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Life of Pi tops as Oscar honours shared

2013-02-25 09:18
 
Oscars Jennifer Lawrence Adele Ang Lee

Hollywood - Ben Affleck's Iran hostage crisis drama Argo won the coveted best film Oscar on Sunday at the climax of the 85th Academy Awards, Hollywood's biggest night which saw many movies honoured.

Taiwan-born Ang Lee won best director for spectacular 3D fantasy Life of Pi, Daniel Day-Lewis took home his third best actor trophy for Lincoln and Jennifer Lawrence was crowned best actress for Silver Linings Playbook.

But veteran filmmaker Steven Spielberg, whose presidential drama had the most nominations with 12 nods, went home without either of the top awards - best picture or best director.

2013 Oscars: All the winners

Overall, Life of Pi won most Oscars with four awards, against three for Argo and Les Miserables, two each for Django Unchained and Lincoln, and one for Zero Dark Thirty.

The show was heavily musical: British singer Adele sang Oscar-winning 007 theme Skyfall as part of a segment feting 50 years of Bond films, and legendary diva Barbra Streisand sang The Way We Were in her first Oscars performance for 36 years.

There were also performances from the cast of multiple-nominated Les Miserables, including best supporting actress winner Anne Hathaway, and from Chicago, on the 10th anniversary of its best picture Oscar win.

Affleck, whose movie had taken virtually all of the top prizes during Hollywood's awards season, paid tribute to Spielberg as a "towering" talent in the movie industry.

"Steven Spielberg, I want to acknowledge, I feel is a genius and a towering talent among us," said Affleck, who was not nominated for best director or best actor at the Oscars, in a perceived snub.

In an unexpected move, the best picture winner was announced by First Lady Michelle Obama, addressing the Oscars show - and final presenter, legend Jack Nicholson - by videolink from the White House.

"I was hallucinating when that was happening. I was just asking... 'Was that Michelle Obama?' The whole thing overwhelmed me. It was an enormous honor. It was very cool," Affleck said backstage afterwards.

The Hunger Games star Lawrence got a standing ovation as her award was announced, over fellow nominees Jessica Chastain, French star Emmanuelle Riva, Naomi Watts and nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, the youngest ever nominee.

Meryl Streep

Day-Lewis, who had been widely expected to win best actor, appeared to fight back tears as he took the stage - and then joked as he was handed the golden statuette by Meryl Streep.

"Three years ago, before we decided to do a straight swap, I had been committed to play Margaret Thatcher," he said, referring to Streep's Oscar-winning performance as the former British premier in The Iron Lady.

"Meryl was Steven (Spielberg)'s first choice for Lincoln," he said, to laughs from the assembled A-listers at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. "And I'd like to see that version."

Austrian director Michael Haneke's Cannes-winning Amour won the best foreign language film prize at the Oscars, widely seen as the most unpredictable for years.

Best supporting actor went to Austrian Christoph Waltz, who played a dentist turned bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's blood-spattered spaghetti western tribute Django Unchained. Tarantino won for best original screenplay.

Tribute segment to James Bond

The best animated feature film award went to Scottish-themed Brave, which beat fellow nominees including video game adventure Wreck-It Ralph, which had been tipped as the marginal frontrunner.

The show included a tribute segment to the James Bond movies, with Adele's performance and legendary diva Shirley Bassey belting out the theme tune from "Goldfinger."

The star-studded and heavily musical show was preceded by a two-hour A-list fashion parade on the red carpet, with a healthy serving of old-school Hollywood glamour on display.

Family Guy creator MacFarlane started with a joke about Affleck, who - despite his win's ultimate triumph - failed to win a best director nomination, quipping that he was "unknown to the Academy."

Affleck - the first person to win best picture without being nominated as director since Driving Miss Daisy in 1990 - had been given a diplomatic boost Saturday when new US Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted best wishes.

Although he started the season two months ago as the favourite, Spielberg had to settle with Day-Lewis's best actor Oscar, which had been widely expected.

- AFP

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