Sunday night's Oscar ceremony wasn't one of the best in recent memory, but it was arguably the most surprising. The evening offered a slew of surprise winners (Christoph Waltz as Best Supporting Actor for Django Unchained, Ang Lee as Best Director for Life of Pi), several unexpected guests, and a ribald, instantly polarizing hosting gig from Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane. In a night packed with strange, memorable moments, which ones stood out? Here, the seven most memorable moments of the 85th annual Academy Awards:
1. Seth MacFarlane's manic opening
Those who expressed skepticism when Seth MacFarlane was chosen as this year's Oscar host probably felt vindicated by the ceremony's frantic opening, which contained numerous bits that could have been cribbed directly from MacFarlane's Family Guy. MacFarlane attempted to preemptively block criticism of his hosting style with a meta gag in which William Shatner, in full Captain Kirk regalia, beamed in from "the future" to warn MacFarlane that he was the worst Oscar host ever. From there, the opening number segued into a dizzyingly frantic routine that managed to squeeze in everything from a musical number called "We Saw Your Boobs," to a reenactment of Flight made with sock puppets.
2. The Jaws theme music ushers winners off-stage
Just when you thought it was safe to give a lengthy Oscar speech... Life of Pi won for Best Visual Effects, and the team's speech was cut short not by a traditional orchestral score, but by the instantly recognizable theme from Jaws. And the shark music made several more appearances during the night, whenever producers decided the acceptance speeches were getting a little too longwinded. The choice seemed to polarize both viewers and critics, with some arguing that it was a clever, playful way to twist the familiar awards show convention (and pay homage one of Hollywood's greatest blockbusters), and others arguing that it was disrespectful to the winners in their already brief moment of public recognition.
I always dreamed that the score of one of my films would be used to play people off at the Oscars. We did it, Steven! #oscars2013— Richard Dreyfuss (@RichardDreyfuss) February 25, 2013
3. Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty tie in the Sound Editing category
The evening was so full of strange jokes and non-sequiturs that presenter Mark Wahlberg actually had to clarify that the tie in the Sound Editing category was "no B.S." Indeed, Zero Dark Thirty's Paul N.J. Ottosson made his acceptance speech, and then Wahlberg took the stage once again to announce that Skyfall was the second winner in the category. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the tie was the sixth in Oscar history, with the last example coming in 1994, when two films tied for Live-Action Short.
4. Strong solo performances from Shirley Bassey, Jennifer Hudson, Adele, and Barbra Streisand
Though Adele was the only one to take home an actual Oscar, four singers took the stage for solo performances during the ceremony — and each one knocked it out of the park. Shirley Bassey wowed the crowd by nailing the title song from 1964's Goldfinger as part of a James Bond tribute; Jennifer Hudson killed a performance from Dreamgirls, even if it wasn't entirely clear why a tribute to Dreamgirls was warranted; Adele brought it for a live performance of "Skyfall," the song that would win her a Best Original Song Oscar later in the evening; and Barbra Streisand offered a moving performance of "The Way We Were" as part of the annual In Memoriam segment. In a night filled with toilet humor, each of these singers proved they were all class.
5. Jennifer Lawrence trips on the way to the podium
In an endearing, embarrassing moment that cemented her status as Hollywood's most adorkable young actress, Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the steps on her way to accepting her Best Actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, prompting a sympathetic standing ovation. "You guys are just standing up because I fell and that's really embarrassing, but thank you. This is nuts," said the breathless actress as she accepted the award. (And bonus points to Hugh Jackman, who proved once again that he's one of the nicest guys in Hollywood by darting up to the stage to help Lawrence up.)
6. Daniel Day-Lewis delivers yet another maddeningly classy Oscar speech
Daniel Day-Lewis isn't just one of our best living actors, he's one of our best acceptance speech givers, and the Oscars found him in top form as he accepted Best Actor for Lincoln. Offering the perfect mix of humor and heartfelt gratitude over the course of his minute-long speech, Day-Lewis found time to joke with Meryl Streep, thank those who talked him into accepting the title role in Lincoln, and express his love for his wife and his mother. He makes it look so easy.
7. Michelle Obama announces Best Picture win for Argo
In a move that seemed calculated to blow the surprise appearance of Bill Clinton at last month's Golden Globes ceremony out of the water, presenter Jack Nicholson revealed that the Best Picture envelope would be opened, remotely, by First Lady Michelle Obama. "Now, for the moment we have all been waiting for. And the Oscar goes to... Argo. Congratulations!" said Obama, offering a perfectly surreal capper to a very surreal Oscar season.
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