As Ben Affleck’s Argo builds momentum, some of which many of us didn’t expect, it’s looking more and more likely that the film could be crowned the winner on Oscar night. While many of us are talking about the film being the film since Driving Miss Daisy (1989) to win the top award without a Directing nomination attached. I’m taking it a step further. Argo could be the first film since Grand Hotel (1932) to win Best Picture along with no other Oscar. What makes Grand Hotel a true anomaly is Edmund Golding’s film was only nominated for Best Picture with no acting, directing, screenplay, or editing. A clean sweep so to speak. Argo could be heading for an Oscar win for Best Motion Picture and that’s all.
With seven nominations to Argo’s credit, Best Picture seems assured but what else can the film win outside of that category? Its two other likeliest wins would be probably Film Editing and Original Score. The former is perhaps the main reason for the film’s narrative success. William Goldenberg cut the film to perfection and in the last thirty minutes, the film opens in a way that leaves you at the edge of your seat. Its big competition would be Goldenberg’s other co-edited work on Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty with Dylan Tichenor and the impressive work of Tim Squyres on Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, which pulled in eleven nominations. Many, and fairly I might add, assume Life of Pi will do very well in the tech categories. Film Editing has been a category that has rewarded popular, blockbuster films like The Matrix (1999), The Social Network (2010), and last year’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). This throws a wrench in the works for Michael Kahn and Lincoln. While the film garnered twelve nominations, the most of any film, Editing might be an achievement some may not see necessary in rewarding.
Mychael Danna, composer for Life of Pi, has been an overlooked composer for years after delivering the best score of 2006 with Little Miss Sunshine, an achievement that went unnoticed. He was also left off in 2005 for Bennett Miller’s Capote, an orchestration that stood as one of the best compositions of the year. As he finally lands his first two nominations for Score and the song “Pi’s Lullaby,” Danna has momentum built from his expected win at the Golden Globes. Alexandre Desplat’s music in Argo is very impressive but in a year where his work was everywhere, they stood with the Best Picture nominee as his representation. Desplat’s competition seems to be Danna but John Williams is very close behind after winning Best Score with the Critics Choice Movie Awards. There’s been talk that this would be Williams final score and after a career that includes five Oscar wins, they may want to throw him one more for his exit.
Besides the aforementioned Grand Hotel, the fewest wins for a Best Picture winner have been Paul Haggis’ Crash (2006) and John G. Avildsen’s Rocky (1976) with three each in recent memory. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) also won one Oscar respectively for Best Picture.
Argo is also the eighth film in history to win all the big guild prizes, Producers Guild, Directors Guild, and Screen Actors Guild. In the previous seven cases, all films went on to win Best Picture with the exception of Ron Howard and Apollo 13 which lacked a Directing nomination and lost to Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. Argo’s other nominations include Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The only other possible win out those would be a huge upset over Tony Kushner in Adapted, but again, rather unlikely. Argo may be about to make history, but not the way we think it is.
Some other notes of history that could be made this year:
- If Argo were to sweep its seven Oscars, it would tie with Shakespeare in Love as the most awarded Best Picture winner without a Directing win.
- If Lincoln wins, it’s the first biopic since Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001) to win Best Picture.
- If and when Jennifer Lawrence wins Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, the Weinsteins would have five consecutive Best Picture nominees that have at least one acting win on Oscar night.
- If Silver Linings Playbook would win Best Picture, it would be the first romantic comedy to win Best Picture since Shakespeare in Love (1999).
- If Life of Pi or Lincoln were to sweep many of their categories but lose to Argo in Picture, in particular eight wins or more, they would become the most rewarded films to not win Best Picture.
- If Sam Mendes’ Skyfall won all five of its nominated categories, it would tie with The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) as the most Oscar wins without a Best Picture nominee.
- Either Emmanuelle Riva or Quvenzhane Wallis could become the oldest or youngest winners in the Best Actress category. Riva turns 86 on Oscar day.
- Possibilities for previous winners winning their third Oscar (or more) is higher than ever: Daniel Day-Lewis (2 wins), Denzel Washington (2 wins), Robert DeNiro (2 wins), Sally Field (2 wins), Steven Spielberg (2 wins), Robert Richardson (2 wins), Colleen Atwood (3 wins), Michael Kahn (3 wins), and John Williams (5 wins).
CURRENT WINNER PREDICTIONS
|DIRECTOR||Ang Lee – Life of Pi|
|LEAD ACTOR||Daniel Day-Lewis|
|LEAD ACTRESS||Jennifer Lawrence|
|SUPPORTING ACTOR||Tommy Lee Jones|
|SUPPORTING ACTRESS||Anne Hathaway|
|ANIMATED FEATURE||Wreck-It Ralph|
|CINEMATOGRAPHY||Life of Pi|
|COSTUME DESIGN||Anna Karenina|
|FILM EDITING||Life of Pi|
|MAKEUP||The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey|
|VISUAL EFFECTS||Life of Pi|
|ORIGINAL SCORE||Life of Pi|
|DOCUMENTARY FEATURE||Searching for Sugar Man|
|DOCUMENTARY SHORT||Monday’s at Racine|
|LIVE ACTION SHORT||Henry|