I never get my prediction for Best Movie right. This year, I did. Sure, you will claim that “Argo” was a shoo-in, what with the trail of fire it’s been leaving behind it these past few months (unstoppable, that movie’s been lately), and you’re right. “Argo” is where the money’s at.
Although shot in Turkey, the Ben Affleck-directed political thriller takes place in Tehran, Iran, right in the middle of the 1979 revolution and the hostage crisis. Where I’m concerned, put the words ‘political’ and ‘thriller’ together and set them in some exotic, faraway locale and you’ve got my attention. Sounds like academy voters felt similarly.
Strange, how last night’s Academy Awards ceremony suddenly took us back all these years, to a reviled moment which precipitated a generation-long cold shouldering between the U.S. and Iran. But enough about history.
I am in Paris and the time difference made it hard to follow the telecast (I’m not a night owl, anymore) but thanks to bleeping pop-ups on my iPhone from CNN and the New York Times and then the massive digesting of everybody’s tweets with my morning croissant, I quickly got up to speed. Disappointed, with the rest of France (as I saw on the morning news here), that Emmanuelle Riva did not win Best Actress. When so many years separate two contenders, the elegant thing to do is to hand the award to the veteran actor. We Americans never had a sense of the theatrical.
As it were, Riva deserved that statuette for her turn as an Alzheimers-ridden wife in Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” itself an awards-festooned movie which went out with a bang, earning the award for best foreign film. For now, Jennifer Lawrence is a pretty face with formidable P.R. savvy who’s still riding the “Hunger Games” wave. And she’s nowhere near proving herself as a thespian. But Harvey got his way, and that’s O.K: if anyone can sniff out talent, it’s him.
History was made, on the back of a historical film. Daniel Day-Lewis is the first actor ever to win three Best Actor awards, this latest one for his mesmerizing performance as Lincoln. And that’s nothing to sneeze at. Three academy awards! Who knew?
ADDITIONAL READING: How “Zero Dark Thirty” was swift-boated out of an Oscar (by Ann Hornaday)
Here is the complete rundown of this year’s winners:
Best Picture: “Argo”
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”
Best Director: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Animated Feature Film: “Brave”
Cinematography: “Life of Pi”
Costume Design: “Anna Karenina”
Documentary Feature: “Searching for Sugar Man”
Documentary Short: “Inocente”
Film Editing: “Argo”
Foreign Language Film: “Amour” (Austria)
Makeup: “Les Misérables”
Original Score: “Life of Pi”
Original Song: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall”
Production Design: “Lincoln”
Short Film (Animated): “Paperman”
Short Film (Live Action): “Curfew”
Sound Editing: “Skyfall” & “Zero Dark Thirty” (tie)
Sound Mixing: “Les Misérables”
Visual Effects: “Life of Pi”
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Argo”
Best Original Screenplay: “Django Unchained”