Argo is a bullshit win. No remarkable performances, an unearned ending, and a perfect example of giving into the CIA fetish while giving other countries the shaft. I get that the film was made with the best of intentions but it's nowhere near as thought provoking as Zero Dark Thirty or, and it wasn't even nominated, The Master.
I don't think that's a fair assessment of the film. While I agree it's more of an ensemble piece, I think Arkin gave a standout supporting performance and was nominated as a result. But all of the actors did a fine job of showing the fear and desperation and ingenuity of those involved.
Not sure what you mean by "unearned ending," though. Do you mean how they embellished events to make the ending more cinematic by making things seem more in danger of falling apart as they were going through airport security than they actually were and introducing a runway chase that never happened? If so, welcome to Hollywood. I don't think that really takes away from the quality of the movie and the overall tense feeling, unease, and then sense of relief it gives you despite knowing the outcome in advance.
As far as the CIA fetish goes, while I would have preferred that they gave the Canadians the greater recognition they deserved (though they do get a large share of the praise in the film, as well), it's not like the CIA's involvement was made up out of whole cloth (they were equally responsible for the operation), and the storytelling reasons why they would play up that angle make sense. A story focusing on a spy going in to hostile territory is more dramatic (and true), and allows you to focus on a central character (Affleck's Tony Mendez) rather than the numerous people actually involved. It's not like they only omitted some of the Canadians involved; Mendez's longtime CIA exfiltration partner who went in with him and left with the group was also left out to streamline the story.
And it seems odd to comment on a CIA fetish while praising Zero Dark Thirty
, a film which implies that CIA torture of terror suspects led to actionable intelligence that resulted in the killing of bin Laden, when there's no proof of that being the case (I know you won't argue the torture point Sid
, but just FYI for anyone else; I don't want to get into a torture argument in the Oscar thread, so anyone who doesn't like my comment, I'll be happy to discuss it in TNZ or Miscellaneous if you like). Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic movie as well and I'd be fine with it winning, but it seems strange to criticize Argo's
CIA focus while praising ZDT
. At least in Argo
it was a wholly nonviolent operation that resulted in rescuing everyone intended without any lives lost on either side, so it's worthy of praise in that respect. And there's plenty of criticism in the film of the CIA's and the US's prior involvement with propping up the Shah's brutal regime, so it's not like they skate away clean.
Jennifer Lawrence is awesome. She's so funny and humble and genuine, and I love the blunt and self-deprecating way she handles the moronic questions from the reporters.
Tom Servo wrote:
You'd think Ang Lee would give a shout out to Rhythm and Hues, also known as the VFX that practically made his movie. Oh and it's also the company that had to declare bankruptcy and lay off 250 artists and workers in between the release of Life of Pi, and tonight.
However, just like how the VFX award winners were pushed off the stage when they tried to bring to light the current business model of VFX being extremely exploitative to the artist, his lack of mention just shows how much respect the VFX industry really gets in Hollywood.
Get it through your head Hollywood. Ang Lee didn't bring Life of Pi to life. The hundreds of artists and technicians at R&H and other studios did, and while you get to go up there accept your big award, THEY got sent home with no paycheck, and no job.
I was irritated by the bolded part as well, and said as much during the live commentary on the show
. That was completely disrespectful to the speaker, who was not doing the usual longwinded thank you speech but was appealing to the Hollywood elite in the room to support a dying VFX company/industry.