TORONTO – A movie about a Canadian plan to free hostages from Iran and a movie adaptation of a Canadian novel were big winners Sunday night at the 85th Academy Awards.
Argo won Best Picture as well as Oscars for Film Editing and Adapted Screenplay, while Life of Pi took home four major awards including Best Director.
“I want to thank Canada,” said Argo producer Ben Affleck in his acceptance speech.
Affleck also directed and starred in the movie, which has been widely criticized for reducing Canada to a supporting role in the 1980 mission to free six U.S. hostages from revolutionary Iran.
Chris Terrio, who picked up the award for Argo’s Adapted Screenplay, heaped praised on CIA operative Tony Mendez but mentioned “the Taylors” – referring to former Canadian ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor.
The Best Director prize went to Ang Lee for bringing Life of Pi to the big screen. Largely filmed on a Montreal soundstage, the movie version of Saskatchewan-based author Yann Martel’s novel also won for both Cinematography and Visual Effects (including a golden statuette for Vancouver-based Guillaume Rocheron).
“I need to thank Yann Martel for writing this incredibly inspiring book,” said Ang, who also recognized his “Canadian crew.”
Toronto composer Mychael Danna, a native of Winnipeg, won the Oscar for Original Score for his work on Life of Pi but lost in the Original Song category to “Skyfall.”
Danna, who collected a Golden Globe for his score in January, thanked his parents “and most of all my wife and our two beautiful boys who remind me every day why stories like this one need to be told.”
B.C. native Jim Erickson won the Production Design award, with Rick Carter, for their work on Lincoln. The film earned Daniel Day-Lewis the Best Actor award.
Montreal’s Ariel Nasr (Buzhkashi Boys), Toronto’s Mino Jarjoura (Asad) and Montreal’s Yan England (Henry) all failed to collect the Oscar for Live Action Short Film, which went to Curfew.
The Best Foreign Language Film award went to Austria’s Amour, beating Rebelle (War Witch) from Quebec director Kim Nguyen.
Toronto-born actor Christopher Plummer appeared on stage to hand the Supporting Actress prize to Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables. Christoph Waltz won Supporting Actor his role in Django Unchained – which also earned an Original Screenplay award for director Quentin Tarantino.
Jennifer Lawrence won her second Oscar, this time for Silver Linings Playbook.
In the Animated Feature category, Brave was the victor. Paperman won Animated Short Film.
Oscars were also handed out to Les Misérables (Makeup and Hairstyling) and Anna Karenina (Costume Design).
The Documentary Short Subject honour went to Inocente and Searching for Sugar Man won Documentary Feature.
There was a tie in the Sound Editing category, with Oscars going to both Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall.
The opening sequence of the Academy Awards show at the Dolby Theatre featured host Seth MacFarlane getting advice from Canadian actor William Shatner in character as Capt. James T. Kirk.