Yup, here I go again. It apparently won’t stop(in fact, it appears it will march all the way to the Big Kahuna come Oscar night), so I must repeat my protest. Why the showering of trinkets for Ben Affleck and his fictional film, “Argo”? That’s how I will refer to it from now on—because it’s certainly not a “true story”. Recently, a relative(through marriage)asked me why I’m being so tough on “Argo”, while I’m such an ardent supporter of 1991’s “JFK” from Oliver Stone. Said relative has been harping on this particular film since the first day I met him. I would think the two films are apples and oranges, but some are unable to see the forest for the trees. True: I love “JFK”. For one thing, it is one of the most fascinating examples of editing I have ever viewed(Joe Hutshing and Pietro Scalia took home Oscar gold for their work). But, does “JFK” really present itself as a non-fiction take on the Kennedy assassination? I guess the argument could be made, but I certainly never looked at it that way. The film seems quite self-aware to me, and ardently throws in just about every conspiracy theory ever presented regarding the murder of JFK. Ask yourself this—does anyone know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, who killed John F. Kennedy? I think the vast majority would answer no. Some would claim Lee Harvey Oswald never fired a shot! So, what’s the problem? Does the movie take certain liberties with the proven record, though? Of course! And I could give you about a hundred examples of other award-winning films that have done the exact same thing. So, I’m not 100% percent against a certain amount of creative license. Now, and this deserves repeating, I like “Argo”. But as Pee-Wee Herman would say, LIKE! I don’t love it, I can’t excuse it, it sets itself up as a chronicle of history(yes, I’ve spoken to people who’ve accepted it as fact—hook, line and sinker), and its finale is stuffed with every example of “thriller” cliché imaginable. And, it’s going to win Best Picture on February 24th. I’m almost certain of it. The only question now is who will win Best Director, because as we all know it will not be Ben Affleck(cue the crying, screaming, wailing masses…”WHYYYYY!!!”). But Ben will walk to the podium for the last award of the evening, receive a gold statuette for producing “Argo” and get a standing ovation from a raucous crowd. Recently, I listed a gaggle of great directors who never took home a directing Oscar. Want more? Sidney Lumet. Peter Weir. Quentin Tarantino. Howard Hawks. AKIRA KUROSAWA! All five of these men are vastly more talented than Mr. Affleck. Plus, “Argo” isn’t even close to the best film in the category this year! I think it’s superior to “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Les Miserables”, yes. It probably runs neck-and-neck with “Lincoln”. But all of the others, along with a good twenty non-nominated films, kick its ass. No matter, Hollywood is determined to give this boy his due. His 3-film canon is obviously just too rich to dismiss. He’s 40 years old for crying out loud! I mean, what’s taking Oscar so long? Do they think he’ll live forever? Ben Affleck has now won the coveted DGA award for being the best director of the year. SAG doesn’t honor directors, but their Best Ensemble prize is essentially the same as saying Best Pic. Even BAFTA(the British version of Oscar)bestowed Ben with Best Picture and Director…so the mania has spread across the pond! Am I blind? Am I not recognizing “Argo”‘s utter brilliance? Or is this just another example of the industry taking care(to the nth degree)of its own? It’s certainly without question at this point that being “snubbed” by the Academy was a blessing in disguise for Mr. Affleck. Folks should be mournful for the lifelong helmers who were ignored in this category, not just feel bad for some actor “good-guy”. He’ll have other chances if he’s all that talented. Why coronate him now? And I would love to make this my last word on this subject…but I’m not sure I can keep the promise. Onward to the 24th, I guess. I’ll be griping the whole way and beyond.
BAFTA, DGA, SAG…and the best thing that ever happened to Ben Affleck