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Filmism.net Dispatch March 2, 2013

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Well, that's another awards year done. As usual there were some surprises (Ang Lee for Life of Pi) in with the certainties (Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln), but all eyes were on Argo, the first Best Picture winner without a corresponding Best Director nomination since 1989, as it happens.

In hindsight Argo might have been the surest bet of the night, and here's why. Look at the two films that swept the awards last year, The Artist and Hugo. What else were they both about but movies? There's nothing Hollywood loves more than Hollywood itself, and love letters about the technicalities and personalities who gave birth to the era were always going to score big with the Academy's predominantly older voting base.

What else were the scenes with Alan Arkin as grouchy producer Lester Siegel and John Goodman as make-up maestro John Chambers but more Hollywood love? It was a chance for the industry to look back at one of its own golden ages (director Affleck even installed the old Warner Bros logo at the beginning to reference the smart political drama thrillers of the 70s) and poke good natured fun at the archetypes that built it (Siegel; 'If I'm going to make a fake movie, it's going to be a fake hit').

Also in the news, and this is the last time I'm going to talk about Dreamworks' recent harsh lesson in moviemaking, is this report from the Hollywood Reporter. Essentially it says the company is taking an $87m hit on Rise of the Guardians (proof of the bizarre accounting in Hollywood, the film cost $145m and took double that but is still a loss). CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said the studio was shedding 350 jobs from production areas, which makes his comments about 'resetting the scale of what we're doing' sound like a downgrade of some sort.

I've seen a few new and a few old movies since we spoke last. John Hillcoat's Lawless was very high quality but quite cold and uninspiring, Lockout wasn't half as bad as you've heard and The Sweeney was like a bull in a crockery shop (and not in a good way). But no film can come close to the sheer artistry, the directorial scope and staggering depth of emotion that is Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.

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