The Oscar nominations this morning threw us for a loop, shutting out Argo and Zero Dark Thirty directors Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow in the directing category. Though both films were still nominated for Best Picture, it appears that they may not have as likely a chance of taking home the prize as they might have—only three films have won Best Picture without being nominated in the directing category.
So where does the race stand now? It's time for rampant speculation, of course!
Lincoln Takes The Prize
This was a logical theory even without today's surprises. Lincoln has taken the most Golden Globes and BAFTA nominations, and it's an easy choice for Academy members to award: a classic, patriotic story, with a much-loved director at the helm. Andrew O'Heihr at Salon writes that it "is the overwhelming favorite," adding that he "wouldn’t be surprised to see Day-Lewis, Steven Spielberg, writer Tony Kushner, supporting actor Tommy Lee Jones and the film itself sweep the big awards on Oscar night." At Deadspin Tim Grierson and Will Leitch wrote: "It's difficult to see a scenario where Lincoln doesn't romp." You can bet on it: Intrade says it has a 73 percent chance of winning.
Silver Linings Playbook Pulls A Shakespeare in Love
Multiple Oscar-watchers, including The New York Times' Melena Ryzik, have pointed to the 71st Academy Awards as an example of how this year could go. That year, the romantic Shakespeare in Love overtook the sprawling (and Spielberg-directed) Saving Private Ryan to win Best Picture. (In that case Spielberg won the directing prize.) With Silver Linings picking up eight nominations—and one in each acting category, something that hasn't happened in 31 years—the comedy about love, dance, football, and mental illness could be the surprise winner. Christopher Rosen at the Huffington Post points out that Harvey Weinstein, whose studio won for both The Artist and The King's Speech, is behind Silver Linings meaning it is "not a leap to suggest that Weinstein knows how this game works." There is a caveat, however, to all the accolades for the movie's actors, Scott Feinberg writes at The Hollywood Reporter: "The film scored only one nomination in a 'below-the-line' category, best film editing." (That category, he notes though is an important one.)
Life of Pi Surprises Everyone
The race is being set up as a three-way one between Lincoln, Silver Linings, and Life of Pi. And yet, while Glenn Whipp at the Los Angeles Times gives it 4-1 odds to win, we're not hearing a lot of reasons why that might happen. Whipp explains that its "lack of acting noms hurts," though Feinberg points out it has a "large base of support" after cleaning up in the technical categories. Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican gloats a little because he predicted this movie would be a "top contender."
Zero Dark Thirty and Argo Get Back in The Game
Per Feinberg, both films got screenplay and film editing nominations, which "has to give their supporters hope that the best director snub is an aberration and nothing more."