“ARGO” and the Oscars

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There’s a very interesting thing happening this awards season. The believed to be front-runner for Oscar’s biggest award, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, finds itself in the dust of the surprising “Argo”, Ben Affleck’s Iran hostage thriller. I loved “Argo” as did many others and I have no problem with its award season success, but very few people saw this one coming. Sunday night it took home the biggest prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards to go along with the top prize it won at The Golden Globes. So now all eyes are on The Academy Awards. But for “Argo” to pull one final rabbit out of its hat it’s going to have to buck a pretty established trend.

In what I believe are two of the most inexplicable snubs in Oscar history, the Academy failed to give director nominations to either Affleck for “Argo” or Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty”. Bigelow has won several recent awards including the Best Director nod from the New York Film Critics. But it’s “Argo” that’s really running wild and it’s “Argo” that could be the fly in the Academy’s soup. You see the winner of the Best Director Oscar is almost always a sign of who will win Best Picture. It’s extremely, extremely rare for a Best Picture winner to not also take home the Best Director Oscar. So what is the Academy to do? This spotlights their blatant snubs even more and with them comes real questions of motivation.

Could it be the Academy is punishing Bigelow and Affleck for the perceived politics behind their films? Now I think anyone watching these two fantastic movies with an ounce of objectivity has to conclude that both are simply telling stories and not trying to make a huge political point. Perhaps that’s why I loved them so much. I get tired of being force-fed political perspective at the expense of good storytelling. Both of these movies are set in politically charged climates yet both Affleck and Bigelow allow the audience to process the politics. In fact, for me both pictures go beyond politics and into much deeper and more personal areas – something I can really appreciate.

So what else could the Academy’s beef be with Affleck and Bigelow? Both have created strong and challenging movies that certainly deserve to be nominated. Could it be that the Academy is unhappy with Affleck and Bigelow’s failure to use their opportunity to put a hard political slant on their films? Are they angry because they see the two films as leaning too much to the political right? Whatever the inexcusable reasoning is behind it the Academy has dropped the ball and now “Argo” is bringing it all into the light. I love it!

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16 thoughts on ““ARGO” and the Oscars

  1. I had seen Argo earlier in the year and watched both Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty this weekend. While DDL has his usual masterful performance, I felt both Lincoln and Zero Dark were far inferior to Argo.

    Spielberg films almost always get nominated but he lost his mojo after Saving Private Ryan IMO

  2. With the amount of calibur movies in 2012, I will agree that Argo def got snubbed. however, I think Bigelow isn’t as deserving. Don’t get me wrong…she did a great job, and the film is better than Hurt Locker, but Zero Dark Thirty is great for reasons, perhaps, far beyond Bigelow.

    I’d prefer to see Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson and, of course, Ben Affleck nominated first. Just my opinion.

    • That’s interesting because I really loved what Bigelow did. The way she keeps the story going and the tension high even when it could be perceived as slow. I also thinks she directs one of the most amazing military action sequence I’ve seen. I also appreciate how she never gives into the temptation to Hollywoodize her ending (something Affleck actually does).

      PT Anderson is one I was disappointed in but I felt the writing played a big part in it maybe more than his direction.

      Now Wes Anderson? I agree with you 100%!!!

      • i agree that Zero Dark Thirty was great. I loved it. but most of the credit goes to Chastain who has received plenty of attention. (also should go to the screenplay writers). But PT Anderson I felt should’ve been nom’d, and you may remember I did not like The Master. but it was an original story masterfully told (pun intended). I just didn’t see Bigelow’s contribution to be any greater…although she did give us a great movie! so, it’s a weird place to be in opinion-wise!

        at least we stand together on Moonrise Kingdom! 🙂

  3. Yeah, even though Affleck was snubbed and thus can’t win the Best Director category, I think his movie is the one to beat for BP. Lincoln might still take it but Argo has just been getting stronger and stronger.

      • Yeah, it’s definitely interesting and I think it will happen. I don’t think Argo is the best of the bunch (so far, I think it’s SLP) but it’d be cool to see the “underdog” (if you can call Argo an underdog) prevail, like when The Hurt Locker beat Avatar.

  4. I am amazed that Ben Affleck didn’t get the nom for best director. Argo is such a well balanced political thriller. I do hope Argo picks up the award for best film. It deserves to. Be brilliant for Argo to be the film that bucks the trend of Best director/film award handouts.

    • Wouldn’t it be cool if Argo bucks that trend question? I am hoping it happens but you just don’t know with the Academy. There’s so many question marks with this snub that I don’t know what to expect.

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