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Comment 25 JANUARY 2013

Oscars 2013: Can comeback king Ben Affleck beat off 'Lincoln' and 'Les Mis' at the Oscars?

The race for the best picture Oscar remains wide open. Anyone watching the delighted reaction from Ben Affleck's luminous wife at recent awards shows knows that.

Time and again Jennifer Garner has whooped with joy as Argo, the actor/director's riotous thriller about the Iranian hostage crisis, has triumphed. It happened at the Baftas, the Critics Choice, the SAGs and also the Golden Globes where he won best director and best picture.



His recent victories are all the sweeter since a number of his movies including Gigli and Jersey Girl fared badly with critics and at the box office.

But the filmmaker – who first came to Tinseltown's attention in 1997 with a best screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting, which he shared with his pal, fellow wunderkind Matt Damon – isn't making room in his cabinet just yet.

And asked about his chances on Oscar night, Ben, now 40, said: “I don’t try to divine what’s going to happen down the road with movies. Nothing may happen but it’s a wonderful opportunity to be on the ride and I’m really honoured.”


Until Ben's incredible run of luck this year, the best picture prize had seemed like a shoo-in for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. At this stage, anyone would be a fool to count out Hollywood's weaver of dreams.

After all, the 66-year-old titan already has three Oscars – one each for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, as well as an honorary Irving G Thalberg award from the Academy.

And for his biopic of the revered leader he was able to count on the might of Daniel Day-Lewis. Critics who have seen the two-and-a-half hour movie say it is the nearest the American public will get to see their hero walking around.

Other hot contenders include Les Miserables, Tom Hooper's film adaptation of the musical, which features Anne Hathaway as a dying prostitute sobbing out her version of the famous song I Dreamed a Dream.

Moviegoers have been warned to have their hankies at the ready. And it probably helps that two years ago Tom scored a spectacular success with four Oscars for The King's Speech.


Kathryn Bigelow, previously honoured for The Hurt Locker, has a chance too with this year's Zero Dark Thirty, a harrowing window on the CIA's search for Osama bin Laden with Jessica Chastain in the lead role.

For an outside bet, there's also Quentin Tarantino's pulp remix of the Deep South's dark past Django Unchained or Beasts of the Southern Wild, a dreamlike account of surviving poverty in Louisiana with child prodigy Quvenzhane Wallis.

But many now see Ben's movie as the frontrunner. The lovely Mrs Affleck should go prepared to celebrate. February 24 may be the night her husband becomes the toast of the town once again.

Oscar Nominations: Best film and best director

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Les Miserables
  • Zero Dark Thirty

  • Michael Haneke - Amour
  • Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Ang Lee  - Life of Pi
  • Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
  • David O Russell  - Silver Linings Playbook

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