Lee takes directing Oscar; Hathaway, Waltz win
Hugh Jackman, left, and Adam Shulman, right, congratulate Anne Hathaway after she was announced as winner of the award for best actress in a supporting role for "Les Miserables" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ang Lee pulled off a huge upset at the Academy Awards with a directing win for the shipwreck story "Life of Pi," taking the prize over Steven Spielberg, who had been favored for "Lincoln."
Anne Hathaway went from propping up leaden sidekick James Franco at the Academy Awards to hefting a golden statue of her own with a supporting-actress Oscar win as a doomed mother-turned-prostitute in the musical "Les Miserables."
Christoph Waltz won his second supporting-actor Oscar for a Tarantino film, this time as a genteel bounty hunter in the slave-revenge saga "Django Unchained." Tarantino also won his second Oscar, for original screenplay for "Django."
Hathaway, whose perkiness helped carry her and the listless Franco through an ill-starred stint as Oscar hosts two years ago, is the third performer in a musical to win supporting actress during the genre's resurgence in the last decade.
"It came true," said Hathaway, who joins 2002 supporting-actress winner Catherine Zeta-Jones for "Chicago" and 2006 recipient Jennifer Hudson for "Dreamgirls." Hathaway had warm thanks for "Les Miz" co-star Hugh Jackman, with whom she once sang a duet at the Oscars when he was the show's host.
Hathaway's Oscar came for her role as noble but fallen Fantine in the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway smash that was based on Victor Hugo's epic novel of revolution, romance and redemption in 19th century France.
A veteran performer in Germany and his native Austria, Waltz had been a virtual unknown in Hollywood when Tarantino cast him as a gleefully evil Nazi in 2009's "Inglourious Basterds," which won him his first Oscar.
"I have to cast the right people to make those characters come alive," said Tarantino, who won previously for "Pulp Fiction. "And boy, this time, did I do it. Thank you so much, guys."
Waltz has since done a handful of other Hollywood movies, but it's Tarantino who has given him his two choicest roles. Backstage, Waltz had a simple explanation for why the collaboration works.
"Quentin writes poetry, and I like poetry," Waltz said.
Oscar host Seth MacFarlane opened with a mildly edgy monologue that offered the usual polite jabs at the academy, the stars and the industry. He took a poke at academy voters over the snub of Ben Affleck, who missed out on a directing nomination for best-picture favorite "Argo," a thriller about the CIA's plot to rescue six Americans during the Iranian hostage crisis.
"The story was so top secret that the film's director is unknown to the academy," MacFarlane said. "They know they screwed up. Ben, it's not your fault."