Actor Victor Garber turns 70

Victor Garber was a member of The Sugar Shoppe, a Canadian sunshine pop vocal group who recorded in the late 1960s.

Victor Garber
NEW YORK, NY: Actor Victor Garber attends the 40th International Emmy Awards on November 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
Back in my early days of blogging, when I was very susceptible to memes, I adopted actor Victor Garber. He fit the mold as as “a character actor, as they are the unsung heroes of the entertainment world.”

In fact, it was almost exactly a decade ago I wrote that post, not realizing at the time how close it was to his 60th birthday. I’ll admit I haven’t been particularly good at “promoting the actor from time to time” since then. So what has he been up to in the past ten years?

Among other things, Victor Garber has been heavily involved in the DC universe on TV and in movies. I haven’t actually watched most of these, though I did see him in a 2017 episode of Supergirl.

Episodes of Glee, 30 Rock, Modern Family, and The Good Wife I’ve seen him in. He’s been Admiral Halsey – love that name – on The Orville, which I’ve caught a handful of times.

I know him mostly as Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador who helped six Americans escape during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980, in the movie Argo (2012)

Supporters of Taylor, who saw the movie at the the Toronto International Film Festival, “were angered by what they saw as Affleck’s American-centric take on the crisis that minimized Taylor and Canada’s role. Affleck called Taylor and the two drafted a postscript that emphasized the Canadian Embassy’s crucial involvement.

“One year later, Taylor did press interviews and traveled the festival circuit to promote Our Man In Tehran, a Canadian documentary that sets the record straight about our embassy’s role.”

Still, I thought Garber’s portrayal, however inaccurate, was rather cool. It was rather like the role for which I best know him, agent Jacks Bristol, spy and estranged father to Sydney (Jennifer Garner).

And not much at all like his first movie role, as Jesus in the movie Godspell.
Godspell trailer
Save the People
Alas for You

Victor Garber’s Internet Broadway Database page, including Sweeney Todd (1979-1980), Damn Yankees (1994-1995), and Hello, Dolly as Horace Vandergelder (Jan 20 – Jul 15, 2018)

The Sugar Shoppe was a Canadian sunshine pop vocal group who recorded in the late 1960s. The Sugar Shoppe – Full album on Capitol Records (1968)

InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse: Victor Garber (2014)

Oscar predictions for the films of 2012

This should be Affleck’s. Or maybe Kathyrn Bigelow’s for Zero Dark Thirty. Neither were even nominated.

This is what I thought before the Oscar nominations came out: Lincoln would win Best Picture and Ben Affleck would win Best Director. Then Affleck inexplicably wasn’t even nominated for Best Director, though he was for Best Actor; he subsequently won Best Director in the Golden Globes, and more importantly, the Directors’ Guild. Now I’ve pretty much switched the two places. The picks here are who I THINK will win, not who I WANT; sometimes, such as in the Best Actress category, I haven’t seen enough of the performances to have a rooting interest.

* means I saw that movie

Best Actor:

Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
*Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Denzel Washington – Flight

If there is a mortal lock this year, it’s Day-Lewis, who BECOMES Lincoln, just as he has inhabited every other role he’s played.

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Naomi Watts -The Impossible

Riva is old, not that well known and in a depressing movie, though she’s quite good. Wallis was SIX when she made HER movie. Watts just isn’t getting as much buzz as I would expect. So it’s between Chastain, reportedly good in a controversial film, and Lawrence, who was a blockbuster star this past year in The Hunger Games. I pick Lawrence.

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin – Argo
Robert De Niro -Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
*Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

My personal favorite of the three I saw was Arkin. The smart money says Jones. I think the Academy will give Django something, and this may be the place. Yet it’s De Niro I’m going to pick because he’s DE NIRO.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams -The Master
Sally Field – Lincoln
Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables
Helen Hunt – The Sessions
*Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook

Anne Hathaway, who emoted greatly, is another mortal lock. Wish I’d seen the Hunt role.

Best Director

Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
Ang Lee – Life Of Pi
Michael Haneke – Amour
*David O. Russell -Silver Linings Playbook
Benh Zeitlin – Beasts Of The Southern Wild

This should be Affleck’s. Or maybe Kathyrn Bigelow’s for Zero Dark Thirty. Neither were even nominated, nor was Tarantino for Django; I’m really surprised Haneke and Zeitlen were. The only person other than Spielberg who has a chance is Lee, and that only if people saw it in 3D, rather than the 2D screeners Academy voters likely got.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Argo
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Life Of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook

Lincoln or Argo? My preference is Argo, but my guess is Lincoln.

Best Original Screenplay

Amour
Django Unchained
Flight
Moonrise Kingdom (my review)
Zero Dark Thirty

Does this go to the movie about torture (ZDT) or Tarentino’s movie about slavery (Django)? I’m pulling for Moonrise Kingdom myself, but I’m guessing Zero.

Other picks:

Best Animated Feature Film: *Wreck-It Ralph (my review) over Brave
Best Cinematography: *Life Of Pi, another near-lock
Best Documentary: Searching For Sugar Man. I’ve seen none of them, but this one I know the story about an obscure US musician who hits it big in South Africa without even knowing it.
Best Film Editing: *Argo over Zero Dark Thirty
Best Foreign Film: *Amour. Mortal lock. A Best Picture nominee.
Best Makeup: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey over *Les Miserables
Best Original Song: Skyfall, because it was, Adele.
Best Short Film (Animated): *Paperman, because Disney was smart to make it widely available online and as the tease to Wreck-It Ralph. *Adam and Dog is lovingly rendered in watercolor, but it left me cold. Could win, I suppose.
Best Visual Effects: *Life Of Pi, deservedly so
The rest of the categories: I have no idea.

Best Picture (links to my reviews), with box office (from Box Office Mojo), and release date

Amour $4,081,541 12/19/2012
Argo $127,654,188 10/12/2012
Beasts of the Southern Wild $12,306,988 6/27/2012
Django Unchained $157,656,712 12/25/2012
Les Misérables $145,963,845 12/25/2012
Life of Pi $111,745,023 11/21/2012
Lincoln $176,962,546 11/9/2012
Silver Linings Playbook $100,870,102 11/16/2012
Zero Dark Thirty $89,047,400 12/19/2012

Argo was taut, interesting, and not too long. Its campaign has been excellent.. I don’t remember so many good box office films up for Best Pic in a while.
***
Predictions by The Huffington Post and Roger Ebert.

Movie Review: Argo

The hostage crisis is an event I remember all too well, watching the ABC News crisis news segment each night with Ted Koppel; that Koppel show eventually became Nightline.

 

It shouldn’t have worked: six Americans avoid being taken in the Iran hostage crisis, which started November 4, 1979. They hang out at the residence of the Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor (Victor Garber) for several weeks. The CIA, trying to get them out, rejects the idea of pretending the six are Canadian farm aid workers. Instead, CIA operative Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) came up with this ridiculous idea of wanting to scout Tehran as a potential backdrop for a science fiction movie called Argo, with the six becoming part of the crew, a plan approved by his boss (Bryan Cranston) as the “best bad idea” available.

It shouldn’t have worked: the movie was based on real, known events. You might know how it turns out. And yet my wife and I are on the edge of our seats for the last third of the film when we saw it Sunday at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany.

This is a wonderful movie, directed by Affleck. It is also, at times, rather funny, with most of the laughs generated by John Goodman, as John Chambers, a Hollywood make-up artist who’s done work for the agency before, and Alan Arkin, as film producer Lester Siegel; they set up a phoney film studio to put out a non-film, even getting a story in the entertainment periodical Variety. Yet the tension is never far away, as the Iranians are developing their own intelligence about the missing Americans.

At the beginning of the film credits, a picture of the actual passport of each “fake film crew” member is shown alongside of the performer in the film, which reflected the sometimes astonishing similarities between them. Also, Kyle Chandler is almost a dead ringer of President Carter’s chief of staff Hamilton Jordan. Then we hear from the President, giving thanks to the CIA, while expressing only passing regret that the US government had to give all the credit for the rescue to the Canadians, lest the 52 hostages, who weren’t freed until January 20, 1981, the date of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, suffer the repercussions.

Interesting fact from the IMDB: “In order to make the movie feel like the 1970s, Ben Affleck shot it n regular film, cut the frames in half, and blew those images up 200% to increase their graininess.” This is done to great effect.

The hostage crisis is an event I remember all too well, watching the ABC News crisis news segment each night with Ted Koppel (shown in the footage, along with ABC’s Frank Reynolds and NBC’s Tom Brokaw); that Koppel show eventually became Nightline. If you’re younger, an important history lesson, even as the film takes a couple of liberties, especially near the end.

The Oscar buzz is warranted.
***
There’s a Kickstarter project about the story behind this story, involving Jack Kirby, Ray Bradbury, and Buckminster Fuller, among others.