February 24, 2013 6:24pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Oscars: 'Life of Pi' Tops With 4 Wins; 'Argo' Named Best Picture
Life of Pi, Argo and Les Miserables were the big winners at the 85th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday.
Ang Lee's film about a 16-year-old Indian boy adrift at sea with a tiger led all nominated films with four wins during the course of the Seth MacFarlane-hosted ABC broadcast from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Life of Pi topped Argo, which tied with Les Miserables with three wins -- though the Ben Affleck drama scored a victory in the night's biggest race.
In a major surprise, first lady Michelle Obama appeared via video from the White House to present the best picture Oscar.
Argo, inspired by the real-life story of a CIA mission to free Americans during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980, followed its triumphs at the Golden Globes and Producers Guild. It bested the night's other big winners for the prize, including the year's most-nominated film: Lincoln, which took home only two statuettes -- including a history-making third best actor Oscar for Daniel Day-Lewis. His previous wins were for My Left Foot (1990) and There Will Be Blood (2008); he was also nominated for In the Name of the Father (1993) and Gangs of New York (2002).
At the top of the broadcast, Christoph Waltz, who played bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, won for best supporting actor. The title comes after a snub at the Screen Actors Guild Awards -- and a 2010 Oscar in the category for Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.
Anne Hathaway, who went into the show as one of the night's biggest favorites, finished her successful awards-season run for Les Miserables with the supporting actress trophy. She'd previously won the SAG and Globe for her admittedly short turn as Fantine in the movie musical -- and her win was the film's most high-profile.
Silver Linings Playbook grabbed its only win of the night when Jennifer Lawrence took lead actress. At 22, one year older than Marlee Matlin (who won, at 21, for Children of a Lesser God in 1987) as the youngest to win lead actress. Her Oscar also had her topping an eclectic group, which included Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Naomi Watts (The Impossible).
Another repeat winner was Life of Pi's Lee. The celebrated filmmaker topped the highly contested director race -- beating out Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), among others, for his second win in the category. He previously won in 2006 for Brokeback Mountain.
Animation awards brought wins for Disney's Paperman (short film) and Disney-Pixar's Brave (feature). Brave also took the Globe in its category but lost the Annie to Wreck-It Ralph.
Among the other shorts, Curfew filmmaker and star Shawn Christensen took best live action, and Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine's Inocente won for documentary.
Best documentary feature went to Sony Classics' Searching for Sugar Man. The win caps off over a year of accolades for Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn's movie about two fans' search to find musician Rodriguez. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, where it took both the Audience Award and Special Jury Prize.
Claudio Miranda took his first Oscar for his cinematography work on Life of Pi. It was the first of the feature's four wins and quickly preceded it getting the top honor in visual effects, with Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott sharing the stage.
The costume design Oscar went to Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina. With three nominations under her belt, it marked her first win. Makeup and hairstyling went to Les Miserables' Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell.
Amour, Michael Haneke's acclaimed French film that also received a best picture nomination, unsurprisingly took the best foreign-language feature.
STORY: The Complete Winners List
The scientific and technical awards brought a bit of a surprise after Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes locked up Les Miserables' second win of the night in the sound mixing category. Sound editing resulted in only the sixth time tie in Oscar history: Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers (Skyfall) shared the win with Paul N.J. Ottosson (Zero Dark Thirty).
Argo didn't earn its first win until near the third hour of the telecast. William Goldenberg won for film editing, a category which saw him nominated twice. (He shared editing credits with Dylan Tichenor for Zero Dark Thirty). Goldenberg previously was nominated for The Insider (1999) and Seabiscuit (2003).
Another first finally came for the night's most-nominated film (Lincoln) with production design. Steven Spielberg's drama about the fight to pass the 13th Amendment took the prize in production design, with Jim Erickson winning his first Oscar and Rick Carter (set decoration) his second.
Life of Pi and Skyfall split the music awards. Mychael Danna took home score for Life of Pi. And Adele, fulfilling another one of the night's surer bets, won best song with writing partner Paul Epworth for their James Bond theme.
With two Oscars under its belt by the end of the night, Skyfall shares its number of trophies with Django Unchained and Lincoln.