They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?

Three Billboards Emerges Frontrunner After Wild Guild Week

By J. Don Birnam

January 11, 2018

I wanna join her gang.

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There has been a lot of activity in the Oscars world since last Sunday’s momentous Golden Globe awards. But we do have to wake up and smell the Three Billboards coffee. I actually have a not crazy theory that we are ripe for yet another Oscar surprise. I will discuss it in the coming days. Today, let’s take a look at one of the busiest weeks in this Oscar season yet.

You know what to do: Follow me on Twitter@jdonbirnam and Instagram @awards_predix.

Case of the Tuesdays: BAFTA and ASC

The BAFTA awards, as the British Oscars are known, have become Oscar wh--, excuse me, lovers, for years now. They want to predict the Oscars just like everybody else does. The difference between the Brits and the other wannabes is that the folks at BAFTA have substantial Academy overlap. Their choices do tell us a lot.

But, as with everything, there are limits. Don’t forget the cardinal rule: they like what they like. And they always default, particularly in nominations mode, to films that are more British in orientation. So consider that this year their five nominees were two Dunkirk-related films, Dunkirk and Darkest Hour of course, alongside a particularly European film, Call Me By Your Name, and the two perennial mainstays this season, Shape of Water and Three Billboards.


Think about. No Post, no Get Out, no Lady Bird. Moreover, the Steven Spielberg drama got completely shutout, not even Meryl made it, yielding her spot instead to Annette Bening for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. If that is not a sign of big trouble for The Post, I don’t know what is. The Big Sick suffered a similar fate, getting a goose egg. At least the two of Get Out and Lady Bird got screenwriting and acting nods (but no directing unlike here, more on that later). Meanwhile, the five directors matched the Best Film nominees except that they swapped out Joe Wright from Darkest Hour in the place of Dennis Villeneuve for Blade Runner: 2049. That film, by the way, did very well in the tech space, along with Del Toro’s film.

You can come up with all sorts of stats about “the last movie to miss at BAFTA to get this” etc., but you will be wasting a lot of your time. Every single movie other than Shape and 3BB has missed somewhere. Don’t play that game this year.

What about the American Society of Cinematographers? Well, they made history. They, for the first time ever (yes!) nominated a woman (a gay woman at that) for their award. The Oscars have not done so in their 89 whole years. The honor goes to Rachel Morrison for her intricate work in Mudbound. Can she repeat with AMPAS? That remains to be seen.

But, in any case, the other nominees were of course Shape, along with Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, and Blade Runner. This could very well be the Oscar final five, though that last spot (Morrison’s spot) could easily go to Three Billboards or elsewhere. This could be Roger Deakins’ best chance ever at the Oscar, though he has won the ASC before. Still, it is clear what movies have wide ranging tech support.

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