In the end, Oscar voters rallied around Ben Affleck.
That's how Daily Herald film critic Dann Gire interpreted the victory of Affleck's "Argo" in the Best Picture competition during Sunday's Oscars telecast.
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"There's been a tsunami of support for him because he didn't get a nomination for Best Director," Gire said. "If the Oscar voters hadn't given 'Argo' this award, they would have come off as the very worst sports."
Gire chatted about movies and the Oscars during a special screening of the awards Sunday night at the Hollywood Palms theater in Naperville. Hundreds of movie fans and Daily Herald Subscriber Total Access members gathered to watch the ceremony and raise money for Variety Children's Charity, which helps children with disabilities all over Illinois lead active lives.
The attendees certainly brought out the glamour. The men showed up in dashing suits, the women in glittering dresses. The Hollywood Palms added to the atmosphere by laying down a red carpet in front of the auditorium and letting fans get their pictures taken next to Oscar statues.
Gire and co-host Sarah Adamson, a film critic with the Hollywood 360 radio network, added commentary about the Oscar broadcast during commercial breaks. Both were surprised by the evening's first big award -- Christoph Waltz as best supporting actor for his work in Quentin Tarantino's revenge Western, "Django Unchained."
Gire, who had predicted that Tommy Lee Jones would win for his work in "Lincoln," kicked himself afterward for forgetting one of his Oscar rules of thumb.
"The character who dies is the one that wins the Oscar!" he said. "I can't believe I forgot that. Actually, no one gave Waltz a chance, especially since he won (recently). But when you look at all the nominated performances, his really was the best, the most nuanced."
Gire, a big fan of Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," was ecstatic about that film's success Sunday night. It won the cinematography, original score and visual effects Oscars, along with a best director statue for Lee. Gire had predicted that "Lincoln" director Steven Spielberg would win.
"Lee really did the best job," Gire said.
Gire said Quentin Tarantino's win for best original screenplay was as surprising as Waltz's win earlier in the evening.
"I thought (the screenwriting Oscar) would go to 'Zero Dark Thirty,'" he said. "Tarantino has pulled off two upsets tonight."
Gire's rule about dying characters was fulfilled when Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor for his performance in "Lincoln," but it was subverted when Jennifer Lawrence won best actress for "Silver Linings Playbook."