Trolling the Oscars: Why None of These Movies Deserve to Win Best Picture

Welcome to the internet, where all of my opinions are right. You know what’s so great about being able to log into a CMS account and self-publish my thoughts and ideas? No matter how I actually feel, everything I write online comes across as completely sincere and competent, even when the things I write are neither of those things! It’s a brave new world we’re living in, when tweets can be art and art can be criticized by any person with an idea for a clever hashtag. Naturally, it’s time to harness this power by showing you exactly why none of the nine nominees for Best Picture deserve to win a goddamn thing. Let’s go!

Amour

Oh, come on. You didn’t see Amour. You know how I know this? Because I didn’t see Amour. I didn’t see this movie because I could just call my grandparents and ask them to speak to me in French for two hours. At least the phone call would be free! And hey, maybe I’d get twenty bucks out of it or somewhere, whereas Amour would cost me at least thirteen dollars and bring with it a lot of emotional anxiety. Anyway, this movie should not win, but I kind of wish it would if only so I can quickly take screenshots of midwestern teenagers tweeting about how they don’t know what Amour is. That’s how blogging works!

Argo

Ugh, Argo. Argofuckyourself, indeed, Argo! The major point about Argo was that Ben Affleck can direct a movie, which comes as a surprise to literally no one because he has already directed two movies that people liked a lot. The other reason Argo was made was so Ben Affleck could take off his shirt in another movie. Oh, and you know another thing that sucked about Argo? The fact that none of the women in Argo were allowed to speak to each other on camera. Sorry, Clea Duvall; you get to be in a Big Motion Picture, but you may only open your mouth when in the presence of Victor Garber. And don’t you dare make eye contact with Ben Affleck! 

Beasts of the Southern Wild

I do love a movie with a precocious child as much as the next guy, but how awkward do you feel about the fact that some white people from New York City went down to New Orleans to make a movie about magical negroes? I’m surprised there weren’t any animated bears and foxes floating along the river, or that those giant titular beasts didn’t burst into "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." 

Django Unchained

This one is simple: Django Unchained should not win Best Picture because it is not Jackie Brown and Jackie Brown is the only Quentin Tarantino movie that deserves to win Best Picture. 

Les Misérables

A friend of mine described this movie with the following: "It was like in acting classes when one person started crying and then everyone else in class cried harder and louder and uglier." This is one of the few movies in which everyone was dead at the end and I thought, "You know what? I’m OK with this." That is until the ghost of Anne Hathaway showed up again with that chopped-off hair and sad dress, which made me depressed. I really hate that it’s a known fact that your apperance when you die is what you’ll look like in Heaven. Really sucks for people who get run over by trucks, huh? 

Life of Pi

Spoiler alert: Pi is the tiger, and the tiger is Pi, and the eggman is Paul, I think, and maybe we ought to remake Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band but with 3D CGI, but I’m getting distracted. Life of Pi is a cartoon movie for adults who are still making their way through Oprah’s Book Club.

Lincoln

Oh, I’m sorry, is this category called Best Way to Nap? Lincoln was terrible. Remember how fun TV miniseries used to be? They were long, yes, but they were campy as hell, had a lot of awkward sex not normally seen during primetime, and were stuffed with lots of recognizable people who were not really famous but still possessed a certain level celebrity that you’d still be excited if you saw them on the street. Lincoln was just a really expensive TV-miniseries, but without the sex. Or the fun. And with overwritten dialogue by Tony Kushner. I got a screener of Lincoln, and it’s best uses so far have been as a coaster and as a substitute for Ambien.

Silver Linings Playbook

I can’t for the life of me figure out why people love this movie so much. Is it because we’re so desperate to see Ben Stiller act in a dramatic performance that we could substitute in Bradley Cooper and just go with it? Is it because it’s nice to see Julia Stiles back in action? Is it because of Jacki Weaver saying "crabby snacks and homemades?" Is it because of Dancing With the Stars? Is it because As Good as It Gets was too subtle and we needed a subpar version of that to really hone in the idea of what mental illness is? Or is it because everyone is crazy? If everyone is crazy, no one is crazy. 

Zero Dark Thirty

JUST KIDDING! While you were all being emotionally waterboarded by the rest of what Hollywood had to offer, you guys completely missed the fact that this was the best movie of the year. Jessica Chastain! She could act circles around everyone else on this planet, and she wouldn’t be exhausted because she’s, like, a healthy vegan. And you know she’s on track for world domination. GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE. it doesn’t even matter if this loses to, say, Argo, because Kathryn Bigelow will have her revenge on all of you. Especially you, Ben Affleck. 

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

‘American Horror Story: Asylum’: A Candy Apple-Flavored Exorcism

I’m not sure how I feel about American Horror Story: Asylum, you guys. Because either we are in a world where Satan can inhabit a boy—and when he dies, transfers itself over to Sister Mary Eunice—OR we are in a world where the horrors are confined to barbaric hospital conditions and Academy Award nominee James Cromwell trying to rape a prostitute after dressing her up like the aforementioned nun. It can’t be both! Because as terrible as rape and electroshock therapy and BLOODY FACE all are, we are now on some next-level paranormal shit, and that will always take precedence over mortal problems. I’m sorry, Chloe Sevigny. You picked the wrong reality to try out your feminist theories about gender relations and sex, and how come men have as much sex as they want but when women do it, they’re called sluts? Take it to Mad Men, lady, because Briarcliff has some real problems.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First off, our cold open takes care of Lana Winters’ only link outside of Briarcliff, as BLOODY FACE murders her lesbian girlfriend. (Who I’m now recognizing as that chick from all those early 21st century classics like The Faculty.) Oh man, and she was planning to go recant the commitment forms she signed after Sister Jude threatened to out her! Does that mean BLOODY FACE is working with Sister Jude, or that the show didn’t want that loose end hanging over our head all season? Maybe both. Either way, I am convinced the screeching has started to get more intense in the opening sequence. Right?

First season:

Second season:

I think next season they should get these girls to do a cover, since they’ve nailed it. (Skip to 1:11 to skip weird Australian accents.)

Now that girlfriend is dead, Lana is really stuck up in Briarcliff. Though, ostensibly, neither Lana nor Sister Jude know about the murder, which really makes you wonder what the nun’s long-term plan was, here. She caught Lana snooping around and locked her up to scare her, fine. But now she’s stuck with her, and Lana is writing a bunch of notes about the terrible conditions of the hospital, which she keeps in her pillow until they are found by the U.S. Marshall from Lost who was always trying to catch Kate.  You know he is going to be a really bad guy, because he has one of those faces, like Robert Patrick or the guy who played RoboCop.

"I don’t need those sister, I have an excellent memory!" Lana boasts to Jude’s back, because she is an idiot. "Yeah, we’ll see about that," Sister Jude replies. Lana Winters just earned herself one round of electroshock therapy!

Which again, what is the point here? Sister Jude is obviously reticent to order ECT on a patient, even if it’s only because she has to go beg her mortal enemy, Dr. Science Arden to perform it. So her plan was to just keep Lana locked up forever with her nosy journalist’s brain that’s now a little less nosy because it has the demons tased out of it? That’s a remarkable lack of foresight, especially when the grounds are swarming with state officials, like the aforementioned psychiatrist, Dr. Oliver Thredson. He’s there to determine whether Kip (Tate) is mentally fit to stand trial for the murder of three women that he allegedly skinned alive as BLOODY FACE. But we know Kip isn’t BLOODY FACE, because BLOODY FACE killed Lana’s girlfriend when Kip was locked up. Still, when he tells his story of the little green men abducted his African-American wife, Dr. Thredson gives his opinion while doing the whole Carrie Bradshaw voiceover-while-smoking-while-typing thing: "Diagnosis: Acute Clinical Insanity. Would I never run into Big, and would there ever be a good time to see him? When it comes to relationships, is it smarter to follow your heart or your head?" (Not to nitpick, but "acute clinical insanity" has never been a thing. You are a terrible psychiatrist, Thredson!)

Of course, Sister Jude does not like the new doctor, because she is a woman of God and all doctors are something, whatever, you know how nuns be acting crazy. It is interesting how the show is setting up a triangulation between faith, science, and psychology with Sister Jude, Dr. Arden, and now Dr. Thredson respectively. None of them like each other, and it’s probably a metaphor for how uptight the nation still was back in the day when saying "The National Lesbian League" was still a horrible diss and not an awesome kickball team name.

Dr. Arden runs into "his favorite little helper" out in the woods, as Sister Mary Eunice is feeding the invisible monsters he keeps as pets. He wants to thank her for being such a good little double agent, so he’s brought her a candy apple. She demurs, because we all remember what happened when Eve took that caramelized fruit from the serpent. Dr. Arden insists. She demurs again. Then he’s like "Eat. The. Apple." That does the trick, and is also really uncomfortable, as are all Arden’s scenes this episode. It is deeply disturbing that the man who won an Academy Award for Babe (don’t bother, I’ve already Wiki’d it) can be so rapey!

Lana gets a new friend while getting some pampering in hydrotherapy. It’s the same French girl who befriended Kip. Her name is Grace, and she is so intensely loyal to her new blond boyfriend that even when the journalist tells her she knows of a secret way out through the death chutes, she refuses to come along without him. Lana says it’s non-negotiable because she thinks Kip is crazy and also BLOODY FACE. They part ways amicably enough.

Sister Jude gets a visit from two concerned parents. They say their teenage son has been acting out. Jude says she’s had great success curbing the problem of chronic masturbators. That doesn’t relieve the parents much, as their son’s problems are less about diddling himself and more about ripping open a live Guernsey cow and eating/smearing it all over his body. Dr. Thredson decides to poke his nose into this, because he has all the time in the world to piss off nuns. It’s not like a murder trial hinges on his diagnosis or anything, so he offers his medical expertise as they visit lil’ Jed. He’s strapped to a bed and at first seems normal before totally Linda Blairing out, speaking fluent Latin in a deep satanic voice without even a trace of the Baw-ston accent that at least half the characters on this show have.

"This boy needs to be immediately medicated!" says the psychiatrist. "No doctor, that’s not what this boy needs," says the nun. Jed just earned himself an exorcism! Unsurprisingly, it does not go well, especially when SATAN turns off the power in the asylum and Lana tries to make her escape with Grace but inadvertently tips Kip off. You’ll have to excuse me for finding her betrayal captivating. She called the guards and Kip got beat in the face, big whoop. Did you guys know that there is a literal demon upstairs right now?

And in its homage-y way, AHS has Demon Boy follow the exact script from The Exorcist. He throws priests against walls, and taunts the religious with their darkest secrets. InThe Exorcist, the demon pretends to be Father Karras’ mother, knowing that the priest blamed himself for his her death even though it wasn’t his fault. In American Horror Story, Jed knows Sister Jude feels kind of bad about the time when she was a slutty, drunk, nightclub singer and ran over a kid with her car. Totally the same thing.

Look, I’m not saying all Catholics should have a guilt complex, but maybe Sister Jude should feel a little bit more terrible about being a child murderer and also still kind of a slut, since she wants on Monsignor Howard’s scepter so damn bad? Or maybe she should act a little more sorry when she informs Jed’s parents that instead of helping their son, her staff has killed him? Nah, she has bigger problems to deal with. Like making Lana pick which instrument of torture Jude will use to punish Kip and Grace for trying to escape. (Even though it was all Lana’s idea! Bitch-Judas!)  Lana’s "gift" for being a good tattletale is watching her friend suffer, except Kip cops to the whole thing and takes all the whippings. Poor Kip.

But even more poor Sister Mary Eunice. Not only is Dr. Arden secretly obsessed with her up to the point where he hires prostitutes to pretend to be her and show him their "mossy pods," but now she is also possessed. We know this because she kicked back her covers in the hospital’s recovery room, and a cross fell off the wall. Well, these kinds of things take time to develop. No one just starts crab-walking up and down staircases after the spirit of Satan enters them. I’m pretty sure it takes a couple weeks of Pig Latin and peeing yourself till you reach that stage. Can’t wait though!

Follow Drew Grant on Twitter.

‘American Horror Story’: The Gang’s All Back! (Well, Sorta)

I loved the first season of American Horror Story. Let’s just begin with that. I thought Jessica Lange deserved the Emmy and Golden Globe. Evan Peters was robbed by not getting any nominations for "Best Crying." (I’m working off the presumption that if this was an actual category, it would just go to Claire Danes for Homeland.) I even have a sketch of Tate Langdon crying above my bed. That is how into American Horror Story I am.

I was so amped up for the second season that I must have watched those creepy promos a million times. Scary nuns! Straight jackets! M.C. Escher staircases! American Horror Story looked at shows like Twin Peaks and True Blood and correctly realized that it’s impossible to keep audiences both terrified and invested in the characters after season 1.5, so they are making each one a self-contained narrative, with it’s own cast.  But since Lange and Peters did such a good job last time around, they were hired to play two new main characters. You can pretty much imagine the state I was in last night for the premiere.

Still, I had my fears. I had my hand-wringing concerns. I was uneasy about American Horror Story’s propensity for straight homages to other scary movies, sometimes at the cost of the series’ own plot. Last season, this predilection gave the show some of its strongest themes—like the whole Rosemary’s Baby thing—but also contributed to its weakest moments. (Two thirds of the second episode was spent literally remaking The Strangers, with a couple Funny Games allusions thrown in for good measure.)

Luckily, this doesn’t seem to be the case in the new American Horror Story, which is set in a Boston mental institution in the 1960s. Except wait! Last year, the premiere began with a flashback to the ’70s. And as we begin our delve into the heart of darkness this year, we start in the present day… a flash-forward. Did American Horror Story just give itself a masturbatory self-homage? Very clever.

A little less clever, however, is the couple we are introduced in this cold open: Mrs. Channing Tatum (Jenna Dewan) and the guy with the douchey tattoos from The Voice. That’s right, Adam "Smugface" Levine is (finally?) flexing his acting chops. He’s a horny newlywed who has agreed to the world’s creepiest honeymoon: his wife wants to go have sex in the biggest haunted attractions in the country. And it just so happens that the now-abandoned Briarcliff Manor for the Criminally Insane happens to be their last stop. "So…this is goodbye," indeed. (Alternate joke: He should "move like Jagger out of there!") Instead, they fuck on an operating table.

Mrs. Tatum explains that in 1908, Briarcliff was the largest tuberculosis ward in the East Coast, which is already super scary because no one wants to die like Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. Mid-century, the Catholic Church bought the property and turned it into a state-run mental institution. Still, the "death chute" used to funnel bacteria-infested bodies got to stay, because it slipped everybody’s mind that a building that would be housing the CRIMINALLY INSANE should probably not come equipped with its own escape tunnel to the outside world.

Also, fun fact: Among the residents of the Briarcliff was the infamous BLOODY FACE, a serial killer who skinned his victims alive. When Adam Levine hears about BLOODY FACE, he gets so scared that his arm falls off. (Hopefully it was the tattooed arm.) 

Mrs. Tatum tries to act scared now that they are trapped inside, not having sex. And they are stuck in the abandoned sanitarium with whatever scared Adam’s arm off. There’s only one way out, and it’s tuberculcious! She’ll really need to Step Up now! (Alternate joke: Too bad she didn’t take The Vow of silence before coming up with this terrible Honeymoon idea!)

CACHA! CACHA! SHZZZZ! (That’s my impression of the opening credits, feel free to make your own phonetic guesses.)

Now we are in 1964, and some jerk is having his gas pumped by a snappy youth. The guy is complaining about how it cost three whole dollars to fill up his tank. It’s supposed to be one of those moments where we role our eyes and tell this guy "You jerk! Three dollars is SO CHEAP! Wait till the future!" The problem is, three bucks is actually an insane price for gas in 1964.

Even though he has a right to be mad at the gas price, he loses our sympathy when throws his money on the ground. The poor attendant, good-naturedly suffering what is probably the latest in a long string of gas-related indignities, bends down to pick it up. He straightens up to yell "Drive Safely!" while the camera spins around the reveal…Tate!

Well, not Tate. But Evan Peters, playing some guy named Kit Walker (Pronounced "Wah-kah." Remember, this is a Boston period piece, and Kit sounds like he’s channeling Leonardo DiCaprio’s "duly appointed fehdahral maaaahshal" character from Shutter Island.). Kit doesn’t even care that he has a dumb job, or that his friends are pretty menacing and try to steal his gun within, like, two seconds of showing up at the gas station. Kit isn’t going to let that bring him down, because Kit has a secret. He’s in love! Not just in love, but married! And not just married, but married to a pretty black lady! And it’s 1964, or at least an alternative-reality 1964 where Boston has annexed itself from the north and moved down to the Deep South, where a mixed-race couple is the second worst thing you could be, besides homosexual. (Don’t worry, the show will awkwardly force a lesbian storyline into the pilot as well.)

After awesome sex with his beautiful chocolate bride, Tate sees lights outside and assumes the worst. He grabs his gun and orders Alma to stay inside. Unlucky for him, it’s not his friends or the KKK but ALIENS.

Generally, I don’t find aliens scary, but this whole sequence was terrifying. There were no little green men or slime-covered monsters. Just piercing light, screaming, objects attaching themselves to the ceiling, and a confusing sequence of shots: Kit—now sans wife—is naked, bathed in pure light one second, and then receiving electroshock therapy (presumably) at Briarcliff the next. Guess no one bought his Area 51 story.

But before we can find out what lead up to Kit’s incarceration, we meet the rest of the cuckoo’s nest. Nosy reporter Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson, who played the psychic last season) goes to Briarcliff on the pretense of writing a story about the asylum’s delicious molasses bread (no, seriously) and meets the madhouse. There’s Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe, looking considerably younger and less bitchy than she did last season as the haughty ghost-mistress of Terror House), a prostrating ditz who acts as second in command to the totally dom Sister Jude (Jessica Lange). Jude is an uptight nun who is only lax in the accent department, which comes and goes as the mood (moo-awd!) strikes her. When we meet her, she’s been shaving nymphomaniac Shelly’s head, but stops halfway to take a meeting. (Lucky for Shelly, she’s played by Chloe Sevigny, so the half-bald thing kind of works for her.)

Lana is more interested in the inmates than the cooking. Why was she giving Shelly a totally punk rock Chelsea, when that hairstyle wouldn’t be in vogue for 30 years?

Jude—whose own hair must be wound pretty tight behind that habit, since her skull looks like it is about to burst out of her face—curtly informs Lana that Shelly had been brought to the asylum after being diagnosed by a psychiatrist. "A psychiatrist," she spits, "who gave her a preposterous diagnosis comparing her to a wood nymph." (Get it??)

So, to sum up the scene: the woman running a mental asylum for the CRIMINALLY INSANE thinks that mental illness is just a new-fangled devil’s term for sin. She’s already giving Nurse Ratched a run for her money.

But Jude and her closet full of whips might not even be the worst of the asylum’s staff. The god-fearing woman is rightfully suspicious of the other "head" of Briarcliff, Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell, Babe and Babe II: Pig in the City). Boston’s answer to Joseph Mengele has been performing secret experiments on some of the patients, and has enlisted Sister Mary Eunice as his accomplice in getting rid of the evidence. Sister Jude thinks it’s fishy that Dr. Arden’s "patients" a) all seem to die right on his operating table and b) don’t have any surviving relatives to complain about it. Then they have a fight that goes something like this, where Sister Jude is like "Blah, blah, GOD!"

"Blah, blah, SCIENCE!" says Dr. Arden. "Also, look at this mutant flower I made…with SCIENCE!"

"Blah, blah, Jesus is watching, abomination, blah, blah, blah." Sister Jude takes her leave. She needs to make dinner for her secret crush, the hospital’s Monsignor, Timothy Howard. (Played by Joseph Fiennes, who finally found the role worth to follow up his portrayal of Shakespeare in 1998.) Sister Jude has a dirty little sex fantasy during the meal after the Monsignor says that her cooking belies a decadent streak. Also, she is wearing a sexy red slip under her cloister. What kind of nun is she?

Well, she had a rough day: It turns out Ms. Walker wasn’t interested in molasses bread at all! She used it as a cover for her real story, about BLOODY FACE, who was due to arrive at the hospital that very afternoon. As Sister Jude prissily marches Ms. Walker out of Briarcliff, the reporter locks eyes on the man who allegedly murdered and skinned three women. Hi, Kit!

Kit does not have a good first day in the asylum, because he is tied to a bed and forced to listen to a nun smugly taunt him about his crimes. Later, he meets a hot new friend named Grace, who sneaks him food and allegedly murdered her whole family. She’s got a cute French accent. The two are instant besties.

But even that fleeting pleasure is cut short. Dr. Arden wants Kit for a brain experiment! Which doesn’t seem smart, seeing as the kid is very high profile and about to go to trial, but whatever. I’m not the crazy doctor here, what do I know? Before Kit can get a fun icepick lobotomy, Arden notices a lump in his neck and decides to cut it out. You know, in case it’s treasure or something.

Unfortunately, it’s not treasure, or even candy. It’s a microchip. Of course, no one in 1964 knows what a microchip is, so the two men stare at the thing like it’s about to sprout legs and run away. Oh, wait, there it goes!

Blah, blah, science, indeed!

Nosy Lana wants to sneak back into the mental asylum and break the story about Sister Jude’s inhumane treatments wide open. Her lesbian girlfriend (see??) think that sounds like a great idea, probably because she just finished getting high. Off her marijuana cigarette. Lana finds Sister Mary Eunice scrambling back out of the woods after feeding those monstrosities Arden is taking care of. She blackmails the nun into sneaking her in the asylum through the death chute, whereupon she is immediately attacked by a monster hiding in a supposedly unoccupied room.

This is why you never take advice from your stoned girlfriend.

When Lana wakes up, she finds herself strapped to a bed in Briarcliff, with a nasty-looking Saw-device on her head. Sister Jude thinks Lana is too nosy, and pulled some strings to have her committed. Despite being mentioned in the episode, Sister Jude has apparently never heard of Nellie Bly.

Things look bleak for Lana, and even bleaker for Mrs. Tatum, whom the show cuts back to for the final sequence. Who is that in the chute? Why, it’s BLOODY FACE! Quick, get your husband, who is finding it "Harder to Breathe," and pull out A Guide to Recognizing Your Local Saints.

It looks like you’re going to need it.

Follow Drew Grant on Twitter.

Oscar Buzz Watch: Ben Affleck Is Definitely Getting Oscar-Nominated

Ben Affleck is definitely getting Oscar-nominated for Argo. When it opens in theaters next weekend, and you make it your compromise movie because nobody can agree on Pitch Perfect or Seven Psychopaths (and no one wants to see Here Comes the Boom, come on), you should watch it with the full knowledge that Ben Affleck is a stone-cold certainty to be nominated come January, for either Best Actor or (more likely) Best Director. It’s just absolutely going to happen.

You can try to pretend it won’t happen—maybe you’d rather it wouldn’t? Maybe you’re still holding on to some of that Bennifer resentment. And who could blame you? He was actually kissing her butt in the "Jenny from the Block" video! That’s how much they thought the public wanted to see them! Or maybe yours is a more high-minded resistance. Maybe it was that five-year-or-so stretch in the 2000s where he made an unbroken string of terrible movies, roughly from Bounce in 2000 through Surviving Christmas in 2004 (we’re being kind and granting his Golden Globe-nominated role in Hollywoodland as a streak-breaker. You’re under no obligation to do so). For a long while, Ben Affleck was about as far from Oscar material as you could possibly be. But that is exactly why it’s even more certain that he’s DEFINITELY getting Oscar-nominated for Argo

If there’s anything Oscar loves more than an actor-turned-director—do I even have to mention the award-winning names? Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner (Kevin COSTNER!)—it’s a comeback story. Particularly a comeback story where the individual is "coming back" from trying to make studio heads and agents lots and lots of money with movies like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor and Daredevil. Oh no! How will these businessmen ever forgive him for pulling in $118 million domestic for The Sum of All Fears?? Of course, what he’s really coming back from is a reputation as a great Hollywood doof. Sure, he won an Oscar seemingly right out of the gate with Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting, but having to stand on all those red carpets next to perfect little Hollywood-sized Matt Damon, Affleck couldn’t help but look like the big dumb galoot along for the ride. Then Damon proceeded to go on one of the more interesting career arcs in recent memory, careering from art house disaster (noooooo, All the Pretty Horses!) to Bourne billions, ultimately becoming one of the better-liked A-listers in Hollywood. All of which only made Affleck look even worse in comparison, when people even bothered to think about him at all. (Never mind that while Affleck was getting slammed for cashing a paycheck on a movie actually called Paycheck, Damon wasn’t exactly covering himself in glory as Greg Kinnear’s conjoined twin in Stuck on You. See? You’re starting to feel a swell of sympathy for Affleck even now, aren’t you?) Then, in 2007, Affleck made the dubious-seeming decision to step behind the camera, and the result was the quite good Gone Baby Gone. So good that it nabbed an Oscar nomination for Amy Ryan and at least made people stop chuckling when talk turned to "Ben Affleck: Director." Three years later, Affleck directed The Town which, this writer’s contrary opinion of it notwithstanding, was very well-received by critics and was generally considered to have missed the Best Picture top ten that year by a hair’s breadth.

And next weekend, Affleck will see his third directorial effort hit screens with Argo, the "based on recently de-classified documents" political thriller / Hollywood farce (like chocolate and peanut butter, those genres!) that sees Affleck co-starring with a serious ’70s beard as a CIA operative who gets the bright idea to impersonate a Canadian film crew in order to infiltrate Iran and rescue six Americans during the 1979 hostage crisis. By the way, if the logline doesn’t sell you, Argo might end up being worth the ticket price for the sheer volume of character actors alone: John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Chris Messina, Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler, Phillip Baker Hall; I could go on (Clea DuVall!) and on (Titus Welliver!). This is classic Hollywood mythmaking (Zeljko Ivanek! Sorry, last one), where the very idea of The Movies is the apparatus that will free six American heroes during one of the darkest times in American history. Who’s NOT nominating this thing?

"Sure, for Best Picture, maybe," you say. "There could be ten nominees. How can you be so sure Affleck will be one of five directors so honored?" To that I say: ARE YOU SERIOUSLY CRAZY? You’re seeing all the ingredients here, right? Actor-turned-director. A wet dream of a campaign narrative. The slight air of being "owed" for his previous movies coming so close. Oh, and also, everybody who saw Argo at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals freaked out and started screaming "OSCAR!!!!" out their hotel windows into the late-summer air. Not every movie currently sits atop the "Gurus o’ Gold" Oscar prediction charts, you know. Argo also sits comfortably in the Best Picture ranks on both Hitfix and Vulture, though Vulture is RIDICULOUSLY blind to his Best Director chances, which is just too preposterous to consider. This is HAPPENING! Accept it.

Argo opens in theaters on October 12th. Oscar nominees are announced on January 10th. Which leaves Ben Affleck almost exactly three months to figure out how to convince us that he didn’t even know he was nominated until his agent called.

Follow Joe Reid on Twitter.