With Argo Sweeping, Where Does That Leave This Year’s Oscar Race?

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It’s now February, and with only a handful of weeks until Oscar Sunday, and with ballots still not yet in the hands of voters, there is still a great deal of time for the movers and shakers behind the awards seasons scenes to, well, move and shake.

But is there?

As Ben Affleck’s Argo continues to tear through the guild awards this season (taking DGA, PGA, SAG and various critics awards), it does appear as though it’s the film to beat. Always thought to be a film that could really benefit from the preferential ballot system that the Academy uses, save for a possible backlash by voters who have yet to even put pen to paper, it appears to be the film to beat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c03nS9WhSss

However, what about that all important snub in the Best Director category? Affleck himself is winning various directing awards, but where did he go wrong with the Academy? A nomination in the sound categories wasn’t all that expect for the film, so there’s a great deal of love on the tech side, and Steven Spielberg felt a similar shock when snubbed for the BAFTAs this year, so if Affleck’s film takes Best Picture, who has Best Director wrapped up?

Clocking in at only one nomination below Spielberg’s Lincoln, and a collection of nominations that it will likely make a great haul out of, director Ang Lee appears to be relatively strong as does his film, Life Of Pi. The aforementioned Brit contingent will likely swoon for it during the BAFTA’s this year, and with it being just the type of film that would be a soft lob down the Academy’s sweet spot, this writer firmly believe that Lee is in the driver’s seat for a win here. Without any acting nominations, to come in only one nomination short of tying Lincoln, a picture with three acting nominations, Life Of Pi is a big time player here.

The acting awards look relatively locked in place (expect Daniel Day-Lewis, Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence to make Oscar their best friend this month), with Best Supporting Actor proving to be the only race really up for grabs. Robert De Niro looks primed for a win for the obviously beloved Silver Linings Playbook, but with these supporting awards coming early, if Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field could weasel out two victories, expect Lincoln to get a great deal of love, even more so than most people imagine.

But frankly, who cares? This has been one hell of an entertaining awards season, and for a year to come down to genuinely great films like Lincoln, Life Of Pi and Argo, we really can’t complain, especially following years of boring races with winners like the deplorably dreadful Slumdog Millionaire. Oscar Sunday can’t get here fast enough.

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