What’s funny about “Argo” now is this: However big a favorite it has become to win best picture at the Academy Awards, it is still challenged in every other Oscar category.
As a result, even should it be so fortunate to win the final award of the night Feb. 24, “Argo” might end with the fewest victories of any Oscar champion in a long time.
We might be getting ahead of ourselves, but then again, maybe not. Now that Ben Affleck and friends have recovered from his Oscar director omission to win honors from the Producers Guild, Screen Actors Guild and, as of Saturday, the Directors Guild awards, it does seem to make less sense to talk about how likely it is that “Argo” will win best picture at the Oscars … and more sense to talk about how much it won’t win.
For example, we know “Argo” will get shut out of at least 17 out of 24 categories, including that pesky director one, making Affleck the seventh director to win at the DGAs without winning at the Oscars.
That leaves, in addition to best picture, the following possibilities: supporting actor (Alan Arkin), adapted screenplay (Chris Terrio), film editing (William Goldenberg), original score (Alexandre Desplat), sound editing (Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn) and sound mixing (John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Jose Antonio Garcia).
Arkin is in a powerhouse category that includes Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones and Christoph Waltz. Terrio has to top the scripts from “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Then there’s the quartet of below-the-line awards. The best picture hopes for “Argo” could provide lift it in these categories, but it hardly seems assured that the film will win all four, especially in this widely acknolwedged rich year of film in which there might sentiment to try to spread the wealth.
So where does that leave us? “Argo” could go 7 for 7. But keep these stats for best picture winners in mind:
• Last to win four Oscars: “The Departed” (2006)
• Last to win three Oscars: “Crash” (2005)
• Last to win two Oscars: “The Greatest Show on Earth” (1952)
• Last to win one Oscar: “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1935)