Michael Smith: I hope I'm wrong
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
1/29/13 at 6:32 AM
Three weeks ago, when the Academy Awards nominations were announced, I made my case: "Lincoln" would win the Oscar as best picture.
It was a well-reasoned decision based on many factors. Key among them was the snub of "Argo's" Ben Affleck in the best director category. Only three times in 84 years has the best picture Oscar gone to a movie with no director nomination.
Three weeks later and a couple of key award wins, the momentum in the best-picture race may have shifted to "Argo," Affleck's exceptionally entertaining political drama based on a true story about rescuing Americans during the Iran hostage crisis.
When Affleck was snubbed, people in Hollywood were baffled. Every other group handing out awards seemed to think that Affleck was a deserving nominee, if not a winner, except for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
It may be that people in Hollywood were also ticked off, and Hollywood loves a good revenge story.
The snub may be what has energized the awards race for "Argo," which over the weekend won two key awards that have historically served as precursors for the Oscars.
On Saturday, "Argo" bested the competition in the Producers Guild Awards, which uses a system similar to that of the Oscar to pick a winner. On Sunday, "Argo" won the best cast award at the Screen Actors Guild, which is that organization's equivalent of a best-picture win.
"Lincoln" finished as an also-ran in both award contests, but there's still reason to believe that Steven Spielberg's picture will win the top Oscar on Feb. 24. I can't rule out the embarrassment factor.
Without question, the Academy has egg on its face for Affleck having not been nominated in the director race. That will only heighten if "Argo" wins best picture without that nomination, which hasn't happened since 1989, when "Driving Miss Daisy" won best picture without Bruce Beresford being nominated as best director.
Watch for the results of this Saturday's Directors Guild Award, where Spielberg and Affleck are both nominated. An Affleck win would make "Argo" a solid front-runner; a Spielberg win would muddle the picture.
If my prediction of a "Lincoln" win for best picture at the Oscars ends up incorrect and "Argo" takes home the top prize, I would be thrilled to be wrong.
In my Dec. 28 top-10 list published in the Tulsa World, I named "Argo" the No. 1 movie of 2012. "Lincoln" finished in my "second 10" list at No. 12.
Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards saw wins for two of the big Oscar contenders for best movie with "Argo," directed by Ben Affleck , winning for outstanding cast in a motion picture. JOHN SHEARER / Invision / AP
Daniel Day-Lewis winning the award for outstanding male actor in a leading role for "Lincoln." JOHN SHEARER / Invision / AP