Today! Because if I’m doing a fake movie, it’s gonna be a fake hit –
Directed by Ben Affleck
Starring Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin (x2), John Goodman (x2), Scoot McNairy, Victor Garber (x3), Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler (x2), Tate Donovan, Chris Messina, Philip Baker Hall (x2), Rory Cochrane, Clea DuVall (x2), Titus Welliver, Bob Gunton (x2), Richard Kind (x2), Richard Dillane, Adrienne Barbeau, Taylor Schilling, Christopher Denham, Zeljko Ivanek
When we as a people rose up and decried in one voice that we would not allow the slighting of Ben Affleck to continue for one goddamn minute longer, Argo became the surprise Best Picture winner of 2012, despite not receiving a Best Director nomination – as rare a thing to happen at the Oscars as any. And the pointed reason for this win is attributed to this general outrage of Affleck being overlooked, which I don’t really understand. Not the overlooking (even though it was probably a little unfair), but the outrage. Why did everyone care so much? And in a year that I will go to the wall to defend as one of the best in film history? It’s not like there weren’t other deserving and/or better films available. So why did everyone lose their minds over the nominations?
Maybe because the Bat-Fleck era was not yet upon us? Maybe we all felt bad that the whole Bennifer thing hadn’t worked out? Maybe everyone was convinced that Gone Baby Gone and The Town got screwed? I just don’t know. Because, look, I really like Argo – thus it cracking the list here – but again, 2012 was a deeply stacked year – Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Silver Lining Playbook, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Amour were the other Best Picture nominees, not to mention The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, Skyfall, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Returns, Kon-Tiki, Wreck-It Ralph, Brave, The Hunger Games, The Cabin in the Woods. And yet, again, outrage!
But let’s not run down Argo, because it is a legitimately great movie. It checks two major boxes for me: 1) I like movies about movies, and while it is decidedly secondary to the main plot, the construction of the fake film Argo is hilarious and wonderful and 2) While not overly historically accurate, the tense final sequence where the Americans are extricated from Iran is amazing. But as I mentioned in a previous post, in some cases winning Oscars tends to idle actors and directors, and thus Affleck has only directed one completely overlooked crime drama (Live by Night, which I still haven’t seen either) since Argo, which is a shame, as all his movies to that point were terrific. Come back to us, Ben! Stop superheroing!
Also, in a cast as deep as this one – with your Bryan Cranstons and your Kyle Chandlers and your John Goodmans – it is further emphasized what a national treasure Alan Arkin truly is. The only Oscar nominated actor in the film!
I’m not giving any made up nonsense awards here – even though Adrienne Barbeau deserves something for randomly turning up for the read-through of the fake Argo – because we’ve done enough for this movie as a people. Congratulations, Argo!
Tons of Two-Timers in this fully loaded cast – Arkin (#307 Return of Captain Invincible), Chandler (#388 The Wolf of Wall Street), Goodman (#385 Bee Movie), Gunton (#357 JFK), Kind (#367 A Serious Man), and #278 Zodiac co-stars Clea DuVall and Philip Baker Hall – but only new one Three-Timer, Alias star and #386 Godspell/#296 Titanic legend Victor Garber!