Monday, February 25, 2013
Ben Affleck and First Lady Michelle Obama rescue the 2013 Oscars
Seth MacFarlane's opening speech fell flat.
The 2013 Oscars had their own Hail Mary for the win Sunday night: First Lady Michelle Obama and an emotional Ben Affleck’s victory speech while accepting the Best Picture award.
The night started off with a stunningly bad opening segment from Seth MacFarlane which featured a song about former Oscar winning women, bragging about “We Saw Your Boobs.” MacFarlane's jokes throughout the night also included a mention of Chris Brown and Rihanna, Jews in Hollywood, and naturally, gays. The audience most of the time had little to no response, although there was a groan with MacFarlane’s joke about John Wilkes Booth and President Abraham Lincoln, leading him to quip that “150 years and it's still too soon, huh?”
A few of the better jokes of the night actually came from the none-surprising winner of Best Actor, Daniel Day Lewis, for his portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln. His riff likely was so well received because people were surprised; his roles are not generally known for their comedic factor.
Later in the show, MacFarlane’s jokes received a more favorable response, however I doubt seriously we can expect a return gig. Why won’t they call Steve Martin, Chris Rock, Whoopi, or Jon Stewart back? They were a few of the better hosts in recent years.
By far the best moments of the night generally belonged to the musical performances from Barbra Streisand, Catherine Zeta Jones, the cast of Les Misérables and Jennifer Hudson. Also, Channing Tatum danced wonderfully with the lovely Charlize Theron, and the still-powerful singer Shirley Bassey gave an impressive performance of "Goldfinger," who not only sounded wonderful in her 70s but looked 20 years younger as well. Later after performing the latest Bond song, "Skyfall," Adele won the Best Original Song Oscar.
Jack Nicholson, whose voice sounded a little softer than usual but who still had a devilish twinkle in his eye, surprised the audience by announcing his co-presenter for the evening was speaking live from the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama, surrounded by members of the U.S. military.
In her introduction First Lady Michelle Obama described the nominated films as inspirational:
“[These films] taught us that love can beat all odds,” Obama said. “They reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves.”
It’s through cinema, Obama said, that “our children learn to open their imagination and dream just a little bigger and to strive every day to reach those dreams.”
The First Lady looked lovely as usual, wearing a dress designed by Naeem Khan which featured a nod to the current chevron trend in women’s fashions. Mrs. Obama was speaking from the Diplomatic Room of the White House. Clearly, the First Family had not spent the night watching the show, as President Barack Obama and the First Lady earlier in the evening hosted the Governor’s Dinner. That explained why she was dressed up and why members of the military were already there dressed in their best – clearly there was no special effort or money spent on this guest appearance. Will that stop critics of the Obamas from raising a ruckus – no – but oh well. For many, it was one of the few highlights of the program assembled by telecast producers this year.
Affleck received the Oscar, along with friend and previous Oscar winner, George Clooney, because they are two of three executive producers (Grant Heslov is the third). Best Picture awards are given to the executive producers. However, Argo is only the fourth movie in 85 years to win Best Picture, and the director, in this case Affleck, did not even receive a nomination.
Affleck thanked everyone, but also admitted how much this award meant on his journey back to the Oscar stage:
“I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here. I was just a kid, and I never thought I’d be back here, and I am…
“What I learned was it doesn’t matter if you get knocked down in life, what matters is that you’ve got to get back up.”
The night included familiar faces such as former Oscar winners Barbra Streisand and Meryl Streep, but young Hollywood was also represented. They included Jennifer Lawrence, winner for Best Actress for Silver Lining Playbook, but last year she also led Hunger Games. Another popular winner for the night was singer Adele, for Best Song "Skyfall," the musical theme for last year’s James Bond film of the same name. It was reported earlier in the evening that Adele’s live performance was the only live performance she has given of the song.
While we did see plenty of African Americans in the audience, on stage as presenters and a few on the list of nominees, however there were no African American winners for the 2013 Oscars. Fans had to console themselves with Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Samuel L. Jackson presenting various awards. Denzel Washington and 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis were nominated but were never considered to have much of a chance to win this year.
Did you enjoy the 2013 Oscars?
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