Remember last year’s date scramble? I certainly do. For the first time in Oscar history the Academy had to turn in their ballots before the DGA announced. The DGA was the only really significant group that didn’t announce, though the Producers Guild announced one day before ballots were turned in.


It was recently brought up on Twitter that the bloggers and critics have to work harder not to make the precursors so important. I can tell you that having started this awards watching website 15 years ago I watched, and participated and helped shape how we all watch awards now, which is to keep score of the precursors heading into the race. But whether we’re keeping score or not, human nature dictates that fellow humans want to be on the winning side. It’s really as uncomplicated as that. The more a person or a film wins, the more they look like winners. Perception is everything. Voting is irrational.  The critics don’t seem to matter where the industry voters are concerned, at least not anymore. They certainly used to. But perhaps we have to now redefine critics. perhaps there are too many of them out there. So much so that “everyone is a critic.” But guild voters are in the industry, the “club” — they have become too big to fail.  

Either way, it proved to me that the guilds really did have the power to shift the race dramatically and in fact dominate it. But let’s take a look at this year’s dates to determine if the same dynamic will play out.

AMPAS–Saturday, November 16, 2013: The Governors Awards
SAG–Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 Nominations Ballots Mailed
Monday, December 2, 2013: Official Screen Credits due
SAG–Monday Dec. 9, 2013-Nomination Ballots Due at the Elections Firm by 12 Noon p.m. PT
SAG–Wednesday, December 11, 2013-Nominations Announced
SAG-Monday, December 16, 2013-Final voting begins

Friday, December 27, 2013: Nominations voting begins
Wednesday, January 8, 2014: Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Thursday, January 16, 2014: Oscar nominations announced
SAG-Friday, January 17, 2014: Ballots Due
SAG-Saturday, January 18, 2014: Screen Actors Guild Awards
PGA-Sunday, January 19, 2014: Producers Guild Awards
DGA-Saturday, January 25, 2014: Directors Guild Awards

Monday, February 10, 2014: Nominees Luncheon
Friday, February 14, 2014: Final voting begins
Saturday, February 15, 2014: Scientific and Technical Awards
Tuesday, February 25, 2014: Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014: 86th Academy Awards

So the Screen Actors Guild will announce before the Oscar ballot deadline, with ample time.  The DGA and PGA must announce their nominees before January 8th.  Last year, they announced January 10, which was past the Oscar ballot deadline last year and would be past it this year.  Last year, the PGA announced January 3rd, which would give ample this year before the Oscar ballot deadline.

Finally, how does it break down in terms of time?

Last year
January 10, 2013–nominations announced
February 19, 2013–final ballots due

This year:
January 16, 2014–nominations announced
February 25, 2014–final ballots due

It appears to be roughly the same length of time, though I can’t be trusted to count it out.


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  • JP

    In the modern awards season, the festivals (mainly Toronto and also Cannes, Sundance and Telluride) play the role the critics awards used to play in a different time – when awards season ended in march and big studios had the monopoly in the making of a Best Picture winner – and the guilds have multiplied and strengthen themselves to play the role the Oscars used to play in the past. Nowadays, the Oscars are more of a ratify act but the not a machine that builds its own winners.

  • I’m glad the Oscars don’t conflict with the Sochi Olympics.

    OT – this look is much better for AD, the fonts and everything. Much less cluttered and easier to read.

  • It would be most unfortunate if the element of surprise goes out of the window in terms of Oscar nominations if all guilds announce before the Oscar ballots close. i actually think that the Academy left to themselves did not think that much of ‘Argo’.

    But with everybody giving it best picture after the ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ controversy they had no choice but to follow suit.

  • steve50

    If only we had had the same breathing room this past year. I’m sure the results would have been different – Affleck and co. were getting tiring, Lee was obviously gaining in respect, and guilt was setting in over the unfair treatment of Zero Dark Thirty. Given 6 more weeks to think about it, we may have had a somewhat different outcome.

  • tr



    Why don’t you (or Ryan) review films during the early part of the year? It’d be nice to get your take on movies like Spring Breakers or The Place Beyond the Pines.

  • they jumped the wrong direction. know you like the season longer, but it’s a bore, and especially so since the guilds made the outcome obvious to everyone. Remember when opinion writers would make Oscar predictions? now if they did they would be boring or so out of touch as to be ridiculous.

    The only was to get suspense, and the critics, back into the mix is to move them to mid-January.

  • tr, we’re going to start doing that. I’m going get a DVD/Blu-ray department started, and if there are no current films in these fallow weeks of spring and early summer we might go back and write about some movies from the past that we love or feel were overlooked.

    Bear in mind, whenever we do write about movies that really don’t have any clear path to the Oscars we have to deal with reactions from readers telling us that we’re “wasting our time.” So I hope that attitude can change or else it’s going to be hard to feel encouraged to cover movies outside the box.

  • Sasha,

    Length of time in 2013 and 2014 is the same – 40 days.

  • With the Oscars in MARCH, the Academy members will have MORE than amply time to think. This could be a good, or bad, thing.

  • tr

    You get complaints? Wow. I didn’t realize some film fans only care about awards and nothing else. That’s pathetic.

  • 500 blurays, 300 DVDs and counting. I’ll be the first to read this department when it gets going. I’m a huge enthusiast.

  • CMG

    Maybe the results would have been different and maybe the consensus pedal done in large part to the charm offensive by Team Argo would not have been so aggressive or maybe there would have been blowback that seemed to seep through a lot of people toward the end who would have changed their minds or at least tinkered their preferential ballots. Like the ‘snub’ would have at that point exhausted people and really looking at the other nominated movies would have been more okay with the director selections or at least would have not just been sour toward Affleck (and instead rightfully angered by Bigelow not being nominated and ZDT seriously being under-served in nominations, which as steve50 mentioned the regret of what happened appeared to have been reflected by a lot of people toward the end). Also, maybe Team Lincoln would have had more time to retool its campaign because it seemed like they were at a loss.

    I definitely think the Best Actress race could have been different. I think with proper perspective, people who jumped on the Riva train would have gone to Chastain or would have gone back to Chastain because I am convinced a lot of the Riva momentum was in part due to ZDT being untouchable in all of its categories as Riva winning an American industry award (when she was not even getting a nomination in before the Oscars) for a Haneke film in retrospect was such an absurd notion. Not to diss Jennifer Lawrence, it was not so much the performance I had an issue with, it was the characterization in the writing that at no point made me think she was a lead but rather a supporting part. I never knew her character’s thoughts independent of being with Bradley Cooper’s character. It was too Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line where I had no problem with the performance but it was such category fraud that it became one of my least favorite Best Actress selections ever and I love RW.

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