So, the 2013 Oscars just happened. I started thinking that Best Picture was going to go to Life of Pi, continuing the Indian fetish established by Slumdog Millionaire, but instead of course Ang Lee was once again Brokeback Mountained and lost that award to Argo.
Now, you may or may not recall that last fall I saw four movies in a group, and among them was Argo, and my personal favorite of those was End of Watch. It wasn't so much that I didn't like Argo, because I did, and love to support Ben Affleck's career, but I thought the movie didn't quite have what it took to be what it wanted to be. It reminded me a great deal of Munich, which is a personal favorite of mine, and so if you compare to Munich it's both a good and a bad thing, because you really can only be better or worse, and it was, well, not better. Still, it's probably a better overall film than Affleck's other directorial efforts, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, the latter of which I really enjoyed the first time I saw it but maybe doesn't hold up as well as it could. Probably Argo does, although I'd still support Beasts of the Southern Wild over it (as I did when I made my predictions last month), or even Pi (loved the book and will probably love the movie, when I finally see it), and probably definitely Django Unchained when I see that (because I'm a big fan of Quentin Tarantino).
Anyway, now that Daniel Day-Lewis has won his third Oscar, can he go away already? Maybe all the clips I've seen of Lincoln somehow doesn't do the performance justice, yet as someone who recently read a book about the Civil War (None Died in Vain), I've got quite a different interpretation of how convincing this transformation really was, other than visually. Yes, he looks pretty much dead-on. But the acting is not what people say it is, much as however memorable Daniel Plainview is, it's still pretty much exactly Bill the Butcher. (Though if you don't know either name, you might as well watch both There Will Be Blood and Gangs of New York.) It's the same kind of misplaced sentiment that put Meryl Streep in a similar position for me last year. Her fans, like Day-Lewis's fans, have a wildly exaggerated sense of her worth. She's great when she doesn't think she's great, and uninspired when she does. So goes this year's Best Actor.
Glad to see Christoph Waltz get another win, and I called Jennifer Lawrence's win, although hers comes at a far different point in her career than similar Best Actress honorees like Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, and Sandra Bullock. Still looking forward to seeing Silver Linings Playbook, though. You may recall that it was on that very long list of fall 2012 movies I blogged last year.
For the record, I'll say this much of how Best Picture actually went down. Obviously the backlash of Affleck not getting a directing nod had a huge role in changing the course, because more times than not Best Picture and Best Director go hand-in-hand. Beasts probably had a greater shot than most commentaries have suggested recently, although the fact that it was released so much earlier than the other films in contention had a big impact on its chances, because that's actually a consideration for voters. They just forgot about how much critics adored it for most of last year. I highly recommend you watch it yourself. If Lost's Michael had stumbled into Katrina with Walt instead of a mysterious island, this is exactly what it would have looked like.