Tonight Argo is continuing its massive awards haul in Best Picture categories taking home the top prize, the Daryl F. Zanuk Award for Outstanding Producer of a Theatrical Motion Picture, or the Best Picture award at the Producer's Guild of America. This film has won three major Best Picture awards from the PGA Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), and the Golden Globes. Will Argo win at the Oscars? Argo is missing one key component a Best Director nominee, and the last and only film to win without a Best Director nomination was Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Films also typically win Best Picture, and Best Director, the two honors seems to come as a pair more often than not (but not always). Let's look at the last few years to see how the PGA has done:
2011: "The Artist"
2010: "The King's Speech"*
2009: "The Hurt Locker"*
2008: "Slumdog Millionaire"*
2007: "No Country for Old Men"*
2006: "Little Miss Sunshine"
2005: "Brokeback Mountain"
2004: "The Aviator"
2003: "The Lord of the Rings: "The Return of the King"*
2001: "Moulin Rouge!"
From 2000 through 2011, 8 of 12 films that won at the PGA went on to win at Oscar. The Last time a film won at PGA and not at the Oscars was 6 years ago, and that was Little Miss Sunshine. Let's look at the year's Oscar and PGA did not line up.
In 2006 the PGA winner was Little Miss Sunshine and the Oscar winner was The Departed. First strike Little Miss Sunshine was a comedy with no director nomination, or editing nomination up against Martin Scorsese who had never won an Oscar. Little Miss Sunshine won SAG too, while Martin Scorsese won DGA. To be fair films directed by two people rarely get nominations for both directors at Oscars, West Side Story was an exception, but it was West Side Story.
2005 the PGA went to Brokeback Mountain and the Oscar went to Crash. Brokeback was the overwhelming favorite, but was missing one key component, a Best Editing nomination, which Crash received and won. The editing nomination is one of the biggest components or clues as to who can win at the Oscars. Crash also won SAG, but was not nominated at the Globes, one of the rare times the Best Picture was not even nominated at the Globes.
2004 the PGA went to The Aviator and Oscar went to Million Dollar Baby. This really was the Aviator vs. Million Dollar Baby Oscars. The Aviator cleaned up in the tech categories winning Best Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Cinematography and Best Supporting Actress. Meanwhile Million Dollar Baby won Picture, Director, Actress, and Supporting Actor. The Aviator actually won more awards, than the Best Picture winner, but everyone loved Clint! During this season there was a clear split in what was "the best" critics and SAG went for Sideways, Globes and PGA went for The Aviator, but DGA picking Clint Eastwood was a sign the Oscars were going to change things.
2001 Moulin Rouge! won PGA and A Beautiful Mind won the Oscar. A Beautiful Mind won the Globe for Best Drama, and Ron Howard won the DGA. This started to that concept of a lack on consensus trend, which you see in 2004 and 2006.
A Beautiful Mind, Million Dollar Baby, and The Departed (although a little violent for their taste) were or felt like the right picks from the Academy's point of view. A Beautiful Mind was a clever bio-pic. Million Dollar Baby was about an upstart female boxer. The Departed was a chance to finally honor Marty. The only unexplainable year is 2005, but the lack of a Best Editing nomination helps with that (somewhat). Brokeback losing was an interesting sign that Hollywood may not be as ok with "the gay thing" as one would expect.
So what does this mean for Argo? Argo was not the critics darling that was Zero Dark Thirty and Amour, but they are not going to win the top prize this year. Lincoln has the most nominations, but Daniel Day-Lewis appears to be the only person winning for that right now. Life of Pi like The Aviator will clean up in the tech categories or at least do well like Hugo last year. Tonight's SAG awards will either clear things up or make things cloudier and less predictable. The Weinstein Machine will most likely steam roll the competition giving Silver Linings Playbook the win. In that case who ends up on top? The odd answer is Lincoln. This year looks like those years that lack consensus, and what film came out on top most of the time, the one with little to no solid precursor strength. That would be Lincoln.
Argo won here tonight because of the hard work the producers to get this film made, and this film could repeat at the Oscar in Best Picture, this is within the realm of possibility. The true test will be the guild awards and who wins. SAG, DGA, WGA, and ACE. If Argo wins any two of these consider the Best Picture race over. SAG will likely go to Silver Linings Playbook. DGA could go to Affleck, but they could also pick Spielberg. WGA will go to Lincoln's script. ACE (the editing guild) is the one to watch. If Argo wins this guild and DGA, along with their PGA win then they should out step Lincoln. Zero Dark Thirty has a great shot with this guild, and this prize on Oscar night, so they should watch their step. If you want to win your Oscar pool at work, pay attention to these awards. At the his point Best Picture is still anyone's guess.
Here are the rest of the winners: