Sunday, March 03, 2013

Argo Wins Best Picture At 85th Annual Academy Awards

As previous visitors to In A Lather know, i have an Oscars® tradition of being a de facto good luck charm for the best picture winner. my habit is to only see one best picture contender, but this year courtesy of KredDolby Laboratories i saw two of the nominees for best picture: Lincoln, and Argo. i enjoyed both immensely but i was more inclined toward Lincoln for the win. my pick was incorrect, but my good luck charm status remains intact, and i'm happy Argo won. Ben Affleck, you had me at the vintage Warner Brothers icon on the opening credits.

i am a native of washington dc and Affleck did my hometown proud in his cinematographic choices. Chris Terrio's academy award winning adapted screenplay captures the rhythm and nuance of the language of the beltway perfectly. When the action shifts to Los Angeles the two previous appraisals of cinematography and script continue to hold true. Prior to Argo winning best picture Mr. Affleck discussed his choices and the reasons for them to give the film a specific look and sound [see the video below Argo Declassified]. Goal achieved.

Argo, based on the true story of six American Embassy workers who were given refuge by the Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor at his private residence in Iran during the hostage crisis. CIA operative Tony Mendez devises a plan to get them out. 

With an assist from friends in Hollywood---legendary make-up artist John Chambers [1968's Planet Of The Apes], and his colleague, a revered executive producer with a solid reputation and a knack for getting the impossible done, and the utilization of movie industry trade papers The Hollywood Reporter and show business bible Variety, they concoct an implausible idea and make it plausible: a fake movie that requires a real trip to Tehran for a location shoot. Of course the real reason for the trip is to rescue the six American Embassy workers.

Some criticisms of Argo have been that it is not 100% factual. To those who share that opinion, my response is that while the film's subject matter is based on a true story, this is not a documentary. Besides which, despite it not being a documentary, to my view, given the occurrences of the time it is an accurate depiction. One of many moments that attest to that accuracy is the re-creation of a chilling scene that aired on all the network news channels [SPOILER ALERT!] of a man who had been murdered---he was hung on a crane on a main road---left as a threat/warning to others.[END SPOILER ALERT]

That said i do have one negative but it does not detract from my recommending seeing Argo. That negative is there is no reference to President elect Ronald Reagan. During President Carter's term 52 hostages were in captivity for 444 days. Upon the swearing in of Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, those hostages were released. At the time the widely held belief was that had Carter been re-elected the hostages would not have been released. Whether or not that belief was shared by the makers of Argo i don't know, but i think the film has a hole in it's story for having no mention of Reagan as a part of the real drama.

Never the less, Argo is intense, suspenseful, funny, exciting, inspiring, exhilarating, and proves the adage that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Argo, in theaters now and on DVD and BlueRay.

( Warner Bros. )
WINNER Best picture: Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, producers
Actor in a supporting role: Alan Arkin
WINNER Film editing: William Goldenberg
Music (original score): Alexandre Desplat
Sound editing: Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
Sound mixing: John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
WINNER Writing (adapted screenplay): Chris Terrio

by lemondefr

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