Oscar Wrap Up

The 85th Academy Awards are in the books. And it was a great show, in my opinion. Sure, it ran over and some parts were more engaging than others, but considering that they have to actually hand out awards - even in the categories you don't care about - it was good.

We'll get into the ceremony and winners in a moment. First, of course, the fashion.

Jennifer Lawrence, just 22, looks more grown up and sophisticated in her white Dior gown than she has on the red carpet this season. What I loved most about her look, though, was the backwards necklace draping down her back. It's a simple choice that made a great statement. Meanwhile Zoe Saldana gets the award for most improved. In 2010, she wore a similar look (in that it was purple ombre) and it did. not. work. This year, she gets it right. I don't love the flowers on top, but I get it, and I like the structure of the dress, the belted waist and the flowing, multi-hued bottom.

Next on the red carpet, Metallica! In one of the night's biggest trends, lots of stars showed up in metallic frocks. I'll just say this up front - I'm not a huge fan of metallics, but some of these looks worked for the star and the occasion. Others didn't. Jennifer Hudson wore a Roberto Cavalli dress that - especially with the long, straight hair over her shoulder and the scale-like pattern on the dress - made her look like a mermaid. Nicole Kidman showed that if you're going to go metallic, this is the way to go. (Though she could have pulled her hair off her face.) I can't decide how I feel about Halle Berry's dress. It flatters her rocking bod so well, but I just don't like those shoulder pads. They make her look like she should be aboard the Starship Enterprise. And Catherine Zeta-Jones (at right, with Michael Douglas, in Canali) looks like a statue in her Zuhair Murad Midas-inspired frock.

Now let's look at the couples. Above are my picks for best dressed couples: Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, both in Gucci, and Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts, in Calvin Klein and Armani, respectively. Both men look perfect. Garner chose a fantastic color, and her necklace makes a statement in the front while the cascading ruffles make a fun statement from the back. Watts goes with the metallic trend, and I like that the sweetheart part of the neckline keeps this look from being too space-agey. Below are those couples receiving an honorable mention: Christoph Waltz (in Prada) and Judith Holste; Robert De Niro (in Armani) with his wife Grace Hightower; Daniel Day-Lewis (in Domenico Vacca) and his wife, Rebecca; and Hugh Jackman and his wife, Deborah-Lee Furness.

How about some color on the red carpet? Here, two veterans (how weird is it that Reese Witherspoon is a veteran - and has a 13-year-old daughter?!?) show us how to do it. Witherspoon looks spectacular in a cobalt blue and black Louis Vuitton dress. The shape shows off her figure while reminding us that even though she hasn't had a hit in a few years, she's a movie star! And after seeing Jane Fonda in this standout yellow dress, I think I'll be ordering her workout tapes!

On the other end of the spectrum, we have two young ladies going gray. On the left is Les Miserables star Amanda Seyfried. She was one of my best dressed picks at the SAG Awards, but she just misses the mark in this Alexander McQueen number for two reasons: the pattern on the dress makes it look too casual and the neckline is ill-fitting. Otherwise, she looks great. And opting for a fun, fluffy frock is Amy Adams, who looks perfect in Oscar de la Renta. (The dress does, however, seem reminiscent of a bridal dress I see frequently on Say Yes to the Dress.)

Eye candy time: dapper dudes! What can I say about these three young men except that they look perfect and that I'd be glad to be on the arm of any of them. Joseph Gordon-Levitt goes for Gucci (and a HitRECord pin) for his first time at the Oscars, complete with a bow tie hand-tied by his Lincoln co-star, Sally Field. Aaron Tveit simply looks flawless, and his Les Miserables costar Eddie Redmayne once again nails it on the red carpet in this Alexander McQueen tuxedo.

We've gone through some great looks but now it's time for the worst dressed: Anne Hathaway. What were she and Prada thinking? First of all, the pale pink Oscar gown has been done (see Gwyneth Paltrow when she won for Shakespeare in Love). Second, the heavy necklace paired with this light and high-necked dress make me concerned that she's being choked. And most egregious of all, the dress doesn't fit! We get an unwelcome flash of side-boob (not to mention we see her nipples at full attention), the ties in the back make the svelte starlet look like she's carrying extra weight and the seams and construction of the dress are on full display. Hathaway knew she was going to win, knew that photos of her in her Oscar dress would live on in perpetuity and this is the dress she chose? Try again, honey.

And now for the best dressed. It's a tie between Charlize Theron in Dior and Jessica Chastain in Armani. Theron (above) is often fashion forward and takes risks on the red carpet. There's nothing too risky about this dress but it's stunning, even more so because of her tall frame and shocking pixie haircut. The white gown with a laser cut neckline and peplum bodice makes her look like an out-of-this-world movie star. Opting for a more classic look, Chastain (at right) stuns in this glamourous, old-Hollywood look. The fitted bodice flows beautifully down her lithe body and the sparkles shimmering about add some oomph to the simple dress. Her signature red locks look lush and her bright red lips say, "I have arrived."

Seth MacFarlane was a terrific host. He's a true showman, which made him a perfect fit for the Oscars. He struck just the right balance between self-depricating (the most welcome form of humor at things like this) and poking appropriate fun of adults who play dress up for a living. (Of course I think the arts are important, but award galas like this aren't heart transplants.) With his versatility and song-and-dance abilities (I loved it every time he sang, whether it was about seeing people's boobs or singing "High Hopes" with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe or honoring the losers with Kristin Chenoweth), Seth is most certainly welcome back any time! (Bonus points for recognizing the lush orchestra - that was playing across the street!)

As for the musical numbers and special tributes, well... Having never seen a Bond movie I could have done without that, but it didn't bother me. Babs absolutely killed it when she sang "The Way We Were" in honor of Marvin Hamlisch to close the In Memoriam segment (and I like that Adam Yauch was included). Catherine Zeta-Jones phoned it in for the Chicago bit while Jennifer Hudson was a star in the showstopping "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" number from Dreamgirls. And I'll bet you can guess what I loved about the Les Miserables piece. Yep, Aaron Tveit walking out like a boss and showing all these movie stars how it's done.

And without any further ado, the full list of winners. Winners are notated with an asterisk and bold face type.

Best Picture
Yay!!!! While good arguments for most of the other nominees could be made, I thought Argo was a fantastic film. It was the most intense film I've ever sat through - I was literally on the edge of my seat, which is quite an achievement considering I already knew the outcome. Plus, since Ben Affleck didn't receive a Best Director nomination, I like to think that this partly the academy's way of making up for that. (Also, FLOTUS announced the award. Holy Thespis!)

Actor in a Leading Role
Even through this wasn't a surprise, it's still richly deserved. Of course, all of the performances (that I saw) were most certainly worthy. Cooper's performance, in particular, was impressive, as he finally had material that lived up to his talent. And Phoenix gave a fearless performance in the under-seen The Master. Still, it's pretty cool that now Day-Lewis is the only actor to win three Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscars.

Actress in a Leading Role
Harvey Weinstein's campaigning paid off. Not to take anything away from Lawrence's performance, which was great, but I think if Chastain had Weinstein in her corner, she would have won.

Actor in a Supporting Role
This surprised me. I thought this would go to Jones. I'm not necessarily disappointed (disappointment had already set in when Leonardo DiCaprio wasn't even nominated) but I'm surprised.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Absolutely no surprise here - expect that Hathaway's speech was surprisingly sincere - for her - when compared to the other faux-exasperated and breathless speeches she's given this season. Of course, I really wanted Adams to win, but we all knew this was coming.

This was an interesting category because they couldn't bestow this honor on one of the people whom most thought most deserved it (Affleck for Argo or Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty). I haven't seen Life of Pi so I can't comment on whether or not this is the right choice, though I have liked Lee's other films so kudos to him.

Adapted Screenplay
The theatre fan in me was rooting a bit for Kushner, but this is a great choice. Plus, Terrio had an excellent line in his acceptance speech, saying of Tony Mendez, "he used creativity and intelligence to solve a problem non-violently." Bravo!

Original Screenplay 
Bravo! Of course one of the most freakishly visionary minds wins for Original Screenplay. Django was pure Tarantino, and it works for him. And he gave a shout out to writers, calling this year the year of the writer. Amen, Quentin!

Original Score
  • Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
  • Alexandre Desplat, Argo
  • Mychael Danna, Life of Pi*
  • John Williams, Lincoln
  • Thomas Newman, Skyfall

Original Song
  • "Before My Time," Chasing Ice, music and lyric by J. Ralph
  • "Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Ted, music by Walter Murphy, lyric by Seth MacFarlane
  • "Pi's Lullaby," Life of Pi, music by Mychael Danna, lyric by Bombay Jayashri
  • "Skyfall," Skyfall, music and lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth*
  • "Suddenly," Les Miserables, music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Animated Feature Film
  • Brave*
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • Wreck-It Ralph

  • Seamus McGarvey, Anna Karenina
  • Robert Richardson, Django Unchained
  • Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi*
  • Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln
  • Roger Deaking, Skyfall

Costume Design
  • Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina*
  • Paco Delgado, Les Miserables
  • Joanna Johnston, Lincoln
  • Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror
  • Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Hunstman

Documentary (Feature)
  • 5 Broken Cameras
  • The Gatekeepers
  • How to Survive a Plague
  • The Invisible War
  • Searching for Sugar Man*

Documentary (Short Subject)
  • Inocente*
  • Kings Point
  • Mondays at Racine
  • Open Heart
  • Redemption

Film Editing

Foreign Language Film
  • Amour (Austria)*
  • Kon Tiki (Norway)
  • No (Chile)
  • A Royal Affair (Denmark)
  • War Witch (Canada)

Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel, Hitchcock
  • Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey
  • Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell, Les Miserables*
Production Design
  • Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, Anna Karenina
  • Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent and Simon Bright, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey
  • Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson, Les Miserables
  • David Gropman and Anna Pinnock, Life of Pi
  • Rick Carter and Jim Erickson, Lincoln*

Short Film (Animated)
  • Adam and Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels
  • Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare"
  • Paperman*

Short Film (Live Action)
  • Asad
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Curfew*
  • Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)
  • Henry

Sound Editing
  • Erik Aadahi and Ethan Van der Ryn, Argo
  • Wylie Staterman, Django Unchained
  • Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton, Life of Pi
  • Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers, Skyfall*
  • Paul N.J. Ottosson, Zero Dark Thirty*

Sound Mixing
  • John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia, Argo
  • Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes, Les Miserables*
  • Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin, Life of Pi
  • Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins, Lincoln
  • Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson, Skyfall

Visual Effects
  • Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey
  • Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott, Life of Pi*
  • Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick, The Avengers
  • Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill, Prometheus
  • Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson, Snow White and the Huntsman

And there we are. The 85th Academy Awards are a wrap. Head over to my Academy Awards Pinterest board for Oscar night photos!