Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 11

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).

While the upcoming week is a bit busier than this past week, it’s still a small smattering of precursors. Last week saw two guilds, one of them, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) is the granddaddy of guilds, at least guilds that give awards, and they are one of the most accurate predictors. The Annie Awards, giving out by ASIFA Hollywood, are also a strong precursor, but they are relatively new at the game since the Animated Feature prize has only been given out at the Oscars since 2001.

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

Week 12

Sat. 10 – Satellites (Awards) (Official)
Sat. 10 – Sci-Tech Awards (Oscars) (Official)
Sat. 10 – USC Scripter (Awards) (Official)
Sun. 11 – Writers Guild (Awards) (Official)

Big Winners

The Shape of Water hit the mother lode of prizes this weekend with its Directors Guild of America win. Guillermo del Toro has been the frontrunner for Best Direction for awhile now, but Best Picture seemed a bit tougher. With this win, not only is del Toro assured the Best Direction Oscar, the chances of winning Best Picture have also increased as Shape of Water now has two of the big three prizes while Three Billboards has one (SAG), but an Oscar deficit with no Best Direction citation.
Coco destroyed all competitors at the Annie Awards, winning in every category in which it was nominated. That alone assures Coco is the de facto Oscar winner even if that was a pretty safe assumption prior.
Get Out got a small boost from the DGA, though not in terms of a Best Direction Oscar win. Jordan Peele won the Best First Feature award from the DGA, which means that his film has strong support. While it doesn’t mean that he can outpace del Toro for Best Direction, it might mean the film has a better shot at Best Picture now that it has at least one DGA award. While that category is new (this is only the third winner), this is the first one that’s also been a Best Picture nominee, which could bolster its chances.
The Breadwinner may have been a winner at the Annie Awards, taking Best Independent Animated Feature, but that is unlikely to be enough. It couldn’t crack the Coco veneer and pull of an upset victory, so it seems likely that the film, which is the only real runner-up for the Oscar, is probably just that: a runner-up.

Big Losers

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri needed the DGA win in order to make a stronger case for a Best Picture Oscar. While the film was doing tremendously well in recent days, its failure at the DGA shows that McDonagh, who wasn’t nominated for the Oscar, wasn’t a sympathy winner and if the DGA can reject sympathy so easily, Oscar voters might as well. The film’s a bit divisive whereas Shape of Water seems to be well received in most quarters.
Lady Bird came out of the weekend with nothing. Although it was never really a strong contender for Best Director at the DGA, there were some who thought Greta Gerwig might pull it out and push her film towards an Oscar for Best Picture. At this point, though, that seems to be out of the question. Further, there’s been no indication yet that the film is going to perform well enough to go home with any awards, including its no-best shot in Best Supporting Actress.
Loving Vincent needed some recognition from the Annie Awards, but it came away with nothing. There were a couple of categories it could have made a surprise showing in and, considering how heavily art-intensive the film was, as was the awards ceremony itself, if it couldn’t pull off a single victory, what other chance could it possibly have with the Oscars.


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  1. “While that category is new (this is only the third winner), this is the first one that’s also been a Best Picture nominee, which could bolster its chances.” Garth Davis won last year for Lion, and that was up for Best Picture.

    1. That should have read “Best Director,” not “Best Picture.”

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