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Is 'Argo' poised to deliver a shocker at Directors Guild Awards?

January 28, 2013|By John Horn
  • Ben Affleck, left, wife Jennifer Garner (in gold dress) and Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures, backstage after "Argo" won the SAG Awards ensemble honor.
Ben Affleck, left, wife Jennifer Garner (in gold dress) and Sue Kroll, president… (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times )

He famously was left in the Academy Awards cold. But could Ben Affleck get a warm welcome from the Directors Guild of America?

Following double weekend wins for "Argo" -- at the Producers Guild of America Awards (where it won best feature on Saturday) and theScreen Actors Guild Awards (recipient of the top ensemble honor on Sunday) -- Affleck's Iran hostage drama now has more momentum than a runaway train.

FULL COVERAGE: SAG Awards 2013

Just weeks after Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" looked like the heavy favorite to win the best picture Academy Award on Feb. 24, "Argo" is now the clear front-runner.

“I’m shocked; whatever amateur handicap I thought I had was completely false,” Affleck said after his film's SAG Awards victory. 

A win for Affleck at this Saturday's DGA ceremony would not only cement "Argo's" chances but also dramatize how bizarre Affleck's snub was from Oscar voters, who failed to shortlist him in their directors race.

Because they include first assistant directors, unit production managers and people who work in television, DGA voters can be more populist than the directors branch within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

SAG 2013: Winners | Quotes | Photo BoothRed carpet | Backstage | Best & Worst

The DGA honors used to be one of the better bellwethers of Oscar prospects for directors, but in recent years have become less reliable.

At the DGA ceremony, Affleck will face off against Spielberg, Ang Lee for "Life of Pi," Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty" and Tom Hooper for "Les Misérables." 

Even if Affleck wins the DGA trophy, awards history is not on the side of "Argo."  The last movie to win the best picture Academy Award and not have its director nominated was "Driving Miss Daisy," in 1990.

But "Argo" and Affleck have so far proved many of their doubters wrong, and seem unstoppable. At the PGA Awards, "Argo" defeated nine other films: "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Django Unchained," "Les Misérables," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Skyfall" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

The SAG ensemble competition included "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Les Misérables" and "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."

Said Affleck after the SAG win: “You can say a lot of things about a lot of awards shows but this is an unimpeachable honor because it’s from my peers and I would put myself last among them.”

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