The 24th Art Directors Guild (ADG) and the 72nd Writers Guild of America (WGA) awards will be held tonight and I have some thoughts on what might win and why and how closely tied these winners are to the Oscars.
For the ADG, this is a pretty tough fight in Period Film. Four of the six nominees in are also Oscar-nominated. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood won the Critics Choice and was the critics’ awards favorite this season but the surge of 1917 and with four-time ADG winner Dennis Gassner behind it, could upset. Especially since Once has performed so poorly with guild wins despite being the overall champ with nominations. Jojo could surprise here but don’t expect a win from a non-Oscar nominee like Ford v Ferrari or Joker.
Fantasy has no nominees up for the Oscar this year so it’s an open race with some big names. Rick Carter (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) has only won here when he’s been Oscar-nominated (2009’s Avatar). Rick Heinrichs (Dumbo) almost the same. It’s a toss up here. Gemma Jackson is a previous ADG winner for Game of Thrones and with Aladdin has her first film nomination since 2004’s Finding Neverland. Charles Wood is a previous winner here for Guardians of the Galaxy and I think he might end up the champ closing out the Avengers trilogy.
Although the ADG Period is a pretty good Oscar precursor, Fantasy films have won twice this decade (Mad Max: Fury Road, Black Panther) and Contemporary once (La La Land). If one of tonight’s winners also won the Critics Choice, look to that as your Oscar champ. Only twice has a film with zero precursor wins come in to surprise at the Academy Awards (2010’s Alice in Wonderland and 2012’s Lincoln).
Contemporary has just a single Oscar win this decade (La La Land) and we do have an Oscar nominee in this ADG category in Parasite. It’s most definitely the favorite here. Animated should go to Toy Story 4 or The Lion King, which have been performing the best at the guilds so far.
Last year, The Favourite won Period, Black Panther won Fantasy and Crazy Rich Asians won Contemporary with Black Panther going on to win the Oscar, a first for a comic book or superhero film.
Here are my predictions for the 24th Art Directors Guild (ADG) awards, with possible spoilers, for film.
Ford v Ferrari, Production Designer: François Audouy
The Irishman, Production Designer: Bob Shaw
Jojo Rabbit, Production Designer: Ra Vincent
Joker, Production Designer: Mark Friedberg
PREDICTION: 1917, Production Designer: Dennis Gassner
SPOILER: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Production Designer: Barbara Ling
Ad Astra, Production Designer: Kevin Thompson
Aladdin, Production Designer: Gemma Jackson
PREDICTION: Avengers: Endgame, Production Designer: Charles Wood
SPOILER: Dumbo, Production Designer: Rick Heinrichs
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Production Designer: Patrick Tatopoulos
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Production Designers: Rick Carter, Kevin Jenkins
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Production Designer: Jade Healy
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Production Designer: Kevin Kavanaugh
SPOILER: Knives Out, Production Designer: David Crank
PREDICTION: Parasite, Production Designer: Lee Ha-Jun
Us, Production Designer: Ruth De Jong
Abominable, Production Designer: Max Boas
Frozen II, Production Designer: Michael Giaimo
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Production Designer: Pierre-Olivier Vincent
SPOILER: The Lion King, Production Designer: James Chinlund
PREDICTION: Toy Story 4, Production Designer: Bob Pauley
The WGA is a funky guild in terms of Oscar predicting as many frontrunners aren’t even eligible. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood won the Golden Globe for screenplay but writer Quentin Tarantino is not a WGA member and guild guidelines are strict so it wasn’t nominated here, opening the door for a Parasite, Knives Out or Marriage Story win.
Adapted Screenplay is a really tight race here, at BAFTA and the Oscars and it’s between Jojo Rabbit and Little Women. Each come with narratives to bolster their cases to win. Jojo was the TIFF Audience Award winner and those usually go on to win multiple awards on their way to the Oscars where 9 of the last 10 years they’ve won at least one. Given all of the press around Greta Gerwig’s perceived Best Director snub (and the exclusion of all women directors, which isn’t to say that’s how the Academy at large will see it or be the reason they vote that way) plus the inventive structure and take on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, she could continue a run that started with her triumph over Jojo at Critics Choice and continued with the USC Scripter. Neither were nominated for the Golden Globe, which kept them on a level playing field until Taika Waititi was DGA nominated. It’s not easy to win here without some other major guild presence or win (although Can You Ever Forgive Me? did just that a year ago). It’s going to be very close.
Last year the WGA winners were Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Adapted) and Eighth Grade (Original) with only the former turning it into an Oscar nomination. BAFTA winner BlacKkKlansman and Golden Globe winner Green Book went on to win the Oscars in these respective categories.
Here are my predictions for the 72nd Writers Guild of America (WGA) awards for feature film and documentary with possible spoilers.
1917, Written by Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns; Universal Pictures
Booksmart, Written by Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins and Susanna Fogel and Katie Silberman; United Artists Releasing
Knives Out, Written by Rian Johnson; Lionsgate
SPOILER: Marriage Story, Written by Noah Baumbach; Netflix
PREDICTION: Parasite, Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, Story by Bong Joon Ho; Neon
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster, Inspired by the Article “Can You Say…Hero?” by Tom Junod; TriStar Pictures
The Irishman, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian, Based upon the Book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt; Netflix
SPOILER: Jojo Rabbit, Screenplay by Taika Waititi, Based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens; Fox Searchlight
Joker, Written by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, Based on Characters from DC Comics; Warner Bros. Pictures
PREDICTION: Little Women, Screenplay by Greta Gerwig, Based on the Novel by Louisa May Alcott; Sony Pictures
SPOILER: Citizen K, Written by Alex Gibney; Greenwich Entertainment
Foster, Written by Mark Jonathan Harris; HBO Documentary Films
PREDICTION: The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, Written by Alex Gibney; HBO Documentary Films
Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People, Written by Robert Seidman & Oren Rudavsky; First Run Features
The Kingmaker, Written by Lauren Greenfield; Showtime Documentary Films