Making the Best of the 85th Annual Academy Awards

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If you’re the type of person who thinks award shows are long, self-serving and unfunny, you probably should have skipped last night’s 85th Annual Academy Awards. Hosted by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and clocking in at three-and-a-half hours, the 2013 Oscars boasted a few surprises, some heartfelt moments and a whole lot of filler.

The show began with former Zoomer cover man William Shatner beaming in as Captain Kirk, uttering the line “Why can’t Tina and Amy host everything?” referring to the comedic duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler who did a fantastic job hosting the Golden Globes last month. It was meant to be ironic in context but it rung all too true here. For anyone familiar with Seth MacFarlane’s brand of comedy, his performance was predictable: a song about breasts, a low-brow Lincoln assassination joke and a lame sketch that combined both an inexplicable Ed Harris short joke and a groan-inducing conversation about Jewish people in Hollywood. There’s a reason nine-time Oscar host Billy Crystal was trending worldwide on Twitter during the show.

That said, the broadcast wasn’t all bad, so we’ve compiled a list of moments we enjoyed during the 2013 Oscars.

  • Boomers and Canadians were both represented among the Oscar winners. Daniel Day-Lewis, 55, was perhaps the least surprising (though very deserving) winner on the evening, taking home his third gold statue for his portrayal of Honest Abe in Lincoln.“I really don’t know how any of this happened … I’ve received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life,” Day-Lewis said, before joking that he and Meryl Streep were supposed to swap their respective Lincoln and The Iron Lady roles.Christoph Waltz, 56, won his second Oscar for best supporting actor for his role as King Shultz in Django Unchained. And speaking of Django, Quentin Tarantino, 49, also won his second Oscar, again for best original screenplay. Director Ang Lee, 58, won Oscar No. 2 for his work at the helm of Life of Pi, based on the book by Canadian Yann Martel, thanking Martel and his “Canadian crew.” Winnipeg’s Mychael Danna, 54, won for best original score for the film and, in fact, Life of Pi took home the most trophies of any movie last night with four. Austria’s Amour beat out Canada’s War Witch for best foreign language film, though we don’t begrudge the movie its trophy considering it also earned Emmanuelle Riva, who celebrated her 86th birthday yesterday, the distinction of being the oldest Oscar nominee ever.
  • Another former Zoomer cover man, 83-year-old Christopher Plummer was all class when he made an appearance to present the award for best supporting actress while wearing his Order of Canada pin.
  • Adele, as always, shone while performing the theme to Skyfall, but Dame Shirley Bassey, at 76, brought the house down with her performance of the Goldfinger theme song as part of the 50 years of Bond tribute.
  • Speaking of bringing the house down, Barbra Streisand, 70, earned a standing ovation with her first performance on an Oscar telecast since 1977 – a rendition of “The Way We Were” in memory of composer Marvin Hamlisch.
  • Oddly enough, last night’s ceremony marked the 45th anniversary of the tie for the best actress Oscar, shared by both Streisand and Katherine Hepburn, while also offering up another tie – this time between Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty for best sound editing.
  • Jack Nicholson, 75, took the stage to announce the year’s best picture, before surprising everyone by handing over the duties to a radiant U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama who, via satellite, announced Argo as taking the year’s top prize. To top it off, Ben Affleck, chastened roundly in recent months for omitting Canada’s  leading role in the Iranian hostage rescue, thanked our nation in his acceptance speech — a nod that even pleased former Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor, who risked his life to help save the captured Americans.

 Click here for a full list of 2013 Oscar winners