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).

In the week since the Oscar nomination, we’ve had very little movement except on the weekend with the American Cinema Editors on Friday, the Producers Guild of America on Saturday, and Week 10

Friday, Jan. 24 – Golden Eagle Awards (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 25 – Annie Awards (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 25 – Audio Society (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 25 – Cinematographers (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 25 – Directors Guild (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 25 – Goya Awards (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 25 – USC Scripter (Awards) (Official)
Sunday, Jan. 26 – Grammy Awards (Awards) (Official)
Monday, Jan. 27 – Nominees Lunch (Official)

Big Winners

Parasite may not have won at the PGA, but it did take a surprise win at the ACE Eddie Awards and then followed that up with a surprise victory at SAG. While SAG is not a great precursor of the Oscars (at least comparing its ensemble award to Best Picture), this shows that actors do love Parasite and a few more victories along the way could propel it ahead of this week’s other big film winner, 1917.
1917 won the all-important PGA Award, which puts it in an excellent position for a run to Best Picture at the Oscars. Now all it needs is DGA for Sam Mendes and a successful, expected sweep at BAFTA and it will be all over.
Joaquin Phoenix knocked out the final chance someone could overtake him for the Oscar. Adam Driver desperately needed this high profile win to re-assert his dominance in the acting categories. He’s now the second twenty-plus winner to go down after Lupita Nyong’o this year.
Renee Zellweger didn’t really need SAG to win the Oscar. She had been doing fine on her own, but this does block out the one non-nominee in the bunch that could have beat her: Nyong’o. The rest are also-rans.
Laura Dern could have lost to sentiment against Oscar non-nominee Jennifer Lopez, but she pulled it out in the end and is the second most honored individual going into the Oscars from the acting categories.
Brad Pitt is the only frontrunner in the acting categories with more than twenty awards, so the SAG award really didn’t help him, but it didn’t hurt.

Big Losers

The Irishman will be Netflix’s second high profile film to fade when the Oscars came around. Although Roma proved quite potent last year, The Irishman has faded like few other films in the run-up to the Oscars. It was once the frontrunner and now it’s an also-ran in almost every single category at the Oscars with one potential exception: Adapted Screenplay. There, Oscar winner Steven Zaillian faces off against non-Best Directing nominee Greta Gerwig in what could be a proxy for this year’s lack of diversity at the Oscars.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood had a very good shot at winning Best Cast at SAG with its larger-than-any-other-nominee cast. That said, other than Original Screenplay and Supporting Actor, the film has been struggling all season long to remain dominant when up against films like 1917 and Parasite. Right now, it has one Oscar lock and one near-lock, but that looks like it could be it and a single Oscar is entirely possible as well.
Adam Driver had been going strong all season long and with 25 precursor awards, he is behind most-honored Brad Pitt and tied with non-nominee Nyong’o for most acting awards this season. It’s rare when a frontrunner fades like this, but it seems like Marriage Story will struggle and take home a single award for Supporting Actress and Driver will lose out to Phoenix.

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