‘Argo’ Continues to Piss Off the Rest of the World

Sure, Iran might be suing Hollywood over how much they hated Argo, but that makes sense as Iran doesn’t really come across as cool guys in the movie. But now New Zealand is pissed off. Yes, New Zealand, as a whole, is so angry about Argo!

Now, you may be thinking, "Wait, did New Zealand have anything to do with Argo?" That is what I thought! And that is part of the problem, it seems. You see, New Zealand is mentioned once in the movie—CIA agent Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston) tells Tony Mendez (played by the film’s director, Ben Affleck) that "the Kiwis" turned the American refugees away, forcing them to shack up with the Canadians. (The Canadians, by the way, are also mad about Argo.)

Naturally, the New Zealand Parliament has passed a motion claiming that Ben Affleck ""saw fit to mislead the world about what actually happened":

The strong reaction in New Zealand indicates the country remains insecure about its own culture, said Steve Matthewman, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Auckland. People are prone to bouts of unwarranted outrage when somebody from abroad says something bad about the country, he said, and simpering enjoyment when they say something good.

"It’s touched a really raw nerve," Matthewman said. "We do seem in New Zealand to be oversensitive to how the rest of the world perceives us."

The movie’s New Zealand reference may not be totally fair but has an element of truth.

Some in New Zealand have taken those words – "Kiwis turned them away" – as implying the country did nothing to help. Published interviews indicate that diplomats from Britain and New Zealand did help by briefly sheltering the Americans, visiting them and bringing them food, even driving them to the airport when they left.

Yet those interviews also indicate that both countries considered it too risky to shelter the Americans for long. That left the Canadians shouldering the biggest risk by taking them in.

Lawmaker Winston Peters, who brought last week’s uncontested motion before Parliament, said New Zealanders are unfairly portrayed as "a bunch of cowards," an impression that would be given to millions who watch the movie.

"It’s a diabolical misrepresentation of the acts of courage and bravery, done at significant risk to themselves, by New Zealand diplomats," he said.

Soon, Austria will file a suit against everyone associated with Argo because it beat Amour for the Best Picture Oscar. And New Orleans will cecede from the nation, claiming Beasts of the Southern Wild was robbed. Afghanistan will be all, "Hey guys, can y’all just stop bombing us? Make movies, not bombs!" Switzerland will stay neutral, obviously, but will probably enjoy all of this.

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Iran Threatens to Sue Over ‘Argo’

Even the Iranians didn’t think Argo should have won Best Picture last month. French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is currently visiting Iran to explore the possibilities of a lawsuit against the United States, as cultural officials in Iran claim that the Oscar-winning film is CIA propaganda against the country. What do you think was the biggest offense? Did they just roll their eyes at the gratuitious shot of a shirtless Ben Affleck (are we really surprised he didn’t get a Best Director nomination?), or was that enough to make then want to burn Affleck in effigy? I assume Coutant-Peyre is interested in the case because Amour didn’t win Best Picture, whereas the Iranians, I bet, thought Beasts of the Southern Wild was a real tear-jerker and that Quvenzhané Wallis was the cuuuuuutesssssssttttttt

[Via Washington Times]

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When Did John Goodman Become Best Picture Material?

Look, I love John Goodman. We all love John Goodman. John Goodman is great! But all of a sudden he’s the biggest ticket to getting an Oscar for Best Picture. He was in three of the nominated films this year—Flight, ParaNorman, and Argo—and its the second year in a row that John Goodman has appeared in a Best Picture-winning film. Last year, of course, he had a small, silent role in The Artist. But don’t forget! He was also in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a movie so terrible that everyone was stunned to see it get a Best Picture nomination. The secret? John Goodman. I’m telling you, put John Goodman in your movie. You’re not going to regret it. 

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Trolling the Oscars: Why None of These Movies Deserve to Win Best Picture

Welcome to the internet, where all of my opinions are right. You know what’s so great about being able to log into a CMS account and self-publish my thoughts and ideas? No matter how I actually feel, everything I write online comes across as completely sincere and competent, even when the things I write are neither of those things! It’s a brave new world we’re living in, when tweets can be art and art can be criticized by any person with an idea for a clever hashtag. Naturally, it’s time to harness this power by showing you exactly why none of the nine nominees for Best Picture deserve to win a goddamn thing. Let’s go!

Amour

Oh, come on. You didn’t see Amour. You know how I know this? Because I didn’t see Amour. I didn’t see this movie because I could just call my grandparents and ask them to speak to me in French for two hours. At least the phone call would be free! And hey, maybe I’d get twenty bucks out of it or somewhere, whereas Amour would cost me at least thirteen dollars and bring with it a lot of emotional anxiety. Anyway, this movie should not win, but I kind of wish it would if only so I can quickly take screenshots of midwestern teenagers tweeting about how they don’t know what Amour is. That’s how blogging works!

Argo

Ugh, Argo. Argofuckyourself, indeed, Argo! The major point about Argo was that Ben Affleck can direct a movie, which comes as a surprise to literally no one because he has already directed two movies that people liked a lot. The other reason Argo was made was so Ben Affleck could take off his shirt in another movie. Oh, and you know another thing that sucked about Argo? The fact that none of the women in Argo were allowed to speak to each other on camera. Sorry, Clea Duvall; you get to be in a Big Motion Picture, but you may only open your mouth when in the presence of Victor Garber. And don’t you dare make eye contact with Ben Affleck! 

Beasts of the Southern Wild

I do love a movie with a precocious child as much as the next guy, but how awkward do you feel about the fact that some white people from New York City went down to New Orleans to make a movie about magical negroes? I’m surprised there weren’t any animated bears and foxes floating along the river, or that those giant titular beasts didn’t burst into "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." 

Django Unchained

This one is simple: Django Unchained should not win Best Picture because it is not Jackie Brown and Jackie Brown is the only Quentin Tarantino movie that deserves to win Best Picture. 

Les Misérables

A friend of mine described this movie with the following: "It was like in acting classes when one person started crying and then everyone else in class cried harder and louder and uglier." This is one of the few movies in which everyone was dead at the end and I thought, "You know what? I’m OK with this." That is until the ghost of Anne Hathaway showed up again with that chopped-off hair and sad dress, which made me depressed. I really hate that it’s a known fact that your apperance when you die is what you’ll look like in Heaven. Really sucks for people who get run over by trucks, huh? 

Life of Pi

Spoiler alert: Pi is the tiger, and the tiger is Pi, and the eggman is Paul, I think, and maybe we ought to remake Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band but with 3D CGI, but I’m getting distracted. Life of Pi is a cartoon movie for adults who are still making their way through Oprah’s Book Club.

Lincoln

Oh, I’m sorry, is this category called Best Way to Nap? Lincoln was terrible. Remember how fun TV miniseries used to be? They were long, yes, but they were campy as hell, had a lot of awkward sex not normally seen during primetime, and were stuffed with lots of recognizable people who were not really famous but still possessed a certain level celebrity that you’d still be excited if you saw them on the street. Lincoln was just a really expensive TV-miniseries, but without the sex. Or the fun. And with overwritten dialogue by Tony Kushner. I got a screener of Lincoln, and it’s best uses so far have been as a coaster and as a substitute for Ambien.

Silver Linings Playbook

I can’t for the life of me figure out why people love this movie so much. Is it because we’re so desperate to see Ben Stiller act in a dramatic performance that we could substitute in Bradley Cooper and just go with it? Is it because it’s nice to see Julia Stiles back in action? Is it because of Jacki Weaver saying "crabby snacks and homemades?" Is it because of Dancing With the Stars? Is it because As Good as It Gets was too subtle and we needed a subpar version of that to really hone in the idea of what mental illness is? Or is it because everyone is crazy? If everyone is crazy, no one is crazy. 

Zero Dark Thirty

JUST KIDDING! While you were all being emotionally waterboarded by the rest of what Hollywood had to offer, you guys completely missed the fact that this was the best movie of the year. Jessica Chastain! She could act circles around everyone else on this planet, and she wouldn’t be exhausted because she’s, like, a healthy vegan. And you know she’s on track for world domination. GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE. it doesn’t even matter if this loses to, say, Argo, because Kathryn Bigelow will have her revenge on all of you. Especially you, Ben Affleck. 

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If the Idea of ‘Argo’ Winning Gets You Down, Take Comfort In This

The Oscars are on Sunday, and many a movie buff is dreading the increasing possibility that, per its victory at the Golden Globes, Ben Affleck’s hostage-movie-meets-movie-about-making-movies Argo will win Best Picture, thanks in part to its Perfect Storm of Best Picture-bait elements: Based on a True Story, Movie About How Awesome the Movies Is, etc. And I liked Argo! I found it entertaining! It had Marissa Cooper’s dad! Alexandre Desplat’s score was really good? But I also get why people wouldn’t be into it, and why people aren’t exactly keen on it potentially being named the best film of the past year. That said, all y’all Argo haters may have at least something in which to take some meager comfort, thanks to the good folks at The Playlist doing a bit of Internet digging.

Long before films like Gone Baby Gone and The Town made Ben Affleck a serious, respected director person with "Oscar contender" attached to his name, and even long before the fish-in-a-barrel punchline that was Gigli, there was Affleck’s first foray into directing, a 15-minute short called I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney. The concept is exactly what it says on the tin, and Affleck himself has called it "horrible" and "atrocious." Like all great student films, of course. It’s really not that bad considering the expectations that a student film with that title would probably warrant, although the lead actor provides some serious The Room-grade shoutiness in the early scenes. Watch.

‘Argo’ Wins BAFTA for Best Picture, Best Director

While you were watching the Grammys, the BAFTAs, the U.K. version of the Oscars, was aired on BBC America. And hoo boy, what a mess of an awards show. I didn’t watch it, so I can only imagine the British humour happening all over the place, but I can tell you that I’ve got a pretty stiff upper lip this morning as I look at the list of winners. Argo won Best Picture and Best Director. Ben Affleck. The best director. Of the year! Ben Affleck is a better director than Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, et al. None of those chumps can possibly live up to the magnificent director Ben Affleck. Also, both Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain lost out to Emmanuelle Riva for Amour. Christolph Waltz won for Django Unchained, and Daniel Day-Lewis surprised no one when he won another award for Lincoln. And, of course, little Annie Hathaway likely annoyed people in England, too, with her insincerity upon winning Best Supporting Actress.

The full list of winners below, via EW.

Best Film: Argo
Best Director: Ben Affleck, Argo
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Best Original Screenplay: Django Unchained
Best Adapted Screenplay: Silver Linings Playbook
Best British Film: Skyfall
Best Film Not in the English Language: Amour
Best Animated Film: Brave
Best Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man
Best Editing: William Goldenberg, Argo
Best Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi
Best Original Music: Thomas Newman, Skyfall
Best Make-Up & Hair: Lisa Wescott, Les Misérables
Best Visual Effects: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, Donald R. Elliott, Life of Pi
Best Production Design: Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson, Les Misérables
Best Sound: Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Jonathan Allen, Lee Walpole, John Warhurst, Les Misérables
Best British Debut: Bart Layton and Dimitri Doganis, The Imposter
Orange Rising Star Award: Juno Temple
Best Animated Short: The Making of Longbird
Best Live-Action Short: Swimmer

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Ben Affleck, Lena Dunham, and Rian Johnson All Take Home DGA Top Honors

When the Academy failed to nominate Ben Affleck for Best Director a collective “Awww, what?!” swept Hollywood. But with the way award season has been thus far, it looks like Affleck can just brush that one off his shoulder. Although he will not be taking home an Oscar this month for Argo, I’m sure he can be pretty satisfied in knowing just about every other Guild, Circle, Press, etc. recognizes his directorial effort, awarding him with their highest honors.

And last night, falling in line with the season, Affleck took home the Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award from the Director’s Guild of America. Not since Ron Howard with Apollo 13 has someone been left out of the Academy Awards and still taken home the top DGA prize. But then again, Affleck did win an Oscar at the age of 26 for the eternally brilliant Good Will Hunting, so I think he’ll be okay.

Last night was also a good celebration for great young directors. Lena Dunham beat out Bryan Cranston and Louis CK for her direction on the pilot episode of Girls and the fantastic Rian Jonhson won for his directorial work on episode “Fifty-One” of Breaking Bad. This morning, Johnson wrote on Twitter that the first episode of Breaking Bad that he directed got him his DGA card and that he’s “so lucky to work on the show and this was such a huge honor” and included this picture.

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Check out full list of of last night’s DGA winners here.

This Is an Alexandre Desplat Appreciation Post

Best Original Score, for most, is one of those categories at the Golden Globes (and, by proxy, the Academy Awards) that you just kind of gloss over. Many of the same names cycle annually as nominees (John Williams, Gustavo Santaolalla, the Danna brothers, etc.) and it usually falls by the wayside to its more popular, eclectic cousin, Best Original Song, this weird and wonderful space responsible for Oscars for “Blame Canada” and Three Six Mafia (and a lot of snubs we found unfortunate). Last night, Mychael Danna, who scored the tigers-and-shipwrecks tale Life of Pi, took home the Globe for his lovely score, but today, we salute another workhorse of film composition.

You know who had a great year in award-fodder movies? Alexandre Desplat. Sure, Danna got the win and the Oscars love John Williams and biopics so the big one will probably go to Lincoln, and it’s just an honor to be nominated what are these awards anyway etc., but dude was pretty much killing it this whole time, and it was about time he got his own appreciation post.

 For sheer volume of work alone, all the writing and rehearsing and recording for three of the most acclaimed movies of 2012, as well as some others. Did he sleep at all? Did he remember to bathe? Or was he just so immersed in quickening the pulse of Argo armed with ouds and beats and some a cappella that would have been tacky in most places but worked here? Or was he too busy cultivating that stomach-dropping, ominous feel for Zero Dark Thirty, or giving Wes Anderson another earworm of a leitmotif for Moonrise Kingdom? A score is everything, and for three of the most celebrated filmmakers of the year and the three most celebrated films, there was only one composer for the job.

Desplat has been nominated five times for Best Original Score for the Oscars and has gone 1-for-6 with Golden Globes. This may not be his year, but he’s a winner in our hearts. Listen to some choice selections from Moonrise Kingdom, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty below.  

 

Which One of These Old White Guys Will Win Another Oscar?

Happy Oscar Nominations Day! Did you wake up early to watch Seth McFarland and Emma Stone announce the nominees? Can you think of a quirkier couple to do so? Here’s the run-down: they only bothered to come up with nine movies to nominate for Best Picture, they figured Kathryn Bigelow didn’t need any more nominations (probably because of Bridesmaids solving feminism or something last year), and Jessica Chastain with the Julliard degree is up against a nine-year-old. But most importantly: five old white men are gunning for another Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category. Who will it be?!

Will it be Alan Arkin, showing his range after winning for playing a grumpy, foul-mouthed grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine with his brilliant turn as a grumpy, foul-mouthed film producer in Argo? How about Robert De Niro, who in Silver Linings Playbook gave us the best performance of an old man with OCD tendencies since Jack Nicholson won for As Good As It Gets? Then there’s Philip Seymour Hoffman, who famously raised his voice and twisted his eyeglasses a few times for his Oscar-winning turn as Truman Capote, this time playing L. Rob Hubbard (basically) with his natural, deep voice in The Master. Or will it be Chrisoph Waltz, bringing levity and humor to the American slave trade in the same way he made it OK to finally laugh at—and with—Nazis.

Personally, I think it’s going to be Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln. You see, he sleeps with his black maid (spoiler alert, I guess, although I still refuse to see Lincoln). Remember when he won an Oscar for The Fugitive and said, “I don’t care,” right before Harrison Ford jumped out of that dam? That was a good movie. Hell, just give him another one. Who cares.

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