The 85th annual awards ceremony of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was last night.
This year there was no clear-cut front-runner, and unsurprisingly, the awards ended up being quite widely distributed.
Ang Li's Life of Pi won four awards, including Best Director, Original Score, Cinematography, and Visual Effects. Steven Spielberg's Lincoln won Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in the title role (an unprecedented third Oscar for Day-Lewis), and Best Production Design, while Silver Lining's Playbook won Best Actress for the performance of Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence. Django Unchained won Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Waltz) and Best Original Screenplay for director Tarantino (groan), while Les Miserables picked up Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine (as well as prizes for Makeup and Hairstyling, and Sound Mixing).
Despite not winning in the acting and directing categories (helmer Ben Affleck not even nominated in that category, a reminder perhaps of the slowness of his post-Gigli rehabilitation), Argo won, along with Best Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing, Best Picture. Astonishingly, the prize was presented by First Lady Michelle Obama - making for a tableau which, given Argo's storyline and the U.S.'s present confrontation with Iran, had unintended but unfortunate political implications seized on by the Iranian state media. Of course, it could not have been assumed that Argo would be the winner, but the possibility that her role in the ceremony could be taken for government endorsement of the film should have given the responsible PR hack pause. Besides, Ms. Obama's bestowing the award on, for instance, Zero Dark Thirty, or Django Unchained, might have been even more problematic in this regard.
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