Alas we've arrived at the granddaddy of awards categories. The crown jewel of Oscar night. One of nine films will go down in movie history as being the best film for 2012. Whether the deserving film gets selected will certainly be up for debate.
Let's first look at the favorites. Lincoln enters the Oscars with the most nominations, which doesn’t necessarily translate into it dominating Oscar night, but the plethora of nominations certainly hints that the Academy thinks highly of the film. Argo and Silver Linings Playbook have picked up big wins at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards so perhaps momentum is on their side.
Life of Pi comes into the evening with the second most nominations and while it stands a chance in some of the more technical and design categories, is it a legitimate contender for best picture? The Ang Lee film is the most successful film of the nine nominees, banking $500 million worldwide, with 80% of that coming from international audiences.
Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained and Les Miserables are the three more films that have earned buzz among casual moviegoers. Django and Les Miserables have both banked north of $200 million worldwide while Zero Dark Thirty has proven to be a box office hit, finishing in the top five for the entire month of January.
And then there are those two indie films, one which snuck in (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and one which will most likely win the foreign film award (Amour). Both of these films have earned some surprising nominations, not just for Best Picture, but in the directing and acting categories as well. Could the love the Academy has shown these films translate in a surprise win on Oscar night?
Here are the winners thus far from the various major awards shows and critics organizations:
AFI Award (Movie of the Year): Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Les Miserables
BAFTA Awards: Argo
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards: Argo
Cannes Film Festival, Palme d'Or: Amour
DGA Awards: Ben Affleck for Argo
Golden Globes Award: Argo (drama), Les Miserables (comedy/musical)
Hollywood Film Festival: Argo
National Board of Review (Top Films): Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Lincoln, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Les Miserables
PGA Awards: Argo
SAG Awards (Ensemble in a Motion Picture): Argo
Sundance Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Head on over to our Ballot Box and make your selection for Best Picture as well as all the other Oscar categories for your chance to win a pair of movie tickets and sound off with your Best Pic choice in the comment section below.
The Academy Awards air on ABC on February 24 at 4 p.m. PST/7 p.m. EST.