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The SAGging of the DGA?

You’ll hear a lot of talk today about “The Help” being poised now to upset “The Artist” for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. Don’t fall for it. It’s just the entertainment news broadcasts trying to create some drama. SAG is not the prime indicator for the Best Pic Oscar. That happened the night before. The DGA crowned Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist”—and only six times since 1948 have they missed. Whoever wins the DGA for Best Director almost always gets the Oscar for the same. And since the Best Director almost always goes on to win for his/her picture by the end of the Big Night…it’s pretty damn bankable that “The Artist” and Michel are walking away with their hands full come February 26th. Also, only actors vote at the SAGs. EVERYBODY in the voting body votes for Best Pic at the Academy Awards. Do those numbers make an upset impossible? No. But “The Artist” has its buzz rolling for well over a month now(after fighting off some early blows from “The Descendants”), and the SAG victory for “The Help” is just a minor bump on the road. In fact, the more interesting victory at the SAGs was Jean DuJardin winning for Best Actor over George Clooney. That victory nips at Clooney’s buzz, and with 4 weeks to go, DuJardin has an excellent chance of overcoming George on Sunday the 26th. The supporting categories fell right into line with Christopher Plummer for “Beginners” and Octavia Spencer for “The Help” winning as expected. And the Viola Davis ball keeps rolling, making it very likely that she is officially pulling ahead of Meryl Streep(“The Iron Lady”) now. I am not fond of “The Help” as a film. It is a condescending, puerile look at the race struggle of the 1960’s in the south. By having the main character be a white writer, the story cheapens the struggle of African-Americans for the sake of commercialization. And it focuses a ridiculous amount of screen time on a shit pie—therefore going for the cheap chuckles too. By far, the strongest element of the film is the performance level of both Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. They are deserving of their praise and prizes—but they also deserved a better script. The Academy seems to feel this way as well. They denied nominations to “The Help” for screenplay, directing and editing. Almost all Best Picture winners are up for these awards. So, even though the SAGs aligned for a victory for “The Help” this past Sunday night—don’t expect the stars to do the same on the 26th of February. Things look great for all the other film winners, however.

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