‘Argo’ best film, Ang Lee best director for ‘Life of Pi’ at Oscars

Ben Affleck’s Iranian hostage drama Argo won the best picture Oscar while Ang Lee pulled off a big surprise by taking home the best director trophy for Life of Pi, the story of a shipwrecked Indian boy, at the 85th Academy Awards here.

British actor Daniel Day-Lewis, 55, scored a historic third Best actor Oscar for his turn as the 16th US President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s civil-war set drama Lincoln. He has become the first actor to win the most number of best actor Oscars. His previous Oscars were for My Left Foot in 1989 and There Will Be Blood in 2007.

22-year-old Jennifer Lawrence emerged a winner for Silver Linings Playbook in a tight best actress race by tripping strong contenders like Jessica Chastain, Emmanuelle Riva, Naomi Watts and Quvenzhane Wallis.

Argo saw off tough competition from eight other films — including Lincoln, Life of Pi, Amour, Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty — to walk away with the top award.

Argo was declared a winner by Jack Nicholson and First Lady Michelle Obama, who tuned in through a videolink, making an unprecedented appearance from White House in a shimmery silver gown.

The film, based on real incidents, narrates the near impossible escape story when CIA pulled out six US diplomats from Iran in 1979 by posing as a fake film crew. It won three trophies — best picture, best adapted screenplay and best editing — out of its seven nominations.

Lee pulled of an upset by winning the Oscar, his second, over favourite Steven Spielberg and three others with his visually stunning, India-set 3D drama. The film also scored maximum wins of four awards — best director, best cinematography, music (original score) and visual effects — out of its 11 nominations.

“Thank you, movie god. I need to thank Yann Martel for writing this inspiring book,” said Lee before commending his Indian cast and crew and ending his speech with Namaste.

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