The Screen Actors Guild nominations threw a few wrenches into predictions last week when they gave us Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Crazy Rich Asians and A Star Is Born. Those followed Motion Picture nominations from the Golden Globes the week before. It also meant that more than a few Oscar hopefuls, even frontrunners, were left off the list. The Favourite, which got three individual SAG noms for its actresses didn’t get in, making it the 22nd film to earn that distinction. ROMA and If Beale Street Could Talk were shut out completely. That’s hard to come back from.
The SAG Cast stat was one that we could rely on for nearly a quarter century. Since the very first year of its inception (1995), in fact. La La Land’s snub here seemed to prove that. But then just last season we saw The Shape of Water miss out and then go on to win Best Picture anyway. Was it an anomaly? Is the curse broken or will we revert back to how actor-driven Best Picture wins are?
Rules, stats and trends take time. No one example is proof of anything much. If ROMA or The Favourite are able to triumph in Best Picture at the Oscars, then we’ll have something of a paradigm shift, or the beginning of it. If Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman or A Star Is Born do then last season might just be a one-off.
It’s a very weird mix of films this year. I wonder if this is the first year we only see six or seven nominees. Green Book and Vice are divisive but might have passion votes. Mary Poppins Returns is proving to be a critical and box office misfire. Bohemian Rhapsody is a massive box office hit but with a 49 Metacritic score it would be the worst rated film to get a Best Picture nomination since…2011’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (46). Dubious company, to say the least.
I wonder if the Academy will look outside of the that batch of very high-profile hopefuls and instead nominate Eighth Grade, First Reformed, Can You Ever Forgive Me? or Leave No Trace. Crazy Rich Asians is both a critical and a box office hit but weirdly feels far outside the race when it should be a big part of it. It would be weird to have a BP lineup that didn’t include A24 so I have Eighth Grade making the cut.
The Producers Guild of America (PGA) is often the closest we have to a solid precursor to Best Picture for nominees (not for winners, as the last three years show), even more than SAG Cast can often be. Last year, the PGA had 11 nominees instead of the usual 10 with four films not earning BP Oscar nods: The Big Sick (which also had SAG Cast); I, Tonya; Molly’s Game and Wonder Woman. The Producers Guild of America announces their nominations on January 4, 2019.
ROMA remains on top once again (risky, I know), but Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman are locking in those precursors and making major moves.
Here are my 2019 Oscar Predictions in Best Picture for December 21, 2018.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – chart debut/re-entry
1. ROMA (AFI*, BFCA, GG**, NBR)
2. Black Panther (AFI, BFCA, GG, NBR, SAG)
3. BlacKkKlansman (AFI, BFCA, GG, SAG)
4. A Star is Born (AFI, BFCA, GG, NBR, SAG)
5. The Favourite (AFI, BFCA, GG)
6. If Beale Street Could Talk (AFI, BFCA, GG, NBR, Spirit)
7. Green Book (AFI, BFCA, GG, NBR winner)
8. Vice (BFCA, GG)
9. Eighth Grade (AFI, NBR, Spirit)
10. Bohemian Rhapsody (GG, SAG)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (NBR)
Crazy Rich Asians (GG, SAG)
First Man (BFCA)
First Reformed (AFI, NBR, Spirit)
Leave No Trace (Spirit)
Mary Poppins Returns (AFI, BFCA, GG, NBR)
A Quiet Place (AFI)
**Foreign Language Film nominee