Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 13

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (and in some cases other outside influences).

The penultimate weekend has left all but three precursors decided, those precursors will have little impact on Oscar voting, but may show us the direction the industry is leaning.

But, before we get into this week’s winners and losers, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this week:

Week 14

Tue. 23 – Academy Award Voting Ends (Oscars) (Official)
Tue. 23 – Costume Designers (Awards) (Official)
Sat. 27 – Sound Editors (Awards) (Official)
Sat. 27 – Spirit Awards (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sun. 28 – Academy Awards (88th) (Oscars) (Official)

Big Winners

The Revenant had a big weekend, sort of. At the Cinema Audio Society awards this past Saturday, The Revenant managed to topple Mad Max: Fury Road for Best Sound Mixing. That’s a sign that the film has considerable momentum from industry specialists. That it could triumph with far less bountiful effects work is impressive, which added to its Best Sound win at BAFTA makes it seem like a sure thing for Oscar.
The Big Short hasn’t been living up to potential as a Best Picture spoiler, but it secured its final and most crucial win of the season, the USC Scripter award. It might not seem like much, but its 7-out-of-8 accuracy tops even the Writers Guild of America, which means it has enough momentum going into the Oscars to take this category.
Mad Max: Fury Road won two of its three prizes at the Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild awards this weekend, which gives it a boost for the Oscars. While its primary competition with the Academy wasn’t nominated by the MHG, it doesn’t seem like the film has as much competition from The Revenant in this category as it does in so many others.

Big Losers

Mad Max: Fury Road may have won with with the MHG, but its loss at the Cinema Audio Society spells trouble for its previously-thought leading role in the techs. If The Revenant takes both sound awards, there isn’t much room left for Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s not all dire as there’s no telling for sure if Oscar voters pay attention to these craft guilds, but it’s not an easily soothed sting either.
Best Original Song performances aren’t really a part of precursor season, but this past week, an article confirmed what had been feared after four successive presenter announcements without a single mention of the performers of “Simple Song #3” and “Manta Ray” being included. That means only three of the Best Original Song nominees will be performed live and consider those three songs are sung by Lady Gaga, The Weeknd and Sam Smith, it’s not difficult to see that the Academy is playing favorites with famous performers at the expense of those who don’t have quite the familiarity. It’s a disservice to the nominees entire and suggests the Academy’s concerns about diversity are only important when famous people complain about them. The little guys will have to fend for themselves.

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