Is 'Argo' Really the Best Movie Of the Year?


On Sunday, Ben Affleck's Argo continued its unexpected award-season sweep winning the coveted Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance By a Cast in a Motion Picture. 

I say unexpected because, thanks to the film's Best Director Oscar snub, no one initially expected very much from this little Iranian hostage movie that could. Instead, Argo has won the major prizes at the Critics' Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, PGA, and SAGs. For an awards season that was once wide open, it is very suddenly all Argo, all the time. This sweep does not bode well for the other eight Best Picture Oscar nominees: Les Miserables, Amour, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings Playbook, and Lincoln.

Looking at Oscars history, there is still some hope for the non-Argo Best Picture nominees. The biggest form of hope is that in Oscar history, only three films have won the Best Picture award without receiving a nomination for Best Director. Those three films were Wings (1927), Grand Hotel (1932), and Driving Miss Daisy (1989.) If Argo were to win Best Picture, it would be only the fourth film in history to win under these circumstances.

In particular, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook seem to be the two films with the most reason to hope. Lincoln has the most nominations (12), and Silver Linings Playbook is the first film in 31 years to have nominees in all four acting categories. That said, Argo’s awards track record does seem unbeatable. As the Hollywood Reporter wrote

"The Critics' Choice and Golden Globe wins might be dismissed as somewhat irrelevant, reflecting the will of a relatively small groups of journalists (they have 268 and 84 voting members, respectively), while the Oscars are determined by 6,014 people who actually make movies. But that's why the awards bestowed upon Argo by the PGA and SAG (which have 3,800 and 120,000 voting members, respectively) are so significant: They suggest a consensus among large numbers industry insiders, many of whom are also in the Academy."

We’ll have to wait until February 24 to see if Argo is able to make Oscar history.

Weigh in: Is there any chance at this point that Argo will lose the Best Picture Oscar race? Why did the Academy snub Ben Affleck? More importantly, does Argo even deserve to win? Which film was the best of the year?

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