He wasn't the favorite. His name was barely mentioned in all the Oscar buzz. But Christoph Waltz was indeed the best.
As the antebellum bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, Waltz leavened the good, the bad and the ugly in "Django Unchained." He was the intelligent antidote to slavery's violence and outrage. But there was steel in his eyes and an unwavering sense of what was truly immoral in every irony-laced word he spoke.
Thanks to a filmmaker who understands the actor's strength — his first collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, 2009's "Inglourious Basterds," would win the Austrian actor his first Oscar — "Django" became a giant stage for everything the exceptional Waltz can do.
And he did it all — made us laugh, cry and see a dark page of the past in a completely new way.