11 memorable moments from the 2013 Academy Awards

Monday, March 04, 2013 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

vfx oscars 2013It might not be the BAFTAs but the Oscars can still draw a crowd and I finally got around  to watch the Awards ceremony over the weekend. Like a good film it was full of personal dream quests, romance, humour, nudity, subterfuge, violence and the tale of a little man overcoming the odds (again). I am a bit late to the game but after finally watching the Oscars in the full I thought I would get my 11 most memorable moments from the 2013 Academy Awards up online.

1. Joseph Gordon-Levitt photo bombs presenters on the Red Carpet
Need I say anything more? @hitRECordJoe Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues to impress.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt oscars photo bomb
Photo from Mashable
2. Seth MacFarlane's quest to make Tommy Laugh
Seth MacFarlane open ups strong by trying to make grumpy Tommy Lee Jones laugh. After the 2013 Golden Globes the below coverage left everyone including Seth thinking Tommy Lee Jones is miserable. MacFarlane sets his challenge and mission accomplished.

Video: Tommy Lee Jones is not amused

Video: Oscars 2013 online opening Tommy Lee Jones smile [HD]

3. The reaction to the reactions of Seth MacFarlane's "We saw your boobs" song 
It was pretty much accepted that Seth MacFarlane was a risky choice to host the Oscars (even after Ricky Gervais's Golden Globe run) and he doesn't disappoint with his rendition of We saw your boobs even bringing the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles down with him.

Video: Oscars 2013: Seth MacFarlane sings "We Saw Your Boobs"

The real surprise is not the tone lowering song, or the staged pre shots of Naomi Watts, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence -

 Charlize Theron Oscars we saw your boobs
 Charlize Theron at the Oscars we saw your boobs
Naomi Watts at the Oscars we saw your boobs
Naomi Watts at the Oscars we saw your boobs
- but that some still think that this skit and the reactions were real.

4. Seth Mcfarlane's subtle jibe at film studios whilst the Academy and Oscars snub the now bankrupted Visual Effects House Rhythm & Hues 3 TIMES!!!
You wouldn't know it but there is a war brewing in an industry already in turmoil and sure the Oscars need to maintain an air of neutrality and avoid creating a platform for hot issues so we can all focus on recognising the talent and films nominated - but a little sense of solidarity or at a minimum community wouldn't go amiss.

Read this bearing in mind that outside the Oscar Awards ceremony - Visual Effects Artists gathered outside to protest the lack of recognition of their skill and protection - leading to poorer working conditions and increasingly less income coming into the VFX  industry, an industry that is now in crises. Rhythm and Hues the guys behind the visual effects of Life of Pi amongst many, many other films had just gone bankrupt despite Life of Pi raking in £383,891,569 (accurate at the time).

Leading Visual Effects Executive Scott Ross breaks it down:
"The message is simple: VFX artists create incredible images that translates into huge box office or MONEY… BUT, VFX companies are going out of business.
Stop Subsidies
Stop exporting our industry
Fair business practices.
Fair Labor rules
Start supporting the men and women that create the magic in movies."
There was much buzz online regarding the planned VFX protest and mention of solidarity and possibly using the Oscar stage to raise awareness of the industries plight - so it stands to reason that the Academy were probably on high alert for any activity of the sort.

So the first and perhaps the deepest cut comes from The Avengers themselves:

1. The Avengers present the nominations for Best Visual Effects
The relevant bit occurs right at the beginning of the video below. Not specifically aimed at Rhythm & Hues but Samuel L. Jackson forces Robert Downey Junior to skip over the introduction that praises the work that goes into visual effects as part of the introduction to Best Visual Effects nominations, which typifies the attitude to the artists that make the stories and heroes look as good as they do on screen.

It is sad to see Samuel L. Jackson shut down Robert Downey Junior as clearly he says "let's give them what they want" referring to Visual Artists. Ironically Marvel's The Avengers was nominated in the same category - I apologise for the poor quality of the video in advance.

Video: The Avengers at 2013 Oscars (Part 2)

2. Rhythm & Hues VFX supervisor Bill Westenhofer’s Life Of Pi Oscar acceptance speech is cut off
Well this may be a case of the Academy trying to keep the run time down but as Features editor and tech columist for Variety David S. Cohen points out:

Actually Claudio Miranda picked up his Oscar just before but his point stands. Bill Westenhofer manages to make his thanks but before he can even start to talk about the issues ... 

 “...Sadly, Rhythm & Hues is suffering severe financial difficulties right now
Fortunately Blogger Bill Desowitz managed to catch up with Bill Westenhofer and hear more from his speech...

From Desowitz's blog - Unfortunately, Life of Pi VFX winner Bill Westenhofer was cut off from addressing the industry crisis and the Rhythm & Hues bankruptcy during his acceptance speech (there were 400 VFX protestors outside at Hollywood & Vine). He finished his thought backstage:
At a time when visual effects movies are dominating the box office, that visual effects companies are struggling.  And I wanted to point out that we aren’t technicians.  Visual effects is not just a commodity that’s being done by people pushing buttons.  We’re artists, and if we don’t find a way to fix the business model, we start to loses the artistry.  If anything, Life of Pi shows that we’re artists and not just technicians. - Bill Westenhofer
3. Third and perhaps most shocking diss of the evening Ang Lee fails to acknowledge the work of Rhythm & Hues
Shockingly Ang Lee failed to acknowledge the work of Rhythm & Hues in his Best Director acceptance speech. The people largely responsible for taking his vision and bringing it to the screen.

Video: BAFTA Special Visual Effects Winner in 2013 - Life Of Pi

Life of Pi without VFX
Life of Pi without VFX - image stolen from Co.create
Video: Ang Lee - Acceptance Speech Best Director Oscars 2013 Full Show HD 1080p (HD)

In Ang Lee's acceptance speech he gives a general thanks to all involved in making Life of Pi and then goes onto thank almost everyone accept the guys that brought his vision to life in Oscar winning detail.

This is all the more poignant when you consider the restraint and composure that the guys (Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott showed at both the BAFTAs and then on the stage collecting their Oscar for their work on Life of Pi when they didn't have jobs to go back to the morning after.

An Open Letter to Ang Lee - from Lead Compositor Phillip Broste 

Over here Gizmodo takes An Inside Look At The VFX Crisis over here:

**Update I had not seen it at he time of writing this post but - David Cohen Associate Editor, Features @Variety, who I quote above, actually wrote a piece about this exact issue earlier over here:

Oh! That Seth Mcfarlane's jibe I was referring to: At one point Seth says something to the effect of: There are going to be a lot of accountants working overtime to prove that these films didn't make a profit.

5. Grace & humility in the face of loss
Not from the Oscars but a clip that is so good it trumps everything else the Oscars brought.  David O. Russell Director and Writer of Silver Linings Playbook personality comes to the fore when surprisingly Emmanuelle Riva wins the 2013 EE British Academy Film Award for Best Actress.

Video: David O Russell BAFTA doucheface

Russell goes on to cement his attitude when after he wins a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay he thanks everyone - but Matthew Quick the author of The Silver Linings Playbook, the book O Russell adapted for his film.

If you think that this is just a once off event of a man swept away by the moment. I am not going to even mention the time David O Russell accosted Christopher Nolan and put him into a headlock at a party over Jude Law's availability for a film role.

Here is a bit about David O Russell and his working attitude on Three Kings and the rumoured clash with George Clooney

Video: Ice Cube on George Clooney Fight -

As a bonus here is Prince Charming "directing" Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees.

Video: I Don't Heart Huckabees

In the interests of fairness below is a clip of the Awards Watch Directors Roundtable discussion where David O. Russell talks about his issues. The host has just asked Peter Weir if he loses his temper on set before chatting with David O. Russell.

Video: Awards Watch Roundtable: The Directors (full video)

6. Renee Zellweger parties hard at the Oscars
Maybe just a little too hard and why not?  Fortunately Queen Latifah steps in to save the day when Richard Gere shows us why not. 

Video: Renee Zellweger wasted at the Oscars 2013 Presenting On Stage ***HI DEF***

Video: Renee Zellweger drunk at the Oscars - Swaying As Presenting At Oscars 2013 ***HI DEF***

7. The cast of Les Misérables perform on stage
Bringing an air of old Hollywood class to the Oscars was the outstanding performance of the Les Mis cast - even Russel Crowe shows up. Too be honest this was the highlight of the Oscars for me.

Video: Les Miserables Performance at the Oscars 2013

8. Von Trapp Nazi Joke Oscars
More at home in an episode of The Family Guy, but the audacity of Seth Macfarlane's Von Trapp Nazi Joke hit my funny bone. Sadly he doesn't quite top this for the rest of the evening.

Video: Seth Macfarlane Von Trapp Nazi Joke Oscars 2013 Full Show HD

9. Quvenzhané Wallis wins
9 year old Best Actress Nominee Quvenzhané Wallis may not have won the Oscar this year but she won my heart and I hope that she goes from strength to strength.

Video: Quvenzhané Wallis: 5 Cutest Moments at the Oscars

10. Jack Nicholson and Jennifer Lawrence flirt during an interview
Watch as an Apex predator puts the charm to work. This is one clip that would have benefited from the Jaws music.

Video: Jennifer Lawrence, Jack Nicholson Interruption Makes Waves After Oscars; Anne Hathaway on Big Win

11. Ben Affleck's Best Picture speech after Argo wins
Producer Grant Heslovo opens with a joke and a heartfelt introduction before before Ben Affleck delivers a speech that is everything a Best Picture winning speech should be - personal, life affirming, moving, inspirational, touching, humorous as well as manages to thank everyone who worked on Argo. Certainly the best speech of the night and quite possibly the best of the past couple of Oscar Awards.

Although Affleck is almost a veteran of Hollywood and had Clooney & Heslovo backing him it really felt like his was a David vs Goliath comeback or local boy makes good again in the face of the Academy not acknowledging him in the Director category.

After Bottoming out Ben Affleck turned his ample skills to directing and has steadily been winning just about everyone over - he is clearly a talent that's time has still to come. Rather than being arrogant Affleck draws on his 30 year career experience to be grateful for the moment.

Video: Ben Affleck - Acceptance Speech Best Picture Oscars 2013 Full Show HD 1080p

After 2013's Oscars I can't wait for next years - I might even stay up to watch them. Thank you and goodnight.


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