Sure, most Oscarologists now favor "Argo" to win Best Picture after its guild victories last weekend, but, beware, it's not a shoo-in.
Remember what happened to two films in a similar situation -- they failed to nab Oscar nominations for Best Director, then rallied to win big at PGA and SAG. Neither "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) nor "Apollo 13" (1995) ended up seizing the top Academy Award.
"Argo" may be different because it's built up momentum with victories at the Critics' Choice Awards and Golden Globes, which "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Apollo 13" didn't. Next up: the DGA awards this Saturday.
While "Argo" helmer Ben Affleck was snubbed by the 360 members of the academy's director's branch, there are 14,000 members of the Directors' Guild of America, who work in television, commercials and music videos in addition to the feature film industry. They may have no problem with voting for Affleck. Five of the eight Experts polled by Gold Derby believe he will prevail, compared to three for Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln").
Oscar ballots will be mailed out and posted online on Friday, February 8.
If Affleck wins DGA, "Argo" will definitely have that feeling of being the underdog that keeps coming out on top. "Argo" is predicted to pull off wins for Best Picture and Best Directing at the BAFTAs, which are held two days after Oscar voting begins. Even if "Argo" does not fare well at the BAFTAs, it will probably still feel like the winning team that everyone will want to get behind, Oscar voters included.
But this is all just for right now. The momentum of this race could still shift in any number of different directions.
"Lincoln" could still be a strong competitor, "Life of Pi" could come out of the woodwork on Oscar night with a huge sweep of the technical awards and have that support bleed over to Best Picture. And Harvey Weinstein is still putting all his muscle behind "Silver Linings Playbook," which has support in every key category needed to win Best Picture.
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