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Academy Awards highs and lows

Gail Choice | 2/27/2013, 5 p.m.

"Django Unchained" walked away with two Oscars at the 85th annual Academy Awards ceremony last Sunday. The controversial Spaghetti Western starring Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx and directed and written by Quentin Tarantino gave audiences a different look at slavery in America. In true Tarantino fashion, it kicked butt!

Tarantino won for Best Original Screenplay, his second Oscar in that category. In 1995, Tarantino along with Roger Avary won for "Pulp Fiction." The second award for "Django Unchained," went to Christoph Waltz, who won for Best Supporting Actor. This was also Waltz's second Oscar in the same category with the other coming from Tarantino film "Inglourious Basterds."

Waltz starred as the rather comical, calm and deadly bounty hunter who freed Django, and taught him everything he knew about being a bounty hunter.

Backstage, when Tarantino came face to face with the media, he was asked how it felt to win the Oscar for best writing amid all the criticism his film faced. Tarantino responded, "All that criticism that came out, it ended up being kind of a good thing because one of the things I want to do, I want to actually start a conversation about slavery . . . about America's role in it. And to actually take an audience member from the 21st century and stick them in the antebellum South and see, have a sense of what America is like back then."

He continued, "And even the people who have criticized the movie--a lot of people don't like it--I can understand that . . . and a lot of people like it. And that back and forth is really what I wanted for the end of the day for this movie. And I hope that it continues for the next few years."

Dame Shirley Bassey, the voice behind the iconic theme songs for the James Bond films "Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Moonraker," made her first appearance on the 85th annual Academy Awards.

Talk about class and style, who doesn't love Dame Shirley Bassey. And on Oscar night, she did not disappoint. The epitome of elegance, she belted out "Goldfinger," hands on hips when appropriate, with passion and grace and received a standing ovation after wowing the audience. As one reporter put it . . . "leave it to a dame."

First lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance on the premier awards show via satellite to bestow the Best Picture Oscar to "Argo," flanked by military personnel. She looked as beautiful as ever.

There is always a low point. Here is how the Los Angeles Times reporter Nicole Sperling put it: "It was the Oscar night tweet heard 'round the world: While 9-year-old lead actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis was enjoying her first Academy Award celebration, satirical website the Onion was disparaging the 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' star with a tweet that generated outrage.

The tweet read, in part: "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is a 'cunt ...'

The Onion issued an apology on Monday for publishing an offensive tweet during Sunday's Oscars telecast about Quvenzhané Wallis, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

"On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars," Steve Hannah, the satirical newspaper's chief executive, wrote in a post on the publication's Facebook page. "It was crude and offensive, not to mention inconsistent with The Onion's commitment to parody and satire, however biting."

"No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire," Hannah continued. "We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again. In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible. Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry."

Gail can be reached at gail@hollywoodbychoice.com