Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures Takes Families on a Fun-Fueled Excursion to Iconic Disney Destinations Tickets for All-New Show Coming to Orlando On Sale May 21

Orlando, Fla. – May 15, 2019 – Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures will whisk families away on an immersive getaway chock-full of magical participatory moments. Featuring new and classic tales, this a multi-generational experience visits Orlando from September 6-8, 2019 for six performances at Amway Center. Tickets go on sale May 21.

Hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride in Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Exciting twists and turns await as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and guests of all ages embark on an interactive and memory-rich adventure to iconic Disney destinations. See the world from the rooftops of London with Mary Poppins and Jack and his band of dancing lamplighters. Travel to the sun-soaked Motunui and help Moana restore the heart of Te Fiti. Set off on a safari and snap unforgettable photos of wild cheetahs and monkeys when guests traverse through the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa. Discover a whole new world and be swept up in Aladdin’s princely parade filled with spectacular stunts, magical moments with Genie, and a brand-new song from Jasmine that will render the audience “Speechless.”  Mosey on over to a larger-than-life comedic carnival and team up with Woody and Bo Peep as they search for their new friend Forky.  Fans will hit a high note with Mickey and pals during the Disney edition of Road Trip Karaoke as they introduce Rapunzel, Belle, Ariel, Mulan and Tiana. Families should be prepared for a getaway jam-packed with unexpected hijinks and surprise, up-close character interaction as Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures makes a pitstop right in Orlando!


For ticket information, visit DisneyOnIce.com
Orlando Show Times: Friday, September 6, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 7, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, September 8, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Venue: Amway Center, 400 W. Church Street #200, Orlando, FL 32801
For group rates and information, reach out to 866-248-8740. Stay current on the latest developments through social media:Facebook:  www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce
Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #RoadTripAdventures
YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce
Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

About Feld EntertainmentFeld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On IceDisney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!DreamWorks Trolls The Experience and Jurassic World Live Tour (coming Fall 2019). Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit feldentertainment.com for more information.

Full Moon Features Takes on Bold Venture In Interactive Feature Filmmaking With “Deadly Ten”

Live-Streamed Production of Ten Original Full Moon Feature Films

HOLLYWOOD, April 20, 2019 – DEADLY TEN is an immersive cinematic initiative that will see Full Moon Features boldly producing a series of ten original genre films, live-streamed in front of fans. These ten films will include sequels of beloved Full Moon franchises, a spin on classic cult favorites, and daring soon-to-be essential genre films. Principal photography will begin shooting in June 2019 and continue throughout the year in Europe and North America. Release for the DEADLY TEN is slated for Spring 2020, and will premiere exclusively on Full Moon’s Amazon Prime Channel.

In an unprecedented move, Full Moon will be giving fans an all access pass to this unique production by providing an inside peek into the magic of genre filmmaking. Fans will be able to log into the DEADLY TEN website (www.DeadlyTen.com) and watch the current motion picture being shot in real time. Live feeds, exclusive on-set interviews, special effects secrets, pre-and post-production videos, interactive director’s blogs and more. Through this immersive experience, cineastes and budding young filmmakers can delve deep into mechanics of the movies and learn first-hand all about the joys, struggles, creativity, and hard work that goes into making a fully produced, independent feature film.

“This is one of the most exciting Full Moon production initiatives since our ’90s video store heyday,” says Full Moon founder and cult movie legend Charles Band. “It’s ambitious, high concept, a bit insane and there’s never been another interactive filmmaking concept quite like this. As Full Moon thrives in the new terrain of streaming and takes viewers to places not many have gone before, we hope fans will love being a part of our new adventure!”

The DEADLY TEN film slate will include:
BLADE: THE IRON CROSS (Dir:John Lechago)
BRIDE OF THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY (Dir: Charles Band)
NECROPOLIS: LEGION (Dir: Chris Alexander)
SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA 2 (Dir: David De Coteau, Brinke Stevens)
BLOOD RISE: SUBSPECIES V (Dir: Ted Nicolaou)
HALLOWEED NIGHT (Dir: Danny Draven)
THE HOURGLASS (Dir: Ryan Brookhart)
FEMALIEN: COSMIC CRUSH (Dir: Lindsey Schmitz)
THE SHADOWHEART CURSE (Dir: Charles Band)
THE GRIM RAPPER (Dir: Billy Butler)

ABOUT FULL MOON FEATURES
Founded in 1989 by iconic independent film producer and director Charles Band, Full Moon is the successor to Band’s groundbreaking Empire Pictures Studio from the 1980’s. With Empire, Band created now-classic horror films like RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND and GHOULIES. Band’s films helped launch the career of many of Hollywood’s biggest stars including Demi Moore (PARASITE), Helen Hunt (TRANCERS), and Viggo Mortensen (PRISON), to name a few. With Full Moon, Band has produced over 150 films, including the PUPPET MASTER franchise, SUBSPECIES, PIT AND THE PENDULUM, CASTLE FREAK, DOLLMAN, DEMONIC TOYS, PREHYSTERIA!, EVIL BONG and many more. As well as feature films, Full Moon produces original series, toys, collectibles, merchandise, comic books and publishes the popular horror film magazine DELIRIUM.

Positron’s Voyager VR Chair Takes Off with First Man

Positron CEO Jeffrey Travis

It’s safe to say I will try anything when it comes to new theatrical experiences. I’ve always loved Lincoln Square’s IMAX screenings, I’ve seen entire Broadway plays done in binaural audio (that’s “3D” sound) and even shelled out extra ticket money to see a favorite film in 4DX once or twice. So I was excited to try out Positron’s Voyager Chair, a VR experience which is being deployed to several theater celebrating the release of Universal’s First Man. Guests heading out to several AMC locations across the nation have not only the chance to just see the Damian Chazelle film, which is released on October 12th, but to take a small excursion to the moon themselves.

I got to try out the Voyager chair on Tuesday both with the First Man VR experience as well as a seasonally-appropriate horror short called “Night Night” and was really impressed with the level of immersion, from the spatial audio to truly being able to look in all directions within my headset. My First Man mission even had an animated co-pilot! Best of all, the Voyager chair itself, whose design looks straight out of Men In Black, was actually pretty comfortable and even after these two shorts I felt no sort of motion sickness, which I was wary of considering 3D films can give me a headache.

Positron’s CEO Jeffrey Travis was in New York this week with the Voyager to talk about the potential that this technology presents to cinematic VR experiences.

Lauren Damon: Was this pod created just for First Man?

Jeffrey Travis: No, we created this to be a platform for cinematic VR in general. So the first kind of wider public experience was we did The Mummy with Universal. So we’ve done three experiences with Universal–The Mummy, Jurassic World and First Man. It was all really cool. But there’s a lot of other studios and places that we use these with. The idea is to create ultimately VR cinemas.

LD: Is the goal here to get whole theaters of these?

JT: Yeah! So we can do theaters with this. Mini ones of twos or threes and we actually set that up here at Pod hotels here in Brooklyn. It’s open to the public. We have pairs of chairs at AMC theaters here in New York at Lincoln Square, San Francisco, DC, LA, but eventually we’re going to be putting this in permanent installations and creating VR theaters of 30-40 chairs and people could buy a ticket and come for an experience that’s either like something of what you’ve just experienced or longer. Somewhere from a half hour to an hour.

LD: Yeah because how long can you view it without feeling it too much?

JT: Yeah we talk about that. I think the ideal length is about half an hour for cinematic VR. I think longer than that, the headsets can get a little heavy on some people. But those are being made by companies like Facebook and Samsung and Microsoft and HP and they’re getting better all the time. So I think we will be able to have 90 minute VR experiences. But right now a half hour feels like a very full meal.

LD: What would the price point be in terms of ticketing?

JT: So probably around—it depends on experience—but probably averaging around $30.

LD: That price is actually similar to they have those “4D[x]” theaters here, what are your thoughts on those?

JT: We do get asked about that. I think it’s still fundamentally different. You know, to me the 4D movie theater, you’re adding some sensory effects that compliment the 2D screen experience. Which is fine and good, but what we’re trying to do here is really bring VR to where you forget about the screen, you even forget about the motion…So it’s almost like you don’t notice it’s happening. You should just feel like you’re actually in the story. That’s kind of the goal, not just a little enhancement but something that’s integrated.

LD: How much testing goes into something like this? How much time does it take to produce?

JT: It really depends on the piece but it goes through a lot of testing. Several months. This next piece that we’re working on is called “Shady Friend,” a VR comedy starring Weird Al Yankovic. It’s a psychedelic comedy that uses scent as well and it’s about a guy that accidentally takes this latest designer drug and goes on this crazy LSD trip. So we’re using motion, haptics and scent and it’s in post-production right now, we shot in July, and it will probably be ready by January. About six months.

LD: When did you start working on this particular First Man experience?

JT: First Man, so that was produced by Ryot and CreateVR and they started actually just two months ago. It was a very accelerated schedule. Which is a little more unusual.

LD: Was all that footage created for this VR?

JT: So obviously the stuff you’re seeing in Mission Control and on the screens is from the film, but then everything else for the VR experience had to be created from scratch. The films assets are mostly 2D and we needed to create these 3D volumetric environments like the moon.

LD: Are you going to get Ryan Gosling to try this out?

JT: I hope so! We had them at the premiere of First Man in the space there. So he was there, I didn’t get a word whether he did it or not. I know the producers of First Man got in there.

LD: There’s definitely a push to add more to theaters considering how much is available for home streaming, do you see this as adding to that?

JT: That’s the idea. I think that movies are certainly in the US and North America, struggling with people going to the box office because they’d often rather stay at home and stream on Netflix. So I think part if the appeal for this is that hey, this is an experience you really can’t get at home. At least not yet. And this brings people out to the movies or at least out to our locations and experiences.

LD: What other films will be having similar tie-in experiences like this?

JT: I mean there’s some coming we can’t really talk about, because they’re not really announced yet. But we’re working working with several other studios besides Universal on some titles and we’ll be announcing as we can.

Positron’s Voyager Chair is offering First Man experiences through October 14th at AMC Theaters in NY’s Lincoln Square, DC’s Georgetown 14, San Francisco’s Metreon 16 and LA’s Universal Citywalk locations

New Jersey Kiss Expo takes over Somerset, NY on Sunday, October 9th 2016

New Jersey Kiss Expo takes over Somerset, NY on Sunday, October 9th 2016
Tickets on sale now.

One of the longest running and largest Kiss fan expo’s in the world returns this year to the Somerset/Bridgewater Hotel (formerly the Crowne Plaza) in Somerset, NJ. On Sunday October 9th 2016 the rooms and halls of the hotel will be ALIVE with all things KISS! From endless tables of collectibles and rarities to a star studded list of celebrities including current Kiss drummer Eric Singer and former Kiss/current Grand Funk guitarist Bruce Kulick. There will plenty of other events also happing through out the day making this year’s expo the must see event for Kiss fans of all ages.

For tickets and complete event info visit: www.njkissexpo.com

Michael Biehn Takes on Different Kind of Role in This Latest Dark Thriller, “Treachery”, to Be Released on VOD September 1st.

LOS ANGELES- Talent Management, Production, Distribution and Marketing Company Traverse Media, announced today the North American release date for Blanc/Biehn Production’s latest Movie TREACHERY on Video on Demand (VOD).

TREACHERY stars Michael Biehn along with a fantastic ensemble cast that includes Jennifer Blanc Biehn (The Divide, Everly, Wrong Cops), Sarah Butler (I Spit on Your Grave remake), Caitlin Keats (Kill Bill Vol. 2, Broken English), Chris Meyer (Among Friends) and Matthew Ziff (Truck Stop, Altered Perception).

Bringing to life real family drama, TREACHERY dives into the deep roots that binds a family and the darker secrets that family can create. Travis Romero (TV’s “White Collar”, THE VICTIM) wrote and directed TREACHERY, which centers on a man (Biehn) who is reunited with his estranged son at a remote wedding party. When a storm strands the party, ugly truths are revealed.

Biehn is best known for his work in The Terminator and Aliens movies but has developed a niche for himself producing low-budget grindhouse-style productions. He is producing Treachery via his BlancBiehn Productions, which he runs with his wife and partner Jennifer Blanc Biehn.

“I always love playing humanitarian type characters and characters that are the real good guys,” says Michael Biehn, with a wink and a nod.

“With an incredible cast, Michael and I were excited to take this story and make it come to life,” Jennifer Blanc-Biehn

TREACHERY will be available from September 1st on:  iTunes, Amazon Prime, Amazon Instant Play, Google Play, VUDU, Vimeo on Demand and across Cable VOD.

About Traverse Media:

Traverse Media is a talent management, production and distribution marketing and distribution company for the independent filmmaker created by independent filmmakers. We provide distribution with active digital profiling and campaigning via the Internet’s best-known film sites. Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TraverseMedia and Follow us on Twitter @Traverse_Media

ABOUT BLANC/BIEHN PRODUCTIONS:

Blanc Biehn Productions is the partnership of famed actors Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn. The pair decided to put their passion for acting and filmmaking together, creating their own production company. The duo produced and starred in Biehn’s directorial debut, THE VICTIM, a grindhouse film which co-stars scream queen, Danielle Harris.  The company recently finished post-production on TREACHERY and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn’s directorial debut THE NIGHT VISITOR. They are currently in post-production on HIDDEN IN THE WOODS REMAKE and THE GIRL, starring Biehn and Tia Carrere. Other films in development include ALTERED PERCEPTION, SHE RISES, starring Angus MacFadyen, THE NIGHT VISITOR 2, GET BACK JOE, and PYSCHOPHONIA with 2013 Nicholls Fellowship winner Barbara Stepanski, to be directed by award winning filmmaker Paticia Chica. Look out for more releases on their slate as well as festival screenings in the near future, as well as a new list of fabulous directors being added to the roster. For more information on upcoming BBP features, please go to www.TheBBBasement.com and sign up for news and updates. Many projects are currently in post-production with partner, executive Lony Ruhman.

“Intramural” Takes the Field at Tribeca Film Festival

I think you may have been hard pressed this past week at the Tribeca Film Fest to find a more entertaining red carpet than that of Andrew Disney’s sports comedy, Intramural. Packed with comedic talent, the film enjoyably marries the comedic sensibilities of 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer with the game plans of sports movies almost too numerous to list. Much of the cast and creators gathered on the carpet to discuss the inspiration behind the film and their characters.

Lauren Damon: Can you talk about movies that inspired Intramural?

Director, Andrew Disney: I think comedy-wise, Wet Hot American Summer, Hot Rod–which I think is so underrated—a bit of Happy Gilmore and Teen Wolf, I watched a lot of Teen Wolf–

LD: And from that you did manage to incorporate a little supernatural into your players–

Disney: Right! Right, which I love in Teen Wolf, they just accept it in that world.

Nick Kocher plays Grant, former Panthers team player, back on the field to coach the team to victory after an accident paralyzed him from the balls down.

LD: Your character goes through a dramatic transformation into the coach, did you draw the DNA from other classic sports movie coaches to create him?

Nick Kocher: Did I ‘draw the DNA’? [laughs] I love that! Yeah, I mean the character’s like somewhat similar to the Rip Torn character in Dodgeball in that he’s in a wheelchair but then my character’s also like 22 in the movie so like the fact that he becomes this–I think it’s more I drew inspiration from a guy who would draw inspiration from these coaches. He just watches these movies all day long and you know wants to be this person so literally becomes this character given the opportunity.

LD: You think these movies were most of his childhood?

Kocher: I think Grant hasn’t really had that much attention paid to him and then he gets a lot of attention paid to him when he makes this game winning  catch and realizes this is all he wants to do with his life…is just live out these weird sports fantasies and like get attention that way. That was sort of–I love that you’re asking me these in depth questions about this character!

LD: I enjoyed the movie!

Kocher: No, that’s amazing!

LD: Finally, is Coach Grant aware that there are two sports commentators [SNL’s Jay Pharoah and DC Pierson, recently of the Apple guy in The Winter Soldier] talking about his game?

Kocher: [laughs] No! I don’t think they can hear it. I think they’re aware there’s two like stoner guys who come to each game and they’re like ‘oh what’re those guys talking about? I dunno!’ but the stakes are just as high for all of them.

 

Beck Bennett, who is currently enjoying his first season on “Saturday Night Live”, plays the evil Dick Downs, captain of the opposing team.

LD: What famous film rivals inspired Dick?

Bennett: A lot of things that Ben Stiller does, he was always an influence. Like his character in Heavyweights and also in Dodgeball. Will Ferrell in Zoolander, that’s not a sports movie, but those types of bad guys. Also Bradley Whitford in…

LD: Happy Gilmore?

Bennett: Happy Gilmore.

LD: Oh, not Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison–uh oh, Adam Sandler mix up. I think we’ve committed an SNL crime!

Bennett: You lead me astray! I didn’t say it! You said it!

LD: I’m calling Lorne Michaels!

Bennett: [laughs] So yeah, those are some of the great comedy bad guys.

 

Backing up Dick Downs is the lackey whose actually a nice guy, Ace, played by Kirk C. Johnson.

LD: Do you have any favorite sports movie rivals?

Johnson: Yeah, for sure. Like Necessary Roughness, have you ever seen that? Yeah, they spit in each other’s mouths before to get each other pumped up. They hit each other on the shoulders and spit at eachother, that. And then like the actual real ones, like Remember the Titans, Rocky and Little Giants. Little Giants is very influential for me.
Kate McKinnon, also of SNL, plays the Vicky who Mckinnon described as “just a girlfriend who just really loves her man but just doesn’t know how to do it quite right.” I asked if she felt out of the sports action of the movie:

McKinnon: I didn’t feel left out not getting to do the sports scenes because I am a horrible athlete and it was Texas in July and I would have died. So no, I didn’t feel left out. I feel that I was spared from a terrible thing.

Creating a sports movie, I asked the cast whether there were any actual football going on off screen. Gabriel Luna, who plays Vinnie, first gave us the details of on-set games:

Luna: No, we played a lot of Cornhole which is a beanbag you throw in a platform. We did a lot of that. A lot of competitive drinking. A game that Nick and Brian [McElhaney] invented called Running Flipcup Charades. Which you may have seen on the Much Ado About Nothing extra features. They played it on a bus, which blows my mind, I don’t know if that’s even possible but apparently they did.

Disney: Cornhole? Yeah I played a lot of cornhole. I wasn’t as much in the competitions, I usually try–when I make a film, I try to abstain from alcohol which is hard but I think it’s good for a director. Like Cool Runnings how like that guy is always in his room studying while…well anyway! I don’t why I’m talking about Cool Runnings, I could talk about cool runnings forever!

Nick Kocher, who detailed the entire rules for Running Flipcup charades for me added:

Kocher: There’s lots of injuries. Brian broke his toe…Also I can say playing Running Flipcup Charades, people were playing much more intensely than they did the actual film sports film. People gave much more of their all to the drinking games.

Finally, seeing as so many of the creators mentioned [Walt] Disney sports movies as influencing them (McKinnon also cited The Mighty Ducks as a favorite), I couldn’t help but wonder if they could see Andrew Disney’s name bringing in the Miracle or Invincible-watching crowd:

Disney: I love Disney sports films! I mean I love like Cool Runnings and grew up watching every Disney sports film…

Johnson: [laughs] I hope! I hope that this says “DISNEY’S INTRAMURAL” that’d be great, yeah. We should make like a mock logo that looks exactly like it, it’d be perfect.

Kocher: GOD WILLING we get confused with the Disney sports film because then it’ll make a lot of money!

You can check out our 4-star review of Intramural, here, and view the trailer below:

Blu-ray Review “Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation”

Starring: James Stewart, Maureen O’Hara, Fabian, John Saxon, John McGiver
Director: Henry Koster
Distributed by: Twilight Time
Run Time: 115 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: April 8, 2014

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love Jimmy Stewart? The 60’s were an interesting transition for the Hollywood legend. “Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation” was released in 1962 and is a fun and slightly dark family comedy. It was directed and written by a pair of Hollywood veterans, Henry Koster and Nunnally Johnson. It co-stars the always gorgeous and very talent Maureen O’Hara. Stewart fans are going to want to check this out for yet another gem from Twilight Time.

Official Premise: The apparently light-hearted comedy, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), reveals an intriguing darker side in its tale of a family get-together gone awry. Little kids are monstrous, older kids suffer from self-esteem problems, grown-up kids have marital difficulties of distressingly diverse natures—and all are presided over by a decidedly grumpy (if great) James Stewart, waging the familial wars with a more idealistic helpmate (Maureen O’Hara) at his side.

This Blu-ray release is an Screen Archives Entertainment Exclusive and is a Limited Edition release with only 3000 copies produced. The Blu-ray looks suprising with its 1080p transfer in 2.35:1, especially for a film that is over 50 years old. The only thing that age has really effective is the color of the film, it doesn’t feel quite that sharp as it should or was in the past. The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono tracks woks well for this dialogue driven comedy, also the score by Henry Mancini is amazing.

In terms of special features, there is not a lot here to impress you. There is a very short set visit called “Movietone Movie Lot” and also the original theatrical trailer. But the main extra is really the Isolated Score Track, which is delivered in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. This score has been often overlooked and it is a shame because watching this track, I realized how much I actually love it. Henry Mancini is an amazing composer.  So score fans will enjoy, otherwise not much else here.

Alfonso Cuaron Takes Home the DGA Prize for “Gravity”

Alfonso Cuaron moved one step closer to a directing Oscar when he was named the winner of the 66th Annual Director’s Guild Award. Cuaron took home the Best Feature Film prize for his work on the film, “Gravity.”

Other winners include Vince Gilligan, for the final episode of “Breaking Bad” for television drama; Steven Soderbergh for HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra” for movie/mini-series for television and Beth McCarthy-Miller for television comedy for the “Hogcock!/Last Lunch” episode of “30 Rock.”

Jehane Noujaim won the prize for best documentary feature for “The Square.”

Cuaron’s win puts makes him the odds on favorite to win the Academy Award for Directing on March 2.

Only seven times in the past has the DGA winner not gone on to win the Oscar:

YEAR                  DGA WINNER                                                                    ACADEMY AWARD WINNER
1968                    Anthony Harvey – “The Lion in Winter                     Carol Reed – “Oliver”
1972                    Francis Ford Coppola – “The Godfather”                 Bob Fosse – “Cabaret”
1985                    Steven Spielberg – “The Color Purple”           Sydney Pollock – “Out of Africa”
1995                    Ron Howard – “Apollo 13”                                              Mel Gibson – “Braveheart”
2001                   Ang Lee – “Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon”   Steven Soderbergh – “Traffic”
2003                   Rob Marshall – “Chicago”                                            Roman Polanski – “The Pianist”
2012                    Ben Affleck – “Argo”                                                         Ang Lee – “Life of Pi”
Incredibly, in the year they won the DGA award, Spielberg, Howard and Affleck were not nominated for the Oscar.

Affleck's Revenge Complete – "Argo" Takes Best Picture

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since a baby faced Ben Affleck, his voice cracking, accepted the Best Original Screenplay Oscar with Matt Damon for “Good Will Hunting.” Since then, Affleck’s career has had more ups and downs and twists and turns then all the rides at Disney World combined. And when he wasn’t nominated for his outstanding work of directing “Argo” (ironically he went on to win almost every other prestigious directing award, including the BAFTA and the DGA) he became an underdog again. Affleck and company climbed back atop the Oscar mountain last night when “Argo,” which Affleck also produced with Grant Heslov and George Clooney, took home the Best Picture trophy at the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Though it seemed to some that “Lincoln” was the favorite, I knew a month ago that the backlash in Hollywood over Affleck not getting the director nomination would help the film cross the finish line first. Remember: actors make up the largest branch of the Academy, which means they have the most votes. And every actor secretly wants to direct. So when one of their own was denied the wagons were circled.

The night saw a few certainties as well as a few surprises. I wonder how many people’s Oscar pool was blown when Christoph Waltz was named Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Django Unchained.” It was Waltz’s second Oscar in three years, having previously won for “Inglorious Basterds.” Like he did then, Waltz thanked the films writer/director Quentin Tarantino, even finishing his speeck with a few lines from the script.

“Brave” was the surprise winner of the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, with the award going to co-directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman. The moment had to feel special for Chapman, who was removed from the film during production. The first “I knew it” award of the evening went to Anne Hathaway who won the award as Best Supporting Actress for “Les Miserables.”

Speaking of “Les Miz,” several members of the cast took to the stage to belt out a medley of hits from the show, resulting in one of the nights prolonged standing ovations. Another was reserved for Dame Shirley Bassey, who showed she still has the pipes as she belted out the theme to “Goldfinger.” Her performance was the highlight of a very tepid salute to the 50th Anniversary of James Bond. The prevailing rumor was that all six actors who portrayed Bond on screen (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig) would appear but alas it didn’t happen. Still, they could have done a lot more then just show a few clips. However, Adele killed when she sang her theme song from the latest Bond epic, “Skyfall.” Later in the show she and co-writer Paul Epworth deservedly won the award for Best Original Song.

Another musical moment occurred when, during the annual “In Memoriam” segment, Barbra Streisand came out to sing the Oscar winning song “The Way We Were” after talking about the man who helped write it, Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away last year. Of course there are always omissions in this segment but two of the biggest I noticed were Larry Hagman and Andy Griffith. I was glad to see that a film critic (the great Andrew Sarris) was included in the montage. Hope for me to one day appear on the Oscar telecast. A tearful Chris Terio thanked Ben Affleck while accepting his Best Adapted Screenplay award for “Argo.” He pointed out that it had been 15 years since Affleck had won his award and thanked him for giving him the same chance he had gotten. Tarantino won his second Original Screenplay Oscar (he also won for “Pulp Fiction”) for “Django Unchained.” In typical QT style he made sure to pay homage to his fellow nominees and declare 2012 the “Year of the Writer!”

The night also saw only the sixth tie in Academy history when Paul Ottison (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Per Holberg and Karen Baker Landers (“Skyfall”) tied in the Best Sound Editing category. I felt bad for first announced winner Ottison because when he asked presenter Mark Wahlberg for the envelope he refused, presumably because he needed to read the names of the other winners. He did give the envelope to Landers but hopefully the Academy will make up another one for Ottison. “Life of Pi” snagged many of the technical awards it was nominated for and took him a major prize when Ang Lee was named Best Director.

Best Actress went to Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook” (she also won the Independent Spirit Award in the same category the night before). Best Actor was pretty much a given as Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor to receive (3) Oscars as Best Actor. Of course, in my opinion, this should have been his fourth – his performance in “Gangs of New York” is amazing. Day-Lewis gave one of the evening’s more moving speeches, thanking his co-nominees as well as his wife. It is well known that when he takes a role Day-Lewis pretty much inhabits that character 24 hours a day. He thanked his wife Rebecca who, after 16 years of marriage, has “lived with some very strange men.”

That brought us to the final award of the evening and a surprise presenter when Jack Nicholson turned the “and the Oscar goes to” line over to First Lady Michelle Obama, who made the announcement, proclaiming “Argo’ the years Best Picture.