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.