Last night, Ben Affleck’s Iranian hostage thriller Argo won top honors at the Producer’s Guild Awards, continuing its awards season sweep started with the Critics’ Choice Awards and continued through the Golden Globes.
The win positions the film as a major contender for the Academy Award’s Best Picture prize, squaring off against such heavyweights as Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty.
The Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture have often gone hand-in-hand historically, with only a small number of directors who have won an Oscar not seeing their film similarly rewarded. However, due to the recent Best Picture category rules change that allows anywhere between five and ten nominees while the Best Director category is still locked in at five nominees, Affleck found himself squeezed out of the director’s competition while his film was not. As such, Argo was not considered having as much of a chance at Best Picture as those films whose directors did manage to get a nomination.
But the Producers Guild Awards has emerged as a strong indicator as to who will win the Best Picture Oscar. In the last five years, it has accurately presaged what film was going to go home with the golden statuette. In the past ten years it has predicted seven out of ten winners and has a 16 out of 23 accuracy overall.
So what’s next? This coming Saturday will be the Directors Guild Awards, which Oscar prognosticators have often used as an indicator for who will win Best Director at the Academy Awards. If Affleck continues his winning streak, it would certainly cement Argo‘s lead for Best Picture. And if Argo were to win an Oscar, it would become only the third film in Academy Awards history to have ever won a Best Picture Oscar without even having even a nomination in the Best Director category.
Of course, the problems with percentages is that unless they are 100 per cent, there’s still room for the possibility that things will go another way. We’ll find out which way things fall on February 24th when the Academy Awards are awarded.