LOS ANGELES: Argo won best picture Sunday at the 85th Academy Awards.
First lady Michelle Obama announced the winner in a live feed from the White House, joined by co-presenter Jack Nicholson in Hollywood.
Argo, which also won for adapted screenplay for Chris Terrio, is a liberally embellished story based on an article about the rescue and part of CIA operative Tony Mendez’s memoir.
Ben Affleck, one of the film’s stars and its director, accomplished the uncommon feat of winning best picture without a directing nomination.
Jennifer Lawrence won best actress for Silver Linings Playbook, Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor for Lincoln and Ang Lee won best director for Life of Pi
Anne Hathaway won a supporting-actress Oscar as a doomed mother-turned-prostitute in the musical Les Miserables.
Christoph Waltz won his second supporting-actor Oscar for a Tarantino film, this time as a genteel bounty hunter in the slave-revenge saga Django Unchained.
Hathaway, whose perkiness helped carry her and the listless Franco through an ill-starred stint as Oscar hosts two years ago, is the third performer in a musical to win supporting actress during the genre’s resurgence in the last decade.
“It came true,” said Hathaway, who joins 2002 supporting-actress winner Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago and 2006 recipient Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls. Hathaway had warm thanks for Les Miserables co-star Hugh Jackman, with whom she once sang a duet at the Oscars when he was the show’s host.
Hathaway’s Oscar came for her role as noble but fallen Fantine in the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway smash that was based on Victor Hugo’s epic novel of revolution, romance and redemption in 19th century France.
In a choked voice, Waltz offered thanks to his character and “to his creator and the creator of his awe-inspiring world, Quentin Tarantino.”
Waltz also offered gracious thanks to his supporting-actor competitors, who included two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and Oscar recipient Tommy Lee Jones, who had been considered a slim favorite over Waltz for the prize.
A veteran performer in Germany and his native Austria, Waltz had been a virtual unknown in Hollywood when Tarantino cast him as a gleefully evil Nazi in 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, which won him his first Oscar.
Waltz has since done a handful of other Hollywood movies, but it’s Tarantino who has given him his two choicest roles. Backstage, Waltz had a simple explanation for why the collaboration works.
“Quentin writes poetry, and I like poetry,” Waltz said.
The foreign-language prize went to Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke’s old-age love story Amour, which had been a major surprise with five nominations, including picture, director and original screenplay for Haneke and best actress for Emmanuelle Riva, who turned 86 on Sunday and would be the oldest acting winner ever.
The top prize winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Amour follows the agonizing story of an elderly man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) tending his wife (Riva) as she declines from age and illness.
Haneke thanked his own wife for supporting him in his work for 30 years.
“You are the center of my life,” Haneke said.