It was a better than average Oscar show last night. Host Seth MacFarlane came under fire for some less than tasteful jokes, but there were also a few terrific highlights. A great night for Bond fans, with wonderful performances from Dame Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger) and Adele (Skyfall), with Adele winning Best Original Song. Unusually there were no excruciating acceptance speeches, which were kept remarkably brief and politics free. The main awards were spread across several powerful films in a very strong year for movies. Daniel Day-Lewis was a thoroughly deserving winner for Best Actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, and delivered graceful remarks as an unprecedented third time winner in this category – though Steven Spielberg’s failure to win Best Director for Lincoln was a surprise. A disappointing night for Zero Dark Thirty, which received only one award following a sustained left-wing campaign against it, but a magnificent evening for Ang Li’s magical Life of Pi, and Ben Affleck’s Argo. Affleck himself was inexplicably overlooked for a Best Director nomination, but Argo was a worthy Best Picture winner, scooping three awards.
All in all it was an entertaining evening, recognising some truly great cinematic achievements. However, the entrance of Michelle Obama, via video link, at the end of the ceremony to announce the Best Picture winner was a bizarre moment that was completely pointless. It was reportedly arranged by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a close friend of the Obamas (hat tip: Drudge Report). If the First Lady was a former actress (à la Carla Sarkozy), or had some official role in promoting the American film industry, it might have made some sense. Mrs. Obama, though, has no connection to the world of cinema.
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