From NBC NEWS
One thing’s for sure: Ben Affleck won’t be picking up a best director Academy Award to pair with the Golden Globe he won Sunday night for “Argo.” Although the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave him its top directing prize, the members of the Academy didn’t even include Affleck on their list of nominees. (Conventional wisdom is that Steven Spielberg, by far the biggest name on the Academy’s list, will take that prize.)
Ben Affleck doesn’t even have a shot to repeat his best director win at the Oscars — he’s not nominated.
But Affleck’s film, “Argo,” still could win best picture. Some critics say that’s unlikely, that even though best picture and director are completely separate categories, Academy voters will only support a best picture winner whose director they liked enough to also nominate. (Three films have won best picture without a best director nomination. “Driving Miss Daisy” was the last to do so, back in 1989.)
If the no-best-picture-without-a-director-nomination rule holds, Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is where your smart money goes. The four other films whose directors were nominated are long shots at best for best picture, much as arthouse-goers might love “Beasts of the Southern Wild” or “Amour.”
Many awards watchers went into the Globes expecting a “Lincoln” sweep. Not only did that not happen, the presidential drama won only one award, for Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor. That makes it time to look at the best picture nominees with fresh eyes. Out of nine, there are only three real contenders — “Lincoln,” “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”
“Zero Dark Thirty” had early momentum and stunning reviews, but has made more headlines recently for its torture controversy (and host Amy Poehler’s zinger about director Kathryn Bigelow’s ex-husband James Cameron). The lengthy and engrossing film could still pull out a win, but you’re more likely to see star Jessica Chastain repeat her Globes win for best actress instead. Sorry, Jennifer Lawrence — your Globe win for best actress in a motion picture musical or comedy for “Silver Linings Playbook” probably won’t be enough to dethrone Chastain.