For the first time ever, the major guilds will be announcing at the same time the Oscar ballots are turned in, all on the same day. Since most Oscar voters vote early, they’ll be doing it this year with no major guilds to guide or influence their vote, except the Screen Actors Guild. As usual, this calendar crunch gives the Globes an enormous amount of influence, much more than usual — so that their choices will serve as the feeder nominations for all of the guilds and the Oscars. Anything that shows up at DGA or PGA that is an outlier or surprise will not have any time to parlay that nod into an Oscar nomination.
Here is the calendar:
November 16 – Spirit Award Nominations
December 3 – National Board of Review announce
December 4 – New York Film Critics announce
December 9 – Globes – nominations announce
December 11 – SAG nominations announce
December 11 – Ace Eddie nominations announce
January 2 – Oscar voting begins
January 5 – Globes – Golden Globes Telecast
January 6 – WGA nominations announce
January 7 – DGA nominations announce
January 7 – PGA – Nominees announce
January 7 – Oscar voting closes
January 12 – Critics Choice Awards
January 13 – Oscar nominations announce
January 18 – Producers Guild Awards
January 19 – SAG awards
January 25 – DGA awards
January 30 – Final Oscar voting starts
February 1 – WGA awards
February 2 – BAFTA awards
February 4 – Final Oscar voting closes
February 8 – The Spirit Awards
February 9 – The Oscars
Just to show you the difference, last year and years prior the announcements for the major guilds and Oscar ballot deadlines were not this on top of each other:
January 4 – WGA nominations
January 5 – PGA nominations
January 11 – DGA nominations
January 12 – Oscar ballots due
In particular, the PGA had influence. It’s already been a few years since the DGA had influence over the Oscars because in 2012 the DGA began announcing their nominees after or right on top of the Oscar ballot deadline. This year, so will the PGA. That means we could have, potentially, more or less, a strange mismatch between Best Picture contenders.
Some believe that it doesn’t matter because with so many thousands of people voting, their tastes are going to align, given that they’re roughly the same basic demographic. While that could be true, I guess we’ll find out for sure this year. The Academy is a different voting body from either the PGA or the DGA for one specific reason: actors. The largest branch by far in the Academy is the actors branch, with almost double any other branch in total membership.
According to Gold Derby, last year’s count (before the new members from this year have been added to the pile) it looked like this:
Public Relations: 416
Documentary Branch: 320
Music branch: 305
Makeup & Hairstyling: 183
Casting Directors: 113
The Producers Guild is the only other major awards group that implements the preferential ballot. So, let’s say for instance, Joker makes it onto the PGA and Oscar voters are on the fence about the film – seeing it nominated by the prestigious PGA might sway their voters. Then again it might not, as we saw in the Nightcrawler, Foxcatcher, Gone Girl year. So perhaps it won’t really matter but perhaps it will matter. It’s hard to say but one thing I know for sure: this situation is a first in Oscar history, I think it’s fair to say, that none of these nominations — PGA/DGA/Oscar –will have any influence on the other. That is going to make predicting very very interesting.
The Producers Guild doesn’t have the influx of the actors like the Academy does. Their ballot also offers ten nomination slots where the Academy only has five. When you have only five slots the choices become very limited. Imagine if you had to pick five, then imagine the freedom if you could pick ten.
This could potentially impact a film like 1917, which is coming in late, and not screening until late November. Will the right voters see it in time to make it into guild voting? Probably. Could it happen that a film misses DGA and PGA but gets into Oscar and wins? Honestly, at this point anything is possible. But I would expect a nomination to show up in both of those places for a winner – given that we’re talking about a consensus vote. A consensus should be a consensus across the board.
It is quite possible that we could see different choices everywhere, making this one of those years where anything can happen. And all of this before we even have frontrunners who are targeted for takedowns.
The Golden Globes will have influence in terms of nominations, no doubt about it – and they have five openings for drama and five for Musical/Comedy, along with double the nomination slots for lead acting. But since there are only 90 HFPA members, they aren’t as comparatively reliable as the big guilds. But that was in the past. Who knows what this year will bring with such a wide open field and so many possible combinations of contenders.
Right now, the general consensus for Best Director seems to be these three to start:
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Sam Mendes, 1917 (sight unseen)
But these names are right up in it too:
James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes
Pedro Almodovar, Pain & Glory
And then there’s:
Todd Phillips, Joker — I just have a funny feeling about this one that I can’t explain. I sort of see it getting in everywhere but don’t yet have the guts to go all in.
Craig Brewer, Dolemite Is My Name – there are too many Netflix movies, I know, but this is such a crowd-pleaser you never know how it might land.
Greta Gerwig, Little Women – you just never know and if voters want to vote for a woman. If the film is a hit, it could go this way.
Jay Roach, Bombshell – also depends on just how much voters respond.
Clint Eastwood, Richard Jewell, because you never know.
Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim – if it hits big and captures the zeitgeist, which it might.
Then you have to think about how the DGA will go — and this is where Todd Phillips starts to enter my mind. Don’t we think the 15,000 or so DGA members are going to go for Joker? I do. It is just too popular for that not to be a possibility. But I can’t figure out which name to cut of the top five.
Next we look at the potential SAG nominees for ensemble. It might go:
Dolemite Is My Name
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
The PGA ten could be something like:
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
1917 (sight unseen)
Ford v Ferrari
Dolemite is My Name
Hustlers. or Bombshell, or both
The truth is that either the DGA or PGA would benefit from one influencing the other, no doubt about it. But both will announce on the same day — the SAME DAY as Oscar ballots are turned in.
We may never survive it.
Okay, Oscar watchers — let’s see your top ten for Producers Guild, not Oscar.