2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

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Which film will win Best Picture at the Oscars?

The Artist
2
25%
The Artist
2
25%
The Artist
2
25%
The Artist
2
25%
The Descendants
0
No votes
The Descendants
0
No votes
The Descendants
0
No votes
The Descendants
0
No votes
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
0
No votes
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
0
No votes
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
0
No votes
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
0
No votes
The Help
0
No votes
The Help
0
No votes
The Help
0
No votes
The Help
0
No votes
Hugo
0
No votes
Hugo
0
No votes
Hugo
0
No votes
Hugo
0
No votes
Midnight in Paris
0
No votes
Midnight in Paris
0
No votes
Midnight in Paris
0
No votes
Midnight in Paris
0
No votes
Moneyball
0
No votes
Moneyball
0
No votes
Moneyball
0
No votes
Moneyball
0
No votes
The Tree of Life
0
No votes
The Tree of Life
0
No votes
The Tree of Life
0
No votes
The Tree of Life
0
No votes
War Horse
0
No votes
War Horse
0
No votes
War Horse
0
No votes
War Horse
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 8

2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby G-Man on Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:08 am

Hey all! So I was initially planning on doing this on the SpoilerTV main page/movie section (it helps to have connections ;) :P ) but I just can't commit to that much content creation this year, what with going back to school and having a six-week old baby at my side. So, I've decided to do a test run here on the forums (you lucky dogs, you!) and maybe next year or the year after I'll have the time and drive to blow this project wide open.

Here's the gist- during the 2009-2010 Oscar season I was captivated by the battle between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. Lots of sci-fi folk and fanboys got their panties in a twist when Avatar didn't win Best Picture but I wasn't surprised. Then the same thing happened last year- populist sentiment sided with The Social Network (which I enjoyed) but the Academy sided with The King's Speech (which I enjoyed more).

Being the science/mathy dork that I am, I set out to try and determine any possible Best Picture indicator system, taking into account all of the major "Oscar Season" awards along with the dozens of film critics awards. I didn't just stop at recent history either. Oh no, I went back through the history of each and every award, noting winners and nominations. This has left me with a gigantic spreadsheet of movie award information that I feel is somewhat relevant. By looking for patterns, I have come up with a few assumptions and I would like to share them with you guys.

Over the next few months I want to do two things. First, I want to engage you all in discussion over the general buzz and excitement of award season. I love this time of year and so do a lot of other movie fans on this forum. I think it would be fun to look at the movies coming out each week and trying to see which ones will become contenders via critical and/or box office reaction.

Second, I want to share my thoughts, theories and wild flying leaps with you all. I've come to certain conclusions that I think can help predict which film will ultimately win Best Picture at the Oscars with a high degree of accuracy. The trick is that we're going to need a good bit of time for me to lay it all out on the table. I figure that now that we're in November, and Oscar-wannabes are being released in droves, it's a good time as any to start weeding our way through which critics societies and which awards groups even matter in the long run.

So there you have it- will you join me on this three-and-a-half month journey through film? I hope it will be a lot of fun and it should be illuminating one way or the other.

So let's get started! With the lukewarm reception J. Edgar received from critics, I think we can probably rule it out of this year's class of Best Picture contenders. DiCaprio might have a shot at Best Actor but no film has won BP without a decent majority of critics liking it. What upcoming releases (or films released earlier this year) do you think have a legitimate shot at taking the top prize come February?
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Re: 2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby G-Man on Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:38 pm

After doing some serious searching, I've compiled a list of films that people have been talking about up to now in terms of being Oscar contenders. Maybe this can start off some discussion. I know it must still seem very early, but come December, the critics groups will start the ball rolling and we'll be able to start weeding out the pretenders from the contenders. I'll start cutting down and/or adding to these lists as Oscar season becomes a little clearer...
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE- 12/3/11: Now that the National Board of Review has released their top 10 films of the year, we can start tracking films as contenders. We'll still use the RT/Meta/IMDb 'foot-in-the-door' theory just to track the films that are getting attention from the critics groups that actually matter. Below you'll find the list of contenders adjusted to include the 10 films from the NBoR and a few others I feel still need to be considered contenders. They are listed in descending order based on their aggregate RT/Meta/IMDb score.

Key:
RTA= Rotten Tomatoes All Critics Score
RTT= Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics Score
Meta= Metacritic.com Score
IMDb= Internet Movie Database Score


As we determined down below,
To Be In The Running for a Best Picture Nomination, Films Must Receive No Lower Than:
62% Rotten Tomatoes All Critics Score
56% Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics Score
53/100 Metacritic Score
AND
7.1 Internet Movie Database Score


Best Picture Contenders:
The Artist- 291.4** (RTA=96**, RTT=100, Meta=87, IMDb=8.4)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2- 291.2 (RTA=96, RTT=100, Meta=87, IMDb=8.2)
Moneyball- 287 (RTA=95, RTT=97, Meta=87, IMDb=8)
Midnight in Paris- 276.9 (RTA=93, RTT=95, Meta=81, IMDb=7.9)
Hugo- 276.6 (RTA=93, RTT=92, Meta=83, IMDb=8.6)
The Descendants- 273.2 (RTA=91, RTT=90, Meta=84, IMDb=8.2)
The Tree of Life- 264.2 (RTA=84, RTT=88, Meta=85, IMDb=7.2)
Drive- 263.2 (RTA=92, RTT=84, Meta=79, IMDb=8.2)
The Ides of March- 233.5 (RTA=86, RTT=73, Meta=67, IMDb=7.5)
J. Edgar- 162.2 (RTA=41, RTT=55, Meta=59, IMDb=7.2)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- 0 (no reviews available yet)
War Horse- 0 (no reviews available yet)

**The Artist still doesn't have 100 reviews yet on RT.

I seriously doubt that Harry Potter stands any chance of Oscar glory, but its popularity and high critics scores could land it a lower-tier BP nomination. Also, I was surprised to see J. Edgar on the list, given the lukewarm reception it got from critics as a whole.

It's still very early, because not all the critics groups have spoken yet, and only about 35% of all NBoR listed films have scored Oscar nominations (40% in the last 15 years). So, this certainly does not by any means rule out other films from contention just yet. Here's a couple other films that I think might get a little more attention the further down the road we get:

Carnage
A Dangerous Method
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Martha Marcy Mae Marlene
My Week with Marilyn
Shame
Take Shelter
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
We Bought a Zoo
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Young Adult


If any of these films pick up mentions from the Southeastern Film Critics or the Broadcast Film Critics, I'll add them to the list above. Once I've gone over all the guild groups and the other awards programs that matter, we'll start keeping track of the contenders with my point system. It should only be about another week or so before we can get down to that. :)



I'm scratching out J. Edgar from contention based on its less than lukewarm reviews. While I don't believe critics groups matter too much in the lead-up to Oscar, a film's overall critical reception goes a long way toward making or breaking it.

What do you think about these lists? Obviously it's nothing official, but it's a place to start.
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Re: 2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby Joshua on Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:12 pm

I haven't seen any, and I've only heard of about 3 of those :unsure:

But sounds like a great thread :)
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Why Film Critics Do Still Matter

Postby G-Man on Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:04 pm

More and more of the films listed above are being released to theaters, so it's the perfect time to talk about the significance of film critics and their influence on the Oscars. Today I'm only going to talk about the importance of critics as a whole. A lot has been written and blogged about over the issue of film critics relevance in the 21st century.

Nowadays, anybody with a blog (myself included) can share their thoughts and opinions about movies they watch. This allows for everyday folks to let other everyday folks what movies are good or bad. With this great surge in global communication, who needs film critics, right? While I have my beefs with a lot of film critics out there, I find myself more often disgusted with the thousands of untrained bloggers who think they know everything about film (and most certainly do not). As rampant as pretension flows among real film critics, it runs at least as deep among faux-critics (who I'll refer to as movie reviewers from here on out).

When they aren't being pretentious, untrained movie reviewers are usually wallowing in some degree of ignorance. Film critics go to school to study the artistic and technological merits of a film. Movie reviewers don't go to school for this stuff and, therefor, only view film through a limited perspective. Everyone can spot bad acting, writing, and special effects. However, where movie reviewers typically only rate the overall look of a film, critics are able to break down the film's "look" into the disciplines of direction, cinematography, and editing. While reviewers typically heap praise or blame solely on a director for the finished product, film critics can tell how much blame goes to each person involved with assembling the film.

Are some film critics self-righteous pricks? Absolutely! Thanks to websites like Rotten Tomatoes, it's easy to tell which critics are only in it to make themselves sound smart and important. We, the masses, can in turn ignore these blowhards.

To sum it all up, movie reviewers (untrained bloggers) can usually do a good job of figuring out if people who fit their niche, clique or group will enjoy a movie based on their own set of biases and expectations. Film critics (usually) provide a more objective assessment and consider the film on each individual component of the craft as well as the sum of its parts. If you find yourself disagreeing with a critic, keep in mind that you are likely approaching the film in question from two very different perspectives.

So, yes, film critics do matter. To a point.

A film's overall critical reception is more important to Academy members than box office receipts. Sure, there have been crowd-pleasers that get nominated and even win Best Picture, but those films also probably scored pretty high with the critics too. These types of films are rare, because they bring critics and the general public together in a bubble of joy and harmony until the next awards season when the Oscar goes to some indie film that no one saw.

Remember, most of the guild awards, the Golden Globes, and the Oscars all have nomination ballots and final ballots that members vote on to determine nominees and winners. If a film gets largely lukewarm or negative critical buzz, members of those respective groups are less likely to consider giving that film their vote support. One could argue that this opens the door to vote collusion among critics but I have my doubts about that. Critics are notoriously independent-minded and very rarely comment on the thoughts and opinions of their peers (at least the good ones don't).

Thanks to the internet, there are a few websites out there that allow film geeks like myself to get a feel for overall critical consensus. Rotten Tomatoes is the site I am most familiar with. RT is an aggregator- they take critics reviews and make a determination on whether or not each critic had a positive or negative view of the film in question. The percentage they display reflects the percentage of critics who thought the film was good if not great. This does not mean that a film with a 100% rating on RT is being hailed by all critics as one of the best of the year. It just means that all of the critics they track thought positively of the film.

Two other sites that are useful in their own ways are Metacritic and the Internet Movie Database. Metacritic is similar in many ways to Rotten Tomatoes, but they use their own scoring system. Instead of just determining a positive or negative review, Metacritic attempts to quantify each individual review and assign a point value to it. They then create a weighted average, which become the score they display on their site. It's a very mathy approach and certainly more in-depth than RT but I have always had my reservations with Metacritic. I mean, isn't their score quantification subject to the scorer's subjectivity?

IMDB, on the other hand, is pure populism. Anyone can log in and rate a film. Heck, some people probably have multiple accounts so they can help pad their favorite film's stats. This is why you'll find films like The Dark Knight and Fight Club still towards the top of the Top 250 films list. IMDB isn't as trustworthy as RT or Metacritic because popular votes only attract those who are passionate enough to vote one way or the other.

Since I trust and use Rotten Tomatoes the most, I took a look at how Oscar nominees and winners stack up in the rating department. Sure enough, there's a pattern developing. I only went as far back as RT's founding in 1998. Films from before that time have fewer reviews making up their scores. I wanted to be sure that each film had right around 100 reviews contributing to its RT score. Also, RT has a Top Critics score, which reflects the combined opinions of many of the 'elite' critics out there (like Roger Ebert and other critics writing for major newspapers and magazines).

As far as nominees go, the lowest All Critic score for an Oscar nominee was 62% (The Reader). In all, though, over 81% of all Best Picture nominees since 1998 have had an All Critic score of 80% or better. What's more, over half of all BP nominees have scored 90% or higher. The lowest Top Critic score for an Oscar nominee was 56% (Life is Beautiful). In all, over 77% of BP nominees have had a Top Critic score of 80% or higher. In fact, nearly 63% of all BP noms since 1998 have had a Top Critic score of 90% or higher.

Best Picture winners aren't that much different. The lowest All Critics score for a BP winner was 76% (Crash). Over 76% of BP winners since 1998 have scored 80% or higher among all critics. The lowest Top Critic score for a winner was 72% (Gladiator). And again, over 80% of all BP winner since 1998 have had a Top Critic score of 80% of higher.

Granted, this is only 13 years of data to work with (the rest of my predictive data is based on at least 15 years of data), but it shows a trend that probably seems obvious. We've come full circle to the notion that lukewarm to negative critical reception can torpedo a film's chances at Oscar glory. Critical opinion may not sink a film for other Oscar categories but it gives us a starting point to build upon this early into awards season.

None of this predictive stuff results in a rule (rules, afterall, are made to be broken). It's merely analyzing statistics to spot trends. It's very possible that a film will come along and throw these theories for a loop but it will really just become another data point for consideration next year. I will try to look at Metacritic and IMDB before the end of the week to see if any reliable trends exist there as well. As for Rotten Tomatoes, I think we have our first true guide to, at the very least, weed out some of the pretenders from the contenders.

As these Oscar hopefuls come out, keep this general rule of thumb in mind for Rotten Tomatoes:

To Become a Best Picture Nominee, Films Need at Least:
62% All Critics
56% Top Critics


To Win Best Picture, Films Need at Least:
76% All Critics
72% Top Critics


I'll try to update each film's RT score once they've received at least 100 reviews (some of the smaller, limited release films may be posted with an * byt their score just for comparison purposes until they reach 100 reviews).

That's my 'foot-in-the-door' theory. What say you?

Coming next, "Why film critics associations, for the most part, don't matter."
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Re: 2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby JacobsMom on Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:11 am

I really enjoyed "The Help" but many times movies that aren't part of the Fall releases get passed over for nominations.
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Re: 2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby G-Man on Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:58 pm

Hey all, just wanted to post my findings on Metacritic and IMDB. Here's the rundown:

Rotten Tomatoes is essentially an up or down vote on films. The RT staff essentially reads a critic's review and determines whether or not it would be a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating given a no-middle-ground scenario. The RT score reflects the percentage of these thumbs-up rulings among all critics weighing in on the film. Using this as a standard alone is faulty because a high RT score (whether All Critics or Top Critics) doesn't necessarily mean that it's one of the greatest films on the year. Rather, it just means that a majority of critics thought it was at least 'pretty good.' Think of a gladiator arena. The RT score means that, given the choice of letting the film live or die, the RT score shows the percentage of critics who would vote to let it live.

Metacritic gets a little deeper. Instead of just an up-or-down vote, they try to quantify the film's quality based on the content of each review. They decide to try assigning a point value to however each critic rates movies (whether with letter grades or some kind of point or star system). This quantitative approach is faulty because some critics only use those letter or point scales because they have to. Just because Ebert gives a film 3 out of 4 stars doesn't mean it's equivalent to 75% out of 100. I'm not sure what their methodology is for determining an exact score out of 100 for each review, so it may be open to interpretation.

Internet Movie Database is a popular vote. A film's rating is based solely on the input from users who care enough to cast a vote for that movie. As with any popular vote, there are major shortcomings with the methodology. While there are certainly a number of IMDB users who cast legitimate votes for each film they see, there are also fanboys and fangirls who set out to puff up or tear down movies. For instance, any time a Twilight movie comes out, you'll find a huge number of perfect score votes cast (from the Twihard fangirls) and a bunch of lowest-possible votes (courtesy of the people who hate Twilight films and never actually see the movie). This is especially worrisome when it comes to looking at Best Picture nominee scores. Two years ago, The Hurt Locker beat Avatar. Avatar fans on IMDB were doubtlessly trashing The Hurt Locker's score in an effort to make their film of choice look better. This kind of idiotic fanboyism also exists amidst the commenters on RT and irks the crap out of me. It is not an objective approach and it does not consider film quality. IMDB is credible only in that it shows what the masses (at least those who care enough to create an IMDB account) think of movies. Also, IMDB scores fluctuate over time in many cases. Popular new films will be higher initially and see their score drop over time.

None of these four movie websites provide a credible or statistically significant method for predicting Best Picture winners. I took all BP winners and nominees since 1998 (when RT was founded) and compared their RT, Metacritic and IMDB scores to see if there were any trends. There really aren't. I'll explain in later posts about my 80% rule but the gist is that unless a category or group is able to predict a winner 80% of the time, I don't use them in my predictions.

I took RT, Meta and IMDB scores on their own, paired them up in all possible combinations and grouped them in all possible trios to see if any combination of these scores would provide any kind of useful prediction tool. Nothing came about.

But, what we can use is the lowest-scoring any Best Picture nominee as a threshold mark to use as a general rule of thumb for being a contender for a Best Picture nomination. This rule of thumb is...

To Be In The Running for a Best Picture Nomination, Films Must Receive No Lower Than:
62% Rotten Tomatoes All Critics Score
56% Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics Score
53/100 Metacritic Score
AND
7.1 Internet Movie Database Score


If all four qualifiers are met, we can consider them a contender for a nomination. Keep in mind though, this is a rough rule of thumb and rules are made to be broken.
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Re: 2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby DarthLocke on Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:58 am

First, thanks G-Man for the thorough explanations and great movie lists! :w00t: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I have heard a lot of talk about "A Dangerous Method"! -I read, actually from an interview, that Knightley had to drink a lot of bear and whiskey to do some of the sex scenes in the film. Considering the film is about Carl Jung's relationship with Sigmund Freud leading to the birth of "psychoanalysis", I can only imagine the film might be violent, intense, and provocative...

I was surprised to hear critics weren't to warm towards "J. Edgar" --But I have to say, even being a DiCaprio fan, the trailers themselves didn't move me and I will probably wait till DVD to see it, as I am more interested in Baz Luhrmann's remake of "The Great Gatsby" and Quentin Taranino's "Django Unchained".

It's nice to see "Hugo" on your list! I had just read the book right before the announcement that Martin Scorsese was adapting it to film. --It's really a special book, as Selznick actually uses sketches to tell part of the story. The nice thing about it was that it was a coming of age story, but also a mystery story, a history story, and a family story all tied together. I look forward to seeing it in theaters in the next couple of weeks. :)

It's also nice to see Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" on your list. I haven't see it, but I hear it's one of his better films...I personally only like a handful of them myself!


I kind of wish "Another Earth" or "Beginners" would have gotten more recognition. But I would put money on "Drive" being the dark horse!

I feel like there is something missing, but I can't think of any other films that would meet the typical criteria. (because clearly there are films I love, that few others would)
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Re: 2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby Howey on Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:31 am

I want The Muppets to be nominated and win!
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Re: 2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby G-Man on Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:51 pm

I feel bad for Clint Eastwood because he is so skilled as a director and his recent films just haven't clicked for one reason or another. Then again, the man does have two Oscars already, so it's not like he's being wrongfully ignored by the Academy. I still think DiCaprio has a shot for Best Actor based on what I've heard about his performance.

As for The Muppets, I'm just not sure it has what it takes to get nominated. Pixar didn't have a Oscar-worthy film this year, so there could be an opening for a family-friendly, popular film. If that slot exists after the Academy's latest re-writing of their nomination rules, I would expect a film like Hugo or Moneyball to clinch the "Pixar spot" based on their feel-good nature and positive reviews.

Overall, I can see seven or eight nominees this year. I feel like it might be more of a battle between less popular indie type films for a change. If I had to guess right now, I'd say the nominees will include...

The Artist- Hollywood loves movies about itself, plus the silent film nostalgia is warming hearts at all the right festivals.

The Descendants- The Academy loves Clooney and the director is the guy who made Sideways, which was very popular and almost won.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close- Tom Hanks + 9/11 childhood drama = potential Oscar bait. Waiting for reviews for this one.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- Far too pulpy, violent and dark for the Academy to give it the win, unless there are enough people who feel they owe David Fincher for not winning it all last year with The Social Network. Expect plenty of fanboy outrage when it doesn't win.

Midnight in Paris- Woody Allen has his most successful film of all time. People like it and critics like it. The Academy loves recognizing the old guard from time to time. Here is their chance.

The Tree of Life- It won at Cannes and will likely appear on a number of the more elitist "Best Films of the Year" lists.

War Horse- Because it's Steven Spielberg making a war movie about a young man. Also has a following thanks to being a hit play on Broadway.
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Why Critics Groups Don't Matter (for the most part)

Postby G-Man on Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:16 pm

So the Independent Spirit Awards just released their nominations for this year. We'll get to why they're hopelessly irrelevant in a week or two. For now, let's keep talking about film critics. We've established that critics as a whole are important. But throughout the 20th and now the 21st century, critics in certain cities and geographical areas. Is any one critics circle or association better at predicting the Academy's choice for Best Picture? Let's work through the numbers...

First of all, I went through and compiled a list of all the active professional film critics circles and associations in the United States. For kicks a giggles, I also included a few foreign groups as well. I have the London Film Critics because they might think along the same lines as BAFTA, Toronto because of it's popular film festival, and Vancouver because it was there. Let's be honest, American critics groups are the ones that matter most, since the Academy is largely American and Canadian film people.

This gives us the following list of 34 film critics groups to weed through:


African American F.C. Assoc.
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Austin F.C. Assoc.
Boston Society of F.C.
Broadcast Film Critics Assoc.
Central Ohio F.C. Assoc.
Chicago F.C. Assoc.
Dallas / Fort Worth F.C. Assoc.
Denver F.C.
Detroit Film Critics Soc.
Florida Film Critics Circle
Houston F.C. Society
Indiana F.C. Assoc.
Iowa Film Critics
Kansas City F.C. Circle
Las Vegas F.C. Society
LA F.C. Society
London F.C
Natl. Board of Review
National Society of Film Critics
New York F.C. Circle
New York F.C. Online
North Texas F.C. Assoc.
Oklahoma F.C. Circle
Online Film Critics Soc.
Phoenix F.C. Society
San Diego F.C. Society
San Francisco F.C. Circle
Southeastern F.C. Assoc.
St. Louis Gateway F.C.
Toronto F.C
Utah F.C. Assoc.
Vancouver F.C.
Washington D.C. Area F.C.


That's a lot of groups, right? Seems impossible to figure out which ones matter and which ones don't doesn't it? Actually, it's surprisingly easy to rule out, at least based on my guidelines:

1) Age- I settled on the number 15 for being the relevant age based on my studying of the different guild groups and the overall trend of nominee/winner convergence ever since the Producers Guild of America started handing out awards in 1995. Convergence means that there has been a general trend where, as more critics groups have come into being, the focus of awards season has become less and less scatter-shot. It's no longer such a huge guessing game. I think part of this is because some of the critics groups who post their winners and "best of" lists late look to the older, more established critics groups, who tend to post winners and lists earlier in the season. These smaller groups may glom on to the momentum of one film or another in order to seem relevant; to look like they actually belong side by side with older, more reputable groups.

Also, some of the younger critics groups have narrower focuses and cater towards particular demographics. Also, some of these smaller groups come from regions that don't exactly scream film industry importance (I'm looking at you, Central Ohio).

So, first things first, let's eliminate any group that hasn't been around for at least 15 consecutive years:

African American F.C. Assoc.
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Austin F.C. Assoc.

Boston Society of F.C.
Broadcast Film Critics Assoc.
Central Ohio F.C. Assoc.
Chicago F.C. Assoc.
Dallas / Fort Worth F.C. Assoc.
Denver F.C.
Detroit Film Critics Soc.

Florida Film Critics Circle
Houston F.C. Society
Indiana F.C. Assoc.
Iowa Film Critics

Kansas City F.C. Circle
Las Vegas F.C. Society
LA F.C. Society
London F.C
Natl. Board of Review
National Society of Film Critics
New York F.C. Circle
New York F.C. Online
North Texas F.C. Assoc.
Oklahoma F.C. Circle
Online Film Critics Soc.
Phoenix F.C. Society

San Diego F.C. Society
San Francisco F.C. Circle
Southeastern F.C. Assoc.
St. Louis Gateway F.C.
Toronto F.C
Utah F.C. Assoc.
Vancouver F.C.
Washington D.C. Area F.C.


See? That cuts out 21 film critics groups already! Now to cut it down even further we turn to...

2) Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword- Most critics groups, including of the younger ones, provide either nominees or a list of best films of the year along with their winner. A few groups though, including several big name institutions, do not provide nominees or best lists. Instead, they select and announce one winner.

3) Statistical Significance- You can argue in the name of tradition or you could even chalk it up to pride, but there is no use for this one-and-done approach in my Best Picture indicator quest. There are several metrics that I calculated based on the history of each award during the season. I settled on 80% as my 'accuracy' rate of choice. When you list nominees, you stand a better chance of being relevant under my system. No critics group, guild, or other award ceremony has an 80% Win-Win percentage. In other words, the percentage of Best Picture winners that were also Winners for that group/guild/etc. (accounting for the number of years that group has existed) has not reached 80% for anyone.

G-Man's Four Ranking Criteria:
Nom-Nom: The Percentage of Best Picture nominees that were also nominated by a critics group/guild/etc.
Nom-Win: The Percentage of Best Picture winners that were also nominated by a critics group/guild/etc.
Win-Win: The Percentage of Best Picture winners that also won for a critics group/guild/etc.
Win-Nom: The Percentage of Best Picture nominees that also won for a critics group/guild/etc.


Since the Win-Win criteria is out for everyone, the only other use these live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword folks serve is the Win-Nom. Sure enough, New York, Kansas City and Los Angeles critics groups all have statistically significant Win-Nom percentages, meaning the films winning those groups' awards get nominated for Best Picture 80% of the time or more.

But, as we'll find out, winning isn't everything, so these groups are all still eliminated from our Best Picture indicator quest...


Boston Society of F.C.
Broadcast Film Critics Assoc.
Chicago F.C. Assoc.
Dallas / Fort Worth F.C. Assoc.
Florida Film Critics Circle
Kansas City F.C. Circle
LA F.C. Society

London F.C
Natl. Board of Review
National Society of Film Critics
New York F.C. Circle

San Diego F.C. Society
Southeastern F.C. Assoc.


So now we're down to just seven critics groups. Can we eliminate any more of them? You betcha! Since the Win-Win and Win-Nom criteria are not effective measures for our Best Picture indicator, we must turn to the Nom-Nom and Nom-Win criteria. Nom-Win becomes the essential category because we're trying to predict winners, not nominees. We're looking for 80% or higher, but we also want to make sure we've got 15 consecutive years of those critics groups listing nominees.

This cuts out San Diego and Dallas/Fort Worth right away. San Diego has only been posting nominees for 2 years, and DF/W for 11 years. Tragically, this also cuts out the Chicago group because I have not yet been able to find their list of nominees for 2004. All they have listed is their winner. If anyone can track down their list of nominees, please let me know. Chicago is just barely hanging on the eligibility otherwise with exactly 80% for the Nom-Win score.

Finally, we have to cut out London because their Nom-Win score is only 53.33%, far below our acceptable level.

Broadcast Film Critics Assoc.
Chicago F.C. Assoc.
Dallas / Fort Worth F.C. Assoc.
Kansas City F.C. Circle
London F.C

Natl. Board of Review
San Diego F.C. Society
Southeastern F.C. Assoc.

That leaves us with three critics groups left. Three out of 34! Are these groups legitimate to our Best Picture indicator? Let's take a look:

Broadcast Film Critics Association
Nom-Nom Score: 92.94%
Nom-Win Score: 100%
Win-Win Score: 56.25%
Win-Nom Score: 100%

Looks like a winner to me! We know that nobody has a significant Win-Win score, so don't let that scare you. But look at the other numbers! Since they started naming winners in 1995, every single one of their top film choices went on to be nominated for Best Picture. Since they started listing nominees in 1996, 92.94% of all Best Picture nominees also were nominated for their top award and every single Best Picture winner since 1996 has been nominated for this group's top award. Welcome to the club Broadcast Film Critics Association!


National Board of Review
Nom-Nom Score: 59.75%
Nom-Win Score: 81.71%
Win-Win Score: 26.58%
Win-Nom Score: 73.49%

Not too bad when you consider the National Board of Review has been naming Top 10 lists since 1929! That makes their Nom-Win score quite impressive and almost rock steady. The only reason it's not better is that, early on, the NBoR didn't always follow the Academy's award year schedule, so they would list films the year after they were Oscar eligible. Also, this group usually releases their Top 10 list the first or second week of December, so any Oscar contenders with a limited release date late in December is likely to miss being included on their list. This happens with eventual Oscar nominees almost every year, and the last time an Oscar winner opened too late to be included on the list was Return of the King in 2003. Their Nom-Win score secures them a seat at the table though.


Southeastern Films Critics Association
Nom-Nom Score: 85.71%
Nom-Win Score: 94.74%
Win-Win Score: 21.05%
Win-Nom Score: 89.47%

This younger group (19 years old) has put up some very strong numbers. It's had poor luck in the Win-Win department but all of the other criteria are impressive. You can all bust safely look to this group's nominees for your Best Picture winner. I was surprised to find this group to be so strong compared to so many other big names.


So there you have it, of 34 critics groups that are currently active, only 3 of them have the statistical significance we are looking for! A lot of critics groups list their winners and nominees in December, which starts tomorrow. This means we'll be able to start keeping a running tally of which films get nominated for which statistically significant awards.

Comments, questions or concerns regarding what you've seen here? Please let me know!

My next post will probably cover the various guild awards. Their nominations are right around the corner as well.

-- Merged Double Post --

As a quick little follow-up, The New York Film Critics Circle named The Artist their Best Film of the year. They've got an 86.84% Win-Nom score, so it's probably a safe bet now that The Artist will be nominated for Best Picture.
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G-Man's Guide to the Guilds

Postby G-Man on Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:17 pm

I updated the list of contenders in the earlier post just to see if there's any legitimate and useful correlation to our 'foot-in-the-door' theory.

Now then, today's topic of discussion is this: which of the industry guilds matter? We've already narrowed down the critics groups to three. There are currently 11 active industry guilds and professional organizations that recognize some of the most important elements of motion picture arts and sciences. Consequently, all of these groups are represented within the Academy and have an award or two at the Oscars for their area of expertise. We'll go in alphabetical order and then summarize at the end.

G-Man's Four Ranking Criteria:
Nom-Nom: The Percentage of Best Picture nominees that were also nominated by a critics group/guild/etc.
Nom-Win: The Percentage of Best Picture winners that were also nominated by a critics group/guild/etc.
Win-Win: The Percentage of Best Picture winners that also won for a critics group/guild/etc.
Win-Nom: The Percentage of Best Picture nominees that also won for a critics group/guild/etc.



American Cinema Editors (ACE)
Founded: 1950
Focus: Film Editing
Giving Awards Since: 1962

ACE Scores:
Nom-Nom: 56.15%
Nom-Win: 80.00%
Win-Win: 48.00%
Win-Nom: 68.25%


They're not actually a guild or union, but a professional organization. Film editing is the art of taking the footage shot by the film crew and piecing together different segments of that footage into a cohesive, believable story. They're also just barely hanging on to relevance in my criteria. If they slip up this year, they could find themselves out in the cold when I run this next awards season. However, there has been a strong correlation between editing, directing and the Best Picture award at the Oscars. They will probably continue being safe though, as the last time the ACE didn't nominate the eventual Best Picture winner was 1989.


American Society of Cinematographers
Founded: 1919
Focus: Cinematography
Giving Awards Since: 1987

ASC Scores:
Nom-Nom: 44.44%
Nom-Win: 64.00%
Win-Win: 24.00%
Win-Nom: 48.00%


While film directors often get all the credit for the look of a film, the cinematographer is actually the one responsible for it all. The director gives them an idea of what they want out of a scene and the cinematographer determines the right camera angles and lighting effects necessary to bring the director's vision to fruition. ASC does not meet my criteria, given their 64% Nom-Win score. They've been nominating the Best Picture winner for the last four years in a row but this group tends to be very focused. Just over half of the time they recognize films with outstanding cinematography that don't get included in the Best Picture race for one reason or another.


Art Directors Guild
Founded: 1937
Focus: Art Direction, Production Design
Giving Awards Since: 1997

ADG Scores:
Nom-Nom: 59.65%
Nom-Win: 93.33%
Win-Win: 53.33%
Win-Nom: 54.84%


They're just old enough, as of last year, to meet my 15-year existence threshold. It also helps that they have up to three categories to nominate for some years. One could argue that this should dilute their relevance, because they don't have one award equivalent to Best Picture, but I'm willing to cut them some slack. Best Picture nominees and winners all have to look good, and these are the folks who make that happen.


Cinema Audio Society
Founded: 1964
Focus: Sound Mixing
Giving Awards Since: 1994

CAS Scores:
Nom-Nom: 36.67%
Nom-Win: 72.22%
Win-Win: 38.89%
Win-Nom: 72.22%


Another non-union group. This professional organization looks to honor sound mixers- the folks who take all the necessary sound effects a film requires and balances them out to the appropriate levels to keep or disbelief suspended. I'm impressed by how close they are to the 80% cutoff but it doesn't surprise me that they come in under that mark. A lot of times action films, musical and anything with a lot of exotic noises require the most sound mixing and these films get noticed because of the sheer amount of mixing required.


Costume Designers Guild
Founded: 1953
Focus: Costume Design
Giving Awards Since: 1999

CDG Scores:
Nom-Nom: 38.67%
Nom-Win: 38.46%
Win-Win: 38.46%
Win-Nom: 25.81%


Not only are they too young, but they also are far below the cutoff mark of 80%. They've also got a number of categories to choose from, instead of just one overall best picture equivalent. The trouble is that they look mostly for period and fantasy films with flashy costumes. If period films aren't in vogue a given Oscar year, then this group will lose out. The also have a contemporary category but it's a very hard category to predict. If contemporary costumes are good in a film, most people don't notice because contemporary clothes don't stand out in a contemporary film.


Directors Guild of America
Founded: 1938
Focus: Film Direction
Giving Awards Since: 1949

DGA Scores:
Nom-Nom: 76.92%
Nom-Win: 96.83%
Win-Win: 79.37%
Win-Nom: 98.41%

The director provides the artistic vision of the film and coaches the actors to give the performances he or she wants to put on screen. Directors get a ton of credit and it makes sense. They're the visionaries who make things happen. It comes as little surprise then that there is a strong link between direction and Best Picture. They're the only group on the verge of snagging an 80% Win-Win score, which might be worth an extra point if they can snatch that bad boy up. The winner of the DGA award is almost always nominated for Best Picture. In fact the only time they failed to nominate the Best Picture winner was their first award year. Talk about consistency!


Motion Picture Sound Editors
Founded: 1953
Focus: Sound Editing
Giving Awards Since: 1954

The trouble with this group is that they now have so many categories and do not have one stand alone award for Best Sound Editing. They break it down to music editing, dialogue, and sound effects. None of these categories are substantial enough to consider. Thus, I haven't even bothered to calculate scores for this group. They've got the longevity but lack a steady label for the best overall editing, which the Academy does try to reward.


Producers Guild of America
Founded: 1950
Focus: Overall Production
Giving Awards Since: 1990

PGA Scores:
Nom-Nom: 72.94%
Nom-Win: 100%
Win-Win: 68.18%
Win-Nom: 100%

The purpose of this guild still eludes me for the most part. Producers are the big-wigs who fund and put together the actors and directors for films. They manage a production. It's impossible for this group to award on the basis of production management. My guess is this is a big-wig award that honors producers more than they may deserve. Granted, they are the ones who put the whole shebang together, so some credit should come their way. It's just interesting that they receive the big prize (Best Picture) even though they are often times quite far removed from production activities. Still, they clearly wield a tremendous amount of clout and influence. Their annual winner has always been nominated for Best Picture.


Screen Actors Guild
Founded: 1933
Focus: Acting
Giving Awards Since: 1995

SAG Scores:
Nom-Nom: 60.00%
Nom-Win: 93.75%
Win-Win: 50.00%
Win-Nom: 93.75%

Their award honors the best ensemble acting in a motion picture, thus a Best Picture contender could only have one strong performer and miss this guild's awards. They seem to have a strong track record in at least nominating the eventual winner though, even if that film isn't getting much buzz for its acting. SAG members represent the closest thing to a populist group. Their winners have been over the top (Inglorious Basterds) or dry (The Queen). Sometimes those surprise Oscar winners can be traced back to the SAG awards (Crash over Brokeback Mountain).


Visual Effects Society
Founded: ?
Focus: Visual Special Effects
Giving Awards Since: 2003

VES Scores:
Nom-Nom: 18.18%
Nom-Win: 11.11%
Win-Win: 11.11%
Win-Nom: 33.33%


Considering the fact that the Academy rarely shows much love for effects spectacles, it's no surprise that this group (not a union) has such low scores. They tend to focus on the films with the most visual effects but they also nominate films with subtle but powerful visual effects from time to time as well. They have a lot of work to do if they ever want to hit the 80% mark. If they were already there, they'd be too young for consideration anyway.


Writers Guild of America
Founded: 1933
Focus: Original and Adapted Screenwriting
Giving Awards Since: 1949

WGA Scores:
Nom-Nom: 76.31%
Nom-Win: 80.95%
Win-Win: 55.56%
Win-Nom: 62.92%


If you take the WGA awards for Original and Adapted Screenplay separately, neither one would meet the 80% threshold. However, if you take all of the significant awards they have offered over the years, they meet that threshold. They have a long enough history to retain 80% for a few years but they don't have much room for error these days. Lucky for them that 9 of the last 10 Best Picture winners were nominated for one of their top 2 awards.



So there you have it! All 11 of the active guilds and professional organizations that make up the significant components of filmmaking. Which ones made the cut again? Let's rehash. Here are the guilds and groups with an 80% Nom-Win score:

American Cinema Editors: 80%
Art Directors Guild: 93.33%
Directors Guild of America: 96.83%
Producers Guild of America: 100%
Screen Actors Guild: 93.75%
Writers Guild of America: 80.95%

So if you take those into account with the National Board of Review, the Southeastern Film Critics and the Broadcast Film Critics, we've got 9 awards that actually provide some level of predictability to the race for Best Picture.

But we're not done yet. Next time we'll finish up creating our prediction indicator by covering which other awards ceremonies matter. This will be a short one, looking at the Independent Spirit Awards, the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards and even which Oscar categories are worth watching as well.
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Re: 2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby charliefan4life on Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:51 am

I didn't know you had a baby G-Man-Congrats! :)


I'm not familiar with some of the movies you've got on your list yet. While I love Clooney, I'm not sure a movie starring him, about family drama, is going to be the one to win a Best Picture award. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is an intense film and I can't imagine the American version being as graphic as the original Swedish. I could see it being a contender-but the overall theme of incest, rape and torture might make it a dark horse to pull off the win.
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All the Other Awards...

Postby G-Man on Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:06 pm

Hey all! According to my spreadsheet, this is the week when things start picking up. Guilds will starting announcing nominees and all kinds of critics groups will be coming out of the woodwork to try to make themselves sound important in the grand scheme of things. We already know that most critics groups don't matter because most of them are too new and simply feed off the obvious momentum of other critics groups. We also know which Guild and professional society awards matter.

There are still a few things to discuss though. There are other groups besides critics and guilds that give out awards during this season we're tracking. Which ones matter? Fortunately, the list of possibilities is small and the list of those that matter is even smaller. Today we'll be considering the Golden Globes, the BAFTA awards, and the Independent Spirit awards. I didn't even bother including the Gotham Awards in my data but I will probably add them in over the next year. I'll touch on them when I cover the equally unimportant Independent Spirit Awards.

So let's begin with a refresher of what we're looking for in these awards:
G-Man's Four Ranking Criteria:
Nom-Nom: The Percentage of Best Picture nominees that were also nominated by a critics group/guild/etc.
Nom-Win: The Percentage of Best Picture winners that were also nominated by a critics group/guild/etc.
Win-Win: The Percentage of Best Picture winners that also won for a critics group/guild/etc.
Win-Nom: The Percentage of Best Picture nominees that also won for a critics group/guild/etc.



Golden Globe Awards
Founded: 1940's
Focus: Excellence in Domestic and Foreign Film and Television
Giving Awards Since: 1942

Golden Globe Scores (Drama & Comedy/Musical Combined):
Nom-Nom: 77.70%
Nom-Win: 91.53%
Win-Win: 67.65%
Win-Nom: 76.69%


The Golden Globes are held each year by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. They have two films equivalent to a Best Picture at the Oscars. There's Best Drama and Best Musical or Comedy. Taken individually, neither of these awards meet our 80% criteria for inclusion in our Best Picture indicator. However, when you combine thir numbers, the Golden Globes, as a whole, do meet the criteria. Maybe this is bordering on fuzzy math, but it's the same thing we did for the Writer's Guild, so I consider it fair play.

The HFPA are an odd bunch. To become a member, you have to live in southern California but you have to write for media outlets in Europe, Asia, Australia or Latin America. Kind of weird, right? This group tends to favor films with some level of international focus or international popularity. Then again, sometimes they go with popular opinion. This all means that the Golden Globes matter but the level of importance they try to project is overrated. Most people feel they are the best indicator of Oscar success. While there are strong correlations among the major awards categories, the HFPA and the Academy can see things differently quite often. In fact, they've only agreed upon Best Picture once in the last seven years. Usually, one of their two winners is also nominated for Best Picture, so they do have that going for them.


British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards Scores:
Founded: 1947
Focus: Excellence in film, television, television craft, video games and forms of animation.
Giving Awards Since: 1947

BAFTA Best Film Scores:
Nom-Nom: 38.77%
Nom-Win: 57.14%
Win-Win: 32.81%
Win-Nom: 60.00%


BAFTA suffered for a long time from delayed consideration. Sometimes Oscar Best Picture winners wouldn't be considered for BAFTA awards until a year or even two years after they won the Oscar. This was held against them in the numbers because nominations only matter if they occur in the same Oscar year the film is released in. Also, BAFTA loves to throw a little love to popular British films for their Best Film award where possible. Sometimes they give their top film award to a film that's not even in consideration by anyone else. I don't mean to knock the Brits, but they only recently lined up their BAFTA schedule with the Oscar schedule and their occasional favoritism are both grounds for dismissal. Thankfully, their numbers rule them out as well.


Independent Spirit Awards
Founded: 1984
Focus: Excellence in Independent Filmmaking
Giving Awards Since: 1985

Independent Spirit Awards (Best Film) Scores:
Nom-Nom: 11.43%
Nom-Win: 3.85%
Win-Win: 3.85%
Win-Nom: 42.31%


This shouldn't come as a surprise, really. The Academy was created to honor the best work produced by the Hollywood studios. Over time they've come to embrace foreign and independent filmmakers, but their focus is still on the big studios. The Independent Spirit Awards help celebrate independent cinema but that's about it. As you can see, their numbers are abysmal and it makes sense. Studios like to pick up independently funded films to make them money from the artsy-fartsy crowds but they know it's a niche market. Most people don't want to go see a contemplative indie film with no recognizable names. Maybe that's an unfortunate bias on the part of the Academy but they have their own rules about distribution.

This awards group in particular has been starting to blur the line on what exactly an independent film is. For instance, some films with big name talent are being considered for these 'independent' film awards simply because their budget was low enough. When I think of 'independent' I think of no-names or people known for bit-part supporting characters. Not Natalie Portman in Black Swan. The Gotham Awards are pretty much the same, except that their focus is the East Coast indie scene. It may be nice to cheer on independent films this time of year because indie films are usually what drives the industry forward, but these independent film groups tend to be pretentious and now they're trying to get in on the awards season momentum. Shameful on both counts.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So there you have it- only the Golden Globe Awards count for anything of these extra awards groups. This leaves us with 10 groups with the stats we're looking for:

American Cinema Editors
Art Directors Guild
Broadcast Film Critics Association
Directors Guild
Golden Globe Awards
National Board of Review
Producers Guild
Screen Actors Guild
Southeastern Film Critics Association
Writers Guild


These are the awards we need to be looking for as nominations start rolling out. Since winning isn't everything, we're only going to award points for nominations. We'll track the wins, because they can be important down the road. I'll try to update our foot-in-the-door contenders from above tomorrow morning. Once another group announces their nominees/winners, we'll start tracking the contenders. We've already had the National Board of Review announce their top films but I'll hold off until the SEFCA, BCA or SAG make their announcements.
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Best Picture Update!

Postby G-Man on Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:08 am

Hey all! So, we've had quite a number of critics groups and a handful of other awards folks tossing nominations and awards around like hotcakes lately, so it's time to start keeping score! Just for kicks and giggles, if every award counted (with wins being held no higher than nominations), here's what the scoreboard would look like:

16 points: The Artist (6 wins)
15 points: The Descendants (1 win)
12 points: Drive, The Tree of Life (3 wins)
10 points: Hugo (1 win)
7 points: The Help, Midnight in Paris
4 points: Moneyball, War Horse
3 points: Take Shelter

2 points: 50/50, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, My Week With Marylin, Shame, Super 8, Win Win

1 point: Beginners, A Better Life, Bridesmaids, Coriolanus, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, The Ides of March, Margaret, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Melancholia, The Muppets, Pariah, Rampart, The Skin I Live In, Warrior

...and I'll also throw in some of the other films that I had on my Oscar radar that have been so far completely skunked out...

0 points: Carnage, A Dangerous Method, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, We Bought a Zoo, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Young Adult

Some of these films are suffering from underexposure due to late critics screenings. It seems that critics are content to run with mid-December and earlier releases. Could this shake up the scheduling of Oscar season releases as we know it? Might be nice, to be honest. It's always odd when a film no one has seen except for privileged critics and industry types gets released on December 31st to make the cut and has a bunch of nominations and wins already. Put these films out for the critics AND the public to see and judge I say! Let's have a longer conversation about the great films of the year. It seems that's what they're doing now. They've had enough excellent films come by and their ready to open presents before all the guests have arrived.

Anywho, that list above is if we considered all critics groups. We know better than that though. In just a moment, we'll go through a step by step accounting for our process through the Big 10 awards that really matter. First, here's a rough schedule for the Big 10:

12/01/11: NBR Awards
12/13/11: BFCA Nominations
12/14/11: SAG Nominations

12/15/11: GG Nominations
12/??/11: SEFCA Awards
12/27/11: Oscar Nomination Ballots Mailed
01/04/12: PGA Nominations
01/04/12: ADG Nominations
01/05/12: WGA Nomination
01/09/12: DGA Nominations
01/12/12: BFCA Awards
01/13/12: Oscar nomination Deadline
01/15/12: GG Awards
01/16/12: ACE Nominations
01/21/12: PGA Awards
01/24/12: Oscar Nominations
01/28/12: DGA Awards
01/29/12: SAG Awards
02/01/12: Oscar Final Ballot Mailed
02/04/12: ADG Awards
02/18/12: ACE Awards
02/19/12: WGA Awards
02/21/12: Oscar Final Ballots Due
02/26/12: Oscar Night!

NBR=National Board of Review, BFCA=Broadcast Film Critics Association, SAG=Screen Actors Guild, GG=Golden Globes, SEFCA=Southeastern Film Critics Association, PGA=Producers Guild of America, ADG=Art Directors Guild, WGA=Writers Guild of America, DGA=Directors Guild of America, ACE=American Cinema Editors


As you can see, we've got the Golden Globes coming out with their nominee tomorrow and the SEFCA is lurking around here somewhere yet with their awards. After that, we can relax until after the new yer rings in for any further changes.

I will update this again at the end of the week to include the Globes, but I wanted to touch on the importance of these first three awards. So here goes, a few notes on the awards as they happened:

After Award #1- NBR Awards:

1 point for each of the following:

Hugo* (gets the top spot for winning)
The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
The Tree of Life
War Horse


Thoughts: J. Edgar? Really? After it took a shellacking by critics (okay, a very lukewarm reception), I'm amazed to see it on the list. Extremely Loud and incredibly Close didn't screen in time for this group, making its absence of little note. Harry Potter makes sense because it was very well received and a solid ending to the film franchise. The Ides of March surprises me though. It had solid reviews but I never saw this heavy-handed political drama to have Oscar potential. We're all kind of poiliticked out, thank you very much.

The biggest omissions thought? The Help, which was a crowd pleaser; Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen's most successful film of all time; and Moneyball, one of the positively reviewed films of the year despite a modest box office performance.


After Award #2- BFCA Nominations:

2 points:
Hugo*
The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
The Tree of Life
War Horse

1 point:
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
--------------
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar


Thoughts: I separated the NBR nominated films that were shut out of the BFCA noms because the BFCA's Nom-Win score is 100%. Since they started giving awards with listed nominees in the 96/97 Oscar year, every single Best Picture winner has come from their list of nominees. That's a powerful 15-year trend that cannot be ignored. This gives latecomers ELAIC, The Help, Midnight in Paris and Moneyball a chance still. With the BFCA nominees, all seven of my pre-season guesses are now in consideration. Yay! It's not looking good though for Dragon Tattoo. I'm sure Fincher fanboys are pouting and flaming up the chat rooms as we speak.


After Award #3- SAG Nominations:

3 points:
The Artist
The Descendants

2 points:
The Help
Midnight in Paris
--------------------
Hugo*
Drive
The Tree of Life
War Horse

1 point:
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Moneyball
------------
Bridesmaids
--------------
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar


Thoughts on the 3-pointers: No surprise here. These two have been frontrunners since October-ish, I think.

Thoughts on the 2-pointers: Major blow for Drive's slim chances at glory. We'll see if it can pick up any other guild awards to help its case for a nomination. Minor blows only for Hugo and War Horse. From what I've gathered, they aren't acting-focused films, and they lack the star power that SAG usually looks for anyway. You need a strong ensemble to get the SAG nom. Tree of Life might be in trouble with this one. Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in the same film but no accolade? Ouch.

Thoughts on the 1-pointers: Extremely Loud still has a shot but it's a surprise to see no love from SAG considering Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are involved. Moneyball has probably lost any shot now but we'll see what happens with the Globes. Bridesmaids, eh? Thinking outside the box SAG is. SAG has shown a willingness to make eclectic picks in the past but this is quite unique. It was a popular film and, after The Hangover proved ensemble comedies are not dead, it almost makes sense that they would honor it. Oscar chances? Zero. Likewise for the four with only an NBR mention to their name. In this game of Oscar glory, you need momentum. If no one is talking about you anymore you have no momentum. Goodbye and thanks for playing!

Of interesting note, SAG's Nom-Win score is 93.75% and they have a 15-year streak of having the Best Picture winner included in their nominees. That moves Midnight in Paris' stock a little higher but it only makes it a dark horse against The Artist and The Descendants. Plus, SAG is a good group to have on your side. The acting branch of the Academy is quite large, comprising I think about 20%. SAG members in the Academy will likely stick with their own if possible, and they've got three solid choices on the list that are likely Oscar nominees.

The Golden Globe nominations could be a big indicator and could settle the Oscar race immediately. Here's how: Will they nominate The Descendants as a comedy or drama? If they give it the comedy nod, it's over and I think the Artist will win out. If they give it the drama nod, it's on like Donkey Kong. Last year was the first time since 2004 where the Best Comedy winner at the Globes was even nominated for the Oscar. Guess who did it in 2004? Sideways, directed by the same guy who brings us The Descendants. The former had a lot more people raving about it and it's hard to see the Academy giving a comeuppance award.

If nominated as a comedy, The Descendants will win but that stigma of 'comedy' will hurt with Oscar voters. Still though, we'll have to see who SAG goes for. That could make a difference, even though only about 1% of SAG members are also Academy members. Never underestimate the power of that acting branch.

That's it for now. I'll post some commentary about the Globe noms on Friday or Saturday.
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Re: 2011-12 Oscar Best Picture Discussion

Postby G-Man on Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:49 pm

Hey all! Sorry I've been away for so long. Doesn't look like this thread is getting much chatter in it yet, which is to be expected this early. After the globes I hope people will be chiming in.

We've had a few more updates. I'm still coming up with better ways to present the data, including a weekly momentum tracker. I may post that if we have a slow critics week between Christmas and New Years. Last week saw three important members of our Big 10 announce nominees and/or winners. We also just had another one speak up yesterday as well. Here's a look ahead at the Big 10 calendar:

12/01/11: NBR Awards
12/13/11: BFCA Nominations
12/14/11: SAG Nominations
12/15/11: GG Nominations
12/19/11: SEFCA Awards

12/27/11: Oscar Nomination Ballots Mailed
01/04/12: PGA Nominations
01/04/12: ADG Nominations
01/05/12: WGA Nomination
01/09/12: DGA Nominations
01/12/12: BFCA Awards
01/13/12: Oscar nomination Deadline
01/15/12: GG Awards
01/16/12: ACE Nominations
01/21/12: PGA Awards
01/24/12: Oscar Nominations
01/28/12: DGA Awards
01/29/12: SAG Awards
02/01/12: Oscar Final Ballot Mailed
02/04/12: ADG Awards
02/18/12: ACE Awards
02/19/12: WGA Awards
02/21/12: Oscar Final Ballots Due
02/26/12: Oscar Night!

NBR=National Board of Review, BFCA=Broadcast Film Critics Association, SAG=Screen Actors Guild, GG=Golden Globes, SEFCA=Southeastern Film Critics Association, PGA=Producers Guild of America, ADG=Art Directors Guild, WGA=Writers Guild of America, DGA=Directors Guild of America, ACE=American Cinema Editors


Not much to expect until the new year, so hopefully more of these little critics groups throw some support around to keep the industry chatter going. Now then, here's a look at how things changed for the Big 10 race after the Golden Globes made their announcement last week:

After Award 4: Golden Globe Nominees

4 points:
The Artist
The Descendants

3 points:
Hugo*
The Help
Midnight in Paris
War Horse

2 points:
Bridesmaids
The Ides of March
Moneyball
-----------------------
Drive
The Tree of Life

1 point:
50/50
My Week with Marylin
--------------------------
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
--------------------------
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
J. Edgar


As a refresher, I'm listing the films in a certain order. First, obviously by points- 1 point for a win or a nomination (wins don't matter enough to be worth an extra point based on the statistics). Within points, I list films that have won awards higher (notated by an *) because wins can help momentum (just not guarantee success). Finally, within each point group, the dashed lines signify that it's been a while since that film has been mentioned by a member of the Big 10. The more dashed you're under, the further your momentum has fallen.

Case in point- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Everyone thought it would be in the Oscar mix. It hasn't been mentioned since the NBR on December 1st. Unless the guilds heap praise upon it, it's done. Another big shocker is the Golden Globes comedy category. All I've heard up to now pointed to The Artist being considered more drama than comedy. The fact that it was nominated as a comedy could hurt it's chances. The HFPA nominated The Descendants as a drama when I've heard it described more as a comedy.

What does it all mean? Essentially, this hurts The Artist just a bit. I'm hearing that the HFPA loves The Ides of March, but I can't help but think The Descendants is a shoe-in for the win. The Artist has some competition with Midnight in Paris and possibly from the populist choice Bridesmaids. Add onto this the fact that Oscar goes for comedy far less than it does for drama. A GG nominee for comedy hasn't won since 2002's Chicago. Might the HFPA be trying to have some subtle influence over the Oscar picture? It wouldn't surprise me. They're weird enough to think they have the power to get away with it.

Now then, let's take a peek at how things have changed since the Southeastern Film Critics had their say yesterday:

After Award 5: Southeastern Film Critics Nominees

5 points:
The Descendants*
The Artist

4 points:
Hugo*
The Help
Midnight in Paris
War Horse

3 points:
Drive
Moneyball
The Tree of Life

2 points:
Bridesmaids
The Ides of March

1 point:
Win Win
----------------------
50/50
My Week with Marylin
----------------------
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
----------------------
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
J. Edgar


It looks like Extremely Loud is going to need a guild-supported comeback to be considered a contender. I'm thinking it's done, just like Dragon Tattoo. Anything with 3 points or more is still in the running. The guilds will make or break Tree of Life and Midnight in Paris. War Horse just feels played out to me. It doesn't seem to be living up to critics expectations, which has stunted its momentum despite the amount of points it has amassed. Hugo is in need of a little love as well. Next up is the Producers Guild, which has the perfect Nom-Win score. They plan on nominating 10 films this year, which could make things easier or more difficult.

If their nominees include too much similarity, we're stuck guessing against convergence. Hopefully there will be some picks that weren't on the BFCA list. If this is the case, we can look at which films appear on both and run with the percentages. But, we'll have to wait until January 4th. Until then, we're left to assume that it's still a two-movie race between The Artist and The Descendants.

For kicks and giggles, here's what the race would look like if we counted every group up to now:

21 points: The Artist (9 wins)

20 points: The Descendants (5 wins)

16 points: The Tree of Life (4 wins), Drive

14 points: Hugo (1 win)

10 points: Midnight in Paris

9 points: The Help

7 points: Moneyball

6 points: War Horse

4 points: 50/50

3 points: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, My Week With Marylin, Shame, Take Shelter, Win Win

2 points: Bridesmaids, The Ides of March, Super 8

1 point: Beginners, A Better Life, Coriolanus, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, J. Edgar, Margaret, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Melancholia, The Muppets, Pariah, Rampart, A Separation, The Skin I Live In, , Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Warrior
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