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

62 Comments on this Post

  1. “How many times has a film won Best Picture without a SAG ensemble nod?
    Zero (Anything but Gravity)”

    Braveheart won without the Sag Ensemble nod.

  2. Bryce Forestieri

    Either way, it looks like Academy Award Winner David O. Russell!

  3. “Either way, it looks like Academy Award Winner David O. Russell!”

    I just posted this in another thread, but it seems just as relevant here:

    Did a little more research today and found that no Original Screenplay has won the Oscar without first winning at least one major precursor (Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, WGA, BAFTA) WHILE having its top competition in play since the inception of the BFCA.

    Hustle did win the BAFTA, but it didn’t have to face Her. The main reasoning here is that it opened right at the cutoff date, so many didn’t get a chance to see it. Not sure what the screener situation is with BAFTA, but it goes a long way towards explaining why McConaughey and Leto didn’t get nominated either (DBC opened very late as well). How else would you explain three gigantic snubs like this? If Her had opened earlier, it probably would have been seen by a lot more voters, gotten the nomination, and the win.

    The closest circumstance would probably be when The Usual Suspects won only the BAFTA before winning the Oscar, but they flat-out snubbed Braveheart for a screenplay nomination (the film was obviously seen by most voters as it was nominated for seven awards). Braveheart would win the WGA, but still lose the Oscar.

    Another somewhat similar circumstance happened back when Talk to Her only won the BAFTA before taking the Oscar. However, it was deemed “ineligible” for the WGA awards, where it probably would have easily beaten Bowling for Columbine (still not sure how this was nominated for Original Screenplay).

    All this is to say that Hustle would be making a bit of history if it should somehow overcome the overwhelming odds against it winning the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

    All in all, I just don’t see this being the year that all of the precursors fail for the category, making Her the clear favorite despite the “experts” on Gold Derby splitting their votes 50/50 with Hustle (and the Gurus leaning heavily towards Hustle).

  4. Thanks Hawkeye! Fixed.

  5. Bryce Forestieri

    Standing O for overdue Russell?

  6. “Braveheart won without the Sag Ensemble nod.”

    Right. But that was the first year of the SAG award. They were still getting their bearings, I believe.

    And Braveheart defied all odds, no PGA, no DGA, no WGA. It was almost a freak of nature.

  7. Brian Susbielles

    In other words, it’s still anyone’s guess. Personally, I’ll be fine with either Gravity or 12 Years; Hustle isn’t Best Picture quality to me, even though it’s fun to see.

  8. ‘Did a little more research today and found that no Original Screenplay has won the Oscar without first winning at least one major precursor (Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, WGA, BAFTA) WHILE having its top competition in play since the inception of the BFCA.<'

    There's a first time for everything…

    'Standing O for overdue Russell?'

    They don't stand up if you're overdue. They stand up if they like you. They stood up for Jennifer Lawrence last year. She wasn't overdue. They'll fucking stand up for David O. Russell. And he's not overdue either.

  9. I think that people reading tea leaves should be seeing who is second on these anonymous ballots. That’s where the preferential ballot will determine the winner.

  10. I think the supporting actress is probably a lot closer than these predictions are indicating.

  11. The preferential ballot ensures that it only ever boils down to the favourite two films. This is why I think it’s unlikely that American Hustle might win, since I think 12 Years a Slave and Gravity combined will account for too many votes.

    As it is, if it only ever boils down to the top two films, it’s not about No. 1 votes at all. It’s about which film placed higher on more ballots. They might as well cut the Best Picture race down to two films now and ask voters to choose their favourite between those two, since that’s essentially what they’re already doing.

  12. 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.

    Act possibly losing wouldn’t all that new – they’ve *always* made questionable choices every now and then in Documentary.

    I’m rooting for Act of Killing like the lot of you, but it is very likely going to bleed support to The Square and Dirty Wars, which aren’t slouches in their own right when it comes to gripping, outrage-inducing sociopolitical drama (The Square especially, since Egypt is still a political cluster**** making world headlines) Which would then enable 20 Feet to win simply by differentiating itself (by 180 degrees) from 3/5ths of the lineup.

    This is one of the drawbacks of a simple plurality voting system – vote splitting. Still, it’s not over until the envelope is opened.

  13. They’ll fucking stand up for David O. Russell. And he’s not overdue either.

    Roberto Begnini got a standing O.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybgg4H4zTHo

  14. “They might as well cut the Best Picture race down to two films now and ask voters to choose their favourite between those two”

    but then we’d be robbed of all the fun of seeing 8 great movies become LOSERS.

  15. The cynic in me forced me to change my prediction ballot today to American Hustle. I’m certain that it has maneuvered itself under the radar and nobody is taking it seriously despite the fact that most people seemed to like it and would rank it in the top 3. Combine that with the demographic and the fact that a lot of voters would have viewed the nominees on screeners and, well, that one comes closest to easy to digest TV fare, just like Argo, TKS, and The Artist.

    I really hope I’m out to lunch on this. I’ve never hoped that my AD ballot was wrong before – this is uncharted territory.

  16. As it is, if it only ever boils down to the top two films, it’s not about No. 1 votes at all. It’s about which film placed higher on more ballots. They might as well cut the Best Picture race down to two films now and ask voters to choose their favourite between those two, since that’s essentially what they’re already doing.

    I would agree with the sentiment if that were actually the case. But I don’t think it has been going down to just 2 films. Hurt Locker, Argo, Artist, King’s Speech all swept the Guilds. They clearly had love and a lot of it.

    Of course we’ll never know how many rounds it took, but I don’t think it’s too left field to posit that all 4 cinched BP in the first few rounds of voting, if not the first round. This will probably be the first year in the new expanded lineup era which balloting extends to a 7th/8th round.

  17. I do think American Hustle is the film that likely plays best on screener and will be the first AMPAS members not only would watch but re-watch.

    But for the film to actually win, it would have to potentially have more number one and two ballots than Gravity or 12 years which seems unlikely give. What we’ve seen so far…

  18. Looks like a few years are for the DGA not calling Best Picture:

    1998 — Spielberg for the DGA/Oscar, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE for BP
    1995 — Howard for DGA, BRAVEHEART for BP
    1972 — Fosse for the DGA/Oscar, THE GODFATHER for BP.

  19. I really hope they go back to the rule that voters have to see all five films to make a fair judgment call

    That currently *is* a requirement in voting for documentary (as well as the shorts). Of course, the enforcement mechanism is merely the “honor” system.

  20. I think if Jennifer Lawrence wins, that’s a strong indicator of AMERICAN HUSTLE coming out on top, probably with 3 or 4 wins (Picture, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, and maybe Costume Design).

    I don’t think Lupita Nyong’o winning would mean anything in regards to the Best Picture winner.

    If Hawkins, Roberts, or Squibb win, I think that means GRAVITY’s en route to a sweep — Picture, Director, Cinematography, Editing, Score, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects.

    And if GRAVITY gets Production Design early in the night… yeah, then it’s GRAVITY all the way.

  21. Very true, Mike, but how can we tell that they aren’t just putting the good-time film in number one position, followed begrudgingly by the two they think they “should” vote for.

    I’m getting a very “1973 vibe” this year. If that turns out to be true and AH becomes The Sting, poor Cate better be sure that Amy Adams doesn’t turn into Glenda Jackson, who surprisingly won in a comedy against heavier hitters.

    This year is really off-kilter. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

  22. I guess it will come down to what the number two votes are on films like Philomena and Nebraska that will have some number ones but not enough to win. Will hustle have more appeal than Gravity and 12 years in those scenarios?

  23. Really, Mike? I barely could sit through it the first time with my screener copy.

  24. AH is not winning Best Picture, it’s won almost nothing so far (besides the obvious SAG win). I would say its 80% chance 12YAS and 20% chance Gravity.

    Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress seem to be locked for Cuaron, MM, Blanchett, Leto, and Lupita (JLaw ain’t winning back to back, this is the category for newcomers).

    When you break it down, the race is not all that unpredictable from previous years, as all the major categories have a pretty solid consensus favorite. The highest drama will be in Best Picture, but even so, 12YAS is a massive favorite still and Gravity winning would be a pretty big shock to most people.

  25. Well I certainly think more people will watch it twice than 12 Years a Slave or Gravity sans 3D

  26. Hurt Locker, Argo, Artist, King’s Speech all swept the Guilds. They clearly had love and a lot of it.

    Of course we’ll never know how many rounds it took, but I don’t think it’s too left field to posit that all 4 cinched BP in the first few rounds of voting, if not the first round.

    We know Rob’s Simulated Ballot is not an ironclad predictor because AD readers are not the Academy — but what Rob does with such clarity is perform a brilliant experiment.

    In 2010, AD readers had The Hurt Locker winning in rounds 1-6, but Inglourious Basterds pulled a rabbit out of its ass in rounds 7 and 8 — Basterds leap-frogged ahead of The Hurt Locker when Up in the Air and Avatar faltered.

    (there but for the grace of god…)

  27. GRAVITY does lose a lot on a TV. AMERICAN HUSTLE is more welcoming when sitting there on your couch. 12 YEARS A SLAVE is tough, like SCHINDLER’S LIST — a great film, but you really don’t have much urge to re-live it anytime soon.

  28. Sasha- thanks, this is what I’ve been saying!! You can’t look too much at past statistics. No one says well “no movie lacking a screenplay nod and sag nod has won, so I won’t pick gravity.”

    The guilds themselves are of limited value. They do tell us what people in the industry like- humans are humans even in the academy – and they do create buzz and moment.

    But in the voting booth no one goes “oh well gravity won DGA so I better pick it for best picture.” No one.

    Here’s one rule that RARELY fails, even in split years: the most “oscar” movie of the bunch tends to win. Oh and I know that “oscar movie” here is like a dirty word but I don’t mean it that way at all. I only mean that feel good movies, or sweeping epics, or important movies tend to win. Sure, recently they have picked very non oscar movies like hurt locker and no country, but that’s rare.

    More commonly, the most oscar movie wins. Advantage? 12 years a slave by miles. Gravity as you say doesn’t even come close. Effects driven thriller starring a women in the lead role on camera for 80pct of the picture? Give me a break.

    Hustle is closer in a sense- it’s the feel good type of oscar movie.

    Slave is not the feel good type but it is the epic important story style of oscar movie. Of course they’re gonna give an oscar to Ghandi and to the holocaust fighter and to the important general etc. And, guess what, some of those like Schindlers list also happen to be all time masterpiece. So too 12 Years a Slave

    It is the most “Oscar” of the bunch- important story, based in real life, etc. And it’s pretty darn good. No movie in the race comes close to meeting that standard although I suppose philomena and Dallas buyers club would in other years.

    It cannot and will not lose and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is :)

  29. In 2010, AD readers had The Hurt Locker winning in rounds 1-6, but Inglourious Basterds pulled a rabbit out of its ass in rounds 7 and 8 — Basterds leap-frogged ahead of The Hurt Locker when Up in the Air and Avatar faltered.

    Oh, if only I knew whose leg to hump, whose kids’ math homework I have to do, in order to be an invisible fly on the wall when the PWC guys are counting the ballots this year…

  30. Well I changed my vote to gravity, I know more pundits are picking 12 years a slave but I finally decided it was more important to me to vote for my favorite movie of the year.

    I just can’t stand it anymore. I just want it to be Sunday night already!

  31. “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. ”

    So it is not about slavery, but a possible Gravity win for BP could be quite historical too!!!

  32. Oooooh, Aragorn…

    You see that nerve? You just touched it.

  33. Even thought Gravity has no screenplay nod, it’s still has that solid chance at winning. Titanic got no script nod as well.

  34. Sasha, you say that only 3 times the DGA hasn’t predicted either Picture or Director (Harvey, Spielberg, Lee), but there’s also Ron Howard for Apollo 13, identical situation to Spielberg.

    Also, I think the WGA and Screenplay Oscars can’t be underestimated. Crash had SAG and WGA, as did Argo, along with everything else. Hustle already lost WGA. Without the screenplay Oscar, it won’t be upsetting in Picture. Just like how I think Slave can’t win without Lupita. And I would be surprised if Gravity wins without Editing, though if Lupita and the Hustle script have already lost, then I think Gravity is still in the best position (Cuaron + visual + sounds + score + cinematography vs. Slave only winning Screenplay and Hustle only winning JLaw).

  35. I realize everyone’s focused on whether ”12 Years a Slave,” ”Gravity” or ”American Hustle” walks away with Best Picture, but for a breather, you might check out this wonderful interview that Kris Tapley (of In Contention) just did with Martin Scorsese. He helps put things in context. Scorsese reflects on his history with the Oscars (over 4 decades), recalls how many times he’s been ”written off” as a filmmaker, talks about working with Harvey Weinstein and Leonardo DiCaprio, and reveals what he still wants to do. He realizes that the Academy hasn’t always ”gotten” his work, but he seems to be at peace with it and is so gratified that he’s been able to make the movies he wants to make, like ”The Wolf of Wall Street.” I hope he and Leo get a crack at No. 6, and next time, get their proper due at the Oscars.

    http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/martin-scorsese-looks-at-the-changing-face-of-oscar-season-over-four-decades/1

  36. When I think about the varied (and somewhat bizarre) membership in the Academy, I find myself playing a game of “What will they Vote for….?”

    I mean what’s the top Best Picture pick going to be for Linda Blair, Patty Duke, Cher, Dr. Haing S. Ngor Irene Cara, Eminem, and Olivia de Havilland?

    Will Julie Andrews and Shirley McLaine be all over WOLF OF WALL STREET?
    Luise Reiner placing her vote for GRAVITY?
    Maggie Smith pitching in for HER?
    Sophia Loren applauding AMERICAN HUSTLE?

    The mind reels…

  37. Wait, Dr. Haing S. Ngor is dead but I’m sure he would have voted for PHILOMENA.

  38. When I think about the varied (and somewhat bizarre) membership in the Academy, I find myself playing a game of “What will they Vote for….?”

    That’s the way I play the game too, Mike.

    It makes me wince a little whenever I see someone say “Tha Academy thinks this” or “The Academy wants that.”

    The Academy does not have a hive mind. The Academy does not think, the Academy does not want, the Academy does not feel.

    6000 individuals in the Academy think and want and feel 6000 different things. 6000 individuals who are famous for being temperamental and eccentric and often really squirrely.

    To get inside the “head” of the Academy we have to get inside 6000 of those heads. That’s scary as fuck.

  39. And of course the truth is, while most of us love to point to the precursors and statistics, I bet half the members of the AMPAS couldn’t tell you what won the PGA or the BAFTA or last year’s Best Screenplay.

    They individually vote for what they feel like voting for.

  40. Filmatelist

    You have AMERICAN IN PARIS listed twice as the Best Picture winner, instead of having the correct 1956 culprit: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. Fyi.

  41. I also find myself wondering bizarre things like what happens with Shirley Temple and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar ballot — clearly I have too much time and am too awards season obsessed.

  42. JPNS Viewer

    Thanks for the charts, Sasha.

    I’m currently being torn in light of my own AD predictions in certain categories. I’d like to predict the guess-game results mainly with my mind but sometimes, recently, my mind’s said one thing, and naturally mine [my] heart’s done the other against my mind in the same category, plus the fact that I’ve still had a few BP nominees eventually to watch after the Oscars night, which means that more or less, it’s somewhat a guessing game to me in a real sense, thus making it uber tough for me.

    “I also find myself wondering bizarre things like what happens with Shirley Temple and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar ballot — clearly I have too much time and am too awards season obsessed.”

    @Mike

    Actually, to my mind, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Rather, myself a movie lover, while I’ve never thought of it in that context, I think it makes sense for us movie goers, etc., to look at it that way and thus be wondering what could have been. (For kicks: We’ll never know but my wild guess is that Ms. Temple would have chosen Gravity for her no. 1 spot, and I venture Philomena might have fared well on her Top 5 list out of the whole nine yards of all BP nominees, as well; PSH, I feel, might have gone for Her or 12 Years or Wolf for his own no. 1 place for BP re the preferential balloting system.)
    Good on you; kudos for bringing it up.

  43. Reichdome back with Avengeance

    Without doubt Sasha this is the most thorough article that if anything exposes oscars geeatest flaw and puts it in perspective.

    I dont think any of us have a issue with new artistic precedentsxin this world happening. HOWEVER WHAT ALL of us have a issue with this year is the timing of all these precedents.

    It comes down to oscars dismal failure as reflected by the above charts to justify to public why they snubbed films of related theme to this yrs two front runners of decades past.

    There been opportunities aplenty all it takes is a few for oscar to nake amends for past oversights with 12 years themes AND science themed films set in space.

    But they shirk rhem over and over abd the resylts sadly for oscar in the public eye is a increasingly erratic, jumbled joke where thecjokes on oscar before our eyes.

    It was supposed to be sooo simple decades ago. Elevate The color Purple to best picture tge firat major renowned film in oscars eyes to recognize and put depiction of oppression of blacks truthfully but nowgere near the harrowing nature of slave on the map. You could argue credit should in small part go to spielberg for introducibg the theme in the public arena through hollywood and beyond. Would we be supposedly raisibg our gkasses to 12 yrs if the color purple won best picture?

    Answer the film maybe? 12 yrs would not have been made at all… if truth in diffcway but similar in general was embraced back in ‘ Purples days’ then would slave have been elevated to the kudos it earnt? This is oscars paradox.

    It a question I put to u tgat merits serious pause for thought here dnt u think it thanx ironically to the color purpke record unjust snub 0/11 wins! Thatvis driving oscars guilt and will purely forcthevself satisfaction of oscar members be the real key reason slave win s best picture? It is safe to assune STILL even mre so than slave The Color Purple is the most debated film as to weather or not it deserved to win msjor awards in that yr can anyone deny the colir purple giilt trip factor is not a main driver that will likely be catakyst for slave to win best picture?

    Cos of oscars own lack of judgement regarding the race issue, I hate to say it to all u ‘Slave’ lovers but wharever merit slave has contribured to holkywood and beyond no denying it has the ugly truth is given the theme and extent of it snubs, tgriugh oscar history, this film true merit is urterly distorted by oscars own lack of embrace and evrn utter resentment to a tgeme that should havr been elevated way back in the 80’s nobody here can say tgerefore that ‘ slave’ is easily best picture this yr as in earnt it purely from it own merit cos of oscarscown selfishnes they have clouded the true extent of the two frontrunners achievements. Esp witj Slave

    THEN there is Gravity. But with more going afainst it chances for best pic than Slave. The biggest tragedy for this the true bestcfilm of year and one of tge most pivotal in griundbreakibg cinematic achuevements to advance film making in tge furure since Avatar , is that again cps of oscars own selfishness they snubbed thevfinest of science themed films we ever seen. First 2001 then star wars a new hope. But cos Gravity achievement does go to unchartrd waters more so than Skave does as Sasha says: no film wuth only two actors has ever won best picture, no film in 3d has ever won best picture.

    Politics oscar styke is fully exposed here ladies and gents and thus is why though I strongly prefer gravity to win which means it prob wont I lose the will to let it haunt me beyond it immediate announcement on the coming day. It cos of oscar internalised erratic chaotic nature that two brilliant films merits are cliuded by oscars own machinations whoever wins best pic it iscar that will have the hollowost of victories unless they embrace gravity evrn then they will b sralked forever why they snubbed 2001 torally when kubrick put sci fi on tge map in a way unprecesented in film

  44. Claudiu Dobre

    “Even thought Gravity has no screenplay nod, it’s still has that solid chance at winning. Titanic got no script nod as well.”

    It did, however, get a WGA nod and a SAG Ensemble nod (no such nods for Gravity). Equally important.

    “I think Slave can’t win without Lupita.”

    I think it can. Easily. I don’t think Lupita winning or not has much to do with it at all, except that I think if American Hustle can’t win that one, it’s not winning BP. But I could be wrong.

    “But in the voting booth no one goes “oh well gravity won DGA so I better pick it for best picture.” No one.”

    Honestly, I think some of them probably do – peer pressure…

  45. – “I think Slave can’t win without Lupita.”

    — I think it can. Easily. I don’t think Lupita winning or not has much to do with it at all, except that I think if American Hustle can’t win that one, it’s not winning BP.

    ha! tell that to the BAFTAs. oh, wait.

  46. Claudiu Dobre

    I didn’t say that if Lawrence wins, AH is (necessarily) winning BP. I said that if she doesn’t, I can’t really see AH winning BP.

  47. I understand, Claudiu. I was really only agreeing with you that no award Sunday night necessarily means any other award is (or is not) going to happen.

  48. I’M GETTING DIZZY READING ALL THIS. IT’S BECOMING CRAZY, e.g. MAKING SUCH A BIG DEAL ABOUT GRAVITY NOT GETTING AN SAG ENSEMBLE NOM. THINK ABOUT IT….WHAT DOES THE WORD “ENSEMBLE” MEAN TO YOU???????????????
    HOW IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ONE PERSON TO BE AN ENSEMBLE??????????????????

  49. Pierre de Plume

    “Roberto Begnini got a standing O.”

    People were so upset he won they stood up to leave. :)

    There seems to be a lack of understanding with some people as to the relevance and value of precursors. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that, when completing their ballots, Oscar voters analyze who won which guild award or how a movie can’t win without this or that precursors award – although some might. The point is that the science of predicting statistical odds begins and ends with the study of historical precedents and the patterns that point to a winner. The art of predicting brings in other factors, many of them qualitative as opposed to quantitative.

  50. Claudiu Dobre

    “I understand, Claudiu. I was really only agreeing with you that no award Sunday night necessarily means any other award is (or is not) going to happen.”

    Cool! Cool-cool-cool!

  51. “I think Slave can’t win without Lupita.”

    “I think it can. Easily. I don’t think Lupita winning or not has much to do with it at all, except that I think if American Hustle can’t win that one, it’s not winning BP.”

    “ha! tell that to the BAFTAs. oh, wait.”

    I get where you’re coming from, I do. BAFTA proved that anything is possible. But I think the Academy votes much more strategically, even rationally, dare I say, than any other voting body, including BAFTA. Remember, last year BAFTA voted for Argo in Picture, Director, and Editing, but Screenplay went to Silver Linings, which BAFTA didn’t even nominate for Picture, Director, or De Niro. So yes, BAFTA can be all over the map, which explains 12 Years a Slave winning only Picture and Actor.

    But hear me out.

    The Academy still voted for Argo’s pleasant, quotable, get-the-job-done script over Lincoln’s dense, layered achievement. Had Affleck been nominated for Director, we’ll never know if they’d have awarded Lincoln instead. Based on the consensus, I’m inclined to think not.

    But the point is that the Academy, with reason, strategically voted en masse for and against certain films last year to ensure that Argo’s win made sense on paper. Similarly, with McConaughey and Cuaron certain to prevail, Slave’s only possible major wins are Screenplay and Lupita. I think it’ll take both if it has the support to beat a crowd-pleasing, emotionally involving film like Gravity with the Director win and the Bullock-Clooney combo in its corner.

    I agree that Hustle can’t win without JLaw. I also agree that JLaw winning doesn’t necessarily mean Hustle is upsetting too — just look at JLaw’s win last year, or Tilda Swinton’s for Michael Clayton. JLaw was the best one in Hustle and stole the film, so if they like it enough, and they like her enough to award her for a second consecutive year, she could be the film’s sole win.

    But I simply think that if Lupita the red carpet queen can’t beat JLaw the returning champion, then Slave isn’t winning Picture. Gravity is heading into Oscar night too strong, too likable to lose to a film whose sole victory in any category is Adapted Screenplay.

  52. Crash and Shakespeare in Love also won WGA. American Hustle did not. That is a big difference. Having said that ‘Crash’ did not win a single Golden Globe.

  53. ObamaWins

    So winning supporrting=best picture? Or 12 Years simply is held to a higher standard no matter like cons’ holding a higher standard to Obama. It seems like it won’t matter how many best pictures precursors 12 wins. Gravity is too strong? Zach. It is so strong it failed to win almost all best pic precursors except PGA.

  54. 1) I get really pissed off whenever American Hustle gets in the conversation. It has no shot at winning Best Picture.

    20 Won’t people ever understand that Jennifer Lawrence won at the BAFTA just because she lost last year??? She won’t get back to back Oscars.

  55. Robin Write

    And a few points from me:

    # I don’t agree that Jennifer Lawrence winning necessarily means a potentially good night for American Hustle. In fact I think that a good night for American Hustle is if it takes supporting actress AND original screenplay.

    # I think if Leonardo DiCaprio wins it won’t be that much of a shock, I feel momentum has been with him for some time now – especially so since the actual nomination.

    # I do agree with those that compare this year to The Pianist for those late surprises, and The Godfather / Cabaret for the split.

    # The nature of the type of movie Gravity is means that the lack of SAG nod and screenplay nomination are almost not applicable. In short, one main actor and not a lot of dialogue.

    # As for comparing the lack of screenplay nod for Titanic and Gravity – you can in the fact that they were both not nominated, but you can’t in the fact one screenplay was poor, and the other was not, just slight. Plus, this has been an incredible year for original screenplay {Frances Ha. Fruitvale Station, Short Term 12, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Butler, Mud, The Past, Saving Mr Banks, Rush etc etc}.

  56. I truly believe the sentiment that DiCaprio could upset is complete wishful thinking on the part of fans and bloggers–there is no evidence to suggest this momentum shift is real.

  57. Robin Write

    Not wishful thinking on my part. My choice would be Chiwetel Ejiofor. The truly best evidence would be the ballots themselves.

  58. Bryce Forestieri

    Who’s excited about GODZILLA and POSH?

  59. 12YAS does NOT need Lupita winning. It will need only one major win and that would be Adapted Screenplay. The Academy quite easily give the Production Design award as well, so everything is settled for a BP win!!!

    12 YAS:

    Picture
    Adapted Screenplay
    Production Design

    Gravity:

    Director
    Cinematography
    Visual Effects
    Sound Mixing
    Sound Editing

    American Hustle:

    Supporting Actress

  60. I’ve gotta agree with Z. Gravity on a TV loses some of it’s impact. It’s still amazing and I loved it but a second viewing did 2 things for me 1) It diminished the experience and I feel it wouldn’t be a worthy best picture winner (I’ve always been pulling for 12 Years) and 2) I paid attention to the sound and score a bit more closely. I’ve been championing Her to win original score and I still want that, but if it has to lose, I’d prefer it to lose to Steven Price.

  61. So we can all agree that if somehow Blanchett doesn’t win Actress, it’s going to outdo Binoche as the biggest acting upset ever? Just hard to imagine Blanchett becomes the Denver Broncos, dominant over competition only to lose the big prize.

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