The Producers Guild handed out its first award in 1990, the year Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture. That remains the only year in their entire history that their winner did not have an ACE Eddie nomination (although in their first year of existence the PGAs were held three days after the Oscars). This is funny because it is such a reliable stat and yet so many are predicting Spotlight to win both the PGA and the Best Picture Oscar, while they are thinking the DGA might go to someone else. I am just an Oscar blogger. Standing here in front of you. Asking you to trust me. Actually, don’t trust me.
The reason I can’t be trusted is that I have fallen head over heels in love with Adam McKay’s The Big Short and honestly, it’s clouding my judgment. I can’t be trusted and will likely get my prediction wrong. All I can do is stand by the stats, Mike Burry style, even when the odds are against my prediction that The Big Short will win the whole season. Other than pure love, the reason is that it’s still the only film that has almost all of the necessary stats a Best Picture winner needs. It is missing two — the Globes nod for Best Director (90 people made that decision), and it wasn’t seen at Telluride. It’s flying under the radar enough, though, that no one is attacking it, not yet anyway, or asking for their money back.
So — no film has all of the stats in place. They are seemingly all supported across the board in different ways. Like, how weird is it that BAFTA didn’t nominate Mad Max: Fury Road for Best Picture or Best Director, and didn’t nominate Tom McCarthy for Director? How weird is it that only Best Picture nominees with the SAG Awards Ensemble nomination are Spotlight and The Big Short? No Revenant? How weird is it that Mad Max and The Revenant don’t have screenplay nominations? Of all of the stats, I really trust two and only two to be reliable, SAG Ensemble and the ACE Eddie. The reason for this is the number of voters in play. ACE has around 6,000 voters. The SAG Awards nomination committee had around 2,000. Those are your biggest voting groups so far for any of the films. To me that means they should count more. On the other hand, this is the weirdest season so who can say what will happen? DGA is also a big one — a major indicator for Best Picture, anyway. You have to go back to Driving Miss Daisy to find a year when the PGA winner was not also a DGA nominee.
And I’m being honest here when I say — I have no clue. I am relying on the stats for this bet. It will be interesting to me just how the stats fail this year, where they fail, and why.
Which films only have the DGA and PGA?
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
Which have DGA/PGA/SAG Awards Ensemble?
The Big Short
Which films have the DGA, ACE, SAG Awards Ensemble, and the PGA?
The Big Short
So, it’s weird, right? All of my pundit pals at Gold Derby are predicting the stats to fail, you know, like the housing market? My pundit pals are SHORTING the race. They’re predicting against the stats.
At any rate, with the PGA we’re dealing with the the pesky preferential ballot which could produce an interesting result. Since Oscar expanded the Best Picture field in 2009, the PGA has matched Oscar 100% of the time. But in 2013 it almost didn’t. In 2013, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity tied. Gravity took the DGA while 12 Years took Best Picture. But what if Gravity had won outright (which, but for one single vote, it could have done)? And 12 Years had still won Best Picture? Then we wouldn’t be counting so heavily on PGA at all. We’d have had no real indication at all that 12 Years was in line to win Best Picture. American Hustle won the SAG Awards Ensemble. With Alfonso Cuarón winning the DGA and Gravity winning the PGA, we would have been 100% convinced that Gravity would win the Oscar. Except that it wouldn’t have been. 12 Years would have still won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay. Thus, there is always that chance the PGA will fail this year.
Since it hasn’t yet failed, though, I’d stick with it. If Spotlight or The Revenant or Mad Max wins, I’ll go with that for the Best Picture win most likely.
I personally think that Mad Max and The Revenant would be better winners with five slots rather than ten or more than 9. The preferential ballot favors films that are well liked across the board, but not necessarily those that have a smaller number of passionate supporters. The Revenant is more likely a number 1 passion film. Mad Max is definitely a film that could be 1 or 2 or 3, though. Anne Thompson is predicting it to win and that would probably be my second choice. And Spotlight is a huge threat to win here. We haven’t seen the movie win over a large consensus vote yet but this weekend might be the moment when it does. The only thing that prevents me from predicting it — because it does seem to be the frontrunner — is that lack of an ACE Eddie nod. Those voters liked Star Wars better than Spotlight for the Eddie and that is just so strange to me. With these large numbers of voters you’re not really looking for a specialized voting body, like the National Society of Film Critics or the LA Film Critics, but rather lots and lots of many different kinds of people.
Our contest right now has Spotlight ahead with the most votes. Behind it Mad Max: Fury Road. After that, The Revenant and lagging way behind them, the dark horse, The Big Short. I will say this much — I bet last year that Boyhood would be the winner in the contest, with Imitation Game right behind it and I will bet that Birdman was in third place. You just never know how it will go. Either way, we’re sticking with our long shot prediction of The Big Short, just for the hell of it.
Which film do you think is going to win?