We’ve come to this moment, earlier than usual but such a year has warranted it. The Oscars are happening this Sunday, and it is the most wide open year in recent history, perhaps in all of awards history. For the first time, all significant guilds went to different movies, an unprecedented outcome when covering the awards season landscape.
The Producers Guild of America (PGA) went with Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” while the Directors Guild of America (DGA) chose Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma.” Screen Actors Guild (SAG) picked “Black Panther” for their top prize for Cast Ensemble while American Cinema Editors (ACE Eddies) bestowed honor on “Bohemian Rhapsody” (John Ottman) and “The Favourite” (Yorgos Mavropsaridis), as that group splits their prizes among drama and comedy. And then finally, this past weekend, Writers Guild of America (WGA) tip the scale in an even further unknown direction with “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty) nabbing kudos in Adapted Screenplay and the Oscar nomination-less “Eighth Grade” (Bo Burnham) taking home the Original Screenplay prize, making him the youngest winner in the guild’s history (since 1984).
With all that to digest, the Costume Designers will weigh in Tuesday night, at 8:30 PM (PT), just mere hours before final voting closes for AMPAS membership. “The Favourite” looks to repeat its BAFTA win there but at this point, who knows what’s going to happen next. Attempting to sift through the noise of an unpredictable race, while still being focused on the Academy’s ruling of airing awards during the commercial breaks and then reversing the decision, it’s near impossible to know where this will all land. Does a lousy PR year affect the winning outcomes? On its face, you can say it does not, but with so much focus being placed on the cinematographers, editors, and makeup and hairstyling personnel that fought hard against the ruling did voters put more thought into their decisions? Speaking with more than four dozen voters this year and getting peaks at their ballots, some did bring up the fiasco.
We move into the final prediction trajectory. As the owner and operator of one of the biggest entertainment and prediction sites in the world, you tend to pride yourself on your “predicting accomplishments.” Last year, I predicted 21 out of 24 categories, a career-high, while when it comes to nominations for two out of the last four years, I’ve correctly named 19 out of the 20 acting nominees, even with “WTF’s” thrown into the mix like Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”) and Ruth Negga (“Loving”). This year, and you can try to chalk this up to just trying to make myself feel better about an impending poor showing, no matter where you land, there’s no real way you can foresee what Sunday night will bring.
This is starting to remind me of the 2013 Emmy Awards ceremony. For those who do not follow TV as much as the film landscape, if you want to see unpredictable races unfold before your eyes, spend a few months covering hundreds of network shows and performances, speak to voters about what “they like” and see where it all lands on television’s biggest evening. In the 2013 year, some “normal” things fell into place as “Breaking Bad” was getting ready to say farewell in its second to last season winning Drama Series and “Modern Family” took home another trophy for Comedy Series. As the night unfolded, the world watch Merritt Wever win for “Nurse Jackie,” Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”) and Bobby Cannavale (“Boardwalk Empire”) snag an expected win from Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, and Laura Linney (“The Big C”) step past Elisabeth Moss and Helen Mirren. Hell, even this past Emmys saw Regina King (foreshadowing?) take an award for “Seven Seconds,” a show that had not been as universally acclaimed as her performance.
This is brought up as a framework for what the Oscars COULD look like moving forward. As the Academy expands its membership, diversifying and including new and innovative voices in the industry, the major guilds remain mostly the same as the “old Academy.” If these new members hadn’t been invited over the past three years, what would the nominees have looked like this year? Would Emily Blunt have contended for supporting actress for “A Quiet Place,” a performance in which won her the SAG award, making her just the second person to win the prize without receiving an Oscar nomination?
With unexpected/shocking wins like “Spotlight” over “The Revenant,” “Moonlight” over “La La Land,” and “The Shape of Water” over “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri,” the Academy has hinted at this unpredictability for some time. I don’t think we anticipated nor did we plan for it to be so soon. With that said, this could also mean absolutely nothing. It used to be an age-old practice that when you’re watching the ceremony when awards like film editing or screenplay come on, you can get a pretty good idea about how the director or picture categories will go. The post-mortem of this awards season will be a fascinating one as not until the big envelope is opened on stage, and one of the eight films are read, we will not know what the season meant. Will we move towards the guilds meaning less and less, which equates to less and fewer stats being held up?
Each Best Picture that could win would trump history:
- “Black Panther” – first film since “Grand Hotel” to win without acting, directing, or writing nominations
- “BlacKkKlansman” – first film since “Out of Africa” to win without any major guild wins.
- “Bohemian Rhapsody” – first film since “Argo” to win without a director nomination, and first since “Titanic” to win without a screenplay nomination.
- “The Favourite” – first film since “Driving Miss Daisy” to win without a DGA nomination.
- “Green Book” – the first film in history to win without director AND SAG Ensemble nominations.
- “Roma” – first foreign and streaming service winner, first to win without Globe/SAG Ensemble nomination, and first since “Birdman” to win without an editing nomination.
- “A Star is Born” – assuming it lost all its above-the-line races except for Picture, it would be the first since “Rebecca” to do so in 1941. First film since “Grand Hotel” to win without director and editing noms.
- “Vice” – the second film in history (following last year’s “The Shape of Water”) to win without SAG Ensemble nod.
So what do all the current predictions point towards? Here’s the history I’m “predicting”:
- Fox Searchlight will bring its overall Best Picture win tally to five, becoming the most awarded independent studio in history. Columbia Pictures, now Sony Pictures (12), Paramount Pictures (11), Metro-Godwyn-Mayer (9), Warner Bros. (9), 20th Century Fox (8), and Universal Pictures (8) have more. Only Paramount and Warner Bros. will have a better nomination-to-win percentage. Paramount at 55% and Warner Bros. at 36%. Fox Searchlight will have 29%.
- “The Favourite” is predicted to win Best Picture, the first film since “Driving Miss Daisy” to do so without a DGA nomination, the first film since “The Shape of Water” without a SAG Ensemble nomination, and no major wins from PGA, DGA, WGA, BAFTA, Critics Choice, Golden Globes, and SAG. It is overall predicted to win five of its ten nominations, tying the most wins by a Best Picture winner since “The Artist” in 2011.
- Alfonso Cuarón will be the first director to win for a foreign language film (no we do not count “The Artist”).
- Rami Malek will be the first Egyptian acting winner. The first male acting winner of African descent. If Bradley Cooper wins, he’ll be behind Adrien Brody (“The Pianist”), Denzel Washington (“Training Day”), and Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”), actors who won without any major televised win preceding them.
- Glenn Close will become the third oldest Best Actress winner of all-time for “The Wife,” at a tender 71. If she loses, she retains her title as the most nominated actress to not win an Academy Award. If she wins, Amy Adams, Deborah Kerr, and Thelma Ritter will all tie for the new #1.
- Mahershala Ali will become the second person of color to win multiple Academy Awards behind Denzel Washington for “Green Book.” If he loses, he’ll be the second person overall to lose the Academy Award after winning Globes, Critics Choice, BAFTA, and SAG. Russell Crowe (“A Beautiful Mind”) was the first.
- Rachel Weisz will become just the third actress to win two Best Supporting Actress Oscars after Shelley Winters (“The Diary of Anne Frank” and “A Patch of Blue”) and Dianne Weist (“Hannah and Her Sisters” and “Bullets over Broadway”). She will be the only one to do it in 2 sole nominations and wins.
- “BlacKkKlansman” winning Adapted Screenplay will be the largest group of recipients of the award, with four credited writers, since “Mrs. Miniver” in 1942 (George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West, Arthur Wimperis). It will be just the third group of four in the categories history.
- “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” will be the first Animated Feature Oscar for Sony Pictures. It has only one other nomination to its credit. It will just be the second time that a studio has gone against Disney or Pixar, and won.
- Sandy Powell‘s win for “The Favourite” will tie her for the third most in Costume Design history with four. She will join Colleen Atwood and Milena Canonero.
- “Bohemian Rhapsody” could join “Traffic” as a film nominated for five Academy Awards, winning four of them, and one of them is NOT Best Picture.
- Terence Blanchard‘s win for “BlacKkKlansman” will make him the second black composer to win Best Original Score since Herbie Hancock in 1986 for “Round Midnight.” NOTE: Prince won an Academy Award in 1984 for “Purple Rain” in the now retired category Best Original Song Score.
Make sure to make your predictions in our Circuit Center, and look for the rest of the “Oscar Looks” this week to make things even more confused. It should also be noted, I do reserve the right to change these predictions but will likely not (because life is too short to dwell on such things).
FINAL OSCAR PREDICTIONS
(updated Feb. 19, 2019)
“The Favourite” (Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos, Lee Magiday)
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“The Favourite” (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“BlacKkKlansman” (Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“The Favourite” (Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton)
“Roma” (Alfonso Cuarón)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Favourite” (Sandy Powell)
BEST FILM EDITING
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (John Ottman)
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“Mary Queen of Scots” (Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher, Jessica Brooks)
BEST SOUND MIXING
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (John Casali, Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin)
BEST SOUND EDITING
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (John Warhurst)
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Ready Player One” (Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew Butler, David Shirk)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“BlacKkKlansman” (Terence Blanchard)
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” (Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Free Solo” (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes, Shannon Dill)
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“Animal Behaviour” (David Fine, Alison Snowden)
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“End Game” (Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman)
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Marguerite” (Marianne Farley, Marie-Hélène Panisset)