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Originally published February 24, 2013 at 9:59 PM | Page modified February 24, 2013 at 10:12 PM

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‘Argo,’ ‘Pi’ split honors

The 85th Academy Awards had its share of glamour, surprises and laughs.

AP Movie Writer

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LOS ANGELES — Ben Affleck’s “Argo,” a film about a fake movie, has earned a very real prize: best picture at the Academy Awards.

From the White House, first lady Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson to help present the final prize.

“There are eight great films that have every right, as much a right to be up here as we do,” Affleck said of the other best-picture nominees.

In share-the-wealth mode, Oscar voters spread Sunday’s honors among a range of films, with “Argo” winning three trophies but “Life of Pi” leading with four.

Daniel Day-Lewis has joined a select group of Academy Award recipients with his third Oscar, taking the best-actor trophy Sunday for his monumental performance as Abraham Lincoln.

“Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence has triumphed in Hollywood’s big games, winning the best actress as a damaged soul in “Silver Linings Playbook,” while Ang Lee pulled off a huge upset as best director for “Life of Pi.”

“You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell,” Lawrence, who tripped on her way up to the stage, joked as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.

At 22, Lawrence is the second-youngest woman to win best actress, behind Marlee Matlin, who was 21 when she won for “Children of a Lesser God.”

Lee won best director for the shipwreck story “Life of Pi,” taking the prize over Steven Spielberg, who had been favored for “Lincoln.”

Anne Hathaway took home a supporting-actress Oscar for her role as a doomed mother-turned-prostitute in the musical “Les Misérables.”

Christoph Waltz won his second supporting-actor Oscar for a Quentin 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.”

With a monumental performance as Abraham Lincoln, Day-Lewis became the only performer to win three best-actor Oscars, adding to the honors he earned for “My Left Foot” and “There Will Be Blood.” He’s just the sixth actor to earn three or more Oscars, tied with Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Brennan with three each, and just behind Katharine Hepburn, who won four.

“Life of Pi” also won for its score, which blends Indian and Western instruments and influences, plus cinematography and visual effects.

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.”

“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.”

“Argo” claimed the Oscar for adapted screenplay for Chris Terrio, who worked with Affleck to create a liberally embellished story based on an article about the rescue and part of CIA operative Tony Mendez’s memoir.

The foreign-language prize went to Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke’s old-age love story “Amour,” which had been a major surprise with five nominations, including picture, director and original screenplay for Haneke and best actress for Emmanuelle Riva, who turned 86 on Sunday and would be the oldest acting winner ever.

The top prize winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, “Amour” follows the agonizing story of an elderly man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) tending his wife (Riva) as she declines from age and illness.

The Scottish adventure “Brave,” from Disney’s Pixar Animation unit, was named best animated feature. Pixar films have won seven of the 12 Oscars since the category was added.

The upbeat musical portrait “Searching for Sugar Man” took the documentary feature prize. The film follows the quest of two South African fans to discover the fate of acclaimed but obscure singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, who dropped out of sight after two albums in the 1970s and was rumored to have died a bitter death.

“Thanks to one of the greatest singers ever, Rodriguez,” said “Sugar Man” director Malik Bendjelloul.

There was a rare tie in one category, with the Osama bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty” and the James Bond tale “Skyfall” each winning for sound editing.

William Shatner made a guest appearance as his “Star Trek” character Capt. James Kirk, appearing on a giant screen above the stage during MacFarlane’s monologue, saying he came back in time to stop the host from ruining the Oscars.

“Your jokes are tasteless and inappropriate, and everyone ends up hating you,” said Shatner, who revealed a headline supposedly from the next day’s newspaper that read, “Seth MacFarlane worst Oscar host ever.”

The performance-heavy Oscars also included an opening number featuring Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum, who did a classy dance while MacFarlane crooned “The Way You Look Tonight.” Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt then joined MacFarlane for an elegant musical rendition of “High Hopes.”

Halle Berry introduced a tribute to the Bond franchise, in which she has co-starred, as the British superspy celebrated his 50th anniversary on the big-screen last year with the latest adventure “Skyfall.” Shirley Bassey sang her theme song to the 1960s Bond tale “Goldfinger.” Later, pop star Adele performed her theme tune from “Skyfall,” which won the best-song Oscar.

Barbra Streisand injected some musical sentiment into the show’s segment memorializing Hollywood figures who died in the past year as she sang “The Way We Were,” the Oscar-winning song she did in the film of the same name.

A salute to the resurgence of movie musicals in the past decade included Oscar winners Catherine Zeta-Jones singing “All That Jazz” from “Chicago” and Jennifer Hudson doing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from “Dreamgirls.” Hathaway and Hugh Jackman joined cast mates of best-picture contender “Les Misérables” to sing songs from their musical.

Academy officials said all performances were sung live.

Fans had pondered how far MacFarlane, the impudent creator of “Family Guy,” might push the normally prim and proper Oscars. MacFarlane was generally polite and respectful, showcasing his charm, wit and vocal gifts.

MacFarlane did press his luck a bit on an Abraham Lincoln joke, noting that Raymond Massey preceded “Lincoln” star Daniel Day-Lewis as an Oscar nominee for 1940’s “Abe Lincoln in Illinois.”

“I would argue that the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth,” MacFarlane wisecracked, earning some groans from the crowd. “A hundred and 50 years later, and it’s still too soon?”

AP writers Christy Lemire, Sandy Cohen, Beth Harris and Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.

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