Why the SAGs Matter and the Golden Globes Don't

Or 'How Ben Travers Cover His Ass for Underestimating Argo'

So, remember last week when I wrote Argo's Golden Globe win for Best Picture didn't mean anything? Well, by itself, that's still true. However, when you pair that with wins at the Producers Guild Awards and SAGs last week, it means quite a bit.

Before its impressive run last week, I wrote the attention paid to the film would help it attract a few extra votes, but would need many, many more Oscar voters to change parties to make it a serious contender for the Academy’s top prize. After all, there wasn’t much love for it during the nominations process.

All that has clearly changed. People are throwing their support behind it left and right. It looks like there are actually enough converts to Argoism. These aren’t just foreign journalists voicing their love—the Screen Actors Guild shares many, many members with the Academy. These are Oscar voters casting their precursor ballots.

Ben Affleck's Iranian hostage thriller is now in prime position for the Oscars. Voting has yet to start, and the only major show left is the DGA on Saturday (February 2). Affleck doesn't have to win to keep Argo in the lead for Best Picture, but another win would make his film a virtual lock to win at the Dolby.

What happened? Well, part of it had to be sympathy for the snubbed director. It's impossible to make up for missing out in Oscar, but it looks like the Hollywood community is doing their damnedest anyway. Their remarkable efforts may have saved the picture. It has to be considered the front-runner right now, despite its lack of Academy love.

Lincoln is certainly still a formidable opponent with a Best Actor trophy already in its pocket and 11 other nominees, all of which could potentially win (I’m not counting out Sally Field simply because if I do, I could jinx her expected loss). It has a lot of support from within the Academy, but it looks like its momentum is waning. Who would’ve guessed the worst thing to happen to Spielberg’s baby was Affleck getting snubbed?

As for the other races, things went pretty much as expected. Daniel Day-Lewis has another trophy for his mantel. Anne Hathaway continued her well-deserved run through the precursors. Jennifer Lawrence won another key battle against Jessica Chastain, and Tommy Lee Jones emerged from the crowded Supporting Actor field—a group notably missing Globe winner Christoph Waltz.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Oscars fall to the same lucky four. The only acting race still somewhat open is Supporting Actor, and you could make a case for each nominee being the favorite. Robert De Niro is Robert De Niro, and the community had to be ecstatic seeing him actually act again. Philip Seymour Hoffman has earned the most raves, is a past winner, and clearly gave the best performance among the group (not that that last point matters much to Academy voters). Alan Arkin could capitalize on the Argo love and walk away with his second trophy. TLJ won the SAG. Christoph won the Globe. It’s anyone’s game, but my gut says the grumpiest man in Hollywood will walk away victorious.

What does everyone else think? Is Argo unstoppable at this point? Does Lincoln still have legs? Can the Weinsteins pull off the biggest upset in Oscar history and find a way to get Silver Linings Playbook to the Dolby podium? Voice your vote below.

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