<p>Ben Affleck at the 65th annual&nbsp;DGA&nbsp;Awards</p>

Ben Affleck at the 65th annual DGA Awards

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Ben Affleck, Lena Dunham, Rian Johnson win Directors Guild awards

'Argo' keeps on keepin' on

Check off one more box on the "Argo" industry tour of awards season goodies. The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has crowned Ben Affleck with the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film, this just a week removed from big wins from the Producers and Screen Actors Guilds. Is it really clear sailing to a Best Picture win at the Oscars from here? Or will the fact that Academy members won't even have ballots in hand until Friday mean there's too much time for "them" to second guess the guild circuit?

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<p>&quot;Life of Pi,&quot;&nbsp;winner for fantasy film</p>

"Life of Pi," winner for fantasy film

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Anna Karenina,' 'Life of Pi' and 'Skyfall' win at the 17th annual Art Directors Guild Awards

'Anna' would appear to still be the Oscar favorite -- or is it?

The 17th annual Art Directors Guild awards were also held this evening. On the film side, as always, awards were given in three categories: period, fantasy and contemporary. Check out the nominees here.

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<p>&quot;Wreck-It&nbsp;Ralph&quot;</p>

"Wreck-It Ralph"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

'Wreck-It Ralph' wins big at 40th Annie Awards

Is Oscar next?

This year's Annie Awards did a nice job of spreading out the wealth. "Brave," "ParaNorman" and "Rise of the Guardians" all won multiple prizes. Indeed, the one film that seemed snubbed throughout was Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie." But it was "Wreck-It Ralph" that ended up with the most prizes (five), including the award for Best Animated Feature.

Elsewhere, "The Avengers" and "Life of Pi" predictably won awards in the live action races, while both "Head Over Heels" (student film) and "Paperman" (short subject) were recognized as well. On the latter, that certainly does little to clear up their odds of picking up the Best Animated Short Oscar. But more on those when we profile the category in the Oscar Guide next week.

Check out the full list of film winners below, and as always, keep up with all the ups and downs of the 2012-2013 film awards season via The Circuit.

And stick around. There are two other awards shows going on as you read, with more winners to come. Crazy day for the season.

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<p>The Oscar Guide is primed for its spotlight. Three weeks of wall-to-wall analysis!</p>

The Oscar Guide is primed for its spotlight. Three weeks of wall-to-wall analysis!

Credit: AP Photo

Coming next week: the Oscar Guide 2012

Time to dig in...

Just a note that last week's examination of the Best Documentary Short Subject category indeed represented the beginning of this year's Oscar Guide, our annual analysis of each category's nominees with an eye toward guessing the outcome of the Academy Awards. As always, it's possible that we could go back to earlier installments and update this or that prediction, which we'll make note of, but Monday the daily stuff starts in earnest. We'll have at least one per day, sometimes two. So check back for that then.

<p>&quot;Red Tails&quot;</p>

"Red Tails"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Red Tails' defeats 'Beasts,' 'Django Unchained' and 'Flight' at the NAACP Image Awards

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis win top acting honors

I suppose it's a bit of a surprise that the George Lucas-produced "Red Tails" beat out some stiff Oscar competition in Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" and Robert Zemeckis's "Flight," so there it is. But the wealth was spread, as Benh Zeitlin, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington all received prizes. In fact, Washington won three awards on the night, taking Best Actress in a Drama Series ("Scandal") and the President's Award for public service in addition to her supporting prize for "Django." Check out the full list of motion picture winners below, and as always, keep track of the season via The Circuit.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 104 -- 'Argo' steamroller

Oscar Talk: Ep. 104 -- 'Argo' steamroller

How much farther can it go?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

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<p>&quot;The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey&quot;</p>

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Roundup: How 'The Hobbit' made the VFX shortlist sight unseen

Also: 'Argo' an illegal hit in Iran, and Hackford to relinquish DGA presidency

The shortlisting and ensuing "bakeoff" that results in the Oscar nominees for Best Visual Effects is a notably imperfect process -- all the more so when the Academy compressed its voting calendar by a couple of weeks. David S. Cohen looks into this year's race, and finds that "The Hobbit" made the Academy's 10-film shortlist despite the fact that most of the VFX committee hadn't seen it by November 28, the day they met to draw up the list. Chairman Craig Barron describes the sight-unseen inclusion as a no-brainer, but other members were less happy: "One interest is concerned with having an awards process that is conducted as promptly as possible, and that of course has to vie with the interest that is mainly preoccupied with ensuring the process maintains its integrity," says Jonathan Erland. "It's self-evident that there's a problem." What do you think? [Variety]

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<p>Bradley&nbsp;Cooper and Robert De Niro in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in "Silver Linings Playbook"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Tech Support: Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers on finding the rhythms of 'Silver Linings'

The editors achieved the rare feat of being nominated for a comedy

To say that comedies find difficulty being nominated for Best Film Editing would be quite the understatement. So the nomination of Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers for David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” is a testament to the esteem in which their colleagues hold them and their film.

The editing of "Silver Linings Playbook" is not as showy as some of the work from the duo's fellow nominees, such as “Argo" or "Zero Dark Thirty,” but they never felt the need to be excessively flashy with their craft. “The first obligation is to tell the story,” Cassidy says. “We have to just to go with the material and tell the story as [director] David [O. Russell] has conceived it.”

But there were still challenges. In particular, Cassidy notes the difficulty in balancing the comic and serious tones of the film. Even so, they knew what they were getting into. “The bipolar shifting back and forth was in the script," he says. "That part of the road map was very clearly articulated by David before we got involved.”

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<p>&quot;Paperman&quot;</p>

"Paperman"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: Is 'Paperman' Disney's best in years?

Also: How the 'Argo' campaign nailed it, and can 'Zero Dark Thirty' bounce back?

In what could be a rather smart campaign move in a tight race for Best Animated Short, Disney have decided to make their charming black-and-white romance "Paperman" -- previously shown in theaters ahead of "Wreck-It Ralph" -- available for all to view online for three weeks, starting today. Film critic Tim Robey, however, doesn't believe the film even needs such an advantage, claiming "the race looks pretty much over" -- on merit alone. "Paperman is the best thing Disney have done in years," he writes. "There are only seven minutes of it, but they’re perfect ... It may, in its modest way, point towards a new frontier in animation, where computer-generated visuals are brought face to face with old-style hand-drawing, because it uses both at once." I'm not entirely sure I agree, and I suspect underdog power will prevail in the Oscar race, but it's a popular point of view. [The Telegraph]  

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<p>Bradley Cooper in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook.&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

The Long Shot: Lifting the cloud on 'Silver Linings'

In praise of the 'lighter' option in this year's Best Picture race

An accidental blessing it may be -- and one that has only come into effect since the Academy moved its calendar forward a few years ago -- but situating the Sundance Film Festival in the middle of Oscar season is a blessing nonetheless. A week of conversation about freshly unveiled, critically malleable films is a necessary tonic at a stage when the same small selection of Academy-approved contenders has been discussed, debated and designated for anything from two months to an entire year.

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