Inside the 2013 Academy Awards

This year the Oscar was an Academy Award show for the ages. That was especially true in one acting category where the oldest-ever nominee, 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva, and the youngest, 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, competed for the Best Actress Oscar. But that age difference was really a sidebar to the rest of the action, which was topped when Ben Affleck got the respect he deserved, winning the Best Picture Oscar for “Argo,†which he directed but wasn’t nominated for as a director, on Sunday night’s broadcast of the 85th Academy Awards. “Argo” became the first movie to win best picture without its director being nominated since 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy.”

As for 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, she certainly has a bright future ahead of herself, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see her at various Academy Award shows many times during the next few years. She was recently cast in a Broadway production of “Annie,†so maybe there is also a Tony in her future.

Affleck, who sped through an emotional acceptance speech, did not mention the fact that he had not been nominated in the Best Director category, and had only kind words to say about his film’s competitors by saying, “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life. That’s going to happen. All that matters is that you’ve got to get up.”

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With Chris Terrio’s award for adapted screenplay and William Goldenberg’s for editing, “Argo” ended up with a total of three Oscars on the night. Terrio was most appreciative of the experience of working on Argo, addressing Affleck in particular. “Fifteen years ago, you were up here with the first film you got made, and now I’m up here because of you,” Terrio said. “It’s a gift I can never repay.”

The drama about a true story plot to rescue Americans in Tehran during the Iranian revolution has won nearly every major honor this awards season, including the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Producers Guild Award and the Directors Guild Award. The win also made Oscar history as it was announced by First Lady Michelle Obama by satellite from the White House, on a hand-off from Jack Nicholson at the Dolby Theater.

The song-and-dance heavy ceremony, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, offered some effective comedic moments and there were also several surprises. The awards also surprised everyone by announcing only the sixth tie in in Oscar history and the first since 1994, with the sound-editing award split between “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall.” For the first time in Oscar history, six of the Best Picture nominees were $100-million blockbusters.

Other key category winners were Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor for “Lincoln,†Jennifer Lawrence for lead actress for “Silver Linings Playbook,†and Ang Lee for Best Director for “Life of Pi,†which won four Oscars, the most for any film on Sunday night. “Thank you, movie god,†the Taiwanese filmmaker said as he collected his trophy and bowed before the standing, cheering audience. “Thank you for taking the leap with me,†he said, referencing the executives at Fox who backed the costly CGI-driven film. “I really want to thank you for believing this story and sharing this incredible journey with me,” Lee said.

Though Day-Lewis was considered a heavy favorite for his role as Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s epic about the nation’s 16th president was largely overlooked despite its 12 nominations. Day-Lewis’ win also made Oscar history: he is the first to win three awards for Best Actor; he had previously won for 1989’s “My Left Foot†and 2007’s “There Will Be Blood.â€

Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Les Misérables†and Christoph Waltz received Best Supporting Actor for “Django Unchained,†one of the more surprising wins of the night. “It came true,” Hathaway whispered as she picked up her trophy for her performance, in which she sings “I Dreamed a Dream.”

And, despite that wide range of youth and experience in the Best Actress category Jennifer Lawrence received her first Oscar for her performance as a neurotic widow in the romantic comedy “Silver Linings Playbook,†from a field that included fellow nominees Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts. After tripping and falling on the stairs on the way up to the podium, Lawrence got a standing ovation, and the 22-year old actress responded by saying “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell.” Jennifer Lawrence has won many awards this season, which is quite rare for such a young talent. She is a true overnight success across the board.

Oscars also went to two other films that had built up a lot of momentum leading up to the Oscars, Michael Haneke’s “Amour” (from Austria) in foreign-language film and Malik Bendjelloul’s “Searching for Sugar Man” in documentary feature.

With a theme of Music in Film, the awards show was packed with musical moments. Barbra Streisand sang a memorial version of “The Way We Were” for Marvin Hamlish, and Catherine Zeta-Jones vamped it up through “All That Jazz” from the musical “Chicago.†But the show-stopping moment belonged to septuagenarian Shirley Bassey, who belted out the theme from 1964’s “Goldfinger” in a James Bond tribute that brought the audience to its feet and overshadowed most of the other musical performances, the exception being Adele singing the theme from “Skyfall,” which won for Best Original Song, and the appearance of Barbra Streisand, which was not only unexpected, but warmly welcomed as Streisand has proved her everlasting talent, and youthfulness yet again. She looked sensational. While at it, it would be unfair to leave out Oscar presenter,Jane Fonda, who looked about 40 years younger than her age.

The “In Memoriam” segment, introduced by George Clooney, offered a tribute to artists who had passed in 2012, including Ernest Borgnine, Jack Klugman, Celeste Holm, Michael Clarke Duncan, Charles Durning, J. Michael Riva, Bruce Surtees, Andrew Sarris, Tony Scott, Hal David, Nora Ephron, Richard Zanuck and Marvin Hamlisch.

Although Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln†led the pack with 12 nominations going into the 85th Academy Awards Sunday night, it was “Life of Pi†that walked away with the most Oscar statuettes – four, including Best Directing for Ang Lee, which took a lot of us by surprise. We all thought Best Director would go to Steven Spielberg, who despite of being named as the “biggest contributor to cinema†has never won an Oscar, a fact that almost nobody knows or even believes in. However, the night really belonged to Ben Affleck and “Argo,†which, despite the Academy snubbing the director, won the night and came out on top by taking the coveted Best Picture award.

Quentin Tarantino won Best Original Screenplay for his slave redemption story, and proved yet again that he indeed is a genius with unusual projects, like “Django Unchained.†However, he credited his success this night to his cast by noting that “working with the best cast is really the key.â€

Another surprise for the night was “Les Misérables†taking home less Oscars than anticipated. Although my favorite sound mixer, Simon Hayes won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, he also won both for sound editing and sound mixing the Satellite Awards by the International Press Academy and a BAFTA Award this year for his work on “Les Misérables.â€

Of course one of the biggest excitement and sensation around the Oscars are the lavish gift lounges, the pre-parties and the after-parties all competing with one another for “best lounges,†and “best parties.â€

While the everlasting topic of paying taxes on the sometimes $ 45,000 gift bags is something to talk about, celebrities do not mind going to as many lounges as they can to get pampered and sometimes even styled for the biggest night in Hollywood. And those who did not win in their nominated categories during the Award Ceremonies still get cheered up by getting a home delivery of a $ 45,000 Oscar Gift bag the very next morning.

This year, the best of the best lounge went to Roger Neal’s “ Style Hollywood†17th Annual Oscar Suite that offered many surprises and a large number of gifts from such unique designers as Shekhar Rahate, and Sisa, by Simone Rodrigues, who is the single most unique designer I have ever met. She uses recycled material for making jewelry that matches her exquisite and easy to wear fashion clothing line. She was gracious enough to gift the visitors with gorgeous jewelry that looks like a million dollars, yet is from recycled material. This proves that even the events around the Oscars are looking at the economy and are doing it in the right way. Simone Rodrigues is a true maverick in her field.

Erin Fader was another sensation with her outstanding collection of chunky jewelry while Deborah Burnett made headline Best of the Best title with her clever and elegant red carpet ready “Canale Originals†that poses as a bracelet, but is a little purseless purse instead. “Hot Smoking Deal Savers†run by Deborah Pironne was another sensation, along with National Geographic candidate Laszlo Kupi’s exquisite photography, and of course the very famous Four Seasons Preferred Partners coupling up with Willett Travel thus receiving the Best of the Best as well. Willet Travel is a large nationwide personalized service travel agency and is heavily involved with moving production equipment for the Entertainment industry.

Norby Walter’s and Edward Lozzi’s 23nd Annual “Night of 100 Stars Awards Gala†celebrating the 85th Annual Oscar Awards was a gorgeous and star studded event with lots of media coverage in a separate room just for cameras and reporters, while “Children Uniting Nations†14th Annual Awards Viewing Celebration and Dinner was truly sensational. The lavishly decorated dining room, and well-organized red carpet arrivals attracted many heavy hitters from the Industry. At the end of the event, Beverly Todd (“The Bucket List,†and “Crash†) raised money and led an Auction for this most needed charity.

The absolute highlight and truly the Bets of the Best was world-renowned Celebrity Interior Designer, Sandra Costa, who is the gateway to building one of a kind custom designed real estate properties, not only for mega stars, and international business icons, but also restaurants and other public estates. Just one of her recent projects included designing a large number of extraordinary Japanese restaurants, and making custom furniture for one of America’s biggest names in the technology driven Silicon Valley. She is not only a celebrity in her own right, a woman of her own, but is greatly admired for her multi-talent that ranges from furniture manufacturing to complex designs of all kinds including sound engineering. Sandra Costa is indeed the biggest International celebrity in Interior Design.

All in all, this year’s Oscars were the most elegant, interesting, unexpected, surprising, funny but also moving. Almost everyone teared up listening to a full stage of A-listers singing “Les Misérables†most famous song, “ One Day More†live!
Yet again Hollywood proved itself: no matter what happens in our hectic and ever-changing world today, Hollywood stands strong and brings us the most regal and grand presentations and universal messages that art has to offer.

At a Glance:

Best Picture:
Argo

Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Best Actress:
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Supporting Actor:
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress:
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

Best Directing:
Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Chris Terrio, Argo

Best Original Screenplay:
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Best Documentary Feature:
Searching for Sugar Man

Best Original Song:
“Skyfall” from Skyfall, music and lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

Best Original Score:
Life of Pi

Best Animated Feature:
Brave

Best Cinematography:
Life of Pi

Best Costume Design:
Anna Karenina

Best Documentary Short Subject:
Inocente

Best Film Editing:
Argo

Best Foreign Language Film:
Amour (Austria)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
Les Misérables

Best Production Design:
Lincoln

Best Short Film (Animated):
Paperman

Best Short Film (Live Action):
Curfew

Best Sound Editing:
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Sound Mixing:
Les Misérables

Best Visual Effects:
Life of Pi

Left to Right, Mother, Oscar Nominee, Quvenzhané Wallis and Adrienne Papp
Oscar Winner Argo Cast and Adrienne Papp
Adrienne Papp at the Oscars 2013

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