Usually at the Oscars there can be a bit of a shock or surprise when the runaway favorite loses out to some unknown art-house indie film. Not so this year as the bookies were spot on. Daniel Day-Lewis, ever intense and in character, won his unprecedented third Oscar for Lincoln while Argo won best film with nods elsewhere for the year’s other top films in Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Life of Pi and Skyfall.
The British and Irish actor Day-Lewis had won his last oscar as recently as 2008 for his role in There Will Be Blood and in a biopic of the great Abe, he was always likely to go close to his third. He has overtaken Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Hanks to become the all-time leading winner of the award, though his films probably don’t have the same mass-adoration that some of those others’ films have gained from your more average film-goer.
Ben Affleck was certainly in a buoyant mood as his thriller argo won the best picture award. Awarded by a tele-screen Michelle Obama and present Jack Nicholson, Affleck noted the ups and down of his career since his previous Oscar win in 1997, Good Will Hunting. With a career that has included Armageddon and Pearl Harbor as well as Good Will Hunting and Argo, his pronouncement, “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, all that matters is that you get up,” certainly makes sense.
The public’s favorites also got some acclaim with Anne Hathaway winning best supporting actress for her role in musical Les Miserables for her role as Fantine, singing the famous Dream a Dream song. She unsurprisingly said “It came true”. Best actress went to the emerging star Jennifer Lawrence who played a troubled (she’s very good at troubled) young widow in Silver Linings Playbook. Meanwhile Skyfall and Django Unchained also took gongs, with pop star Adele winning best original song and Christopher Waltz winning best supporting actor for his role in Django. Django’s notorious director Quentin Tarantino also won the original screenplay but he was less defensive in his speech than he was on a recent British TV interview last month that went viral.
But the award that many believe to be the greatest, the best director award, went to Ang Lee for the second time for his Yann Martel novel adaptation, Life of Pi. Lee had previously won for Brokeback Mountain – a film famously about gay cowboys – but this time, the charming fantasy that won him the award may have been more liked by America’s more conservative viewers. Life of Pi also won awards for cinematography, original score and visual effects.