What the PGA nominations mean for the Best Picture race

David Oyelowo Selma 600x342
Yesterday, the Producers Guild of America (or PGA) announced their nominations, which essentially are the clearest precursor to the Oscar Best Picture lineup that you can get in an awards season. There were surprising inclusions, shocking snubs, and more questions than answers, as you might imagine. In some ways, we’ve narrowed the contenders down to about 11 or so for the likely nine spots from the Academy, but the ones left off the PGA list still seem to be in play, especially in the case of one film in particular. All this makes for the Academy Award nominations to be as intrigue filled as ever this time around.

First up, here’s a refresher on which ten films the PGA nominated:

American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Nightcrawler
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

As you all know, the biggest snub was Selma. Aside from Boyhood and perhaps Birdman, no other Best Picture hopeful was considered a bigger lock for a citation here than this one. Those three, along with possibly The Imitation Game, are thought of as the only viable Academy Award winners in the Best Picture category, so it was a shock, to say the least. To be fair, screeners didn’t go out for this or the similarly snubbed Interstellar, so both products from Paramount definitely suffered in that realm, but shouldn’t a movie with as much buzz as Selma have gotten voters out to the theaters (with the same being said for Interstellar, which almost demands to be seen on a big screen) to see it before the deadline? They join the similarly snubbed Unbroken (which sent out screeners very late) are misses with perhaps some sort of an asterisk next to their names. Also missing the cut and basically ending hopes of a nod in the big category are Inherent Vice, Into the Woods, A Most Violent Year, Mr. Turner, and Wild. They can kiss a Best Picture nom goodbye, barring a miracle.

Now, give or take how you see things, we essentially have 11 (12 if you hold out hope for Interstellar to still sneak in) films vying for the probably nine spots in Best Picture at the Academy Awards. I’ll still cite the top ten, since the tenth slot does exist, however rare it might turn out to be. Furthermore, I’m going to separate the contenders now into a few groups. First up, the locks…

Birdman
Boyhood
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything

These five are 100% getting nominated for Best Picture. Why still include Selma as a foregone conclusion? Well, this miss doesn’t hurt its nomination chances…what it does is hurt its chances at a win. It might not even be in the top three anymore (Boyhood is way out in front no matter how you arrange these), frankly. Enough other members of the Academy will have seen and loved the movie to make sure it’s nominated, but perception here is now that it has a weakness, particularly one that a smaller contender like Boyhood doesn’t have.

Next we have the titles that seem likely to show up at this point…

Foxcatcher
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Whiplash

This quartet isn’t locked in, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t make it. Not shocked, mind you, as they all have weaknesses, but they’ve all gotten more than enough to hear their names called out in Best Picture on the big morning. The Grand Budapest Hotel is sitting the prettiest of the bunch, only really hurt by the Academy not always jiving to Wes Anderson. Foxcatcher is dealing with some unneeded bad buzz, but it has hit in almost every place that it needed to during the precursors. Gone Girl is a certified blockbuster, which helps, but it’s pulpier than a lot of other nominees, which could hurt. Whiplash is just tiny, which sometimes leads to omissions. Still, I suspect these three get in.

That could be our nine, but if there’s a tenth nominee, it’ll be one of these two…

American Sniper
Nightcrawler

Those four in the prior category are vulnerable (give or take The Grand Budapest Hotel), which opens the door for late braking players American Sniper and Nightcrawler. I currently have the former as the tenth nominee, but the latter is right there with it. There’s a case you could easily make that both wind up in too, provided there’s ten nominees. If there’s nine though, that would require two misses, likely Foxcatcher and Gone Girl (unless I’m overestimating the Whiplash votes, but I don’t think that I am), so ten is really what these contenders should hope for.

That’s what I see the Best Picture race at the moment. I might update my Academy Award predictions in a few days, just to reflect PGA more thoroughly, though I haven’t fully decided yet. I also have final Golden Globe predictions coming at the end of the week, so keep an eye out for that as well…

Stay tuned to see how it all winds up going down!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Follow us

Breaking Hollywood News   


UPDATES BY EMAIL

Comments are closed.