The winners of the American Cinema Editors awards on Friday and those of the Directors Guild of America and the Art Directors Guild on Saturday will be immediately chewed on and jawed over by awards campaigners, analysts and movie fans assessing the Academy Awards field.
The Writers Guild could have made it more interesting by announcing its winners this weekend but instead is waiting until the eve of the Oscar voting deadline likely reducing its influence over voters in the writers’ branch of the academy.
For old-timers who were forecasting Oscar races before most of the guilds went full Golden Globes on us with multiple categories, the ratio of guild winners to Oscar winners was much tighter than it is now. It used to be that if people really liked a movie, they wanted to credit the director first, the actors second, the writers third and the producers after everyone else had been thanked.
Now, with the various award bodies expanding their fields, along with the academy’s expanded best picture ballot, which in turn has adopted a preferential voting formula that somebody may have found scribbled on a schizophrenic’s wall, ratios have been turned into dice.
Roll ‘em, see what you get.
From the Producers Guild, using the same voting system, we got “Green Book” for best feature film. From the Critics Choice voters, we got “Roma” as best picture, “Mission Impossible – Fallout” as best action movie, “Crazy Rich Asians” as best comedy and “A Quiet Place” as best horror/sci-fi movie. And from the Golden Globes, pioneers of the something-for-everyone school of awards, we got “Bohemian Rhapsody” as best dramatic movie and “Green Book” as best comedy or musical.
Oh, yeah, and “Black Panther” won the ensemble award from the Screen Actors Guild.
The DGA winner is still the best predictor of a best picture Oscar winner among the talent guilds, but it’s been weakened by an accounting system that can knock the popular vote winner out quicker than you can say Hillary Clinton.
In the first 72 years of the DGA, its winner had been paired with the eventual Oscar best picture winner 82% of the time. Since the academy expanded its best picture ballot in 2009, it has dropped to 55% — five times in nine years.
So, if your guy doesn’t win the DGA, or even if he isn’t on the ballot, don’t fret. Oscar snubee Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born” is still among the leaders, and Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” is right there with it. Or DGA snubee Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite,” which tied “Roma’s” 10 nominations, could easily win.
The Art Directors Guild began giving out its award in 1996 and two of its first four winners went on to win best picture at the Oscars. It then split its award into four awkward and overlapping film categories – feature, contemporary, fantasy and period – landing the subsequent Oscar winner on one or more of those ballots eight times.
The ratio of matched awards between the cinema editors guild and the academy is worst of all. You’d think that when the guild split its award into Best Edited Feature and Best Edited Comedy or Musical in 2000, its success would have doubled. But the Eddie met Oscar 63% during the previous 19 years (12 of 19) and only 21% (8 of 19) since.
Coin flips, shortest straws, and rock-paper-scissors all have better odds.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on February 24.