Oscars: 5 Things Learned From The SAG & PGA Results This Weekend

Awards
by Oliver Lyttelton
January 28, 2013 12:44 PM
14 Comments
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We're now less than a month until Oscar night, and the next few weeks will feature a steady drip of guild awards and other precursors, leading up to big shindig on February 24th. And the crystal ball is staring to get a bit more clear on who will walk away with some statues on Oscar night.

And an already refreshingly surprise-filled season got another turn over the weekend with the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night, both of which awarded their top prize to "Argo," a film which had been deemed out of the running by some by the time December had rolled around. But a comeback for Ben Affleck's Iranian drama wasn't the only notable thing about these results. Below, you can find 5 things we learned about the Oscar season from the PGA and SAG results.

"Argo" is a real player, but hold off on the front-runner talk... for now

After the Oscar nominations, it seemed like "Argo" might be done as a real Best Picture contender, particularly with Ben Affleck missing out on a Best Director nod, making the chances of it taking the big prize significantly smaller. But almost everything that's come since has suggested otherwise, with the movie winning both Best Picture and Director at the Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards, and this weekend, taking the first two major guild prizes with the PGA and SAG ensemble prizes. Given the crossover between guild and Academy membership, it's always a telling sign -- two years ago, guild victories were the biggest indicator that "The King's Speech" was going to beat "The Social Network." The PGA are 7/10 in matching Best Picture in the last decade, and 5/5 in the last few years (the SAG are 6/10, but only 3/5 in the last five), as impressive a record for a precursor award as any. Things are certainly going the way of "Argo," but that said, those declaring the race early are decidedly premature. For one, the record that no film has won Best Picture without a Directing nom since "Driving Miss Daisy" twenty-three years ago still stands. Furthermore, a run at the guilds doesn't necessarily open the gates to Oscar. Six years ago, "Little Miss Sunshine" won with the PGA, the SAG and the WGA, but still lost Best Picture (indeed, few really thought it would win). And perhaps a better comparison would be "Apollo 13," a similarly tense true-life thriller by an actor-turned-director. Back in 1996, the film won with the PGA, the SAG and the DGA, and yet missed out at Oscar. Like Affleck, the film's director Ron Howard didn't get a directing nod that year. And the tastes of the guild and the Academy do differ; take "Life of Pi," which showed up poorly with the guilds, but managed eleven Oscar nominations. Or "Silver Linings Playbook," which performed well above expectations with the Academy. And "Lincoln" is still likely to put up a mighty fight. This weekend might have put Affleck's film in pole position, but there's still a way to go til the finish line. That said, a Director's Guild Award win for Affleck is fairly likely (partly as a reaction to the Oscar snub), and if Chris Terrio beats David O. Russell and Tony Kushner to the WGA prize, then it might truly be game over.

Best Actor & Best Supporting Actress are locked up

If ever there was a time for a change in narrative in the two least competitive categories this year -- Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress -- last night at the SAGs was where it would have happened (see Jean Dujardin overtaking George Clooney after a guild victory last year). But no such thing occurred, and Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway, the two most honored contenders thus far, added another trophy to their respective cabinets. And barring a huge upset, we're certain that'll be repeated at the Dolby Theater in a few weeks, if only because it's hard to see anyone else winning. Had Bradley Cooper or Hugh Jackman taken the SAG prize, things might have been closer -- after all, it's always felt like a big step for the Academy to make Day-Lewis the first person to win three Best Actor Oscars. But the SAG went with him, and Oscar should do the same; few like "Les Miserables" enough to give Jackman the prize, and Cooper's a new enough face that the nomination is a victory more than anything else (though it opens the door for him to take it in future years). "Flight" isn't acclaimed enough for Washington to win, and Phoenix (arguably the most likely to make a shock upset, given the praise for his performance) won't get there. Similarly, the competition in Supporting Actress is equally uncompetitive. Jacki Weaver is barely in "Silver Linings Playbook," the Academy aren't going to given Helen Hunt a prize if they didn't nominate co-star John Hawkes, and while Amy Adams is overdue, she's not going to win for "The Master." Sally Field is the biggest challenger, but probably not enough to overcome the Hathaway train.
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14 Comments

  • Brad | January 29, 2013 2:19 AMReply

    How did Life of PI not do well with the guilds? It got noms from DGA, WGA, VES, ADG, MPSE, ACE, ASC and PGA. Plus don't forget all the BAFTA noms. This film could surprise people on Oscar night.

  • Brad | January 29, 2013 2:16 AMReply

    How did Life of PI not do well with the guilds? It got noms from DGA, WGA, VES, ADG, MPSE, ACE, ASC and PGA. Plus don't forget all the BAFTA noms. This film could surprise people on Oscar night.

  • Brad | January 29, 2013 2:16 AMReply

    How did Life of PI not do well with the guilds? It got noms from DGA, WGA, VES, ADG, MPSE, ACE, ASC and PGA. Plus don't forget all the BAFTA noms. This film could surprise people on Oscar night.

  • Brad | January 29, 2013 2:15 AMReply

    How did Life of PI not do well with the guilds? It got noms from DGA, WGA, VES, ADG, MPSE, ACE, ASC and PGA. Plus don't forget all the BAFTA noms. This film could surprise people on Oscar night.

  • Brad | January 29, 2013 2:13 AMReply

    How did Life of PI not do well with the guilds? It got noms from DGA, WGA, VES, ADG, MPSE, ACE, ASC and PGA. Plus don't forget all the BAFTA noms. This film could surprise people on Oscar night.

  • shdrew | January 28, 2013 10:20 PMReply

    " it would certainly be more deserved here than for his previous victory for "The Fugitive." " Seriously? TLJ was brilliant in The Fugitive! He created a unique character out of a stereotype. He was good in Lincoln, but that was a showy role. I'd really love to see Christoph Waltz get Supporting Actor (though he really should be in the Lead Actor category; he's in 3/4 of the film, for heaven's sake! DiCaprio and Jackson were the true supporting actors in Django and they were both brilliant, and they're both looooooooooong overdue to win an Oscar.)

  • seriously? | January 28, 2013 6:01 PMReply

    Can everyone please stop saying that Riva should get it just because "its her last chance". Her performance was incredibly moving and undeniably impressive; and is in a league above all the others. ESPECIALLY Lawrence. Look don't get me wrong, she was good in Silver Linings, but the role was hardly challenging itself. I seriously am baffled by all this utter amazement over her performance and Silver Linings in general actually. It was enjoyable, but groundbreaking? Seriously? Unfortunately I'm aware of the pulling power of PR (and funny gags apparently), and I fear another shocker decision like that of Witherspoon over Huffman. But I just wish for once the artist who really deserves it would win.

  • seriously? | January 28, 2013 5:55 PMReply

    Can everyone stop saying Riva should get it just because "its her last chance"? Her performance was incredibly moving and undeniably impressive, and is in league ahead of the others, ESPECIALLY Lawrence. I mean I can only come to the conclusion that these awards really are only about PR (and funny gags apparently), because she was really good in Silver Linings don't me wrong, but the role itself was hardly challenging. I don't get why at all its getting so much praise, it truly is baffling. Unfortunately the Oscars will probably pull another shocker and vote her over Riva just like they did with Witherspoon over Huffman.

  • 44 | January 28, 2013 4:48 PMReply

    "Naomi Watts is probably the only nominee who doesn't stand a chance at winning," yet a "Quvenzhane Wallis" win is as conceivable as an Emmanuelle Riva? Yeah, I'm gonna say the only actress with NO chance of winning is QW. The Academy liked Beasts a lot for whatever reason, and thus rewarded the film's star with a nod. They didn't like The Impossible, but admired Watts' performance. Watts won't win, but her odds are better than QW's, whose presence was assured by the best pic and best director nods (you can't recognize those reasonably without recognizing her, the picture's center). I'm surprised Wallis was nominated (as surprised as am that Zeitlin was), given that she scored so little award recognition with anyone save AMPAS (ditto him -- save Sundance). It is just their kind of slushy feel-good stuff with a serving of artful topicality, tho

  • jst | January 28, 2013 1:59 PMReply

    Amy Adams is not overdue to win an Oscar. I would say Glenn Close, Sigourney Weaver, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

  • Oogle monster | January 28, 2013 8:01 PM

    Actually, I would go with Julianne Moore. Sigourney and Michelle haven't had good roles in years and Glenn Close being nominated for Albert Nobbs was hilarious. Adams is overdue in the sense that she has been nominated 4 times and is arguably always the best in the category but for some reason doesn't have the same momentum as her competitors.

  • Leni | January 28, 2013 1:58 PMReply

    I disagree Glass. As much as I'd like to see SLP win, I think it's between Argo and Lincoln. Probably Lincoln will win as the boring but good drama - the old man pick.

  • BEF | January 28, 2013 1:54 PMReply

    Hey guys, simple math, Driving Miss Daisy's win was 23 years ago. Not 13.

  • Glass | January 28, 2013 1:07 PMReply

    The Academy lost their shit over Silver Linings, more than any other movie this year, and I'm confident in saying it'll win best picture. It's like knowing that Obama would beat Romney MONTHS away from election, but the people sweating every micro development of the race was like "mmm I don't think so, Romney mopped the floor with him on [some issue nobody remembers] during that first debate..."

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