By now, probably all of the pundits over at Gold Derby have switched to Argo.
It still feels funny to me to predict the way everyone else is. But each time I thought the guilds would swing away from the buzz and momentum and go with the more logical choice for Best Picture, they didn’t. And usually when that happens, there is no stopping a film. We’ve turned the Oscar race into its own reality show, complete with a villain and a hero and a happy ending.
If they’re going to supposedly call me an “expert” (no one ever should), though, I have no choice but to switch to Argo because it’s the only film right now that seems to be getting the majority votes.
Perhaps the lesson here is to not step outside the status quo, Academy. They better get in line with the general consensus or else all hell breaks loose. For over a decade, the precursors have decided the Oscar race. For the first time ever the Academy got to choose on their own, without any group influencing them, which films they themselves liked best. I will be curious to see if they follow the general consensus NOW or if they break from it, as they did when it was Apollo 13 and The Color Purple trying to push through that which the Academy rejected.
I could argue that the Academy are very different from the rest of the guilds, because look at the breakdown:
Actors Branch: 1,172 (SAG–100,000)
Art Directors Branch: 367
Cinematographers Branch: 206
Directors Branch: 369 (DGA–14,500)
Documentary Branch: 166
Executives Branch: 443
Film Editors Branch: 224
Makeup Artists & Hairstylists Branch: 121
Music Branch: 232
Producers Branch: 450 (PGA–4,500)
Public Relations Branch: 368
Short Films and Feature Animation Branch: 349
Sound Branch: 401
Visual Effects Branch: 294
Writers Branch: 376
At Large: 246
Total: 5,784 voting members
And I could argue what losing a Best Director nomination used to mean:
- Apollo 13 and The Color Purple both lost Best Picture.
- Being 4th in line for most noms has only ever delivered one Best Picture winner in all of Oscar history: Chariots of Fire (which is how the Argo ads are now looking, btw, clever)
- Only once in recent Oscar history has a film without a director nomination won and that was Driving Miss Daisy. Are you keeping score? That’s one Chariots of Fire and one Driving Miss Daisy.
- During the years when the Academy had a preferential ballot, all Best Picture winners had their directors nominated.
- During those years, when the Academy split between director and picture, the film with the most noms won.
- Only one film in Oscar history with a preferential ballot and 12 nominations ever lost and that was Song of Bernadette. Lincoln deserves so much more than that.
- Only five films ever in the history of the Oscars have had 12 nominations and lost. And not since 1981. Four have lost with 13 nominations.
- The lowest number of Oscars won with films with 12 — 1 (way back in the 1940s), lowest number of Oscars won with 13 — 3 for Benjamin Button.
- Driving Miss Daisy had the most nominations and the highest box office.
- Chariots of Fire had the highest box office.
My stomach hurts.
Whether it’s a case of the least offensive winning the day, as it was in 2010, or it really was that they believe Argo is truly the best film of 2012 – either way, the end result has amounted to Argo winning everything, probably even the WGA.
So let’s quickly look at how many Oscars each can film can win if the scenario we’re looking at plays out:
Argo-Picture, Editing, maybe screenplay, maybe score — it probably has to take screenplay to win Best Picture and that means it will have to win the WGA next weekend. Can it win supporting actor? If they like it enough to give it Best Picture of the year it can win Supporting Actor.
2 at least
Life of Pi- Cinematography, Visual Effects, Art Direction, possibly score — 3 or 4
Lincoln – Actor, Supporting Actor, maybe director, maybe screenplay, maybe cinematography, maybe art direction 2, 3, 5 – or even 1. Or voters finally come to their senses and align behind this brilliant achievement in filmmaking and Lincoln sweeps, taking Picture, Actor, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction and Costumes. And maybe I’ll turn into a leprechaun. The only guild support shown to Lincoln was when the SAG gave two acting awards Lincoln’s way.
Silver Linings Playbook – Actress (maybe), supporting actor (maybe) a tiny chance it surprises and takes Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay — but really Lincoln and Silver Linings are dividing voters allowing Argo to win. Rinse, repeat.
Amour — could win Director and Actress and Original Screenplay.
Beasts of the Southern Wild could surprise in Director and Adapted Screenplay
Django Unchained – could surprise in original screenplay, possibly supporting actor.
Les Miserables – Supporting Actress, could also win costumes
Zero Dark Thirty — could win Actress, screenplay, sound.