Ben Affleck‘s Argo completed its Cinderella rise to the top of the heap during awards season by claiming the Oscar for Best Picture at Sunday’s 85th Annual Academy Awards. When the nominations were announced on January 10th, the glaring omission of a Best Director nod for Affleck at first seemed to kill the film’s chances of winning Best Picture. After winning nearly every major award in the interim, Argo surged ahead from underdog to frontrunner and ultimately beat out conventional favorite, Lincoln. Argo‘s feat is particularly amazing in light of the fact that it is only the fourth film in Oscar’s 85-year history to take Best Picture without a nomination for Best Director. (The most recent was Driving Miss Daisy, 23 years ago.)
Just last week, Rhythm & Hues was given an infusion of $20 million by three major studios – Universal, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. – to keep it afloat through April. At that time, R&H was expected to be sold to an Indian effects company, Prime Focus, but that deal fell through, and now the studio has publicly announced it has been forced to reorganize. Buyers are still circling the troubled studio, but for now, it has become the latest victim in the increasingly tough visual effects industry.
In the 65-year history of the Directors Guild Awards, there have only been six times when the winner of Best Feature Film Director has not gone on to win the Best Director Oscar. With a victory last night, Argo director Ben Affleck will now be the seventh, as he was famously left out of the running for Oscar when the nominations were announced on Jan. 10.
The DGA Awards ceremony is unique in that each of the five feature-film nominees – this year, including Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Tom Hooper (Les Misérables) – is given a medallion and then makes an acceptance speech. Spielberg was the only nominee to receive a standing ovation upon accepting his medallion.
Returning to the stage as the winner, Affleck referred to his fellow nominees as “my betters, there’s no other way to say it.”
Affleck was famously looked over for the Best Director Oscar, which normally dooms a film’s Best Picture chances. (For example, in 1996, Ron Howard‘s Apollo 13 won the DGA, Producers Guild Award and Screen Actors Guild ensemble award, but Howard was not nominated in the Oscar directing category, and his movie lost out to Braveheart.) With all of its wins at the various guilds, Argo is picking up traction, and has gone from underdog to front-runner in the Oscar race.
Academy members will finally be able to begin voting for the Oscars on Feb. 8, nearly a month after nominations were announced. The Oscar ceremony will be held on Feb. 24.
And director Milos Forman was given a Lifetime Achievement Award during a presentation by DGA president Taylor Hackford and the ceremony’s host, Kelsey Grammer. Due to his ailing health, Forman was not able to attend the ceremony.
via The Wrap
Before beginning part 3 of my year-in-review opus I’d like to acknowledge how truly great a year we’ve had this year in regards to movies. For as many films and performances that will be nominated for awards, there will be just as many that have a right to feel snubbed. There were so many quality indie, genre, and franchise films that even the stingiest of movie watchers could easily find one movie they really enjoyed. This year was so great that they didn’t even abide by the normal January-February as dumping grounds mentality, releasing movies like Haywire, The Grey, Chronicle, and Wanderlust, which are all vastly superior to the normal dreck that’s usually released at the beginning of the year. Even some of the more disappointing movies of the year were at least interesting to discuss, like Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises.
Some Romances Are Stronger Than the Bonds of Time
Safety Not Guaranteed received quite a bit of love as the indie darling of the year. So much so that I assumed it would end up being this year’s annual indie movie that makes my top 5. Turns out, I didn’t like it nearly as much as everyone else. A lot of that had to do with my expectations being way too high, but the movie is far from flawless. As much as I like Mark Duplass his character is essentially a male version of a manic pixie dream girl and serves the purpose of being an eccentric person whose love saves the main character, Aubrey Plaza, despite being completely unrealistic to real life relationships. Jake Johnson has his own clichés to fight against as the guy who is a jerk but is funny enough where the audience doesn’t hate him. Then they find out his jerkiness is based around his unhappiness so they start to love him and he goes through a predictable character arc. Despite my complaints I still think the movie is good, just not as good as every other person seems to think.
Looper was writer/director Rian Johnston’s third feature film which starred Hollywood’s newest big man on campus Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young Bruce Willis, or was Bruce Willis an old Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Time travel being used as a way for mobsters to have people killed with no evidence left behind? Awesomely brilliant idea, especially by having Jeff Daniels as the guy who traveled back in time to run it. Having numerous people have slight telekinetic powers? A little jarring and way more unbelievable than the idea of time travel for some reason. There was also a romantic sub-plot with Emily Blunt which felt a little forced, but since JGL and Blunt are so good, they made it work. That’s how the movie feels as a whole, though. It definitely has its problems and plot holes, but overall it’s so original and well-made/acted that it’s easy to forgive them.
And the Winner Is: Looper - but speaking of time travel let’s go back in time a few decades ourselves.
The impending arrival of Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi is something I’ve been peripherally aware of for a while, buoyed by one simple image: A mostly stark movie poster featuring a young man and a Bengal tiger adrift on a small boat on a featureless sea. It’s only as the movie’s release approaches that I’ve looked further into it and realized what this film might be.