Our Oscar wonk Marshall Flores made an exhaustive chart detailing Best Picture winners from the beginning. It’s rare to have only 3 Oscars with a Best Picture win — recent winners include Crash (Picture, Screenplay, Editing) and Rocky. Before that, The Godfather, Midnight Cowboy and Casablanca were also 3 Oscar winners.
One thing to note – the preferential ballot stopped be used the year Going My Way won. You’ll see how much more common it was for films to win more than 3 Oscars and for films to win with their directors.
If Argo is going to win, it’s very doubtful it will win 2, although I suppose it’s possible in a competitive year it might walk away with just Picture and Editing. But it’s probably more likely, if all goes as the pundits are predicting, Picture, Screenplay, Editing. It might also win Sound Editing as a gimme. Argo has many hurdles to overcome, Oscar history wise. Says Flores:
For me, the big thing is that as much as people dismiss the idea that a best picture winner “needs” to win another major award like director, acting, or screenplay and make a strawman argument of voters don’t vote based on seeing those nominations, the voting history speaks for itself. Argo really is bucking a lot of significant trends in its bid for Best Picture. Perhaps it is the perfect storm that can defy history. But even the most bizzare and unpredictable of Oscar years past ended up being totally predictable and in line with the thrust of the past.
The big chart after the cut.