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2018 Oscars: Best Picture is beginning to take ‘Shape’

We’re just a month away from the 90th Academy Awards and…we sort of have a frontrunner now?

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) bestowed their 70th honor to Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) this weekend. He also has the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and will probably win the BAFTA too, which should at least secure his position as Oscar’s Director winner. The Producers Guild of America (PGA) gave the film their top prize last month. Yet we’re all still asking ourselves, is it enough?

PGA+DGA Winners and Oscar since 1990

Dances with Wolves
The Silence of the Lambs
Schindler’s List
Forrest Gump
Apollo 13
The English Patient
Titanic
Saving Private Ryan
American Beauty
Chicago
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Brokeback Mountain
No Country For Old Men
Slumdog Millionaire
The Hurt Locker
The King’s Speech
The Artist
Argo
Gravity (tied with 12 Years a Slave at PGA)
Birdman
La La Land

Since 1990, 21 films have won both awards. Only 5 have not won Best Picture. Of those, two lost to the SAG Cast winner (Saving Private Ryan, Brokeback Mountain) and two others were not even nominated for SAG Ensemble (Gravity, La La Land). Interestingly enough, those four all managed to match their DGA wins with Directing Oscar wins even though they lost Best Picture. Apollo 13 is the only one to win SAG Cast and lose Best Picture (and Best Director).

This is why the SAG Cast stat is still so strong and giving me, and hopefully everyone else, pause. It doesn’t matter how many Oscar nominations you have or win. It doesn’t matter how many precursors you win. If you don’t have at least a SAG Cast nomination you’re not winning Best Picture. Right?


 2018 Oscar Winner Predictions

Here’s the thing; we also have the WGA coming up next weekend. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (which won the Golden Globe) was ineligible there so it’s not even in contention. Last year we saw Moonlight compete there in Original (it was nominated there before the Academy deemed it Adapted), beating its two most formidable opponents La La Land and Manchester by the Sea. This was the first stumble for La La Land post-SAG snub and obviously a telling one. A lot of things can happen here. Get Out or Lady Bird can win and knock The Shape of Water a peg. But, what if The Shape of Water wins? The film has only earned one critics’ win for its screenplay compared to 26 for Get Out and 6 for Lady Bird. It would be an extraordinary upset for that to happen but, if it did, I have to imagine it would be enough to start looking at that SAG stat as over.

For argument’s sake, let’s say that SAG Cast winner Three Billboards wins two acting Oscars it’s expected to (Actress, Supporting Actor) and manages the Original Screenplay Oscar.

Films that won two acting Oscars and Original or Adapted screenplay

It Happened One Night
Gone with the Wind
Mrs. Miniver
Going My Way
The Best Years of Our Lives
From Here to Eternity
On the Waterfront
Elmer Gantry
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Network
Julia
Coming Home
Kramer vs. Kramer
On Golden Pond
Terms of Endearment
Hannah and Her Sisters
Moonstruck
The Silence of the Lambs
The Piano
Shakespeare in Love

In 89 years of Oscar, 20 films have won two or more acting awards as well as screenplay at the Academy Awards. Eight of them have lost Best Picture. One of those, Elmer Gantry, was not nominated for Director (shades of Three Billboards). The only film to win two acting and one of the screenplay Oscars during the SAG era was Shakespeare in Love, which won SAG Cast but lost Directing.

I’m sure a lot of us are expecting (hoping?) that BAFTA clears the path for one of these films and it could. It could also make the waters even muddier if there isn’t a consensus from them on The Shape of Water or Three Billboards. Or worse, if they go for Dunkirk instead.

Thank you to AW forum member and Gold Rush Gang alum Dennis Kelly for compiling these list breakdowns.

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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