Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 14

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).

This is our penultimate week looking at the winners and losers. Next week, we’ll be looking at the winners and losers in relation to the Academy Awards, which air Sunday. This was our last opportunity to see what films will benefit and which will be injured by precursors with a small number of them coming out. The Writers Guild, the two sound-oriented guilds, and the Make-Up Artists guild are the only groups to announce in the last week.

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

Week 15

Tuesday, Feb. 19 – Costume Designers (Awards) (Official)
Tuesday, Feb. 19 – Academy Awards Voting Ends (Official)
Wednesday, Feb. 20 – Film Music Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Friday, Feb. 22 – Publicists (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Feb. 23 – Razzies (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Saturday, Feb. 23 – Spirit Awards (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Feb. 24 – Academy Awards (91st) (Official)

Big Winners

A Quiet Place picked up the Motion Picture Sound Editors award for Sound Effects/Foley. This is the best category to compare to the Oscars since it best represents what people understand about it. This gives the film a large boost heading into the final days of Oscar voting (which end Tuesday).
Bohemian Rhapsody pulled out two victories this week that give it a boost going into the Oscars. The first is from the Cinema Audio Society, which best resembles the Sound Mixing category and the Dialogue/ADR prize at the Motion Picture Sound Editors. This combination suggests the film may be a slam dunk to win the Sound Mixing Oscar. It might also position it to upset in Sound Editing.
Vice hasn’t gotten a lot of good news this Oscar season, but it has done well enough to remain in play for several categories. Where it’s done best was at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild where it picked up the two awards for which it was nominated and likely enters the Oscar race as the favorite for that category if nowhere else.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? hasn’t had a lot of luck this season from the utter collapse of Richard E. Grant’s once-surefire Best Supporting Actor Oscar to the film’s failure to show up anywhere other than Actress, Supporting Actor, and Adapted Screenplay. The film got good news from the Writers Guild of America Sunday by taking the Adapted Screenplay prize over Oscar frontrunners BlacKkKlansman and If Beale Street Could Talk. That kind of success, if it reaches the right ears before Oscar voting finishes, could push the film over the top at the Oscars. It’s still unlikely, but now at least possible.

Big Losers

BlacKkKlansman follows a trend in this article of films that haven’t had a lot of luck this season. As one of only three films that carry the trifecta of Directing, Writing, and Editing (plus Acting), it stands the best shot of winning Best Picture, but losing nearly every award it’s been up for all season suggests weakness. And so it came to pass at the Writers Guild that the film, which is thought to be leading the race now for Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars (due to Spike Lee’s name being attached, managed to lose to a film that wasn’t even in the competition to this point.
If Beale Street Could Talk shares a similar fate to BlacKkKlansman, except has been far more poorly treated this season, especially since it’s easily one of the best films of the year. From its staggeringly disappointing three Oscar nominations to its failure to show up in Best Picture or to win at the USC Scripter awards, the film has now lost at WGA, which means its chances at the Oscar are even worse than they ever have been.
First Man was celebrated upon its release, but somewhere after its dismal box office failure, the film became an also-ran in nearly every imaginable way. To add insult to injury, one of the few places where it was thought to be a contender was the sound awards, as most space-centered films are. Yet, it lost not only at the Cinema Audio Society, but with the Motion Picture Sound Editors. That one-two punch puts the film down for the count. For a film that was once thought to be a guarantee for double-digit nominations (and failed) is now heading towards an Oscar shut-out.

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