Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Taking another look at those Oscar nominees

Some years, predicting the Academy Awards winners is a sure thing; there's a clear front-runner that you just know is going to clean up, like The Artist last year, or The King's Speech the year before that.

But 2013 is not one of those years. Expect drama, when the stately odds-on favorite a month ago squares off against a plucky little upstart that's been raking in the pre-Oscar accolades. When an actress in a quirky comedy has a chance to edge out the female lead in a serious drama. In a directors' free-for-all where the winner of the prestigious Directors Guild of America award—who usually becomes the Oscar front-runner—wasn't even nominated by the Academy.

Needless to say, I've had to reconsider since I last popped off about this year's Oscar nominees.

So who do I think is the top contender for Best Picture? Argo. Serious.

A month ago, I'd have bet money on Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, a well-crafted drama about one of the most iconic figures in American history at the moment of his greatest triumph. But that was before Argo star-producer-director Ben Affleck and his fleet, witty real-life suspense caper started winning every other film award there is—Golden Globe, DGA, Producer's Guild, Screen Actor's Guild, even the British BAFTA.

Not once has Lincoln (or any other movie) wrested away the prize, and I see no reason to believe it will be any different at the Oscars. Indeed, since the Academy unaccountably failed to nominate DGA-winner Affleck in the Best Director category, Argo is liable to pull in even more of a sympathy vote. (As a co-producer, Affleck can still earn a statuette.)

To win without a directing nomination would be an epic upset in terms of Oscar history, but certainly not unprecedented. (Driving Miss Daisy managed this feat in 1989.) And don't forget, once upon a time, Affleck starred in Gigli, and there's nothing Hollywood loves more than a successfully rehabilitated image.

Meanwhile, since Affleck isn't nominated, any ideas on who WILL win Best Director???

Anyway, fasten your seatbelts for the Oscars, Sunday, February 24. It's going to be a bumpy night.

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