ARGO Won, and I Think That’s Right.

06Mar13

There’s been a lot of complaining (as always) about the Academy Awards this year, but very little of it was about “Argo” winning Best Picture. This might partly be due to the movie’s unique labeling as an “underdog,” coupled with the “snub” of Affleck for a Best Director nomination*.

But in another way, I think “Argo’s” win is the “most right” Best Picture selection in a number of years. I’ve heard more complaining about host MacFarlane than I have about whether “Lincoln” should have won.

Looking back, I think there is a short list of Times The Oscars Got It Right in the Best Picture Category. Those would include “Casablanca,” both “Godfathers,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Amadeus” and “Schindler’s List.” Throw in “On the Waterfront” and “Rocky” (despite beating out “Taxi Driver”) and you could at least sleep well knowing those movies held the top spot. But the last 15 years have held their share of controversy:

“The Artist,” “King’s Speech,” “The Hurt Locker,” and “Slumdog Millionaire” were all capable films, but none of them feel like they garnered universal praise. It seemed like with each of those years, more “worthy” or “ambitious” fare could have been chosen. Go back a little farther to “No Country For Old Men” and “The Departed,” which felt more like historical correction wins than out-and-out WINS. Both films were given to filmmakers (The Coen Brothers and Martin Scorsese) who most would agree had better films in their past.

Then there’s 2005’s win for “Crash,” and what can you say about the most reviled Best Picture win there’s ever** been?

“Million Dollar Baby” felt like maybe the best of a weak crowd, “Return of the King” was really a victory over three years so felt a little like cheating. Then it goes “Chicago” (um…), “A Beautiful Mind” (yeah…) and “Gladiator” (…for real?). Really, you’d have to go back to the 1997 win of “Titanic” to find a win that feels like a big, no doubter victory, and that had serious detractors.

Consensus is a difficult thing, especially in today’s world. The past has a way of refracting out a lot of things to make a unified viewpoint that may never have been there. I’m not going to do the research, but it’s within reason to think that in 1944, somebody argued, “‘Casablanca’ for best picture? Faw! Let’s hear it for ‘Watch on the Rhine,’ 1943’s true classic!” But for right now, I’ll enjoy the feeling of consensus which I may or may not be applying to “Argo’s” victory. It feels like it’s there, it feels right, and it feels good.

 

*In fact, this couldn’t have gone more perfectly for Affleck — and being a handsome millionaire movie star married to Jennifer Garner, he obviously needs a break. What I mean is that if he HAD been nominated, the story could have easily turned around to how he doesn’t deserve it as much as someone else. But with the personal “snub” working in concert with all the accolades “ARGO” received, he became an underdog himself. Suddenly he deserved something more.

**Yeah, EVER.

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One Response to “ARGO Won, and I Think That’s Right.”


  1. 1 9 Random Thoughts On “Batfleck” | Phillip Mottaz Town

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