Deep Background… Picture and Director – Split or Sweep?
The Gurus have shifted position after Ben Affleck won Best Director and Best Picture from both the BFCAs and the Globes. The folks over at Gold Derby are similarly split up — with most choosing either Argo or Lincoln. Here is how they think it will go at Movie City News:
We’re at that time of year again when pundits are predicting a director but not the best picture or the best picture but not the director. The last time this happened was the last time Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg were both up for director. In fact, it’s funny to think of it like this but Ang Lee has been involved in most of the odd occurrences that have happened over the past few decades in the director category. If it happens again this year it will be the 4th time:
1995-Sense and Sensibility – Ron Howard won for Apollo 13 at the DGA but lost Pic and Director to Mel Gibson for Braveheart (Gibson had won the Globe for director and was nominated for both DGA and Oscar).
2000-Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Ang Lee won the DGA, but Gladiator won Best Picture and Steven Soderbergh won Best Director at the Oscars.
2005-Brokeback Mountain – Ang Lee won the DGA and the Oscar but Best Picture, famously, went to Crash.
We were asked for these right after the Golden Globes but they didn’t get posted until now. Had I sent them in recently I would have done what Scott Feinberg, Anne Thompson and David Poland have done here – put Silver Linings at number 2.
Here is Best Director:
Most are predicting Steven Spielberg for Picture and Director. Pete Hammond and Anne Thompson think Ang Lee will get his second Best Director statue. It is certainly not outside the realm of possibility, given Lee’s history. But I would think he would win the DGA first and then the Oscar. If we’re looking at a Gladiator year, some other person entirely would win Director, like Haneke. For some reason, the Academy really didn’t want to give their Best Director Oscar to Ridley Scott for Gladiator but since it had the most nominations heading into the race it seemed like their surefire, Chicago-like winner.
Remember, though, all of these splits we’re talking about here occurred in the days of the weighted, not the preferential, ballot for Best Picture. Since Oscar switched to ten and then to the situation they have now, we’ve not yet had a split. Maybe we’re due for one, maybe we aren’t – it will depend on how much broad support Lincoln has. Both David O. Russell (no DGA nom) and Ben Affleck (no Oscar nom) face a handicap. A few directors have won the DGA without being nominated for the Oscar, like Ron Howard for the Apollo 13 and Steven Spielberg for The Color Purple. In that instance, a whole other film won, taking its director with it; there has never been a situation like that where the eventual winner at the DGA wasn’t nominated for Best Director but their film still won BP.
That means, Argo has to overcome history in 3 different ways to win this year:
1. it is the 4th or 5th in line for most nominations. The only film to ever do this was Chariots of Fire.
2. it would have to be like Driving Miss Daisy (or Wings or Grand Hotel if you want to go back that far) to win without a director nomination.
3. No director has ever won the DGA, not gotten nominated for an Oscar, and then had their film win BP.
David O. Russell has to overcome history in two ways to win this year:
1. No film lacking a Best Director nomination from the Globes or DGA has ever won BP from the musical/comedy category except Driving Miss Daisy.
2. Only one film from the musical/comedy category in all of the Globes history has ever won Oscar’s BP without winning the Globes first: Annie Hall
Ang Lee only has one hurdle: no acting nominations. That doesn’t seem like a very big hurdle at all compared to the others. Films that won BP without any acting nominations (or SAG nods for acting) Braveheart, The Last Emperor, An American in Paris, The Greatest Show on Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, Gigi, Wings, All Quiet On the Western Front, and Grand Hotel. Life of Pi could be considered a Last Emperor for sure.
Steven Spielberg has only one very minor hurdle and that’s no BAFTA nod for director. BUT the BAFTA changed their voting this year to allow individual branches to select director. We have maybe two past years where they showed how the individual branches voted on their longlist to go off of. There really isn’t any precedent for the BAFTA this year but you’d probably take it as a sign that the Brits weren’t as fond of Lincoln as they were of Argo – whether they continue to hold sway in the Academy is a question.
In order to really look at the potential for a split, you have to go back to the pre-DGA days – which means, how can we even compare? But so far, we’ve yet to see a split with the preferential ballot.
I did, however, do the research a ways back – it really does no good to look at splits in years with a weighted ballot . What I found out is this – when there has been a split during these years where a preferential ballot was used, the film with the most nominations won Best Picture. That would have supported an Avatar win in 2009.
- SONG OF BERNADETTE – 12 nominations – wins 4: Actress, Art Direction, Cinematography and Score, nominated for editing
- FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS – 9 nominations, including editing, but no director, no screenplay, 1 win for supporting.
- CASABLANCA-8 nominations. 3 wins for Picture, Director, Screenplay, 2 acting nominations, editing
- MADAME CURIE – 7 nominations, including acting, but no director, writer or editing.
- THE MORE THE MERRIER – 6 nominations, including writing, acting and directing, won Supporting Actor, no editing.
- THE HUMAN COMEDY – 5 nominations, 1 win (for writing, William Saroyan), including director, no editing
- HEAVEN CAN WAIT – 3 nominations, including director, no editing, no screenplay
- WATCH ON THE RHINE – 4 nominations, including writing (Dashiell Hammett) and acting, 1 win, acting. NY Film critics pick for Best Pic.
- IN WHICH WE SERVE – 2 nominations (one honorary win for Noel Coward), screenplay nom, no editing.
- THE OX BOW INCIDENT – 1 nomination
- MRS. MINIVER – nominated for 12 Oscars – 6 wins for Picture, Director (Wyler), Screenplay, Actress & Supporting Actress, & Cinematography
- THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES – 11 nominations – 1 solitary Oscar win for Best Editing
- YANKEE DOODLE DANDY – 8 nominations, including Director (Curtiz) – 3 wins, including Best Actor (Cagney)
- RANDOM HARVEST – 7 Oscar nominations, including Best Director – 0 wins
- THE TALK OF THE TOWN – 7 nominations, 0 wins
- THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS – 4 nominations, including Cinematography & Supporting Actress (Agnes Morehead)
- WAKE ISLAND – 4 nominations, including Director
- THE PIED PIPER – nominated for 3 Oscars, including Best Actor
- THE 49th PARALLEL – 3 nominations – won Best Writing, Original Story (but lost Best Writing, Screenplay).
- KINGS ROW – 3 nominations, including Best Director
1941 (a.k.a. “the year that will live in infamy”)
- SERGEANT YORK – 11 nominations – 2 wins, Editing & Actor (Cooper)
- HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY – 10 nominations – 5 wins, for Best Picture, Director (Ford), Cinematography, Art Direction, Best Supp Actor (Crisp)
- CITIZEN KANE – 10 nominations – 1 win for Screenplay (Welles & Mankiewicz) – NY Film critics pick for Best Picture
- THE LITTLE FOXES – 9 nominations – 0 wins
- HERE COMES MR. JORDAN – 7 nominations – 2 wins, for Best Story, Best Screenplay
- HOLD BACK THE DAWN – 6 nominations
- BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST – 4 nominations – 1 win
- THE MALTESE FALCON – 3 nominations
- ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN – and living up to its title: 1 nomination
- SUSPICION– 3 nominations – 1 win, Actress (Joan Fontaine)
- REBECCA – 11 nominations, including Hitchcock’s 1st Oscar nom, Editing & Screenplay – only 2 wins, for Best Picture and Cinematography
- THE GRAPES OF WRATH – 7 nominations, including Screenplay & Editing – 2 wins, including Best Director (Ford)
- THE LETTER – 7 nominations – 0 wins
- FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT – 6 nominations -0 wins
- THE LONG VOYAGE HOME – 6 nominations – 0 wins
- OUR TOWN – 6 nominations – 0 wins
- THE PHILADELPHIA STORY – 6 nominations – 2 wins, including Screenplay
- THE GREAT DICTATOR – 5 nominations – 0 wins
- KITTY FOYLE – 5 nominatins – 1 win, Actress (Ginger Rogers)
- ALL THIS, AND HEAVEN TOO – 3 nominations – 0 wins
* (Best Editing in 1940 went to North West Mounted Police — so AMPAS was all over the map)
- GONE WITH THE WIND – 13 nominations – 8 wins, for Best Director, Screenplay, Editing, Actress, Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Cinematography
- MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON – 11 noms – 1 win, Original Story
- WUTHERING HEIGHTS – 8 noms – 1 win, for b&w Cinematography (Toland)
- GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS – 7 noms – 1 win, Best Actor (Donat)
- STAGECOACH – 7 noms – 2 wins, incl. Supporting Actor
- THE WIZARD OF OZ – 6 noms – for Score & Song
- LOVE AFFAIR – 6 noms – 0 wins
- NINOTCHKA – 4 noms – 0 wins
- OF MICE AND MEN – 4 noms – 0 wins
- DARK VICTORY – 3 noms – 0 wins
- YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU – 7 nominations – 2 wins, including Best Director (Capra)
- ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND – 6 noms – 1 win
- BOYS TOWN – 5 noms – 2 wins, Best Supp Actor & Screenplay
- JEZEBEL – 5 noms – 2 wins, incl. Best Actress (Davis)
- FOUR DAUGHTERS – 5 noms – 0 wins
- PYGMALION 4 noms – 1 win, Screenplay
- THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD – 4 nominations – 3 wins, incl. Best Editing
- THE CITADEL – 4 noms
- TEST PILOT – 3 noms – 0 wins
- GRAND ILLUSION – 1 nomination
1937 — SPLIT
- THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA – 10 nominations, including Director & Actor – 3 wins, including Best Screenplay
- LOST HORIZON – 7 noms – 2 wins, incl. Best Editing
- A STAR IS BORN – 8 noms – 2 wins
- IN OLD CHICAGO – 6 noms – 2 wins
- THE GOOD EARTH – 5 noms – 2 wins, Actress (Rainer) & Cinematography (Freund)
- ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL – 5 noms – 1 win
- THE AWFUL TRUTH – 5 nominations, incl Screenplay & Editing – 1 win, Best Director (McCarey)
- CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS – 4 noms – 1 win, Actor (Tracy)
- DEAD END – 4 noms – 0 wins
- STAGE DOOR – 4 noms
1936 – SPLIT
- THE GREAT ZIEGFELD – 7 nominations – 3 wins, incl. “Best Dance Direction” (hmm)
ANTHONY ADVERSE – 7 noms – 4 wins, incl. Best Editing
- DODSWORTH – 7 noms – 1 win
- SAN FRANCISCO – 6 noms – 1 win
- MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN – 5 noms, incl. Screenplay – 1 win, Best Director (Capra)
- ROMEO AND JULIET – 4 noms – 0 wins
- THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR – 4 noms – 3 wins, incl. Best Story & Best Screenplay
- THREE SMART GIRLS – 3 noms – 0 wins
- A TALE OF TWO CITIES – 2 wins – 0 wins
- LIBELED LADY – 1 nom – 0 wins
1935 – SPLIT
- MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY – 8 nominations, – 1 win, Best Picture
- NAUGHTY MARIETTA – 8 noms – 2 wins
- THE LIVES OF A BENGAL LANCER – 8 noms – 2 wins
- THE INFORMER – 6 noms, incl Editing – 4 wins, including Director (Ford) & Screenplay
- CAPTAIN BLOOD – 5 noms – 0 wins
- LES MIS√âRABLES – 4 noms – 0 wins
- A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – 4 noms – 2 wins, incl. Editing
- TOP HAT – 4 noms – 0 wins
- BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 – 3 noms – 1 win
- DAVID COPPERFIELD – 3 noms – 0 wins
- ALICE ADAMS – 2 noms – 0 wins
- RUGGLES OF RED GAP – 1 nom – o wins
- ONE NIGHT OF LOVE – 6 noms – 2 wins
- IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT – nominated for 5 Oscars – won all 5, incl Director (Capra)
- CLEOPATRA – 5 noms – 1 win, Cinematography
- THE GAY DIVORCE – 5 noms – 1 win
- THE THIN MAN – 4 noms – 0 wins
- VIVA VILLA! – 4 noms – 1 win
- IMITATION OF LIFE – 3 noms – 0 wins
- FLIRTATION WALK – 2 noms – 0 wins
- THE WHITE PARADE – 2 noms – 0 wins
- THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET – 2 noms – 0 wins
- HERE COMES THE NAVY – 1 nom – 0 wins
- THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD – 1 nom
*(the 1934 Oscar for Best Editing went to Eskimo)
- CAVALCADE – 4 nominations – 3 wins, incl. Best Director
- A FAREWELL TO ARMS – 2 noms – 0 wins
- 42ND STREET – 4 noms – 0 wins
- I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG – 3 noms – 0 wins
- LADY FOR A DAY – 4 noms – 0 wins
- LITTLE WOMEN – 3 noms – 1 win
- THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII – 2 noms – 1 win, Actor (Laughton)
- SHE DONE HIM WRONG – 1 nom – 0 wins
- SMILIN’ THROUGH – 1 nom – 0 wins
- STATE FAIR – 1 nom – 0 wins
The conclusion: none of us knows how it’s going to go. But at this point, knowing what I know, there is really no reason why the DGA and Oscar won’t pick Lincoln and Spielberg. No matter what anyone says there is no getting around it having the following things in its favor:
1) it has the most nominations
2) it has made about $164 million and counting
3) it has the strongest leading actor performance, along with two other acting nominations
4) it has the richest and best written screenplay
5) it has every nomination needed to win
6) Kathleen Kennedy has never won an Oscar and holds the current record for most nominations.
7) Steven Spielberg has been directing successful films for Hollywood for over 40 years. They will really have to hate this movie not to give the man his due.
Can another movie win? Absolutely. But it’s going to have to be Life of Pi or Silver Linings Playbook. Argo might win but it would be one for the record books. Just know that Argo is anything but a safe choice.
A bit of Spielberg/Kennedy trivia – did you know that Kathleen Kennedy holds the record for most nominations for a producer with no wins? Here is the list from The Film Site – isn’t that interesting? Of all of these record-making producers, the number one is Kennedy, a woman. On the public stage, a WOMAN!
- Kathleen Kennedy (7 nominations with 0 wins):
- Steven Spielberg (7 nominations with 1 win): Schindler’s List (1993)
- Stanley Kramer (6 nominations with 0 wins):
- Francis Ford Coppola (5 nominations with 1 win): The Godfather, Part II (1974)
- Scott Rudin (5 nominations and 1 win): No Country For Old Men (2007)
- Frank Marshall (5 nominations with 0 wins):
- Sam Spiegel (4 nominations with 3 wins): On The Waterfront (1954), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962) (3 awards within 8 years!)
- Clint Eastwood (4 nominations with 2 wins): Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004)
- James L. Brooks (4 nominations with 1 win): Terms of Endearment (1983)
- Ethan Coen (4 nominations with 1 win): No Country For Old Men (2007)
- Peter Jackson (4 nominations with 1 win): The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
- Sydney Pollack (4 nominations with 1 win): Out of Africa (1985)
- David Puttnam (4 nominations with 1 win): Chariots of Fire (1981)
- Irwin Winkler (4 nominations with 1 win): Rocky (1976)
- Warren Beatty (4 nominations with 0 wins):
- David Brown (4 nominations with 0 wins):
- Norman Jewison (4 nominations with 0 wins):
- George Stevens (4 nominations with 0 wins):
- Saul Zaentz (3 nominations with 3 wins): One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) (co-produced with Michael Douglas), Amadeus (1984), The English Patient (1996)
- Robert Wise (3 nominations with 2 wins): West Side Story (1961), The Sound of Music (1965)
- Arthur Freed (2 nominations with 2 wins): An American in Paris (1951), Gigi (1958)
- Branko Lustig (2 nominations with 2 wins): Schindler’s List (1993), Gladiator (2000)
- Albert S. Ruddy (2 nominations with 2 wins): The Godfather (1972), Million Dollar Baby (2004)