The 85th Annual Academy Awards: Affleck’s Redemption

Annie McKay

“Argo,” “Life of Pi,” Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence were this year’s big winners at the 85th annual Academy Awards on Sunday night. Producers Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov accepted the award for “Argo” as it became only the fourth film ever to win Best Picture without a directing nomination. Affleck, who was snubbed by the Academy when he failed to receive a nod in directing, was flustered and choked up in his acceptance.

“You have to work harder than you think you possibly can,” Affleck said. “You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard … and it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, because that’s going to happen. It matters how you get back up.”

And that’s certainly what Affleck did.

“On Behalf of George and myself, I want to thank you, Ben, who directed a hell of a film,” co-producer Heslov said. “Couldn’t be more proud of the film, couldn’t be more proud of Ben.”

It’s safe to say that while not being recognized for directing, winning Best Picture for “Argo” was an incredible accomplishment for Affleck.

Seth MacFarlane, who hosted the awards, got a mixed response. He certainly covered the bases for offensive jokes through his references to Chris Brown and Rihanna’s relationship and Abraham Lincoln’s death, which some found to be funny but most felt to be over the top. But let’s give the guy a little credit – he had the toughest job of the night and was going to be criticized for whatever he did. Hosting the Oscars is clearly no easy task.

Not surprisingly to anyone, Daniel Day-Lewis took home Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln.” He made history as he became the first male actor ever to win three Best Actor awards. Jennifer Lawrence took Best Actress in a Leading Role for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Lawrence created one of the best moments of the nights as she fell up the stairs to accept her first Oscar.

“You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell, and that’s really embarrassing,” Lawrence laughed in response to her standing ovation.

The surprise of the night would have to go to Ang Lee, who won Best Director for “Life of Pi.” Up against four other great directors, most notably Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln,” Lee’s win was certainly not expected. This was Lee’s second win for Best Director, after winning in 2005 for “Brokeback Mountain.” “Life of Pi” surprised everyone as the overall winner of the night, taking home four Oscars including Directing, Best Original Score, Cinematography and Visual Effects.

The other surprise of the night was Christoph Waltz, who won Best Supporting Actor for “Django Unchained.” Waltz won in the same category in 2009 for “Inglorious Basterds,” which, like “Django Unchained,” was also a collaboration with Quentin Tarantino. Up against actors like Robert De Niro from “Silver Linings Playbook,” who was the favorite to win this category, Waltz came out of nowhere to win. Anne Hathaway, as predicted, took home Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Fantine in “Les Mis?erables.”

The most bizarre moment of the night would have to be the tie that made audiences actually pay attention to the award for Sound Editing. The tie was between Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers for “Skyfall” and Paul N.J. Ottosson for “Zero Dark Thirty.” The tie prevented “Zero Dark Thirty” from being shut out entirely. It was the first tie since 1968, when Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Streisand tied for Best Actress for “A Lion in Winter” and “Funny Girl,” respectively.

This year’s awards did not have any huge surprises, as Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress had all been predicted to win. The biggest winner of the night would have to be Affleck, who was able to get his redemption. “Argo” was a phenomenal film, and audiences were thrilled to see it win.