When it comes to Academy Award predictions, the current season has been suffering from a bout of Oscar confusion.
“Argo” has received seven Oscar nominations from the Academy, including a best picture nom. The same prestigious organization has snubbed Ben Affleck in the director’s category.
The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has given Affleck a director’s nomination but has skipped over “Silver Linings Playbook” director David O. Russell. However, the Academy did give Russell an Oscar nomination.
Kathryn Bigelow was ignored by the Academy for “Zero Dark Thirty” and yet the film was honored with a best picture nomination.
As a general rule, movies are unlikely to win best picture Oscars when their corresponding directors fail to garner nominations.
With the Academy having given “Lincoln” 12 nominations, the film up until recently had been viewed as the front-runner for the best picture award.
However, things have changed to a great extent in the Oscar race, partly as a result of events that took place on Sunday night at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, a pre-Oscar awards show in which members of the actors union honor their peers and profession in a ceremony, which is closely watched by Hollywood filmmakers, studios, and production companies.
The SAG Awards have a more powerful influence than the Golden Globes on what will take place in late February at the Oscars. Winners of SAG trophies tend to be individuals who also take home Oscars; this is partially because the SAG vote is a reflection of the opinions of those within the acting profession, and the largest subgroup in terms of Academy membership is comprised of actors.
Three of last year’s SAG winners also took home Academy Awards for acting. Jean Dujardin for “The Artist,” Christopher Plummer for “Beginners,” and Octavia Spencer for “The Help” all followed up their 2012 SAG wins with Oscars. Viola Davis was an exception, having snagged a SAG trophy for acting in “The Help” but denied an Oscar.
The SAG accolade that is the equivalent of a best picture honor, although not titled as such, is the award for overall cast performance. In an upset, “Argo” won Sunday night’s contest, not only beating “Lincoln” but also besting “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Les Miserable,” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
The cast award, however, is not as strong a predictor for the best picture Oscar as are the acting category SAG awards. Eight of the 17 SAG cast winners have gone on to win the best picture Academy Award.
Last year’s SAG cast award went to “The Help,” but Oscar voters gave the best picture award to “The Artist.”
“Argo” won for director and best dramatic film at this year’s Golden Globes. More importantly, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) gave its top honor to Affleck’s film at the PGA Awards this past Saturday. It just so happens that for the last five years the PGA prizewinner has gone on to win the Academy’s best picture statue.
“Argo” has acquired a bona fide front-runner status, much to the chagrin of Steven Spielberg, who is likely looking to the upcoming DGA Awards to increase the buzz surrounding his “Lincoln” movie and potentially set him up for a best director Oscar.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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