Our Oscar wonk Marshall Flores made an exhaustive chart detailing Best Picture winners from the beginning. It’s rare to have only 3 Oscars with a Best Picture win — recent winners include Crash (Picture, Screenplay, Editing) and Rocky.  Before that, The Godfather, Midnight Cowboy and Casablanca were also 3 Oscar winners.

One thing to note – the preferential ballot stopped be used the year Going My Way  won.  You’ll see how much more common it was for films to win more than 3 Oscars and for films to win with their directors.

If Argo is going to win, it’s very doubtful it will win 2, although I suppose it’s possible in a competitive year it might walk away with just Picture and Editing.  But it’s probably more likely, if all goes as the pundits are predicting, Picture, Screenplay, Editing.  It might also win Sound Editing as a gimme.  Argo has many hurdles to overcome, Oscar history wise.  Says Flores:

For me, the big thing is that as much as people dismiss the idea that a best picture winner “needs” to win another major award like director, acting, or screenplay and make a strawman argument of voters don’t vote based on seeing those nominations, the voting history speaks for itself. Argo really is bucking a lot of significant trends in its bid for Best Picture. Perhaps it is the perfect storm that can defy history. But even the most bizzare and unpredictable of Oscar years past ended up being totally predictable and in line with the thrust of the past.

The big chart after the cut.


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  • The Zach

    “Argo” can win 7 Oscars.

  • In the last two years the best editing Oscar did not go to the best picture winner. They were given as a compensation wins to David Fincher’s films. No Country For Old Men also did not win for editing but it did not matter.

    I wonder if Argo be like the Artist and win Best Picture without winning Screenplay and Editing or is it in trouble if it loses both? Can Alan Arkin win instead as the supporting actor category is confused?

  • Argo must and deserves win 6 Oscars.
    The only doubt for me is Arkin as supporting actor.
    But, If Hoffman isn´t gonig to win, I say Arkin deserves and will.
    So, Argo can win 7 Oscars.

  • Mike

    Only 1: editing.

  • CJ

    Considering how strong I think Argo is right now…it should take Screenplay.

    If it doesn’t watch out.

  • Travis

    I really hope Argo would take BP only.

    Other possible categories are Editing and Adapted Sreenplay. But I want ZD30 and Lincoln take that award. Especially, Tony Kushner. Give him the Oscar.

  • Jason Travis

    Argo looks good for

    Adapted Screenplay
    Film Editing

    Original Score

    Not happening:
    Supporting Actor

  • JJ

    Sasha, you should write a book about this Oscar season and use all of its weird twists and turns as starting points to branch off and discuss how the awards season has changed since you first started covering it – or hasn’t. If given more time and access to Oscar people in your research, you’ll probably be able to crack the code of why Argo emerged triumphant although I fear you may end up discovering that the average voter is very different from you: instead of holding a deep and education opinion on what constitutes film art, you’ll get a bunch of superficial, uneducated Hollywood twits making whimsical decisions based on the Hollywood breeze. Oh well. It’s just been the kind of year that lends itself to a bigger piece than one-off blogs…in my humble opinion.

  • Roberto

    I think Argo will win 3: picture, screenpaly adaptation and film editing. It will be like 2005 with different films taking 3 awards (Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Memoirs of a Geisha, King Kong)

    Lincoln: director, actor, score
    Life of Pi: cinematography, visual effects, art direction
    Les Miserables: supporting actress, sound mixing, make up
    Silver Linings Playbook: actress, supporting actor
    Amour: original screenplay, foreign language film
    Skyfall: song, sound editing
    Anna Karenina: costumes

  • murtaza

    to win 7 Oscars without director nomination, not going to happen

  • Jerry Grant

    Blech “Argo” screenplay over “Lincoln” is coming I suppose. Maybe. Now, I think “Argo” has a great script, don’t get me wrong. But Tony Kushner is in a league of his own.

    When “The Pianist” won screenplay over “Adaptation” and “The Hours” I nearly went insane. Mainly because of “Adaptation”–a greatest screenplay if there ever was one.

    I feel that way about “Lincoln” this year.

  • Pierre de Plume

    But even the most bizzare and unpredictable of Oscar years past ended up being totally predictable and in line with the thrust of the past.

    And yet it’s so often such a tough nut to crack. There seem to be 2 basic scenarios: The Argo pattern and the Lincoln pattern — and both seem like they’ll be a bit embarrassing, in different ways, to the Academy as the winners ascend the stage as the evening progresses.

    If voters follow the trend, it seems like Argo will win more awards than one would otherwise expect — I mean, there has to be at least some foundational support in lesser categories to make sense of a best picture win, right? (Gone are the days of Grand Hotel and Broadway Melody — there’s too much precedent now that requires more statuettes for a best-picture winner). So it seems entirely plausible for Argo to get 5 or 6 Oscars while people in the audience sort of look the other way, check their handbags or go to the restroom when best director is announced.

    But by some minor miracle, perhaps, enough voters will have gone, “Hey — wait a minute — Argo was good, but Spielberg was nominated and Affleck wasn’t. That must mean a little something. And even though Lincoln was a little slow to get going, it really does seem to be a more noble choice. It would seem like a waste to vote for Spielberg but not his film, and giving it to Lee or Haneke would not only look too obvious but sort of a slap in the face to Steven. Plus it would seem awfully awkward to see that Terrio kid win only to see Steven dying up there on stage and then George and Ben later on. No . . . I think I’ll vote for Lincoln — Ben has had a lot of strokes this season and Steven has suffered enough — and he hasn’t complained, either.

    So this is our dilemma. I’ll know a little more after the WGA. I can see Argo taking only one or two awards (editing, sound). But if it does win the big one, I think it’ll have to win at least a little more than that (screenplay, sound and maybe score) to make the director snub seem more like an unfortunate glitch than any kind of snub.

    Precursors be damned — I still think Lincoln has a reasonablechance to take a minimum of picture, director, actor, screenplay, art direction.

    I think either film can take about the same (moderate) number of Oscars. I just don’t know yet which way the wind will blow.


  • DaveyDlow

    I think Argo will win 2 or 3 Oscars, no more.

    I’m rooting for Ang Lee for director now, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised of it happens.

  • If it DOES win Best Picture, I can only see it really winning editing (and since it’s sports one of the same editors as ZERO DARK THIRTY, it may serves as a double award there). It may win a Sound Award as part of a mini-sweep (a mweep?), but I cannot see it taking any other award. ARGO’s Terrio over LINCOLN’s Kushner for Screenplay? Seems sort of unbelievable. Could happen. But I’m predicting 2 awards for ARGO. Unbelievable in and of itself.

  • Someone

    But THE DEPARTED wasn’t ranked 3rd among the nominated movies. It was 5th. It had 5 nominations and DREAMGIRLS had 8, BABEL – 7 and THE QUEEN and PAN’S LABIRYNTH both had 6.

  • Ikcaban

    I thing there will be a lot of big sorprises. The first one: Argo just editing (not even picture), directing will be for Ang Lee (not even Spielberg)… And….
    Because of all this madness, the rest of them: still in the air! (exc. Some obvious winners, Hathaway, DDLewis, Miranda, Skyfall song, Westcott, Pi’s Vx and Amour for foreign)

  • Thomas

    I honestly think Argo will only win two Oscars. Picure and either editing or screenplay, maaaybe sound, but not all three. call it a gut feeling o perception or whatever, I just don’t think it will get the votes in a year which has so many other strong films competeing in the other catgories… Supp actor is in 4th position sound mixing is third, and screenplay is second to Lincoln (guestimates)

  • Thomas

    I thought Argo’s score was very average… Desplat deserved it more for ZDT or even Rise of the Guardians, not Argo.

  • Ben A.

    Every single one, including the one’s we’re not even nominated for ….

  • Hawkeye

    I think Argo will get three at best: Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Film Editing. I’m waiting on the WGA’s decision this Sunday to see if screenplay has changed from Lincoln, which I’m really hoping it hasn’t. If they say Lincoln, things will be even more interesting because the WGA’s adapted screenplay choice matches up with the Academy about 2/3 of the time. The Eddie should let us know where Film Editing stands, though right now it looks like Zero Dark Thirty still has a good chance. As for Argo’s other nominations, it doesn’t look like it will take any of them.

  • Tonu

    Hopefully, 0!

  • Pierre de Plume

    This is the point where what one wants to win or what should win can be upstaged by what eventually does win.

  • Robert A.

    The nomination rank is a little misleading because you’re comparing Best Picture nominees from years that had only five nominees to years that had nine or ten. This can effect the ranking. For example, in 1977, Close Encounters received 8 nominations, but because it wasn’t a BP nominee, you don’t count it. But does anyone doubt that if there had been nine BP nominees that year, as there is this year, that Close Encounters would have been nominated. Taking that into consideration, Annie Hall would have ranked 4th, at the very least.

    But I also think counting movies that receive the same number of nominations as only one rank can also be a little misleading. To me it’s more helpful to just count each individual movie separately based on number of nominations received. Again using 1977 as an example, given your system, Annie Hall is ranked 3rd (Julia and The Turning Point are #1 at 11 nods, Star Wars is #2 at 10 nods, and Annie Hall and The Goodbye Girl are #3 at five nods each. Close Encounters isn’t factored in because it wasn’t a BP nominee in a field of five, although it would have been in a field of 9-10).

    Look at the results if you just count individual movies that were ahead of Annie Hall (and likely BP nominees if the field were 9)

    BP 1977: Annie Hall.

    1) Julia was ahead of Annie Hall with 11 nominations
    2) The Turning Point was ahead of Annie Hall with 11 nominations
    3) Star Wars was ahead of Annie Hall with 10 nominations
    4) Close Encounters was ahead of Annie Hall with 8 nominations (again, would have been a BP contender if it had been a year like this year, in a field of nine)
    5) Annie Hall and The Goodbye Girl tied for five nods.

    Also, look at Best Picture 2006: The Departed

    1) Dreamgirls was ahead of The Departed with 8 nods (would have been nominated in a field of nine)
    2) Babel was ahead of The Departed with 7 nods.
    3) The Queen was ahead of The Departed with 6 nods.
    4) Pan’s Labyrinth was ahead of The Departed with 6 nods. (Again, good chance it would have been nominated for BP in a field of nine)
    5) The Departed, five nods.

    BP 2012: Argo?

    1) Lincoln is ahead of Argo with 12 nominations.
    2) Life of Pi is ahead of Argo with 11 nominations.
    3) Silver Linings Playbook is ahead of Argo with 8 nominations.
    4) Les Mis is ahead of Argo with 8 nominations.
    5) Argo has 7 nominations.

    In short, Argo’s “rank” really isn’t any different than Annie Hall or The Departed. I think you can legitimately argue that Argo might be in a more vulnerable place than those films because it lacks a director nod, but I think the system you have of determining “rank” doesn’t give the full picture, especially when you’re comparing BP nominees with only five nominees to ones with nine nominees.

  • Robert A.

    Good GAWD my post looks long when actually posted.

    Just as a reminder, Rebecca won BP on a preferential ballot with only a cinematography win before it claimed Best Picture.

  • I am hoping that ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ wins editing as compensation like the Fincher films. It is such a weird year that Argo could just win one Oscar for best picture and nothing else. It is possible. I wouldn’t completely rule this out in a year where anything seems possible.

  • Akumax

    Argo wil probably win 4: Picture – screenplay – editing – sup. actor

  • SeattleMoviegoer

    …sigh…it looks to be a very boring evening. hopefully Zadan/Meron and Seth have some fun things cooked up for the show. but having to sit there while ARGO continues its march to glory will make me pay more attention to the food at our Oscar party. maybe it was just the snooty Brits, but did anyone notice that when ARGO took the Best Picture prize, the audience reaction and applause was fairly muted? it was as though they thought, “ok, let’s get this over with and get to the parties.”

  • Dominik

    3 – Best Picture, Screenplay & Editing.

  • Ponyboy

    Only Picture and perhaps Editing. Argo does have a great script, but its greatness is nowhere near that of Kushner’s divine work. AA is also much less weighty than TLJ. I hope the Academy won’t award the OBVIOUS lesser ones.

    If Argo really just wins 2, I bet in a few years, people are gonna look back and start to talk about how unqualified the movie is as the BP of the year, not just because it only has 2 (and maybe 3) awards, but also because, you know..it’s like Forrest Gump of that year, whereas ZDT is Pulp Fiction and Lincoln is The Shawshank Redemption–though I personally don’t think the latter is that extraordinary.

  • Dave

    It would make sense to give it a lone Best Picture win.

  • Koleś

    A clean sweep? Not possible. I’d go for 2,3 or a maximum 4 that including a BP win. So it’s picture and editing, those are locks. Adapted Screenplay probably will happen, but you can’t be sure here. If they really like the movie it might also swipe sound. Score, Sound FX and Supp. Actor are not happening. I’m sticking with three, sound goes to someone else, hopefully “Skyfall”.

  • Bball_Jake

    Argo will take Picture, Screenplay and Editing. I dont see any point on making any more cases against Argo winning BP, its already got it, Bens already practicing his Oscar speech.

  • Astariisborn

    If Argo does not win editing and/or adapted screenplay, is it in jeopardy for the grand prize?

  • brace

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins for best score too. it’s Alexandre Desplat, who’s nominated for the fifth time (without winning) and he scored several movies last year including ZDT, Rust and Bone and Moonrise Kingdom.

  • Jack Traven II

    Well, Argo CAN win several Oscars. But WILL it? Since I’m (still) on the Lincoln Express No.12, I can’t say anything but: Nope. (In that scenario it might only take the sound editing award – as a consolation prize if you will. ;-))

    But regarding the “how many can it win”-question I also think it might “only” win 3 awards – film, adapted screenplay (I mean, if the Academy doesn’t give a shit about the phrase “The best film should win BP,” why should they care about “the best” concerning the screenplay category) and film editing.

    But how funny would it be seeing Argo winning only 1 or 2 (including BP). That would be something that has not occured since …

    But, wait, that fun would, of course, be immediately diminished by the grand Lincoln simultaneously winning either zero awards or “at least” 1 award (BA) or even the most awards of the night (w/o BP and BD).

    Gee whiz! Hell of an Oscar year, huh?


  • Greg

    If Argo is going to win, it most likely has to win at least BSA or BAS, and take home at least 3 Oscars. Its strongest categories are Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, and Score.

  • Precursors be damned — I still think Lincoln has a reasonablechance to take a minimum of picture, director, actor, screenplay, art direction.

    Pierre is right, and has been for weeks. The fact that Steven Spielberg is nominated for Best Director while Ben Affleck is not is likely to mean something next Sunday. It makes very little sense to rule Lincoln out. There’s still a very strong argument to be made for its chances, and it seems that Pierre and I are pretty much the only two making it atm!

  • Ari

    Sometimes I hate politics because we all know which film deserves to win but is probably going to lose because of the race. I think screenplay would be given to Argo. The light looks bright for Best Picture for Argo but I still have hopes for either Lincoln or Life of Pi to take it out.

  • Bob Burns

    If Oscar had any sense of self preservation it would award different films.

    Remember when people used to wonder who might win?

  • No, Paddy I am on that train as well. ARGO may still be the choice of most and it has to be favored at this point, but LINCOLN is hardly down and out. I have bought Pierre’s reasoning for weeks now.

  • mecid

    I am with you Pierre, Paddy and Sam.

  • Sasha Stone

    If Argo does not win editing and/or adapted screenplay, is it in jeopardy for the grand prize?

    It has to win screenplay to win I would think

  • Sasha Stone

    Argo will take Picture, Screenplay and Editing. I dont see any point on making any more cases against Argo winning BP, its already got it, Bens already practicing his Oscar speech.


  • Sasha Stone

    Marshall doesn’t rank the nominations that way. But even so, both of those had director nods. It’s really the combination of nomination rank and lacking the dir. nod that makes it such a weird winner.

  • steve50

    Any thinking voter who has seen all the films and nominees would not vote for a sweep, so if Argo wins a couple, Lincoln a couple, Pi, etc., we’ll know the voters selected based on what they saw.

    If there is a sweep by any film (and I mean more than 4 trophies), I’m going to assume that they were too lazy to watch the mailouts and voted according to marketing reaction, political preference, libido, and any number of other criteria not related to filmmaking.

    So – Argo – 3, Lincoln – 3, Pi – 4, SLP – 2, the rest – 1

    If any film gets more than 5 – they simply didn’t bother to see the rest.

  • Sammy

    Argo only won film editing other than the BD and BP at the BAFTA (replica of Oscars). So this must be telling something to us.

    Plus in a scenario where Lawrence loses BA, then Academy can opt to award SLP (and Harvey of course) in the adapted screenplay category just like BAFTA did. So editing and maybe sound mixing look like the only awards Argo can win apart from BP.

  • Mr-Cinema

    The WGA will help us out Sunday. If Lincoln wins that, it has a slight chance of making noise next weekend. If Argo takes the WGA, and the ACE, I think that will zap whatever suspense is left in the Best Picture race. It will still be fun to keep track of on Oscar night, the tallies for each film.

    Supporting Actor is usually given out early. If Jones wins that, then it could signal a big night for Lincoln. If Arkin wins, I think we all know what that will mean. If Waltz wins, then we’ll have to wait until Editing or Adapted Screenplay to see how things play out. Also, they used to give out Director just before Picture, but lately, I think they’ve changed it up where it goes Director, Actress, Actor, and then Picture. So prior to those 4, it could be Lincoln with 2 big wins (Jones, Adapted Screenplay) vs Argo with 1 semi big (Editing).

    Imagine them announcing Spielberg the winner, then Lewis the winner. That would be 4 huge wins and would instantly make the audience think there’s an upset coming. Then, in this twisted year, they announce Argo for Picture. I wouldn’t be shocked even in that scenario the way this season has gone.

    For us to believe Lincoln has a shot, I think it has to have Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay victories. Argo probably does need to beat Lincoln for Adapted Screenplay.

  • Sammy

    Yeah, Argo will at least need a big win apart from BP. It had the BD at BAFTA. Now it must win Adapted screenplay in order to stay in competition. If it loses at the beginning the adapted then we can say it is game over for Argo.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    This is fantasy. This is how I would vote…

    I like to think that there are these “gotta-do’s” for voters. This year many could think that Lincoln’s most obvious power is in the script and the actors – so DDL and Jones both win. They also feel like, ok, these actors were directed by someone, so Spielberg wins Director. Screenplay will be tricky, but Kushner will get lots of votes, for sure. Based on this website, some 95% of us would take Kushner over Terrio. How is Academy THAT different? So, I say Lincoln gets these 4.

    Argo’s gotta-do is the Picture. They vote it there, it’s an easy choice for them. Editing was pretty much a done deal before Argo started winnng all these big prizes. So, now you have two, and that is still one category short to make any sense (IMO), so Sound Editing feels like the easiest for the voters.

    Life of Pi wins VFX, Sound Mixing, Cinematography and Original Score.

    Amour takes Original Screenplay, Actress and Foreign Film. Silver Linings Playbook goes home with nothing (Harvey!).

    So, Lincoln and Life of Pi take 4 each, Argo and Amour are both awarded with 3. The rest get 2 or less. I know Sasha would like these winners.

  • Zach B.

    I just do not see how if Lincoln is the Best Directed, Best Acted and Best Written film of the year, it is not the Best overall Production!! If Argo wins BP, it will HAVE to take Adapted Screenplay IMO. It would be a slap in the face of film in general to have Lincoln win for Directing, double wins for Acting and a huge 4th statue for writing and not have it win BP. A movie is only as good as the sum of its parts…

  • Jason Travis

    Did you see how some of the voters gave their reasons for voting? “I hated Lewis’s voice, so I’m going with Cooper”. A lot of them don’t think at all.

    However given the average age of the voter is still around 62 years old, Lincoln could indeed get a lot of support from the older group.

  • danny

    If you have a weird result and you have a good reason for discounting that result, it’s often best in analysis to ignore it. I think we have the case for this with Ben Affleck’s snub. It surprised the hell out of everyone and was almost definitely caused by the DGA date change.

    As such therefore I don’t think Argo winning without a director nod would be that surprising, it’s the snub that is the strange result. That coupled with marshal’s non standard way of ranking number of nominations I actually don’t think an Argo win would be that historic.

    I think it all depends on whether the directors snub is a genuine dislike of him / the film, or whether it’s a weird blip. It’s impossible to tell without having actual data of votes from the directors branch of the academy.

    I don’t think there will be any way of telling what will win best picture until we get to best picture. Unless that is Stephen Speilberg loses director.

    personally though ARcanGOf*ckitself

  • That’s not rly fantasy, Tero. That’s quite possible. It’d be preposterous for my favourites to win in over half the categories, never mind all of them!

  • Koleś

    No matter what happens there are going to be surprises. So many categories where you simply don’t know anything. I’m loving it.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Since I saw ANNA KARENINA, I’m switching my production design from LINCOLN that that. It deserves to win too. It could even win score and I’d be down with that too tho still predicting Williams to take it, Desplat is a big threat to win score too I think. Too bad since his efforts for ZERO DARK THIRTY and MOONRISE KINGDOM are superior.

    LINCOLN to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score

    AMOUR will win Best Actress, and Best Foreign Film

    Original screenplay is a close call between DJANGO UNCHAINED and AMOUR

    Yup, It’s gonna be a good night 🙂

  • Zach

    Yeah, there’s no way this year WON’T go down with surprises. Even if they’re the ones we kind of expect now, we’ll look back on them as surprises.

    Picture – I guess it’s probably happening. :/

    Editing – this is happening no matter what.

    Screenplay – shouldn’t, but I don’t see Argo beating Lincoln and SLP in the preferential ballot, let alone all these popular-vote awards, without being able to beat them for Screenplay. And yet the Academy chose Rocky over Network but gave Network the screenplay. They make concessions when they feel they can. But Argo has just won too damn much, even if they feel Russell has to win something.

    Supporting Actor – I don’t think this is happening–but imagine if Arkin had never won! It would be Adrien Brody minus the brilliant acting.

    Score – no freaking way. They don’t play. This is Pi’s to lose.

    Sound Mixing – anything is possible in the sound categories now (look at the Slumdog year). But the CAS didn’t even nominate Argo, so it would a rarity (a first??) for Argo to win this Oscar! The Academy should spread the tech awards among Les Mis, Pi, and even Anna Karenina or Django. It’s only if Lincoln starts winning techs that you’d wonder how it’s not winning Picture.

    Sound Editing – could. But again, I think any of the others would be better. This could be ZDT’s one win since it’s got a lot of sound, right? But if they don’t want to award ZDT or Skyfall other than Adele, Pi or Django might win.

    The sounds categories are so difficult this year without a Jurassic Park or Saving Private Ryan in the lineup.

  • rufussondheim

    Steve – Les Miz could easily win 2 – Makeup and Hathaway

    And Anna Karenina 2 with Costumes and Art Direction/Production Design or whatever it’s called.

    I don’t think Lincoln will upset Anna K in those two categories.

    IF they’ve seen the films.

  • Zach

    Les Mis could win 3 – I think Sound Mixing is even more likely than Makeup.

    I was just wondering–WTF is winning Makeup? What SHOULD win Makeup? Les Mis isn’t your standard winner, but The Hobbit isn’t that spectacular this time around.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    The gays turned on gay icon Adam Lambert for bashing LES MIZ

  • steve50

    Very true, rufus. I would agree that those appear to be the logical winners – IF, as you say, they have seen them. The only one that should steal any of these from Les Mis or AK would be Lincoln. If Lincoln does take any of these, we’ll know there’s still some life in it.

    Yeah, Zach – make-up sucks this year. That and supporting actor will be my pee-breaks this show because I’m not missing Best Song or the Bond tribute with Shirley freakin Bassey.

  • Jerry Grant

    @Robert A.:

    “Argo” is not comparable to “Annie Hall” or “The Departed” in terms of nominations. Both “Annie Hall” and “Departed” were heavily favored to win Screenplay and Director. “Argo” cannot win Director, and until recently, was never favored to win Screenplay over Tony Kushner and David O. Russell. People are now predicting it to win Screenplay only by default (because they can’t fathom how it could win BP without winning another major award).

  • Jerry Grant

    The prevailing argument here is: Chris Terrio HAS to win Screenplay over Tony Kushner because one simply can’t imagine how “Argo” could win Picture without any other major prizes.

    I think this is faulty logic.

    I do think “Argo” is favored to win BP without winning any other major prizes, and yes I think that’s strange. But I think it is strange NOT because one would expect Chris Terrio to beat Tony Kushner (I still can’t understand how voters would do that), but rather, it is strange for this simple reason: Ben Affleck was not nominated by the Directors’ Branch.

    The *strangeness* of the “Argo” phenomenon *has already occurred*: the most widely-loved movie of the year was NOT the most widely-loved among the directors. “Argo” was NOT nominated for Best Director–an award it would have won if it had been nominated.

    And THAT is why “Argo” will win Best Picture without winning any other major prizes. And THAT is why this year will have been an anomaly. (We don’t need to force Screenplay into Terrio’s camp for our heads to make sense out of this.)

  • My completely unreliable vibes are telling me ARGO is coming home with a big fat goose egg. Meaning zero. Zilch. Nada.

  • Alex

    I just refuse to believe that the Oscars are going to accept being told what to do by the guilds and precursors. They gave Lincoln 12 nominations for a reason. I mean, if Argo wins screenplay, I’ll have resigned myself to its victory. But without that, I just can’t see it happening. The things that have won BP without an acting award in the past few years have had director wins (or at least noms). And in a year this strong, I think Argo’s only getting away with editing and 1-2 sound noms. It’s stupid to have faith, but it’s kind of our only option.

    Also, please please please give Ang Lee director. If I get to see him AND Spielberg accept Oscars on the 24th, I’ll be on cloud nine.

  • Oh and if QT doesn’t win Original Screenplay, I’m gonna cry.

  • Robert A.

    @Robert A.:

    “Argo” is not comparable to “Annie Hall” or “The Departed” in terms of nominations. Both “Annie Hall” and “Departed” were heavily favored to win Screenplay and Director. “Argo” cannot win Director, and until recently, was never favored to win Screenplay over Tony Kushner and David O. Russell. People are now predicting it to win Screenplay only by default (because they can’t fathom how it could win BP without winning another major award).”

    Read my post carefully. I only said Argo is comparable to Annie Hall or The Departed in where it falls in the number of nominations “rank.”

  • nixon

    argo just needs to win editing to win best pic

  • Kane

    Guys, I think even trying to predict anything at this point, with the year we’ve had, is pointless. Honestly with this kind of Oscar season best picture might surprisingly go to Your Sister’s Sister in a grand ol’ upset. I’ve invested so much this year in predicting that I was let down in so many ways and this is outside of just Affleck’s snub. But hey, nobody knows anything.

  • steve50

    (overheard at the home)

    Morley: Here’s your ballot, Pookie. We’d better get started.

    Sophie: For 60 years I tell you not to call me that…. Where are my glasses?

    Morley: Best Film… Well I won’t vote for Lincoln ’cause that Spielberg kid always wins.

    Sophie: No, he doesn’t. You always say that, but it’s not true.

    Morley: Well, he’s always nominated. If he can’t win more often, there’s something wrong with him and I’m not voting for him.

    Sophie: What about Les Mis? You’re always singing that Ann Hathaway song in the shower.

    Morley: We went “French” last year.

    Sophie: Les Mis is British, not French.

    Morley: Same thing – and we went British the year before, anyway.

    Sophie: So Amour is out, then. Life of Pi has a lot of nominations. I wish you’d let us see it.

    Morley: Don’t encourage the Asians. They’ll be in control soon enough. I’m voting American this year. What have we got?

    Sophie: Beasts of the Southern Wild. Silver Linings Playbook. Argo. Zero Dark Thirty.

    Morley: Aren’t the first two about crazy people?

    Sophie: Beasts sounds kind of crazy but from the picture I saw I think it’s about fireworks. Silver Linings is Harvey’s movie this year, so it must be good because Bobby DeNiro was crying about it on the TV.

    Morley: I’m already bored with the ads for that one.

    Sophie: Well, that leaves Zero Dark Thirty and Argo.

    Morley: Don’t they show torture in that Bin Laden movie? Americans don’t do that. I won’t vote for a movie that doesn’t tell the truth.

    Sophie: Well they say Argo makes up stuff, too. But that poor Affleck boy getting missed for director (tsk, tsk). You know – he reminds me of you about 50 years ago, before your chest went all mushy and bald…like your mind.

    Morley: Argo. hmm. If that’s the one I think it is, I’m voting for it. Any movie that can piss off Canadians must be good.

    Sophie: You say that now, but before Obama you used to get all your pills from Canada.

    Morley: Grab that pillow for me, would ya, Pookie?

  • Henry Z.

    Lincoln has not won anything major – and if it looses the WGA, it’s a sealed deal for Argo. I don’t see the reason as to believe it will still take Best Picture in the comments above.

    How is Annie Hall considered to have the third most nominations of 1977? That’s odd. At that awards show, it was:

    11 – The Turning Point, Julia
    10 – Star Wars
    8 – Close Encounters with the Third Kind
    5 – Annie Hall, The Goodbye Girl

    Can someone explain please.

  • Marshall Flores

    The prevailing argument here is: Chris Terrio HAS to win Screenplay over Tony Kushner because one simply can’t imagine how “Argo” could win Picture without any other major prizes.

    Thanks for the comment Jerry. I’m not really advancing that causative reasoning, I’m just merely noting the strong 72-year correlation that BP winners since Rebecca have always taken at least one other major award (directing, acting, and screenplay). That’s a long, long time and sticks out to me as much as winning BP without a Director nod. Yes, low victory hauls for BP winners were more common back in the 30’s and early 40’s, the first time AMPAS played around with 5+ nominees and a preferential ballot. But there were fewer categories back then as well, and the Guilds weren’t even around back then, much less have any influence.

    None of us really know the reasons why AMPAS votes a particular way in a given year. All we have to look at are the outcomes, with varying levels of informed speculation. For me, the history leads me to infer that AMPAS as a whole is somewhat sensitive to “sum of its parts/legitimacy” concerns when deciding what wins BP, even if individual members don’t vote that way. Sort of like an Oscar-y variation of Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”

    Again, the smart money and CW is that Argo is the perfect brew of a film that will usurp all these longstanding trends and throw a stochastic monkey wrench that causes the “Invisible Hand” to have carpal tunnel. And the predictable Oscar equilibrium Sasha and I grew up with gets thrown into utter bedlam for a year. History is always being made – but then again, that history being made is not mutually exclusive with history repeating itself to an extent either. Right now, the crystal ball is the cloudiest I’ve seen in the 14 years I’ve been Oscar watching.

  • Marshall Flores

    How is Annie Hall considered to have the third most nominations of 1977? That’s odd. At that awards show, it was:

    11 – The Turning Point, Julia
    10 – Star Wars
    8 – Close Encounters with the Third Kind
    5 – Annie Hall, The Goodbye Girl

    Hi Henry, I just copied and pasted the nomination rankings I used in a previous chart, where I ranked only the BP nominees using dense ranking (no gaps resulting from ties – not a common system but it is used sorting for small groups). Other commenters have already raised valid concerns of my methodology, although I feel the overall finding of my research – more total nominations is pretty strongly correlated with winning BP, remains regardless of ranking methodology.

  • 5 vs. 10 nominees, as Close Encounters would have been up for Best Picture in 1977, as just one (perfect) example).

    I rather appreciate that Marshall doesn’t take imaginary nominations into account.

  • Pretty much the only people screaming that Lincoln is easily obviously by far the year’s best picture are mostly on this site – which is not intended as a criticism,

    nah, why would I take it as a criticism if you say I was screaming when I wrote about Lincoln.

    Glad you think we’re “funny.” I think you’re pretty funny too.

    “The Master (yuk)” — I can’t stop laughing.

  • Pierre de Plume

    Pierre is right

    Thanks, Paddy, Sam et al. — but bear in mind I’m not predicting Lincoln. Regardless of how the WGA turns out, anyone competing in an office pool would reasonably go with the Argo bus — unless they like taking the bus less traveled just for the chance of unlikely glory.

  • Pierre de Plume

    Bette, I appreciate the accomplishments of both Lincoln and Argo. I prefer Lincoln because, to me, it has greater emotional depth and because, despite its flaws, when it’s good it’s really good while Argo is simply more consistently good.

  • keifer

    I think they’ll spread the wealth around this year. It’s too competitive a year not to recognize a lot of the nominees:

    Argo – 3 wins
    Life of Pi – 3 wins
    Lincoln – 3 or 4 wins
    Anna Karenina – 2 wins
    Les Miserables – 1 win
    Skyfall – 2 wins
    Amour – 2 wins

    Silver Linings Playbook will be shut out.

  • Zach

    I could see

    Life of Pi – 3 or 4 (Sound Editing?)
    Argo – 3 including Picture and Screenplay
    Les Mis – 3 if Makeup
    Lincoln – 3 if TLJ + Director
    Amour – 3 (OMG)
    Anna Karenina – 2
    Skyfall – 1 or 2 (Sound Editing?)

    And SLP wins a made-up Oscar because I do not see it getting shut out!

  • ARGO might win Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Editing.

    But jeez… Predicting this year’s winners feels so… Useless.

  • Mr-Cinema

    I think this will be a “spread the wealth” show. Traffic and The Pianist have proven that you can rack up the major awards and still lose Picture. The reason I think Argo needs Adapted Screenplay is every BP winner “usually” takes home 1 more top prize. Even the despised Crash won Original Screenplay to go along with Picture and Editing.

    Gladiator lost Director, lost Editing, lost Adapted Screenplay, lost Supporting Actor, but still won Picture, and managed a big prize in Actor. It probably has one of the weakest groups of wins I can remember. Picture, Actor, Art Direction, Visual Effects, and Sound. By comparison, the runner up Traffic, took home Director, Editing, Supporting Actor, and Adapted Screenplay. Definitely had the better list, but of course, it still lost Picture.

    Argo and Lincoln could be headed down a similar path, particularly if Lincoln can win for Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay.

  • Mr-Cinema

    whoops. Gladiator lost ORIGINAL Screenplay.

  • I think this will be a “spread the wealth” show.

    At this point, that’s my own sincerest hope.

  • Dennis Bee

    Remember that the Academy got itself into this mess, if that’s what it is, by moving its nominating deadline ahead of the DGA noms and the announcements ahead of the Globes. We’ll find out how strong are the precedents of 1985 (the Spielberg/COLOR PURPLE snub and consequent goose egg on Oscar night, and the OUT OF AFRICA sweep) and 1995 (the Ron Howard snub and the out-of-nowhere Director-Picture Oscars to BRAVEHEART). My sense is that these precedents are pretty strong. AMPAS made this bed, and as in ’85 and ’95, it will pile on the covers and lie in it.

    I don’t pretend to know what all this means for the two most unexpected beneficiaries of nomination largesse, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and AMOUR. I have the vague, odd feeling about them that I had about THE PIANIST in 2002: “Hmm. It has to win something, but what?” The world found out. For ARGO, however, it means Editing, which it would plausibly win anyway, and nothing else. When a film starts winning categories it clearly doesn’t deserve, like TITANIC for Cinematography, Music, and Song, it’s a sign that it is a runaway winner, and that’s rare, especially in recent years.

    Most of the time, we don’t see a film winning unwarranted Oscars just to rack up its total. The best example actually is CRASH. When rumblings of “upset” started to appear in the days before the Oscars of ’05, I went through the nominations with the “Okay, what else can it win?” question. I was giving it Song and even Matt Dillon for Supporting Actor. It won in the two categories where it was always leading, Editing and Original Screenplay, and also, of course, that other category.

    But back to ’85 and ’95, there weren’t the SAGs and the PGA in ’85 and the SAGs in ’95, but we know that for 2012 the Oscars made the ultimate assertion of independence from the precursors by moving up their announcement date, and I don’t think that, having thrown down the gauntlet, they are going to pick it back up now and mutter “Never mind.” Which is what giving BP to ARGO because everybody else did would consist of. Instead you’ll see an AMPAS on Feb. 24 intent on going its own way.

    “The Academy supported its director’s branch” was the lede in news stories the day after the Oscars for ’85, and I think that will be the case this time as well. My prediction: LINCOLN with between 4 and 7 Oscars.

    BTW, there is an error in the otherwise excellent chart. THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH did not win Director, only Picture and Motion Picture Story. That result came out of a political hornet’s nest, with the McCarthyite De Mille emerging a co-winner with the HUAC allegory HIGH NOON with its blacklisted screenwriter (who did not win), and the liberal peacemaker John Ford. But SHOW, along with REBECCA, is the last Best Picture to win only two. Of course, it could happen. But the better question is: Why would it?

  • SeattleMoviegoer

    when all is said and done, it could very well be that LES MISERABLES takes home the most Oscars. i don’t see ANNA KARENINA as a particularly well-loved film (still hasn’t cracked $20 million at the box office) to bag all the design awards. remember, LES MIZ won the most BAFTA’s and the most Golden Globes. it’s not inconceivable that the Oscars will follow suit.

  • Jason Travis

    Gladiator lost Art Direction to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It won Picture, Actor, Sound, Visual Effects and Costume Design.

    Crash was favored to win Original Screenplay in 2005- and Brokeback Mountain won Adapted Screenplay.

    The problem is that Argo is a great screenplay going against rough competition- Silver Linings Playbook and Lincoln (and Life of Pi for that matter, thank you!) Because of the expansion to 9-10 best picture nominees, the writing and acting categories include a lot of competition in the top race. Argo would be a deserving screenplay winner, it’s just that Kushner’s script is so much better. Silver Linings Playbook would be pretty bad. That whole movie is a mess.

  • Jason Travis

    @Dennis: Titanic more then deserved the Oscars for Cinematography, Music and Song. Especially Music and Song. Maybe you’re not a Celine Dion and James Horner fan, but when you have a soundtrack become the number 1 selling CD of the year over regular music artists, you have something special. The score for Titanic is beautiful as is the song- and maybe you just want to be seen as “the kids too cool for the prom” type of image, but Titanic was so winning in those categories. Cinematography is debatable, but I think Carpenter deserved it- all that movement and pacing at the end when the ship was going, he had a hard task and completed it great.

  • daveinprogress

    Feels like an existential debate. How many can it win? 7 (7 nods = potentially 7 wins. Thanks Dave for the bleeding obvious).

    How many will it win? I reckon 3 tops. Best Picture (it seems somewhat inevitable), but it would be nice on the night if an announcement took all the oxygen out of our collective living rooms! Best Screenplay (AMPAS like their sister org BAFTA make some odd decisions) and Editing.

    By the end of the night, the tallies will be a solid spread for several movies
    Argo, Pi, Lincoln, Les Miz, Amour.

  • Dennis Bee


    I’m sure you’re right about TITANIC and song. I just don’t like Celine Dion; I admit it. I thought “My Heart Will Go On” was a new “The Morning After,” a disaster movie ballad for a new generation.

    KUNDUN richly deserved Music and Cinematography, however. And say the former as someone who finds Philip Glass irritating much of the time, but for Scorsese’s Dalai Lama biopic, his score was haunting and effective. And this is actually where the Roger Deakins snub-fest starts. It was well known that Cameron fired his first cinematographer (either Caleb Deschanel or Jordan Cronenweth; I can’t recall which) and put in someone who would take orders from him and not go his own way. Which is fine, but the subsequent result didn’t merit an Oscar.

  • Pierre de Plume

    “The Academy supported its director’s branch” was the lede in news stories the day after the Oscars for ’85, and I think that will be the case this time as well. My prediction: LINCOLN with between 4 and 7 Oscars.

    The question for me, Dennis Bee, is, how much has the Academy changed since 1985? But then I think, the more things change the more they’re the same. Whatever the result, this year’s race is, at minimum, a thrill to observe.

  • Jason Travis

    @Dennis: I agree about Cinematography; I do know Cameron was allegedly a monster on set, and totally took over- hence his Producing, Directing, Writing and Editing. I am glad Titanic was snubbed in the Screenplay category, it was not it’s strong suite.

  • Nic V

    ***Pretty much the only people screaming that Lincoln is easily obviously by far the year’s best picture are mostly on this site – which is not intended as a criticism,***

    Well Harvey Weinstein was on CNN this morning doing a spot for Silver Linings Playbook. Nice piece actually but you would have sworn that he had an investment in Lincoln for the number of times he mentioned the film in context with it being one of the best pictures of the year. In a three minute spot I swear he mentioned Lincoln four times with the word “best” attached to it. I couldn’t believe my ears as he seems to be in love with Lincoln.

  • lenka73

    I hope ZERO, I’m afraid THREE (Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing)

  • steve50

    ^ Ha! Could there be an “anything but Argo” movement afoot?

    Maybe Harvey figures if it’s beyond his reach this year that he should annoint a worthy replacement. Or, maybe he’s closer to Kennedy/Spielberg than he is to Clooney/Affleck. Anything is possible at this stage of the race.

  • Nic V

    Well I went to the darker side Steve and figured maybe he thought that if he drummed up enough interest for Lincoln it might help Lincoln and Argo split so that Silver could come from behind. Personally I think if that is the scenario he’s hoping for it would benefit Pi more than Silver.

  • steve50

    You’re probably right, Nic. And if that’s his intention and it ends up to Pi’s advantage, I’m with you and all for it.

  • Pierre de Plume

    Nic V — Your Machiavellian scenario seems quite plausible.

  • Ryan G

    I’m getting vibes similar to the ones Atoinette is getting.

    Before the Globes I considered Argo an also-ran, so it floored me when it won Best Director and Best Picture – Drama. And then it started winning everything. Now everyone is predicting that it will comfortably win the Oscar for Best Picture. But I’m not so sure…

    The consensus seems to be that it can’t win just Best Picture, which I think is true, so then it must also win at least one or two more. But which categories?

    Editing is probably the best bet, but I say that only because Argo shares an editor with the frontrunner in this category, Zero Dark Thirty. And then there’s Adapted Screenplay, but is the Academy really going to overlook Kushner here? After that there’s an okay performance from Arkin for Best Supporting Actor, but he won this category not too long ago, and he probably ranks 4th in my personal Power Ranking. Plus, Hoffman deserves the crap out of that Oscar.

    Then there’s Score, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing. And once again Argo doesn’t seem very competitive. Lincoln, Life of Pi, and Skyfall all seem much stronger.

    And I do believe the lack of a nomination for Best Director is significant. Has a film won Best Picture without it? Yeah, but very rarely. And looking over the rest of Argo’s nominations, it’s easy to see where it can fail in all of them.

    Of course, the tide may lift all boats, and that’s certainly the overwhelming consensus. But I don’t know…I just get this feeling we’re going to be in for a surprise.

  • Edward J. Cunningham

    Everyone seems to think “Argo” is a lock for Best Picture. I don’t. I remember a couple of years ago the momentum going into the Academy Awards seemed to be going strong for “Little Miss Sunshine” even though Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris were not nominated for Best Director. In the end, “The Departed” still won BP.

    Right now, I still think “Lincoln” is the horse to beat.

  • AliZigi

    I’ve never had Oscar results laid out like this, and it’s all very surprising to see them as a whole. I can’t wait to share this with several of my friends I work with at DISH tomorrow morning who have been trying to decide who should and who will win Oscars this Sunday. They’re all planning to get together and watch the awards show since they all got the night off, but since I’ll be working, I plan to watch them by myself. My DISH Hopper lets me watch live TV on my iPad and my Smartphone wherever I go when I’m not at home, so I’ll have it setup to stream the awards show live, and I won’t miss any of the surprises that I’m sure will happen.

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