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The DGA and PGA are the best predictors of how the Best Picture race will go.

From GoldDerby: Since the Directors Guild of America aligned itself with the Oscars calendar in 1950, all but seven of its winners for Best Director have repeated at the Oscars. However, the guild does less well predicting the five Oscar nominees. In its first 15 years, there were anywhere from four to 18 DGA nominees. From 1963 – 1965, it went with five before going to 10 for the rest of the decade. Finally, beginning in 1970 it enshrined the number of nominees as five. And since then, there have only been five years where it previewed the exact lineup of Oscar contenders. 

The nominees are:

Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Ridley Scott, The Martian

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Alfonso Cuaron won the Directors Guild Award for GRAVITY on Saturday night (2am EST Sunday morning). History tells us that the PGA and DGA are the best predictors for the Best Picture Oscar winner.  In 65 years only 7 times has the DGA winner not won the Oscar. The PGA awarded 12 YEARS A SLAVE and GRAVITY with a first ever tie. With GRAVITY technically winning both of the best predictors for the Oscars, you should bet on GRAVITY for the win.

But, in such a competitive year, anything can happen. If there was ever a year when Director and Picture would split it would be this year. GRAVITY was a huge technical achievement and will change the way movies are made, but so was AVATAR and we know what happened there. Don’t forget GRAVITY is a 3D science fiction movie, mostly using CGI and only 2 characters. Not usually a type of film that the Academy goes for. 12 YEARS A SLAVE is more of an “Oscar” movie and seems to have the support to win Best Picture.

The BAFTA awards on February 16th may give us a few more clues as many of the Oscar voters are British and vote in both awards. Some say it’s still too close to call, others who go by stats and past years say GRAVITY will win Best Picture. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

2014 dga nominations

Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

The only real surprise, if you can even call it that is Martin Scorsese. WOLF OF WALL STREET has shown to be controversial and that can scare off voters.  The DGA consists of 15,000 members compared to the 377 Oscar voters, making the DGA a much better representation of the best movies of the year.

The Directors Guild of America nominees are (usually, sometimes) the biggest predictor of Oscar nominees and the Best Picture winner. Only seven times has the winner of the DGA award not gone on to win the Oscar . The most recent being last year when Ben Affleck went on to win the DGA and he did not get an Oscar nomination.  Although ARGO went on to win Best Picture. This is usually the exception and not the rule, BUT Oscar ballots are due tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5pm. We can assume that most of the ballots have already been turned in well before today’s DGA nominees were announced. The Directors Guild may not have the influence that it once did.

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Ben Affleck continues his winning streak by winning the Directors Guild Award. It is an amazing comeback for a movie that in the Fall was beginning to fade. Spielberg was the one to beat. LINCOLN was going to win Best Picture. Now, not so much!

This pretty much seals the deal…The Oscar for Best Picture goes to ARGO.

Best Feature: Ben Affleck, Argo
Best Documentary Feature: Malik Bendjelloul, Searching for Sugarman
Best Animated Feature: Rich Moore – Wreck It Ralph

Oscar ballots are due December 17th. There will be plenty of other award winners announced this week. Some have a history of choosing Oscar winners, but many don’t. The PGA and DGA that used to have a huge influence on Oscar voting will be announced after Oscar ballots are due.  Today we will hear the Los Angeles Film Critics winners. They are a little less conservative and less like the Oscar voters than the New York Film Critics are. They chose ZERO DARK THIRTY last week as Best Film. I could see the LAFCA going for LES MIS or even THE MASTER.

Tuesday is the big one, The Critics Choice Award nominees. This group consists of bloggers and film reviewers with no other agenda than to vote for the best. Or at least that is what I like to think.

The SAG nominations are announced Wednesday by a group of Actors. These nominations will be extremely important if you want an Oscar nomination.

Thursday are the Golden Globes nominations.

After that Academy voters will need to make a decision on what they think was the number 1 movie they saw this year or didn’t see, but vote for it because they saw it win other stuff this week.