Precursors

Precursor: 67th Directors Guild Awards (2014)

The conversation has changed. First, I’m a bad site host for falling asleep before I got the winner announced and boy am I ever sorry I did. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won Best Director from the DGA in a surprise upset over heavy favorite Richard Linklater. Birdman now completes the triple-crown of guild precursors taking DGA, PGA and SAG ensemble awards.

Since SAG’s inception (being the baby of the bunch), only one film has won all three prizes and not taken the Oscar. That was the first year SAG handed out its ensemble award in 1995. Apollo 13 won all three prizes and then lost to Braveheart at the end of the night. That means in 19 prior years, there have been 8 perfect Triple Crowns and only 1 of those hasn’t matched the Oscar for Best Picture. That gives Birdman a terrific leg up in the race, which means either the PGA/DGA/SAG precedent goes down in defeat to the more lengthy Best Editing-Nomination-Required precedent, or the oldest correlation precedent goes down after 34 years of prescience.

Splits are a little more common at the Oscars in recent history. Since 1998, the Academy’s Best Picture/Director prize has split between two films 6 times. That’s more frequently than in the prior 30 years combined (1966-1997 only saw 4 splits). Prior precedent suggests never to bet against the split, but the Guild Triple Crown winner has been involved in two of the six splits (2012 when Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for the Oscar and 2002 when Roman Polanski made a surprise win for The Pianist). So, in cases of splits, the PGA/DGA/SAG winner won Best Picture and a different director won Best Director. So, if there’s a split, Birdman would be the more likely choice to take Best Picture with Linklater taking Best Director.

Which flies in the face of another precedent. Through 1995, Best Director at the Oscars and the DGA matched perfectly nearly every time, failing only about once per decade. Since then it’s been more frequent. It happened in 2000, 2002 and 2012. It still calculates to once per decade with an extra one in the 00’s thrown in. Since this decade has already seen one, you could assume it won’t happen again, but that would be a bad assumption these days. If Inarritu doesn’t win Best Director, another strong precedent goes down.

The Awards

Best Director

Alejandro G. Inarritu – Birdman (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)

Directors Guild of America Data

Year Founded: 1936
First Awards: 1948 (67)

Precursor: 13th Visual Effects Society Awards (2014)

Disney’s Big Hero 6 was the big winner at the VES awards sweeping the animation-only categories, taking five trophies in all. The big win, however, was for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which took the top Visual Effects prize while Birdman took the Supporting Visual Effects award. Interstellar takes its first big loss in the field of Visual Effects this year, but this isn’t the first time this has happened. In 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes won the VES prize, but lost the Oscar to Hugo.

The difference is that Hugo had won the Supporting Visual Effects award that year and was not directly competing with Apes, so we had no direct comparison. This year, Birdman isn’t nominated at the Oscars and all of Dawn‘s competition was on display. So, Interstellar is on the ropes, but shouldn’t be counted out just yet. The Visual Effects Society has an uneven record with predicting Visual Effects at the Oscars, but this definitely gives Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (which has only one Oscar nod overall compared to 5 for Interstellar) a boost against a film that was supposed to be a major competitor everywhere, but ultimately failed to click with audiences.

Award Tallies

(5) Big Hero 6
(3) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
(2) X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Awards

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Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 10

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (and in some cases other outside influences).

After last week’s lull in precursors with only a smattering of events, this week is a much bigger and significantly more important batch with the Directors Guild of America and the British Academy Awards both giving out their prizes. It should be quite something.

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

Monday, Feb. 2 – Nominees Lunch Awards (Official)
Wednesday, Feb. 4 – Visual Effects Society Awards (Official)
Friday, Feb. 6 – Academy Awards Voting Begins Awards (Official)
Saturday, Feb. 7 – Directors Guild Awards (Official)
Saturday, Feb. 7 – Sci-Tech Awards Awards (Official)
Sunday, Feb. 8 – British Academy Awards (Official)
Sunday, Feb. 8 – Grammy Awards Awards (Official)
Sunday, Feb. 8 – Online Film & TV Association Awards (Official)

Big Winners

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Precursor: 19th Art Directors Guild Awards (2014)

Suffice it to say, The Grand Budapet Hotel looks to be the only sure thing in the tech categories this year. Winning out over modest competition is one thing, but having its primary competition (Into the Woods) go down to a Marvel blockbuster suggests it should have smoother sailing from here on out. The only major surprise was Birdman managing a victory for a fairly minimalist set.

The Awards

Best Period Art Direction

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Best Fantasy Art Direction

Guardians of the Galaxy (RU:Wesley, RU:Thomas)

Best Contemporary Art Direction

Birdman (Tripp)

Art Directors Guild Data

Year Founded: 1937
First Awards: 1996 (19)

Precursor: 28th USC Scripter Awards (2014)

With so few films making it through to the Oscars, a win here can only bolster the winner’s chance at the Academy Awards. This should definitely give it a bit of a boost, but a Writers Guild of America award would probably be more helpful at this point.

The Awards

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Imitation Game (Tripp, Thomas, RU:Wesley)

USC Scripter Data

Year Founded: 1988
First Awards: 1987 (28)

Precursor: 23rd Annie Awards (2014)

Winning only one award, The Lego Movie proved it wasn’t nearly as popular as many thought. That DreamWorks has an advantage with ASIFA’s Annie Awards only helped How to Train Your Dragon 2 capture 6 trophies, including Best Animated Feature. It gives those voting for the Oscar some guidance without Lego Movie in the competition. Another film could win still, but this might be the best indicator (after it also won the Golden Globe) of what could be coming up from the Oscars.

Award Tallies

(6) How to Train Your Dragon 2
(2) The Boxtrolls
(1) Big Hero 6, The Book of Life, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow, Feast, The Lego Movie

The Awards

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Precursor: 54th American Cinema Editors Awards (2014)

It does not appear that anything can stop Boyhood. A film that may have spliced together 12 years of footage is still a rather conventional editing piece. When the guild has films like American Sniper, Gone Girl, Nightcrawler and Whiplash to honor, simply going with Boyhood is bandwagoning to the utmost.

The Awards

Best Drama Editing

Boyhood (Peter, RU:Wesley, RU:Thomas)

Best Comedy/Musical Editing

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wesley, Thomas, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp)

Best Animation Editing

The Lego Movie (Wesley, Peter, Tripp)

Best Documentary Editing

Citizenfour (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

American Cinema Editors Data

Year Founded: October 26, 1950
First Awards: 1961 (54)

Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 9

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (and in some cases other outside influences).

Apologies first to failing to get this posted yesterday when I had intended. However, today is just as good as any considering there isn’t anything else on deck until the weekend. This coming weekend, we have a smattering of guild and other awards, but it’s the two guilds we saw this past week that have the most influence on the future potential Oscar winner. Yet, with so few precursors in release, we’re fairly limited on what are big winners and losers this week.

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

Friday, Jan. 30 – Cinema Editors Awards (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 31 – Annie Awards Awards (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 31 – Art Directors Awards (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 31 – USC Scripter Awards (Official)

Big Winners

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Precursor: 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards (2014)

The winners have been announced and for the second time this weekend, Birdman wins a a victory over Oscar frontrunner Boyhood in a not-unexpected win, but certainly a disappointing one for the cast of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Noteworthy here is that in the guild’s 21-year history, this marks only the sixth time that no film has won more than one award. The last time it happened was 2008. Before that, it happened in 2005, 2003, 1996 and 1994 (noteworthy that except for 1994 when there wasn’t a cast award, 50% of those victories didn’t see the cast award carry over to Best Picture). Historically, the SAG Cast winner is the weakest of the Best Picture predictors with only 9 of its winners taking the Oscar.

That doesn’t benefit Birdman much except in the fact that the surprise defeats of Saving Private Ryan in 1998 by Shakespeare in Love and Crash over Brokeback Mountain in 2005 were forecast first at SAG. Even the PGA went with the then-perceived frontrunners. Unfortunately, there’s another precedent that needs to be referenced. Little Miss Sunshine won both SAG and PGA back in 2006, but eventually lost to The Departed thanks to Sunshine‘s loss at the DGA. So now, we wait for the directors to have their say. If they also go for Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu for Best Director, another Oscar precedent may end up with a blemish.

Award Tallies

(1) Birdman, Boyhood, Still Alice, The Theory of Everything, Unbroken, Whiplash

The Awards

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Precursor: 19th Online Film & TV Association Nominations (2014)

An interesting batch of nominees that sticks close to Oscars’ nominations list, but strikes out in some unique and interesting directions. The biggest take away is that the OFTA does not appear to be enamored with The Theory of Everything, but definitely supports Nightcrawler, A Most Violent Year and Selma more so than does the Academy.

Nominations Tallies

(15) The Grand Budapest Hotel
(14) Birdman
(10) Boyhood, Nightcrawler
(8) Gone Girl
(7) Guardians of the Galaxy
(6) Into the Woods, The Imitation Game
(5) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Interstellar, The Lego Movie, Selma
(4) Whiplash
(3) The Babadook, Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, Edge of Tomorrow, Foxcatcher, How to Train Your Dragon 2, A Most Violent Year, Mr. Turner, Snowpiercer, X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Nominations

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Precursor: 26th Producers Guild Awards (2014)

Of all the films that could have won this award, Birdman didn’t even seem like a strong competitor. Boyhood would have been the juggernaut choice, The Grand Budapest Hotel would have been the slick choice. American Sniper would have been the boffo box office choice and The Imitation Game would have been the Weinstein choice. The PGA hasn’t been wrong since 2006 when they went with little indie-that-could Little Miss Sunshine. In their 26-year history, they’ve been wrong a collective seven times. That’s impressive for a precursor, so you can’t entirely dismiss Birdman‘s selection. Yet, Birdman is missing the Best Editing nomination. For a film like Birdman, that might not hurt, but there are some predictive elements that haven’t been wrong in more than three decades.

The other two winner are a bit more expected from this group, but neither can repeat at the Oscars since neither is nominated.

The Awards

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Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 8

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (and in some cases other outside influences).

Now that the Oscar nominations have been announced, things will be slow for a week before ramping up with four weeks of guild precursors along a few other things.

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

Saturday, Jan. 24 – Producers Guild Awards (Official)
Sunday, Jan. 25 – Screen Actors Awards (Official)
Sunday, Jan. 25 – Online Film & TV Association Nominations (Official)

Big Winners

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Precursor: 35th London Critics Awards (2014)

Even the Brits are in love with Boyhood and everything else that has largely been winning this season.

Award Tallies

(3) Boyhood
(2) ’71, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Leviathan, Mr. Turner, Whiplash

The Awards

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Precursor: 20th Broadcast Critics Awards (2014)

The Broadcast Film Critics Association have announced their winners for 2014. Few surprises came down the pipe. To prove just how predictable this group was, every category in which Peter, Tripp and I agreed on the prediction, that prediction came to fruition. There were no major surprises (no rallied support for Selma, no off-the-wall star whoring selection and no general surprise selections.

Here’s how we did. Of the 28 categories, Wesley correctly predicted 21 and selected 4 runners-up (25 total); Tripp predicted 19 regular selections with 6 runners-up (25 total); Peter got 17 of his first choice predictions correct and selected an additional 8 runners-up (25 total). That’s something of a three-way tie with only the primary predictions determining a winner. That said, there wasn’t a single category where one of us did not correctly predict a winner or a runner-up.

Award Tallies

(7) Birdman
(4) Boyhood
(3) The Grand Budapest Hotel
(2) Guardians of the Galaxy
(1) American Sniper, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow, Force Majeure, Glory, Gone Girl, Interstellar, The Lego Movie, Life Itself, Obvious Child, Still Alice, Whiplash

The Awards

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Precursor: 62nd Sound Editors Guild Nominations (2014)

The Sound Editors have spoken and we have heard them. Birdman is doing incredibly well with this guild, topping every other film with three nominations, getting into both the Sound Effects and Dialogue categories. Only Unbroken was able to duplicate that feat. It’s quite possible that both films (which also showed up with the Cinema Audio Society are going to get Oscar noms as a result. The most interesting selection of the day was Still Alice, a film that has only been talked about as a film to get Julianne Moore her first Oscar, has now been nominated for a different guild. That won’t mean much to anyone since it’s not getting Oscar nominated in Sound Editing, but it’s an interesting little tidbit either way.

Nominations Tallies

(3) Birdman
(2) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar, Unbroken, Whiplash

The Nominations

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