Oscar Beat: The Guilds Have Spoken, So Where Does This Leave Us for Oscar?

     January 7, 2014

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We’re very, very close to the nominations announcement for the 86th Academy Awards, and now that the various guilds—the Screen Actors Guild, the Producers Guild, the Writers Guild, and the Directors Guild—have announced their nominees, we have a pretty clear picture of what we might expect with regards to Oscar.  As I’ve said before, one of the biggest predictors of how the Academy will vote comes with the guilds, since the guild membership has a strong crossover with Academy membership.  With just over a week to go before the Oscar nominations are announced, now feels like a good time to take a glance at the current landscape to see what films are shaping up to be Oscar favorites, and which films might miss this cut.

Hit the jump to read this latest installment of Oscar Beat in which I take a closer look at this morning’s DGA nominations, offer an overview of which films have landed the most nods from the various guilds, and what that means for Oscar.

gravity-alfonso-cuaronBefore digging into the guilds as a whole, let’s take a closer look at the Directors Guild of America Awards nominations, which were announced this morning.  Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), and David O. Russell (American Hustle) all nabbed nominations as expected, and Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street) landed nods as well.  There’s nothing incredibly surprising in this lineup, but Scorsese felt like the least “safe” candidate given the so-called controversy surrounded Wolf.  Other possibilities included Spike Jonze (Her), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), and Joel and Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis).

We know that the DGA nominations rarely match up 5-for-5 with Oscar, and previous DGA nominees that failed to land Best Director Oscar nominations include David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Christopher Nolan (Inception), and of course Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty).  In recent years, the Academy has opted for one or two more “artsy” picks for Best Director in lieu of the aforementioned DGA nominees, and instead chose to nominate directors such as Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), Michael Haneke (Amour), and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).  As such, I’m lead to believe that Spike Jonze stands a good chance of landing a Best Director Oscar nomination, as does Alexander Payne—a two-time Best Director nominee.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) land an Oscar nod given the guilds’ show of affection towards his movie.

american-hustle-bale-adams-cooperNow let’s take a look at an overview of which films managed to net nominations from which guilds, though it’s important to note that some frontrunners were ineligible for WGA, including 12 Years a Slave.  The following are movies that have received at least two Best Picture-equivalent nominations from the DGA, PGA, WGA, or SAG:

American Hustle – PGA, DGA, SAG, WGA

12 Years a Slave – PGA, DGA, SAG

Gravity – PGA, DGA

Captain Phillips – PGA, WGA, DGA

The Wolf of Wall Street – PGA, WGA, DGA

Dallas Buyers Club – PGA, SAG, WGA

Blue Jasmine – PGA, WGA

Saving Mr. Banks – PGA, SAG

Nebraska – PGA, WGA

Her – PGA, WGA

August: Osage County – WGA, SAG

inside-llewyn-davis-oscar-isaacAs you can see, American Hustle is the only film to land nominations from all four guilds, which means it’s all but a lock for a Best Picture nomination.  Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are extremely safe bets as well, and Dallas Buyers Club had a surprisingly strong showing across the guilds.  On the flipside, The Coen Brothers’ brilliant Inside Llewyn Davis has been inexplicably shut out of all of the guilds, which considerably lowers its Oscar chances in a number of categories including Best Picture and Best Director.

It’s important to keep in mind that the various guild awards are not the be-all, end-all with regards to Oscar, but they are a very good predictor.  What we can glean from this year’s crop is that American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave are our clear frontrunners, Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street are serious contenders, Inside Llewyn Davis is not as strong a candidate as we previously perceived, and Dallas Buyers Club could play the spoiler nominee.

We’re now just days away from the official Oscar nominations as Academy voting closes very soon, so look for my final predictions come next week.

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