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Oscars

Oops. So I caved in and watched the Oscars ceremony anyway, even though I’d decided not to. Seeing as in my local time the show airs from 02:30-06:00 AM on night to Monday, and I work weekdays from 8 AM, I thought I’d be the responsible adult and obstain from such silly indulgences, but apparently something happened along the way and now I find myself on my way to work with the desperate hope that memories from the show, aided by large amounts of caffeine and sugar, will pull me – and my work – through the day with an ounce of dignity remaining by the end of it.

It’s the first time I’ve watched the show in its entirety for many years, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with it. Very little of the usual awkwardness, and apart from a few minor (and one major) blunders, the show was tasteful and pretty funny, safely guided by host Seth MacFarlane, whom I have no trouble imagining might be invited back to host again next year. All in all they played it pretty safe, but that’s a good thing. The live performances were steady, but not flashy, not even those by legends Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey. There were no legendary speeches, but no dreadful ones either. Daniel Day-Lewis and Christoph Waltz were both impossibly charming, as was Jennifer Lawrence, who tripped on her dress on her way to the stage but handled it in the most graceful way.

As for the awards, I’m actually pretty satisfied with the results. As the Oscars tend to be a popularity contest as much as about recognizing outstanding contributions in the art of film, it’s far from the most interesting award ceremony, and it can sometimes be fairly easy to guess who will win in many of the categories. I generally tend to disagree with some of the choices, which are clearly made for reasons other than to honor the best in each category. For instance, Meryl Streep’s award for ‘The Iron Lady’ last year was more of a “lifetime achievement award” to an icon who has missed out on more Oscars than any other nominee, than a testament to that particular performance, which was clearly outweighed by the competition. This year, there wasn’t all too much of that.

‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Argo’ were perhaps the biggest winners, to my satisfaction, though no movie totally swept the table this time. ‘Lincoln’ “lost” the most, as it was nominated in a rediculous amount of categories (for all I know, well-deservedly) and only ended up with two. Since I still haven’t seen some of most heavily nominated movies, such as ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, I didn’t make a list of my favourites in each of the 24 categories. Instead, I made a list of who I expected to win, and I got 13 right, which I thought was pretty decent.

Here are the winners of the 2013 Academy Awards, which concludes the movie and award year of 2012:

Best picture: Argo (a little surprising, but cool)

Best director: Ang Lee, Life of Pi (called it)

Adapted Screenplay: Argo (called it – and yay!)
Original Screenplay: Django Unchained (yay)

Leading actress: Jennifer LawrenceSilver Linings Playbook (yay!)
Leading actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln (called it)

Supporting actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables (called it – and yay!)
Supporting actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained  (called it)

Editing: Argo (called it)
Cinematography: Life of Pi

Production design: Lincoln
Visual Effects: Life of Pi (called it)
Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Make-up and Hair: Les Misérables

Sound Mixing: Les Misérables (called it)
Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall (tied!)
Original score: Life of Pi
Theme song: ‘Skyfall’ (called it)

Documentary feature: Searching for Sugar Man (called it – been wanting to see this)
Documentary Short: Inocente

Live Action Short Film: Curfew

Animated feature: Brave (called it – disappointing, but unsurprising)
Animated short: Paperman (called it – I saw this charming little film by chance at the cinema the other week, and I was thrilled to see it win)

Best Foreign Film: Amour (called it – obvious choice)

Did you watch the Oscars? Did any of your favourites win?

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Argo (2012)

‘Argo’ (2012) is the almost unbeliavable story about an unconventional rescue mission in Iran in 1980. Initiated by the CIA and with the help of the Canadian government, a fake Hollywood movie production was staged in order to smuggle six American diplomats out of the country during a violent riot. This masterly suspenseful thriller caught me somewhat by surprise and soars right up among my favourite movies of 2012.

“This is the best bad plan we have… by far, sir.” Jack O’Donnell, Argo

Grim, scary, provoking: this was two intense hours at the cinema. I nearly held my breath throughout the entire movie. Thankfully, the outstanding screenplay has also been spiked with some clever and nicely timed jokes to loosen up the otherwise unbearably intense story, which allows you to ease up and exhale in between the nail-biting suspense.

Ben Affleck once again demonstrates his skills behind the camera, and now truly has my attention as a  director. I’ve never been a fan of his acting performances, and even though he showed promise as a writer through ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997), his poor choice of movies to appear in hasn’t done anything to spark my interest in him. However, after having directed ‘Gone Baby Gone’ (2007), ‘The Town’ (2009) and now his third big success, in which he also does a great job portraying CIA agent and man of the hour Tony Mendez, I’m beginning to realise that this is a man worth paying attention to.

Argo (2012)

9/10.