It was the heavy favorite for Best Picture going into the night, and Ben Affleck’s “Argo” did not disappoint. The historical thriller won the 85th annual Academy Award for Best Picture.
“Argo” trumped a field including “Amour,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Django Unchained,” “Les Miserables,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Despite Ben Affleck’s snub in the Best Director category, “Argo” had already won top prizes from industry guilds the DGA, PGA, SAG and WGA, as well as Best Picture and Best Director from the Golden Globes and British Academy Awards. “Argo” also collected two additional Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay.
In an odd and unexpected twist, the Best Picture award was presented by First Lady Michelle Obama from the White House in Washington D.C., with an assist from Jack Nicholson in Los Angeles.
Producers Grant Heslov, George Clooney and Affleck accepted the award, with the bulk of the speaking time going to Affleck. Affleck’s speech touched on his previous Best Original Screenplay win in 1998 for “Good Will Hunting” and the subsequent ups and downs in his career. An excerpt follows:
“I was here 15 years ago or something and you know I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here in front of you all and I was really just a kid, I went out and I never thought that I would be back here. And I am. Because of so many of you who are here tonight, because of this Academy, because of so many wonderful people who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit them from it in Hollywood — I couldn’t get them a job. I want to thank them and I want to thank what they taught me, which is that you have to work harder than you think you possibly can. Can’t hold grudges, it’s hard, but you can’t hold grudges. And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down … all that matters is that you gotta get up.”