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(February 2013)

Argo

The Academy Awards this year were very interesting. In most of the major categories any of the nominees would have been worthy and acceptable. For example Argo won Best Picture but any of the nominated movies would have been fine. Lincoln and Life of Pi were top-notch movies, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook all would have been good winners, and nobody would have blinked if Les Misérables or Amour had won. Beasts of the Southern Wild was a wonderful movie but was a long shot at best.

The same thing with Best Actor and Best Actress; Daniel Day-Lewis from Lincoln and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook were the winners but most any of the nominees in both categories would have worked.

This was an Academy of firsts and some oddball happenings. There was the youngest and oldest nominees for Best Actress: Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild was six when she made the movie and nine as she stood on the Red Carpet, and Emmanuelle Riva, up for her role in Amour, was 85. Ms. Riva would have been only the third non-English speaking actress to win after Sophia Loren (speaking Italian in Two Women, 1960) and the wonderful Marion Cotillard (speaking French in La Vie en Rose, 2007).

 Argo won for Best Picture but the director, Ben Affleck, wasn’t even nominated in the Best Director category. The last time this happened was in 1990 with Driving Miss Daisy directed by Bruce Beresford. Daniel Day-Lewis won his third Best Acting award, the most by anyone in this category. The only other two men to win three Academy Awards were Walter Brennan who won three Best Supporting Actor awards and Jack Nicholson with two lead awards and one supporting.

We at the Toast enjoyed this year’s Award Ceremony. Seth MacFarlane got off some tasteless zingers and his musical number of “We Saw Your Boobs” will probably not be remembered fondly. However the producers knew what they were getting, or should have known, and most of the evening MacFarlane was smooth and charming.Jennifer Lawrence

We’re happy Argo won; we enjoyed its combination of Hollywood humor with the deadly serious Iranian hostage crisis. We also liked Jennifer Lawrence and are happy she won. We liked her performance in The Hunger Games (2012) but thought she was too healthy looking to have been a child of a starving District. But she was brilliant in Winter's Bone (2010). Daniel Day-Lewis was probably the only sure-lock to win and deservedly so. We believe we saw the closest thing to what Abraham Lincoln was like that we’ll ever see. Fine, fine acting.

We’re tickled pink to have another fine essay from John Bruni on yet another movie made from a story by the late, legendary Philip K. Dick. Take a look at this penetrating analysis of The Adjustment Bureau (2011).

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