Being snubbed might have been the best thing to happen to Ben Affleck.
His film “Argo” took the best picture Oscar on Sunday night at the 85th Academy Awards — more than a little solace, perhaps, for being snubbed in the directing category.
Other marquee winners were Daniel Day-Lewis for lead actor for “Lincoln,” Jennifer Lawrence for lead actress for “Silver Linings Playbook,” and Ang Lee for director for “Life of Pi,” which won four Oscars, the most for any film.
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Anne Hathaway won supporting actress for “Les Miserables,” and Christoph Waltz received supporting actor for “Django Unchained.” The slave revenge Western also won original screenplay for Quentin Tarantino.
But it was a night of redemption for the affable Affleck. Ever since the producer-director-star of “Argo” was a surprising omission in the director category when the Oscar nominations were announced in January, he and his film has been on a roll.
The drama about a plot to rescue Americans in Tehran during the Iranian revolution has won nearly every major honor this awards season, including the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Producers Guild Award and the Directors Guild Award.
“I never thought I would be back here,” Affleck said as he held the trophy aloft. He’d won an Oscar 15 years ago with Matt Damon for original screenplay category for “Good Will Hunting,” but since then he has seen several career lows, including the ill-fated “Gigli,” which he made with then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez.
His star began to rise again as he turned to directing. “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, ’cause that’s gonna happen. All that matters is you gotta get up.”
“Argo” won three Oscars, including adapted screenplay for Chris Terrio and film editing for William Goldenberg. It’s only the fourth time that a film has won best picture without its director being nominated.
The win also made Oscar history: It was presented by First Lady Michelle Obama via satellite from the White House.
Though it was Day-Lewis by a landslide for “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg's epic about the nation’s 16th president was largely overlooked.
It went into the evening with a dozen nominations — the most of any film. But it won only two, including production design.
Day-Lewis’ win also made history: He is the first to win three lead actor Oscars. He previously won for 1989’s “My Left Foot” and 2007’s “There Will Be Blood.”
Lawrence’s win capped a golden girl run. “This is nuts!” the 22-year-old said after tripping on her way up the stairs to the stage at the Dolby Theatre. As if to help her on her way, many in the audience took to their feet to cheer her on.
The win for her performance as a neurotic widow in the romantic comedy “Silver Linings Playbook” wrapped up an awards season during which she won nearly every award out there — the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, and more.
But the biggest winner of the night was “Life of Pi,” which has defied expectations at every turn.
While it took a leap of faith to bring the bestselling book to the big screen, it has earned nearly $600 million worldwide — more than any of the other best film nominees.
“Thank you, movie god,” the Taiwanese filmmaker said as he collected his trophy and bowed before the standing, cheering audience. “Thank you for taking the leap with me,” he said to the executives at Fox who backed the costly CGI-driven film.
The film also won score for Mychael Danna, cinematography for Claudio Miranda and for its stunning visual effects.
“Pi” marks Lee’s second Academy Award win as director. He took home the same honor seven years ago for “Brokeback Mountain.” In both cases, however, the films for which he won did not go on to win best picture.
Besides Hathaway’s supporting turn in “Les Miserables,” the musical also won Oscars for makeup and hairstyle and for sound mixing.
One of the most memorable moments came as Hathaway cradled her Oscar for playing the tragic prostitute Fantine.
“It came true!” she said softly.
Austria’s “Amour” was honored for foreign language film. The harrowing drama is about an elderly married couple struggling to cope when the wife suffers a stroke.
The ceremony was marked by a number of standing ovations.