HOLLYWOOD – Ben Affleck, who was not even nominated in the director’s category, has to feel vindicated today after his film, “Argo,” was named best picture at the 85th Academy Awards, where Daniel Day-Lewis became the first three-time best actor winner in Oscar history and Jennifer Lawrence, at 22, was named best actress.
Day-Lewis, a London-born Irishman, was honored for his portrayal of the nation’s 16th president in “Lincoln” and Lawrence received her first Oscar for her work in “Silver Linings Playbook” in a ceremony that saw “Life of Pi” collect a leading four statuettes — including best director for Ang Lee — while “Argo” and “Les Miserables” had three.
Accepting the best-picture Oscar for “Argo,” an Iran-hostage thriller, co-producer Grant Heslov heaped praise on Affleck, who was not nominated for a director’s Oscar by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences but who received an array of honors from others, including the top prize from the Directors Guild of America.
“The reason I wanted to speak before Ben was Ben is a producer on the film and he is also our director, and I thought it would be awkward for Ben to thank himself,” Heslov said on stage Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre. “But it’s not awkward for me. … You directed a hell of a film. (I) couldn’t be more proud of the film, couldn’t be more proud of Ben.”
Affleck, who won an Oscar with pal Matt Damon for 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” told the star-studded crowd he was “just a kid” back then.
“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 from it in Hollywood, you know, I couldn’t get them a job,” he said.
“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,” Affleck said. “You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard, but you can’t hold grudges. And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, because that’s going to happen. All that matters is that you gotta get up.”
Day-Lewis’ win for his lead role as President Abraham Lincoln makes him the first person to earn three Oscars in the category. He previously won for “My Left Foot” and “There Will Be Blood.”
“I really don’t know how any of this happened,” the 55-year-old actor said. “I do know that I’ve received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life.”
Known for immersing himself in roles and staying in character 24 hours a day during filming, the London-raised actor thanked his wife, Rebecca, noting that during his career “she has lived with some very strange men.”
“I mean they were strange as individuals and probably even stranger if taken as a group,” he said. “But luckily, she’s the versatile one in the family and she’s been the perfect companion to all of them.”
“Lincoln” had a leading 12 nominations heading into the ceremony, but won only two, the other for production design for Rick Carter and Jim Erickson.
Lawrence won her Oscar for her portrayal of Bradley Cooper’s romantic foil in “Silver Linings Playbook.” It was her second nomination in the category, with her first coming in 2010 for “Winter’s Bone.”
“This is nuts,” the 22-year-old actress said. “Thank you to the Academy and thank you to the women this year. You were so magnificent and so inspiring, and not just those of you in my category.”
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz was named best supporting actor for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s slavery-era drama “Django Unchained.” Waltz, 56, won the same award for another Tarantino film, 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds,” and heaped praise on the director when accepting his latest statuette at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
“We participated in a hero’s journey, the hero here being Quentin,” Waltz said. “You scaled the mountain because you’re not afraid of it. You slay the dragon because you’re not afraid of it, and you cross through fire because it’s worth it. I borrowed my character’s words. I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.”
Waltz, who also won a Golden Globe for his “Django” work, emerged victorious from a highly competitive field of candidates that included Screen Actors Guild Award winner Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”), Robert De Niro (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Alan Arkin (“Argo”) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”).
Anne Hathaway rounded out her sweep of major Hollywood award wins by being named best supporting actress for her tragic turn as Fantine, a woman who slaves in menial jobs to raise money for her daughter until she eventually dies, in “Les Miserables.” It was the first Oscar for the 30-year-old actress, who was nominated for best actress in 2008’s “Rachel Getting Married.”
“It came true,” she whispered as she held the award on stage. “Thank you so much to the Academy for this and for nominating me with Helen Hunt, Jacki Weaver, Amy Adams and Sally Field. I look up to you all so much and it’s been such an honor. Thank you.”
She thanked the cast and crew of the musical and added, “Here’s hoping that someday in the not-too-distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and never more in real life.”
Lee’s win for best director was the second of his career. The Taiwanese filmmaker also won for “Brokeback Mountain” and was previously nominated for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
“Thank you movie god,” Lee said. “I really need to share this with … everybody who worked with me on ‘Life of Pi.’ I really want to thank you for believing in this story and taking this incredible journey with me.”
The visually lush fantasy also won Oscars for cinematography for Claudio Miranda; visual effects for Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott; and original score for Mychael Danna.
Tarantino won his second Oscar for best original screenplay for his “Django Unchained” script. He previously won for “Pulp Fiction.”
Tarantino praised the actors in the film for giving life to the characters in the script.
“I actually think if people are, like, knowing about my movies 30 or 50 years from now, it’s going to be because of the characters that I created,” he said. “And I really only got one chance to get it right. I have to cast the right people to make those characters come alive, and hopefully live for a long time. And boy this time did I do it. Thank you so much, guys.”
The Oscar for best adapted screenplay went to Chris Terrio for “Argo.”
The award for best original song went to Adele and Paul Epworth for the title song of the James Bond thriller “Skyfall.”
Disney’s “Brave” — the story of a rebellious Scottish princess’ test of wills with her mother as she challenges a pre-arranged marriage — won the Oscar for best animated feature, and co-director Brenda Chapman thanked her “wonderful, strong, beautiful daughter Emma, who inspired ‘Brave’ into being.”
John Kahr’s “Paperman” won for best animated short film — the first Disney Animation Studios-produced short to win the prize since 1969.
The Oscar for costume design when to Jacqueline Durran for “Anna Karenina” while Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell won the hairstyling and makeup award for “Les Miserables.”
Shawn Christensen won the Oscar for his live-action short “Curfew.” The award for documentary short subject went to Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine for “Inocente,” the coming-of-age story of a homeless and undocumented San Diego teen who’s determined to become an artist.
“Searching for Sugar Man,” the story of two South Africans who set out in search of 1970s rock star Rodriguez, received the Oscar for best documentary feature.
The Austrian film “Amour” — a French-language drama about a married pair of retired music teachers whose love is tested when she suffers a stroke — was named best foreign language film. The movie was the fifth in Oscar history to be nominated for both foreign language film and best picture honors.
The sound-mixing Oscar went to Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes for “Les Miserables.” The sound-editing category ended in a tie, with Oscars going to Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers for “Skyfall” and Paul N.J. Ottosson for “Zero Dark Thirty.”
For film editing, “Argo’s” William Goldenberg picked up his first Oscar. He was also co-nominated in the same category this year for “Zero Dark Thirty.”