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Oscars 2013 Twist: Best Picture Contenders Are Winners at Box Office Too

Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook  Columbia Pictures; DreamWorks; The Weinstein Company; Universal Pictures

You may be rooting for Argo. You may be arguing for Lincoln. You may even be insisting Les Misérables should not be overlooked.

But here's the thing: Unlike some Oscar years, you probably know what you're talking about—you probably have seen the movies.

"The Oscar contenders are doing so well," Hollywood.com box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian says. "Those movies are really bolstering the marketplace."

Argo's Oscar momentum is real

Last weekend, four of the Top 10-grossing movies were Best Picture nominees. At the same time last year, only two Oscar hopefuls cracked the standings.

Overall, more than half of this year's Best Picture contenders have grossed north of $100 million domestically, the first time that's happened since the Academy's glamour category was expanded in 2009.

With nearly a month to go until the Feb. 24 ceremony, it's possible two other movies, Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook, will join or get very close to joining the $100 million club. 

Martin Sheen thinks you should see Zero Dark Thirty

Another novel twist: The biggest hits are considered the best shots to win. 

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, the former and perhaps future Best Picture choice of oddsmakers, is the highest-grossing frontrunner (or near-frontrunner) since James Cameron's Avatar.

Ben Affleck's Argo, the trending pick, is the highest-grossing favorite since The King's Speech.  

Even the movie viewed as least likely to win Best Picture is relatively popular, with Beasts of the Southern Wild grossing nearly $12 million off its micro-budget. (Then there's Amour, another very-long shot, which has grossed less than $2 million to date, but in the French-language film's defense, it hasn't yet broken out of limited release.)

All the Oscar contenders are expected to be ruled this coming box-office weekend by the not-yet-nominated zombie movie Warm Bodies. Still, Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook look to remain strong, while Django Unchained and Les Mis could continue to hang in the Top 10.

20 movies you gotta see before Oscar night

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