I feel like I’m probably trying to make fetch happen with Gone Girl and Best Picture. It should come as no surprise to you readers that I loved the movie. It’s my favorite film of the year, followed very closely by Selma, Boyhood and Inherent Vice. So many of the movies this year are themes about men and though it’s fun to cheer them on from the sidelines and enjoy these wonderful films about them, Gone Girl, Selma, Inherent Vice and Boyhood are really the films that offered me personally a deeper, richer experience. I understand that the Oscar race is about predicting what they’ll do – and they are not single mothers like me, mostly, but rather men. Still, this feels like one of the most wide open and confusing Oscar races in memory. Whether Gone Girl gets in or not seems to be the only suspense it has to offer at this point in time.
Why is that, well, most of the Oscar movies according to pundits happened already, way way back in September at Telluride. Not a lot has changed since then except Gone Girl and Selma. While everyone waits for the two unseen films, Unbroken and Into the Woods, Best Picture seems to once again swirl around a few titles, if the pundits are to be believed.
Gone Girl might not have hit the target with critics but it certainly hit with Maureen Down at the New York Times and Linda Holmes at NPR, not to mention the New Yorker’s Richard Brody. But it’s a tough sell, if you ask any of the pundits or critics for two reasons. The first, it has an ambiguous ending that leaves you feeling uncomfortable. The second, it’s accused of being “airport novel” material and not high fallootin’ enough. And then there is the occasional asshole who chimes in with silly comments like “It isn’t an Oscar movie” or some such – an Oscar movie only means it’s one of the best films of the year and Gone Girl most certainly is that.
Either way, I would like to just point out the disconnect between the Oscar world and the regular world where Gone Girl, and the other films, are concerned. It feels like something is really off if a film is beloved on the one hand and disregarded on the other. We’ll be checking back with this as the year progresses. For one thing, The Imitation Game, Theory of Everything, Foxcatcher have not yet opened, nor earned enough ratings at any websites to be included in the chart. But if you count the public at all, this is how it’s shaping up so far.
First, the Gurus of Gold at Movie City News queried before Selma and American Sniper and after. Here is how they look side by side:
Now let’s look at the stats.
Usually Best Picture can be mostly determined by how the major guilds vote. To figure out a Best Picture contender I usually look at the the likelihood of the guilds to nominate the movie. For Gone Girl I feel like Producers Guild and Directors Guild are probably safe bets. For Screen Actors Guild an ensemble nod would not be out of the question, as the film has one of the best ensembles of the year.
The DGA is really a pretty good determiner for Best Picture, even though they will announce after Oscar ballots have been turned in.
Right now, I feel like the DGA five are:
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro Inarritu, Birdman
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Christopher Nolan, Interstellar or Morton Tyldum, Imitation Game
Ava DuVernay, Selma
In the end, I am not sure what to think of this year. It feels very weird and kind of thin, like many of the films that were supposed to be stronger bets aren’t quite there.
Where Christopher Nolan and David Fincher might make the DGA’s list, the Academy might not pick them and might instead go for Damien Chazelle for Whiplash, and Mike Leigh for Mr. Turner.
In 2012, the DGA went for Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hooper but the Academy went with Michael Haneke, David O. Russell and Benh Zeitlin.
Angelina Jolie and Rob Marshall’s fate are as yet unknown but a couple of dark horse contenders should shake up the race a bit and those include:
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
James Marsh for The Theory of Everything
JC Chandor for A Most Violent Year
Clint Eastwood for American Sniper