Pic taken from Boiseweekly
The fate of Best Picture is now in the hands of the PGA. As we barrel towards the final deadline for Oscar ballots, there are still three films that are vying for the big prize. Like most years in the era of preferential ballot, all eyes are on the Producers Guild. The Producers Guild use the preferential ballot with ten slots. The Academy will use the preferential ballot with nine slots. The SAG and the DGA go with a weighted ballot and five slots.
Since 2009, no film has won the Producers Guild and not won the Oscar for Best Picture. For that matter, no film has won the DGA and not won Best Picture. Since Oscar expanded its slate to more than five, and pushed their date back a month, there is no real difference between the big guilds and the Academy. The BAFTA is reliable, too, but only in so much as there are so many British voters in the Academy now their choices blend together.
What you see now with Best Picture is a “generally favorable film” winning. A passion vote does not really pay off with a preferential ballot. Broad support works better. Divisive films do not have a chance and split votes between Picture and Director nearly impossible.
Says Marshall Flores:
A split vote is defined as when the chances of winning for multiple candidates are reduced because they’re so similar to each other and, as a result, get reduced support from their backers. This gives an opportunity for the contender who is different to play spoiler and win without a majority of the votes. The potential for vote splitting is greatly reduced under instant-runoff voting, because the winner by construction must have broad support from the majority of voters, i.e. it must be the consensus choice.
Up until now, the biggest voting block we’ve seen with critics would be the Southeastern Film Critics and the Critics Choice – both of them have memberships larger than the roughly 100 to 150 voters in the other groups. But the Producers Guild, with its preferential ballot and its 4,500 membership means that you will see the broad consensus unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
The three films up for the win are: American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. It is telling that Alfonso Cuaron and not Steve McQueen has been picking up director. If you’re going to reward either films shouldn’t their director correspond with picture? No, says the narrative that was put in place early on by the pundits. They were predicting a split and I suspect that the voters up to now have also reflected that early prediction.
Even if Alfonso Cuaron wins the Directors Guild, that doesn’t guarantee there will be a split at the Oscars, or that Cuaron and Gravity will take the Picture/Director prize. Best Picture right now seems to be a big fat question mark, as it was on the eve of the Producers Guild last year. This year reminds me a lot of 2009, when Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker won the PGA and the DGA just after Avatar won the Globe. There were some, including Movie City News’ David Poland, who still believed there would be a split at the Oscars and that Avatar would take Best Picture and Bigelow would take Best Director. Similarly, some thought Martin Scorsese would win Director for Hugo while The Artist won Best Picture. Nope, said the big guilds, both will win the PGA, the DGA and eventually the Oscar.
Therefore, it is surprising to me that people are so confidently predicting a split.
The Producers Guild will announce Sunday night. By then, we will have already known the results of the SAG ensemble award. Sometimes they align, as they did last year when Argo beat Silver Linings Playbook and Lincoln for ensemble. Or in 2011, when The Help beat The Artist. But the Producers Guild is where to look to find out what will win Oscar’s Best Picture and that’s because of the preferential ballot.
Gold Derby’s experts are predicting Gravity to win. But I don’t think it will. I think it’s down to American Hustle versus 12 Years a Slave. Since I still think 12 Years a Slave is going to win Best Picture I have no choice but to predict it to win the PGA. This, because it will have many number one votes and if it isn’t number 1 it will be number 2. That would also fit with Hustle but I suspect Gravity is a #1 film if it’s anything. I could be totally wrong. What are you predicting?