Argo Wins Producers Guild Award In Its Unlikely Surge Toward Best Picture
It's not quite as flashy as last night's star-packed SAG Awards, but the Producers Guild Awards, held last Saturday, hold just as crucial a place in the annual awards season constellation. They've handed their top prize to the film that eventually went on to win Best Picture for the last five years, and last year they could have easily done it again, awarding Argo with their top honor.
Argo wasn't the only winner-- Wreck-It Ralph won in the animation category, Searching for Sugar Man took the documentary award-- but it will likely be the most discussed, especially now that it also took home last night's SAG Award for Best Ensemble. Argo had been tipped as an awards season frontrunner from the moment it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last September, but it seemed to be fading in the face of late-breaking hits like Lincoln and Django Unchained. Then came the actual Oscar nominations, and Affleck's omission from the Best Director category-- a surprise, for sure, and one that has apparently inspired a lot of people to somehow feel sorry for Ben Affleck.
When Argo won big at both the Critic Choice Awards and the Golden Globes just a few days after the Oscar nominations-- including two Best Director wins for Affleck-- it seemed to indicate a groundswell of support for the film. Now the PGA and SAG awards all but confirm it. It's worth remembering that Argo is a huge hit ($187 million worldwide) and received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. And it was very much in the hunt for Best Picture even before the nominations came out, right alongside other presumptive frontrunners like Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty. But now Argo has an irresistibly strong narrative behind it of redemption for Ben Affleck, and that's giving it a serious edge as we enter the last few weeks of the pre-Oscar season.
Could Argo have won all of these awards even without the notorious Affleck "snub"? Probably-- like I said, it was right there in the hunt. But now it's become the strongest Best Picture candidate without a corresponding Director nomination in recent history-- and by the end of February, could be the first to win it without that Director nod since Driving Miss Daisy. The Argo momentum was there from the moment Affleck was left out, but after this weekend, it's stronger than ever.
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