Thursday, June 24, 2021
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‘Les Mis’ loses, but defeat brings world peace

Ben Affleck takes home the gold for 'Argo' instead. (AP Photo)

Pessimism can come naturally when watching the Oscars (especially if you were expecting “Les Miserables” to win Best Picture). Upsets are even quite common. The Academy tends to vote with a particular slant that doesn’t match the winner of a true consensus — “Pulp Fiction” losing to “Forrest Gump” in 1994, Beatrice Straight winning  Best Supporting Actress for just four minutes of film in 1976,  and “Titanic” over anything else released since my baby videos.

Yes, the pessimism is bitter. Yet, even though I broke my six-year streak of picking Best Picture correctly last night, every winner was justified in their triumph, every actor, writer, and even sound mixer worthy of their praise.

Rarely would I spill my love for winners that I didn’t pick, but 2012 proved a remarkable year for film. Daniel-Day Lewis embodied the spirit of Lincoln with such uncanny similarity that we may never picture the historical figure again. Jennifer Lawrence mastered all range of emotions in “Silver Linings Playbook,” from guttural to impassioned. Even Ang Lee bumped the indomitable Spielberg for a Best Director Oscar. Consider that Lee is a man who once directed “The Hulk.” This is either a comeback or a grave mistake. But an anomaly so strange also reflects the raw power of last year’s cinematic roster.

Still bitter? The fact that “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall” tied for Best Sound Editing is incredible. No one really cares about the category, yet all its nominees were heatedly strong.

Still crying? The show itself was logistically the best in years. Seth McFarlane hit all celebrities without remorse, ever edgy without desecrating a picture of the Pope (since Sinead O’Connor, that joke has resigned). Suave Sinatra numbers, Jennifer Lawrence tripping upstage, Michelle Obama on Skype, and Adele winning another award — well, at least the former three make a lavish ceremony.

And still trying to sway the Academy? The fact is that the Best Picture category was inundated with so many potential winners that selecting any one of them is some small injustice. “Argo” just so happened to be the best concentrated effort.

Snobby film fans (me and the one other dude who saw “Amour” in America) will still berate for debate’s sake, how nine-year old Quvenzhané Wallis was the real Best Actress and how Ben Affleck only won for that beard. But somehow, the world is at peace. And that’s largely because Quentin Tarantino is a winner once more while Kristen Stewart a winner nevermore.



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