ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS:
- Best Picture
- Best Supporting Actor – Alan Arkin
- Best Film Editing
- Best Original Score
- Best Sound Editing
- Best Sound Mixing
- Best Adapted Screenplay – Chris Terrio
Friday at work, Chris ran across a signature block from someone that said, “Lest We Forget: April 24, 1980.” Since neither one of us knew what that was about, I looked it up and found that it was referencing the giant failed attempt by the United States to rescue 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran, which didn’t work but left 8 American servicemen dead. I wondered if Argo was about this, because my post-World War II American history knowledge (or any American history knowledge . . .) isn’t exactly top notch. And while Argo is only about an aspect of that hostage situation, it was still interesting to get a bit of background right before we watched it.
Being an historical movie, Argo is extremely well-paced and doesn’t get too hung up on political speak. It gives just enough context and background, especially by using a really effective opening of storyboards showing the political history in Iran from about the 1950s up to the late 1970s. It not only sets a tone for the movie, by using storyboards, but sets the stage enough to where the characters’ dialogue isn’t completely bogged down in exposition.
I think it’s been talked a lot in the media, but although as a producer, Ben Affleck is nominated for Best Picture for Argo, he was noticeably left out in the Directing and Best Actor categories, which I thought was disappointing. Given how incredibly tense Argo is, Ben Affleck’s performance was appropriately subdued, which I thought really worked; it would be a lot harder to believe a flamboyant attention-getter was tasked with sneaking 6 Americans out of Iran.
Argo also perfectly employed the tricky after-the-movie exposition that ends up being cheesy in so many movies; instead of putting text on the screen, they showed photos of the characters in the movie next to the actual people they played. This touch really showed how much attention the filmmakers put into the details. There was also an interesting few sentences from Jimmy Carter at the end, talking about how important the rescue was and how hard it was to keep it a secret.
And I have to say, it was such a great moment when Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting, I think it would be pretty cute for an equally celebratory Ben Affleck and George Clooney to win as producers for Argo.
It was nice to finally watch this. The only reason I wanted to watch this was because John Goodman was cast as a minor character. And he come through as my favorite character but Argo was actually pretty good.
I guess I’m still not convinced that Ben Affleck can do good work (I think I still just see him as Gigli), but as the lead actor and director in Argo I think I now have a new image of him. I would gladly see any movie he directs. Especially if he keeps casting JG!
One thing that is bugging me and know it’s just because I don’t know how it works exactly but how is it that Alan Arkin is up for Best Supporting Actor when John Goodman had just as big a role?? It’s not even about wanting JG to get the Oscar, of course he really does need one, but how did they choose Arkin? Why not Brian Cranston? He was in it as much if not more. One day I’ll need to get some movie big shot to inform me on how the Best Supporting Actor category is picked.