Turkeys are in the near future but the timing for publicists, celebrities, and awards strategists are going to be at a fever pitch as this week will create a formation for the phase one portion of the awards season. Today, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association begins their voting for the Golden Globe nominations, which closes on Dec. 6.

Next week, the chessboard will be set with the following awards bodies announcing:

  • Sunday, Dec. 1 – British Independent Film Awards
  • Monday, Dec. 2 – IFP Gotham Awards, Satellite Nominations
  • Tuesday, Dec. 3 – National Board of Review (CircuitHub predictions)
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4 – New York Film Critics Circle (CircuitHub predictions)

All of this is coming against the backdrop of Sam Mendes‘ “1917” screening for critics and guild members this past weekend, and thrusting itself into an unprecedented year of quality films. The Universal Pictures World War I film garnered high praise from critics who attended. As one of the attendees, the enthusiasm is undoubtedly shared and the film could be a major spoiler in several categories.

For all the readers who have followed AwardsCircuit for the past 11 years, they have probably heard me share the sentiment that predicting the Oscars has to be an all-encompassing madness, and as a best practice, when you are predicting the top ceremony, predict the major precursors before it that tell the story of the season. On The Circuit Hub, the place where all the predictions are housed, it’s hard to keep that sentiment alive when so many awards bodies are being prophesized to be all over the map.

1917” made the biggest move this week moving from #4 in the Academy Awards chart to #1. The problem with this is that the film is highly unlikely to be nominated by the Screen Actors Guild awards, which its nominating committee heavily rely on screeners. When director Sam Mendes introduced the film to New York audiences on Saturday afternoon, he said that he finished the film just six days prior. The process of creating screeners is extensive and SAG voting has been going on since Nov. 14 with closing coming on Dec. 8.

Herriman as Manson in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

Venturing off to the Golden Globe charts, “The Irishman” from Martin Scorsese and “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” from Quentin Tarantino sits at the top of Best Picture (Drama) and (Comedy/Musical) respectively. Tarantino’s film is currently sitting comfortably in SAG Ensemble‘s top spot while Scorsese feels like the one to beat for the DGA Awards. Should be well worth noting, we are all aware that nominations have not been announced yet for any of these groups, and there is still plenty of road to go before we know whose going to walk away with a prize. This analysis is based on early buzz and preliminary conversations with voters of various groups.

Critics Choice, which will send ballots out on Monday, Dec. 2 before returning them on Dec. 6, will announce nominations on Dec. 8. “Parasite” from Bong Joon-ho feels like the type of film the large, robust group can possibly get behind, especially without a preferential voting ballot like the Academy.

If you were able to follow all of that, can a film win Best Picture while losing the Globe, not being nominated at SAG Ensemble, losing Critics Choice, and may have an uphill battle for DGA and PGA?

Let’s take a trip back to 2005 when Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” made a late-breaking surge in the awards race.

The eventual Oscar Best Picture winner was cited at the Globes, SAG, Critics Choice, DGA, PGA, and ACE Eddies, and walked into the Oscar ceremony with a win from DGA (which was pretty damn important). It should also be noted that the film was winning other awards at the shows. Hilary Swank swept all the acting awards, while Morgan Freeman was able to fight off Clive Owen’s performance in “Closer” in the end.

“1917” is a technical marvel but when it comes to the acting probabilities, stars George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman are late to two very competitive lead and supporting actor races.

MacKay is sitting at #22 in Oscar’s lead actor, and isn’t charted in Globes, SAG, or Critics Choice. None of that measures to quality, as the young actor delivers a reserved, powerful performance, reminiscent of what Jude Law delivered and was cited for in 2004 for “Cold Mountain.” The problem is that MacKay has the likes of ten top tier performers that are well within votes of each other, and will likely take up much of the conversation there, unless “1917” becomes bigger than what I’m even predicting.

Chapman has a “slightly” easier path in supporting actor sitting at #17 but the category has been an evolving entity all year long. With only Al Pacino (“The Irishman”) and probably Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood”) feeling assured, overdue and previous winners are sucking up most of the air in the category.

Chapman, as will be seen in our film review when it drops this week, is my single favorite part of the film, which is shot by Roger Deakins and orchestrated by Thomas Newman, which should say A LOT.

Chapman will have to find ways to step around Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”), Willem Dafoe (“The Lighthouse”), Sam Rockwell (“Richard Jewell”), and more.

Looking at Academy history, the last film to win Best Picture WITHOUT an acting nomination was “Slumdog Millionaire,” which went on to win eight Oscars. “1917” would become just the 12th film to achieve this task, if overcome, and if the current predictions pan out.

  1. “Wings” (1927) – 2 nominations
  2. “All Quiet On The Western Front” (1929) – 4 nominations
  3. “Grand Hotel” (1931) – 1 nomination
  4. “An American In Paris” (1951) – 8 nominations
  5. “The Greatest Show On Earth” (1952) – 5 nominations
  6. “Around The World In 80 Days” (1956) – 8 nominations
  7. “Gigi” (1958) – 9 nominations
  8. “The Last Emperor” (1987) – 9 nominations
  9. “Braveheart” (1995) – 10 nominations
  10. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) – 11 nominations
  11. “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) – 10 nominations

“1917” Possible Nominations

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling (already missed the guild cutoff)
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Original Score

Your guess is as good as mine.

Take a look at the latest prediction updates, and make sure to create your own in the Circuit Center. Since the Independent Spirit Award nominations announcement, those charts have been updated with all the films and actors nominated by the group. “Marriage Story” from Noah Baumbach is currently sitting in the top spot.

The final predicted winners for the Gotham Awards are also charted and you have until Sunday, Dec. 1 at midnight to make your picks.


    The Farewell” (A24)
    American Factory” (Netflix)
    Adam Driver, “Marriage Story” (Netflix)
    Awkwafina, “The Farewell” (A24)
    Lulu Wang, “The Farewell” (A24)
    Noah Jupe, “Honey Boy” (Amazon Studios)
    Olivia Wilde, “Booksmart” (United Artists)
  • BREAKTHROUGH SERIES (Over 40 Minutes):
    When They See Us” (Netflix)
  • BREAKTHROUGH SERIES (Under 40 Minutes):
    Russian Doll” (Netflix)
    Hustlers” (STX Films)