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Precursor: 27th USC Scripter Awards (2013)

Although it wasn't eligible for the WGA award, 12 Years a Slave seems certain to take Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, this award should help it considerably.

The Awards

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave (Wesley, Peter, Tripp)

USC Scripter Data

Year Founded: 1988
First Awards: 1987 (27)

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Precursor: 18th Art Directors Guild Awards (2013)

The first step towards the Oscar begins with the Art Directors Guild award. As expected, the two films that are most competitive at the Oscars won their various awards tonight. The Great Gatsby's period win should be key to its eventual win. Gravity won fantasy meaning it's still in the hunt and Her won contemporary.

The Awards

Best Period Art Direction

The Great Gatsby (Wesley, Tripp)

Best Fantasy Art Direction

Gravity (Wesley, Peter, Tripp)

Best Contemporary Art Direction

Her (Wesley, Peter, Tripp)

Art Directors Guild Data

Year Founded: 1937
First Awards: 1996 (18)

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1

Precursor: 53rd American Cinema Editors Awards (2013)

Leave it to the American Cinema Editors to do nothing to help predict this year's Oscars. Giving their award to Captain Phillips seems a bit like cheating since they gave its director a Golden Eddie award this year. It's obviously favoritism, but it's not really that surprising. Most of Christopher Rouse's recognition for editing has come for films directed by Paul Greengrass. This is his third ACE nomination (second win) and his third Oscar nomination.

Of the other winners, American Hustle took the expected Comedy/Musical Editing prize while Best Animated Feature frontrunner Frozen took the Animation Editing trophy. Meanwhile, 20 Feet from Stardom picks up steam that could lead it to an Oscar victory, a rarity for documentaries about music and musicians at the Oscars.

The Awards

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Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 10

As the precursor awards continue unabated through the month of December, I'm going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (this will be in place of my prior weekly article "Oscar Preview". The guild awards are trickling in and perceptions of the race are cementing around certain outcomes. The next week may make things a bit more clear.

But, before we get into this week's winners and losers, let's take a look at what's coming up this week:

Week 11

Fri., Feb. 7 - American Cinema Editors Awards
Sat., Feb. 8 - Art Directors Guild Awards
Sat., Feb. 8 - USC Scripter Awards
Sun., Feb. 9 - Online Film & Television Association Awards
Mon., Feb. 10 - Oscar Nominees Luncheon

Big Winners

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Precursor: 34th London Film Critics Awards (2013)

It seems fitting that the London Film Critics Circle announced on Super Bowl weekend. In sports, you tend to root for the hometown team. At the Critics Circle awards, they celebrated one of their own giving 12 Years a Slave a sizable boost. That of course didn't stop them from giving Alfonso Cuaron and not Steve McQueen their award for Best Director.

Award Tallies

(3) 12 Years a Slave
(2) The Selfish Giant

The Awards

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1

Precursor: 28th American Society of
Cinematographers Winners (2013)

The ASC finally recognizes a cinematographer working in a digital medium, something they've been resistant to do for a few years. Gravity should have little problem taking the Oscar now.

The Awards

Best Cinematography

Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki (Wesley, Peter, Tripp)

American Society of Cinematographers Data

Year Founded: 1919
First Awards: 1986 (28)

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Precursor: 22nd Annie Awards Winners (2013)

The winners have been announced and, as expected, Frozen had a huge night. This should be the springboard to a guaranteed Oscar for Best Animated Feature. The strange part is that it lost in several key categories where it should have been more dominant.

Award Tallies

(5) Frozen
(3) The Croods
(2) Monsters University
(1) Get a Horse!, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Pacific Rim, The Wind Rises

The Awards

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Precursor: 66th Writers Guild Winners (2013)

American Hustle took a major hit with the Writers Guild of America deeming Her a more worthy screenplay. While it's still possible the Oscar could go its way, it will be hard for anyone to argue that it's a frontrunner.

The Awards

Best Original Screenplay

Her (Wesley, Peter, Tripp)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Captain Phillips

Documentary Screenplay

Stories We Tell (Wesley, RU:Peter)

Writers Guild of America Data

Year Founded: 1933
First Awards: 1948 (66)

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Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 9

As the precursor awards continue unabated through the month of December, I'm going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (this will be in place of my prior weekly article "Oscar Preview". This week saw few precursors, but a major one did announce.

But, before we get into this week's winners and losers, let's take a look at what's coming up this week:

Week 10

Sat., Feb. 1 - Annie Awards
Sat., Feb. 1 - American Society of Cinematographers Awards
Sat., Feb. 1 - Writers Guild of America Awards

Big Winners

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Precursor: 56th Grammy Awards (2013)

With the weird eligibility period of the Grammys, they often regress with their selections. This time, they chose last year's winner for Best Original Song at the Oscars for this year's win, "Skyfall" and then gave the same prize to the score soundtrack. Sound City wasn't nominated for anything at the Oscars this year, so that win was non-predictive. As a note, the live Grammy show hasn't started, but with more than 100 categories, they give away many of the prizes in the hours before the show, so these trophies were already presented and recorded as winners. Enjoy the rest of your night and the almost-week off until the next round of guild prizes are handed out.

Award Tallies

(2) Skyfall

The Awards

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media

Sound City: Real to Reel

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

Skyfall

Best Song Written for Visual Media

"Skyfall" - Skyfall

Grammy Awards Data

Year Founded: 1957
First Awards: 1958 (56)

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Precursor: 18th Online Film & TV Association Nominations (2013)

The Online Film & Television Association have announced their 18th Annual slate of the best of the year. Founded to recognize excellence, the small but dedicated group always has interesting choices, even if some of them are modestly questionable. 12 Years a Slave becomes only the fifth non-musical film in the group's history to secure more than 15 nominations, tying The Aviator at 4th place with 17 nominations behind Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's 18, Titanic's 19 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's record-holding 20 nominations (for a non-musical film).

Several Oscar nominees failed to make the cut while other Oscar contenders that didn't show up on Oscar Morning made an appearance here. Voting begins tomorrow with winners announced on Sunday, February 9, 2014.

Nominations Tallies

(17) 12 Years a Slave
(12) Nebraska
(11) Gravity
(9) American Hustle, Captain Phillips
(8) Her, Inside Llewyn Davis
(7) Blue Is the Warmest Color, The Wolf of Wall Street
(6) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
(5) Frozen
(4) Dallas Buyers Club, Rush
(3) Blue Jasmine, The Great Gatsby, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks

The Nominations

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Precursor: 66th Directors Guild of America Awards (2013)

After an interminable wait (the awards ceremony went long), we finally have a winner. As expected, the director of the biggest spectacle with the most technical aspects to jungle has won the DGA award. It's not surprising and after his run of precursors, should we have expected anything else. This is likely to mean the end of a potential American Hustle run for Best Picture, though it isn't completely shut out. There could still be a split, but history favors 12 Years a Slave for a split rather than American Hustle. It also means Gravity could pull off a Best Picture upset. Now that it's all done, I'm going to sleep.

The Awards

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity (Wesley, Peter, RU:Tripp)

Directors Guild of America Data

Year Founded: 1936
First Awards: 1948 (66)

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86th Oscars: The DGA and a Potential Split

When I was writing the intro to our DGA predictions for yesterday, I was contemplating the Best Picture/Best Director split and how the Directors Guild of America (DGA) may help us forecast such an occurrence. Keep in mind, this is a theory as the Oscar electorate changes each year as younger members join. With the large influx of new members this year, much of our suppositions about the Oscar race will likely have to change. Here are my quick observations before the DGA awards tonight.

In the last 20 years, the Academy has split Best Picture/Director only 5 times. Of those five times, a more populist film has won Best Picture over a more serious film's director (1998's Saving Private Ryan lost Best Picture to Shakespeare in Love; 2000's Traffic lost out to Gladiator; 2002's The Pianist was topped in Best Picture by Chicago; 2005's Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture; and in 2012, Argo won Best Picture while Life of Pi took Best Director). 2012 is obviously the anomaly. Life of Pi was hardly a more serious film than Argo, but the Academy's directors branch hadn't nominated Ben Affleck, making it impossible for him to win, forcing a split that likely would not have otherwise occurred.

In those 5 situations, 1998 and 2005 the Best Director Oscar winner matched DGA. In 2002 and 2012, the DGA winner matched Best Picture at the Oscars. In 2000, neither Best Picture or Best Director aligned with the DGA win, which went to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Ang Lee, who happened to direct two of the five films that won Best Director, but didn't win Best Picture (that in itself is a very interesting fact). If Steve McQueen wins Best Director from the DGA, the serious/populist trend would favor either American Hustle or Gravity for Best Picture. If Alfonso Cuaron wins DGA, the only potential matching year is 2012, which would indicate 12 Years a Slave as the winner. If David O. Russell wins, then history shows that American Hustle will take both prizes at the Oscars. That's if you bet the split. McQueen could win here and presage a Best Director/Picture pairing at the Oscars, as could Alfonso Cuaron, though his chances are a bit dicier since no science fiction film has ever won Best Picture.

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Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 8

As the precursor awards continue unabated through the month of December, I'm going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (this will be in place of my prior weekly article "Oscar Preview". Now that the Oscar nominations have been announced, we're in the home stretch as the various guilds start revealing their winners, mostly at ceremonies no one can watch on TV.

But, before we get into this week's winners and losers, let's take a look at what's coming up this week:

Week 9

Sat., Jan. 25 - Directors Guild Awards
Sun., Jan. 26 - Online Film & Television Association Nominations
Sun., Jan. 26 - Grammy Awards

Big Winners

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6

Precursor: 25th Producers Guild Awards (2013)

For the first time in its history, the Producers Guild has ended in a tie giving their awards to 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. With American Hustle shut out, this race may have shifted into a two-film competition. Don't count David O. Russell out. He could still pick up the DGA prize next weekend and we'll then be no clearer than we were two months ago.

The Awards

Best Picture

TIE:
Gravity (Tripp, RU:Wesley, RU:Peter)
12 Years a Slave (Wesley, Peter, RU:Tripp)

Best Animated Feature

Frozen (Wesley, Peter, Tripp)

Best Documentary

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (Wesley, Tripp)

Producers Guild of America Data

Year Founded: 1950 Film; 1957 TV; 1962 Unified
First Awards: 1989 (25)

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