This year, for the first time in years the Best Picture movie winner didn’t have its director nominated. Wich meant that there couldn’t only one major winners, but two. This has been the night of Argo but the night of Life of Pi, as well. The night where acting awards have been scattered through many movies and the night when Silver Linings Playbooks and Les miserables, films that had many nominations, came back almost empty-handed, with prizes only to their actresses. However, they weren’t the biggest losers of the night. That honour went to Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, a film with great interpretations but not an easy film in any way.
Let’s analyse some of the winners a bit further.
Foreign language movie: Amour – Michael Haneke
Did anyone had any doubt, with the bunch of nominations this film got? And it was clear that an European movie was not going to get the best picture Oscar. Amour has had an incredible award season, getting the indie Spirit award, the César, a Golden Globe…. It was clear that this tale of the last days of a french couple was going to win the Foreign film Award.
Personally, I liked No, the candidate from Chile, a lot more than I did Amour. It was almost as realistic as Haneke’s film (no room for special effects or anything of the sort) it told an obscure historic event most people are not aware of, it was good, it was intense. Not that Amour doesn’t have its merits, of course, but it was so though to watch!
Best original screenplay: Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino
Django is pure geniality and its screenplay makes over two and half hours go quicker some 90 minute films. There are so many scenes in that movie that deserve recognition, so many moments so incredibly well written (the beginning when Dr. Schultz comes looking for Django, the scene in Daughtrey, the end- THAT end…). Tarantino is able to right the wrongs of history, entertain us and be himself all in the same script. A well deserved prize, indeed.
Best actress in a supporting role: Anne Hathaway – Les miserables
This was so clear from the beginning, since the moment the first critic saw Anne Hathaway singing I dreamed a dream. We all knew it was going to happen. Hathaway’s protrayal of Fantine, a woman who loses everything and sacrifices everything to procure some money for her daughter is heartbreaking and heartfelt. No doubts there.
Best actor in a supporting role: Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
This was a surprise to me. Even if I love Django and especially Dr. Schultz (I even cried a couple of tears when Django says Auf wiedersehen to him), I had my (metaphorical) money on Philip Seymour Hoffman. His role is intoxicating. He is charming, he is a natural leader, a natural manipulator, but he is also a human being with his ups and downs. And it is very rare to have portraying the leader of a cult, much less as convincingly as Mr. Seymour Hoffman did. Nevertheless, I’m happy Christoph Waltz got it. He is an amazing actor, he made me love deeply his character (how can a killer be so adorable?) and he deserves the recognition.
Best actress: Jennifer Lawrence – Silver linings playbook
Another surprise. I thought that if it wasn’t Emmanuelle Riva then it had to be Jessica Chastain. Because it’s not only her role in Zero dark thirty (another forgotten film last night) but her impeccable career that deserves the recognition. The tree of life. The debt. The help. All good movies, no doubt. Also, I was not a super fan of Jennifer Lawrence’s portarayal of Mystique in X-Men first class. But I have not seen Silver linings playbook, so the only thing I’ll say is congratulations, Jennifer Lawrence.
Best actor: Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
There may be five nominees in this category, but we all knew the prize could only to two of them: either Daniel Day-Lewis or Joaquin Phoenix. The two are very different interpretations, Day-Lewis’ Lincoln is withdrawn, almost quiet, charismatic, elegant till the end. Phoenix’s Freddie Quell has nothing to do with that. He was raw, wild, unexpected, incomprehensible sometimes. It was risky and weird and it was incredible how Joaquin Phoenix lost himself on that brute. Both deserved the Oscar, clearly. I would have loved if Joaquin Phoenix took it for the first time instead of Mr. Day-Lewis, who already has three, but he deserved it too. His portrayal of Lincoln really makes the movie.
Best director: Ang Lee
Life of Pi is a wonderful film. It’s a metaphor of life, of religion and an epic chant to survival. To the heroic act that is not giving up on life. It was a very difficult novel to adapt but Ang Lee makes it wonderfully, he even gives us clues to understand the novel better. Richard Parker is great. Pi is great. The ending is incredible. Life of Pi is visually beautiful and powerful, but the story behind those effects is as powerful as they are. That’s why I’m happy Ang Lee got this Oscar.
Best film: Argo
Another clear favourite. Argo tells a true story with a happy ending, a story that makes them proud to be Americans, a story that exalts the figure of a CIA agents and its operation.It’s a story that also has many references to cinema, and we all know how much the voters like that (remember The Artist, people?) and that handles tension exceptionally well. (When I went to see it I almost chewed my sleeve off with the tension and the old man next to me was biting his nails. That’s some good tension right there). Argo it’s a beautiful effort, it makes you feel for for the characters and it’s intense till the very end.
But Argo is the most “comfortable” for Americans, too. The master talks about a cult, Lincoln shows a case of corruption (like it or not) and Beasts of the southern wild and Django show passages of history they would probably rather not remember (the Katrina and the slavery period). And Amour and Life of Pi simply had nothing to do with America, like Les Miserables, that happens in France. I’m not saying it didn’t deserve the award, just pointing out how pro-american the movie happens to be.
Anyways, congratulations to Ben Affleck, who, after many years, is finally being taken seriously on Hollywood.
[ youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yFTyZ-iAbI]
What did you think? Did any of the awards surprise you? Are you happy with the outcome? Angry with some of them? Who was snubbed? Who did you want to win?