By David Salazar ( | First Posted: Dec 19, 2012 02:41 PM EST

(Photo : Warner Bros.)

The Oscar race continued its twists and turns as Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, and Safety Not Guaranteed picked up key wins on Tuesday.

The Phoenix Film Critics picked Ben Affleck's Argo as their best picture, the fifth such honor for the film. Argo has won its five awards over the course of the last week and is slowly building its case as a potential Oscar frontrunner. The film picked up three wins from Phoenix's critics including best editing and best screenplay.

Zero Dark Thirty, once considered the runaway favorite for the Academy's top prize, has lost steam after a solid start of five straight Best Picture wins. The film won the best picture at the Austin Film Critics and obtained its ninth best picture win.  However the film did not win any other awards from Austin, further supporting the notion that the film's early buzz has faded.

The Indiana Journalists Associations Awards made one of the most surprising selections of the year when they picked indie film Safety Not Guaranteed to win the top prize. Up to this point, the film was not considered a contender, but the award marks its official entry into the race. Indiana's critics also awarded director Quentin Tarantino with his first Best Director award for his film Django Unchained. The choice of Safety Not Guaranteed serves as an ideal indication of how unpredictable these awards have been and how interesting the race could get as it moves toward February's Oscars.

This is the first time since 2006 that there has not been a definitive front-runner in the Oscar Race. Last year The Artist dominated the precursors en route to winning the prestigious Oscar for best Picture. The year before, The Social Network won most precursors even though it did not end up winning the Oscar. In 2009, The Hurt Locker was the front-runner while in preceding years Slumdog Millionaire, and No Country for Old Men were the top contestants for the top prize. With the exception of Social Network all those other films won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The last time, there was no front-runner was in 2006 when a number of films split the critics' awards.

For a complete awards tally, click HERE. 

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