We’re in the final stretch of what has been one of the craziest, most unpredictable Oscar season in years. So much so that the top prize of the Academy Awards, Best Picture, is still up for grabs. Will it be Boyhood or Birdman? Right now, the Gold Rush Gang is split almost down the middle. Just one point separates the two, with Boyhood eeking out a predicted victory. But it looks like Richard, with his 4th place prediction for Birdman might have an outdated entry there. Or maybe he just isn’t buying into the guild dominance the film has had. With the last guild of the year, the Costume Designers Guild, revealing their wins yesterday and Birdman grabbing another win there, the film has now dominated every single guild it was nominated for expect the ACE Eddie (Editors Guild). That went to The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman‘s Film Editing snub at the Oscars was proof enough that the Birdman wasn’t going to win that. It was ineligible for the WGA (Writers Guild) but who knows what would have happened if it had been able to go up against Budapest there as well? Either way, Fox Searchlight is going to have a banner night with those two films having the most nominations and likely the most wins of the night as well as possibly back-to-back Best Picture winners.
A few fun things to consider with Best Picture; if Birdman wins it will be the first film in 34 years to win Best Picture without a Film Editing nomination. We can put that Ordinary People stat to rest for the future. Two stats that feature Annie Hall‘s win back in 1978 also factor in here. 1) No film with less than 7 Oscar nominations has beaten a film with more than 8. In this scenario that’s Birdman (9) and Boyhood (6). Also, Annie Hall was the last film to lose the Comedy Globe but go on to win the Best Picture Oscar anyway. This year, that’s Birdman losing to The Grand Budapest Hotel. Annie Hall also won the BAFTA so it’s a flawed comparison, I know, but still worth mentioning. If Birdman loses the Best Picture Oscar we’ll be able to lay 1995’s Apollo 13 to rest as the film with the most guild wins leading up to the Oscars only to lose.
Although the Gold Rush Gang is predicting Richard Linklater to beat Alejandro G. Iñárritu 8/2, that isn’t a locked race by any means. Iñárritu’s DGA win could easily put him over Linklater, especially if Birdman is winning Best Picture. But if we’re looking at another BP/BD split, it’s going to be the 3rd year in a row and that hasn’t happened since the 1930s. Interestingly enough, that was also when the Best Picture category was expanded, just as it is now. With the preferential balloting for Best Picture, we could be seeing it a lot more in the future.
One of the most exciting things about this season is that it’s forced us Oscar nerds to get off our duffs and trust our guts instead of just our stats. Lots of stats will go out the window on February 22nd and this season is separating the wheat from the chaff of expert predictors. Some are still locked onto history (hey, we love our stats at AW), some are pushing their ‘Well, I’ve talked to three Academy members’ pieces but really, no one knows.