Earlier today we talked about Argo's win at the Producers Guild Awards, where Ben Affleck's film about a 1979 CIA extraction of hostages in Iran, masked under the guise of a motion picture production, took home the top honors. Well, it's happened again. Argo has taken home the award for Best Ensemble Cast at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, the voting body's equivalent of Best Picture. Argo beat out major contenders as Lincoln (which has the most Oscar nominations this year), Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserables. It also beat out the comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is neither here nor there now, since it was completely snubbed at the Academy Awards (congratulations on all the SAG nominations, though).
While the critics awards are perhaps a factor in Oscar prognostication, the guild awards actually reveal where the industry's heart lies, and with two major wins under its belt it now seems that Argo may be the odds on favorite for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards, despite not having the most nominations (normally a detriment to any film's chances) and being completely snubbed for Best Director. (The last time a movie won Best Picture with a Best Director nomination was over 20 years ago, when Driving Miss Daisy won despite a snub for director Bruce Beresford.) We're hesitant to call Argo a sure thing, since Lincoln is still a major contender, but if you have an office pool going for the Academy Awards, you may want to adjust your picks accordingly.
Otherwise, the SAG Awards were pretty straightforward. Daniel Day-Lewis took home the Best Actor prize for Lincoln, as expected, and Anne Hathaway took home Best Supporting Actress for Les Miserables, as expected. Best Actress, seen largely as a two-way race between Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, went to Jennifer Lawrence's spunky comedy performance over Chastain's steely, resolved turn in Kathryn Bigelow's film. Best Supporting Actor went to Tommy Lee Jones's performance as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, which would help cement his chances at the Oscars, except for the fact that Robert De Niro, considered his primary competition in the Supporting Actor category at the Academy Awards, was not nominated at the SAG Awards for his role in Silver Linings Playbook.
It is, of course, mildly insulting to these various voting bodies to only report their winners as handicapping elements for the "big" awards show, the Oscars. They are a dedicated group of industry professionals who are celebrating their craft and awarding exclusively their peers, who have (at least by-and-large) turned in excellent work to deserve these sorts of accolades. Congratulations to all the winners of the guild awards throughout the industry. Seriously. We just don't know anyone who bets on them, so our prognostications will continue until someone finally wins that precious iPod.