The internet is abuzz with the idea of Parasite winning Best Picture, on the heels of last year’s Roma not winning it. Because of things that happened or didn’t happen in the past, no one is very confident about their predictions. On the one hand, Parasite is by far the most beloved on the internet and, it would seem, at events where people are talking about it. It routinely gets enthusiastic applause everywhere. No one seems to be talking about any other movie with quite the same level of intoxication. It is so good, Parasite, that it just might win in two top categories. But then the question must be asked, why didn’t it win PGA and DGA? And that brings us back to La La Land and Moonlight.
Our friend Ryan Casselman makes his annual predictions videos usually using the preferential ballot. This year, he’s using stats.
Couple of things to note — the first is that this is a shortened season by two weeks. The second is that La La Land was the only film in the era of the preferential that won the Globe/PGA/DGA/BAFTA and did not win Best Picture. But perhaps even a biggest factor to consider is that Parasite has another category it’s already winning in, which will dampen its momentum somewhat.
If you are measuring stats by nominations mainly, as Ryan does here, there is no doubt that Parasite will come out the winner. And indeed if you measure by critics wins, Parasite comes out the winner. And if you measure by overall guild wins Parasite comes out the winner. But — I don’t personally measure all these factors the with same weight. Given all of this information, it seems possible Parasite could win with the biggest obstacle it has still in its way: the International Feature category. Since no film has ever won both. that has to be the biggest stat of all that it has to break.
Winning combinations, 2009—present:
The Shape of Water
The Hurt Locker
The King’s Speech
12 Years a Slave (tie)
The Shape of Water
The only two movies since 2009 that won PGA but didn’t win BP? The Big Short and La La Land.
But that year, Moonlight won the Golden Globe for Best Picture plus the WGA. Otherwise it had not won other typical precursors and headed into the Oscars a complete underdog. But Parasite isn’t an underdog. It won the Palme d’Or way back in May and has been seen and buzzed and liked and loved ever since. So again you have to ask: why didn’t it win the PGA or the DGA? Or even Globe director? The answer is, simply, those voters — at least so far — liked 1917 more.
This year, 1917 and Parasite did not compete head to head very often. Here is where they did:
Globe Director: 1917
BAFTA Pic: 1917
BAFTA Director: 1917
(La La Land and Moonlight had this same comparison heading in except Moonlight had the Globe — Drama)
Parasite won SAG Ensemble where 1917 wasn’t nominated. It won Original Screenplay at BAFTA where 1917 wasn’t nominated.
Parasite vs. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:
Globe Screenplay: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
BAFTA Screenplay: Parasite
Once Upon a Time vs. Jojo Rabbit:
ACE: Jojo Rabbit
Costumes: Jojo Rabbit
It looks to me like the ranking, despite the internet noise and applause at awards shows, remains:
3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
4. Jojo Rabbit
It’s a mind-bender, for sure. Most pundits are predicting 1917 or Parasite — with a few going rogue and predicting other things. Jazz Tangcay and Karen Peterson are going for Jojo Rabbit. Debbie Day is predicting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
This is how it goes. All of the ballots come in. If no film wins on the first round, then there is a redistribution and recount. That is where your number two and three choices start to come in play. What will help Parasite is if people who love it choose it for International Feature then put it at number two on their Best Picture list. Hurting Parasite, does it land in round one with a fewer #1 votes given its other category win? I would imagine that it will.
What will work in favor of 1917? No one hates it. Maybe a few will vote it low on their ballots but most like or love it. It will come in with a lot of number ones. Enough so that it might come out on top in the first round. If Parasite didn’t have that other category it might come in with the most. Hurting 1917? No acting nominations. But Parasite has the same glitch. Prominent acting nominations could help Once Upon a Time and Jojo Rabbit.
So then you have to turn to the voters who chose other films as their #1 — films that will drop out in subsequent rounds of counting. We need to figure out whether most those voters like Parasite or 1917 better. One clue: 1917 has 10 nominations; Parasite has 6.
Quick look at the BP and BD winners with the most nominations each year in the era of pref ballot:
The Hurt Locker — 9
The King’s Speech — 12
Argo — 7
12 Years a Slave — 9 / (American Hustle had 10)
Birdman — 9
Spotlight — 6 / (The Revenant had 12)
Moonlight — 8 / (La La Land had 14)
The Shape of Water — 13
Green Book — 5 / (Roma had 10)
So clearly, it matters how many nominations a film has in a non-split year, but in a split year it really doesn’t.
So the question remains: is this a split year?
Here are a few things that have been rumbling around in my head and we will find out how these speculations land later on tonight:
1) Are the Oscars ready to go global, and not stay exclusively focused on the Hollywood film industry (which is already struggling against tent poles and branded sequels)?
2) Has a film as graphically violent as Parasite ever won Best Picture? Not recently — No Country for Old Men and The Departed are the only two in the past 25 years.
3) Is there any kind of simmering backlash against 1917? I’ve seen a little of that with some op-eds that were applauded by various sorts on Facebook who are Academy members. Does that mean anything?
4) Are the Oscars going to refuse a film that has made $130 million so far and won the PGA/DGA? (La La Land arrived at Oscar Night 2017 with a $140 million dowry.)
5) Does it matter that a film is already winning its own prestigious category? If not, Parasite could win. If so, Parasite will probably not.
6) Can any other film upset in Best Picture, like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or Jojo Rabbit? The former is as violent as Parasite, if not more so. The latter is a Hitler comedy, so…
Well we are just hours from the event! It’s almost over, folks. I’m very glad about that! Thanks for hanging in.
It’s been one hell of a wild ride. All of the films that can win Best Picture are great choices. Any of them would make the Academy proud.