For years, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has tried to add some drama to the Oscarcast — hard, since by the time Oscar night rolls around, so many other groups have presented their awards, few surprises remain.
Well, this year, they finally may have achieved their goal — if for the wrong reasons.
With nine films nominated for best picture, but only five nominated for best director, there were bound to be some shut-outs, but the snubs of directors Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Top Hooper (Les Miserables) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) — all prior Oscar winners — in favor or two newcomers sent predictions into a tailspin. Add to that the continuing success of Argo in best picture competitions (Golden Globes and BAFTAs; the Screen Actors Guild’s equivalent, best ensemble) and Affleck’s own victory as director, not only is Argo the unlikely frontrunner for best picture, there is no frontrunner for best director.
So what’s gonna happen?
That’s what the Academy hoped you’d ask.
When the world goes upside down like this, almost anything is possible — especially in the best actress category, which is wide open, and best supporting actor, which looks like a two-man race but which could allow a spoiler. Here are your best bets to win the office Oscar pool (the Oscars will be presented Sunday night, broadcast on ABC):
NOTE: If you wanna challenge yourself with Oscar trivia from me, I’ll be hosting a show Sat., Feb. 23 on Facebook’s Hollywood Babylon fan site starting at 1 p.m. Central!