Categories One-by-One: Picture

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7301
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture

Postby Sabin » Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:27 am

The Original BJ wrote
5. DOES THE PREFERENTIAL BALLOT HELP OR HURT GET OUT?
Get Out seems to have all the buzz this week -- I'm actually reminded of the last week before the Brokeback Mountain Oscars, when Crash seemed to surge in the conversation. And it's got a clear contingent of fans who very much want to see it win, many of whom are part of the new, younger, more diverse group of voters. But if the theory that being the second or third choice of folks whose favorite movie came in last (i.e. Room/Brooklyn voters were more likely to rank Spotlight higher than The Revenant, Fences/Hidden Figures voters were more likely to rank Moonlight higher than La La Land), I don't exactly see Get Out benefiting significantly from those whose favorite films are The Post and Darkest Hour, the seeming weakest Best Picture contenders. It's worth pondering that perhaps Get Out might be a more divisive movie than pundits think it is among the Academy's more traditionalist wing.

I agree with this point.

It's been a year since the greatest upset in Oscar history, both in terms of how dramatic the events were and, let's be honest, how unprecedented it was. What we know is that it involved: 1) the preferential ballot, and 2) the new Academy. This new Academy has gotten even newer in the past year and it's sent all of our predictions hither and thither, but this afternoon I took another look at the events of last year and something occurred to me...

La La Land hit a wall. It might have been 40% or 50.9%, but it happened.

I'm no psychic, but I'm willing to bet that on the first ballot La La Land had a strong lead over the competition. But then as every ballot was counted and as one film after another was dropped from count, La La Land's lead didn't grow. Let's say you had Lion at number one. Is La La Land your number two? Probably not. Let's say Fences is your number one. Is La La Land your number two? Probably not. But the events of last year are not comparable to this year's because there were essentially three groups of voters: 1) Team La La Land, 2) Team Moonlight, and 3) Team Looking For a Reason to Vote For Moonlight. I know that sounds like a stretch, but if it wasn't the case, then wouldn't La La Land have won?

When I try to play by this rationale, I come up with nothing because the two years aren't comparable. There aren't three "groups" of voters. There are more than ten.

Look at the year prior. My rationale that year was faulty. I thought that The Big Short and Spotlight (two talky movies about smart white people) would cancel out, making room for The Revenant. What I didn't realize was that The Revenant was going to hit a wall. It had a lot going against it (no writing nomination, no SAG ensemble nomination, it lost the PGA) and its lead was going to stop or slow. The question is would something overtake it? And the answer was Spotlight. It's not hard to see people voting for Brooklyn or Bridge of Spies as number one having Spotlight as their number two.

Try to forget the outcome and ask yourself a question about Birdman, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The Artist, The King's Speech, and The Hurt Locker. All these movies were front-runners to varying degrees. Did they look like they were going to hit a wall? No. In fact, I would argue that the reason they all triumphed is that they were up against other films that were likelier to hit a wall. Like Boyhood or Gravity or Lincoln or Hugo or The Social Network or Avatar.

Let's assume that The Post, Darkest Hour, and Call Me By Your Name don't really have a chance at winning. Let's also agree that were Dunkirk or Phantom Thread to win, it would be even nuttier than last year:

Four films remain: Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Which film for sure is going to continue to gain?

The Shape of Water. It has nominations in almost every below the line category AND despite its lack of a SAG ensemble nomination it has three acting nominations.

Does that necessarily mean it's going to get to 51% before Get Out or Three Billboards...? No, but if I had to bet, that's where my money would go.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 15566
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:41 am

I still think that Three Billboards will be in first place on more ballots than any other film, but not sure if will get enough overall votes to win, in which case my upset winner prediction is still Lady Bird.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6361
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:31 am

A couple of thoughts on a race that leaves me more confused going into the final day than I can ever remember being.

1) Like BJ, a few years ago I'd have been with The Shape of Water all the way, simply from a lifetime of watching the DGA winner almost always take film/director. Picking films like Gravity and La La Land seemed utterly logical -- the latter a no-brainer. But these past few years (last year especially) have made me for the first time think of best film and best director as truly separate prizes. If there was going to be this giant upset for best picture last year, why wouldn't it first occur in directing -- why did the DGA hold up as the standard for that category, and not best picture? The only possible answer is, the preferential ballot has ended the two categories' long history of being joined at the hip.

2) But what films do the preferential ballot help or hurt? A lot of people seem to take the view (purposely drawn in broad terms) that a more bold/challenging film is disadvantaged and a more innocuous piece is boosted. That may work to describe the Spotlight/The Revenant split, But does that truly work to describe 12 Years a Slave/Gravity? And, prior to last year's shocking upset, I'd have described Moonlight as the more challenging work, and La La Land the one that bordered on innocuous.

3) People seem to think Three Billboards is hobbled by the fact that some people hate it. It's true: Wesley Morris and Mark Harris (if they had ballots) would likely place it last. But the issue isn't where it lands on the ballots of those who hate it; it's how many who are somewhere in the middle rank it above or below another movie that's seriously in the race. No matter how much someone hates it, it's only one vote against. Contrarily, it seems to be thought that Get Out could win because there don't seem to be many who truly hate it. Which is true, but perhaps indifference could hurt the film worse? I can tell you that people I talk to all like the movie, but when the subject of best picture comes up, they're mostly "Are you kidding?" -- the film is just viewed as too trivial to select (or put high up on the list). I'm not certain which film's position, that of Three Billboards or Get Out, is more damaging to a film's best picture hopes.

4) So, is this good for Shape of Water? Maybe so. But there are elements around the film that scream Gravity/Revenant to me -- the fact that del Toro keeps winning directing but something else most often wins best picture; the film's utter lack of traction in the screenplay race; and, yes, that damn SAG Ensemble omission, which we all thought was meaningless last year, until it wasn't.

5) Could anything else barrel through to surprise? Seriously, I think so. I literally can't rule out any of five winners Sunday night (Lady Bird and Dunkirk, in addition to the three clear contenders -- the other four I'm willing to call dead). We all know that whatever wins will be defying some established precedent -- Shape of Water SAG Ensemble; Three Billboards director; Get Out and Lady Bird editing/five nominations or more; Dunkirk acting/screenplay. Why not one even more enduring? I wouldn't be surprised to see something win best picture that hasn't picked up a single other award -- which I believe last happened with Mutiny on the Bounty. This is to say, I could see Three Billboards winning screenplay, but Get Out winning best picture -- or vice versa -- or Get Out winning screenplay and Lady Bird taking best picture.

As someone who's pretty much watched the Oscars play by stratified rules over the years, I feel liberated (almost a little drunk) viewing things this way. It's making for a very exciting Oscar season finale. Which I think is the least we're owed, given how they drained the juice from the acting contests.

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7301
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture

Postby Sabin » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:39 pm

Interesting thing to note...

Get Out just won the Indie Spirit for Best Feature. From 2013 to 2016, the winner of the Indie Spirit has also won Best Picture, making it possibly the best current predictor of the eventual Oscar winner.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Okri
Tenured
Posts: 2584
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:28 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture

Postby Okri » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:52 pm

1. Yes, yes they do.

2. Also yes

3. I think so, but I wonder if the way that AMPAS has been comfortable splitting picture/director means that the enthusiasm for TSOW ends up being directed towards del Toro specifically as opposed to the film in general.

4. Agreed - no hate towards it (I'd argue that it getting best score means a little more than missing out on best director for love, due to the nature of the two categories), but it definitely suffers a little more on the preferential ballot.

5. Hurts, unfortunately. I expect there are enough people who agree with Magilla on this one.

6. Not many, I'd say.

7/8: I think Lady Bird will benefit from the preferential ballot and could be a surprise winner.

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4143
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Categories One-by-One: Picture

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:03 pm

We've discussed a lot of these elements in other threads, but to jot down some thoughts on what has to be the most wide-open Best Picture race in all of my years watching.

1. THE ALSO-RANS SEEM OUT.
I don't really see any possibility for the movies we assume wouldn't have made the list in a five-wide field. The Post and Darkest Hour will surely struggle to get number one votes. Phantom Thread and Call Me By Your Name seem like movies that do have significant acolytes, but will likely not get enough broad support to threaten for an actual win.

2. THE PRESUMPTIVE TOP 5 ALL HAVE HURDLES.
As discussed, Get Out and Lady Bird are missing tech nominations, Dunkirk lacks Screenplay, and Three Billboards lacks Director, all of which have been historically significant in the Best Picture race. The Shape of Water lacks something too -- a SAG Ensemble nod -- but that actually seems like the least significant demerit, both because 1) history there only goes back twenty-odd years, and 2) it's unrelated to the actual nominations bestowed upon the film by the AMPAS voting body.

3. DOES THE SHAPE OF WATER HAVE ENOUGH ENTHUSIASM BEHIND IT?
Ten years ago, I'd have bet on The Shape of Water for sure -- the PGA/DGA combo, the fact that Director seems in the bag, and its status as nomination leader (which for most of my formative Oscar years, at the tail of the '90s, tended to be a big deal in Best Picture terms) would have suggested it was the strongest candidate. But it doesn't seem to be a film that's inspiring rabid enthusiasm, and it's possible it could be more like The Aviator or Bugsy, films that looked like winners on paper and were obviously well-liked enough to win some trophies, but just couldn't rally for Best Picture in the end. Still, it's possible the preferential ballot could help it, if it's generally high up on enough ballots to be a down-the-middle consensus choice.

4. DOES THE ACADEMY HATE THREE BILLBOARDS THE WAY THE INTERNET DOES?
I'm going to say, of course not -- it got 7 nominations including Best Picture, and it's got a ton of precursors (4 Globes, SAG, BAFTA) that suggest awards-bodies with taste that's similar to the Academy have gone wild for it. I don't expect any kind of revolt against the film, partly because I don't think most Oscar voters are as connected to the discussion happening online as most of the Internet thinks they are. But...I do think the preferential ballot in Best Picture could pose some issues. Last year, La La Land didn't seem THAT divisive a movie -- it was only really polarizing in the way that all top Best Picture frontrunners develop a backlash -- and it still managed to win 6 Oscars...but it's possible its pocket of detractors ranked it low enough on too many ballots to cost it the final prize in the end. In a tight race -- one I wouldn't bet the farm on for Three Billboards even under the old system -- a small enough pool of folks who dislike it could be a tipping point in its campaign for Best Picture.

5. DOES THE PREFERENTIAL BALLOT HELP OR HURT GET OUT?
Get Out seems to have all the buzz this week -- I'm actually reminded of the last week before the Brokeback Mountain Oscars, when Crash seemed to surge in the conversation. And it's got a clear contingent of fans who very much want to see it win, many of whom are part of the new, younger, more diverse group of voters. But if the theory that being the second or third choice of folks whose favorite movie came in last (i.e. Room/Brooklyn voters were more likely to rank Spotlight higher than The Revenant, Fences/Hidden Figures voters were more likely to rank Moonlight higher than La La Land), I don't exactly see Get Out benefiting significantly from those whose favorite films are The Post and Darkest Hour, the seeming weakest Best Picture contenders. It's worth pondering that perhaps Get Out might be a more divisive movie than pundits think it is among the Academy's more traditionalist wing.

6. HOW MANY #1 VOTES IS DUNKIRK GETTING?
The theory that Dunkirk could prevail has a lot to do with what I just mentioned above -- that it's more likely to be ranked higher among those for whom The Post and Darkest Hour are their favorites. But is there enough of a contingent to get it enough #1 votes to contend among candidates with more passionate fan bases to begin with? It seems like a movie everyone respects, admired by both traditionalists and auteurists, but it's won virtually nothing all season long, and it does seem tough to imagine a world where this perpetual bridesmaid suddenly becomes the bride.

7. WITHER LADY BIRD?
Lady Bird has also been pretty quiet since its Golden Globe win for Best Picture -- not an insignificant precursor, by the way. But perhaps because it never really became a front-runner, it hasn't really invited many brickbats from detractors -- it seems like a movie everyone generally likes. (And it's not like rewarding a film about women, written and directed by a woman, would be a bad statement to make in this Hollywood/cultural moment.) Under the preferential ballot, could it have enough #2-4 placements to average out as the winner?

8. COULD SOMETHING INSANE HAPPEN?
Sabin floated the possibility of Get Out or Lady Bird winning Best Picture, but nothing else. I don't think that seems LIKELY...but it doesn't seem totally out of the realm of possibility. Given how tight Original Screenplay is, there is a chance one of those films loses there (seemingly its best chance for any other award) and under a different balloting system and a slightly different distribution of votes in Best Picture, manages to prevail in the final envelope. This seems less likely, but Three Billboards conceivably could lose a very close Screenplay race as well, and then still triumph in Best Picture, depending on vote distribution. There's also the possibility Dunkirk heads into the Best Picture announcement with only a pair of Sound prizes, then manages to pull out the top win. None of these scenarios are ones I'd bet on...but honestly they seem a lot more possible than Moonlight topping La La Land did last year!


Return to “90th Nominations and Winners”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest