They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?

Predicting the Globes and the Guilds Sharpen the Oscar Race

January 9, 2015

What? We got all the guild nominations? WHAT?

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On Sunday, the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards will keep the now-quickening Oscar race going. What films will win the major prizes? Indeed, since we last spoke (Happy New Year all!), most of the remaining major guilds have revealed their nominations for the best films of 2014. Thus, we are rapidly building towards an industry consensus just one week shy of next Thursday’s early morning announcement of nominations for the 87th Academy Awards. Let’s see where we are and where we are going.

Update on Oscar Race: The Guild Consensus Builds

When we last spoke, only the important Screen Actors’ Guild had announced nominations. In the last few days, however, the editors, the art directors, the cinematographers, costume designers, the writers, and the all-important producers have named their nominees. Indeed, all but the influential Directors’ Guild have yet to speak of their candidates. The producers arguably matter the most because they use preferential voting like the Academy does for Best Picture nominations. Since the expansion beyond five Best Picture nominees, the Oscars have aligned closely with the Producers Guild - but never one to one, so expect a surprise and a snub here and there. Here is a brief tally of where the main films landed with the guilds, alphabetically:

American Sniper: Producers, Writers, Editors, Art Directors.

Birdman: Producers, Actors, Editors, Cinematographers, Art Directors, Costume Designers (not eligible for Writers’ Guild).

Boyhood: Producers, Actors, Writers, Editors, Costume Designers.

Foxcatcher: Producers, Actors, Writers, Art Directors.

Gone Girl: Producers, Actors, Writers, Editors, Art Directors, Costume Designers.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Producers, Actors, Writers, Editors, Cinematographers, Art Directors, Costume Designers.

The Imitation Game: Producers, Actors, Writers, Editors, Cinematographers, Art Directors, Costumer Designers.

Interstellar: Art Directors, Costume Designers.

Nighcrawler: Producers, Actors, Writers, Editors, Art Directors.

Selma: Editors, Costume Designers (not eligible for Writers).

The Theory of Everything: Producers, Actors, Editors, Art Directors, Costume Designers (not eligible for Writers).

Unbroken: Cinematographers, Actors, Art Directors.

Whiplash: Producers, Actors, Editors.


MovieProducersWritersActorsEditorsCostume DesignersArt DirectorsCinematographers
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
Gone Girl
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game
Interstellar
Nightcrawler
SelmaN/A
Theory of EverythingN/A
Unbroken
Whiplash






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These stats tell us some very clear information about where the winds are blowing in Hollywood for the 2014-2015 awards season.

  • Two movies - The Imitation Game and The Grand Budapest Hotel - have scored a clean sweeps and appear poised to lead the nominations on Thursday morning. Against all odds, Grand Budapest will become the earliest released Best Picture nominee since I believe Erin Brokovich in 2000. A lack of Best Picture nod for that movie will be nothing less than a complete snub at this point.

  • Birdman is also strong, sweeping all the categories it was eligible for (don’t ask me to explain the quirky Writers’ Guild of America rules) so it is also a mortal lock for several nods, including Best Picture.

  • Boyhood is still strong. It is not expected to get a lot of nominations in the craft categories and, if anything, its nod by the costume designers shows how beloved it is in the industry. With likely no more than six Oscar nominations, it is poised to become one of the least-nominated Best Picture winners in modern history, joining Crash and The Departed who won with six or fewer nominations each. The nomination and win seem assured.

  • Gone Girl is a contender to keep taking very seriously despite grumblings by some critical circles. It has missed out only on nods from the cinematographers and art directors, but received prestige guild recognition from producers, editors, writers, and actors. Granted, this could be another David Fincher “Dragon Tattoo” situation brewing (that film did very well with the guilds but missed out with Oscar) but I think there is enough passionate support for the movie to land it a Best Picture nomination. It just keeps showing up on lists.

  • Nightcrawler and American Sniper have to be taken seriously, appearing repeatedly in the guilds lists. Nightcrawler, in particular, has passionate support. I still have trouble seeing it as a Best Picture nominee - and it may be one of the one or two from the Producers’ Guild that misses with Oscar - but it appears likely to be one right now. American Sniper is a surprise, but its consistent guild showing is a telling sign.

  • Unbroken and Interstellar have faded from contention other than in the technical categories.

  • Whiplash will likely land a Best Picture nod. It has nods from the most prestigious guilds, and has passionate support - likely enough to sneak it through despite an expectedly weak below-the-line showing.

  • And what about Selma? To be sure, Selma is another later-comer to the race, so it could sneak in like other last-minute releases (Django, Wolf of Wall Street) have. Its late entrance has hurt it, as it has been unable to get screeners to the screen actors and the producers, opting instead to send them directly to Academy members. But will they have seen it in time? I still think Selma will land a Best Picture nod, but it would have to overcome daunting odds to score a win without at least a Producers’ Guild nomination and with zero SAG nominations.

  • The Directors’ Guild will announce their nominees early next week, and we will have our final clue as to what names we will hear on nominations morning. In the meantime, let’s try and forecast what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will do on Sunday.


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