International Oscar Showdown 2013: Argo vs Amour

The 85th Academy Awards winners for Best Picture and Best International Feature Film were Argo and Amour

Argo fuck yourself

Affleck was enjoying something of a renaissance in the late 2000s. After his lamentable turn in 2003 as Daredevil, followed by the romantic lead in the laughably bad Gigli, he re-emerged a confident and competent director, first with Gone Baby Gone in 2007 and then The Town in 2010, both of which were Box Office successes.

Elements of style

The film has three elements: 1) glorified 70s Hollywood kitsch, featuring some of the best lines of dialogue and a gloriously misanthropic performance from Alan Arkin; 2) some human drama among the stranded Americans; and 3) the will-they-won’t-they rush to flee at the end.

Ben Affleck’s Argo

Tension: Improbable

Take a look again at Mission: Impossible, and note Brian De Palma’s masterful grasp of tension.

The legendary suspense scene from Mission: Impossible

Amour sullen affair

I was excited to watch Amour– one of the few fabled foreign-language films to get a Best Picture nomination — and I was not disappointed. Michael Haneke’s intimate little film is about a sweet retired couple, Anne and Georges, who must cope with Anne’s sudden semi-paralysing stroke, and her gradually deteriorating mental capacity.

Michael Haneke’s Amour

Retrospective result

Of all the International Oscar Showdowns so far, this one has featured two films more unalike than any of the others — even 12 Years A Slave and The Great Beauty. So, how to judge them against one another? With genres so contrasting, the only way I think that is fair is to ask: did they accomplish what they set out to do?

Writer of stories, movie reviews, and sundry other whims. Also a sub-editor, so you are welcome to shout at me about typos.

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