Two historical dramas, one Academy Award. Though nine films are nominated in the Best Picture category ("Amour," "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Django Unchained," "Les Misérables," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty"), the race will likely come down to Ben Affleck's thriller and Steven Spielberg's biopic — a contest, quite literally, for the history books.
How will each film fare? Who will win? That's what we're here to discuss. Put on your stovepipe hat (or pin-striped leisure suit) and get comfortable as we go back to the future to predict the Best Picture winner.
Who Should Win
"Argo" and "Lincoln" both achieved something great in that they presented suspenseful narratives woven from long-ago historical events that most of us studied in high-school history. Yet, for a few moments, didn't it seem like our 16th president might not get the 13th Amendment passed? Or that the Americans might not make it onto the plane out of Iran? Skillful story-crafting at work, but "Argo" seemed to shine just a bit brighter. Maybe it was the witty dialogue ("Argo, f--- yourself!") or the show business self-deprecation or Affleck's Justin Bieber haircut. Whatever the alchemy, "Argo" felt like a more complete movie-going experience, and for that it deserves Best Picture.
Who Will Win
Like we said, this is going to be too close to call. "Lincoln" may boast the most nominations with 12 total (including nods for Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field), but "Argo"'s been cleaning up awards season with Golden Globe, BAFTA and National Board of Review wins. Based on that momentum, we'll give "Argo" a slight advantage. But we won't take it personally if you veto us.