Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 9

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).

After another situation where a website said one thing when I looked and something else was the truth, I missed the PGA awards by one day. This week, another one of those errors is being rectified as the Motion Picture Sound Editors finally announce their nominations, the last of the guilds to do so. We also have three more guilds on deck for the weekend with the editors on Friday, the Actors on Saturday and the Art Directors on Sunday.

Since I tackled the Broadcast Critics Sunday night, there were only two events this week, so there isn’t a lot to talk about. Here is a quick list of winners.

Week 10

Tue. 26 – Sound Editors (Nominations) (Official)
Fri. 29 – Cinema Editors (Awards) (Official)
Sat. 30 – Screen Actors (Awards) (Official)
Sun. 31 – Art Directors (Awards) (Official)

Big Winners

The Big Short took the big prize from the Producers Guild of America. This gives the film a sizable boost in its attempt to win an Oscar. Many point out that since the preferential balloting was put in place the PGA has correctly predicted the winner every year. That may be true, but the period of time before that was littered with choices that never went anywhere in the Best Picture race including Little Miss Sunshine, The Aviator and Moulin Rouge!. I admit that the PGA is a strong predictor, but I’m cautious to believe that a comedy about a financial crisis can manage to win over the Academy. Let’s wait until the SAG awards and the DGA before putting this race to bed.
Mad Max: Fury Road took a beating with the PGA, but it came back in style with thirteen nominations from the Online Film & Television Association, which granted it several prominent nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Such a showing proves that it’s still a dominant film even if it isn’t likely to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Its staunch support could pay off down-ballot.
Carol was handed the worst news when it lost out on a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars, but other groups have proven to love the film, including the OFTA, which gave the film ten nominations, many of them in major categories. It still has support, especially among cineastes who value the work of Todd Haynes. Of course, the OFTA was much kinder to his prior Sirkian melodrama Far From Heaven, which pulled in 13 nominations in 2002, taking three trophies for Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography.

Big Losers

Spotlight was the only real loser this weekend when it lost the PGA award. The film had already taken a drubbing late in the precursor season, but came back strong with its Oscar nominations in key categories. Now, it’s going to struggle through the guilds and one of the few that could have given it a boost didn’t. It still has a good shot at the Screen Actors Guild award, but they typically go for the largest ensembles and both The Big Short and Trumbo have larger lists of actors this year. A win would definitely give it a boost, but a loss, especially to The Big Short would be devastating and pretty much solidify support for The Big Short.

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