Best Picture Face-Off: 'Artist' vs. 'Help'

 The Weinstein Co./UPI/Newscom

It's not quite a two-film race, but it's pretty close as The Weinstein Co.'s entry takes the lead in sheer awards and DreamWorks' hit, thanks to SAG, comes on strong.

WHY IT WILL WIN

The Artist: It's won at the Producers Guild and Directors Guild, which have predicted the past four best picture winners.

The Help: The Screen Actors Guild gave it the ensemble award, setting it up for a thespian-driven, Crash-like victory.

WHY IT WON'T WIN

The Artist: All those Frenchmen picking up awards. What happens if the Academy decides to vote American?

The Help: Actors represent only one-fifth of the Academy, which didn't nominate it in any other category but best picture.

THE HUMAN ELEMENT

The Artist: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo have been conducting a charm offensive that's quite seductive.

The Help: Viola Davis' and Octavia Spencer's emotional acceptances speak to the urge to right the wrongs of the past.

THE CHALLENGERS

The Artist: If voters really want to reward afilm that celebrates silent movies, Hugo is waiting in the wings.

The Help: If voters really want to reward a film that offers a good cry, The Descendants is waiting in the wings.

LAST-MINUTE CAMPAIGN PLOYS

The Artist: The Los Angeles City Council onJan. 31 gave it the first Made in Hollywood Award for shooting in L.A.

The Help: The Santa Barbara Film Festival on Jan. 27 paid tribute to Davis as itsoutstanding performer of the year.

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