Since the preferential ballot was enacted, the Producers Guild has been the decider after the flurry of critics and Golden Globe awards. Whether Boyhood is the frontrunner will be decided on Saturday. This is the big one that should decide the Best Picture race. It has gone to the PGA winner 100% of the time since they expanded to 10 nominees. The reason is that the Oscars and the PGA both use the preferential ballot to pick winners, where the DGA and SAG use a weighted ballot.
The key to last year’s 12 Years a Slave winner is that it was likely a number one AND a number two movie. Gravity was probably more a number one than a number two. Maybe even a number one or lower down the list. Boyhood has the distinct advantage with a preferential ballot where a divisive film would not. Even if Birdman wins the SAG ensemble the next day, the PGA is still the most important award.
Last year it was a coin toss because 12 Years a Slave and Gravity – for the first time in their history there was a tie. But Argo, The Artist, The King’s Speech, and The Hurt Locker all won the PGA before going on to win Best Picture.
Anyone who thinks the vote will split will find signs here first.
I can’t imagine any film beating Boyhood on any of these major awards. It’s well=liked but more than that, it was made over a 12 year period, a producing feat unlike any other. Boyhood is seen as potentially “weak” is in its box office, but if The Hurt Locker can beat Avatar at the Producers Guild, anything’s possible. Clearly the industry has shown they don’t care about how much money a film makes. They don’t measure success that way any longer.
There isn’t enough time for a movie like American Sniper to gather momentum. The momentum is already with Boyhood. The shortened season makes it nearly impossible to turn around once it gets going. Back in the day, when the Oscars were held in mid March, there was time for a film to come from behind and win. The days of Crash, Shakespeare in Love and Chariots of Fire, though, are likely left behind in the era of the weighted ballot. The preferential ballot mostly removes that ability to surge forward in the last minute.