Here it is for those skeptics out there who might doubt previous statements hailing 2012 as an incredible year for film and need further proof: Michelle Obama. The First Lady commended film’s overall achievements this past year and announced “Argo” as best picture for the 85th annual Academy Awards.
This win caps off one of the most exciting and dramatic award seasons in recent memory. The Oscars shared the wealth this year and a handful of movies got their time in the spotlight, unlike most years where one film tends to sweep all the gold.
Keeping up with the Oscars can be quite overwhelming and literally last an entire year. Let’s take 2012 for example. It all started last January in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival, where a little movie named “Beasts of the Southern Wild” made a huge splash and announced itself as a major contender. Across the pond and down through the French Riviera, “Amour” threatened to steal everyone’s thunder at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Skip ahead to September and a movie by the name of “Silver Linings Playbook” was all the buzz out of the Toronto Film Festival. Then suddenly a top secret film named “Zero Dark Thirty” started to peek its head out at screenings and took the excitement level through the stratosphere. It seemed 2012 had a clear winner until the government got involved and condemned the film for its depiction of torture during the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Hollywood bigwigs followed suit and abruptly gave “ZDT” the cold shoulder. It was a very dramatic and telling fall from grace. All this to say that 2012 was indeed an exciting year and kept everyone on the edge of their seats until the very end when the First Lady opened that last envelope.
So how’d we do with our picks and predictions? Let’s check in with SF State’s Jonathan Ramos (the journalist), Julian Hoxter (the professor) and Jason Zavaleta (the student).
Best Picture: “Argo”
We all predicted “Argo” for the win while rooting for the underdog “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
Best Director: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
We all predicted Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”) for the win, but cast our votes for Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”). We were all wrong. Ang Lee took home his second best director trophy having won previously for “Brokeback Mountain.” I did mention though that best director was a three-man race this year between Lee, Spielberg and Russell, and basically up for grabs after presumed frontrunner Ben Affleck (“Argo”) was inexplicably left out.
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
There was no contest here. We would’ve been fools to not go with Day-Lewis. He is now the first actor to win three Oscars for leading roles having won previously for “My Left Foot” and “There Will Be Blood.” I’m sure he’s enjoying a milkshake somewhere.
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
I personally voted Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty,” while the other two voted Quvenzhane Wallis for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” However, the professor and I rightfully predicted that Lawrence would take the gold. She’s Hollywood’s reigning it-girl, and the academy once again proved they prefer their best actresses light, pretty and toned. I could go on about this, but here they had a perfect chance to honor a truly original heroine, and one that isn’t defined by her male counterparts or bra size. No offense to Lawrence. She’s very talented and a breath of fresh air among actresses, but I feel like the Academy dropped the ball here by not honoring Chastain.
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchanined”
This one gives me bragging rights! No one really saw this coming. Waltz was my personal choice, although I predicted Robert De Niro out of pure politics. The professor predicted Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”). I think he sabotaged his own chances by refusing to smile throughout the season. The student voted for Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”). Waltz owes Tarantino a bear ____ hug! That’s an “Inglourious Basterds” reference. Be my guest and fill in the blank.
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
She was no one’s personal choice, but at least two of us (the journalist & professor) predicted Hathaway for the win. Listen up ladies! Shave your head and you’ll win an Oscar.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo”
Another win for the journalist, although we each had personal favorites (“Lincoln,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” and “Life of Pi.”)
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
We all personally voted “Moonrise Kingdom.” The journalist rightfully predicted “Django” for the win. Kudos to Tarantino for accurately summing up this past year in his acceptance speech. It really was the year of the writer, although I’m told that it’s now technically the year of the snake.
‘Til next year! Ar-go ___ yourself! Another reference. Another opportunity to fill in the blanks. Cheers!
A very special thanks to Julian Hoxter and Jason Zavaleta.