The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave out the 85th Academy Awards last evening with a couple of surprises in an otherwise long drawn out ceremony that continues to struggle to find a format or host that can have broad appeal.
The biggest surprise of the evening was the success of ‘Life of Pi’ Nominated for eleven Academy Awards, ‘Life of Pi’ won four awards including a surprise win for Ang Lee in the Best Director category. This was Lee’s second Best Director win, following up on 2005’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’.
The other three awards it claimed were Best Original Score which went to Mychael Danna, Best Cinematography which was awarded to Claudio Miranda and Best Visual Effects which was shared between Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan de Boer and Donald R. Elliott.
The four acting categories all went to actors and actresses that I would have voted for, which was quite the nice turn for me as I try to critique more films. Christoph Waltz became a two-time winner in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as Dr. King Schultz in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’. Waltz had previously won for his breakout role in Tarantino’s 2009 film ‘Inglorious Basterds’.
Anne Hathaway was a clear winner for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Fantine in ‘Les Miserables’. Hathaway has garnered near universal acclaim for this role, and had one of the two true standout performances in the film, along with Samantha Barks.
In probably the most anti-climactic award of the evening, Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor to ever win three Best Actor awards for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’, joining his previous awards for 1989’s ‘My Left Foot’ and 2007’s ‘There Will Be Blood’.
In what I thought was the toughest acting category to call was Best Actress, where Jennifer Lawrence won for playing Tiffany Maxwell in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. A case could be made for each of the other four nominees, but Lawrence’s turn in a movie highlighting the various degrees of mental illness was the strongest of the lot.
As for Best Writing, it is hard to argue with either of the winners, Quentin Tarantino winning Original Screenplay for ‘Django Unchained’ or Chris Terrio winning Adapted Screenplay for adapting The Master of Disguise and The Great Escape into ‘Argo’.
Possibly the one category outside of Best Director that I disagreed with the most was Best Animated Feature. The two films with the most realistic chances of winning were Disney and Pixar’s ‘Brave’ and Disney’s ‘Wreck-It Ralph’. Having seen both of these films, I would 100% chosen ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ in this category as it was a much more enjoyable film. That being said, I knew ‘Brave’ would win as it was a much better sell for the older voters of the Academy.
Finally, we come to Best Picture. One could actually make a case for all nine nominees to have been chosen as Best Picture, but in reality one film did stand out above the rest, and that was ‘Argo’. Directed by Ben Affleck, who I feel was not only robbed of the Best Director award, but also of a Best Director nomination, ‘Argo’ is one of my two favourite movies of the year, and a joy to watch, and very much deserving of Best Picture.
As for my own personal predictions, in a previous article I made predictions on who will, who should and possible darkhorse winners, and I think I did pretty well. I correctly predicted three of the seven in who would win, five of the six in who should win, and I pulled out one darkhorse winner. In all, in the seven categories I looked at, I had a winner in each category.
For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.