Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 9

There were only three precursors this past week, led off by the Producers Guild of America on Saturday evening, then the Online Film & Television Association on Sunday morning and finishing off with the Screen Actors Guild awards on Sunday evening.

But, before we get into this week’s winners and losers, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this week:

Week 10

Saturday, Feb. 2 – Annie Awards
Saturday, Feb. 2 – Art Directors Guild Awards
Saturday, Feb. 2 – Directors Guild of America Awards

Big Winners

Argo winning the PGA award for Best Picture is the third major victory for Ben Affleck’s film that points towards a Best Picture win at the Oscars. It has been frequently noted that Apollo 13, which suffered a similar fate at the Oscars in 1995 when Ron Howard wasn’t nominated for Best Director at the Oscars, but went on to win the PGA, SAG and DGA awards, may be the best precedent to date. The difference, though is that Apollo 13 didn’t win the Golden Globe, which Argo did. Whether that means anything we won’t know until Oscar night, but the precedents are favorable for Argo. Even Driving Miss Daisy, the last Best Picture winner to take the prize without a Best Director nomination didn’t win DGA. Of course, all this speculation could be defeated by a victory at the DGA by someone other than Ben Affleck.
Daniel Day-Lewis has had all the precursors in his corner, but after his failure to win a second Oscar for Gangs of New York in spite of a sweep of the precursors, it’s hard to believe that the same thing can’t happen again. However, with the kind of names on this list that SAG would typically recognize, I see little reason to believe Day-Lewis hasn’t just become the leader of the pack and will become the first actor in history to win three Best Actor Oscars.
Les Misérables may not have gained any real momentum this week, but its 17 nominations at the OFTA film awards was the most of any film. Whether this means a broader public support for the film or a reliance on nominations in categories not available at the Oscars remains to be seen. Yet, there’s one name for certain to steamroll to Oscar and that’s Anne Hathaway who has had an impressive run of the critics and now SAG, making her the most assured winner of any of the four categories.

Big Losers

Lincoln continues to disappoint in the precursors this year. The film has managed only one victory so far and that’s from the Dallas-Fort Worth film critics. Crash was the last film to win only one other precursor before carrying off the Oscar for Best Picture back in 2005. And that’s it in the least 15 years. So, if precedent doesn’t favor Argo, it doesn’t favor Lincoln, either. That being said, with the majority of awards going to films other than Lincoln, is there really much chance for that film? Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook and The Master are the only films with multiple awards going in, thus they would be more likely than Lincoln to be a player. However, precedents are made to be broken, so it could come out on top. Two awards from SAG show that it does have a high level of support, so who knows.
Hugh Jackman is the only actor at this point that I felt could take down Daniel Day-Lewis and if his generosity and prominence couldn’t carry him to a victory over the twice SAG-honored Day-Lewis, then his chances at the Oscars have to have taken the biggest hit of any this week.
Zero Dark Thirty went into the season with a strong record, dozens of precursors and high anticipation. Since the protests have begun over its depiction of torture and lack of position-taking on the issue, the film has gradually slid into obscurity and may be one of the strongest precursor winners not to carry through to Oscar in many years. Jessica Chastain’s failure to win at SAG further showed that even the little support the film still had is also fading.

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