing, but thank you.”

Short and sweet speech, seeming to be genuinely surprised, though she was heavily favored in this category.

Just seven years after she was discovered on the street by a modeling scout, Lawrence not just won an Oscar (for “Silver Linings Playbook”) but starred in one of the biggest grossing movies of the year, “The Hunger Games.” At 22 and a half, she is the second youngest woman to win the Best Actress Oscar winner, next to Marlee Matlin, a mere 21 when she took the trophy for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1986.

And now “Silver Linings Playbook” is on the wall, with one prize.

From the Oscars press room

Dan Zak reports from backstage at the Oscars:

Best Director: Ang Lee for “Life of Pi”; movie now has 4 wins

Wow, now, that is an upset.

It’s been a volatile year in this category — anticipated frontrunners Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were not even nominated, which seemed to clear the decks for Steven Spielberg and “Lincoln.” It would have given Spielberg a place in history as one of a few directors with three Oscars. And yet with Affleck beating Spielberg in most of the precursor awards competitions where they were head-to-head, it became harder to predict what would happen here.

Indeed, let it be known that our critic Ann Hornaday predicted Ang Lee’s victory for “Life of Pi,” an epic 3D adventure based on Yann Martel’s fable about a boy stranded at sea sharing a lifeboat with a tiger.

“Thank you, movie god,” said Lee. He previously won Best Director in 2005 for “Brokeback Mountain.”

For those keeping track at home: “Life of Pi” is now in the lead with 4 Oscars, followed by “Les Mis” with 3, “Argo” and “Django” with 2 each.

Did Tarantino deserve his win?

Wow. Just …. Wow. QT wins for “Django Unchained.” Surprising considering that completely out-to-lunch final sequence.

Quentin Tarantino with writer Lianne Spiderberry (PAUL BUCK/EPA).
Quentin Tarantino with writer Lianne Spiderberry. (PAUL BUCK/EPA)

My wishes for Mark Boal to win for his “Zero Dark Thirty” script were dashed. The movie couldn’t catch a break.

Best Original Screenplay: ‘Django Unchained’

A minor upset in a competitive category. Quentin Tarantino just won for “Django Unchained,” beating out the likes of Mark Boal for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Tarantino, an infamous motormouth who also won in this category 18 years ago for his breakthrough “Pulp Fiction,” was relatively restrained in his speech. He thanked his actors: “If anyone remembers my movies 30 years out, it will be because of the characters I created.” And as the leave-the-stage music swelled, he held his ground: “One last thing!” And that’s when he said it was “such an honor to get it this year” of all years because of the stiff competition (also including “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Amour,” and “Flight”). “This will be the writers’ year,” he concluded.

So the tally:

3 Oscars — “Les Mis,” “Life of Pi”

2 Oscars — “Argo,” “Django Unchained,” “Skyfall”

1 Oscar — “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Lincoln,” “Amour”

 

Best Adapted Screenplay: ‘Argo’

Okay, everyone, momentum is now picking up for “Argo.” Its screenwriter Chris Terrio just won Best Adapted Screenplay. First nomination and win for the 36-year-old.

“Lincoln” screenwriter Tony Kushner might have won this but his less than gracious response to a congressman’s complaints about historical accuracy may have hurt him.

Chris Terrio accepts his award. (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)
Chris Terrio accepts his award. (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

 

Worried about Renee Zellweger


Courtesy dmcdgll.tumblr.com

So what’s going on with Renee, exactly? The actress squinted her way through her announcement with Richard Gere until Queen Latifah jumped in and read the name for her.

 

 

 

 

Adele wins Best Song for ‘Skyfall’

All right, we’ve got a prize for Adele and a second for this year’s Bond flick: “Skyfall.”

Adele (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)
Adele (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

Adele wore brilliant red lipstick and got all weepy. So it’s up to co-writer Paul Epworth to tick off all the obligatory names to thank.

This seems to be the first Oscar for a Bond song. How can that be? Not “Nobody Does It Better”? Not even “Live and Let Die”? They were nominated; so was “For Your Eyes Only.” But no previous wins, it looks like.

Best Original Score: ‘Life of Pi’

Best Original Score went to “Life of Pi,” music by Canadian composer Mychael Danna. Seems to be his first nomination, though you’ve heard his subtle work before in “Moneyball” and “(500) Days of Summer.”

And yes, that now means that “Life of Pi” and “Les Mis” are tied at three apiece. Their rivals have all maxed out at one apiece.

“I’m a huge Mychael Danna fan, and the score to ‘Life of Pi’ was indeed lovely. ‘Pi’ is gaining steam…,” says Ann Hornaday.

In Memoriam: Who made the beloved Oscar death reel?

Honestly, this is my favorite part of the show every year: The montage of showbiz greats who died in the year since the last Oscar ceremony.

It kicked off with Ernest Borgnine, a 1955 Best Actor winner for “Marty,” and included Celeste Holm (1947 Best Supporting Actress for “Gentlemen’s Agreement”), Jack Klugman, Nora Ephron (a three-time screenwriting nominee), producer Richard Zanuck, acting nominees Charles Durning and Michael Clarke Duncan, songwriter Hal David, director Tony Scott — and lots of designers, producers, publicists you’ve never heard of. Some surprises from other media: Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (recognized for his movie producing, including documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop”) and author Ray Bradbury (presumably for his book “Fahrenheit 451,” turned into a movie).

Closing things out: Three-time winning composer Marvin Hamlisch. Fun fact, though he was nominated 12 times over 25 years, he won all three Oscars on a single night in 1974, the first time anyone had done that. (Hamlisch is also part of the exclusive EGOT club.)

Barbra Streisand performs (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS).
Barbra Streisand performs (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS).

Of course, Barbra Streisand came out to sing “The Way We Were,” one of his winning songs.

George Stevens receives honorary Oscar

D.C. is well represented at the Oscars tonight — with best short doc ‘Inocente’ and honorary Oscar winner George Stevens, Jr. He discovered Terrence Malick, among others.

No explanation (yet) for Stewart’s limp


Courtesy @HauntedTwilight

Kristen Stewart limped her way onto the stage with Daniel Radcliffe, the product (AP reports) of an “unexplained recent injury.” She also had crutches on the red carpet.

 

‘Lincoln’ wins its first Oscar of the night

Last month, it was presumed that “Lincoln,” with 12 nominations, would clean up at the Oscars. But this is its first of the night, Best Production Design for Rick Carter and Jim Erickson. It’s still up for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score.

And thus, the tally of lesser wins for Best Picture nominees is:

“Les Mis” — 3

“Life of Pi” — 2

“Argo,” “Django,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Lincoln,” and “Amour — 1 each.

The Fines backstage

Sean Fine, a third-generation Washingtonian who won best documentary short with his wife Andrea Nix Fine, revealed his Redskins-colored socks just now in the press room. “No pressure, no diamonds,” Sean said, revealing the RGIII-favored saying embroidered over his ankles. Their film, “Inocente,” is about a 15-year-old homeless undocumented immigrant who wants to be an artist.

So what’s good and bad about making movies from the District?

“I think what’s great about Washington is that it’s the seat of a lot of power,” Andrea says. “And just two weeks ago Inocente was in the houses of Congress talking to senators and Congresswomen. This is a huge issue; she’s really giving a face to what really is an invisible population. One in 45 kids in this country are homeless. It doesn’t make sense. … I think we feel very connected to Washington. … I also love it because everyone expects you to be from New York and L.A. and we really love being from Washington.”

Sean added: “It’s a great community.”

Everyone loves Adele

Twitter loves Adele — her voice! Her hair! Her make-up! Maybe she can host the Oscars next year.

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry gilded like Oscar statues

Nicole Kidman (Paul Buck/EPA)
Nicole Kidman (Paul Buck/EPA)

As Nicole Kidman takes the stage, fashion writer Robin Givahn offers her observations on some of the night’s flashier wardrobe choices. Read her full take on the red carpet here.

An observation: The flashiest gowns and accessories are on actresses who are NOT nominees. Catherine Zeta-Jones is gilded like the Oscar statue itself. Halle Berry is wearing black and silver sequins. Selma Hayek topped her giant top-knot with a tiara. Jennifer Hudson sported a mile-high slit. And Jennifer Aniston is wearing a giant red puff ball. Isn’t that like a guest trying to outshine the bride?

Adele does “Skyfall”…

And I miss Aimee Mann.

Best Editing: “Argo” scores its first win.

“Argo,” still heavily favored to win Best Picture, has only won one Oscar so far. Crazily enough, the winner for Best Editing is William Goldenberg, who was also nominated in this same category for “Zero Dark Thirty.” He has two previous nominations, for “Seabiscuit” and “The Insider.”

“Could this be the beginning of ‘Argo’s’ big night?” asks Ann Hornaday? “I was rooting for Goldenberg, but for ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ Still, a deserving win, ‘Argo’s’ sharp tonal shifts made editing especially crucial.”

So, the tally thus far for best-picture nominated movies:

“Les Miserables” — 3

“Life of Pi” — 2

“Django” — 1

“Argo” — 1

“Zero Dark Thirty” — 1

So, Anne Hathaway’s acceptance speech. . .

Pretty restrained, no? Considering her knack for mugging and excess show of shock at previous awards ceremonies.


(REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

Hathaway, 30, was heavily favored in the Best Supporting Actress category after vacuuming up every precursor prize. She was previously nominated for Best Actress for “Rachel Getting Married” (2008). And, of course, took a bullet for the Academy when she co-hosted the Oscars two years ago with semi-catatonic James Franco.

“It came true!” she exulted, before going on to thank the Academy and pay tribute to all her fellow nominees by name (“I look up to you all so much”). She thanked Hugh Jackman and a half dozen of their “Les Mis” co-stars, congratulated the sound guys that just won a prize, and the producers and studio chiefs. And then “I have to thank my team,” which is the euphemism these days for thanking ones agent, publicist, hairdresser, etc. And then, of course “my husband,” Adam Shulman, whom she wed in September: “By far and away the greatest moment of my life is when you walked into it.” And then the obligatory nod to larger issues: “Here’s hoping that someday in the not too distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine [the desperate prostitute she played in the movie] will be only found in stories and not in real life.”

Appropriate, restrained, not terribly memorable but not obnoxious either. They played her off with the theme from “The Godfather” for whatever reason.

Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway

But Jacki Weaver made crabby snacks and homemades! Next to Daniel Day-Lewis, the night’s surest sure thing. “Les Mis” is up to three awards on the night.

You can tie at the Oscars?

News to everyone, apparently.

 

 

OMG, it’s a rare Oscar tie in Best Sound Editing

Wow, this almost never happens. It’s a tie! The Best Sound Editing prize is shared by the teams from “Zero Dark Thirty” (its first award of the night) and “Skyfall.”

Presenter Mark Wahlberg first announced there was a tie, then named “Zero Dark Thirty” first and had its editors come up to accept the prize before he named the “Skyfall” team.

How rare is this? Very rare. It looks like the last time this happened was when Katharine Hepburn (“The Lion in Winter”) and Barbra Streisand (“Funny Girl”) tied for Best Actress in 1968. It also happened in 1932, when Wallace Beery and Frederic March tied for Best Actor.

Sound mixing: ‘Les Miserables’


From left, actors Aaron Tveit, AnneHathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, Hugh Jackman, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen and Russell Crowe, from the cast of “Les Miserables.” (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The team from “Les Miserables” just picked up the prize for Best Sound Mixing.

That brings the tally for major-nominated films to:

“Life of Pi” — 2

“Les Miserables” — 2

“Django Unchained” — 1

 

 

Halfway point? If we’re lucky…

If Oscar night were the MARC train, this would be Halethorp — the point when you realize the trip isn’t close to being over…

Singers sing, winners don’t get to talk

Due respect to the pipes on stage, but I’d just as soon donate this time to Oscar winners who may never have a night like this again in their lives. Let them speak!

Catherine Zeta-Jones: ‘All That Jazz’

You know, it’s kind of ballsy to get up and do the song that you won a Best Supporting Oscar for ten years ago. Here’s CZJ in 2002′s “Chicago” doing “All That Jazz.” What do you think, how’s it compare?

No such thing as a good Wilkes-Booth joke

Seth MacFarlane has had plenty of duds this evening, but no joke fell so flat as his groan-inducing reference to the Lincoln assassination.

“The actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes-Booth,” he said. Then, in a half-hearted save: “150 years, and it’s still too soon?”

 

 

 

As many tweeters have pointed out, however, tastefulness isn’t exactly MacFarlane’s forte.

 

Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour”

I totally forgot to mention earlier that “Amour” is the major favorite here — obviously, since it’s the only foreign film to get a Best Picture nod this year. But there is some thinking that “NO” could upset, since it stars Hollywood favorite Gael Garcia Bernal. . .

Oh, never mind. Of course “Amour” won. I just saw it the other day. It’s a compelling, unflinching drama about an elderly couple grappling with the aftermath of her stroke and sudden decline. It’s very very good and kind of hard to recommend to anyone except the very, very tough. Here’s Ann Hornaday’s take.

Director Michael Hanecke also did “The White Ribbon” of 2009, which won almost everything but the Oscar. His star, Emmanuelle Riva, may yet win Best Actress tonight.

 

Documentary feature: “Searching for Sugar Man”

“Searching for Sugar Man” is the stranger-than-fiction story about the “resurrection” of forgotten early-’70s should-have-been folk star Rodriguez. It’s a remarkable story, and has been a well-deserving word-of-mouth hit.

I talked to director Malik Bendjelloul and Rodriguez himself before the movie was released last summer.

Rodriguez in a scene from the documentary film, "Searching for Sugar Man." (AP/Hal Wilson).
Rodriguez in a scene from the documentary film, “Searching for Sugar Man.” (AP/Hal Wilson).

Ben Affleck still has a beard and it’s still wonderful

I’ve already spilled so much digital ink over the rough-around-the-edges beauty of Ben Affleck’s beard. So I’m not going to add too much here, except to say that here he is, giving out the award for Best Documentary Feature, just like the Serious Filmmaker he’s become. Good on you, Benjamin! “Searching for Sugar Man” takes home the trophy; more on that in a bit. Just hang in there. That’s what we’re trying to do.

Documentary Short: “Inocente”

Yessss!!!!! Congrats to D.C. filmmakers Sean and Andrea Nix Fine for a well-deserved win. ‘Inocente’ is brilliant (and check out ‘War Dance,’ for which they were nominated in 2007. Beau


Sean Fine, left, and Andrea Nix Fine pose with their award for best documentary short subject for “Inocente.” (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

tiful.

Live Action Short: “Curfew”

No, haven’t seen it either! It seems to be about a suicidal guy who ends up going on a great adventure babysitting his niece.

Are you thinking that winning filmmaker Shawn Christensen looks like an indie rocker out of Brooklyn? Well he is! He’s the lead singer of stellastarr*. Small world, huh?

Aging gorgeously at the Oscars

Between Helen Hunt, Emmanuelle Riva and Shirley Bassey, tonight’s Oscars is a tribute to aging gorgeously.

Helen Hunt (LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS)
Helen Hunt (LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS)

“Goldfinger”!!!

How was this song, the best of all Bond songs, not nominated for Best Song back in 1964? Just checked: It wasn’t. “Chim-Chim-Cher-ee” from “Mary Poppins” won that year (not even the best song from “Mary Poppins” but whatever). Obviously, Dame Shirley Bassey just killed it tonight, but you might still want to go back and listen to the original.

So that was our James Bond 50th anniversary tribute. Weeks ago, we were tantalized with reports of all six Bond stars reuniting on stage, but it apparently fell through.

50 years of James Bond in movies

It’s been 50 years of Bond in motion pictures. We were promised a Bond actor reunion. All six were supposed to assemble, much like the Avengers before them. But can all the Bonds be in one place simultaneously? I worry about what such a thing would do to the time-space continuum. Instead we get zero Bonds and one Halle Berry, possibly to symbolize that one woman is worth half a dozen men.

We are treated to a video montage of Bond movies. This montage feels about 50 years long, but of course this is not a problem! This isn’t valuable time that could be used for winners’ acceptance speeches, so a person might be able to get out some gratitude to a parent before the “Jaws” theme marches them off to the wings.

Best Costume Design: “Anna Karenina”; Best Makeup: “Les Miserables”

And the Best Costume Design category is controversial with costume designers because the rank-and-file voters tend to go for elaborate corset dramas and period pieces– we see you there, “Les Miserables” — even though as much subtle and complex work goes into contemporary settings.

The winner is the person who put Keira Knightley in a corset this year: Jacqueline Durran for “Anna Karenina.”

Ann Hornaday says: “Krasiva! So glad ‘Anna Karenina‘ won for costumes, what a deliriously gorgeous movie. Glad it got some love tonight,”

Best Hair/Makeup usually goes to movies where the actors are aged dramatically or turned into goblins, no? So the win of “Les Miserables” (over “Hitchcock” and “The Hobbit”) is refreshing. So is the fact that one of the winners (I don’t know which is Lisa Westcott and which is Julie Dartnell) doesn’t appear to be wearing makeup at all for her big moment in the spotlight.

“Come to think of it, it does take award-worthy work to make Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman to look so haggard,” Hornaday says.

Jack Nicholson, dazed and confused

Jack Nicholson has no idea who Christoph Waltz is, or why he won for best supporting actor a few minutes ago. He may not know he’s at the Oscars, either.

 

Some theories on Nicholson’s dazed state:

 

 

 

 

Cinematography and Best Visual Effects: “Life of Pi”

Best Cinematography Winner is Claudio Miranda for “Life of Pi.” This is a category that cinematographers always get irritated about, since the rank and file voters tend to pull for really pretty movies with gorgeous landscape, and obviously, that’s not what genius camerawork is limited to.

Sofia Miranda, daughter of Claudio Miranda right, and her mother Kelli Bean Miranda. (LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS)
Sofia Miranda, daughter of Claudio Miranda (right) and her mother Kelli Bean Miranda. (LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS)

Best Visual Effects also goes to the “Life of Pi” team. Undeniably a visually spellbinding film, says Ann Hornaday. That’s two wins so far for “Pi.” Hornaday tells us these awards are well-deserved, but in the cinematography category, “I was rooting for the great Roger Deakins (“Skyfall”), who has scandalously never won an Oscar!”

Aw, man, are they really playing the shark theme from “Jaws” to shoo the guys off the stage? Obnoxious.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE

The Oscars invited the Avengers for reasons unclear. The Avengers did make buckets of money this summer, enough money to dump into an emptied-out swimming pool and do laps in it. And these are gents—Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L Jackson—who look lovely in suits. But do they really need to be here? Are they serving a purpose, beyond handing out the trophy for cinematography?


Actors Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson present during the Oscars. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Here’s a better question: Where is Scarlett Johansson? Why isn’t she here? It could be because she’s a lady, and we better leave the more serious superhero duties to the guys. It couldn’t be because her role in the movie was too small; Renner gets to be here, and all he did was walk around with stoner-eyes and a bow and arrow like a zombified Katniss Everdeen. Maybe it wasn’t some sexist, malicious thing, though. Let’s not jump to conclusions. Maybe it was one of those things where everybody thought everybody else was going to call her, and then it was Oscar night and Mark Ruffalo was dancing his fingers down the turf grass of the Mani Cam when Chris Evans, Captain America himself, tapped him on the shoulder. “Hey Mark, where’s Scarlett?” Mark, confused: “How should I know? Weren’t you inviting her?” And on and on and on until Scarlett, poor, lonely Scarlett, spends tonight at home in her sweatpants, eating Thai takeout and watching “House of Cards” on Netflix.

“Brave” a deserving winner

Split vote between, “Paperman,” the lyrical short that played before “Wreck-It Ralph” and the wonderful “Brave.” And who knew the heroine of the movie so closely resembled its maker? Nice…

 


Co-directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman accept the Best Animated Feature Film award for “Brave.” (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Best Animated Feature: “Brave”

This is a minor upset. There had been a lot of buzz that “Wreck-It Ralph” or “Frankenweenie” would take the prize. Director/writer Mark Andrews accepted wearing a kilt, which seems to be his thing. Then again, “Brave,” which grossed $535 million worldwide, was set in the Scottish Highlands, so he can do that.

See Ann Hornaday’s review of “Brave.”

Best Animated Short Film: “Paperman”

No, I haven’t seen it either!

Yeah, it’s the obscure shorts category. Though creator John Kahrs noted that the academy did a good job of getting all the shorts out to all the voters to see.

Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy presented, and they were kind of off, don’t you think?

Let’s just take Seth MacFarlane’s opener one piece at a time

Seth MacFarlane kicks off the Academy Awards by announcing that “the quest to make Tommy Jones laugh begins now.” AND TJ LAUGHS! Perhaps this will be okay! Maybe we will all emerge from this voyage through MacFarlane’s imagination unscathed!


(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“I honestly cannot believe I’m here,” he says. (Neither can we!) “It’s an honor that everyone else said no.”

Like any great frat party, the Oscars has a theme. The theme is music in the movies. So, get excited about that.

Seth proceeds to roast every single movie. This goes… this is not going well. “The story [of "Argo"] was so top secret, that the film’s director is unknown to the Academy.” Ben Affleck gives a closed-lip smile, a nod of the head. But we know that it’s going to be like that scene in “The Town” when Ben gets Jeremy Renner to help him kill a guy without asking any questions, and Renner is like, “Which car are we taking?” Goodbye, Seth.

Now we are getting the required Daniel Day Lewis reference. “Daniel, your process fascinates me,” says Seth, because DDL is suuuuper method. “Like, if you saw a cell phone, would you have to be like, ‘Oh my God, what’s that?’ If you bumped into Don Cheadle on the lot, would you try to free him?”

Oh. Oh wow. So we’re going to do the race joke thing. That’s… that’s uncomfortable for all of us.

He goes on to discuss “Django Unchained” and– okay, well, the domestic violence/Chris Brown and Rihanna joke is one way to go. “That’s as bad as it gets if it makes you feel better,” Seth promises. Then, a beat. “That’s not as bad as it gets.”

Plus points for: “Jennifer Lawrence has a great attitude about this whole thing… she told me last night, whether she wins or loses, it’s just an honor that Meryl Streep wasn’t nominated.”

AND WHAT IS HAPPENING WILLIAM SHATNER AKA CAPTAIN KIRK THE SCREEN IS COMING DOWN WHY GOD WHY


(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Shatner: I’m here to stop you! The show is a disaster!

MacFarlane: What are you talking about? It’s going fine.

Shatner: No, it’s not.

#tooreal #toosoon

“Why couldn’t they just get Tina and Amy to host the show?” muses Shatner. Why can’t Tina and Amy host everything?”

#tooreal #toosoon

We go to a pre-taped song about how “we saw your boobs.” It’s all… it’s very weird. Also, a little sexist/strange to not include a callout to Michael Fassbender. Have we forgotten “Shame” so soon? Trust us, Seth. We have not.

Now Seth is saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron.” WERE GREATER WORDS EVER SPOKEN? I think not.

Who do I want to dance with more? Can’t decide, can’t decide. Look at those shoes on Channing! Look at those Charlize’s moves! This is sort of bizarre and jarring given the tone of the ceremony thus far but I’m pretty much pro-Channing no matter what.


(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Sidebar: This whole “newspaper headlines from the future” thing is a problem for Seth but pretty great for us here at the office. Apparently there are still newspapers in the 23rd century! Long live print!

Okay, sock puppets. How do we feel about sock puppets? Socks in the dryer? Socks in the sock hospital? “Flight” wasn’t that great a movie but I feel like it deserves better than the sock puppet treatment.

Shatner suggests a dance. Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt emerge to make everything better by singing “High Hopes.” Again, this is coming out of nowhere. Is there sense to be made here? Or is the universe senseless, and the Oscars just a microcosm of the universe?


(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Seth is talking to Sally Field about how she was hot when she was Gidget. Then they make out? Is this really happening? Even Sally Field is making a face like she doesn’t know if it is happening.

“Look, you’re almost there,” says Shatner. Are we, though? I feel like I’ve been sitting here for three hours. How long have we been here? Just minutes? Will I ever be young again, once this night is over?

Now we’re doing this song and dance to the tune of “Be our Guest.” It’s just… this whole scene is… it’s so bad. It’s so bad! I don’t know what to say. I’m not rooting for Seth to fail. He seems like a perfectly acceptable human. But I don’t know what to say about this except that I’ve already tried to forget everything about it that wasn’t immediately forgettable.

Liz Lemon and Leslie Knope for Oscars 2014.

Waltz victory something of an upset

I truly thought it was a toss-up between Jones and De Niro. Good on him.

From the “Django Unchained” review: “Waltz, who won an Oscar for his depiction of a depraved Nazi in “Inglourious Basterds,” plays the good guy here to similarly potent effect.”

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz

The first and toughest category of the night, as presenter Octavia Spencer (last year’s Best Supporting Actress for “The Help”) noted: “I’m no expert having been here on this stage for the first time last year —  but in my opinion, this may be one of the most impressive fields of actors to share this category.” All of the nominees (Tommy Lee Jones, Robert De Niro, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Christoph Waltz, Alan Arkin) had won before.

And the winner is. . . Christoph Waltz, for “Django Unchained.”

Christoph Waltz accepts his award. (CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP)
Christoph Waltz accepts his award. (CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP)

The German-Austrian actor is two-for-two with the Oscars now — he also won in this category with his first nomination for playing a sinister SS agent “Inglourious Basterds” just three years ago. He was the good guy in “Django Unchained,” playing a bounty hunter who gleefully killed bad-guy slavers — and he arguably had the leading role in that movie, though Jamie Foxx had the title character. Why was he in this category? Who knows. Couldn’t have beaten Daniel Day-Lewis in Best Actor, probably.

Waltz, 56, thanked his director, “the creator of his own inspiring world, Quentin Tarantino.” He added. “You slay the dragon, you cross through fire because it’s worth it. . .I’m sorry, I borrow my character’s words.”

Seth MacFarlane, not that funny

“This is as bad as it gets,” Seth MacFarlane promised at one point in his opening monologue — a lie, apparently, as the musical numbers and politically questionable jokes only got less funny from there.

The early word on Twitter:

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t heard. . .

Seth MacFarlane has singing ambitions.

Seth MacFarlane’s first song

“We saw your boobs.” Is it just us or is Jennifer Lawrence the only one who laughed? He might have redeemed himself with a second verse: “We saw your junk.” Granted, there are fewer examples. . .

Seth MacFarlane onstage (MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters).
Seth MacFarlane onstage (MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters).

Oscar predictions: The general consensus

Are there any surprises left at the Academy Awards? Thanks to the proliferation of precursor awards, year-round Oscar prognostication blogs and other forms of crowd-sourcing analysis, it’s generally very easy to guess who’ll win these days. Happily, tonight’s show offers a bit more potential suspense than usual.

Best Supporting Actor: The wildest of wild-card categories this year. Every nominee here has already won an Oscar, which means they enjoy something of a level playing field — voters won’t feel the sentimental pull to reward an old pro who’s never been rewarded before. It seems to have come down to: Christoph Waltz, who already won the Golden Globe and whose “Django Unchained” was a popular hit that voters might want to award one trophy; Tommy Lee Jones, who won the Screen Actors Guild prize and whose role was an emotional through-line for “Lincoln”; and Robert DeNiro for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Why DeNiro, who already has two other Oscars? Because his last was 32 years ago, for “Raging Bull,” and the Academy seems to be in doubling-down mode for showbiz legends — witness the third Oscar they gave Meryl Streep last year and will probably give to Daniel Day-Lewis this year. But honestly, it could be Phillip Seymour Hoffman (the best chance to recognize “The Master”) or Alan Arkin (as part of an “Argo” sweep). Don’t be surprised by anything.

Best Supporting Actress: This will almost definitely be Anne Hathaway, who has won almost every precursor award. Not just for all the crying and singing and emoting and head-shaving that she put into her role in “Les Miserables” (another popular film that voters will probably want to recognize in some way) — but because she’s well-liked within Hollywood, an ingenue who has minded her manners and stayed out of trouble and already took a bullet for the Academy with her good-sport efforts during her ill-fated co-hosting gig with James Franco in 2011. But! If you were in Vegas, there would be some wisdom in betting on the rest of the field, i.e., anyone but Hathaway. Is it maybe possible that everyone’s gotten a little tired of Anne Hathaway at the podium doing her Anne Hathaway shtick?

Best Actor: Obvious. Daniel Day-Lewis IS “Lincoln.” He will be the only actor in history to win three Oscars in a leading role category — and the first star that Steven Spielberg will have directed to an Oscar. Could someone else win? There’s some kooky theory that there could be a Joaquin Phoenix upset — and he was really really good — but he’s not nearly as beloved in Hollywood, nor was the movie particularly popular. Also a theory that Bradley Cooper could upset because, you know, new young face, popular movie (“Silver Linings Playbook.”) But it’s really hard to imagine anyone checking Bradley Cooper’s name over DDL’s. Done and done.

Best Actress: It seemed for a long time that Jennifer Lawrence had this tied up — another charming ingenue who has stayed out of trouble, made Hollywood tons of money last year (“The Hunger Games”) and was genuinely charming in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Also, she has won almost every other precursor award and given speeches that strike all the right notes of wit and spunk and self-deprecation. BUT there’s been a lot of buzz lately that voters will be unable to resist awarding Emmanuelle Riva, who at 84 would be the oldest winner ever, and who was operating at a much higher level of difficulty as an elderly stroke victim in the French film “Amour.”

Best Director:  Hard to imagine that they won’t go for Steven Spielberg to pick up his third trophy in this category for the much beloved “Lincoln.” Especially since (sorry, Steven!) “Lincoln” is seen as unlikely to win Best Picture. But there’s suddenly a lot of buzz out there that Ang Lee will upset for “Life of Pi.” Don’t ask me where that’s coming from.

Best Picture: For months it seemed like “Lincoln” had this in the bag. But now “Argo” has won almost every precursor award. Not only was the movie a crowd-pleaser with a Hollywood-positive message — it’s also been getting a big sympathy vote, on account of Ben Affleck getting a surprise snub in the Best Director category.

Tell me I’m wrong in the comments.

GIFs from the red carpet

… in case you haven’t seen enough skinny-arms and fake smiles! These GIFs are courtesy PopSugar.

Jessica Chastain:


Jennifer Lawrence:


Reese Witherspoon:


Amanda Seyfried:


Kristen Stewart:


 

More on Anne Hathaway’s gown

Hathaway’s Prada is looking more and more like another infamous Oscar gown, namely Gwenyth Paltrow’s soft pink Ralph Lauren from 1999.


The neckline differs from the spaghetti strap of the RL piece, but the square shape is reminiscent of popular silhouettes from the 90s.

Jennifer Warnes: An appreciation

Barabra Streisand will be a center of attention tonight as she performs for the first time since she won best song for “Evergreen” 30-plus years ago. Babs indeed has a storied Oscar history; she won best actress for “Funny Girl” in 1968 and provided the vocals for two Oscar-winning songs. But another female vocalist has her beat in that last category. Jennifer Warnes has performed three Oscar-winning songs: “It Goes Like It Goes” from “Norma Rae,” “Up Where We Belong” from “Dirty Dancing” “Officer and a Gentleman” and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing.” Attention must be paid! It’s the 25th anniversary of the “Time of My Life” win, so let’s take a moment to reflect:

Five possibilities for tonight’s show

1. Seth MacFarlane is really good. The host has charisma, a Sinatra-like singing voice and an edge that the Oscars have been missing for, oh, 85 years now. Will he make the case for a permanent hostship?

2. “Life of Pi” gobbles up the early awards. The film, nominated for a whopping 11 Oscars, is approaching $600 million in worldwide box office receipts, and it’s front-running for best cinematography, original score and visual effects. Could this momentum translate to a best-director win for Ang Lee?

3. Producer Kathleen Kennedy and/or cinematographer Roger Deakins finally win. Deakins, a revered 10-time nominee up this year for “Skyfall,” has lost over and over since his first at-bat in 1994 for “The Shawshank Redemption.” Kennedy, a frequent Spielberg collaborater nominated this year for “Lincoln,” has come up empty-handed since her first nomination in 1982 for “E.T.”

4. Tommy Lee Jones cracks a smile. The actor sported the scowl seen ‘round the world at the Golden Globes last month. Will a second career Oscar, for “Lincoln,” soften him up?

5. Shirley Bassey schools Adele. She may be a shoo-in for tonight’s best-song award, but Adele ain’t got nothing on Bassey, who sang theme songs for three James Bond movies and just two years ago gave this crackling performance of “Goldfinger”:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in opening number

DVR ALERT: JGL is performing in the opening number with Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe and Seth MacFarlane. This paired with Channing Tatum’s red-carpet chat with Ryan Seacrest has us wondering if we’re in for a reenactment of his SNL monologue.

Sally Field has taken her role as Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s mom in “Lincoln” off-screen for his first trip to the Oscars. She taught him how to tie a bowtie for tonight. How’d he make it this far without knowing how? Well, it’s a good thing Ryan asked. JGL decided this was the show to trade in a fake one for the real thing.


Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt arrives at the Oscars. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

 

Do I hear a Waltz?

Christoph Waltz – now as much a muse for Quentin Tarantino as Uma Thurman — proved similarly inspirational for “Saturday Night Live” last weekend. Waltz, who won an Oscar for his delectably maleficent performance as a Nazi in “Inglourious Basterds,” proved in this commercial for Papal Securities that he is indeed capable of subtlety:

George Clooney! George Clooney!

George Clooney shows up with the most impressive scruff thus far. We’re talking a grey, lumberjack-level scruff. Professional Award Show Date Stacy Keibler (no relation to the cookie-making elves) showed up wearing Naeem Khan. Says Clooney: “I sewed most of the sequins on myself.”


Actor George Clooney, left, and Stacy Keibler arrive at the Oscars. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Tonight’s nomination for ‘Argo’ marks Clooney’s eighth. Turns out he and Walt Disney are the only two people to have ever been nominated in six different categories. “I’m a trivia question now, is that what you’re saying?”

Thus George Clooney, as all our great artists do, reveals one of our greatest fears in one brief, seemingly offside line: is that all we will ever be? Can any of us, be we sparkly celebrities or dull, unshiny normals, even dream of something resembling immortality? All these things we do, these tweets we carefully craft — does any of it matter? Or will we all one day be reduced to our catchiest facts and figures? Will we be, as Clooney so knowingly suggests, a trivia question now? Just something to think about.

Clooney signs off with a promise: “Believe me, I will be drinking. Win or lose, I will be drinking. ”

 

Kristin Chenoweth weighs more than an Oscar

Kristin Chenoweth may be unsure whether she weighs “as much or more than an Oscar” — a comment she made during ABC’s red carpet coverage — but the Twitterverse seems to have made up its mind on both her weight and her hosting talents (… or arguable lack thereof).


Kristin Chenoweth arrives on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

The tiny Chenoweth, who starred in ‘Pushing Daisies,’ the ‘West Wing’ and the musical ‘Wicked,’ stood a head shorter than most of the people she interviewed.

 

 

 

 

 

Clooney: the new Michael Douglas?

The folks onstage at the climax of the Oscars – the producers of the year’s best picture – are usually anonymous-looking and, worse, boring. They’re behind-the-scenes movers and shakers, after all, not performers or stars. Should “Argo” win the top award, though, three actors – two of whom have been named People’s Sexiest Man Alive – would get the ceremony’s last word: Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov, whom you might recognize from bit roles in “The Birdcage” (the tabloid photographer) and “True Lies” (one of Schwarzenegger’s spy buddies). The trio produced “Argo,” which means the top statuettes would be theirs. 

A best-picture win would put Clooney in rarified company: He and Michael Douglas would be the only individuals to have both an acting Oscar and a best-picture Oscar. Clooney won best supporting actor for “Syriana” in 2005. Michael Douglas won best actor for “Wall Street” in 1987 and best picture for “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1975. Douglas, incidentally, will be onstage tonight with Jane Fonda to crown best director. Here he is in accepting his best-picture Oscar from Audrey Hepburn when he was 31, before he had much of an acting resume:

Who is this Seth MacFarlane and why is he hosting?

Not ringing a bell, that face? That’s because Seth MacFarlane is arguably the least-familiar Oscar host in, well, ever.

Seth Macfarlane (Chris Pizzello/AP).
Seth MacFarlane (Chris Pizzello/AP).

The Academy usually picks a Hollywood insider — think Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, not to mention Bob Hope’s long run back in the day. Even when they go with a quote-unquote outsider — TV guys like David Letterman and Jon Stewart — they tend to be household names, demonstrated talents.

But MacFarlane, 39, though a wildly successful TV producer/animator/voice-over guy (long-running “Family Guy” is practically a one-man show) was, until recently, mostly a behind-the-scenes guy. He crept into public view as an occasional host of Comedy Central’s celebrity roasts (notably the Charlie Sheen roast) and scored a “Saturday Night Live” hosting gig last fall.

So how’d he get this job? Because he established his movie bona fides last summer by directing, co-writing, producing and starring (vocally, anyway) in “Ted,” the raunchy comedy about Mark Wahlberg’s relationship with his smart-aleck childhood teddy bear, which grossed an unexpected $420 million worldwide. But while his comedy is big on mean, politically incorrect and gross-out humor, MacFarlane has also done a lot to ingratiate himself with old-guard Hollywood, hosting big parties where he sings old Sinatra-style standards with classic 45-piece big band.

Presumably the Academy hopes he’ll draw young viewers who are fans of “Family Guy,” “American Dad,” etc., to the show, which often struggles in that demographic, as the host himself snarked in a recent promo: “Hi, I’m Seth MacFarlane (ask your kids), and I’ll be hosting The Academy Awards (ask your parents).”

See Lisa de Moraes’s predictions on how he’ll do: Oscar host and filmdom outsider Seth MacFarlane is taking scorched-earth approach

 

Jane Fonda best-dressed contender

The bright yellow of Fonda’s Atelier Versace dress is a nice contrast from the muted colors that are dominating the carpet. The legendary aerobics guru looks incredible, far younger than her 75 years(!).


(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

 


(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

 

Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman behind the scenes

This isn’t Russell Crowe’s first rodeo, but that didn’t stop him from getting butterflies in the lead-up to tonight’s Oscar ceremonies. Hugh Jackman had his hair done on what appears to be a patio. And Mark Ruffalo, perhaps unsurprisingly, is running late.

Below, some more behind-the-scenes tweets from stars on their way to the awards:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adele in Jenny Packham

The chanteuse went back to her comfort zone with a black sleeved gown by British designer Jenny Packham. Adele pushed her typically conservative bounds with a red, floral printed Valentino for the Grammys two weeks ago, to mixed reviews.

Adele (Jason Merritt/Getty Images).
Adele (Jason Merritt/Getty Images).

Ben Affleck’s Beard: an update

Ben Affleck scruff update (scruffdate): Serious level of facial hair. Still not quite a beard but I bet Violet, Serafina and his third kid (a boy? maybe?) find it irritating when he hugs them. This is a mature scruff. This is “I own a razor, OK? I just didn’t feel like been clean-shaven.” This is “I won an Oscar for writing once, in case you guys have forgotten.”

Jennifer Garner, while very sweet-looking, always looks basically the same to me. A bunch of interchangeable lil’ strapless things. Thoughts?

 

Ben Affleck and Burger King

Some might argue that a best-picture win tonight for “Argo” would simply be delayed recognition of Ben Affleck’s exemplary work in this Burger King commercial from the ‘80s:

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban in black

Nicole Kidman looked statuesque and heavily adorned in a sequined L’Wren Scott.

Though Keith Urban is looking scruffy, but not in the Bradley Cooper way. And is a skinny bow tie the new skinny tie? Or did Urban just have a hard time tying the neck-wear?

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman (Jason Merritt/Getty Images).
Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman (Jason Merritt/Getty Images).

 

Jennifer Hudson in Roberto Cavalli

The dark blue stood out amongst the sea of skin tones. Though Hudson said she went with a sheer lip, matching many of the light colors.

Jennifer Hudson (Jason Merritt/Getty Images).
Jennifer Hudson (Jason Merritt/Getty Images).

Charlize Theron in Dior

Watch-for-it alert: Charlize Theron shaves her head in “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

But the short hair is a sassy compliment to her white Dior gown. Style staff takeaway: Anne if you’re going to wear short hair, wear short hair.


(Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Dennis Kucinich on the red carpet

Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth just ambled down the red carpet. Um, sir, what are you doing here?

“I have friends in the Academy,” Kucinich says. “Through the years a lot of members have supported me. … I was just talking to Dustin Hoffman and he said, ‘This is a lot like your business, isn’t it?’ I said, ‘Yeah, but your people are prettier.’”

It’s the couple’s first trip to the ceremony. Elizabeth is pulling for Helen Hunt in “The Sessions,” while Dennis remains stunned by the scope of “Lincoln.”

What are you wearing?” I asked them.

“No idea,” Elizabeth said. “Clothes!”

Helen Hunt in H&M?

Can it be true? Helen Hunt told Ryan Seacrest she is wearing a blue column gown from H&M. For the uninitiated, H&M is a street brand. Not even high-street, or a contemporary price point. Think $20 shirts and lots and lots of cheap cotton.

Hunt said she is happy to be wearing the brand, which launched a global garment recycling initiative alongside Global Green USA.

Bradley Cooper scruff alert

Bradley Cooper scruff alert: heavy, but not bushy. Would probably feel like sandpaper if you were making out with him. In the interest of investigative journalism, I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE for that task. Also, he’s wearing a vest. How do we feel about vests?

Cooper brought his mom as his date, and his mom brought this pale pink feather boa that, maybe just before showtime, she ran halfway through a shredder and draped over her shoulders. Sorry! I don’t like to rip on people’s moms, but I’m not the one who let my mother leave the house with the carcass of lady-Big Bird’s wings.

Plus points for Bradley’s mom: she’s a Philadelphia native, which I love (with the “o” tilted to the side) and she gave a shout out to the City of Crabby Snacks and Homemades. Carry on, Mama Cooper. Carry on.

Two things about Joseph Gordon-Levitt

PSA: Joseph Gordon-Levitt has bicycles on his socks. I repeat: Joseph Gordon-Levitt has bicycles on his socks.

According to Style web editor Marie Elizabeth, JGL “sounds like Dan from Gossip Girl.” This is 100% accurate.

A Fine night for Washington couple?

Married Washingtonians Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine are up for their second Oscars, this time for the documentary short “Inocente.” The Post’s Petula Dvorak wrote a front-page profile of the couple five years ago, when they were nominated for their documentary feature “War/Dance.” Here’s an excerpt:

The journey to tonight’s Academy Awards — perhaps to make that giddy walk up the stage to collect an Oscar — began for one Washington family two generations ago on the Redskins playing field.

Write-in vote for Affleck? Nope

Only one un-nominated person has won an Oscar through a write-in vote: cinematographer Hal Mohr for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 1936. Early on in the awards season, there was chatter about a whisper campaign to deflect the best-director award to the un-nominated Ben Affleck, director of “Argo.” Affleck, to his credit, gave it no credence, but there was a hitch in this subterfuge anyway: Write-in votes aren’t counted. Affleck will have to console himself with a best-picture Oscar, which he’d receive as a nominated produced of “Argo.”


Bradley Cooper brought his mom to the Oscars

Which is a tried-and-true tactic in Hollywood, the ultimate dodge of all sticky relationship questions.

Going for three: Spielberg, De Niro, Day-Lewis

A win for Spielberg would give him his third best director Oscar, placing him alongside William Wyler and Frank Capra, and behind John Ford, who has four. Spielberg’s first win, for “Schindler’s List,” happened 19 years ago:

No male has ever won more than two best actor awards – and no actor has won an Oscar for a Spielberg movie — so Daniel Day-Lewis’s expected victory would make some trivial history. Right now he keeps company with a small crew of double best-actor winners: Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Sean Penn and Fredric March. If Robert De Niro were to also win, he and Day-Lewis would join Walter Brennan and Jack Nicholson as the only men to each have three Oscars for acting (De Niro won a supporting-actor award for “The Godfather, Part II” and a lead-actor award for “Raging Bull”).

More potential threepeats: An upset by Denzel Washington or Sally Field would give them their third (he won best actor for “Training Day” and best supporting actor for “Glory”; she won two best actress Oscars, for “Norma Rae” and “Places in the Heart”); if Mark Boal or Kathryn Bigelow wins a statuette for “Zero Dark Thirty” – they’re both nominated producers, and he also has an original screenplay nomination — that would be his or her third (they both won two for “The Hurt Locker” three years ago); “Lincoln” cinematographer Janusz Kaminski has won Oscars for two previous Spielberg collaborations (“Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”).

Anne Hathaway can’t wait to play Monopoly

JOHN SHEARER/INVISION/AP
JOHN SHEARER/INVISION/AP

Anne Hathaway. Oh, Anne Hathaway. In a just world, this Theater Kid Extraordinaire would be nominated for her adaptable turn as Catwoman in “The Dark Knight Rises.” But because we live here, in this meager, mortal Earth, she instead is at the Oscars tonight for playing a singing-and-dancing-dying prostitute in “Les Miserables.” Her reaction to this unbelievable slight? “I’m just overjoyed. It’s a blessing.”

Hathaway kicked off the year by getting hitched: “I found my soulmate and we just committed ourselves to each other, and that’s the best thing ever.” BUT CAN SHE HAVE IT ALL? “I haven’t worked since we’ve gotten married, so I don’t know.” Anne! Anne. Don’t leave before you leave. Feminism, Annie.

How does she plan to spend her downtime? ” I’ve got some Monopoly nights coming. I like Crimes Against Humanity.” I want so badly to like this except she meant to say “Cards Against Humanity,” which is an actually hilarious party game for inappropriate and possibly evil people.

She’s wearing a Prada gown which she claims to have not decided on until three hours ago. “This is the one that spoke to me in the end.”

I’m not going to say anything too specific about what may or may not be a wardrobe semi-malfunction going on with her dress. But I want you to know that I know; I know you know. We all know.

Kerry Washington breaks from neutral in red Miu Miu

The “Scandal” star chose a red Miu Miu, a label she has become familiar with this awards season. Washington received praise for her nude-colored gown at the Golden Globes by the same designer (one, Miuccia Prada).

Luckily, she chose a cherry hue for this red carpet, which is helping break up the neutral mono-chrome.

Kerry Washington (JOHN SHEARER/INVISION/AP).
Kerry Washington (JOHN SHEARER/INVISION/AP).

 

What to expect when you’re expecting the Oscar broadcast

The Oscar folks are very good about dripping out details of the various presenters and entertainers lined up for the awards show broadcast — in hopes that you will tune in, and stay tuned in.

What to expect? Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be part of some opening number along with host Seth MacFarlane and Daniel Radcliffe, he just announced on the red carpet. (Strange choice? Don’t know about those other two guys, but if you ever saw Gordon-Levitt channeling Donald O’Connor doing “Make ‘Em Laugh” on “Saturday Night Live,” he is definitely qualified for some awards-show musical shtick.)

Joseph-GordeJOHN SHEAJoseph-Gordon Levitt (JOHN SHEARER/INVISION/AP)RER/INVISION/APn Levitt (JOHN SHEARER/INVISION/AP).
Joseph-Gordon Levitt (JOHN SHEARER/INVISION/AP).

There will be some kind of James Bond 50th anniversary tribute. Alas, an anticipated reunion of all six Bond actors appears to have fallen apart. But! “Goldfinger” chanteuse Dame Shirley Bassey is expected to perform, as well as Adele, whose “Skyfall” is frontrunner to win Best Song. (Check out the Post’s tribute to James Bond’s 50th)

The cast of “Chicago” — Renee Zellweger, Queen Latifah, Richard Gere, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in that movie — will reunite on stage to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the musical’s Best Picture win.

Barbra Streisand will sing “The Way We Were” in honor of Marvin Hamlisch, the three-time Oscar winning composer who died in August. This will be part of the Academy’s annual “In Memoriam” montage (or, as we fondly call it, the Oscar Deathreel) of movie-business luminaries who died in the past year. Two years ago, former Academy executive director Bruce Davis filled us in on the complicated logistics of picking and choosing who to honor — there are far more notable deaths than they have time to note — and how to craft a montage that packs an emotional wallop. This year, the New York Times noted, “it is a safe bet that Ernest Borgnine, Charles Durning, Nora Ephron, Tony Scott, Richard Zanuck and Marvin Hamlisch will get their few seconds.” (Every year, the results turn out to be controversial. Who do you want to see get an In Memoriam shoutout this year?)

Finally, there are expected to be some awards handed out. More on that later. But we’re told that host Seth MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth will do a show-closing musical number, right after the last award, that producers claim will be “a can’t miss moment.” Translation: Please don’t turn off the TV as soon as they announce Best Picture! (Think you’ll last that long? Do tell.)

 

Jennifer Lawrence, Amanda Seyfried in off-white

Light neutrals are becoming the trend of the evening. Jennifer Lawrence, the new face of Dior, chose an off-white Dior Haute Couture gown with large trumpeted bottom. A thin necklace wrapped around her neck and draped down the open back, which was accentuated by large diamond earrings.

Amanda Seyfried chose an embellished Alexander McQueen with high collared neck in a color that seemed to be in the same general palette of Lawrence’s as well as Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain.

Amanda Seyfried (Jason Merritt/Getty Images).
Amanda Seyfried (Jason Merritt/Getty Images).

 

Jennifer Lawrence is starving, saying hey to Emma Stone

Jennifer Lawrence, Poet Laureate of Real Talk, begins her interview with Ryan Seacrest by saying, “I am STARVING. Is there food here?” Ryan says, “There’s food afterwards.” J. Law moans. “Ugh, this show is so long.

Preach, girl.

She didn’t have time to eat all day; her entire family gathered at her house. “I felt like Steve Martin in ‘Father of the Bride’ watching people move all my furniture around,” she reported. Lawrence had less illuminating things to say about “Silver Linings Playbook” besides your typical “This was such a passion project for all of us” stuff (genuine, probably! Interesting? Not so much.)

“Hang on,” she said, as Ryan rolled out the Mani Cam. “I told Emma Stone that I would do this.” She leaned in and snarled into the tiny finger-focused camera: “Your a– is mine, Stone!” Yet because the crack technology team at E! didn’t have an extension cord, this starlet shout-out did not record and is lost to the ages. Someday, perhaps after the apocalypse, the only humans left on the planet will unearth this gem and wonder, “Who is this Stone? What was the world that once existed here?”

Or, you know, the clip from E! will play on YouTube for a while. Either way.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum

Channing, we caught that hint that there might be some “Magic Mike” action on the Oscar stage.

But until then, we’ll focus on how excited you and Jenna get when talking about how “crazy” life is going to be in a few months when little Tatum-to-be arrives.


Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan arrive on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards on February 24, 2013.

Is your relationship status showing?

What to watch for on the red carpet: Hemlines? Colors? Cleavage? Boring! The most useful intel from the grand entrance ritual at awards shows is always about relationships.

As Zoe Saldana made her arrival just now, looking exquisite as ever, E!’s Ryan Seacrest and Giuliania Rancic paid almost no notice to her gown. Instead they were all, Hmmm, where’s Bradley Cooper? That relationship has been so on and off!

Obnoxious? Yeah, well, that’s just the way it goes. Hollywood stars can do so much these days to shelter their lives and control their images — so even for all their artificiality, red carpets may offer are the best window into what is going on in someone’s relationship. If a star actually brings a date to the red carpet — well, that’s a sign the relationship must be getting serious, huh? But if another shows up without their longtime partner, it’s a warning sign that will trigger calls from gossip reporters trying to sniff out a breakup.

We explored the art of Red Carpet Kremlinology last year. And People.com helpfully provided us today with a gallery of stars who broke up within a year of their big Oscar night — Kate Winslet, Sandra Bullock, Sean Penn and others.

Okay, now watch the body language. Any bets on which couples are doomed?

 

Daniel Radcliffe on the red carpet

HARRY POTTER SIGHTING! Daniel Radcliffe is rocking very smooth hair — Sirius-style, if you will — a black bow tie, and all this lovely British enthusiasm for Seth MacFarlane’s hosting abilities. Here’s hoping you’re right, Daniel! Because we have to watch either way.

Asked what his favorite film was this year, Radcliffe said it was “a toss up between ‘Argo’ and ‘Django Unchained.’” He refuses to make a prediction about what movie will win, which is a very in-character move, given Harry’s failure in Professor Trelawney’s Divintation class.

Daniel Radcliffe (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images).
Daniel Radcliffe (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images).

Rachel Mwanza of ‘War Witch’ in Nadir Tati

One of the first bursts of color onto the red carpet was Rachel Mwanza, the 16-year-old star of foreign-language film nominee “War Witch,” about a girl captured and enslaved by rebel soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the span of two years, Mwanza went from living on the streets of Kinshasa to wearing Angolan designer Nadir Tati on this red carpet. Was she ready for this head-spinning transition?

“I’m happy that Rachel already practiced in Berlin,” at that city’s film festival, where she won best actress, says “War Witch” director Kim Nguyen. “That’s where she discovered how to deal with two realities.”

Rachel’s plan after the Oscars? Heading back to Kinshasa, where she is learning to read and write.


Rachel Mwanza (Dan Zak/TWP)

Amy Adams stuns in Oscar De La Renta

Amy Adams, who’s up for Best Supporting Actress for “The Master,” arrived on the red carpet in a pewter colored Oscar De Le Renta gown. Adams continues with the night’s quickly emerging theme of neutral colors. The full train is adorned with feathers.

Ryan Seacrest asks Quvenzhane Wallis the tough questions

Ryan: How was this been?

Quvenzhane: It has been crazy.

Ryan: What’s the craziest part?

Quvenzhane: All of it.

Ryan: Can you believe you’re nominated with all these other women?

Quvenzhane: Ummm no. Because they’re so so-phist-icated.

Quvenzhane picked her dress because “it is sparkly and fluffy.” She also mentions that she’s a fan of Disney stars Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. Fortunately for all of us, Demi Debby Ryan, also a Disney star, pre-recorded a good luck message for Quvenzhane. The most notable thing about this message is Quvenzhane’s face while watching it, which can best be described as a mashup of a deadpan Daria and unimpressed McKayla Maroney. This is exactly the right face to make while watching Demi Lovato Debby Ryan say “it’s funny” you’re a fan of hers because she’s “a fan of you, too!”

Here’s looking at you, kid.

Jessica Chastain: Front-runner for best dressed?


(Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

The “Zero Dark Thirty” star arrived fairly early on the red carpet in a flesh-colored Armani Prive column gown.

“It feels very ‘happy birthday Mr. President’,” Chastain told Ryan Seacrest. “It reminds me of old Hollywood glamor.”

“I love fashion, I’m a crazy addict, so yes so it was a very tough decision,” the starlet said. The passion definitely showed, from the strapless sparkling gown down to the exquisite Harry Winston 1960s bracelet.

The dress was reminiscent of Amy Adams at the Golden Globes, though sans bottom tulle.


Amy Adams at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards (Jason Merritt/Getty Images).

Even Chastain’s grandmother was decked in dark Michael Kors.

“Twice in two years this is so cool,” complimented grandma.

Better Know a Nominee: Quvenzhane Wallis

You’ve heard her name, often being butchered by the masses, over and over again in the pre-awards season buzz: Quvenzhane (pronounced “kwuh-van-juh-nay”) Wallis. But do you know anything about her? If your answer is no, worry not! You can get up to speed in no time with our new and possibly recurring feature, Better Know a Nominee. Impress your less-knowledgeable Oscar party goers with this nifty guide to the Best Actress nominee:


Actress Quvenzhane Wallis attends the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Beach on February 23, 2013. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Vital stats: The 9 year old star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is the youngest-ever Oscar nominee.

Signature accessory: Stuffed puppy purse.

What are her odds? The Academy has a history of nominating pint-sized thespians. Past bright young things to be nominated  include: a 13 year old Keisha Castle Hughes for “Whale Rider” in 2002, 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment for “The Sixth Sense” in 1999, 10-year-old Mary Badham in “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 1962, 10-year-old Abigail Breslin in “Little Miss Sunshine” in 2006, 11-year-old Anna Paquin in “The Piano” in 1993 and 10-year-old Tatum O’Neal in “Paper Moon” in 1973. However! Odds of actually winning once nominated are not quite so high for the pre-pubescent crowd; of all the aforementioned nominees, only O’Neal and Paquin took a trophy home.

Early signs of acting ability: At her audition, then-five-year-old Wallis lied about her age, pretending to be an ancient SIX years old, so she wouldn’t be turned away from the tryout.

READ MORE:

 

 

Waiting (and tweeting) on the red carpet

Our colleague Dan Zak is camped out in the media bleachers waiting for stars to arrive. And tweeting (but mostly waiting).

 

Red carpet preview

The Oscars are often considered the fashion pinnacle of awards season, a culmination of the luncheons, screenings and red carpets earlier in the year. Here’s a preview of the sartorial road thus far:

The suite life of Oscar weekend

Late February in Hollywood is not just about the Oscars; it’s about the swag, too. Merchants flood hotel suites to trumpet their wares, designers make last-ditch attempts to  get their jewelry and gowns on nominees, and industry denizens and hangers-on belly up to the garish smorgasbord for freebies. If you want a sense of what it’s like to run this circuit, read my story from two years ago on Carie Lemack, a D.C. resident who executive-produced a nominated short documentary and jumped into the frenzy of Oscar weekend. An excerpt:

They sit in a $2,500 chair. They drink coconut water from Thailand and sample body creams from Hungary and accept gold-plated sterling silver jewelry stitched together with tweezers by artisans in Mongolia. They pocket vouchers for trips to Tahiti. They enjoy the pampering and the validation, but they acknowledge the strangeness in the scenario. While Egyptians and Tunisians and Libyans are fighting for freedom, Hollywood is fighting for free things.


From here to infinity at the “How to Survive a Plague” party on Oscars eve. (Dan Zak/TWP)

Hello from Hollywood and Highland!

Good afternoon, Oscar watchers! Dan Zak here. I’m typing to you from the red carpet outside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. I’ll be blogging and tweeting about the shrill, grotesque masquerade unfolding before me, and then I’ll dip backstage for the actual show and file hard-boiled dispatches as the awarded filmmakers stagger in with their new hardware. Then, after Seth MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth euthanize the ceremony with a final musical number, I’ll scamper to the Elton John and Vanity Fair parties — during which I’ll enter a social-media blackout, lest I never work in this town again — and produce an over-wrought party story for you to read first thing Monday morning. Ain’t life grand? And by “grand” I mean “spectacularly warped.”


Guillermo Díaz from “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is Oscar’s decoy. (Dan Zak/TWP)
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Jessica Goldstein | February 24, 2013