Ben Affleck ("Argo") continued his romp through Hollywood's industry awards by winning top laurels from the Directors' Guild of America on Saturday night after earlier victories at the Producers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild (Best Ensemble). He beat four previous DGA champs: Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty"), Tom Hooper ("Les Miserables"), Ang Lee ("Life of Pi") and Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln"). (See full list of winners here.)
Now "Argo" seems like the likely winner of Best Picture at the Oscars next even though Affleck isn't nominated by academy members for Best Director. Only once in modern times has a movie managed to win Best Picture without its helmer nommed ("Driving Miss Daisy," 1989), but "Argo" seems like a good candidate to be the next exception. In the 64-year history of the DGA prize, the movie that won Best Director went on to bag the Oscar for Best Picture 50 times.
However, there was one film, historically speaking, that may presage bad news for "Argo." After its helmer Ron Howard wasn't nominated for Best Director at the Oscars, "Apollo 13" (1995) won DGA, PGA and SAG, then lost the Academy Award for Best Picture to "Braveheart."
Mel Gibson's historical war drama had a secret advantage over its rivals that year, though. It was the first major awards contender ever to send out a screener to voters. Nowadays voters get DVDs of all top nominees, so "Argo" faces an even playing field. Also, "Argo's" kudos sweep is more complete. It won Best Drama Picture at the Golden Globes, which "Braveheart" failed to do. "Braveheart" lost to "Sense and Sensibility."
Affleck's triumph over Spielberg at DGA has eery similarities to the Directors Guild contest in 1985. Back then, Spielberg won for "The Color Purple" even though he wasn't nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. That marked the first time such an oddity had ever occurred. Since then, the only other person to repeat the phenom was Ron Howard. "The Color Purple" not only failed to win Best Picture, it also lost all of its 10 other bids, thus tying "The Turning Point's" record for suffering the worst shut-out in Oscar history.
Affleck's victory for "Argo" at DGA had been correctly foreseen by 13 of the 16 leading Oscarologists making at predictions at Gold Derby. The other three had opted for Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln"). There are 25 pundits predicting Academy Awards at Gold Derby – 22 bet on "Argo," three on "Lincoln."
However, 17 out of our 25 prophets believe Spielberg will rebound from his DGA defeat by reaping the Oscar for Best Director, not having to fend off a challenge by Affleck.
Oscar voting begins this Friday. Winners will be unveiled on Feb. 24.
Golden Globes Predictions
SAG Awards Predictions
Critics' Choice Awards Predictions
Meet the guys who had our best scores predicting Golden Globe and Critics' Choice nominations (video)
Critics Choice Nominations: Bryce H scored an impressive 83% when sizing up 20 categories. That was one percentage point ahead of our smartest Editor, Daniel Montgomery. Our top Expert was also one of our Editors, Paul Sheehan, who reaped 74%. To see how you performed, check out our leaderboard plus the score section of your account page.
Golden Globe (Film) Nominations: Jonathan was our top User, reaping a staggering 86% when forecasting the lineup of 10 categories. That put him six percentage points ahead of our best Expert -- Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) -- and eight ahead of our leading Editor, Daniel Montogomery. Did you made the cut on the leaderboard score breakdown?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winners: Christian aced all rivals, scoring 82%. That was almost 20 percentage points ahead of our top Expert (Edward Douglas of ComingSoon ) and Editor (Matt Noble), both of whom earned scores of 64%. Christian foresaw that surprise screenplay win for "Before Midnight." See leaderboard.
National Board of Review Award Winners: Cinemateo21 tied with one other User (dottardi) at 34% of the winners of the National Board of Review awards. However, he wagered his points strategically and scored three times as many to win the contest. Both are to be commended as only three of our editors got even one winner correct while our Experts were shut out entirely. See leaderboard.
New York Film Critics Circle Award Winners: Likewise, Ryan Fernand tied with RobertPius at 67% of the winners of the New York Film Critics Circle but won on points. His margin of victory in that tally was closer (about 30% difference) but highlights how important it is where you place your Super (500 points) and Big (200) bets. See leaderboard.
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Gold Derby presents 4 sets
of Oscar predictions