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MSN ENTERTAINMENT'S GUIDE TO THE 2013

ACADEMY AWARDS

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Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET on ABC
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'Pi' surprises, Day-Lewis three-peats and the first lady drops in

A look back at the moments that had us laughing and cheering on Oscar night

By Kim Morgan
Special to MSN Movies

Oscars 2013. History! Tributes to James Bond, tributes to movie music, Shirley Bassey! And all within a year of historical controversy. Historical accuracy has never been so hotly discussed since Doris Kearns Goodwin co-hosted with James Franco in 2010. OK, that didn't happen, but it makes for a more entertaining story, right? Anyway, from the storm surrounding Kathryn Bigelow's critically acclaimed and, to some, morally maligned "Zero Dark Thirty" to the ultra-violence of Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti Western-inspired slavery revenge epic "Django Unchained" to a gaffe concerning Connecticut and the 13th Amendment in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" to the business of giving Canada a few more props in "Argo" (ask Jimmy Carter), historical accuracy and sensitivity were all the rage (sometimes literally).

Bing: See photos from the 2013 Oscars | Oscars news

But forget historical controversy! How about the future? Based on controversial Oscar host Seth MacFarlane's opening, William Shatner was needed to, essentially, co-host from ... the future. After an unfunny, tired attempt at a shocking monologue (Mel Gibson jokes? A Chris Brown/Rihanna joke? Ugh), things got weird. And not just because of Shatner. MacFarlane began singing. And quite well. First, stupidly about boobs in movies, but that was the point. Then he moved on to being classy, thanks to immortal tunes like "The Way You Look Tonight" (added bonus: beautiful Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum dancing) and "High Hopes" (with Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). See, back to history ... those old songs always sound great. But the telecast? Not so great. MacFarlane was pretty flat through the rest of the proceedings. Not hateable, but ... not exactly dynamic onstage. But others were. So on with the highlights and the lowlights of tonight's 85th Academy Awards.

Best-dressed woman
Old Hollywood alert! Jessica Chastain channeled Rita Hayworth in sparkly nude-colored Armani. Her subtly sequined bombshell dress paired with red lipstick and Veronica Lake-styled hair was an Oscar win. Even if she didn't, well, win.

Worst-dressed woman
Oh, I always hate doing this because I'm sitting here in my ugly pajamas and I feel like I have no right calling out such beautiful people. But Anne Hathaway, where art thou Valentino? Hathaway reportedly switched her mind last minute and donned that pink Prada gown that looked a little baggy, with too many accentuated bustline front darts. Reportedly, Rachel Zoe dressed her, so she was probably, like, "literally" having a heart attack and not only screaming, "Bananas," but throwing them at the TV. Still, Anne won, so she's not sweating it.

Warmest moment
Riffing on Tommy Lee Jones' Golden Globes glumness, Seth MacFarlane cracked about "the quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh." And then Tommy Lee Jones smiled. And he laughed. And I saw a rainbow. And a unicorn. And a bird flew in my window and sang to me. It was beautiful.

We're with Shatner on this one
"Why didn't they just get Tina and Amy to host the show? Why didn't they get Tina and Amy to host everything?" Yes. GOOD damn QUESTION, William Shatner.

Twitter check-in 1
@studioexec1 tweeted: "Amanda Siegfried is here, but where the hell is Roy? #oscars"

Best red-carpet answer to E!'s Ryan Seacrest's never-ending "What are you wearing?" query
Nine-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis said, "I liked it because it was sparkly and fluffy." I'm not making fun. That really is the best, most honest answer to why a woman wears anything, really. I wish, say, Tilda Swinton would state something like that. And also carry a puppy purse with her. Actually, Tilda Swinton might just say and do that one day. On a sidenote, what was with Seacrest's hair? He was looking a little rockabilly or Teddy Boy or, come to think of it, a little Tilda. This is not a bad thing.

Best hair/unprepared speech
Claudio Miranda winning Best Cinematography for "Life of Pi." Sometimes ill-prepared speeches are so damn boring you just want that cane to pull the rambler off the stage. But I enjoyed how Miranda didn't appear to have any kind of prepared speech and, as such, seemed so real and raw and genuinely nervous: "Oh my God, I can't even speak." I kind of adore this man. And his hair. I mean, look at that long, flowing Edgar and Johnny Winter hair. You rock, dude.

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A good quip by Seth MacFarlane
Regarding "Argo": "The film was so top secret that film's director is unknown to the Academy."

Best-dressed man
Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His date was "Lincoln" co-star and Oscar nominee Sally Field. On the red carpet he discussed (with ABC) how he grew up watching the Oscars, how much he loves movies and how excited he was to meet idols like Dustin Hoffman and Jane Fonda. And he looked fantastic. Why is everyone so "Hey girl" about Ryan Gosling when we've got Joseph Gordon-Levitt around? A genuine class act who wears a tux well.

Worst-dressed man
You want me to point out the kilt, right? But that kilt was awesome. I don't mean to be unfair to the women, but all the men looked great tonight.

More: The night's big winners | Oscar hosts with the most

Twitter check-in 2
@GeorgeTakei The only thing that could make the Oscars gayer, @SethMacFarlane, is if I hosted them. [We have Shatner and George Takei involved!]

The golden girl of the night!
Dame Shirley Bassey brought the Dolby Theatre crowd to its feet with her rousing belt-out of her most famous song, "Goldfinger," for the 50th anniversary tribute to the James Bond franchise. The gorgeous 76-year-old, dressed in, of course, gold, gave us a goose-bump-inducing moment. For those of us who love vintage James Bond, classic Bond babes (Shirley Eaton!) and divas who are genuine divas, all we can say is, "Viva, Shirley Bassey!"

And yet ...
The 50th anniversary of James Bond was a little thin. Can you imagine if all of the past and present Bonds had made an appearance? Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and, of course, the current Daniel Craig? Sure, past Bond girl Halle Berry said "Pussy Galore" (meow!) and there was an OK montage, but it just didn't feel like enough.

Biggest disappointment
Not that "Searching for Sugar Man" won Best Documentary; that movie was fantastic (see it!). But the star of the picture was absent. There was no Rodriguez. If you've seen the doc, you know the man is so humble and sweet, so it wasn't surprising he was MIA for such a glitzy event. Even so, it would have made the evening had Rodriguez added to his strange and remarkable life by walking on that stage. As he said, he didn't want to " take any of the credit himself." But, oh man, he deserves so much credit. Also, if the Oscars EVER adds the category, I wish they'd add an Oscar for pre-existing music, or best soundtrack. Rodriguez could have performed.

The In Memoriam reel was extra sad
Yes, among others, Ernest Borgnine, Celeste Holm, Ulu Grosbard, Herbert Lom, Andrew Sarris, Michael Clarke Duncan, Charles Durning, Tony Scott, Nora Ephron, Frank Pierson, Chris Marker, Ray Bradbury and Marvin Hamlisch were all represented, but where was Ann Rutherford (she was in "Gone With the Wind," for heaven's sake), Levon Helm (so wonderful in "Coal Miner's Daughter"), Phyllis Diller, Davy Jones ("Head," people!), Larry Hagman, and for the love of God, Andy Griffith, who starred in one of Elia Kazan's greatest pictures, "A Face in the Crowd." And I'm sure they missed more. For shame.

Wow, those "Les Misérables" kids clean up well
OK, so this isn't my favorite musical, and the film adaptation of "Les Misérables" has caused so much debate: It's either a heart-wrenching work of genius, thanks to director Tom Hooper's ultra-realistic approach (and lots of close-ups), or a bizarre mess that looks like the work of an outsider artist -- and not on purpose. But I have to say, that wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. And I was so relieved Anne Hathaway didn't die. Oh, come on. That did not need a spoiler alert. Everyone knows Fantine dies.

Bring on the "Life of Pi" tiger...
Because Mark Wahlberg and that talking teddy bear, Ted, presenting Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing were not funny. Now, that "Life of Pi" tiger, we hear he kills. No, really, tigers kill. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Anne Hathaway wins Best Supporting Actress in 3, 2, 1 ...
I kept hearing reports that Anne hired speechwriters and THIS is all she got? After rattling off names and, forgivably, not doing the fake "Oh my goodness. I can't believe this just happened to me" routine, she beseeched: "Please say I said everyone." No ... Anne, please don't say everyone. She finished her speech with "Here's hoping that in the not-too-distant future the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories." That's a sweet thought, but then you wouldn't have won an Oscar had it not been for the world's oldest and never-going-away profession. Aw, I'm being mean to Anne. What would Victor Hugo say?

Excelsior! Jennifer Lawrence!
Upon winning for Best Actress for "Silver Linings Playbook," she sort of tripped up the stairs to the stage (in that beautiful dress), but you know, it was so cute, so who cares! And audience members were standing for her. And she kept her acceptance speech short and sweet. Did I mention she's cute and spirited and funny and beautiful and so very talented for such a young actress? But I don't need to tell you that because, this just in: The ENTIRE WORLD is in LOVE with JENNIFER LAWRENCE.

Honorary awards that mean something
I'm the world's biggest Burt Reynolds fan, so naturally I revere Hal Needham. He directed "Smokey and the Bandit," "Hooper," "The Cannonball Run" "and more. And he's been doing stunt work since the 1950s. And, then there's Bob Dylan and David Bowie, so an award for D.A. Pennebaker, documentary director of (among others) Dylan's "Don't Look Back," "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" and "Monterey Pop," was richly deserved. But never mind my love of these filmmakers -- they have offered so much to our popular culture and history.

More: See complete coverage of the Oscars

Through it all, Quentin Tarantino, class act
QT gave us a totally classy speech. Giving praise to his actors, he also served love to those he knows well and who deserve more love: writers (he's one himself, after all). QT said, excitedly: "This will be the writer's year."

Biggest surprise of the evening
Wow! Ang Lee for winning Best Director for his visionary "Life of Pi." Who expected that? I sure didn't. I was certain Steven Spielberg was going to win. I think even Ang Lee was shocked. Bravo, Mr. Lee!

Best acceptance speech of the night: Daniel Day-Lewis
The first actor to win three Best Actor Oscars, and, man, does Daniel Day-Lewis deserve it. His speech was a mixture of humor, grace and a loving tribute to his family. Said Lewis, "Three years ago, before we decided to do a straight swap, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher, and Meryl was Steven's first choice for Lincoln, and I'd like to see that version." The actor added, "Since we got married 16 years ago, my wife Rebecca has lived with some very strange men." I'm sure. He ended with, "For my mother." Perfect.

Twitter check-in 3
This happened a few days ago, but it seems fitting to print. John Kerry already wished Ben Affleck well before tonight's telecast tweeting, "Good luck @BenAffleck and #Argo at the Oscars. Nice seeing @StateDept & our Foreign Service on the big screen."

Argo -- f--- yeah!
Here's Jack! And here's Michelle Obama. This is way better than William Shatner. We had Bill Clinton at the Golden Globes presenting the nomination for "Lincoln," and now first lady Obama. Is this a trend? Well, that was a lot more surprising than "Argo" winning Best Picture.

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600Comments
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I thought Seth McFarlane was wonderful and his singing is out of this world. I have never watched the Oscars through it all but I stayed with this one. I am a 70 yr old woman and the "Boobs" song was great. He didn't single anyone special out. Just everyone who had shown their "Boobs" We all had a laugh. No one is perfect but he was the best..The Winners were gracious and Adeles song was beautiful. What a great night.
Feb 25, 2013 5:55AM
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Yeah, I was also very pleasantly surprised with Seth MacFarlane.  As a huge Billy Crystal fan, I was expecting the worst.  I thought he was energetic, present, and most importantly, funny.
Feb 25, 2013 7:17AM
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Seth MacFarlane was an excellent host. He was funny, charming, entertaining, and witty. My only criticism would be that the show took too long to get started. Seriously, they could have cut 10 or 15 minutes from the beginning and used some of that time to "beef up" the James Bond tribute.
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I really thought he did a good job with this one.
Feb 25, 2013 7:00AM
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