One of the first Oscars of the night will be for Supporting Actor. At that point, we may have an idea as to where the night is headed. De Niro could signal a POSSIBLE Silver Linings leaning. Tommy Lee Jones may show they like Lincoln better than people thought (or not), Christoph Waltz shows an Academy in conflict, Philip Seymour Hoffman might signal a split up group of winners. But if it’s Alan Arkin, I think you can expect Argo to win what it can as voters throw awards at it.
After all, you haven’t seen a film win this many awards heading into the race since Slumdog Millionaire. In both cases, the film won the Critics Choice, the Globe, the PGA, the DGA, the SAG, the WGA and the BAFTA. That’s a hell of a haul for a movie without a director nom and there’s a very good chance what’s driving it may be more than the usual assumptions: Affleck’s snub and it being about Hollywood.
Clearly, Argo is a movie a lot of people really like. That means voters may vote with affection and I’m starting to wonder if that might mean Alan Arkin is swept up in the enthusiasm. A different actor has won every time so far, except Christoph Waltz, who’s won two. Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Critics Choice, Tommy Lee Jones won the SAG. But it feels like anyone’s game. Actually, the last list I looked at with wins made me think that, if Argo wins, there is a good chance it has to win more than just Picture, Screenplay, Editing. If they really like it they will remember one of the best things about it – and that’s Arkin. No, it isn’t a virtuoso performance but it’s a lot like Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love – a premium showstopper.
It isn’t part of groupthink, I know, because most are swirling around Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook. In fact there is an active narrative over at Metacritic that believes Silver Linings could take the whole night with Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Actress. Stranger things have happened. Okay, no, they haven’t. They never have.
I sort of wish there were more people taking bigger risks with their predictions. Like, if you’re predicting Ang Lee why not also predict Life of Pi? If you’re predicting David O. Russell, why not also Silver Linings Playbook for Picture?
When I looked at films with 11 nominations that won a max of 5 Oscars, as many are predicting Life of Pi to do (or Lincoln, with 12) the film that won Best Picture instead took acting prizes with it. That makes it seem like Arkin would have the edge. You know, just saying.
The Aviator won 5: Art Direction, Cinematography, Editing, Costumes, Best Supporting Actress
Million Dollar Baby won 4: Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actor
Hugo won 5: Art Direction, Cinematography, Sound, Sound Editing, Visual Effects
The Artist won 5: Picture, Director, Actor, Costumes, Score
Saving Private Ryan won 5: Director, Cinematography, Editing, Sound, Sound Effects Editing
Shakespeare in Love won 7: Picture, Actress, Supp. Actress, Art Dir, Score, Screenplay
While Director is one of the strongest wins matched with Best Picture, acting wins have the second highest percentage after director – so if there’s no director win, well, Arkin could prevail, as this Marshall Flores charts proves: