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2013 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Picture

February 22nd, 2013

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try to figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. We wrap up our look at the prestigious categories with the most prestigious of them all: Best Picture. Like last year, there are nine nominees. Unlike last year, none of them were completely out of left field. That's not to say they all have a legitimate shot at winning; there's definitely a favorite. However, politics could become an issue. I don't mean politics as in Democrat vs. Republican. I mean behind-the-scenes issues might play a bigger role than what is on the screen. Let's take a look at the nominees, and their chances to claiming the crown on Sunday.

Best Picture

Amour
Tomatometer Score: 93% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: One
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: None
Guild Wins: None
Notes: It is very rare for a foreign language film to be nominated for any award outside of the Best Foreign Language Film category. Amour became only the 9th such film in the Oscar's 85-year history to be nominated to win. If it won, it would be the first.

Argo
Tomatometer Score: 96% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Seven
Golden Globe Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Wins: Two
Guild Nominations: Four
Guild Wins: Three
Notes: Argo went from being a minor player during awards season to the one to beat. It has been cleaning up during the Guild ceremonies, while it won Best Drama and Best Director at the Golden Globes. There is one issue. Ben Affleck was snubbed for Best Director, and the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars tend to go to the same film. There is a chance this snub will help Argo's chances in this category, as the Oscar voters will admit they made a mistake not given him at least a nomination. Or they might become stubborn in their view that since they didn't give him at least a nomination for Best Director, the film can't be the Best Picture.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tomatometer Score: 86% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Nominations: None
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: None
Guild Wins: None
Notes: This is the longest of the long shots in this category. In fact, it is the longest of the long shots in most categories for which it is nominated. It was ignored by the Golden Globes and the guilds, while its box office numbers are weak compared to most of the rest of the films on this list.

Django Unchained
Tomatometer Score: 89% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Wins: Two
Guild Nominations: None
Guild Wins: None
Notes: While this film earned excellent reviews and became Quentin Tarantino's biggest hit, it hasn't done as well with Awards Season voters. It likely won't go home empty-handed on Oscar night, but winning Best Picture is likely out of reach.

Les Miserables
Tomatometer Score: 70% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Eight
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: One
Notes: I don't think this film has a chance of winning this award. In fact, I think it didn't deserve this nomination, or indeed half the nominations it got. Anne Hathaway should win, and the film will likely pick up a technical award or two, but if it wins Best Picture, it will be one of the biggest surprises of the night.

Life of Pi
Tomatometer Score: 88% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Eleven
Golden Globe Nominations: Three
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Two
Guild Wins: None
Notes: This film certainly has an epic feel to it, but it perhaps relies too much on visual flair and not enough on characters and story to win Best Picture. It likely won't go home empty-handed, but it will probably settle for wins in most of the technical categories.

Lincoln
Tomatometer Score: 89% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Twelve
Golden Globe Nominations: Seven
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: Two
Notes: This film earned the most Oscar nominations, but it also earned the most Golden Globe nominations and only managed one win. It should do better on Oscar night, and it might even win Best Picture. I don't think it is the favorite, but it isn't a long shot either.

Silver Linings Playbook
Tomatometer Score: 84% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Eight
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: One
Notes: This film earned more Oscar nominations than I thought it would, but only Jennifer Lawrence is not an underdog to win. Even there, she's not an overwhelming favorite, but one of two actresses that are about even money.

Zero Dark Thirty
Tomatometer Score: 94% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Three
Guild Wins: One
Notes: This film has underperformed during Awards Season thus far. Since Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed for Best Director, its chances to win Best Picture took a real hit. Granted, the same can be said of Argo, but Argo earned slightly better reviews and it has done far, far better in terms of wins.

Conclusion: I think this is a two-horse race between Argo and Lincoln. Argo wins if it is based on reviews and past Awards Season performance. Lincoln wins if the Best Director snub hurts Argo too much. I'm going with Argo, but Oscar night could end with an upset.


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Filed under: Awards Season, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Argo, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amour, Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, Quentin Tarantino