It’s funny how last year there were three movies: 12 Years a Slave, Gravity and American Hustle. This year, there have been three movies since Telluride: Boyhood, Birdman and The Imitation Game, or as we like to affectionately call them: The Imitation Boyman. This weekend puts all three to the test to see which one has the edge. Anyone who is predicting any of them will have to see that film win at the Producers Guild awards on Saturday. The next night will be the SAG ensemble. If Boyhood wins both, we’re looking at a Slumdog Millionaire Year. If Imitation Game wins both, or either, it’s a King’s Speech year where the leader of the race started at the Producers Guild and marched onward to Oscar.
The preferential ballot and Oscar changing their date to a small voting window (for god knows what reason – voters never have time to see the movies) has made it nearly impossible for there to be any variation in these weeks leading up to the Oscars. There just isn’t time to shift a growing consensus – it’s really the new normal. If Oscar changes back to five Best Picture contenders you can see more surprises and more last minute shifts but whatever wins the PGA wins Best Picture since the expansion:
2009 – The Hurt Locker wins PGA and Oscar, Basterds wins SAG
2010 – The King’s Speech wins PGA, SAG, Oscar
2011 – The Artist wins PGA, Oscar, The Help wins the SAG
2012 – Argo wins PGA, SAG, Oscar
2013 – 12 Years and Gravity win PGA, Hustle wins SAG, 12 Years wins Oscar
SAG isn’t as important and hasn’t been the deciding factor in a Best Picture winner against the PGA since 2006, with Crash. In 2005, Little Miss Sunshine won the PGA and SAG but Martin Scorsese won the DGA and The Departed won the Oscar. Back then, they were working with a weighted, not a preferential ballot. Now that the preferential is in place, ain’t nothing gonna change from PGA to Oscar, or it hasn’t yet.
Thus, whatever wins on Saturday is likely your Best Picture winner. The only film I feel there’s buzz for is Boyhood. I’m not privy to the works of Harvey Weinstein behind the scenes like some of my colleagues are. Unless someone knows something I don’t, this is Boyhood’s to win in a runaway sweep.
Michael Musto posted an interview with an Academy voter where she said she thought Birdman might win but brought up the apparent rumor that Inarritu is not fun to work with. But she also said it was the most exciting film in the race. Any momentum it might gain, however, is going to be taken out by The Imitation Game, leaving the frontrunner to collect the prize.
What do you think, Oscar watchers?