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Down to the Wire – One Last Look at Split Guilds, Split Oscars

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The Gurus of Gold and Gold Derby have put out their predictions. No one is predicting American Hustle to win in Best Picture, which is really the only logical split vote scenario, being that the SAG ensemble win would be in play, as it’s been every time since the beginning of SAG. They are divided between Gravity and 12 Years a Slave.

More surprising, to me, is how many pundits are predicting 20 Feet from Stardom to beat The Act of Killing. If so, they would lose all credibility to hand out awards in the documentary category. If so, I really hope they go back to the rule that voters have to see all five films to make a fair judgment call because that movie deserves to win if ever a movie did deserve to win any prize. I remain horrified in advance at this potential debacle to play out.

At any rate, let’s look at our charts of the major guilds – Producers, Screen Actors, Directors and Eddie when it comes to Best Picture and a split vote. This can only apply in modern day because to look at the years that employed the preferential ballot is to go back to the 1930s. And no one wants to go back to the 1930s.

A few minor things to note.

The Gurus and Derbyites are mostly predicting a split wherein Best Picture wins three Oscars only. Picture, Screenplay and Supporting Actress.

First we’ll look at films that won only three Oscars in SPLIT VOTE, what they won. There are a few that won only 3 that won both Picture and Director (Rocky, Midnight Cowboy, etc).

Argo (Picture, Editing, Screenplay) — SAG ensemble against Life of Pi (won 4 Oscars)
Crash (Picture, Editing, Screenplay) —SAG ensemble against Brokeback (won 3 Oscars)
The Godfather (Picture, Actor, Screenplay) against Cabaret (won 8 Oscars!)
All the King’s Men (Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress) against Letters to Three Wives (won 2 Oscars)
The Life of Emile Zola (Picture, Actor, Screenplay) against The Awful Truth (won 1 Oscar)
The Great Ziegfeld (Picture, Actress, Dance Direction) against Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (won 1 Oscar)
Cimarron (Picture, Art Direction, Screenplay) against Skippy (won 1 Oscar)

The only pattern that emerges here tends to be that the SAG ensemble does some kind of crazy mojo. Also, the Ace Eddie was won in both the cases of Argo and Crash. So why more people aren’t predicting American Hustle seems strange to me. Perhaps they’re thinking it would be possible with a weighted ballot to pull a surprise majority like that but with a preferential ballot, near impossible.

How many times has the DGA called Best Picture? 52 out of 65 years (I’m fairly sure but someone might want to double check that).

Here are the years it did not call Best Picture:
2005 – Ang Lee won DGA/Oscar for Brokeback Mountain — Crash won Best Picture
2000 – Ang Lee won DGA for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon — Gladiator won BP (Soderbergh took director)
1989 – Oliver Stone won DGA/Oscar for Born on the Fourth of July — Driving Miss Daisy won BP (Beresford not nonmed for DGA or Oscar)
1985 – Steven Spielberg won DGA for The Color Purple — Out of Africa won Pic and Director (Spielberg not nominated for Oscar)
1981 – Warren Beatty won DGA/Oscar for Reds — Chariots of Fire won Picture
1968 – Anthony Harvey won DGA for Lion in Winter — Oliver won Pic and Director
1967 – Mike Nichols won DGA/Oscar for The Graduate — In the Heat of the Night won Pic
1956 – George Stevens won DGA/Oscar for GiantAround the World in 80 Days won Pic
1952 – John Ford won DGA/Oscar for The Quiet ManThe Greatest Show on Earth won Pic
1951 – George Stevens won DGA/Oscar for A Place in the Sun An American in Paris won Pic

There are a variety of possibilities here, as you can see. The most common scenario is that the DGA does not call Best Picture in  a split vote scenario, as we are predicting here.  In rare instances, the DGA does not call either Picture or Director. That happened, in all of DGA history, only three times and one of those times Spielberg was not nominated for the Oscar.  Anthony Harvey was nominated but was passed over, ditto Ang Lee.

Twice they went with a matching director to go along with Picture instead (Oliver, Out of Africa) and once, that crazy year in 2000 when director went to someone else entirely, Soderbergh.

Looking at that list of splits, one must assume that the most likely scenario is Cuaron and 12 Years, or American Hustle, for the split.

However, if you’re looking to bolster the theory that it won’t split, and that the DGA will simply call Best Picture and be done with it, you only really have to focus on the years in guild history where they were divided among their choices.

1. No two films have ever tied the Producers Guild, with or without a preferential ballot.
2. It’s very rare for the PGA, the DGA and the SAG to pick three different movies.

Those two factoids alone narrow our choices significantly.  We are mainly looking at:

2004 – PGA went to The Aviator, SAG went to Sideways, DGA went to EastwoodDGA wins (Gravity)
2000 – PGA went to Gladiator, SAG went to Traffic, DGA went to Crouching Tiger — PGA wins (12 Years)

Now, let’s count Gravity for a PGA + DGA only, no SAG, no Eddie and here’s what we come up with:

2011 – PGA/DGA went to The Artist — DGA/PGA win – no split (Gravity)
2009 – PGA/DGA went to Hurt Locker — DGA/PGA win – no split (Gravity)
2005 – PGA/DGA went to Brokeback Mountain – pic did not win
SAG wins – split (American Hustle)
1998 – PGA/DGA went to Saving Private Ryan – pic did not win – SAG wins – split (American Hustle)
1997 – PGA/DGA went to Titanic – DGA/PGA win – no split (Gravity)

How many times has a film won just the SAG ensemble plus the Eddie and won Best Picture?
Once, Crash did that.   (American Hustle)

How many times has a film won ONLY the PGA and won Best Picture?
Once, Gladiator (12 Years a Slave)

How many times has a film won Best Picture without a SAG ensemble nod?
Once, Braveheart (Gravity)

So you’re looking at, when you get right down to it, those sorts of odds vis-a-vis the guilds.   You have three scenarios for Best Picture, none of which make complete sense.   Although it seems most likely that the DGA will call Best Picture and Best Director as it ALMOST ALWAYS DOES, Gravity still has to overcome the following to win — here are the records it has to shatter:

1. No SAG nod, no Screenplay nod. How many times those two things happened together? ZERO (12 Years+Hustle have both)
2. 3D – no 3D film has ever won Best Picture

3. Set in space. No film set in space has ever won.
4. No film with only two actors has ever won.
5. Effects driven only – 90% of Gravity is visual effects. For that to win BP is unheard of.  

No matter how you slice it, there is NO scenario for Best Picture that makes complete sense. History is going to be made one way or the other.

The Charts

2012 PGA | SAG | DGA | Eddie | Oscar Best Picture

Gravity Gravity Gravity Gravity
12 Years a Slave 12 Years a Slave 12 Years a Slave 12 Years a Slave 12 Years a Slave
American Hustle American Hustle American Hustle American Hustle American Hustle
Wolf of Wall Street The Butler Wolf of Wall Street Wolf of Wall Street Wolf of Wall Street
Captain Phillips August: Osage Captain Phillips Captain Phillips Captain Phillips
Philomena August Osage Philomena
Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska
Her Her Her
Dallas Buyers Club Dallas Buyers Club Saving Mr Banks Dallas Buyers Club

2012 PGA | SAG | DGA | Eddie | Oscar Best Picture

Argo Argo Argo Argo Argo+
Lincoln Lincoln Lincoln Lincoln Lincoln
Les Mis Les Mis Les Mis Les Mis Les Mis
Life of Pi Life of Pi Life of Pi Life of Pi (Dir)
Zero Dark Thirty Zero Dark Thirty Zero Dark Thirty Zero Dark Thirty
Silver Linings Silver Linings Silver Linings Silver Linings
Django Django
Beasts Beasts
Skyfall Skyfall Amour
Moonrise Best Exotic Marigold Moonrise/Best

2011 PGA | SAG | DGA | Eddie | Oscar Best Picture

The Artist The Artist The Artist The Artist The Artist
Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo
The Descendants The Descendants The Descendants The Descendants The Descendants
Midnight in Paris Midnight in Paris Midnight in Paris Midnight in Paris Midnight in Paris
Dragon Tattoo Dragon Tattoo Dragon Tattoo Extremely Loud
The Help The Help The Help
Bridesmaids Bridesmaids Tree of Life
Moneyball Moneyball Moneyball
War Horse War Horse War Horse
Ides of March

2010

PGA | SAG | DGA | Eddie | Oscar Best Picture

The King’s Speech The King’s Speech The King’s Speech The King’s Speech The King’s Speech
The Social Network The Social Network The Social Network The Social Network The Social Network
The Fighter The Fighter The Fighter The Fighter The Fighter
Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan
Inception The Kids Are All Right Inception Inception Inception

2009

PGA | SAG | DGA | ACE | Oscar Best Picture

The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker+ The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds District 9 Inglourious Basterds
An Education An Education Avatar Avatar Avatar
Precious Precious Precious Star Trek Precious
Up in the Air Nine Up in the Air Up in the Air Up in the Air
Avatar Avatar

2008

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire+ Slumdog Millionaire
Benjamin Button Benjamin Button Benjamin Button Benjamin Button Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight Doubt The Dark Knight The Dark Knight The Reader
Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon
Milk Milk Milk Milk Milk

2007

PGA | SAG | DGA | ACE | Oscar Best Picture

2007

PGA | SAG | DGA | ACE | Oscar Best Picture

<td “width=”131″ bgcolor=”#FFFFFF”>No Country

No Country No Country Joel and Ethan Coen No Country
There Will Be Blood There Will Be Blood Paul Thomas Anderson There Will Be Blood There Will Be Blood
Diving Bell American Gangster Julian Schnabel Bourne+
Juno Into the Wild Sean Penn Juno/Into the Wild Juno
Michael Clayton 3:10 to Yuma Tony Gilroy Michael Clayton Michael Clayton

2006
PGA | SAG | DGA | ACE | Oscar Best Picture

The Departed The Departed Martin Scorsese The Departed+ The Departed
Babel Babel Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Babel Babel
Dreamgirls Dreamgirls Bill Condon Dreamgirls Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine Little Miss Sunshine Jonathan Dayton/Valeri Faris Little Miss Sunshine Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen Bobby Stephen Frears The Queen The Queen

2005

PGA | SAG | DGA | ACE | Oscar Best Picture

Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain (DIR)
Crash Crash Paul Haggis Crash Crash+
Capote Capote Bennett Miller Constant Gardener Capote
Good Night, and Good Luck Good Night George Clooney Good Night Good Night
Walk the Line Hustle and Flow
Steven Spielberg Munich Munich

2004

PGA | SAG | DGA | ACE | Oscar Best Picture

The Aviator The Aviator Martin Scorsese The Aviator+ The Aviator
Million $ Baby Million $ Baby Clint Eastwood Million $ Baby Million $ Baby
Finding Neverland Finding Neverland Stephen Daldry Finding Neverland Finding Neverland
Sideways Sideways Sideway Sideways Sideways
The Incredibles Ray Taylor Hackford Ray Ray
Hotel Rwanda

2003

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

The Last Samurai In America Sofia Coppola Lost in Translation Lost in Translation
ROTK ROTK Peter Jackson Return of the King+ Return of the King
Mystic River Mystic River Clint Eastwood Mystic River Mystic River
Master and Commander The Station Agent Peter Weir Master and Commander Master and Commander
Seabiscuit Seabiscuit Gary Ross Seabiscuit Seabiscuit
Cold Mountain

2002

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Adaptation Adaptation Roman Polanski The Pianist The Pianist (DIR)
Chicago Chicago Rob Marshall Chicago+ Chicago
Gangs of New York Martin Scorsese Gangs of New York Gangs of New York
Two Towers Two Towers Peter Jackson Two Towers Two Towers
My Big Fat Greek Wedding Greek Wedding
Road to Perdition The Hours Stephen Daldry The Hours The Hours

2001

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind Ron Howard A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind
The Lord of the Rings The Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson The Lord of the Rings The Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter Gosford Park Christopher Nolan Gosford Park Gosford Park
Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge Baz Luhrmann Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge
Shrek In the Bedroom Ridley Scott Black Hawk Down+ In the Bedroom

2000

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Gladiator Gladiator Gladiator Gladiator Gladiator
Traffic Steven Soderbergh Traffic+ Traffic (DIR)
Erin Brockovich Steven Soderbergh Erin Brockovich Erin Brockovich
Billy Elliot Billy Elliot Billy Elliot
Almost Famous Almost Famous Cameron Crowe Almost Famous
Crouching Tiger Ang Lee Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Chocolat Chocolat Chocolat

1999

PGA | SAG | DGA | ACE | Oscar Best Picture

The Cider House Rules Cider House Rules The Talented Mr. Ripley The Cider House Rules
American Beauty American Beauty Sam Mendes American Beauty American Beauty
The Insider Magnolia Michael Mann The Insider The Insider
The Green Mile Frank Darabont The Green Mile The Green Mile
The Hurricane M. Night Shyamalan The Sixth Sense The Sixth Sense
Being john Malkovich Being John Malkovich Being John Malkovich Being John Malkovich
The Matrix+

1998

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Waking Ned Divine Waking Ned Divine Peter Weir Out of Sight Elizabeth
Shakespeare In Love Shakes in Love John Madden Shakespeare In Love Shakespeare In Love
Gods and Monsters Little Voice Terrence Malick The Thin Red Line The Thin Red Line
Life Is Beautiful Life is Beautiful Roberto Benigni The Horse Whisperer Life Is Beautiful
Saving Private Ryan Saving Private Ryan Steven Spielberg Saving Private Ryan+ Saving Private Ryan (DIR)

1997

PGA | SAG | DGA | ACE | Oscar Best Picture

Titanic Boogie Nights James Cameron Titanic+ Titanic
Amistad The Full Monty Steven Spielberg Air Force One The Full Monty
L. A. Confidential LA Confidential Curtis Hanson L. A. Confidential L. A. Confidential
As Good As It Gets As Good as it Gets James L. Brooks As Good as it Gets As Good as it Gets
Good Will Hunting Good Will Hunting Gus Van Sant Good Will Hunting Good Will Hunting

1996

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Fargo Marvin’s Room Joel Coen Fargo Fargo
Shine Shine Scott Hicks Shine Shine
Hamlet Sling Blade Mike Leigh The Rock Secrets & Lies
The People vs. Larry Flynt The Birdcage Cameron Crowe Evita Jerry Maguire
The English Patient The English Patient Anthony Minghella The English Patient+ The English Patient

1995

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Leaving Las Vegas Mike Figgis The Usual Suspect Babe
Dead Man Walking Get Shorty Mel Gibson Braveheart Braveheart
Apollo 13 Apollo 13 Ron Howard Apollo 13+ Apollo 13
Sense and Sensibility Sense and Sensibility Ang Lee Casino Sense and Sensibility
Il Postino Michael Radford Cromson Tide Il Postino
The Bridges of Madison County How to Make an American Quilt
The American President Nixon

1994

PGA | DGA | ACE Oscar Best Picture

EXACT MATCH

Four Weddings and a Funeral Mike Newell for Four Weddings and a Funeral Four Weddings and a Funeral Speed Four Weddings and a Funeral
Forrest Gump Robert Zemeckis for Forrest Gump Forrest Gump Forrest Gump+ Forrest Gump
Quiz Show Robert Redford for Quiz Show Quiz Show True Lies Quiz Show
Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction Pulp Fiction Pulp Fiction Pulp Fiction
The Shawshank Redemption Frank Darabont for The Shawshank Redemption The Shawshank Redemption The Shawshank Redemption The Shawshank Redemption

1993

PGA | DGA | Eddie | Oscar Best Picture

The Fugitive Andrew Davis for The Fugitive The Fugitive The Fugitive
Schindler’s List Steven Spielberg for Schindler’s List Schindler’s List+ Schindler’s List
The Remains Of the Day James Ivory for The Remains Of the Day In the Line of Fire The Remains Of the Day
The Piano Jane Campion for The Piano The Piano The Piano
In the Name Of the Father Martin Scorsese for The Age Of Innocence In the Name Of the Father In the Name Of the Father

1992

PGA | DGA | Eddie | Oscar Best Picture

A Few Good Men Rob Reiner for A Few Good Men A Few Good Men A Few Good Men
The Crying Game Neil Jordan for The Crying Game The Last of the Mohicans The Crying Game
Unforgiven Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven Unforgiven+ Unforgiven
Scent Of a Woman Robert Altman for The Player Scent Of a Woman Scent Of a Woman
Howards End James Ivory for Howards End Howards End Howards End