There’s no doubt we have seen plenty of surprises with the Oscars over the years, especially from this famed category. And while I may joke and ridicule about why a certain film should or shouldn’t win, it’s all in the spirit of what makes this ceremony so grand. Because let’s face it, unless you’re in the Academy with an actual vote to cast, none of us know what it’s like to have to pick and choose one great film over another great film. Sure, we all make our own picks, but do so with nothing on the line. So, I won’t pretend I know the pressure, but if I had a vote, I would definitely pick the film that deserves to win Academy Award for ‘Best Picture,’ not the one that would be right for Hollywood politically. But, politics are as much a part of this ceremony now as the actual gold-plated 8.5 pound statuette handed out to each winner has been over the years. That’s a fact and why I feel “Argo” will be the night’s big winner, making a clean sweep across all the major award ceremonies this season. Question is, should it? I don’t necessarily think so, but knowing how the Academy typically operates, I think they give this one to Ben Affleck as an apology for snubbing him from the Academy Award for ‘Best Director.’
Think about it. If you had a vote and saw what “Argo” has done this entire award season before and after the Oscar nominations were released, wouldn’t you tend to lean that way for Ben Affleck, knowing he was not included in the race for directing? I would and you know what, it’s warranted given he produced, directed and starred in the film. I mean, without him, this film would be nothing and still on some Hollywood executive’s desk waiting to be picked up. Just within the last month or so, Affleck has picked up the award for best directing from ceremonies like the British Academy Film Awards, Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globe Awards. How he could be that good in all these other voters’ minds and not the Academy’s is beyond me. And the thing is, history is never easy to portray on the big screen because of the need to explain everything, so the key is to find that balance so the audience won’t become disinterested before the film even starts. It’s tough, but I think the right director can make a big difference and here, Affleck made sure to keep the intensity up throughout the entire film. Yeah, it was “talky” at times, but that’s politics and given the time period, I thought it was warranted. Plus Affleck made this film look and feel like 1979, which can’t be overstated.
So, despite my own opinion that “Lincoln” or even “Silver Linings Playbook” was a better ‘film’ last year, seeing “Argo” win “Best Picture’ would not upset me for Ben Affleck’s sake. Yeah, he probably won’t care one way or another given what his film has accomplished, both at the box office and in award ceremonies, but it still would be cool to see him up on that 'Dolby Theatre' stage accepting the Academy Award for ‘Best Picture’ as one of the producers. Sad thing is, it might be the only win it gets given the other categories it happens to be nominated in. The last film to win only the Academy Award for “Best Picture’ and nothing else, you ask? Well, that is of course “Mutiny on the Bounty’ (1935) starring Clark Gable. And since we are still thinking of Ben Affleck being robbed, the last film to win ‘Best Picture’ without also being nominated for ‘Best Director’ was none other than “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989). That was 24 years ago, so no matter which way it goes on Sunday night, “Argo” might be making some serious history to take note of. Sure, it might not be in numbers like some of its competitors, but does that really matter when you walk away with the final award of the night?
For a cast a large as the one in “Argo,” it might be surprising to some that it only received one acting nomination. Sure, bigger doesn’t mean better, but this was a fairly decent cast from top to bottom. How Alan Arkin gets nominated out of it is one I still can’t figure out, though. I mean, he was good when he was around, but I can’t remember any one scene that stood out with him in it. At least not in a way that garner an Oscar nomination, which is why he won’t win the Academy Award for 'Best Supporting Actor.' Of course he was funny, but so was John Goodman and he didn’t get a nod. Neither did Ben Affleck and he was in the film more than anyone, so chalk up yet another question mark for this film. But, that’s apparently the theme, one that has served it well up until now. I just don’t know if it can pull off an upset in categories like ‘Film Editing,’ Sound Editing’ or ‘Sound Mixing’ when you have far better choices like “Life of Pi.” Having said that, it could win the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Score’ with the whole 70’s vibe. That music can turn a frown upside down; I just don’t know if it had as much of an impact in this film like the music did in say “Life of Pi” or even “Skyfall.” So, we’ll see what happens when those coveted words are spoken in just 4 days time, “And the Oscar goes to…”
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