MacFarlane wasn't such a bad host, right?
Broadway showtune junkie Seth MacFarlane was a head-scratcher as the pick for host, but we're just gonna come out and say it: He wasn't so bad. Sure, he's known for his Family Guy gross-out humor, and sure, he looked as nervous as a Chicago alderman in a tax audit, but he had his moments. Opening with a viral meme joke about making Tommy Lee Jones laugh was a nice jumpstart before showing a bit of his roots with a Mel Gibson racism joke and a song called We Saw Your Boobs. But a visit from William Shatner as Capt. Kirk and a sock puppet re-enactment of Flight was a cute touch, even if the monologue lasted an interminable 18 minutes. We have to wonder, though: If the Academy wants a younger audience, should they really be making Flying Nun and Smokey and the Bandit jokes with Sally Field? Also, the animated bear from Ted telling Jewish jokes and MacFarlane's crack, "I would argue the actor that really goes inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth" were pretty palpable misses. But, hey, he was certainly no worse than Anne Hathaway and James Franco's joint effort, or Billy Crystal's safe turn last year. MacFarlane's gold standard: When cutting to commercial prior to the best actress award, he said, "Will it be Quvenzhané Wallis, who is 9, or Emanuelle Riva, who was 9 when this show started?" (It was Jennifer Lawrence, b-dubs.) Seth hosted the Oscars by standing on a stage and telling bad jokes. What did you expect him to do?
Winners steal the show
And like any good host, MacFarlane got out of the way of the award winners. Best supporting actor Christoph Waltz was free to prove he was a better Quentin Tarantino muse than Uma Thurman's feet. Best supporting actress Hathaway could make us all forget about her hosting gig. Best actress Lawrence was allowed to fall down walking up the stairs and shrug it off like it was nothing. Best actor Daniel Day-Lewis was free to crack better jokes by telling Meryl Streep he had been asked to play Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. First lady Michelle Obama had free rein to both embarrass the red carpet by being best dressed and also pairing with Jack Nicholson to give Argo the best picture award. And nobody played over Ben Affleck, who was shut out of the director category for the same movie, and repeated "can't hold grudges" over and over. And even with the closing song with Kristin Chenowith about the night's losers, not a word was said about Lincoln only winning two categories. But after The Onion tweeted, "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c---, right?" everyone kind of quit paying attention to the Oscars.
Bond tribute was a killer
The Academy paid tribute to the James Bond franchise in its 50th year, oddly choosing the least-interested-in-Bond Bond Girl, Die Another Day's Halle Berry, to introduce the montage — possibly because she's the only productive actress in that bunch. She seemed obsessed with pausing after saying the given name of Bond girl Pussy Galore, which was odd, but it only set up the first in a number of bring-down-the-house performances last night. Dame Shirley Bassey absolutely killed it in her rendition of Goldfinger. All the other night's singers, which were numerous and talented, should have bowed down.
Seth not only one singing
Not that they didn't try to top her. Catherine Zeta-Jones looked great prancing through a poorly lip-synched version of All That Jazz from Chicago, and was immediately upstaged by Jennifer Hudson positively crushing And I Am Telling You from Dreamgirls. Then Hugh Jackman, Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter and more from Les Misérables sang a medley of Suddenly, One Day More and I Dreamed a Dream. Wolverine, Catwoman, Gladiator, Red Riding Hood, Borat and Marla from Fight Club all at once — great ensemble, or the greatest ensemble? It almost wasn't fair to Norah Jones' Everybody Needs a Best Friend from Ted or Adele's respectable rendition of the Best Original Song winner Skyfall later in the evening (neither was Barbra Streisand's tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch's The Way We Were).
There's no tying in Oscars!
The award for most out of the ordinary moment was a tie in the category of sound editing, when Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall shared the Oscar. It was the one time we can ever remember paying attention during the sound editing award (well, maybe to confirm Saving Private Ryan won during an Oscars pool in 1999). But before you finish that thought, yes, this has happened before, in a much bigger category. Katharine Hepburn won for playing Eleanor of Aquitane in The Lion of Winter in 1969, but shared the award with Barbra Streisand's debut in Funny Girl. See? You learned something today.
Flood of more than emotions
The dirtiest moment in a surprisingly filth-free night came about an hour before the show, when a women's restroom at the Dolby Theatre flooded after a pipe burst, according to E!. Yeah, a broken water pipe, sure. Like we all aren't flipping a coin between the real cause being people flushing bags of coke, or all the eating disorders getting the best of the plumbing. Oh, who are we kidding? Nobody in Hollywood eats.