Best Picture #85: Argo

Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were films that were superior in terms of quality and/or impact that were not nominated). This week’s entry is Argo (2012).

For a stretch there, not much seemed to please the Academy as much as movies about movies, and this one didn’t really feature a movie getting made or engage with the fantastical and magical world of filmmaking so many other films portrayed, it did show filmmakers being heroes, so it’s really no wonder it inspired so many to vote for it for Best Picture. So much of what the general public knows about the world of espionage comes from film and its often outlandish depictions of it, but here we get to see the guys who create the vision of intelligence agencies working for them and becoming spies for a brief time in a thrilling true story that realizes anyone can be a hero in the right set of circumstances. The action scenes that permeate most spy films are all but entirely absent here, but it still manages to be tense and gripping throughout as it depicts some of the moments that led to the decades long antagonistic relationship between the United States and Iran in a way that’s easily digestible but not overly simplistic, at least insofar as any American film will dare try.

The Real Best Picture:

Not the strongest year so, since no other films featured a line as good as “Argo fuck yourself”, I’m inclined to agree with the Academy.

Best Picture Winners

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