Before I begin, let me explain. It’s true that we’ve reached the moment in every Oscar year where the pundits and the bloggers have thrown up their hands and decided, the Oscar race is over. Argo will win Best Picture and for the win to make sense it has to take Screenplay, Editing and perhaps one other award — score? Supporting Actor? Sound? Something in me prevents me from being to give my prediction completely over to Argo yet and that’s a certain nagging feeling that comes from looking at Oscar history.
Argo’s a great choice to win. If it does split and make history, no harm done. It’s not an embarrassment. Freaky Oscar years do happen and it’s only when we look at them in retrospect that we use them to compare with today. For instance, this NY Times piece about Driving Miss Daisy makes it seem obvious the film is a favorite to win and doesn’t make a big deal about the lack for a director nod but that’s because the movie was a bit of a phenom — led the nominations, made a lot of money, was about to win Jessica Tandy her first Oscar in decades and was a hit play on Broadway for years.
The thing about Driving Miss Daisy was that it was produced, famously, by Richard and Lili Zanuck — they were famous enough, like Ben Affleck and George Clooney are famous enough, to override the lack of a director nomination which could prove to be the key to this whole thing. They also had a great story about a movie no one wanted to make, low budget, huge hit. Sound familiar? Yeah, that’d be Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg for Lincoln — a movie nobody wanted to make, a famous producing pair and Kennedy, the most nominated producer in history not yet winning an Oscar.