Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
E: Last year, the Academy went from 10 nominees per year to a sliding scale of anywhere between five and 10 nominees. Like last year, the final slate ended up having nine nominees.
A month ago, this category was a tough one to predict. Right now, though, it seems like Argo will win. Do you agree?
J: Totally agree. For me, Argo tied with Silver Linings Playbook as my favorite film of the year. I loved that Silver Linings was quirky, but really had a serious side. Argo, though, was an edge-of-my-seat thrill ride, with great performances throughout the film.
E: It’ll be interesting to see if Argo pulls off a Best Picture win. Oscar history is against a win. The last film to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination: 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy. It’s really not the frontrunner in any other category, and the last film of three total to win this award without winning another award was 1935’s Mutiny on the Bounty.
Finally, Argo is following a path very similar to Apollo 13, which swept the Oscar precursors, only to lose to Braveheart on Oscar night.
J: Do you think Lincoln has a shot here?
E: Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet heavily on it. Going back to the Apollo 13–Braveheart line-up: Braveheart was one of the first films to make use of screeners for voters, which helped more people see it. These days, everyone has access to plenty of ways to watch nominated films.
J: Do you think people will vote for Argo because of Affleck’s snub in Best Director?
E: I think that helps Argo. Affleck’s nominated in this category as one of the film’s producers, as is the ever-popular George Clooney. A win here is a way to award Affleck in spite of his Best Director snub.
J: I think that Argo will and should win here, even though I want a Silver Linings Playbook win.
E: I agree on what will and should win, but I’d go with Zero Dark Thirty for what I want to win. It was a better picture than Argo for me, personally.
J: Was it Zero Dark Thirty’s slower buildup to the suspense?
E: For me, yeah. Not to take anything away from Argo, but I felt like Zero Dark Thirty was better at building suspense. Argo’s all about making a mission work as quickly as possible, while Zero Dark Thirty took a lot of (frustrating) time and energy. People die or otherwise fall apart in Zero Dark Thirty in a way you don’t see in Argo.
J: I can totally understand that. I’d even go so far as to say I agree.
E: Still, I think Argo’s a deserving winner. Definitely a better choice than our last few Best Picture winners.
So, with up to 10 slots open for films in this category, what’s missing? And what maybe shouldn’t have been nominated, if anything?
J: Well, I think Skyfall was a great Bond film, and while I don’t think it could have won, I could have been nominated. I think if more people saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it could’ve had a shot too. With its acting nominations, I would’ve thought The Master might have landed a nomination here.
But what do you cut for any of those? Beasts of the Southern Wild? Possibly Les Misérables?
E: I’d be fine cutting Les Misérables and Beasts, and replacing them with Perks, along with maybe Skyfall and/or Looper.
J: You do have some love Looper. How much of that is love for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, though?
E: Maybe a little. But I think it was a really good film, period. Perks and Looper were my top two films of 2012.
Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Argo
Should Be Nominated: The Perks of Being a Wallflower