The situation may reshuffle by the Oscar broadcast on February 24, but I doubt it. After being snubbed in the Best Director category, Argo has won every award since. A bunch of Golden Globes, the Producers Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild, BAFTA — the winning streak should continue through Oscar night, with Argo winning Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, perhaps Best Supporting Actor. That more-controversial CIA thriller, Zero Dark Thirty, will have to settle for Best Original Screenplay.
On the other hand, if Argo does win, it would be the first time since Driving Miss Daisy in 1990 that a movie wins Best Picture without the director even being nominated. Nonetheless, it's the ideal candidate. The Oscars exist to promote Hollywood's image of itself. So when you have a film in which Hollywood defeats Islamist extremists — well, if Argo loses, it means the terrorists have won.
With no Affleck, who wins Best Director? Not Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, or Benh Zeitlin. Steven Spielberg might draw on Lincoln's waning momentum and win. But Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell has a chance. Playbook is a Weinstein film. They could give Karl Rove pointers on how to run a campaign. But I'll go with Spielberg, and Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor. By the way, isn't it ironic that Lincoln was shot by an actor? Actually, Lincoln was shot by Janusz Kaminski, who might win for Best Cinematography.
As always, the supporting categories are a headache. Everyone says Anne Hathaway will get Best Supporting Actress for Les Misérables. Who am I to argue? She sings, she suffers, she dies — give it to her. As for Supporting Actor, which grumpy old fart do you prefer? Alan Arkin in Argo? Robert De Niro in Silver Linings? Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln? I'll go with De Niro.
Speaking of Silver Linings, Jennifer Lawrence will get Best Actress. She's the manic pixie dream girl. What about Jessica Chastain in Zero? Playing a woman who hunts down the world's most wanted fugitive might intimidate a group that is 75 percent white males over 62. And I'm not referring to the College of Cardinals. It's bad enough that Kathryn Bigelow succeeds in the male-dominated world of Hollywood, but when her heroine does the same in the CIA, that's pushing it. And not just for the Academy: could the Zero backlash have some misogyny behind it?
Best Picture »Argo
Best Director » Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Best Actor » Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Best Actress » Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Best Supporting Actor » Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Best Supporting Actress » Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
Best Adapted Screenplay » Chris Terrio (Argo)
Best Original Screenplay » Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)
Best Cinematography » Janusz Kaminski (Lincoln)
Best Foreign Language Film »Amour