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Will LINCOLN Win Best Picture at the Oscars?

Will Lincoln win best picture at this year’s Oscars? Could we be heading for something akin to the Oscars for the year 1974?

Going into the big night, Chinatown (1974) and The Godfather Part II (1974) each had eleven nominations, but Chinatown (1974) had recently won the Golden Globe Award for Best Film, giving it the edge. In fact, The Godfather Part II had not won a single Best Picture prize going into Oscar night, though Francis Ford Coppola had won Best Director awards from the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the National Society of Film Critics. Still, there was no reason to think The Godfather Part II could or would win because Coppola had won the DGA Award two years earlier for The Godfather (1972) and then lost the Academy Award to Bob Fosse. In addition, though The Godfather Part II was well reviewed, actually stronger than the first, it had not been the box office hit that the first had. There was little doubt that Chinatown was heavily favored to win Best Picture and Best Director, even with Coppola’s DGA win for The Godfather Part II. Might I add he had also been nominated for his direction of The Conversation (1974) which was up for an Oscar as Best Picture, but not Best Director?

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Francis Ford Coppola would win Best Director this time, and a few minutes later The Godfather Part II (1974) won the Academy Award Best Picture, its sixth win of the night, becoming the first sequel to earn an Oscar as Best Picture.

In my opinion The Godfather Part II  is the greatest American film ever made, a masterpiece that actually surpassed the first film with its power and art. How it did not win any major Best Picture awards before the Oscars is beyond me, and bizarre because it is now considered one of the cinema’s greatest works.

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As we edge closer to Oscar night, I am not prepared to place everything I have on Argo winning Best Picture. Yes it has been on some sort of miraculous winning streak, and Ben Affleck won the DGA Award as Best Director, but he cannot win the Oscar because he was not nominated for the Oscar. There are those within the Academy who loved Lincoln and I believe that that group of people will prove to be strong enough to land Lincoln (2012) the Academy Award for Best Film and Spielberg will win for Best Director. That is what I believe. Along with that is the sense that an Argo win for Best Picture makes the Academy look very foolish for not nominating the young director in the first place, and the Academy does not like to look foolish…at least not on purpose. SO I do not believe Argo will win Best Picture.

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Why? Common sense, which has nothing to do with the Oscars and a strong gut feeling.

Lincoln was the best film I saw in 2012, tying with Zero Dark Thirty  but Spielberg’s achievement in directing was the best of the year. The Academy likes Spielberg, and he again broke away from convention and made a film that was bold and brilliant, demanding of its audience and powerfully realistic. Through he years the Academy loves historical drama and Lincoln fits that bill, but more important it is a brilliant piece of filmmaking. For all our bitching about what the Academy does wrong, there are those times they get it right, as they did in 1974 with The Godfather Part II.

Tommy Lee Jones should have won Best Supporting Actor, Tony Kushner will win for his eloquent script, Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor (first actor to win three), Spielberg for Director (his third) and the last award of the night will be for Lincoln. Yep I am way out on a limb here, and I could be dead wrong…I just do not think I am.

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John Foote

John Foote