Ben Affleck's film "Argo" won the coveted best picture Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, an honour that was presented by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama via satellite from the White House on Sunday night.

The film, based on the so-called Canadian Caper detailing the rescue of hostages in Iran, was largely expected to win -- despite the fact Affleck was snubbed in the best director category.

Affleck's film won three Academy Awards, including adapted screenplay and editing. "There are eight great films that have every right, as much a right to be up here as we do," said Affleck.

Other big wins of the evening:

  • Daniel Day-Lewis, best actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in "Lincoln"
  • Jennifer Lawrence, best actress for playing a neurotic widow in the comedy "Silver Linings Playbook"
  • Anne Hathaway, best supporting actress playing Fantine in the movie version of hit musical "Les Miserables"
  • Christoph Waltz, best supporting actor for his inimitable bounty hunter in "Django Unchained"
  • Ang Lee, best director for the fable-adventure "Life of Pi" -- marking his second Oscar win as director.

"Life of Pi" also took home the most hardware -- netting four Oscars including best score by Canadian composer Mychael Danna. Lee also pulled off a major upset winning best director over "Lincoln" favourite and directing legend Steven Spielberg. live-blogged the awards show. Here's a blow-by-blow of the event:

12:01 a.m. ET

As the credits roll, MacFarlane and stage and screen star Kristin Chenoweth sing a tribute to the losers.

11:58 p.m. ET


Ben Affleck and his co-producers (one of whom is George Clooney) are on stage to accept their awards. Affleck acknowledges Steven Spielberg as a genius, tears through his thank yous -- adding "I want to thank Canada" in a heartfelt acceptance speech.

This marks only the second time in the past 30 years that a film has won Best Picture without garnering a direction nomination. The other was 'Driving Miss Daisy' in 1989.

11:54 p.m. ET

Jack Nicholson's on stage now. He introduces Michelle Obama -- who's appearing in a live satellite feed from the White House to announce this year's nominees for Best Picture.

Obama: these films "made us laugh ... weep ... and grip our armrests... and reminded us we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and hard enough .. and look within ourselves..."

Back to Jack now, who finishes presenting the nominees and throw back to Michelle Obama.

11:48 p.m. ET

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis for LINCOLN

He gets a big laugh for saying he was going to do an acting swap with Streep. He was going to play Margaret Thatcher -- while Streep was Spielberg's first choice as Lincoln. He also jokes about persuading Spielberg not to turn Lincoln into a musical.

This is Day-Lewis's third best-actor Oscar. His others were for "My Left Foot" and "There Will Be Blood."

11:45 p.m. ET

Meryl Streep is about to the present the Best Actor Oscar.

11:43 p.m. ET


She also wins award for the first trip walking up the steps. But she gets a standing ovation.

"You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell," she says. Lawrence, 22, is the second-youngest woman to win best actress behind a 21-year-old Marlee Matlin who won for "Children of a Lesser God."

11:41 p.m. ET

Best Actress about to be announced.

11:38 p.m. ET

@TheAcademy tweets: We've got a little surprise presenter planned for Best Picture. #SpoilerAlert #Oscars.

Who could it be?...

11:35 p.m. ET

MacFarlane introduces two legends from 70s and 80s -- an era "when cocaine trees stretched as far as the eye can see." His excuse for this joke: "it's late."

Oscar winners Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas walk on stage to present the nominees for best director.

BEST DIRECTOR awarded to Ang Lee for LIFE OF PI.  Li says 'I love you' to his various crews, including the one in Canada.

11:28 p.m. ET

Dustin Hoffman and Charlize Theron (short guy and tall woman, get it?) present the best ADAPTED SCREENPLAY award to Chris Terrio (ARGO).


Tarantino says his movies will be remembered because of the characters he creates. But he only gets one chance to get the casting right.  "And boy this time, did I do it," he says, commending his actors as well as his fellow nominees. He calls this year 'the writer's year."

MacFarlane then comments on the length of these Oscars, saying the 2014 Oscars is coming up next.

11:16 p.m. ET

BEST SONG goes to Adele for SKYFALL.

11:10 p.m. ET

Canadian winner:

ORIGINAL SCORE goes to Toronto-based LIFE OF PI composer Mychael Danna.

11:04 p.m. ET

Another highly-anticipated moment:  Barbra Streisand sings 'Memories' in a tribute to composer Marvin Hamlisch. She still has it. Standing ovation.

10:57 p.m. ET

George Clooney is brought on to present the 'In Memoria' segment of tonight's broadcast. It's always an uncomfortable moment when certain people get applause and others don't. (Former Beastie Boy Adam Yauch was first to get applause.)

10:50 p.m. ET

Canadian winner:

Daniel Radcliffe and an extremely bored-looking Kristen Stewart present the PRODUCTION DESIGN Oscar to LINCOLN design team Rick Carter & Jim Erickson -- Erickson is from B.C.

(The reaction to Stewart's performance on social media is rather scathing.)

10:44 p.m. ET

Nicole Kidman is introducing three of the nominees for Best Picture: Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, Amour.  (the rest are Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty.)

10:34 p.m. ET

The moment everyone's been awaiting for: Adele sings the theme to "Skyfall."  It's a pretty flawless performance, though perhaps too cool for school? Judging from some of the Twitter reaction and audience reaction, it didn't move people.

10:33 p.m. ET

With an hour(ish) to go in the broadcast -- Sandra Bullock presents the FILM EDITING award to William Goldenberg for ARGO.

10:25 p.m. ET


"It came true," she says, before thanking her co-nominees and her co-stars. Always a gracious winner. She ends her speech by saying "May the misfortunes of Fantine may only be told in stories and never in real life."

Now, why she has to exit to the theme of Godfather playing in the background, is a mystery. 

10:20 p.m. ET

Canadian legend Christopher Plummer, looking classy in a tux and his Order of Canada pin, takes the stage to introduce Best Supporting Actress nominees.

10:15 p.m. ET

MacFarlane's Teddy Bear creation 'Ted' really wants Mark Wahlberg to tell him where the post-Oscar orgy is being held. Wahlberg tells him it's at Jack Nicholson's house. Oh, and they're introducing awards for sound.


SOUND EDITING: It's a tie between ZERO DARK THIRTY & SKYFALL  (The last time there was a tie at the Oscars apparently was in 1968).

10:04 p.m. ET

We're deep in Les Miserables territory now. You've been warned.

Hugh Jackman takes the stage, followed by Anne Hathaway. They're singing "One Day More." Dozens march on stage, as they tend to do in Les Mis. Some of the actors fare better than  others in the singing department, though it's hardly fair to put talented stage star Samantha Barks (Eponine) alongside Russell Crowe (Javert) -- who sneers better than he sings. Jackman has a great voice but demonstrates he doesn't have the technique to sustain his notes - a serious shortcoming when you're playing Jean Valjean.

10:00 p.m. ET

John Travolta, invoking his Pulp Fiction character, introduces the "finest movie musicals over the past decade."

Catherine Zeta Jones reprises her "Chicago" role of Velma Kelly and sings and dances to 'All That Jazz'. The audience seems to like it.  Sort of.

This is followed by Jennifer Hudson singing -- i.e. belting -- 'You're Gonna Love Me' from "Dreamgirls."

9:51 p.m. ET

Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain are on stage now. Although they look stunning, they give strangely wooden readings. They present BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM to France's AMOUR.

9:45 p.m. ET

Seth MacFarlane points out that Ben Affleck went from starring in the embarrassing Gigli (2003) to directing one of the most acclaimed films this year in 'Argo'. Affleck's now on stage to announce the nominees for BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, which goes to: SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN (and the director becomes the second person tonight to be musically booted off the stage by the Jaws theme.)

9:38 p.m. ET

He's done several films since, but Liam Neeson still cannot seem to avoid entering any awards shows to the theme from Schindler's List.

9:37 p.m. ET


9:35 p.m. ET


Nominated Afghan-Canadian filmmaker Ariel Nasr does not win for his film "Buzkashi Boys".

9:27 p.m. ET

Halle Berry introduces a tribute to James Bond's 50th Anniversary. We were treated to a montage - and then Shirley Bassey singing a dramatic rendition of "Goldfinger."  The highlight of the night so far. The standing ovation she got was well-deserved. And possibly the first sincere moment at these Oscars.

9:17 p.m. ET

Compared with previous presenters, Jennifer Aniston and Channing Tatum actually have chemistry together as they introduce BEST COSTUME DESIGN, which goes to: Jacqueline Durran for ANNA KARENINA

So how are you all doing in your Oscar Pools so far?

9:11 p.m. ET


(The Avengers cast is up here introducing -- and they are bombing. Painfully. With so much talent on stage you have to ask how this happens.)

VISUAL EFFECTS goes to LIFE OF PI and Guillaume Rocheron - based out of Vancouver - is part of this visual effects team (he was born in France).

How rude - the team is being booted off the stage to the tune of 'Jaws.'  Note: this marks the first winner who's been given the musical boot in these awards.

9:04 p.m. ET

Warm applause after MacFarlane introduces Quvenzhane Wallis, the youngest Oscar nominee ever at nine years old.  MacFarlane says Wallis is probably thinking: "I really hope I don't lose to that old lady, Jennifer Lawrence".  

He adds:  'It'll be 16 years before she's too young for George Clooney."  Clooney takes it in stride.

8:59 p.m. ET

Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy are usually very funny ... just not this time, as they announce the BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM -- which went to PAPERMAN.


8:53 p.m. ET


A gracious and eloquent Waltz bows deeply to his co-nominees. He's indebted to Quentin Tarantino and tells the director: "You slayed the dragon because you're not afraid of it."

8:46 p.m. ET

MacFarlane really does have a fine singing voice. Better than half the leads in Les Miserables, anyway.

8:44 p.m. ET

Cut to the Green Room, where we see MacFarlane on wires as the flying nun, intruding (and hitting) on Sally Field. The skit doesn't quite hit the mark ... There's polite applause from the audience.

8:42 p.m. ET

More singing. This time MacFarlane's got company in the tuxedoed forms of Joseph Gordon Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe who do a charming little routine to 'High Hopes'.

8:41 p.m. ET

And now a scene with puppets, who are snorting coke, and then flying a plane (a riff on 'Flight' with Denzel Washington).

8:39 p.m. ET

MacFarlane demonstrates he has a fine singing voice as he croons "The Way You Look Tonight" as Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum do an Astaire-Rogers type number.

8:37 p.m. ET

William Shatner appears on a giant screen in full Captain James Kirk mode, saying he travelled back in time to save MacFarlane from ruining the Oscars. "Your jokes are tasteless and inappropriate, and everyone ends up hating you," warns Shatner.

8:36 p.m. ET

MacFarlane comments on the liberal use of the 'N word' in Quentin Tarantino's "Django" -- he says the script was loosely based on "Mel Gibson's voice mail."  A chorus of groans ensues, after which MacFarlane says to the crowd: "Oh, so you're on HIS side? 

8:32 p.m. ET

MacFarlane's first quip: "The quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh beings now."  Cut to Jones, who was genuinely laughing.  (phew!)  Then pokes fun at Ben Affleck -- saying the director of "Argo" is so secret, he's unrecognized by the Academy.  Affleck looked less amused than Jones.

8:25 p.m. ET

Five minutes until the show stars.  Let's see what Seth MacFarlane has up his sleeve. And will "Argo" pull it off and win best picture without a directing nomination for Ben Affleck?

8:12 p.m. ET

Russell Crowe tweeted the 'butterflies are kicking in' -- as he and his fellow Les Miserables cast members are getting ready to 'rock the house tonight'.

7:59 p.m. ET

Oscar Buzz: Top 3 trending topics at the moment are: 1) Chris Evans 2) Hugh Jackman 3) Adele

7:51 p.m. ET

Share your comments with us!  Including your predictions, thoughts on the show so far...  There's a comments section below.  Here's one from "Domenica O'Toole" who writes:

"It's not likely, but oh how I do hope Argo loses as best picture. Maybe it should win as "Best Fiction", because the true heroes were the Canadians, and Ben Affleck credited Americans with the heroism they did not deserve. Even the President acknowledged that 90% of the risks was taken by Canadians. Shame on Ben Affleck. I will boycott this movie, and any other movie he makes, unless he makes an apology to Canada."

Thanks for the note, Domenica.  In case you missed it, click here to read W5's fascinating story on the 'glaring omissions' Affleck's film made when it came to the Canadian involvement in the escape of 6 U.S. diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis.  

7:36 p.m. ET

As the New York Times' Brian Stelter points out:  starting now, ABC has exclusive TV rights to the Oscars Red Carpet -- which is why other broadcasters have cut away from it. The CTV main network will pick up Academy Awards coverage again LIVE at 8:00 p.m. ET.

7:16 p.m. ET

This from U.S. President @BarackObama's twitter account a few minutes ago:  Happy night.

6:18 p.m. ET

We'll be blogging in earnest here once the awards show starts at 8:30 p.m. ET.  In the meantime you can follow coverage of the Red Carpet by's Andrea Janus here.

6:12 p.m. ET

On Twitter, Oscars host Seth MacFarlane is promising "no cheap wiener jokes." 

"Only expensive wiener jokes"

5:17 p.m. ET

Less than 3 hours to go before the broadcast begins. Coverage starts on CTV at 8 p.m. ET with the 'Red Carpet Live' -- followed by the awards broadcast at 8:30 p.m. ET. will also be live streaming the event. Click here for more info.