Published February 25, 2013
Affleck’s ‘Argo’ wins best picture at OscarsDAVID GERMAIN
LOS ANGELES — Ben Affleck’s “Argo,” a film about a fake movie, has earned a very real prize: best picture at the Academy Awards. From the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson to help present the final prize. “There are eight great films that have every right, as much a right to be up here as we do,” Affleck said of the other best-picture nominees. In share-the-wealth mode, Oscar voters spread Sunday’s honors among a range of films, with “Argo” winning three trophies but “Life of Pi” leading with four. Daniel Day-Lewis joined a select group of recipients with his third Oscar, taking the best-actor trophy for his monumental performance as Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War saga “Lincoln.” “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence triumphed in Hollywood’s big games, winning the best actress as a damaged soul in “Silver Linings Playbook,” while Ang Lee pulled off a huge upset as best director for “Life of Pi.” Anne Hathaway went from propping up leaden sidekick James Franco at the Academy Awards to hefting a golden statue of her own with a supporting-actress Oscar win as a doomed mother-turned-prostitute in the musical “Les Miserables.” Christoph Waltz won his second supporting-actor Oscar for a Tarantino film, this time as a genteel bounty hunter in the slave-revenge saga “Django Unchained.” Tarantino also won his second Oscar, for original screenplay for “Django.” Lee won best director for the shipwreck story “Life of Pi,” taking the prize over Steven Spielberg, who had been favored for “Lincoln.” Lawrence took a fall on her way to the stage, tripping on the steps. “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell,” Lawrence joked as the crowd gave her a standing ovation. At 22, Lawrence is the second-youngest woman to win best actress, behind Marlee Matlin, who was 21 when she won for “Children of a Lesser God.” With a monumental performance as Abraham Lincoln, Day-Lewis became the only performer to win three best-actor Oscars, adding to the honors he earned for “My Left Foot” and “There Will Be Blood.” He’s just the sixth actor to earn three or more Oscars, tied with Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Brennan with three each, and just behind Katharine Hepburn, who won four. Hathaway, whose perkiness helped carry her and the listless Franco through an ill-starred stint as Oscar hosts two years ago, is the third performer in a musical to win supporting actress during the genre’s resurgence in the last decade. Hathaway’s Oscar came for her role as noble but fallen Fantine in the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway smash that was based on Victor Hugo’s epic novel of revolution, romance and redemption in 19th century France. “Life of Pi” also won for Mychael Danna’s multicultural musical score that blends Indian and Western instruments and influences, plus cinematography and visual effects. A veteran performer in Germany and his native Austria, Waltz had been a virtual unknown in Hollywood when Tarantino cast him as a gleefully evil Nazi in 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds,” which won him his first Oscar. Oscar host Seth MacFarlane opened with a mildly edgy monologue that offered the usual polite jabs at the academy, the stars and the industry. “Argo” also claimed the Oscar for adapted screenplay for Chris Terrio, who worked with Affleck to create a liberally embellished story based on an article about the rescue and part of CIA operative Tony Mendez’s memoir. Terrio dedicated the award to Mendez, saying “33 years ago, Tony, using nothing but his creativity and his intelligence, Tony got six people out of a bad situation.” The foreign-language prize went to Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke’s old-age love story “Amour,” which had been a major surprise with five nominations, including picture, director and original screenplay for Haneke and best actress for Emmanuelle Riva, who turned 86 on Sunday and would have been the oldest acting winner ever. The Scottish adventure “Brave,” from Disney’s Pixar Animation unit, was named best animated feature. Pixar films have won seven of the 12 Oscars since the category was added. There was a rare tie in one category, with the Osama bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty” and the James Bond tale “Skyfall” each winning for sound editing.