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The State of the Race: Why Argo Keeps Winning

Awards1995Howard

When Argo beat Silver Linings Playbook for Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards last night, an award that movie should have had in a walk, and Lincoln took home two SAG Awards for its pair of actors (it was only expected to take one) it suddenly became obvious that a three-way split is going on in the awards race and Argo is benefiting from it.

This is somewhat reminiscent of 2010: it wasn’t The King’s Speech vs. The Social Network. It was The King’s Speech vs. The Social Network vs. Black Swan vs. The Fighter.  Each film represented a specific group, or type of person, if you will.  And none of those voting blocks could be convinced to drop their support of the one they loved and affix it to the only one that could have beaten The King’s Speech. Moreover, in that type of scenario, LEAST OFFENSIVE wins the day. No one hates Argo.

Once Zero Dark Thirty was no longer the critics’ favorite shiny new toy, they switched their support to Argo.  Once they did that, it won the BFCA and the Globe and then PGA and then SAG.  That is quite a winning streak for a late in the game play, one that can only be attributed to the lethal combination of a likable film, a least offensive film, and a charming actor/director whom the Academy snubbed.  It is all very much playing out the way Apollo 13 played out, and if Affleck now wins the DGA, as all of my pundit pals are predicting, it will match Apollo 13 almost exactly (Apollo 13 did not win the Globe for Director, Mel Gibson did).

Let’s remember back to our experiment with Rotten Tomatoes.   That site isn’t really great for figuring out positive reviews, but it is really great for figuring out divisive films.  The reason for this is that they don’t hand out their rotten tomatoes easily. It has to be a pretty bad review to be called rotten.  When we did the experiment, we saw it played out this way:

Amour–11 rotten
Argo–11 rotten
Zero Dark Thirty — 14 rotten
Silver Linings Playbook — 16 rotten
Lincoln — 21 rotten
Beasts of the Southern wild — 25 rotten
Life of Pi – 25 rotten
Django Unchained–26 rotten
Les Miserables — 63 rotten

Flashback to 2010
The Social network-11 rotten
The King’s Speech–12 rotten
The Fighter–22 rotten
Black Swan — 34 rotten
Inception–39 rotten

Since 2012, we have become much more polarized in our thinking. We do tend to take sides.  But in a scenario where there are competing films, the one that people hate the least wins. It’s the Argo adage of “this is the best bad idea we have.” And it explains the Oscar race probably better than anything else ever has.  Argo fans are fans that didn’t like any of the other films — either they liked Zero Dark Thirty and then got spooked, so those voters fled to the safety of Argo’s arms, or they just genuinely liked the film best. But you can’t talk Lincoln fans into voting for Argo and you can’t talk Argo fans into voting for Lincoln.  Meanwhile, Silver Linings Playbook has strong enough support that it divides the votes further.

 

If it were Lincoln vs. Argo I really believe Lincoln, the masterpiece, the one that has made $167 million and has the most nominations, plus a director nomination, would win. But in our divisive culture, with so many other strong films pulling, it becomes a King’s Speech scenario where it’s Argo vs. Lincoln vs. Silver Linings Playbook vs. Life of Pi (those are the three DGA and Oscar nominees for Best Director).

The competing films represent three distinct demographics, and added to complicate things further, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables and Django Unchained, to say nothing of the Oscar race when Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild are thrown into the mix.  Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook are films people react to emotionally. Lincoln is a film people react to occasionally emotionally but more often than not, intellectually.  Argo kind of has it all, it’s a one-size-fits-all movie.  So then you have to wonder, why the director snub?

What to watch for:

Ballots have already been turned in for the Writers Guild. But if Argo manages to upset Lincoln in the adapted screenplay, where Tony Kushner has written a screenplay so artful, with such profound depth, then you will see Argo doing more than just what Apollo 13 did. It will already have one more prize that Apollo 13 when it wins the Editors Guild prize; Braveheart had won both the WGA and the Eddie that year.

Apollo 13 and Argo are very similar. Both had veteran actors and newbies. Both were directed by the most likable guy in town, an actor-turned-director. Both are “important” films about American history about heroes who were never allowed to take credit.  Apollo 13 was about a failed mission, but a hero emerged.  Argo is about a successful mission, a hero emerged. Neither of those heroes got their proper due. Perhaps both Ron Howard and Ben Affleck can relate — they both had to finally make a movie industry voters could handle before they started getting recognition; Ben Affleck’s two previous films were far more artistically daring but Argo does what neither of them could do: appeal generally across the board.   Ron Howard had directed Cocoon, Splash, and Parenthood by the time he finally got “serious” with Apollo 13.

Both of them had to fight hard to be respected and both are nice, nice guys — actors from the old days who paid their dues.  So naturally when the directors branch in the Academy decided that neither film was worthy of a Best Director nomination, the whole industry threw their support around Ron Howard, and the whole industry has thrown their support now around Ben Affleck.

What remains to be seen is whether Argo can do what Apollo 13 could not: overcome not having a Best Director nomination.

The only other director who won the DGA but wasn’t nominated for Best Director was, funnily enough, Steven Spielberg.  Spielberg is not an actor. He doesn’t have the nice guy charm that plays well in front of a crowd. He’s a film nerd.  His enthusiasm is in his work, not his personality.  But he also had to fight long and hard for respectability and when he was shut out for The Color Purple there was a similar wave of support.  The Best Picture prize ultimately went to Sidney Pollack and Out of Africa.

Why does the director nomination matter so much? I will be writing a DGA preview later today so I’ll hold off on specifics of what I’ll say later, but for now I’ll just say this.   There are usually two kinds of films that do well in the Oscar race. Those that are director-driven and those that aren’t.    As good as Ben Affleck is, Argo isn’t a director-driven film. It is a film people like across the board — anyone can sit down and watch that movie and enjoy it.  Does it set the world on fire? No. Is it a visionary masterpiece? Nope. Is it a movie you can dive back into and discover something new each time? No.  But it doesn’t matter because it’s a comfortable fit in a contentious year where so many greater visionary works are splitting up the vote.

As you can see by the critics top ten of the top tens, they liked Argo but it wasn’t in their top five — which begs the question, how did it manage to suddenly start winning critics awards? Well, it was the best bad idea they had:

toptens2012

When you get to the Oscars you will likely be dealing with a different tool kit.  Voters will still split up in different ways.  But this time, you really have only two directors who were also nominated for the DGA — Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee, funnily enough. Both directors lost big at past Oscar upsets when Crash beat Brokeback Mountain and Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan.   If you think Argo is going to win Best Picture without a director nomination the next thing you have to do is figure out who is going to win Best Director.

Since Argo will have to make history to win (in several different ways, the least of which is the lack of a director nomination), it’s possible either Ang Lee or Spielberg could lose the DGA and still win the Oscar. For some reason I think if Spielberg loses the DGA he can’t then win the Oscar.

Argo will win a few more awards coming up.  It will very well likely win the BAFTA — hell, they liked Argo so much they even nominated Ben Affleck for Best Actor.  It will get yet another momentum bump there.  And Ben Affleck, snubbed director made good, will probably win the DGA.

At the end of the day you are wise to continue on with the general consensus and choose Affleck for the DGA and Argo for Best Picture. I myself still believe that sooner or later voters will come to their senses and realize that Lincoln is the best film of 2012 and will reward it. I also think that neither Lincoln, Life of Pi nor Silver Linings Playbook are dead for Best Picture. Why? They all have director nominations.

Directors Guild preview coming later today.

198 Comments on this Post

  1. Bryce Forestieri

    [forgive the re-post] I don’t mind being a contrarian. Otherwise this will be a borefest until Cannes.

    Assuming Argo wins the DGA and even the WGA, which I don’t think will happen but for the sake of theorizing, Current and possibly final prediction-desires hybrid

    Best Picture: LINCOLN
    Best Director: Steven Spielberg,LINCOLN
    Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, LINCOLN
    Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, AMOUR
    Best S. Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, LINCOLN
    Best S. Actress: Anne Hathaway, LES MIZ
    Best Original: Michael Haneke, AMOUR (alt: Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED)
    Best Adapted: Tony Kushner, LINCOLN
    Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, LIFE OF PI
    Best Score: John Williams, LINCOLN
    Best Editing: William Goldenberg, ARGO
    Best Production Design: LINCOLN
    Best Costume Design: MIRROR MIRROR (alt: LINCOLN)
    Best Make-up: THE HOBBIT
    Best Sound E.: LIFE OF PI
    Best Sound M.: LIFE OF PI
    Best Visual Effects: LIFE OF PI
    Best Foreign Film: AMOUR
    Best Animated Film: FRANKENWEENIE (Alt: WRECK-IT RALPH)
    Best Documentary: SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
    Best Song: SKYFALL (throw up a little in my mouth)

  2. Lincoln was my favorite film last year,and I want it to take home best picture. But it seems that Argo is taking home every award,so yeah Argo for picture and Spielberg for director. I’m not really sure what’s happening. Were they awarding Argo because it was the best film of 2012 or was it because Ben was snubbed? I’m not sure.

  3. This is a pretty sound theory: the lesser of all evils. It works until you go back to 2005. Good Night, and Good Luck only had half (14) the negative reviews Brokeback Mountain did (31). Capote had 19. Crash had the most out of the five nominees (49).

  4. We can’t really compare A-13 to Argo. I know they both begin with the letter A, but Apollo 13 only performed well at the Guild awards, winning the PGA, DGA, SAG Ensemble, and SAG Best Supporting Actor. Every other award ceremony went to another film. Sense and Sensibility won the BAFTA, Globe, Critics Choice, and WGA. If anything, S&S is a better comparison. That would be more applicable, seeing as how Argo won the Critics Choice, Globe, and a couple of Guild awards.

    Argo is unquestionably the front-runner at the moment (I have changed my tune a bit), but it still needs to show some writing support for me to put money on the movie.

  5. Bryce Forestieri

    So if ARGO wins Best Picture who is the poor looser who will be known as the lol-won-only-because-Affleck-wasn’t-nominated-lol?!

  6. Aaron C.

    I’m not sure where all this lack of support for Argo is coming from. It’s still my pick for best picture, SLP is number 2. I thought Lincoln was boring. I certainly wouldn’t call it a masterpiece anymore than The King’s Speech was a masterpiece. It was a good film about a specific period in history that was told in a compelling way. It was now, however, a film I’m excited to hear about or to see again. I would see Argo again.

    You call it a “one-size-fits-all” movie. I think that’s insulting. It takes patience to care about the characters in Argo, to appreciate how they all work together. Argo takes the time to connect you with everyone, to care about their outcomes and find the humor in the ridiculous situation their in. I don’t think I felt a forced moment in the movie, and at the end, I was on the edge of my seat with them in the Airport, and I knew what happened. That’s good film making. I knew what what was going to happen, but they’d built and suspense and tension so much I was still excited to see how it played out.

    Lincoln has the worst first five minutes and the worst final five minutes of any recent movie I can recall. It felt like an attempted emotional moment that turned sour; it made the scene feel scripted, not as though it could actually happen.

    I love this site, and I’m disappointed that these posts keep tearing down Argo when, in my eyes, it is clearly the best film of last year. I hope Ben’s snub in director gets him this Oscar for best picture. He should have received it anyways.

  7. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    You call it a “one-size-fits-all” movie. I think that’s insulting. It takes patience to care about the characters in Argo, to appreciate how they all work together.

    Sure. I loved Argo, let it be known. But it isn’t a visionary work by Affleck. I feel that it is the default choice, however, since Zero Dark Thirty took a tumble. Just my opinion, man. That opinion is based on the films it’s standing next to.

  8. We hear a lot about momentum. I agree, Argo clearly has the momentum. But is Argo running the risk of peaking too soon?

    This race was always going to be divisive (between genres, ages, exc). It never seemed like a consensus year. In a year like this, does it not behoove you to be the underdog? Because what you’re really after is 2nd, 3rd and possibly even 4th place votes on a preferential ballot. Let’s say you’re an Oscar voter, maybe you love Zero Dark Thirty and like just about every other nominated film. Obviously ZDT is 1st on your ballot, there is then going to be a massive gap between 1st and 2nd. How much of it comes down to, well, kindness with your 2nd choice.

    What I am getting at is this- Argo was easy to love when it was getting snubbed- it was an easy to watch, well done, Hollywood film made by a darling of the town. It was the perfect underdog.

    Now that it is sweeping everything? Might Oscar voters start to revisit it and think, “it might win, but come on, it isn’t as good as we’re all saying it is” and bump it down on their list from say 2nd to 5th.

    Personally, I think it would have been better for Argo to lose to Silver Linings Playbook, then, Argo would have kept the lovable underdog title that has propelled it to its current heights while further dividing the race between 3 main films (Argo, Silver Linings and Lincoln). Instead of that, the race is starting to feel like a judgement on whether or not Argo really is that good. It doesn’t feel like a divided race today, rather, a race with a clear but vulnerable front-runner. Argo is clearly out front with a target on it’s back.

    I’ve been predicting Argo would win BP since October, in large part because everyone likes it, nobody hates it, few love it. That description works well for an underdog, it doesn’t work so well for a front-runner. The guilds are also giving everyone a chance to become strategic in voting against Argo.

    And personally, I think we’re already starting to see some of that, King Harvey was might positive of Lincoln at the PGAs…

  9. My predictions, even with Argo cleaning up on the major percursor awards, are mostly like Bryce’s, which I think are spot on, except for Score (I am picking Life of Pi for that one). I also think the sound categories are going elsewhere.

    T.

  10. Aaron, you have to realize not everyone agrees with you. Yes, Argo was a tense, likable film, but most of the actors and characters did not pull me in. Worthy SAG winner it was not. It was an impressive directorial achievement where Lincoln was more restrained, so I wouldn’t have complained about a split with Affleck winning Director, like when Warren Beatty won for Reds. But if I never see Argo again, I’ll live. It probably plays better on the small screen, but it’s not that rewatchable. However, I look forward to having the time to watch Lincoln again to marvel at the beautiful performances, poignant framing, and literate script, which one can’t appreciate all in one viewing.

  11. Calling it now…

    Best Pic: Argo
    Best Director: David O. Russell
    Best Actor: Day Lewis
    Best Actress: J. Lawrence
    Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee
    Best Supporting Actress: upset — Sally Field

  12. marlonbrando020

    But you fail to understand that Argo has something that Apollo 13 never had. It has won GGs for Best Director and Best Drama Movie….Apollo 13 went home empty-handed at the GGs. Argo also has BFCA wins for Director and Picture. All Apollo 13 won at the BFCA in 1996 (when the awards were non-competitive) was Supporting Actor for Ed Harris in a catch-all win for his work in Apollo 13, Just Cause and Nixon (he tied with Kevin Spacey who also won a catch-all award).

  13. ARGO fits the profile for the type of idiosyncratic movies that have been winning Best Picture these past few years: Mumbai poverty, a bomb disposal team in Iraq, a 1930s British monarch trying to overcome his stammer and a pastiche of silent Hollywood. LINCOLN adheres more to the template of the worthy epic of a historical figure that Academy voters warmed to in the 1980s but less so nowadays: GANDHI, AMADEUS, OUT OF AFRICA, THE LAST EMPEROR. I’m 2/3rds certain ARGO is going to win Best Film on Oscar night.

    BAFTA may be a different call. The last 4 BAFTA Best Film winners went on to replicate theIr success at the Oscars, but this year I get the feeling everyone in the UK likes LES MISERABLES so much more than any of the other films. Reports of audiences in tears, of audiences applauding and critical raves (the critical reception was way more superlative here in Britain than the US). So I’m going with LES MIS to win Best Film at the BAFTAs.

    Mind you, 12 months ago I was confident in my prediction that the 2013 Oscars would all be about THE HOBBIT, so what do I know.

  14. ARGO was my pick for the best film of 2012 (followed by the unfairly swiftboated ZERO DARK THIRTY), but no way in Heaven or Hell is it winning the Best Picture Oscar. I’ve said LINCOLN will win since Day One and see no reason to change my mind now.

    For whatever reason, the Academy is terrified of giving a film Best Picture with no other awards, and ARGO isn’t guaranteed anything else. Even DRIVING MISS DAISY was assured of winning Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, and with Ron Howard and Ang Lee absurdly out of the race, BRAVEHEART was assured of winning Best Director. ARGO has no such guarantees — Alan Arkin won’t win, and Tony Kushner still seems likely to win Best Adapted Screenplay for LINCOLN. ARGO might win Best Film Editing and Best Original Score (in recognition of Alexandre Desplat, the hardest working man in composing), but that’s not insurance enough for the Academy to pull the trigger and go with an exceptional movie that has suddenly become as much of a punching bag with many pundits as LINCOLN has become with a different group of prognosticators.

    No, LINCOLN is the safe, conservative bet — for the streamlined nature of the film itself; for its all-American appeal, even more in light of the past two Euro-centric winners; and for already having the right checks in other major categories (Director, Actor, Adapted Screenplay, possibly Supporting Actor and some technicals). I see nothing except maybe LIFE OF PI (a LONG shot) upsetting it for Best Picture.

  15. Sense and Sensibility – 1 rotten
    Babe – 1 rotten
    Apollo 13 – 2 rotten
    Il Postino – 2 rotten
    Braveheart – 10 rotten

    hmmm :)

  16. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    For some reason I think if Spielberg loses the DGA he can’t then win the Oscar.

    [Jots down note to work through this despondent insecurity at next group therapy session.]

  17. Is it right to say Argo’s the least offensive movie nowadays, though? It’s the only movie of the nominated bunch that’s been banned somewhere — Iran. In fact, they’re straight up doing their own version of Argo to counter it!

  18. Sasha– you fail to mention 1995 was a completely DIFFERENT voting system. The comparison doesn’t work as strongly–plus, there was heavy heavy support in the Academy to award Mel Gibson, another more popular actor turned director. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY—No preferential ballot for PGA OR Oscar Best Picture that year. That fact, I’m afraid, decides the outcome for ARGO. The Best Picture race is DONE, OVER. I can see NO OTHER FILM can beat it with the preferential ballot. The PGA Award with this new system has matched 100% with Oscar Best Picture: Hurt Locker, King’s Speech, Artist. Argo will join that list.

    I’m thinking more and more that David O. Russell will win Best Director. HUGE HUGE SUPPORT from Actors. This will be a sure thing, once Ben Affleck wins the DGA.

  19. Once Zero Dark Thirty was no longer the critics’ favorite shiny new toy, they switched their support to Argo.

    ZD30 is still the critics darling, (not only did it make the top 5 but it topped the whole list) but it’s not the critics, it’s the guilds that decided to go for Argo, as the safer of the two choices.

    Your comparisons of Ben Affleck with Ron Howard are interesting for sure, but I think Affleck is way more likable than Howard ever was – not least of all because Affleck was actually in a few good movies as an actor.

    Ben Affleck’s two previous films were far more artistically daring but Argo does what neither of them could do: appeal generally across the board.

    Do you honestly believe both Gone Baby Gone and The Town, films set in his hometown of Boston, are more artistically daring than Argo just because Argo’s story is more universal? Didn’t you love Argo when it first came out and said it was easily the best of all three of his directed films?

    Sorry for my scattered thoughts, it’s still very early on the East Coast, but I’m getting the sense that Argo winning everything instead of your preferred Lincoln is souring your opinion of a film that you actually loved when you first saw it. But now it’s become the “lesser of four evils” or “the best bad idea they have”…..

    Maybe, just maybe, they like Argo more than they like Lincoln? I know the director’s snub didn’t help any other film more than it helped Argo but the film itself is still good enough to stand on its own and be considered a fantastic piece of filmmaking.

  20. houstonrufus

    There is some really smart analysis in here, Sasah. I think it’s very appropriate to think of AMPAS and the movies in terms of demos and polarization. There is a larger conversation to be had about this increasing trend in all aspects of culture and politics, the picking of teams and identifying with what certain cultural artifacts represent. I believe it’s wise to apply that model even to such things as an awards race.

    I’m not sure I agree with your last conclusion that AMPAS will ultimately decide on Lincoln, but I hope you’re right. Where you may be right is along with this increasing trend toward polarization is the shortening of a narrative’s sell by date, meaning movies just don’t hold that favored spot for long anymore. People get bored and want a fresh story. The key is to peak at the right time. So we’ll have to see if the Affleck/Argo story can maintain that shine all the way to the finish line.

  21. Can ARGO concievably win Best Picture and nothing else? It is not favored in any other catagory. It would have to win editing and screenplay to have a realistic shot.

  22. Houstonrufus

    *Sasha. Sorry about that.

  23. The way I see it, the fact that some other film is definitely going to win the Director Oscar is likely to count for something. Against Argo, which could go on to sweep all the remaining major precursors, that may not mean much in Picture, but whichever film wins Director must surely be seen as competition for Picture. The awards are so closely linked. Argo, no matter how many awards it wins over the next four weeks, will always have that handicap on Oscar night.

    Anyone could win that Director Oscar. I think Steven Spielberg could certainly win it, even without the DGA. And if he does, that puts Lincoln in a good position to spoil. People may not be able to envisage that now, but did anyone envisage Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow being snubbed for Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin? Fuck no. These things happen! If Michael Haneke wins, though (and I think he’s the next likeliest choice), I think it helps Argo more than anything else. Picture is the one award I don’t think Amour can win.

  24. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Apollo 13 was about a failed mission, but a hero emerged. Argo is about a successful mission,

    To draw a comparison in addition to that contrast, Apollo 13 and Argo are both about successful missions to bring stranded Americans back home.

  25. Paul Voorhies

    I don’t believe in the “least offensive” theory much. Argo is a story about the make up artists, costume designers, screenwriters, actors, etc. etc. who made
    “Argo,” the film within the film, which saved the day in 1980. All of the guilds made a difference in “Argo”, and Academy members are going to have a hard time not essentially voting for themselves, and patting themselves on the back for doing something so noble that it actually saved human lives. Am I the only one who sees this????? It seems reasonably clear to me.

  26. “Can ARGO concievably win Best Picture and nothing else? It is not favored in any other catagory. It would have to win editing and screenplay to have a realistic shot.”

    It could, but lets me logical here. Why would a movie win just Best Picture and nothing else? If they think the movie is the best movie of the year, why wouldn’t they consider it for Best Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Editing, Score, or Sound?

  27. RIOBALDO

    I’M WITH SASHA ON THIS ONE…I HOPE THAT VOTERS WILL COME TO THEIR SENSES AND THEY CAN VOTE WITH THEIR MIND RATHER WITH THEIR HEARTS,AS IT IS THE CASE FOR “ARGO”,NOT A BAD FILM,I LIKE IT..BUT THE BEST OF THE YEAR AT THE ACADEMY AWARDS??..NO WAY,IF IT ISN’T LINCOLN THEN…LIFE OF PI..BUT THAT’S JUST ME..AND EVERYBODY SEEMS TO BELIEVE THAT AFFLECK WILL WIN THE DGA,AND I DO THINK THAT’S POSSIBLE ..BUT AT THE OSCARS IT COULD BE ANOTHER ONE..AND IM NOT TALKING A BOUT LEE OR SPIELBERG..IT WELL COULD BE ANOTHER ONE..

  28. danemychal

    Iran is pissed that Argo exists and has already stated they are going to make their own version of the movie that depicts how the events “really” played out. Well, we all know the airport climax scene was complete hogwash, but I’m interested to know what else about it gave them fits. Will that factor into the decision-making of AMPAS in a positive or negative way toward the film — or in any way at all? I don’t know.

    Lincoln, with its 5 more nominations than Argo (including Director), gets to now play an underdog. That could also help it. I just think strange things have happened this year when we we KNEW certain things were a “lock”. We knew Affleck and Bigelow were in for Director too, right? AMPAS plays by their own rules. If you’ve all decided that Argo will win BP (and probably Editing) while Lincoln and SLP and Pi and Les Mis take every other award that matters, AMPAS might just say “Fuck all y’all” and go a completely different direction. Argo winning SAG Ensemble proves Goldman’s point, “Nobody knows anything” [in or about Hollywood]. And my stance on that doesn’t change even if (or when, really) Affleck wins the DGA. AMPAS is still AMPAS and the DGA and Directors Branch of AMPAS wildly differ this year.

    PS – I wish Affleck would make “Argo” the sci-fi movie as his next project. How awesome a companion piece would that be?? He would be obligated to make it an overblown, cheesy Star Wars ripoff. I am picturing something as classic at the over-the-top hilarity of 1980’s “Flash Gordon” with Sam J. Jones.

  29. rufussondheim

    I have several issues with this column. It makes observations and uses various data that just aren’t accurate.

    1) Because of the nature of preferential ballots, every race comes down to two films. If Lincoln and Argo are the top two films (a claim that might not be true) then the one that appears higher on the majority of ballots will win. That’s indisputable.

    Similarly, there is no “dividing the vote” in preferential balloting. After each round of tabulating, a film gets eliminated. It always comes down to two films, unless one film reaches the top of the ballot on 50% + 1 ballots. And if that’s the case, nothing was divided.

    2) Argo is not a simple film. It is at least as complex as Lincoln and probably moreso. Much of what it is saying is not obvious.

    The film is highly critical of American foreign policy with regards to Iran. The film pretty much takes the Iranian side, if you haven’t noticed, never does it demonize the Iranian population. Affleck empathizes with the hostage takers in the opening scene, he shows they have a right to be angry, after all the United States supported a brutal dictator. The hostage takers treated the American Embassy employees with more respect than the Shah ever treated the Iranian citizenry.

    Affleck does shoot from the American point of view though and eventually the Iranian population is seen as menacing and threatening (even though no violence ever occurs). But as the final scenes show, the typical Iranian loves America and it’s entertainment industry. It is how Iranians see Americans.

    And there lies the greatness in the film, it empathizes with the Iranian population as well as the American Hostages. It shows the horribly messy situation that the goverments of the two countries created. If the populations of each country were left to their own devices, we would likely get along, we are all fascinated by the same things and we’re all just trying to live in a just and civil society. We’re all just trying to get through the day happy.

    I think this is a terribly profound statement (notice how things change later when ZDT takes place 25 years later.) and one that’s completely overlooked on this message board. Argo is a profound political thesis, it is not just an entertaining thrillride. But Affleck doesn’t put these ideas front and center so it gets missed.

    3) The top 10 compilation Sasha uses is a pretty small list, but if ZDT only got 80 votes, I am going to estimate that only 160 critics lists were used. If you go to my favorite site…

    http://criticstop10.com/

    …you will see that Argo fares much better in this compilation with uses far more lists, 791 total. You will see that, while it is close, Argo not only has more votes than Lincoln, it also appears at the #1 spot with more frequency. While the methods of each compilation can be debated, it’s clear it is entirely wrong to come to the conclusion that Lincoln had a better critical reception than Argo. I would argue that both are so close that it’s pretty much statistically insignificant and that the overall critical reception is pretty much a non-factor if indeed it comes down to Argo v. Lincoln.

    4) Ultimately, since the positive critical reception is pretty much even for both films, the BP award (if it comes down to Argo and Lincoln) will most definitely be decided at the bottom of the ballot. Which film is more liked by people that don’t like either film. Of the people that found Lincoln to be boring and Argo to be lightweight which film will fare better?

    This is where I think Argo wins the BP award. Lincoln, while it may not be divisive as other films, is the harder film to enjoy if you aren’t captivated by it. And Argo, even if you see it as a silly cat and mouse caper, will be more entertaining.

    Last December, I always figured Argo will be the most liked at the bottom of the ballot, but I never gave it much of a chance to win because I figured the Lion’s Share of the #1’s would go to ZDT, Lincoln and Les Miz and that Argo would get eliminated in an early round.

    But with all of these precursor wins, it’s clear that Argo will definitely be #1 on a lot of lists. So between that and the fact that it’s probably not going to be at the bottom of very many lists, one absolutely has to conclude that it’s the odds-on favorite at this point. Unless, of course, Affleck murders Jennifer Garner, which given her performance in Butter is not as far-fetched as it might seem. So the race ain’t over yet!

  30. PatrickR

    I’ve been on Team Argo since I saw the film back in September. And while I hear the crtics out there (friends, bloggers, etc) knocking it for having a hokey ending (which it did – although still it was edge-of-your-seat), and skewing the facts (which it did, but I would argue that just about every film does that), you can’t say that the film lacks vision.

    Affleck does something that Tarantino, Spielberg, and dare I say, Hitchcock, and many other great directors have done. He pays homage to a genre of film- making that he is passionate about. In this case, Affleck tips his hat to the great action films of the 1970s – which is an appropriate choice for subject matter that we would all admit was one of the last international events of that decade. Argo looks and feels like a film from that era – right out of the gate when the old Warner Bros logo appears – and until the final, nail-biting ending, that of course we would all agree was WAY-too Hollywood. But I think that was the point! That was the artistic vision at work!

    The film also paralells the time (then and now) very well, and IMHO more so than Lincoln (which btw, is a prime argument I hear from Team Lincoln folks). Next time you take your shoes off at the airport, or read about torture or another fallen soldier, recall the first five minutes of Argo, the sysnopsis of events that led to the uprising in Iran, to understand the evolution of where we are now.

    I liked Lincoln in that it delivered some great acting (no one aruges that Daniel Day Lewis is the most deserving this year) and it’s a beautifully shot, beautifully visualized film. But Argo has that too – and in the end, it delivered what movies (like those action flicks in the 1970s) should deliver – knock-your-socks-off entertainment!

  31. Rufus, you make some great points, ESPECIALLY the fact that Best Picture will be decided by the bottom of the ballot. Lincoln will definitely be seeing more #7, 8, 9 votes than Argo. I’m reposting my post from above, since I think it got lost:

    Sasha– you fail to mention 1995 was a completely DIFFERENT voting system!! The comparison doesn’t work as strongly––plus, there was heavy heavy support in the Academy to award Mel Gibson, another more popular actor turned director. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY—No preferential ballot for PGA Award OR Oscar Best Picture that year!!!! That fact, I’m afraid, decides the outcome for ARGO. The Best Picture race is DONE, OVER. I can see NO OTHER FILM can beat it with the preferential ballot. You cannot CITE older years when the voting system was MUCH DIFFERENT–it doesn’t matter if Argo seems to mirror winning the same awards as Apollo 13. No No No No No—The PGA Award with this new system has matched 100% with Oscar Best Picture: Hurt Locker, King’s Speech, Artist. Argo will join that list….that is written.

    I’m thinking more and more that David O. Russell will win Best Director. HUGE HUGE SUPPORT from Actors. I’ve said this before: 7 acting NOMINATIONS!!! for his last two movies. This will be a sure thing, once Ben Affleck wins the DGA.

  32. Sasha, I think we should count our blessings and be careful what we wish for. The Argo-lovefest can end any moment now, but what if Silver Linings Playbook emerges then ? Now THAT would be frustrating. Argo is at least a decent movie…

    Anyway predictions for the rest of the season

    DGA – Argo (Oscar – Lincoln)
    WGA Original – Zero Dark Thirty (Oscar – Amour)
    WGA Adapted – Lincoln (Oscar – Lincoln)
    BAFTA – probably an Argo-lovefest or a LesMis semi-shocker

    …and then the Oscar goes to : Lincoln and Spielberg (viable spoiler : Life of Pi and Ang Lee).

  33. For me, it’s a desesperate theory.
    You simply can’t say Argo is at the same situation Apolo 13 was in 1995.
    Argo is sooooo much more awarded than Apolo 13 won.
    Argo won Golden Globe for Picture Drama and Director.
    And if we consider the point yoo’re always crying, Affleck’s snub for Academy is so much serious and shocking than Howard was.
    The whole thing is very different…

  34. Sasha, your “the one people hate least” theory is ironically appropriate considering that Lincoln (the man, not the movie) surprisingly won the Republican nomination in 1860 by being the candidate everyone hated least. In fact, his team’s strategy was to be everyone’s second choice.

    See page 244 of “Team of Rivals”

    “You know how it is in Ohio…I am certainly not the first choice there; and yet I have not heard that anyone makes any positive objection to me. It is just so everywhere as far as I can perceive.”

    – A. Lincoln, from a letter written two weeks before the convention

  35. Scott (the other one)

    I am genuinely torn about which film will win BP. I don’t happen to share Sasha’s opinion that Lincoln is a “masterpiece”, but I think it is a very well done historical biopic, unusually serious and engaged with ideas, and I would normally have thought that it was total Oscar bait. (Too bad Spielberg lacked the taste to end the movie with Lincoln walking away from the camera, back to us, in the White House. He hurt the movie by tacking on the utterly unnecessary asassination, and then the totally embarrassing inauguration speech scene.) I thought Argo was a very well made “thriller”, but utterly lacking in the depth and richness that I want from an Oscar BP, yet it clearly has the momentum.

    But there is no way anyone is winning Best Adapted Screenplay than Tony Kushner. This, to me, is one of the locks of the evening. Pulitzer Prize winning dramatist of two plays that are regarded as perhaps the dramatic masterpieces of American theatre of the past 20 years. Based on a critically revered book. There is absolutely no possibility whatsoever that the Academy is going to be able to resist these credentials!

  36. “Fabinho Flapp / January 28, 2013

    For me, it’s a desesperate theory.
    You simply can’t say Argo is at the same situation Apolo 13 was in 1995.”

    Like I said above, Sense and Sensibility is more applicable than Apollo 13.

  37. The J Viewer

    Thanks for your thoughts and pro analysis, Sasha.

    In my mind I am drawing a vague decision tree with several branches strangely revolving mainly around Affleck (& the two maestros – Lee and Spielberg). It’s intuitive at this point. But it leads me to several questions one of which is if Affleck wins DGA in truth then what’s next for Oscar BD despite himself not part of it, as well as Oscar BP.

    (At this point despite Argo’s SAG Ensemble win*, Lincoln, to me, is still a frontrunner for BP. But the race is so close that anything could happen from now.) (*I picked Argo for SAG Ensemble as well.)

  38. Lincoln, with its 5 more nominations than Argo (including Director), gets to now play an underdog. That could also help it.

    Yet Argo too gets to play the underdog. I think that’s why people are getting behind it so much. Poor Ben Affleck got snubbed, now let’s all make sure he at least wins Best Picture! I’d say the Steven Spielberg film with the most nominations of the pack doesn’t look like much of an underdog to most voters.

    Ultimately, since the positive critical reception is pretty much even for both films, the BP award (if it comes down to Argo and Lincoln) will most definitely be decided at the bottom of the ballot. Which film is more liked by people that don’t like either film. Of the people that found Lincoln to be boring and Argo to be lightweight which film will fare better?

    Prescience, rufus! This is a very good point. But I don’t think Argo even needs that support. I think it has quite a lot already.

  39. May I ask what the mega factor with Argo is? It was an entertaining movie, political bias/historical inaccuracies aside, and it was very good too, but what I don’t understand is why the big talk about its snub with Affleck when I thought he didn’t really offer much cinematically? Forgive me but I’m struggling to see the huge appeal with the movie. It was GREAT but I doubt not as brilliant as everyone says.

  40. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Forgive me but I’m struggling to see the huge appeal with the movie. It was GREAT but I doubt not as brilliant as everyone says.

    Thousands of us have the exact same feeling about The King’s Speech. (Except maybe without the word “GREAT”)

  41. Wow, this is absolutely ridiculous: Why do you people still think Lincoln is the frontrunner/will win Best Picture??? ARGO has won BOTH the preferential ballot (UNBEATABLE PGA Award winner!!) AND the weighted SAG ballot. These are facts and the industry has spoken: ARGO will win Best Picture. It has the goodwill AT THIS MOMENT. DONE! No film can beat it with the PREFERENTIAL BALLOT. I know this is not the best film of the year for many people, but when does the best film ever win BP–get over it. Instead, look at how fascinating the races for Best Director and Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor and both Screenplay categories are!! Very very close!!

  42. I do believe Argo will win Best Picture because the Academy loves making history whenever it can, but if that’s the case, my question is what else will Argo win?

    In most cases, the film with the most Academy Award wins includes Best Picture, but how will it go down? Will Chris Terrio beat Tony Kushner for Screenplay? Will Alan Arkin come out victorious in an unpredicted Supporting Actor win? Will Argo win Film Editing over Zero Dark Thirty (either way, I know William Goldenberg will be this year’s winner)? Will Argo win in the Sound categories? Will Alexander Desplat finally win for his score in Argo?

    Or will the Academy just award Argo Best Picture and nothing else? Something not seen since Mutiny on the Bounty won in 1936.

    Here are my predictions right now (they will change later), and I know they are NOT ALL correct:

    Best Picture: Argo
    Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) (would like to him be the first to win 3 Best Actor awards. if anyone deserves it, he does)
    Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)(it’s gotta wins something, right?)
    Best Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) (this is up for grabs, but he’s who I’m going with)
    Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)(they love her, they will award her, enough said)
    Best Direction: Michael Haneke (Amour) (just don’t see Spielberg worthy enough to win this; and Amour has won other awards before)
    Best Adapted Screenplay: Lincoln (Tony Kushner seems to be in the lead, and the film has 12 noms; gotta win something besides Actor, right?)
    Best Original Screenplay: Amour (they all love it; I would say Django, but not hearing much from it anymore)
    Best Production Design: Life of Pi (11 noms, remember)
    Best Cinematography: Life of Pi (in the lead here)
    Best Film Editing: Zero Dark Thirty (seems dual editors win these days, so William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichner will win; if not, Argo)
    Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina (anyone’s guess)
    Best Makeup: Les Miserables (since last year when harry potter got snubbed in this category for Iron Lady, I have a feeling they will do the same)
    Best Sound Mixing: Skyfall (can be very wrong here, and probably am; Argo could win here to add numbers to its wins)
    Best Sound Editing: Skyfall (again, I’m only saying because, if I were the Academy, and I looked at the titles in these categories, which one stands out the most in Sound?; can be wrong again, if so, Argo or Zero Dark Thirty will win here)
    Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi (we should have learned by now that for the last four years a film nominated for Visual Effects and Best Picture will win in the former category)
    Best Original Score: Life of Pi (just sounds right; 11 noms, remember)
    Best Original Song: Skyfall (a sure thing; Adele has many fans, Skyfall is more popular than I thought at the Academy, an easy win here)
    Best Animated Film: Frankenweenie (have a feeling Brave is not as popular anymore, and would be nice to see Tim Burton finally get his due)
    Best Foreign Language Film: Amour (might as well)
    Best Documentary: Searching for Sugarman (why not?)
    Best Documentary Short: Open Heart (why not?)
    Best Live Action Short: Death of a Shadow (why not?)
    Best Animated Short: Head Over Heels (why not?)

  43. rufussondheim

    Thanks, KT, your point is astutely made as well. People keep trying to include previous years when analyzing this year, but the simple fact is that so many variables have changed this year (new nominating system, new schedule, new voting system, completely new awards) that 1995 is practically the Dark Ages. Throw in the fact that with the internet a daily stop for most people and a surplus of information is at everyone’s finger tips, it’s just not the same, no matter how much you want it to be the same.

    We’ve already experienced so many things that aren’t normal this year, it’s shocking to me that people keep thinking this will play out “normally.”

    ———–

    I want to point out that I was the first to mention the possibility of an Argo/David O. Russell split. I thought it absurd at the time, but I did see a pathway there. And that pathway is still there, in fact it’s becoming pretty prominent.

    When people pick Argo as number one, I think they will go past Spielberg and Lee (“They’ve won already!”) and then go past Zeitlin and Haneke (“I’ve never worked with these people so why should I give a fuck about them!”) and settle on David O. Russell. He’s been around awhile, and you probably love at least one of his films (“Goddammit, I have to vote for one of these turkeys, so why not him?”)

    It’s really looking like he could be a default winner for Director.

  44. Christophe

    As mush as I hate to contradict you Sasha, I think beyond the personal preferences of every voter (that would spread the votes between several movies) the whole point of the preferential system is to avoid split votes. According to the PWC accountants, the BP battle almost always comes down to the wire, and it is nearly impossible for a movie to reach a majority of votes before the very last round which pits against each other the 2 favorite movies. So if this year we have Argo and Lincoln as the last 2 men standing after the first 7 rounds of counting, it’ll mean that our BP winner will be the direct result of the following question: which film do you prefer between Argo and Lincoln?

    I’m not sure if I made myself clear here, so I’d understand if you don’t understand what I just said. Peace!

  45. @Ryan – That’s true. But The King’s Speech biggest motive was that it appealed to older voters (I don’t even want to remember that year, The Social Network is still one of my all time favourite films). I agree that Argo reminds me SOO much of Apollo 13 for some reason.

  46. DONE! No film can beat it with the PREFERENTIAL BALLOT.

    Astutely made my arse! There’s no point in making definitive statements like this four weeks out! There’s no point four minutes out! Shocks still occur! They’re infrequent, sure, and more often in lesser categories, but no film nor person is unbeatable. It has happened before that a film has won all of the major precursors and then lost the Oscar.

  47. In rapid succession, Argo has won top honors at the Critics Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. But let’s recall what I’m fairly certain was the very FIRST group to hand this worthy work Best Picture. Way to be ahead of the curve! :)

    http://clclt.com/theclog/archives/2012/12/17/argo-a-go-for-sefca

  48. Wiinston

    SLP should have won the best ensemble award but the SAG is apparently using that award as the equivalent of a best picture award now. SLP never had a shot at best picture because it is too quirky. The movie is a roller coaster. I think best picture is between Argo and Lincoln. But Russell can sneak in for Best Director.

  49. On the other hand, sometimes the most offensive film wins, like Crash. Worst reviewed, and just a bad film (despite good intentions), which makes the Academy’s choice offensive (not to mention the blatant homophobia…).

    For the record, every one of Brokeback’s negative reviews came from either conservative critics or red state cities (or both). It managed to win Best Picture prizes like the Utah and Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics anyway, in no small part because it was by far the best reviewed English-language film of 2005, almost without peer except maybe for A History of Violence. But Brokeback won 29 Best Picture prizes, History got only 2 or 3, so I do think people should look beyond just metacritic scores and look at how the overall groups vote.

    Argo is a thrilling ride, a superb movie. Maybe that’s why its winning. No, it wasn’t my Best Picture of 2012 (that would have been Beasts of the Southern Wild), but I don’t see why people are so upset by its victories. I don’t believe Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty are the masterpieces that some claim them to be (although both are very fine films indeed), this is not a case of 2nd or 3rd tier movies beating out masterpieces.

  50. Everyone is getting all worked up over nothing. SLP will not be best picture. But it is a million times better than Crash, one of the worst films I ever saw.

  51. If Argo wins the best picture, it would be the weakest BP winner even more so than Crash. I do not think it will happen. Dominating the guilds and awards this year will not count much for Academy. If so Zeitlin would not have been there instead of Affleck.

  52. The J Viewer

    “Why do you people still think Lincoln is the frontrunner/will win Best Picture???”

    In my opinion, the Academy has the mind of its own. I still need to hear from DGA, BAFTA, and more from Sasha et al before making a decision.

    I picked Argo for SAG Ensemble win myself, though. So, for my part, it’s not that I am championing the cause of Lincoln the film in particular. It’s just unclear a picture to me still at least for the time being; no strings attached.

  53. Bryce Forestieri

    Damn all this ARGO talk have revitalized me yo

    Ben Affleck wins DGA, ARGO wins the Eddie but then

    LINCOLN SWEEPS THE OSCARS!!!!!!

  54. The Dude

    I’m still not sure on Argo taking it, because it has no certain wins; while I think it will take Adapted Screenplay, which will probably be used as a consolation prize, and EVERY movie that wins Best Picture arrives with at least a couple of certain Oscars:

    The Artist: Actor, Original Score (Director was almost sure too)
    The King’s Speech: Actor, Screenplay (favorite to win director too, but not certain)
    The Hurt Locker: Director, Editing.
    Slumdog Millionaire, NCFOM: Heavy frontrunners in a big number of categories, including Director and Screenplay (also Bardem for supporting in NCFOM’s case).
    The Departed: Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing
    Crash: Writing, Editing
    MDB: Actress, Supporting Actor
    ROTK: Favorite for everything.
    Chicago: Supporting Actress, a bunch of techs.

    Meanwhile, is entirely possible Argo leaves the party with nothing. And the same is true for SLP.

  55. rufussondheim

    Quick, name anyone who has won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama since Angels in America: Millenium Approaches won in 1993? You can’t guess, you have to know.

    I can name two – Jonathon Larson for Rent and Tracy Letts for August:Osage COunty – I can name other plays that won, but can’t recall who wrote them. And I have inklings and vague memories of other winners but can’t come up with much concrete.

    I ask you to do this exercise in an attempt to disavow the common meme of Kushner has won a Pulitzer and that’s a huge item in Lincoln’s favor. Well, winning a Pulitzer is impressive, but no one outside of the theater community really gives a flying fuck.

    For your ease in research, I’ve included the winners. How many did you get

    1994 – Three Tall Women, Edward Albee
    1995 – The Young Man from Atlanta, Horton Foote
    1996 – Rent, Jonathan Larson
    1997 – No Award
    1998 – How I Learned to Drive, Paula Vogel
    1999 – Wit, Margaret Edson
    2000 – Dinner with Friends, Donald Margulies
    2001 – Proof, David Auburn
    2002 – Topdog/Underdog, Suzan-Lori Parks
    2003 – Anna in the Tropics, Nilo Cruz
    2004 – I am My Own Wife, Doug Wright
    2005 – Doubt, John Patrick Shanley (I can’t believe I forgot this one)
    2006 – No Award
    2007 – Rabbit Hole, David Lindsey-Adaire (another I should have known)
    2008 – August:Osage County – Tracy Letts
    2009 – Ruined, Lynn Nottage
    2010 – Next to Normal, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey
    2011 – Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris
    2012 – Water by the Spoonful, Quiara Alegria Hudes

  56. Paddy said: Astutely made my arse! There’s no point in making definitive statements like this four weeks out! There’s no point four minutes out! Shocks still occur! They’re infrequent, sure, and more often in lesser categories, but no film nor person is unbeatable. It has happened before that a film has won all of the major precursors and then lost the Oscar.

    SHOCKS used to occur, yes! But this is a preferential ballot. THE GAME HAS CHANGED. Do you know how that works?? A divisive movie will not win Best Picture. Changing the system in 2010 almost ensured that the winning film would need consensus goodwill to win Best Picture. As rufus said, Lincoln will surely be splitting the vote, getting number one votes, as well as number sevens, eights, and nines on the ballot. This kind of splitting does not a best picture make!! Argo does not have hate like Zero Dark Thirty, there are no claims of it being boring and self-important like Lincoln, it is not polarizing like Les Miz, and it has greater support than Silver Linings. Face the facts: the PGA Award for Best Picture with the preferential ballot has matched Oscar 100% in this new system. You cannot look back on past years. This year is an outlier, and a part of a recently installed system. I know what I’m talking about–please don’t say “absolutely my arse” before logically considering my points.

  57. We can turn things around as we want, and that is good, we are here because we like to talk about movies and the race for the Academy Awards, but what the real world is saying is: Argo is winning everything while both Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook have NOT won a thing, not one! SLP lost the comedy Golden Globe and the SAG ensemble, both those awards should have shown a passionate support for the movie and they didn’t!
    Lincoln has NOT won a thing so far, not one important award for the movie. Where the hell is the grey area? Argo even won ensemble yesterday, against 3 very strong contenders Lincoln, Le Mis, SLP. There is no race so far, Argo is the consensus 100%.

    The only questions now are what else will Argo win with BP and who wins director?

  58. Antoinette

    The Academy have the opportunity to vote for one of nine motion pictures. Four of them didn’t receive director nominatios. Unless those four were joke nominations they should still be in the race. Ballots haven’t gone out yet. It would be different if there were only five BP and BD nominees and they didn’t match, but that’s not the case.

  59. rufussondheim

    So no one wants to consider the possibility of Ben Affleck killing Jennier Garner because of her performance in Butter? I really think we should.

  60. Akumax: I think it’s very likely David O. Russell takes Best Director. I’ve told Sasha to beware this, but its looking increasingly inevitable, especially once Affleck takes DGA. There are arguments above on why he will take it and why he stands out in this category.

  61. Argo has only 2 negative reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, not 11.

  62. Alexander

    The reason Argo keeps winning is that it is a MOVIE. Lincoln, while full of admirable things, is a play. And, re: WGA — the Lincoln script may have “profound depths,” but those depths are not in the art of the screenplay, where part of the skill is to mix visual storytelling with words. This is why the producers/actors/filmmakers who vote and critics like Sasha disagree — because many critics misunderstand the nature of the screenplay as an art form. They think Best Screenplay means Most Words.

  63. KT: I’m not that rational about it because I think It’s beyond reason even to consider the O Russell a best director nominee this year, but it happened.

    The concept he can win against Spielberg Lee Haneke (Bigelow and Affleck) is something that gives me headache: it would be a crime against cinema in my opinion.

    So, what makes it “increasingly inevitable”? I’m afraid to know…

  64. Man, Sasha, “Lincoln, the masterpiece”, “realize that Lincoln is the best film of 2012″, it seems you are forcing people to think like you think, which I can say, is insane, because Lincoln IS NOT a masterpiece, and hell IS NOT the best film of the year, in my opinion (and for most of the people too, see PGA, SAG, Globes, NYFCC, LAFCC, BFCA, Sattelite, and many others).

    I think that when you state something like this, you have to use the reference “in my opinion”, because otherwise you will seem arrogant (something I personaly think, based on previous year awards races, you are not). It seems you want to people to open their eyes, wash their stupidity away, and AGREE WITH YOU.

    People just think different.

    I can name, for instance, 10 best pictures than Lincoln. Besides, I can point at least 10 flaws I saw in Lincoln that, in my opinion, enables the whole film.

    And i doesn’t mean that I’m right and people should WAKE UP and think like I do.

    And, at least, I think you should not underestimate people’s and voter’s intelligente and cinematic passion by saying people are voting for Argo just to fuck up with your darling Lincoln.

  65. Jerry Grant

    Sasha: For some reason I think if Spielberg loses the DGA he can’t then win the Oscar.
    Ryan: [Jots down note to work through this despondent insecurity at next group therapy session.]

    ^I’m with Ryan. Not only is it not the case that he *can’t* win, but he is the *most likely* to win. (And likely to NOT win the DGA.) There is undeniably broad broad support for Lincoln in the academy–14 nominations. Frankly, if Academy members see that “Argo” is in a good position to win BP, then the sensible thing is to credit Spielberg with the Academy Award for director. I think a Nate Silver analysis would have to put Spielberg in the #1 slot for Director.

    I will be a happy happy person if Spielberg wins his third Oscar for director.

  66. Part of me is a bit resistant with the idea that, if Argo wins, it will be because it’s the safe and uncontroversial choice. To me, Lincoln is the “safe”, the one people expected to win. It’s obvious to me that, now with Argo winning PGA/SAG ensemble that there are MANY people who think that this is the best movie of the year. It doesn’t mean that they’re sheep, or wrong, but it does mean they’re voting very differently than many thought they would.

    The problem is that we are trying to measure and quantify “likability” with a very complex and subjective art form. When we try and do this, we are often wrong. Like they say in ‘Looper’, this is an exact description of a very “fuzzy mechanism.” That being said, my top four of the year are Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty. They are all fantastic. To me, though, Argo and Life of Pi are the better of the four (and obviously I’m not alone in believing this). For someone to say that I chose these two films over the others because they are more safe “crowd-pleasers” totally discounts the view points of those who believe that. To some (Sasha), Lincoln is the best of the year (more “likable” to that audience.) Neither is wrong.

    And my thoughts on statistics such as “you can’t win Best Picture without a Director nomination.” People will say that it will never happen until that once in a blue moon when it does, and this time around, it seems more likely than not. Don’t ignore what is eminent: A Director/Picture split.

  67. “Why do you people still think Lincoln is the frontrunner/will win Best Picture?”

    Probably because they think it’ll win for Best Director and/or Best Adapted Screenplay, and take home acting Oscars and win a couple of technical awards.

    Argo is still a weak front-runner because it has yet to show it has a shot in the other categories.

  68. Akumax: I’m thinking about where the support from the Actor’s Branch is. They don’t have actor-turned-director Ben Affleck to vote for. Who there is seen as an ACTOR’s director? Spielberg, not really. And Lee has a minimal cast. Both have won before too. Then, there’s Haneke and Zeitlin–who I’m not sure can drum up enough support to win, especially if there’s people in the Academy who believe Affleck and Bigelow should be there instead. Who does that leave? O. Russell, scarily. Never won before. They’re bound to like his films, not necessarily Silver Linings but also Three Kings or I Heart Huckabees or The Fighter or Flirting with disaster. Plus, he’s got the Weinstein machine. He made the film for his bipolar son–which EVERYONE is stressing. And he’s earned 7 acting nominations for his last two movies. I’m worried that these reasons will make him the turn-to pick for many in the Academy. Remember, the question of who was actually “best” directed their movies is not really in the equation.

  69. The J Viewer

    (What is the grey area?)

    Lincoln still has most noms in important categories on its side, and it’s Spielberg’s film, to begin with. And, myself not championing the cause of Lincoln at all notwithstanding, for the time being it’s still difficult to see Lincoln take home with its Best Actor win only, or one or two more, for instance.

    Moreover, in my opinion, the Academy takes itself the most illustrious and most important, others being (only) its satellites (PGA, DGA, etc.) or in a sense irrelevant (non-Guilds). Therefore, I still need to hear from DGA, BAFTA (nothing to do with the Academy aside), and more from Sasha et al before making a decision.

    Etc.

    (Just to clarify my personal stance — if I have to choose, I will champion Argo though.)*signed out*

  70. Glenn UK

    I think its very unfair to try and dismiss and diminish Argo’s success in this way. It is a highly praised, much loved, critically approved/acclaimed movie that everyone was swooning over when it came out. Not a single bad word was to be said against it until it became a threat to Lincoln. And its fair to say that the Argo hate is only on this site. People are brutal on here. Any film gaining heat has been truly hammered.

    I find it quite ironic that TKS was referred to as “theatre TV” ….. can’t the same be said for Lincoln. Anything that is basically historical and a talky = theatre TV, right?

    If Lincoln goes on to win Picture and Director at the Oscars it will look highly odd. A movie that has gone through awards season with only acting and writing successes. It will be a strange blot on the Oscar landscape. I agree with those who say its needs DGA more than ever to be considered for Oscar’s big two and even then its twitchy.

    No matter how the awards season shifts, you always seem to have another file of statistics to refer to to state that Lincoln should win. Credit for your love for the film but it sometimes becomes a little too much reading scathing comments about movies which you have praised in the past to try and make the pieces fit for Lincoln. Yeah you can tell me to go and read somewhere else … and if you don’t then I’m sure Ryan will. But away from the dramatic end of awards season this really is an informed site – I just hate these last few weeks of nonesense when unneccesary attacks against other films begins. It feels like wasted energy!

  71. rufussondheim

    As shitty a film as SLP is, I kind of respect David O. Russell’s intentions with this movie. I think he will get some sympathy votes even if it’s only from a small minority.

    And if the vote is as close as it appears to be, those few extra votes could be the clincher.

  72. Bob Burns

    again… never underestimate Warner. Affleck/Clooney got their attention. Nicholson/Damon/Scorsese got their attention. Clint got it (twice) and so did Denzel.

    remember how Inception over-performed expectations?

    If you include RotK they are tied with Harv and about to go one up.

  73. I was totally with you until the last paragraph and

    “I myself still believe that sooner or later voters will come to their senses and realize that Lincoln is the best film of 2012 and will reward it.”

    You’re just never gonna give up dreaming are you?

  74. Robert A.

    “Argo is not a simple film. It is at least as complex as Lincoln and probably more so. Much of what it is saying is not obvious.”

    I agree, Rufus.

    I also agree with KT that it’s hard to compare 1995 to 2012 when we’re now using the preferential balloting system, which was not in use back in 1995. Argo is the one movie where we now have concrete evidence that it’s very competitive with a preferential balloting system. However, I disagree with KT that we can say with 100% certainty that Argo will win BP just because the PGA/Oscar match-up is 100% since they re-instituted the preferential ballot. The new system has only been used over the past three years. Hard to draw any conclusions from three years–too small of a sample size. But I do agree that Argo seems likely, at the moment. The ensemble win at SAG suggests a deeper liking/respect for the movie than we gave it credit for, I think.

    “Argo is a thrilling ride, a superb movie. Maybe that’s why its winning. No, it wasn’t my Best Picture of 2012 (that would have been Beasts of the Southern Wild), but I don’t see why people are so upset by its victories. I don’t believe Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty are the masterpieces that some claim them to be (although both are very fine films indeed), this is not a case of 2nd or 3rd tier movies beating out masterpieces.”

    Well said, Bette. I agree about Lincoln but haven’t seen ZD30 yet (I know, I know).

    “Quick, name anyone who has won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama since Angels in America: Millenium Approaches won in 1993? You can’t guess, you have to know.”

    My buddy David Auburn, Proof, 2001. SCORE!

  75. Julian Walker

    adfdaf

  76. I think “Lincoln” is the best film of the year and I do wish it wins at the oscars. I used to think it had better chanceces than “Argo” since the later does not have the best director nomination, because I did not see “Argo” winning anything else besides picture and editing, and because the best picture winners have taken more than two oscars home for a long time. Now, I think “Argo” may take picture, editing, screenplay (a travestry), score and sound mixing, and even sound editing. The only thing “Argo” can not take is supporting actor. Eventhough I think “Slumdog Millionaire” deserved bp oscar, I also think it was over awarded, specially with the sound mixing award, and considering TCCOBB was a very strong contender that year. The same happened with “The Hurt Locker” taking both sound categories over “Avatar”.

    The other scenario, I see, happening is the traditional way: “Lincoln” winning picture, director, screenplay and score. “Life of Pi” taking art direction, cinematography, sound mixing and visuall effects; and “Argo” winning editing.

  77. I understand we need to be logical and say ARGO needs to be recognized in other categories to be considered for Best Pic, but thats not what the Bloggers and Experts are doing.

    Sasha included is saying she thinks ARGO will win best pic at the Oscars, but does not have it favored anywhere else. I think the Experts are forgetting that it might be impossible for a film to win ONE Oscar and that ONE Oscar be Best Picture.

    Until I see Argo ramp it up and become favorite in other categories, I still see this as Lincoln’s race to lose.

  78. Daveylow

    I really saw nothing complex about Argo. It’s a decent film, entertaining, and not a very profound look at the Iran hostage crisis.

    Oh, well, what was a fun award season has turned terribly uninteresting in a matter of a week.

  79. unlikely hood

    What happened to Tero Heikennen? I miss him.

    Here’s what I’m looking forward to: the 20 minutes on Oscar night between the Best Director and Best Picture Oscar. For just those 20 minutes, it’ll feel like they could match up. Imagine if it’s Ang Lee or Michael Haneke or even Spielberg. The anticipation will be as delicious as cake. (If it’s Russell, the dread will be as delicious as black licorice.)

    Even if they open the BP envelope and say “Argo,” it won’t feel inevitable. Nothing about that race can feel inevitable this year (unlike last year).

  80. I think we are all putting too much stock in this no BD nom = no BP win rule. Before 2009 that might have been the indeniable truth. For some reason the members of the Academy created a false symbiosis between the two categories and allowed the Directors’ Branch to serve as a pre-voting filter before the actual ballot: If it doesn’t have a directing nod, it probably isn’t worth of BP. And the fact that both categories had five nominees each permitted that false equivalence to be perpetuated, making voters discard the movies without a directing nom earlier in the process and only considering the movies nominated for BD as truly worthy of BP.

    But now it’s different. Only an Act of God would make a directing nomination go to a movie not nominated for BP. Specially in this amplified field that seems to be always hurtling towards the maximun nominations instead of the minimum. With the expansion, the BD nod lost its position as a reference for the BP win because the nomimated directors will always have a nominated movie in BP. In fact, in the last four years with the expanded field all the nominated directors had their movies up for BP when the rule before the expasion was to actually have a dissonance between BD and BP with at least one pair of movies/directors alternating in the categories.

    Just to be more factual accurate since we all love our stats here, I checked the last twenty ceremonies before the expansion, years 1989-2008. I decided for the last twenty years before the expansion for two reasons:

    1) it covers 1/4 of the cerimonies which gives us a good sample. Also by this time period the Academy already had their voting and nomination process established and accepted.

    2) it covers the often-touted Driving Miss Daisy reference.

    Only two years had a perfect match between BD and BP: 2005 and 2008.

    Twelve years had one position alternating: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1993 and 1992.

    And six years had two positions alternating: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995 and 2001.

    Maybe now that the voters can’t use the BD nod as reference to weed out movies in the BP category we may start to get new data to establish new rules. Maybe it’s time to think outside the box.

  81. I´m still totally puzzled what all those Guild members saw in this film… I liked Argo, I think it is a respectable ok film, technically well done, but also VERY conventional and with a cheesy happy-end we have seen by the dozen.

    When I came out of the theatre I wouldn´t even think about it´s chances to win Best Picture, just because I felt it lacks substance, or say it´s not meaty enough. But I was probably wrong. Anyway, my favourite films rarely win Best Picture, last year was a welcome exception, so was “No country” a few years ago.

    Doesn´t matter, usually the best films aren´t even nominated.

  82. Unlikely hood: I completely agree!! Those 20 minutes will be edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, for the audience and for us viewers. I CANNOT WAIT!!

    And if Russell wins, that Oscar audience is going to be sooo fuming LOL: Harvey again.

  83. That is my one sticking point with going ahead and joining the Argo bandwagon. I don’t know who in the heck to put as best director. I think both Speilberg and Russell are tied to their films. Don’t see the passion for Ang Lee and Life of Pi unless he upsets Affleck at DGA. Then there is Haneke who may happen but seems like just too big of a mountain to happen and Zeitlen who is just happy to be there. I don’t know, will just watch as more chaos unfolds.

  84. Don’t get me wrong, though. I feel like this thing is far from over.

  85. Henry Z.

    We all have opinions – you think “Lincoln” is the best film of 2012, and I think “Argo”, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, and “Zero Dark Thirty” are much stronger films than Spielberg’s historical drama.

    I don’t agree Tony Kushner’s screenplay is the best, I’d rather award it to “Beasts of the Southern Wild” in a Pianist/Precious surprise kind of way. Kushner’s screenplay lacks a bit of clarity in dialogue because of the period jargon – it may turn off voters, and it may not. Who knows?

    “Argo” is most likely to win Best Picture – unless “Life of Pi” spoils.

  86. “It’s Argo vs. Lincoln vs. Silver Linings Playbook vs. Life of Pi (those are the three DGA and Oscar nominees for Best Director).”

    Actually: “Silver Linings Playbook” isn’t nominated for DGA!

  87. rufussondheim

    Unlikely hood

    Tero made a brief post awhile ago saying he has had computer issues. So hopefully that’s still the case and we’ll see him any day now.

  88. comedywontwin

    Oh my God, too much analysis in this article, there is no norm, no trend, no previous match up…..Argo is the movie of the year by the majority of voters and it will win just that simple, no upset, no surprise will happen.
    At least it’s better than SLP, so Argo is on my top 5 movies of the year, so I’m glad at this point….my movie ZD30 didn’t and won’t win, but I’m not taking any credit from Argo just because my fav. movie didn’t win.

    Really no need for prefound analysis because it is very clear that Argo is the movie of the year by most voters.
    Very happy that the medicore rom-comedy SLP didn’t win because that would be a disaster.
    Mel: you have really good taste in grading actresses, Chastain is going to be another Meryl Streep and even better based on her choices of the roles shes playing, no hunger games no hollywood games, just her pure talent.

  89. Rufus, why you use criticstop10 to judge which filmis best or not? For example they use many top tens from France or UK critics too and Lincoln is released there recently. So it means if it was released before it could make top 10 there too.

    And in both Metacritic and MSN Lincoln is on top 5 while Argo is 7th or 8th.

  90. comedywontwin

    Also, some people mentioned in the last 10 years of oscar and out of 10 best actresses, only 2 managed to win from comedy/musical. I correct that, these 2 won from musical and not comedy….musical requires heck lots of work and preparation and Marion’s role was kinda dramatic/musical…so no comedy was won since 1997 for Helen Hunt for As good as it gets, and that year because the movie was so loved and there was sweep pattern back then for best picutre winner unlike recent years, best picture not necessarily to win acting or even editing awards. the trend has been changed, in fact there is no more trend after 2010 new oscar ballet voting……so since 1997 no comedy actress has ever won for just comedy (not musical).

  91. I get how Argo is the best picture leader based on the precursors. If Affleck had been nominated for Director, this would be an accepted no brainer. Couple of questions remain, though. How exactly is the runaway front runner’s director no better than sixth in the first round of voting if the support is so strong? Moreover, how is a film with realistic chances at only three wins considered the runaway frontrunner? Theres a lot of time left, and I still think SLP could siphon off enough votes to hurt Argo.

    Wonder if ticked off Argo people throw their votes to Zeitlin because Behn is as close to Ben as you got left.

  92. Watermelons

    You wanna know the REAL reason Argo keeps winning: it’s winning because it’s not in direct competition with Oscar-winner Kate Winslet (Sense & Sensibility, All the King’s Men)!! That’s just a lil joke for everyone happy monday :-)

    -Watermelons

  93. comedywontwin

    well the new ballet preferential thing affected Affleck and Bigelow, it doesn’t mean there is no love for Argo….as for BD now I see it will go to Speilberg as a consulation for BP which will go to Argo…Aeitlin is too young for this merit award….Speilberg benefited more from Affleck’s and Bigelow snub because he has zero competition now…Ang Lee won recently and Life Of Pi is full of flaws, Zeitlin hasn’t done good work yet, Russell’s movie is too light and the script is crap dance + football, you America got it all, vote for me….Amour lacks the hard work from a director, not a winner showcase comparing to Spielberg’s masterpiece Linclon.

  94. Sorry KT but you realize that your all posts try to prove that AMPAS don’t like Lincoln and Spielberg would’t win 3rd and Russell will win? SAG was SLP’s main chance and it was expected to win 3 but won 1 while many predicted Lincoln to win 1 but won 2. It means Lincoln is ore strong with actors and you can judge this with performance. DDL > Cooper, TLJ > de Niro, Field > Weaver. SLP has Lawrence and it doesn’t make up it chnces against Lincoln’s strong performances. 3 > 1.

    And Russell winning BD would be most foolish thing Academy has ever done. Why even to think about this one.

  95. Daveylow

    I’m beginning to feel bad for Ang Lee. Though he’s had his biggest box office success and the film also won critical acclaim, there are no actors in the media to talk about how wonderful he is as a director. The techies obviously respect him. The thing I like about Life of Pi as a directorial achievement is that Lee really took risks and they paid off. And I don’t think anyone was thinking Lee would make a film like Pi.

  96. Daveylow

    @comedywontwin — How is Life of Pi “full of flaws”?

  97. Pete, when they choose directors they don’t type director’s name but film’s. For ex: if they want to nominate Affleck they write Argo.

  98. Mecid said: And Russell winning BD would be most foolish thing Academy has ever done. Why even to think about this one.

    Because it could actually happen! Overdue person vs. two directors who have won before vs. two lesser-known directors (one auteur from abroad who will win foreign film; the other an upstart). Remember who is behind Russell, too: Mr. W. Just wanted to raise the possibility. ALSO–I’m not saying AMPAS doesn’t like Lincoln–they obviously do: 12 nominations! Just that Argo is winning Best Picture, and I have a hard time seeing Spielberg win without Lincoln taking picture. Don’t try to explain that SLP has no chance with director just because it only won one acting award last night vs. Lincoln’s two. Do not underestimate David O. Russell.

  99. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Oh my God, too much analysis in this article, there is no norm, no trend, no previous match up…..Argo is the movie of the year by the majority of voters and it will win just that simple, no upset, no surprise will happen.

    Exciting theory. You should start a blog and write columns just like that. Dude, you would have them coming in droves!

  100. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    You’re just never gonna give up dreaming are you?

    Not until the ugly bitter end, no. What do I personally gain by doing that? Echo applause because I agree with everyone else? Sorry, don’t roll that way.

  101. comedywontwin

    First it shows that it didn’t lots of precursors, that tells you alot…as for my opinion, don’t even let me start on that….the acting was the worse thing in the movie, that kid didn’t convince me not even for one line he said…I can feel him looking at the camera and saying his lines…saying jokes with his accent and begging for audience to laugh without being natural teller for the joke or let the words slip out of his mouth in a natural not theatrical manner….his acting is so shitty….his parents, and the man who was telling the story, it was not convincing since he has no acting talent….the scene when his dad and his mom by the Tiger cage, that was pathetic, the dialogue was horrendous and not believable, and I also can see his dad looking at the camera or begging for audience interaction with the story.
    the worse thing about the movie though, they tried to exagerate with the indian accent just to make it sound this is a unique story about an indian boy, but we got it, no need to really work every muscle of your tongue just to sound you hardly can pronounce basic english vocabulary…..the humour and jokes didn’t work for me because they were phoney and not fluid within the events of the story.

  102. Terometer

    Now the poor creature is clinging to her last hope: Apollo 13 theory. 1995! Ain’t she just entertaining.

  103. eclipse22

    well i’ve now seen lincoln , its good but its not a masterpiece either, and i usually eat up historical films (most recently the king speech) but what lincoln failed to capture was my enthusiasm and support,which is weird coz i loved “john adams” miniseries about early american history in which they also debate laws ,as they wrote the constitution!

    of course it was never in doubt DDL makes his character come alive, but dear me there was a monotone rythmn to this movie that made it quite didactic with exception to the congress scenes that woke you up from the lull-induced talking!

    one thing i do agree with is that it requires your utmost attention, that script is high brow stuff for the most part!

    i highly disliked sally field acting in this film, had they not shown her i wouldnt have nothing bad to say about the film she was beyond annoying!

    tommy lee jones did well ,as did james spader and david strathairn! JGL scenes could have easily been cut out also ,superfluous petulant boy !

    i also found that the approach to the 13th amendment was intellectual, nothing bad about that but for something concerning an entire race , there was no black intellectuals involved but i guess that wasnt the movie they were showing ! except for mrs lincoln companion and then at the end they introduced a group of black people randomly to witness the vote! most of these congressmen came off as not caring in the least about the black people plight or seem to held the inherent belief they had a right to be free as TLJ character felt and lincoln too but only voted because of political shenanigans/back door negotiations and self-interest

    perhaps we’d like to believe that the people at the times had more heart and soundness of mind than us today and were truly invested in changing the world but the reality isnt as ideal ,the nitty-gritty of it is a bit of a letdown!

    in the end does it matter why they voted yes as long as they voted yes and the amendment was passed?

    ps : on a lighter note who else thought of abraham lincoln vampire hunter at the beginning of the film when they show him describing his dream :)

    ps2 : to give a sports analogy , lincoln is to argo what federer is to nadal
    and i’m passionate about nadal style of play even though i recognize the effortlessness of federer’s style and that technically he’s better but he does not bring out any enthusiasm in me!

  104. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Man, Sasha, “Lincoln, the masterpiece”, “realize that Lincoln is the best film of 2012″, it seems you are forcing people to think like you think, which I can say, is insane, because Lincoln IS NOT a masterpiece, and hell IS NOT the best film of the year, in my opinion (and for most of the people too, see PGA, SAG, Globes, NYFCC, LAFCC, BFCA, Sattelite, and many others).

    Nobody is forcing you to click your browser over to Awards Daily and read what I, Sasha Stone, believe. Here’s a thought, go to a blog that AGREES WITH YOU! There are plenty of them. That’s what I think. That is *my* opinion. The definition of an opinion:

    a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge

    You have your opinion – look! There it is! And I have MY opinion — see lookie there! That’s MY opinion! They are different. Huh. Imagine that! I think FOR MYSELF! Imagine THAT!

  105. They really like Argo. They respect Lincoln.

    This year always felt like the wealth should be spread.
    I wish there had been more BP/BD splits in previous years.
    I could have lived with TKS winning BP if Fincher had won BD.

  106. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    The reason Argo keeps winning is that it is a MOVIE.

    It’s winning because it is the least offensive film of the bunch. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie – it’s a very very good movie. But the definition of movie is different for everyone, isn’t it. I myself am kind of glad I don’t reside on the island of the consensus vote because I tell you what, I would be bored out of my mind. Give me a divisive polarizing film that takes chances ANY DAY OF THE WEEK over one that doesn’t. To ask voters to appreciate a film like Lincoln is, I grant you, attempting the impossible. But hey, that’s what I’m here for, pal. That’s what I’m here for.

  107. eclipse22

    at this stage in my viewings of oscar nominees here goes:

    les miserables
    argo
    lincoln
    silver linings playbook

    still a few to go….

  108. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Argo has only 2 negative reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, not 11.

    I use the number RT uses – right next to the film’s title.

  109. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Damn all this ARGO talk have revitalized me yo

    Ben Affleck wins DGA, ARGO wins the Eddie but then

    LINCOLN SWEEPS THE OSCARS!!!!!!

    Even just reading that, no matter how unrealistic it might be, brings a smile to my face. So thanks. :-)

  110. But why Lincoln has hard time winning BD without BP but SLP hasn’t?
    Plus Lincoln’s direction is far more brilliant than SLP’s. And who said Russell is overdue?

  111. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Christophe, an interesting analysis. I did happen to back and look at the wins during the time when they used the preferential ballot and no film ever won without a director nom…!

  112. comedywontwin

    Sasha, I like lincoln, it’s one of my top 5 movies, not my fav. but I believe it is a masterpiece in every aspect, so we are friends…Spielberg last year movie Warhorse was my #1 movie believe it or not because it made me cry a lot….has Spielberg added more outdoors shots and showed me more period art direction, it would become my #1 movie for me, but again I appreciate the efforts put to make this masterpiece, great showcase.

  113. Mecid: Russell has never won before. He has been a writer-director for over a decade and a half, put out some good films. Many many actors have expressed that they would like to work with him, and he has largely repaired his reputation. He’s up for screenplay and director…maybe the Academy throws him a bone for director? It’s certainly possible.

  114. Paul Voorhies

    Does no one else see the psychology behind Argo’s winning? It’s a film about a Hollywood film (actors, producers, hairstylists, costumers, screenwriters, etc, etc.) that saved the lives of several Americans. Almost all guilds are behind it because it makes voters feel good about themselves/a par in the back. I think that’s the biggest reason it keeps winning.

  115. And comedywontwin delivers us our daily dose of ignorance to make us feel better about ourselves.

  116. I’m going to write this over and over:

    KATHLEEN KENNEDY resume
    0 OSCARS/ 8 LOSSES
    E.T.
    Back to the Future
    The Color Purple
    exec. prod. of Schindler’s List
    Jurassic Park
    Munich

    BEN AFFLECK resume
    1 OSCAR (for I film I don’t really got why Americans adore so much)
    Good Will Hunting
    Gone baby Gone
    The Town
    Argo

    Argo? Amazing film Affleck? The next Clint. But… Who’s the victim? The outrageously snubbed that won an screenplay Oscar in the past or one of the all time greatest producers who had to sit through one of Academy’s worst mistakes ever E.T. losing to Gandhi? This not mentioning another man… Tim Burton… who is in trouble of losing his only decent shot of winning an Academy Award? But nobody seems to care about him.

  117. christiannnw

    Nothing is settled until the fat lady sings! What things feel like now:

    Picture: Argo (if it wins, it will probably carry Editing and Score along with it)
    Director: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
    Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
    Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
    Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
    Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)

    I think this is entirely plausible right now, with “Argo” winning Best Picture but “Lincoln” walking away with the most wins of the night (the above three plus Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, and Production Design, though “Anna Karenina” could give it tough time with the latter two). But I do think the Argo’s lack of a Directing nomination could prove it’s final undoing; it doesn’t have the emotional component that drove something like “Driving Miss Daisy” to a win despite the same handicap, and up against some pretty seminal films in lineup (“Lincoln”, “Life of Pi”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, or even “Silver Linings Playbook”), “Argo” may be seen as just another fine job from a filmmaker who hasn’t fully developed his artistic voice. And I do think the Apollo 13 v. Braveheart comparison is perfectly valid, with former being the more contemporary “Argo” and the latter a more historically-grounded “Lincoln”. And I feel “Argo” might be shooting it’s wad too soon; a solitary win at the BAFTAs would’ve been the best thing for there film, as it would be positioned as the underdog exactly when Academy members are voting.

    With that being said, I think Oscar night will look something like this:

    Picture: Lincoln
    Director: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
    Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
    Actress: Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
    Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
    Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
    Original Screenplay: Michael Haneke (Amour)
    Adapted Screenplay: Lincoln
    Editing: Argo
    Score: Argo
    Foreign Film: Amour

    Best Actress is the stickiest acting category, and the one I think has the most potential to break away from SAG. And if Sally Field wins Best Supporting Actress early that night, it’s probably safe to say “Lincoln” will win.

    So much drama.

  118. why is it that spielberg couldn’t win director at the oscars without the DGA? when there’s a split that prize always seems to go to the other frontrunner. i mean, lincoln could very well win more statues than argo, even if argo wins BP. i don’t get that. and he’ll probably get a lot of votes from the people who ARE voting for spielberg/lincoln together, obviously

    the question i guess is what are the people who are voting for argo voting for best director? but they’ll probably all split up

  119. rufussondheim

    I still have a spare copy of Serena by Ron Rash for the Amazon Kindle. It was on sale at Amazon for a mere 2.99 and I mistakenly ended up with 2 copies! Ryan has graciously offered to help me find a home for it since both of us are looking forward to Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in the upcoming film version.

    If you’re interested, let us know and we can forward a copy of the version to you. Repeat – it’s for the Kindle, so if you don’t have a Kindle, do not request it because it will go to waste.

  120. SeattleMoviegoer

    @Alexander
    it sounds like you are passionate about movies, which is great. but your definition of what a movie is…is so limiting. is a MOVIE only that which is filmed in a certain style, lots of cutting, sparse dialogue, action? you describe LINCOLN as a play, as if that was something bad. a MOVIE can be grounded in its dialogue and verbal interaction between characters. where did movies initially come from in form and theme and purpose? the theatre. yes the mise en scene, pacing, thrills, special effects can make a great MOVIE, but so can great actors talking and performing. i love all genres that are done well. a MOVIE for me is as much ARGO as LINCOLN. a MOVIE is the chariot race in BEN HUR as it is a deep conversation in MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. i found the rich dialogue in LINCOLN, acknowledging that is penned by a great playwright, to be thrilling.

  121. SeattleMoviegoer

    regarding ARGO. it’s a terrific movie. congratulations to all involved. but a movie for the ages? Best Picture Oscar? that’s a stretch. this is the point in the
    annual Oscar race when talk and predictions and attitudes often settle on the inevitability of one movie–and it becomes a fulfilled prophecy, making everything settled by the time the Oscars roll around. and it’s depressing. i remember years ago when all the elements combined in favor of GLADIATOR and i kept wondering why? why was it inevitable? it’s like a car rolling down a hill w/o brakes…it can’t be stopped. now ARGO is that car and all the other possibly better movies lay on the side of the street as roadkill. this is what i’ve come to hate about the Oscars. this group-think, done-deal mentality that centers around one movie…deserved or not.

  122. I have been seeing for the past few minutes all these stories pop up that Tony Kushner is being given an honorary award this year at the WGA. That is starting to scare me that they will then be inclined not to vote him in for adapted screenplay since he’s already being honored.

  123. Maybe it’s like where The Godfather won 3 Oscars against Cabaret 8 Oscars. Lincoln could win more Oscars and lose Best Picture.

  124. Scott (the other one)

    Rufussondheim — I agree that the mere fact that Kushner won the Pulitzer (which I myself identified) is not in and of itself a decisive factor, but you have to add to this that Angels in America is probably (along with August: Osage County) the most revered and famous American play of the past 20 years, everyone in Hollywood has heard of it, and it was made into an acclaimed TV movie. All of these things combined make Kushner a formidable (to my mind, unbeatable) opponent.

    I like your point about not looking too much at previous years because things have changed so much in voting etc. in the past few years. This is a actually point that I make on these boards every year, although I actually would broaden the point: NOTHING that has happened in the Oscars in the past ever matters, or matters very much, in determining what will happen in the current year. No Oscar year is “like” any other year because all the movies are different, all the actors and filmmakers are different, and no roster of nominees is really comparable to any other. You cannot compare Argo’s chances to Apollo 13’s because Apollo 13 was in a different year, in a different culture, made by different people, about a different subject, and it was competing against 4 other films that were all different from the 8 other films Argo is competing against. there is simply too much different each year, both generally in film and specifically in each Oscar race, to draw any reliable conclusions from the past.

    Now, it is undeniably “fun” to look at past years and try to derive signals about what might happen in the current year, but in my opinion it is actually not very useful. The only thing that matters this year is what is happening generally in film this year, and within the Oscars this year, and within each nominating category this year.

  125. [I'll say it before and I'll say it again, get off my lawn]

  126. Name *Greg Robinson

    I don’t get the comment that Lincoln is supposedly boring therefore won’t get votes. So far it gas amassed a whopping $167 million over a period of 11 weeks. I have been tracking its box office accumalation and what us very noticeable is its incredible staying power that even a film like Les Miserables is failing to generate. It is nit as if everyone saw Lincoln in the first couple of weeks and there was suddenly a big drop off which would happen if people did find it boring. On the contrary its weekly drop off has been minimal which can only mean that people are going to see it again or they are telling their friends to go see it. Its box office success gas to be via strong word of mouth so this Lincoln is boring rubbish may be true for some but clearly this us nit the majority opinion.

    Another point I want to make is that it will be totally illogical when Lincoln wins Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and maybe one or two tech awards and then Argo wins Best Picture. That would be a Lincoln/Spielberg snub far worse and unfair than Affleck getting snubbed for director. A lot of pundits on Gold Derby predicting a Best Picture win for Argo have Argo only winning Picture and no other awards. If this were to happens it would be totally unprecedented and would be a huge slap in the face of everyone involved with Lincoln.

  127. daveinprogress

    “It’s winning because it is the least offensive film of the bunch. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie – it’s a very very good movie”

    Deja Vu.
    Flashback to 2011. Sasha answering someone questioning her position. (TKS)
    Flashback to 2012. Sasha answering someone questioning her position. (Artist)

    Hmmm. 2013 Same type of questioning of Sasha’s position.

    As much as some of us would like to believe that AMPAS gets behind a truly great movie heaven forbid a masterpiece, they seem content to just reward a very good movie.

    Let history decide which are the sublime ones, the turning points, the ones for the ages. Even during last year’s telecast after Hugo kept winning Oscar after oscar, and it arrived at Best Director; I was thinking ‘Could they? Would they? No, Scorsese’s masterpiece was truly great – 5 Oscars worth, but not for the visionary that brought it all together. Oh well. But the Artist is just so darn sweet and lovely. Hmmm. Ok.

    I love reading the State of the Race – it is the ingredient that keeps me coming back. Sasha’s editorial style is always considered, filled with data and obervations but importantly the heart is on the sleeve. I respect that. I may not always agree with what is said, but it provides the barometer for what is happening in this race and an opportunity to consider my own mindsets, perceptions and blindspots. I’ve long been an Oscar watcher, but this site pulls focus for me in such an invaluable way. Thanks for that.

    Irish comedian Dave Allen used to sign off from his tv show with ‘May your God go with you’. So too, your favourite film and hopeful outcome for the exalted prize – Best Picture. Right now, it still feels it can go any which way. I would have stuck to a Lincoln double BP.BD – it might still happen; but i can imagine a scenario where SLP gets BP/BA/SUPP/ or a Pi BP/BD & 5 techs; or Argo BP/editing only. We just don’t know. There’s more drama to come. Doesn’t change which movies we truly love this year. It won’t for me. Won’t stop me wishing though.

  128. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, because my favorite movie of the year, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, is also nominated, so obviously that’s the one I’m rooting for. I personally slightly prefer Argo over Lincoln, but I don’t think one is vastly better than the other regarding those two films. They’re both very good and both would be worthy Best Picture winners in my mind. Lord knows we’ve had far worse winners in the past.

    The only movies I’d have a problem with as the Best Picture Of The Year would be Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserables. They’re the only films out of the 9 nominees that didn’t even crack my top 20 of the year. All the other ones were really, really good. 2012 was such a strong year, and I think the fact that the big movies in play here (save for Silver Linings and Les Miz) are all such fine films is the real story. As movie fans, we’re lucky to be around for a time when such great work is being done. That’s what we are, movie fans, right?

  129. Linc4Jess

    Well, I am in the group that thinks “Lincoln” will win out at the OSCARS and not really sold on the idea that the momentum is all on “Argo” side although sometimes momentum is what counts most for a big win. I am thinking that when you look at “ARGO” and its nominations “Argo” stands a slim choice of winning any of them except maybe ONE for Best Picture. And I don’t think that the Academy is going to honor “Argo” with just one Oscar. Its either going to sweep or lose. This said, “Argo” slim chance amounts to the Academy making up for slighting Affleck in the Director category and as he is a producer of “Argo” they just might give him Best Picture to make it up to him. My thinking is even the sound categories seem to be going to other films so “Argo” will have to sweep or at least win Film Editing, Sup. Actor for Arkin, and Screenplay or at least three OSCAR all told to win. I don’t think “Argo” can win without at least three OSCAR win tied to it and those seem unlikely unless one believes the film will sweep. “Lincoln” on the other hand has Spielberg who by all measure has the strongest chance to win the DGA, Best Actor Day Lewis, Best Sup. Actor Jones, screenplay, and score all of these are almost sure locks if you look at the race rationally. Tommy Lee Jones nod is perhaps the most competitive but even if he lost “Lincoln” would still end up with four or five OSCARS. So I suppose it all boils down to OSCAR night. If you hear and see Film Editing and Screenplay going to “Argo” I am thinking you can pretty much say the OSCAR for Unique and artistic production will go to “Argo”. And then there is the thinking that just rewarding Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor and Jones the supporting actor win along with the screenplay award is enough for “Lincoln”. But this alone makes the point for “Lincoln” winning it all.

  130. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Mel, The WGA ballots have already been cast, I’m pretty sure.

  131. Juan,

    Cabaret was really unlucky. Had it been nominated in any year in the 70s but the two years with The Godfather, it would have won Best Picture… but Godfather had two crucial wins in Actor and Screenplay. Cabaret had Director, Actress, Sup. Actor and the techs. Argo is most likely only getting Editing. There’s no way they are not going to award Tony Kushner. He’s VERY VERY respected. And if they are going to pass the director-snub to award Argo, something they did once in 80 years, I don’t think they are even going to care about giving this award to Argo. The Academy may think giving Picture is enough.

  132. Hey do me a favor – if you’re going to delete my posts don’t replace them with stuff I didn’t write.

  133. You could do yourself a favour, CB, by following the rules I suppose.

  134. From the ‘rules’

    12. Why do you delete comments?
    We try to have as open a forum as we can but we must edit comments to keep the site civil. Most other websites moderate theirs. But we delete them instead. We delete anything we find abusive, offensive, or there to antagonize rather than contribute.

    I didn’t object to my comment being deleted – I objected to having something written in my name. I’ve never seen any forum do that.

  135. AnthonyP

    So if Argo wins, will we finally throw all the historical stats out the window?
    Nothing is more defeatist than not voting for something because history says it can’t be done. That is the opposite of progressive.
    Tell Olympians “you can’t win because no one ever ran or swam that fast”.

  136. Cléverton Bezerra

    I’m not from the USA and I think that something to be considered in all this Lincol vs Argo vs Silver Linings vs Life of PI talk is the fact that internationally Lincoln is not so loved like in USA. I say this because I’m from Brazil and of all Lincoln reviews accounted here have been at the best scenario good, like a 3 from 5 stars. But only that. I read and listen to so many people in USA talking about depth and layers in the movie, but here what’s criticized is exactly the lack of those elements and the over emotional aspect mainly in the end. But that’s not only a case in Brazil. In other countries in Latin America (which repeat Brazil’s reviews logic), as well in Europe the “feeling” that Lincoln is not a masterpiece is dominant.

    However, Life of PI, Silver Linings Playbook and Argo are trully beloved movies. So I believe that the main point against Lincoln is the foreign scenario. And, if USA voters turn their attention to Argo, Lincoln is considerably dead in the water, because the foreign scenario is not going to represent a good support for the movie.

  137. AnthonyP

    Wait a minute Cleverton, are you saying American Pride is interfering in our judging of Lincoln?
    Well, that makes too much sense.
    We know how much Hollywood liberals would love to move en masse to France.
    No wonder Lincoln isn’t winning.

  138. With SAG ensemble, plus the narrative of compensating for Affleck’s non-nomination (which actually helps his chances), an Argo victory at Oscars is most likely, for now.

    Of late, Oscars don’t go to the best film, but the best campaigned. From now to close of polls is a long time to consider, and a long time to be swayed by media campaigns.

    That’s when the fight for votes really begins.

  139. Your vision is fantastic Sasha

  140. rufussondheim

    which shows that Lincoln is getting its success from the subject material rather than how the subject material is handled (at least that’s the way it seems to me)

    Now that’s not necessarily the best conclusion. After all Lincoln was made more for American audiences, I presume, than international ones so it’s fair for Spielberg to make shortcuts and edit his film in a way that’s more suited to American audiences. Some may consider that a flaw, some may not.

    But it’s a factor nonetheless.

  141. I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, get off my lawn”

    No wonder CB’s indignant. 8)

  142. Cléverton Bezerra

    AnthonyP, my opinion is that the Lincoln’s subject is closer to US audiences. The same way that the portrait of violence in favelas and corruption is closer to Brazilian audiences.

    So, I do believe that the subject influences the way we consider a movie. And I believe that it is one of the elements that might “explain” the fact that foreigners don’t consider the movie to be a masterpiece in the same level as it is in the US.

  143. Edkargir

    I don’t think lIncoln is boring. The English Patient was boring and it won.

  144. daveinprogress

    ‘Elaine Benes’ on ‘The English Patient’- JUST DIE ALREADY!

  145. “Of late, Oscars don’t go to the best film, but the best campaigned. From now to close of polls is a long time to consider, and a long time to be swayed by media campaigns.”

    Not necessarily the one with the best campaign but the one with the best “story”. If it was the best campaign, it would be TWC almost every year. And Weinstein won for TKS/The Artist and then you have to go a long way until Shakespeare In Love. I always take The Departed example. That film had a mediocre campaign. How could they let Leo be nominated for Blood Diamond?? But there was a legend they snubbed so badly… and then it had a better “story” than Little Miss Sunshine’s little film that could or Babel, which had none story.

  146. AnthonyP

    I agree with you Cleverton.
    Which brings up the debate on whether the Oscars are an American film award or not. Amour is up for Best Picture as well as Foreign. What’s up with that?
    If the Oscars are awards for American film, than Emanuelle Riva shouldn’t be nominated.

  147. Amazing but food for thought… In the past 3 or so decades Americans awarded biopics about an indian (Gandhi), two british (The King’s Speech and Shakespeare In Love), a chinese (The Last Emperor), an austrian (Amadeus) and a danish (Out of Africa)… and only one american (A Beautiful Mind). And with the exception of Amadeus and possibly The Last Emperor, all the others have nothing special about the writing… Out of Africa is one of the worse reviewed Best Picture winners ever. Lincoln doesn’t seem to fit the standard of biopic the Academy usually awards.

  148. This year Academy loves the opposites. It will go this way:

    Best Picture – Silver Linings Playbook
    Best Director – Michael Haneke

  149. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    I objected to having something written in my name. I’ve never seen any forum do that.

    CB, When something is inserted in brackets [like this] those brackets indicate that the editor has inserted the words inside the brackets.

    That’s not a rule of this site. It’s a rule of the English language.

  150. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, get off my lawn”

    No wonder CB’s indignant. 8)

    Sorry but occasionally I pull rank. Love having commenters but when you cross the line and act like an asshole I have the right to control the content of my site, which includes the comments.

  151. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Hey do me a favor – if you’re going to delete my posts don’t replace them with stuff I didn’t write.

    I owe you favors why?

  152. I’m an asshole again?

  153. I think Silver Linings Playbook, having four acting nominations, is going to win best picture. Think Crash over Brokeback Mountain. Spielberg will be best director.

  154. AnthonyP

    Off topic a bit.
    Can someone define fanboy for me?
    I thought it was related to comics and scifi stuff. What does it mean to call an Argo supporter a fanboy? Isn’t an ardent Lincoln fan also a fanboy?

    I’m starting to think fanboy is being used to say “asshole” or “idiot”.

  155. rufussondheim

    I think “fanboy” is used to describe someone who has absolutely no objectivity about whatever they are admiring.

    Much like I am a fanboy of Taylor Kinney. Oh my God he’s gorgeous! And it really pisses me off that he didn’t get an Oscar nod for Zero Dark Thirty! His performance is clearly the heart and soul of the film! The Academy is a bunch of fucking idiots for not seeing what I see!

  156. AnthonyP

    I see. It’s seems to be used as a negative. As if anyone who doesn’t agree with your view is a fanboy of the opposite view.

  157. AnthonyP

    I guess all Dems and Republicans are fanboys of their parties

  158. Cléverton Bezerra

    AnthonyP, I think the Oscars are US movies awards that frenquently globes some material from UK. Sometimes a Amour/The Diving Bell and the Butterfly/City of God/Life is Beautiful thing happens, but it’s really rare. Emanuelle Riva is the best actress in my opinion and I’d love to see Amour win the Best Picture (although it’s not my favourite nominee) and Director, but besides Riva everything else is a longshot for the movie.

    “No”, “Kon-Tiki”, “A Royal Affair”, “Elefante Blanco”, “Like Someone in Love” are foreing movies that are better than most of the Best Picture nominees and it’s really sad to see only 3 of them nominated for Best Foreign Film and even sadder to know that they were not nominated for anything other that.

    So I guess that or you nomitade English language movies and foreign movies as equals or you don’t nominate foreign movies, because the way I see it every year we only watch AMPAS pretending to be truly international, when it’s clearly not.

  159. AnthonyP

    I might be wrong, but I think for the Oscars the idea is that the foreign films are nominated as “Foreign Language” films. As opposed to the Independent Spirit Awards which call them “International” films, as in films made outside the U.S. which could also be in English.
    I guess production can be from anywhere in the world as long as it’s in another language other than english in order to qualify for an Oscar.

  160. rufussondheim

    Actually, a foreign language film cannot originate from the United States. John Sayles directed a Spanish Language film and it was deemed ineligible.

    I hope this is something that gets reversed at some point. I’m sure there are many films made within the US that are not in English, we just don’t see them. But one day, one will break through and be worthy of awards consideration.

  161. Scott I.

    Amour (yes, my favorite) has climbed to #4 on the Top Tens chart above, with Zero Dark Thirty being the only BP nominee above it. It ties with Argo for “least worst” at 11 rotten tomatoes. I’d wager that Amour is currently the least seen of all BP nominees but it’s climbing higher as, I’m guessing, more people see it – and there are three weeks left for it to be seen by all academy members. Amour is a lock for Best Foreign Film, but could it also contend for Best Picture as well with the preferential ballot? Also, consider this: if Argo wins Best Picture, and since Affleck is not on the ballot for director, perhaps Haneke could win to match up a director with people’s choice for *a* best film?

  162. I’ve actually seen dozens of American non-English language films. Just off the top of my head, A Better Life, Apocalypto, The Passion of the Christ, Che. I don’t see any reason why the USA can’t compete in the foreign-language film category.

  163. SeattleMoviegoer

    not to rain on ARGO’s triumphs, but just picked up the newest edition of FILM COMMENT, a magazine i’ve read and admired for years. LINCOLN features prominently on the cover and w/a feature story. the issue also picks the 20 best movies of the year…and ARGO isn’t one of them. they collected the 10 best lists of their editors and other noted critics around the world…and ARGO made only one (ONE) list. this means nothing, of course, but just thought it’d throw it out there.

  164. Why do you keep bringing up Lincoln’s box office when championing it for best picture of the year? What does that have anything to do with it deserving the Oscar? You’ve never brougt up box office numbess when championing other movies Oscar chances in past years. Why do you do this ad nauseum for Lincoln? Why the fuck does its gross have to do with whether it’s a good or bad movie?

  165. APOLLO 13 IS FUCKIN LEGENDARY FILM!!!!!!!!!!.

  166. Linc4Jess

    @C. Bezzera..I’.m not from the USA and I think that something to be considered in all this Lincol vs Argo vs Silver Linings vs Life of PI talk is the fact that internationally Lincoln is not so loved like in USA. I say this because I’m from Brazil and of all Lincoln reviews accounted here have been at the best scenario good, like a 3 from 5 stars,

    REALLY. I just happened to read that “Lincoln” is having a mammoth success overseas. The per screen averages are scorching and it still has some 54 markets to go. In Brazil, “Lincoln” had a landslide blockbuster opening of $1M in just 151 theaters. It must have being all those bad reviews you mentioned that help get “Lincoln” the success it is having.

  167. Linc4jess

    I mean anything can happen when people vote and I am not saying the film is not good, since I haven’t seen it, as a matter of fact practically no one has seen it, but I rather doubt that Haneke will win best director and I cite its box office as the reason why. I mean the film has being out for several weeks and amassed less than 2million dollars domestically and just 13m overseas. This said, I could be very wrong.

  168. Linc4Jess

    I suppose I can plug this site “WhatCulture”. Its headline today is “TEN reasons why LINCOLN will win the OSCAR for best picture. Interesting read.

  169. Some of you people are getting WAY too caught up in precursors. Haven’t we already seen this year that the Academy is doing its own thing this year?

  170. But one day, one will break through and be worthy of awards consideration.

    That movie already broke through. It came out in 2006 and was called Letters from Iwo Jima.

    I don’t get the comment that Lincoln is supposedly boring therefore won’t get votes.

    I don’t either, but because opinions should not be stated as facts. I, like you, still wonder why people do this. And for what it’s worth, there was a round of applause at my screening. That has to mean something, right?

  171. The thing that really annoys me about this year’s Oscar race is that there are so many worthwhile films – films that will stand the test of time historically. Yet, the voters are all swayed by “Poor Ben Affleck” or they seem to be voting for films simply because they don’t want to see something else win.

    If only Academy voters would remember that each win will go down in HISTORY as the best of that year. Does each film/performance deserve a place in history??

    In my opinion, there is absolutely no way Jennifer Lawrence should go down in history as the best actress performance of 2012 simply because Harvey Weinstein is able to beat voters over the head about it. Emmanuelle Riva gave a historical performance. Second, Naomi Watts.

    For best film, I loved Argo. Is it the best film of the year? Sure, very entertaining. But, with a category that includes such films as Amour, Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild – films that will be studied in film schools for years to come. Films that made people think. Films that left you stunned and thinking for a few days. THIS is really the power of movies, and a film that has this power should go down in history as the best film of 2012.

  172. Yet, the voters are all swayed by “Poor Ben Affleck” or they seem to be voting for films simply because they don’t want to see something else win.

    Or maybe they honestly like Argo? GASP!!!!

  173. Cléverton Bezerra

    Linc4Jess, 1 million is not a blockbuster opening in Brazil. From 4 million, we can say it is a blockbuster opening. About public”s response to the movie, in Facebook, Twitter or Filmow, the talk right now is Django Unchained. Weeks ago it was Life of PI. Those two movies opened and had a imediate massive response on social networks, which Lincoln did not achieve. And as an example you can see this review here: http://www.cinemaemcena.com.br/plus/modulos/filme/ver.php?cdfilme=23

    It’s from Pablo Villaça, one of the most influencial film critics here. He gave the movie 2 stars (on the left side of the page) and the public gave it 3 stars (the right side of the page). If you wanna read it, put it on google translator. Do as you wish. And the fact is that Lincoln does not have the huge support here as it has in US.

  174. Apollo 13 was a huge success of boxoffice ( no.3 yearly , TOM HANKS was a golden boy at that time ) , won the PGA, DGA, and SAG awards in 1996, then only got two oscar awards from nine nominations (editing and sound).

    Will Argo follow in Apollo 13’s footsteps ? editing + Sound Editing / Sound Mixing ?

  175. Paul Voorhies

    Comment

  176. Paul Voorhies

    I’m going to keep at it until someone comments on it:

    Does no one else see the psychology behind Argo’s winning? It’s a film about a Hollywood film (involving actors, producers, hairstylists, costumers, screenwriters, etc, etc.) that saved the lives of several Americans. Almost all guilds are behind it because it makes voters feel good about themselves/a pat on the back. I think that’s the biggest reason it keeps winning.

    Please discuss.

  177. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    It’s a great point, Paul. Sasha, Craig and I have talked about that on more than one occasion on the Oscar Podcast. I can’t remember if we wrote about it very explicitly on the site, but Sasha does allude to Argo’s industry appeal in today’s post about the DGA.

    I brought it up again during the Oscar Podcast we recorded Sunday night right after the SAG Awards, but I’m not sure how much of what I said will make it into the final edited version of the podcast after Sasha trims my ramblings into coherence.

    This isn’t me trying to say, First! Not at all. Only letting you know that you’re right in sync with recognizing a factor that has been noted over the past several weeks. But maybe we all underestimated its importance, so it’s good that you’re pushing it to the front burner of discussion again.

    Ego, meet Argo, right?

    (Ego fuck yourself?)

  178. I agree, Paul, and have said so. A well-made thriller where Hollywood helps save the day? Are you kidding?

    Just open the tin – you don’t even have to call “kitty”.

  179. Linc4Jess

    @C. Bezerra…Linc4Jess, 1 million is not a blockbuster opening in Brazil. From 4 million, we can say it is a blockbuster opening. About public”s response to the movie, in Facebook, Twitter or Filmow, the talk right now is Django Unchained.

    Well, I am thinking your comments should be directed at the professional who do box office projections for a living because they are the ones who are reporting the comments I made. And yes. “Django Unchained’ box office IS ON FIRE OVERSEAS.

  180. Paul, I think that’s part of it. It is said that actors, the biggest voting branch in the academy, like voting for actors who direct. Well, Ben Affleck is going to win best director, but they can give him Best picture.

  181. I have been a long time reader for this site and believe you are a fabulous writer. However, in recent years you have become mean, spiteful, and insulting to both movies you say you loved earlier and to your readers who disagree with your personal choice for the Oscar. You wrote great reviews to both The Artist and Argo saying you loved both at the time of their release. You personally made me excited to see both of these films. However, once these films get in the way of the movie you loved, the frontrunner for the Oscar all of a sudden becomes this boring, dumb, obvious choice the herd is choosing to follow.

    I know you probably get this all the time, but maybe Lincoln is not everyone’s favorite movie? Everyone I have talked to (admittedly not the largest sampling of opinions in the world) enjoyed Lincoln, but did not love it like they did SLP, Argo, ZDT, Django Unchained, or Life of Pi. Your writing style is so aggressive it makes your opinions come across as facts, not your personal opinions. When people (including all the award circuits that snubbed it) do not believe Lincoln was the best movie of the year, you belittle their opinion if they disagree with you. I felt the same reading last year when you were pushing Hugo.

    The point I wanted to make is you have a great talent for writing about movies and I love reading your thoughts throughout the year. But when Oscar time comes it makes it hard for me to keep remaining so loyal to your site. I am not trying to say you need to follow everyone else or not advocate for your favorite film to win, but maybe not being so nasty about it all the time will help your readers enjoy this website so much more.

    You can go ahead and tell me to go find another website to read, delete my post, or take one line of my post out of context. But I just wanted to share my thoughts with you in hopes that maybe you won’t always belittle films you once said you loved in your articles and to your readers who’s only crime is remaining loyal to AD. We may begin to read these great reviews and articles throughout the year and wonder if they have any truth or sincerity at all. After all, Argo was a “great fucking movie” to you once, but now all of a sudden is Affleck’s worst movie.

  182. Jack Traven II

    Since I just woke up and can’t fall asleep again I want to put some of my thoughts into words. … And since films and the Oscar race basically never really get out of my head. :-)

    First, I used to favor Argo. I was carried away by what saw on the big screen. But that was the impression of one viewing (and my evaluations tend to change after at least one more viewing). But strangely enough since having only re-watched the trailer for Argo several times I’m not sure about my feelings towards it anymore. Because I hardly felt anything anymore. Maybe it’s because it isn’t that factually accurate (what seems to have taken some time to sink in). … Gee, I don’t know. Damn, I really hope I like it again when I see it the next time.

    Silver Linings Playbook – a film that isn’t well liked around here. Unfortunately. Unfortunately? Well, maybe next time I see it I don’t like it as well. Influenced by the debate about its characters and its (happy ever after) ending. But that actually is the thing I think (at least for me). The character problem. I mean, even lots of ever so great films have characters in it whose actions aren’t understandable. … But how about this: In real life sometimes people’s actions are just not understandable either.

    In contrast to the above mentioned films Life of Pi is the film I only found to be OK. Maybe it’s because I consider myself an agnostic. The first thing I thought after having seen the film was: Gee whiz! That second version of the whole story turned everything pretty much upside down for me. It even somewhat made me upset. But the religious superstructure of exactly that is what I didn’t like about the film. I even think it to be completely out of place – considering what happened to the protagonist. Telling a human and heartbreaking story in two different ways just to conclude it with “And so it goes with God”? Such a conclusion appears to me being completely unworthy. But that’s just my very own opinion.

    So, these are three of the four films from the so called TKS scenario. The only film missing is Lincoln. The reason is that it still doesn’t play in any of the cinemas in my city. And I have a bad feeling that this won’t change. :-(

  183. brian_CA

    “No one hates Argo” — exactly

  184. “It was The King’s Speech vs. The Social Network vs. Black Swan vs. The Fighter.”

    -Nah. It was all Social Network until late in the game. Then it was Social Network vs. King’s Speech. No other films were ever seriously in the mix. Not for Best Picture & Director, anyway.

    As glad as I’d be to see ARGO win (particularly over SLP and LINCOLN), the Academy is obviously thinking very differently from everyone else this year, and that Best Director snub is a pretty big problem. Personally, I thought Django, Argo and Life of Pi were the best three of the year, so if we had, say, Argo taking BP and Life of Pi taking Director, that would make make my night.

  185. julian the emperor

    It would be nice if someone (Sasha or Ryan) took the time to address the set of (very good) arguments made my rufussondheim…

  186. CB, When something is inserted in brackets [like this] those brackets indicate that the editor has inserted the words inside the brackets.
    That’s not a rule of this site. It’s a rule of the English language.

    I have never ever seen a forum where that is the case. I think if you want to delete my comments, that is well within your right. But putting words under my ‘name’ is totally unfair, and I’m guessing you would feel the same way were you in my shoes.

    Sorry but occasionally I pull rank. Love having commenters but when you cross the line and act like an asshole I have the right to control the content of my site, which includes the comments.

    I don’t see how I crossed the line. I said I found Kushner’s work by and large unappealing and overrated. Then I said ‘Lincoln is stinkin” which is admittedly and obviously sophomoric, but no less crude than using the word ‘asshole’. We’re at that stage of the race where we’re all angry at one another’s opinions and movies. I’m sorry if I was undiplomatic, and I have routinely apologized when and if I might have offended someone. And Ryan, once in a while, you will too. So I’m asking in that spirit for you to delete the comment that you have under my name as a show of basic respect, and I’ll do my best to avoid hitting your nerves when I defend my movies and critique yours.

  187. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    The point I wanted to make is you have a great talent for writing about movies and I love reading your thoughts throughout the year. But when Oscar time comes it makes it hard for me to keep remaining so loyal to your site.

    I understand. I don’t want you to be loyal to my site. I really don’t. I want to write the way I want to write. If people like to read it, great. But I have things I need to say and I say them. For better or worse. Sorry I don’t kiss ass well enough for your liking. But I will keep doing this until I stop making money and then I will go live a normal life. It disgusts me that the Oscars have become the People’s Choice awards. They used to be so much more respectable, even when their choices weren’t that great. Now, they pick wonderful nominees but settle on the lowest common denominator. What wins Best Picture decides what will be made from here on out. In a year with so many visionary films, such brilliant movie making, it is a damn shame to see Lincoln put in the same pile as the other films with 12 nominations that didn’t win. That is to be this wonderful film’s place in Oscar history. Forgive me if I see it as my place to tell people that. But I can give you a LONG list of people who will butter your bread where Argo is concerned – start with In Contention, then you could try Gold Derby, and Thelma Adams over at Yahoo Movies is a true Lincoln hater is already writing about its demise. Only here at Awards Daily will you find advocacy for what I think is the best, most original, high mark of Spielberg’s career. I’m 47 years old. I don’t owe anyone anything. I have written a lot of stuff this year. I had Argo’s back during the whole Canadian controversy. We knew it was a wide open year where anything can win. Argo is not a bad movie but its director was not nominated. That means it should be a harder win than the film that came in with 12. Here’s a list for you:

    12 Ben-Hur
    12 The English Patient
    12 On The Waterfront
    12 My Fair Lady
    12 Dances With Wolves
    12 Schindler’s List
    12 Mrs. Miniver
    12 Gladiator
    12 The Song of Bernadette* (Casablanca–director win)
    12 A Streetcar Named Desire* (An American in Paris–director nommed, didn’t win)
    12 The King’s Speech
    12 Reds (won director)* (Chariots of Fire–director nommed but did not win)
    12 Johnny Belinda (Hamlet — director nommed but did not win) *
    12 Becket *(My Fair Lady–director win)
    12 Lincoln

    The starred movies didn’t win BP. So Lincoln joins an esteemed list of very few films that have gotten to 12. It is far superior to most of them. My Fair Lady is a joke. A Streetcar Named Desire is a masterpiece but you think a movie like that is going to make people LOVE it? But do you think it should have won that year? Reds, an epic masterpiece but do you think a movie like that is going to make people LOVE it? No, they loved Chariots of Fire, a movie no one remembers and no one ever talks about. Woe be unto the movie that beats Lincoln. If I’d been around during Reds you can bet I would have been championing it too. And if I had any inkling Chariots of Fire would have won I would have said everything I could to change the course of history.

    It makes me frustrated and angry that this is to be the fate of Lincoln. It deserves to win Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, at the very least.

    You can go. Don’t feel guilty. I cannot please all of the commenters all of the time. I don’t try to. I never have. I do my thing. I own my own business which I have built from the ground up. People complain at me all of the time but hey, I’d rather be divisive than a general audience crowdpleaser.

  188. Leonius Maximus

    Everyone, chill. Guess what? This whole turkey shoot is WAY easier once you put quotes around the “Best” in “Best Picture” of the year. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Sasha has understood this for years (and says as much above):

    “It disgusts me that the Oscars have become the People’s Choice awards. They used to be so much more respectable [...] Now, they pick wonderful nominees but settle on the lowest common denominator.”

    Let’s not forget we’re talking about a “Best Picture” lineup that excludes The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, Holy Motors, Skyfall, etc. etc. [insert your egregious snub here].

    The eventual winner isn’t 2012’s “Best Picture”. It’s “The Movie We Liked Most in 2012″, where “We” stands for 6,000 AMPAS members/revered film artisans such as Nia Vardalos, Roger Corman, Meat Loaf and Bryan Adams.

  189. Argo will win editing and that is the only category right now. Adapted screenplay will depend on who will win BP.

  190. rufussondheim

    No one needs to rebut anything I write, julian! But thank you for the (indirect) compliment.

    This isn’t a debate and if it were I’d run away pretty fast. I like Ryan and Sasha both and I’m grateful for the opportunity to discuss films.

    One issue I do have consistently with Sasha’s analysis is her reliance on previous years. The race has changed so much in the last 15 years that really looking back more than a handful of years is self-defeating. I would never look longer than a decade and even this year, it’s kind of silly to look back before last year since the nominating system is completely differnent, and with preferential balloting before that (in 2008, 2009?)

    The rules are different, and your analysis should reflect that.

    And as someone said elsewhere (sadly, I can’t recall who, but it’s one of the smart commenters) every year is different since it’s a different slate of films.

    I think the only safe rule that you can learn from these two years that will carry into next year, is that broadly popular films have no shot at getting a nomination unless they at least have a pretense of substance. I know that’s a rule that was in place before (although The Fugitive and Raiders of the Lost Ark defied that rule) but with Bridesmaids last year and Skyfall this year, these are two films that should, theoretically, have benefitted from this new system, but neither did.

  191. Paul Voorhies

    Thanks for addressing my comments to those of you who did. I am personally pulling for Argo to win, but I think that anyone who is counting out Lincoln is being foolhardy. I’ve never gotten the Silver Linings argument, though it was a fine rom-com, with far more to say than most.

    As for Sasha and her comments, well, I’ve come to enjoy this time of year. It makes for a lot of fun reading and debating, you guys must admit. At the end of the day, Sasha is just arguing for a film she passionately loves, as many of us are wont to do.

    I love February because, here in my hometown of New Orleans, it’s Mardi Gras time and, internationally, we get to dish all this Oscar stuff. So while I think that sometimes Sasha’s arguing points can be specious, I still enjoy reading them, even if they sometimes do get my nose out of joint occasionally, just a bit.

    AwardsDaily is like Mardi Gras in many ways. Everyone’s a little bit crazy, and it’s all in the spirit of the season. We’d all be the worse off without AD–no question there. Over the years/decade plus I’ve been tuning in, I’ve come to just take it for what it is.

    Y’all have fun, and play nice now.

  192. Argo is directed by an actor. History repeats itself, and Argo has history backing it up. Robert Redford (white heartthrob, win for Ordinary People), Kevin Costner (white heartthrob, win for Dances With Wolves), Mel Gibson (white heartthrob, win for Braveheart). Affleck would have won Best Director if he were nominated. Argo will win Best Picture because it appeals to the largest voting body of the Academy.

    I also agree that Argo celebrates movie-making and spreads the kudos around to even the lesser known trades within the industry, so it has that going for it as well.

    And it doesn’t really matter which movie wins for me. Any one of the nominees winning would be justified. The movie I enjoyed the most was Life of Pi, but I know that doesn’t have a chance.

  193. “I love February because, here in my hometown of New Orleans, it’s Mardi Gras time and, internationally, we get to dish all this Oscar stuff.”

    I know this is OT, but I’m totally jealous Paul. Especially, right now, being a 49er fan.

  194. Bill in VT

    Paul Voorhies wrote:
    Does no one else see the psychology behind Argo’s winning? It’s a film about a
    Hollywood film (involving actors, producers, hairstylists, costumers,
    screenwriters, etc, etc.) that saved the lives of several Americans. Almost all
    guilds are behind it because it makes voters feel good about themselves/a pat
    on the back. I think that’s the biggest reason it keeps winning.

    I totally agree. The CIA agent came up with the idea, but needed help from
    Hollywood to pull the rescue off. I don’t understand this obsession with Rotten
    Tomatoes as an indicator for predicting AA winners. RT is a critics forum. The
    headline isn’t: Argo Wins As Least Offensive Film. It’s: Hollywood Rescues 6
    Hostages!

    Anyway, moving on to my weird/radical Oscar scenario. Some predictors think
    Lincoln will benefit from the Affleck-BD snub. Meaning that voters looking for
    a match up with picture and director will finally turn to Lincoln. But what
    about Amour? With nominations in 4 major categories, this film is already liked
    by a lot of AMPAS members. And as Scott I. wrote: if Argo wins Best Picture,
    and since Affleck is not on the ballot for director, perhaps Haneke could win
    to match up a director with people’s choice for *a* best film?
    Why not? And I’ll even go a step or two further. If Haneke is the BD choice,
    why not pick him in the writing category (OS) as well. In 2 cases here, neither
    film nor director was nominated (Flight & Moonrise Kingdom). As for the other
    two nominees — Quentin Tarantino and Mark Boal? Their film’s director was not
    nominated. Haneke stands alone.
    And then there’s the Best Actress category. It’s been an amazing awards season
    for Jennifer Lawrence. Only 22, she already has two Oscar nominations in her
    young career. There will be more opportunities for her, I’m sure. What about
    giving the Oscar to Emmanuelle Riva on her 86th birthday (Feb. 24), making her
    the oldest person to win for acting? Can the voters pass up this historical opportunity?
    And speaking of an historical opportunity (and this is where it really gets
    weird/radical/outrageous), I’m hoping Argo wins the coveted BP prize — and
    nothing else! Such an opportunty for the Academy to make history probably will
    not happen again. But will they do it? More than likely, they’ll give Argo a
    couple of Oscars in the technical categories. What a pity!
    As for Lincoln, it’ll win for actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), supporting actor (Tommy
    Lee Jones), and adapted screenplay (Tony Kushner). And it probably will pick up
    enough trophies in the technical categories, so its producers and marketing
    people can at least brag about winning the most Oscars.
    The biggest loser of the night could be the Weinstein Company. Trying for a
    three-peat in the BP category and garnering a total of 16 nominations (same as
    last year), the WC may end up going home with nothing.

  195. Argo was such a boring, lousy movie. The only thing the movie accomplishes is making dumb people feel smart for getting it’s snail paced plot. The film is full of historical inaccuracies and many failed attempts at humor. I found the walk out of the theater more amusing than Argo.

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