My night at the Oscars | Linda Ball | Reporter's Notebook


On Feb. 24 the stars will walk the Red Carpet to celebrate the great films, performances, costumes, technical honors, directing and producing of the movies that entertain, move and amuse us.

The 85th Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are the grand finale of the awards season. This year I’ll be there vicariously at a local Red Carpet event at Lincoln Square Cinemas in Bellevue, watching with great interest.

I’ve seen six of the nine Best Picture nominees. I try to see them all, but sometimes it’s not possible. I’ve also seen a majority of the nominated performances, of which there were some great ones this year.

What eats at me is the exclusion of Ben Affleck from being nominated in the best directing category. His excellent movie, “Argo,” is nominated for best picture and six other nominations.

But not for directing, even though he won a similar award at the Golden Globes and, more importantly, the director’s guild. Does the academy think this film directed itself? This has got to be the biggest snub by Oscar this year.

“Argo” is the true story about a very gutsy CIA mission to rescue six American officials caught in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. This is a slice of history that no one knew about until it was de-classified in 1997. It’s a riveting film, keeping you on the edge of your seat the majority of the time. Affleck also stars as Tony Mendez, the CIA operative who gets the six safely out of Iran.

Other actors in other films are equally riveting.

No matter if you’ve read “Les Misérables” or seen it performed on stage, it is a wonder to behold this film. Anne Hathaway is sure to run off with her first Oscar (for supporting actress) for her stunning portrayal of Fantine, the tortured soul forced into prostitution to provide for her daughter, Cosette.

Her co-star, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, gives an equally stunning performance, but it’s going to be hard for anyone to beat Daniel Day-Lewis for literally morphing into Abraham Lincoln in the Steven Spielberg directed “Lincoln.”

Also interesting this year is “Silver Linings Playbook,” the first film to have nominees in all four acting categories in years. My guess is the talented Jennifer Lawrence will win her first Oscar, for actress in a leading role for this film.

Of the other best actress nominees, little Quvenzhané Wallis, the star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” was a delight to watch. Now 9-years-old, she is the youngest nominee ever in this category. She was only 6 when the movie was filmed. She’s a little dynamo, in a profoundly tough role. I loved her, and it would be a delight to see her win. Either way, she’s got a huge career in front of her.

Best supporting actor is a tough one. All four nominees have been nominated before, and they all rock, but I’m hoping Alan Arkin wins for “Argo.”


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