Two of the top three guilds to keep an eye on announced their nominees this week. Producers and Writers alike listed their favorites of 2010 - or, at least, the ones that were not disqualified from contention. Not a whole lot of surprises from the Producers' side of things. With 'Winter's Bone' being left off their list of ten, the chances for a Best Picture nomination increased for many of the usual suspects including '127 Hours,' 'Black Swan,' 'The Fighter,' 'Inception,' 'The Kids Are All Right,' 'The King's Speech,' 'The Social Network,' 'Toy Story 3' and 'True Grit' and boosting the chances for Ben Affleck's 'The Town.'
Last year in their first opportunity to outdo the Broadcast Film Critics Association's yearly prediction-laden selection of ten nominees, the PGA came up in a draw revealing eight of the eventual ten Best Picture nominees. Their 'District 9' & 'Star Trek' replaced the BFCA's early-bird pick of 'Nine' when people were still speculating it as a contender. (Both missed with Clint Eastwood's 'Invictus'.) This year, the quick look at the PGA selections suggest they may do themselves one better. General consensus says that they probably have at least nine of the ten in the bag. Whether it will be '127 Hours', 'The Kids Are All Right' or 'The Town' to fall off in favor of 'Winter's Bone' or something else (if at all) is anyone's guess. Which brings us to the WGA.
Where 'Winter's Bone' can cling to some hope is that in the past five years at least one film has been nominated for Best Picture without a PGA or WGA nomination: 'Munich,' 'Letters From Iwo Jima,' 'Atonement,' 'The Reader,' and 'The Blind Side.' It is hard to gauge some real numbers from the Writer's Guild considering how many screenplays they disqualified again this year. 'Another Year,' 'Blue Valentine,' 'Four Lions' and 'The King's Speech' were all dropped from the Original category while 'The Ghost Writer,' 'Toy Story 3,' 'The Way Back' and 'Winter's Bone' were left off the Adapted side. We must await the nominations from the Director's Guild on Jan. 10 to gain some further perspective, but in the meantime we can look at how these two guilds have fared over the last decade.
Since 2000, films to receive both a PGA & WGA nomination (with or without a DGA nod) have an 80% chance of grabbing a Best Picture nomination. 32-8 in that time and an even better 22-3 since 2004. 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,' 'The Dark Knight' and 'Star Trek' were amongst the snubbed in the last three years. The latter was certainly the benefit of some WGA disqualifications in 2009 (as 'Please Give' and 'I Love You, Philip Morris' were this time), but one year later we have a total of eight films heralded by both the PGA & WGA:
'127 Hours,' 'Black Swan,' 'Inception,' 'The Fighter,' 'The Kids Are All Right,' 'The Social Network,' 'The Town' 'True Grit'
That is up from just five last year. The last time more than one film was snubbed with this pair of nominations was 2002 when 'Adaptation' and 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' were left off the list just two years after 'Almost Famous' and 'Billy Elliot' were. The DGA are going to annoint at least four of these films, with Tom Hooper for 'The King's Speech' in good position for the fifth. Those rankings will shift next week. But let us see where the current updates affect Best Picture, Screenplays and a tech category that has just been trimmed.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. 'Inception' – Winner of seven critic's awards. Should be Nolan's prize to lose.
2. 'The Kids Are All Right' – BFCA/Globe/Chicago nominees 8-0 since 2001.
3. 'The King's Speech' – Second most critic awards for Original script with three. Disqualified by WGA, but is still a very likely nominee.
4. 'Black Swan' – A BFCA/Chicago nominee is 5-0 since '01. WGA nod should seal it.
5. 'The Fighter' – Scripts with only BFCA support are only a 50/50 proposition. WGA nominees fare a bit better at 58%
6. 'Another Year' – Mike Leigh's last three Oscar nods here were not precluded by a WGA nod. Watch out, Micky Ward.
7. 'Four Lions' – Chicago supports it with nomination. 6-for-13 when going rogue from BFCA and the Globes. WGA DQ'ed it.
8. 'Buried' - National Board of Review's choice for Best Original has been nominated 5-of-7 times.
9. 'Please Give' - WGA nod likely benefit from multiple disqualifications.
10. 'Blue Valentine' - Derek Cianfrance just named Most Promising Filmmaker from Chicago. WGA DQ'ed it as well.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. 'The Social Network' – Not even Mark Zuckerberg can steal Aaron Sorkin's Oscar at this point.
2. '127 Hours' – 14-of-15 BFCA/Globes/WGA contenders nominated since 2001. Only 'About Schmidt' snubbed.
3. 'Toy Story 3' - Five of the last six Pixar scripts received a nomination.
4. 'True Grit' - WGA nominees hitting 70% here since 2000.
5. 'The Town' – And adaptations getting a PGA accompaniment to their WGA nod are 20-for-25 since 2000.
6. 'Winter's Bone' - Either this or 'Toy Story 3' gets the 'Philip Morris' spot. Odds are with Pixar.
7. 'I Love You, Philip Morris' - Got the fifth WGA nod, but two of the top six were DQ'ed.
8. 'Rabbit Hole' – Chicago is the first to acknowledge this potential sleeper nominee. 8-of-14 when standing alone.
9. 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' - Has its fans in St. Louis and San Diego.
10. 'Shutter Island' - San Diego nominated it, but no match for The Social Network.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Contenders have been trimmed from 15 down to 7. We had these seven in the Top 9 in the Dec. 29 rankings including the Top 3 - as we watch Clash of the Titans and Narnia fall off the list for good.
2. 'Alice in Wonderland'
3. 'Tron: Legacy'
4. 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1'
5. 'Iron Man 2'
6. 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World'
1. 'The Social Network' - It's the frontrunner. Deal with it.
2. 'Black Swan' - Could actually secure the most nominations on Jan. 25
3. 'Inception' - BFCA/Globes/Chicago minus SAG Ensemble nod is 14-0 since 2005.
4. 'The King's Speech' - BFCA/Globes/Chicago/PGA nominees are 19-2 since 2000. That equals your top four.
5. 'True Grit' - Suggestions that it's a frontrunner are ludicrous, but it's box office is higher than three of the top four.
6. 'The Fighter' - Despite no Chicago nod, films that get the other three are 11-2 since 2001.
7. 'Toy Story 3' - Could this be the PGA nominee that gets screwed?
8. '127 Hours' - Shocking loss of faith in its chances. Would a Boyle DGA nod restore it?
9. 'The Kids Are All Right' - It's the wrong female-helmed Sundance feature to be considered, but it has more chances for nods than Granik's superior work.
10. 'The Town' - It's far from a lock, but it should be feeling good right now.
11. 'Winter's Bone' - Last five years a film has been nominated without a PGA & WGA nod.
12. 'Another Year' - Lesley Manville and Screenplay chances need to increase for this to move up.
13. 'How To Train Your Dragon' - A strong push by Dreamworks would certainly make the Animated Feature race more interesting wouldn't it?
14. 'Rabbit Hole' - Just because Pete Hammond thinks Nicole Kidman is the favorite for Best Actress does not make this a contender.
15. 'Shutter Island' - May have been nominated in 2009 with original release date. Not looking good for 2010.