'Argo' overwhelming pick to win Best Picture

zero.jpgAcademy members have until 5 p.m. today to cast their votes, but the prevailing view is that the Ben Affleck-directed thriller has all but locked up the top prize. The online trading service Intrade gives it an 84 percent chance. If "Argo" does win the Oscar, the post-award analysis will no doubt center on what happened to "Lincoln" and "Zero Dark Thirty," two films that at one time were considered strong contenders. With "Zero Dark Thirty," the political fallout over whether U.S. forces did or did not torture their captives is probably having an impact in the voting (though don't underestimate other factors, such as "Argo's" feel-good ending). What's curious to some is that Sony didn't mount much of a counterattack to claims that the film was inaccurate in its storytelling. From the LAT:

The filmmakers, who maintained that their movie takes no explicit position on torture, wanted to reply and expressed that in a series of meetings with Sony and its awards consultants, according to a person familiar with the discussions who was not allowed to speak about them publicly. But the studio was concerned that a prolonged debate could deter moviegoers. They pleaded for silence until the Jan. 11 national release, hoping the furor would die down, the person familiar with the talks said. Neither Bigelow nor Sony executives would speak on the record for this story. More criticism came. The studio released only a three-sentence statement signed by Boal and Bigelow that said in part: "We depicted a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods that were used in the name of finding Bin Laden. The film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt." When Oscar nominations were announced, the film was nominated for best picture, actress, editing, sound editing and original screenplay, but Bigelow was left out of the director shortlist.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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