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Can the DGA and PGA Overcome the SAG Ensemble Stat and Give Shape the Win for the First Time in History?

It’s an odd sort of situation we find ourselves in right now. Did you know that in all of SAG/DGA/Oscar history, no DGA winner has ever predicted Best Picture without a SAG ensemble nomination? Yes, even Ye Auld Braveheart stat must get out of the way because Ron Howard, not Mel Gibson, won the DGA that year. That takes us all the way back to the beginning to break this stat.

It could happen. Here is my quick and dirty reasoning why this stat might not break this year — and of course, I could be wrong, mind you:

  • Shape should have won the BAFTA, where it had the most nominations. Instead, they gave both their Best Picture prizes to Three Billboards.
  • Shape should have gotten a SAG ensemble nomination. It wasn’t a two-hander, it didn’t star unknowns — it was a cast full of beloved actors that had been kicking around since the Venice film fest. That it missed there is significant. Why did it?
  • In the past, voters have reconciled themselves to a vote split: happened with In the Heat of the Night and The Graduate, Driving Miss Daisy and Born on the Fourth of July, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave, and this year, so far, Shape and Three Billboards, which have split the top two prizes at the Globes and BAFTA. Sure, it might be a “foreign” thing, but Best Director is mostly taken out of the equation because everyone already knows del Toro has it in the bag.
  • Actors count. They matter at BAFTA, SAG, and at the Oscars. Where they don’t matter: PGA and DGA and all of the critics awards. You have to pretend actors have no weight in the vote to predict against Three Billboards.

Why Shape might win and, thus, break the SAG stat:

  • Three Billboards might prove too divisive. Do people HATE it or LOVE it? I feel like they hate or love Shape of Water. Get Out is the movie I think benefits from a Three Billboards backlash, not Shape.
  • Joyce Eng, Anne Thompson, Kris Tapley, Scott Feinberg are all saying The Shape of Water will win. That doesn’t count for everything but it’s not nothing. Some of them talk to Academy members and they’re making this prediction based on that. Perhaps Shape’s popularity is bigger over here because of the anti-Trump messaging throughout. Who knows. But they’re predicting something to happen that has never happened before.
  • It could be the beneficiary of the preferential balloting system where it benefits every time a film is knocked out. I have no idea if it will lots of people love it but in the polls I’ve run Get Out and Dunkirk tend to do better than Shape. But who knows.

I think that it’s probably down to Three Billboards or Get Out, which is why I’m predicting one for Picture and one for Original Screenplay because I do sort of think that the screenplay may NOT go along with Best Picture this year. More analysis on that later today. I’m gonna go with Three Billboards for Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor — I do think it could also win Original Screenplay and maybe something else: it does have below the line nominations in Editing and Score. But I’ll go with Get Out for Original Screenplay, which could win Picture and Screenplay like Spotlight did.

YES we are putting up our Big Fat Predictions Chart later today too.

Here’s a chart: