HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The buzz about The Oscars this year was that rookie host Seth MacFarlane would be telling “expensive wiener jokes,” as he tweeted to his fans in the days leading up to Sunday night’s star-glittered show at the Dolby Theatre.
Oh, if only he told funny jokes. MacFarlane mostly laid big fat eggs, telling juvenile jokes and poking jabs at celebrities who were forced to grin and bear it. The creator of the animated TV comedies “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “The Cleveland Show” and the movie comedy “Ted” showed more bad taste than classy fun with his various routines.
The overlong opening sequence included MacFarlane’s musical tribute to the actresses who bared it all in the movies, followed by a comedy bit with the senior citizen version of “Star Trek” Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) critiquing MacFarlane’s Oscar show performance from the future. “The show’s a disaster,” Capt. Kirk said, and nobody in the audience disagreed.
MacFarlane’s reputation for being bawdy and irreverent remains untarnished. He bombed on joke about John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, and Chris Brown and Rihanna, among many other groaners.
But his best line came early when he joked that Oscar favorite “Argo,” about a secret CIA mission to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran, was “so top secret that the film’s director is unknown to the Academy.” It was an appropriate slam at the Academy for not nominating director Ben Affleck as Best Director.
As expected, “Argo” was named Best Picture. In a surprise moment that made Oscar history, first lady Michelle Obama appeared live from the White House to announce the nominees and then the Best Picture winner.
Also making history was Daniel Day-Lewis, who was named Best Actor for his performance as “Lincoln.”
The British actor became the first person to win three Best Actor awards.
Other highlights included Barbra Streisand making a rare TV appearance to sing “The Way We Were” during the annual “In Memoriam” tribute to movie folks who died in the past year. She was honoring composer Marvin Hamlisch.
The incomparable Shirley Bassey brought down the house with her 1964 hit, “Goldfinger,” part of the tribute to the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movies.
Adele performed “Skyfall,” and later was awarded the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Full list of Oscar winners
1. Best Picture: "Argo."
2. Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln."
3. Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook."
4. Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained."
5. Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables."
6. Directing: Ang Lee, "Life of Pi."
7. Foreign Language Film: "Amour."
8. Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, "Argo."
9. Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained."
10. Animated Feature Film: "Brave."
11. Production Design: "Lincoln."
12. Cinematography: "Life of Pi."
13. Sound Mixing: "Les Miserables."
14. Sound Editing (tie): "Skyfall," ''Zero Dark Thirty."
15. Original Score: "Life of Pi," Mychael Danna.
16. Original Song: "Skyfall" from "Skyfall," Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth.
17. Costume: "Anna Karenina."
18. Documentary Feature: "Searching for Sugar Man."
19. Documentary (short subject): "Inocente."
20. Film Editing: "Argo."
21. Makeup and Hairstyling: "Les Miserables."
22. Animated Short Film: "Paperman."
23. Live Action Short Film: "Curfew."
24. Visual Effects: "Life of Pi."
Upper left: Best Actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln."
Middle left: Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook."
Lower left: Seth MacFarlane, host of The Oscars.