This Oscar season has been one surprise after another. No one has been able to wrestle it to the ground completely, though plenty will rise to the surface to say they were sure this or that would happen because of course they knew (they didn’t know, they guessed). We get hunches all of the time. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes not, but a hunch is a hunch and nothing more. Still, Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg is one of the few I’ve seen who had a hunch about Mad Max: Fury Road not making it in. He’s taken a lot of heat for it. He also had a hunch Straight Outta Compton would be a player. He could be right about both. He could be wrong about both. We don’t know yet. What we do know is that, so far, the Hollywood industry seems ambivalent about Carol — no nominations at Producers Guild or Art Directors Guild but scoring with the Writers Guild and Cinematographers Guild — but BAFTA connected in a big way, as did the Hollywood Foreign Press. What’s the problem with Carol and the Americans? It’s hard to know, but whatever the difference — BAFTA chose Boyhood last year and not Birdman. Thus, we can be pretty sure their tastes are different for different reasons. We just don’t know what those reasons are.
Similarly, the BAFTA rejected Fury Road and George Miller as central players in the Oscar race, which came as a bit of a surprise. They had to make their choices and they didn’t go for the film except in the crafts categories (7 nominations, all below the line). Room hasn’t really hit on any of the lists necessary to make the Best Picture cut either but we still don’t know if passion will drive it through, as is sometimes the case.
Looking at BAFTA’s very recent history, once they changed up their voting in 2012 to match the Academy’s, you can see that they are pretty keen on matching Best Picture, while not so much on Best Director; although missing Best Director, as Spotlight did, will mean the film has to yet again make history to win, which is might do. It might be that one movie that can skate through to win Best Picture without any need for a director nomination, although Tom McCarthy should be named on Tuesday for the DGA. It would be very surprising if he isn’t.
Let’s build a quickie chart, shall we?
So what does this chart tell me?
- BAFTA’s choices make it in to Best Picture 100% of the time.
- BAFTA’s choices for Best Director make it into Best Picture 100% of the time.
- BAFTA’s choices for Best Director do not always make it into Oscar’s Best Director even when paired with DGA.
- Carol will become the first to get both BAFTA for Pic and Director while not being nominated by the ACE Eddie or PGA.
- In the past two years, a movie flew in for BP from out of nowhere that had no other nominations – Selma and Dallas Buyers Club.
We can conclude that all of BAFTA’s choices for Best Picture WILL make it into the Oscar race for Best Picture:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Add to that, their choice for Best Director not named by BAFTA as Best Picture:
That leaves three open slots if there will be nine. From where will those slots be filled? If we look at our chart, one came from the PGA in 2013, and two came from the PGA in 2014. As you see, it doesn’t even matter if a film has both the PGA and ACE Eddie — that still won’t make it a done deal with a five nominee ballot, a preferential voting system and more than five nominees.
In short, roll the dice. A DGA nomination could help tighten the gap with one of the names left dangling. As of now, it really could be either George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road or Denis Villeneuve for Sicario. Whoever it is, that film’s chances are upped significantly.
Worth noting, Selma did pop up in the Globes category for Best Director. Dallas Buyers Club did pop up in SAG ensemble. So they didn’t come TOTALLY out of nowhere. That leads me to believe these two are likely:
Mad Max: Fury Road
Straight Outta Compton
This isn’t anything we didn’t already know, but you know me — I like to test various theories, build charts and pretend there is some THERE there to predicting an unpredictable race. I will be curious to see if Scott Feinberg’s hunch — that Mad Max isn’t and wasn’t and never will be — turns out to be right.
And, if I was really into long-shot betting, I might go ahead and predict Beasts of No Nation to make it in based on celebrity endorsements and passion votes, flying in from out of nowhere to land a Best Picture nomination. I just might go ahead and do that in the 11th hour but I haven’t decided yet.
Sharing my thoughts with you, dear readers, on this Saturday morning so that maybe in the end Scott Feinberg can say, “See, I was right. I took a rash of shit for two years but I was right. I feel you judging me. That’s palpable. I never said I was the hero of this story.”