2012 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
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Academy Awards History (By Decade):
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
Winners Charts:
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®


2012

Picture:
"ARGO," "Amour," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Django Unchained," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Les Miserables," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Zero Dark Thirty"
Animated Feature Film:
"BRAVE," "Frankenweenie," "ParaNorman," "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," "Wreck-It Ralph"
Actor:
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS in "Lincoln," Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook,"" Hugh Jackman in "Les Miserables," Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master," Denzel Washington in "Flight"
Actress:
JENNIFER LAWRENCE in "Silver Linings Playbook," Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty," Emmanuelle Riva in "Amour," Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Naomi Watts in "The Impossible"
Supporting Actor:
CHRISTOPH WALTZ in "Django Unchained," Alan Arkin in "Argo," Robert De Niro in "Silver Linings Playbook," Philip Seymour Hoffman in "The Master," Tommy Lee Jones in "Lincoln"
Supporting Actress:
ANNE HATHAWAY in "Les Miserables," Amy Adams in "The Master," Sally Field in "Lincoln," Helen Hunt in "The Sessions," Jacki Weaver in "Silver Linings Playbook"
Director:
ANG LEE for "Life of Pi," Michael Haneke for "Amour," David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook," Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," Benh Zeitlin for "Beasts of the Southern Wild"


Argo (2012)The Best Picture (and other) races were tightly contested among a handful of top contenders, and the wealth was ultimately very spread out and evenly distributed. The predictable mix of the nine Best Picture nominees vying for victory included a wide range of both traditional studio films and smaller arthouse independent films. By the time of the awards in late February 2013, six nominees had grossed over $100 million - a first in Oscar history. Only Zero Dark Thirty, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Amour did not reach the mark.

The highly-solid and highest-grossing revenue nominee with the greatest number of nominations, the early front-runner Lincoln, was bested by Argo for Best Picture - a surprise win. Usually, Best Picture winners also have their directors nominated as well. Ben Affleck was one of a few obviously-snubbed Best Picture-nominated directors, including un-nominated Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty. (Some claimed that industry sexism in the director's branch of the Academy remained intact.) A possible sympathy vote and backlash in support of Affleck may have had some impact and possibly accounted for his win for Argo. [Note: The last film to win Best Picture without a director nomination was Bruce Beresford's Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and the previous victors before that were Wings (1927/28) and Grand Hotel (1931/32).]

Director Ben Affleck's and Warner Bros.' film Argo garnered 7 nominations and only 3 wins, including Best Adapted Screenplay by Chris Terrio, Best Film Editing, and Best Picture. At the time of the awards, Argo was only the fourth highest-grossing (domestic) film among the Best Picture nominees. It was a conventional true story-based thriller about CIA agents in the Middle East in the 1970s teaming up with filmmakers to create a fake movie production to help free embassy workers (during the Iran hostage crisis). CIA operative Tony Mendez devised the scheme to rescue the US diplomats who escaped from the American Embassy when it was stormed by Islamic revolutionaries in 1979, but were trapped in the home of the Canadian ambassador in Tehran.

The other eight films in the Best Picture race (in descending order of Oscar wins) were:

In the Best Director category (with five of the nine directors of Best Picture nominees receiving predictable nods), the winner was 58 year-old Taiwanese filmmaker Ang Lee for Life of Pi. It was his second Best Director win - he won Best Director in the past for Brokeback Mountain (2005), and was also nominated in the category for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). The other Best Director nominees were:

Four of the 20 acting nominees were first-time nominees, and 9 of the 20 acting nominees were previous winners (including all of the Best Supporting Actor nominees). The two female acting winners, Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence, were first-time winners (for their second nominations), and the two male acting winners, Daniel Day-Lewis and Christoph Waltz, had won previously in the same categories.

In the Best Actor category, the favorite was the winner - 55 year-old British-born Daniel Day-Lewis (with his fifth Best Actor nomination and third win) for his performance as Abraham Lincoln during his final eight months of life and as President, in Lincoln. [Note: Day-Lewis had four previous Best Actor nominations - with two other wins: My Left Foot (1989) (win), In the Name of the Father (1993), Gangs of New York (2002), and There Will Be Blood (2007) (win).] [Note: Day-Lewis became the first male performer in Academy history to win three lead acting Oscars! He was also the first person to win an Oscar for playing an actual U.S. President. One other actor was nominated for playing Abraham Lincoln: Raymond Massey for Abe Lincoln In Illinois (1940) - Massey lost to Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story (1940). Day-Lewis was also the first actor to win an Oscar for a Steven Spielberg film.]

The other four Best Actor nominees were:

The Best Actress category appeared to be a two-way race between two young actresses (each with their second nomination). None of the Best Actress nominees had won an Oscar before. The contest was won by 22 year-old Jennifer Lawrence (with her second nomination) for Silver Linings Playbook. She portrayed troubled, pushy and wild, recent young widow Tiffany Maxwell - unemployed, neurotic and struggling to heal, who captured the broken heart of recovering romantic interest Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper). [Note: She was previously nominated as Best Actress for Winter's Bone (2010). She became the youngest performer to receive two Best Actress nominations upon receiving the 2010 nomination, and the third-youngest Best Actress nominee. With the 2012 Best Actress win, she became the second-youngest Best Actress winner ever.]

The other four Best Actress nominees were:

The Best Supporting Actor category was composed of veteran nominees who were all previous Oscar winners. The winner was a long-shot - 56 year-old Austrian-born Christoph Waltz (with his second nomination and second win in the category), played the role of ex-German dentist and genteel gunslinging bounty-hunter Dr. King Schultz, who freed Django (Jamie Foxx) and mentored him, in Django Unchained. [Note: Waltz previously won Best Supporting Actor for Inglourious Basterds (2009), another Quentin Tarantino film.]

The other four Best Supporting Actor nominees were:

In the Best Supporting Actress category, there were no first-time nominees. The leading contender was the winner - 30 year-old Anne Hathaway (with her second nomination and first Oscar win) as tragic, heartbreaking, and desperate factory worker/mother Fantine, outcast and forced into prostitution to support her daughter Cosette, in Les Miserables. [Note: Hathaway's previous nomination was Best Actress for Rachel Getting Married (2008).]

The other four Best Supporting Actress nominees were:

The winner of the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar was director Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman's Brave, made by Disney's Pixar, CGI. Three of the five nominees used stop-motion (frame-by-frame) animation. This was the first time that three stop-motion films were nominated since this category was created in 2001. The other four nominees were:

[Note: Starting this year, there were two changes in the titles of awards. The Best Art Direction award was renamed Best Production Design, and the Best Makeup award was renamed Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Also, after expanding the Best Picture nominee roster from five to 10 in 2009, the AMPAS made another change last year. The new rule allowed for 5 to 10 films to be nominated for Best Picture (and nine were nominated this year). If a film received 5% of the ranked first-place votes from Academy members, it would become one of the nominees.]

Most Obvious Omissions or Snubs:

Best Picture: The Dark Knight Rises (the year's second biggest box-office hit), the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, was shut out entirely. (His two previous Batman movies combined for nine nominations, and two wins.) Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master was also absent from the Best Picture category, although it had three acting nominations, as was Moonrise Kingdom about two love-struck 12 year-old runaways in mid-1960s New England, which had only one nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Best Director: Probably the most egregious mistakes or omissions of the year were in this category: actor-turned-director Ben Affleck's third feature film Argo was ignored, as was feted female war-film director Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty, Tom Hooper for Les Miserables, Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master, and Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained. Another oversight for Tarantino's film was the snubbing of Rick Ross and Jamie Foxx for their contribution to the soundtrack - "100 Black Coffins."

Best Actor: Richard Gere was passed over for his role as cheating 60 year-old Wall Street multi-billionaire Robert Miller in Arbitrage, as was John Hawkes as real-life polio victim Mark O'Brien in The Sessions, or Ben Affleck as CIA specialist Tony Mendez in his own Argo.

Best Actress: Missing from the category's nominations were previous Best Actress Oscar-winners Marion Cotillard as killer whale trainer-amputee Stephanie in Rust and Bone, and Helen Mirren as Hitchcock's beleaguered wife Alma Reville during the making of Psycho (1960) in Hitchcock.

Best Supporting Actor: Also unnominated was Leonardo di Caprio as cruel, racist and sadistic plantation owner and slave holder Calvin J. Candie in Django Unchained.

Best Supporting Actress: Many critics thought Maggie Smith should have received a nomination for her role as retired housekeeper Muriel in director John Madden's British comedy-drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, about a group of British senior pensioners in a rundown retirement hotel in Jaipur, India run by inept manager Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel).

Best Animated Feature Film: Three didn't make the cut: Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania (made with CGI), and two DreamWorks' animations: Rise of the Guardians (CGI) and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.

There were no honors for Magic Mike, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Looper, Compliance, or Cloud Atlas. The dominant box-office film of the year, Marvel's The Avengers, tapped only one nomination - Best Visual Effects (which it lost to Life of Pi). And the third highest grossing film of the year, The Hunger Games, also failed to garner a single nomination (although it starred Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence!).

Comedy-genre films were neglected, as expected, with no nominations for Richard Linklater's black comedy Bernie, Seth MacFarlane's R-rated, hugely-popular, directorial debut film Ted (except for one nomination for Best Original Song), Judd Apatow's This Is 40 (a spin-off sequel to Apatow's own Knocked Up (2007)), or Phil Lord's and Chris Miller's action comedy 21 Jump Street.

The 23rd James Bond film - director Sam Mendes' Skyfall, scored five Oscar nominations (a major record for the 50 year-old franchise, the most nominated Bond film ever) and two wins: Best Sound Editing, and Best Original Song (Adele's "Skyfall"). Its other three nominations were for Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Best Original Score, and Best Sound Mixing. There was no Best Supporting Actor nomination for villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), or a nod to Judi Dench for her long-running role as M.

[Note about Bond and the Oscars: Adele's "Skyfall" was the first Original Song contender in 10 years to have also been a top-10 hit on Billboard's Hot 100. It was also the first Oscar-nominated Bond tune since For Your Eyes Only (1981). The only two Academy Award wins in previous years for Bond films were Best Sound Effects for Goldfinger (1964), and Best Special Visual Effects for Thunderball (1965).]



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