By all coventional signals, Warner Bros is sitting with a hot hand right now with Argo.
After winning a key SAG award for Cast, a very predictive Producers Guild honor for Best Picture and now tonight an all-important DGA win for Ben Affleck as Best Director, the writing would seem to be on the wall. The Oscar award for Best Picture would seem to be Argo‘s to lose.
Voters really seem to like this picture. You could feel it in the room tonight at Hollywood And Highland’s Grand Ballroom where in three short weeks the Governors Ball for the Oscars will be held, and you can just feel Ben Affleck will be celebrating once again even though he was snubbed for Best Director at the Oscars.
This is a rare year.
Affleck won Best Director for Argo at the DGA even though he is not Oscar nominated. That means that this year the winner of the Best Director Oscar will not match up with DGA for only the seventh time since the DGA has been handing out their awards. And with all those other Guild awards it has been racking up, Argo is an unquestioned front-runner for the Best Picture Oscar. Add to that the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award and you have a juggernaut. Who would have predicted that early in the season?
When i ran into Lincoln producer Kathleen Kennedy tonight after the DGA ceremony she seemed resigned to the writing on the wall.
Except… This is an odd year. Anything can happen, and with ballots not going out until February 8th the tide could still turn. Guild awards could be meaningless and the race could be turned on its head at the Oscars. It’s not too late. But the traditional bellwethers are suddenly overwhelmingly in favor of Argo.
The fact is Affleck is extremely likeable and he has been campaigning effectively. Argo somehow has become the movie of the moment against heavyweight competition and looms as the consensus film of the year. He’s also learned to be extremely humble which plays very well in Oscar season.
With only one more major Guild show to go, the Writers on February 17 (two days before Oscar ballots are due) Argo would seem to be in a commanding postion although we can never underestimate the quirks of Academy voters. For its sake you can only hope that Argo has not peaked too soon. Reaction tonight among the rank and file DGA members I talked to indicated a strong wave for Argo. But it’s a weird year and the vote of a particular guild could matter less than ever.
It is a very curious year and its getting curiouser and curiouser.
Awards Columnist Pete Hammond - tip him here.