Wednesday, May 29, 2024

“Argo”: A Best Picture Without a Best Director or Best Actors?


Ben Affleck’s “Argo” won the SAG award for Best Ensemble tonight. It’s now set up to win the Oscar for Best Picture in a unique way–without a Best Director or any acting prizes. That be a first. Even though “Slumdog Millionaire” won without actors, its director–Danny Boyle–got the nod. And although movies do win Best Picture without their directors, the directors are at least nominated.

But this year, lacking the Directors Guild nominees for a cheat sheet, Academy members omitted three of the five Best Picture nominees’ directors– Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Ben Affleck for “Argo,” and Tom Hooper for “Les Miz.” They also left out Quentin Tarantino for “Django Unchained.” Only David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”) made sense. The other three–Ang Lee, Benh Zeitlin, and Michael Haneke don’t really correspond with the Best Picture nominations.

The SAG winners for acting were spread out among three films– Best Actor and Supporting Actor for Lincoln went to Daniel Day Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones. Jennifer Lawrence was Best Actress for Silver Linings, and Anne Hathaway was Best Supporting Actress for Les Miz.

So now what? Argo won SAG, the Producers Guild, the Critics Choice and the Golden Globe for Drama. Three weeks of Academy voting now commence. Voters will have to decide if this all makes sense, or not. The Oscar race isn’t over, but it’s certainly more interesting than ever.

PS Some questions from the SAG Awards– I did think Mary Tyler Moore was coming back to present to Dick Van Dyke. He did her the favor last year. She was missed. And where was Tommy Lee Jones? Ditto Joaquin Phoenix, although Daniel Day Lewis spoke so graciously about him.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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