Think ‘Lincoln’ has Oscars locked? ‘Argo’ begs to differ
Best Picture ex-filtrators? John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Ben Affleck in "Argo." (AP Photo/Warner Bros., Claire Folger)
Updated: February 20, 2013 9:16AM
Until recently, it seemed that “Lincoln” was a shoe-in to win most of its nominated categories at the Academy Awards this Sunday — and it mostly still looks that way, except for one little complication.
The Oscar for Best Picture of 2012 is very much up for grabs.
The simple fact that Ben Affleck had not even been nominated in the Best Director category for “Argo” (The shame!) made it seem highly unlikely that film would win the top prize — simply because Best Picture and Best Director almost always go hand-in-hand. Now, however, with “Argo” having won Best Picture awards at the Golden Globes (where Affleck also won Best Director), the Producer’s Guild, BAFTA (the British movie awards, where Affleck also won Best Director) and the Directors Guild (another Best Director prize), the film seems poised to split the traditional pairing for the first time since 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy.”
Or maybe not. “Lincoln,” in addition to its other virtues, is the sort of prestige picture the Academy has always loved to recognize (and being the highest-grossing film among the nine Best Picture nominees doesn’t hurt). Also, the fact that Affleck was snubbed as a Best Director contender could indicate that the Academy isn’t feeling “Argo,” for whatever reason.
Only one thing is certain: There’s going to be an unusual element of high-drama and suspense at the Academy Awards this year. If “Lincoln” and “Argo” split the vote and cancel each other out, what next? “Silver Linings Playbook” for Best Picture? Don’t bet on it, but...
Here are my nervous predictions for winners in the major categories.
Best Picture: “Argo.”
(Nominees: “Amour,” “Life of Pi,” “Argo,” “Lincoln,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Django Unchained,” “Zero Dark Thirty”)
Best Director: Steven Spielberg, who certainly deserves it for “Lincoln” and who hasn’t won in this category since “Saving Private Ryan.” (Nominees: Michael Haneke, “Amour”; Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”; Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”; David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”)
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis who, in addition to deserving it, has already picked up prizes from the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA and a long list of critics awards including the Chicago Film Critics Association.
(Nominees: Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”; Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”; Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”; Denzel Washington, “Flight”; Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”)
Best Actress: The lead in this extremely tough race seems to be narrowing down to Emmanualle Riva for “Amour” and Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook.” The smart money’s probably on Lawrence, because she gave a knockout performance (as usual) and she’s already won at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. I’m picking Riva, though, because her performance was extraordinary — and because the voters at BAFTA thought so too. (Nominees: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”; Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”; Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”; Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”)
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin hit another career peak in “Argo,” but Tommy Lee Jones ripped up the screen in “Lincoln” — and he has a prize from the Screen Actors Guild to prove it.
(Nominees: Alan Arkin, “Argo”; Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”; Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”; Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”; Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”)
Best Supporting Actress: Let’s just say it straight out. It’s going to be Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables.” She’s already won at the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Gloves and BAFTA. And if anybody ever drove a truck through an Oscar moment, she did with “I Dreamed a Dream.” (Nominees: Amy Adams, “The Master”; Sally Field, “Lincoln”; Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”; Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”; Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Another virtually guaranteed sure-thing for “Lincoln” and screenwriter Tony Kushner, drawing partially from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals.”
(Nominees: Chris Terrio, “Argo”; Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; David Magee, “Life of Pi”; Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”; David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Best Original Screenplay: The screenplay category often turns into a consolation prize for films that didn’t win Best Picture, meaning “Zero Dark Thirty” (Mark Boal), “Django Unchained” (Quentin Tarantino) and “Flight” (John Gatins) are almost certain to qualify. The more high-profile “Zero Dark” would seem to be the obvious choice, if not for the fact that Boal won so recently for writing “The Hurt Locker” and Tarantino has already won at the Golden Globes and BAFTA. Unless the Writers Guild awards suggest otherwise, I’m betting on the big T.
(Nominees: Michael Haneke, “Amour”; Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”; John Gatins, “Flight”; Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom”; Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”)