erik lundegaard

Tuesday February 11, 2020

Final Thoughts on the 92nd Oscars

OK, now that we got that out of the way...

When we began this century, a few things were obvious when it came to Oscar predictions. No. 1: Winning the DGA generally meant your movie won best picture. From 1969 to the end of the century—wait, let's go until 2012, a total of 43 years—the line between DGA and Oscar's best picture was broken only six times:

  • 1981 when Warren Beatty won the DGA for “Reds” but “Chariots of Fire” won the Oscar for best picture
  • 1985 when Steven Spielberg won the DGA for “The Color Purple” but “Out of Africa won best picture (that's when my friend Scott gave up on the Academy)
  • 1989 when Oliver Stone won the DGA for ”Born on the Fourth of July“ but ”Driving Miss Daisy“ won best picture
  • 1995 when Ron Howard won the DGA for ”Apollo 13“ but ”Braveheart“ won best picture
  • 1998 when Steven Spielberg won the DGA for ”Saving Private Ryan“ but ”Shakespeare in Love“ won best picture
  • 2005 when Ang Lee won the DGA for ”Brokeback Mountain“ but ”Crash“ won best picture (that's when I gave up on the Academy)

(Gotta say, DGA rocks on these; Oscar's choice is either subpar or downright embarassing.)

Six misses out of 43 tries: 87%. That's a good free-throw percentage. 

Well, that line is no more. In just the last seven years, it's been broken five times. It's now less likely than more likely:

  • Alfonso Cuaron DGA (and Oscar) for ”Gravity“ but best pic went to ”12 Years a Slave“
  • Alejandro Innaritu DGA (and Oscar) for ”Revenant“ but best pic went to ”Spotlight“
  • Damien Chazelle DGA (and Oscar) for ”La La Land“ but best pic to ”Moonlight“
  • Alfonso Cuaron DGA (and Oscar) for ”Roma“ but best pic to ”Green Book“
  • Sam Mendes DGA for ”1917“ but Oscar/best pic went to ”Parasite“

What else did we know? At the start of the decade, if you won the SAG award for actor, actress or the two supportings you had about a 60% chance (24 out of 40 from 2000 to 2010) of holding the Oscar. This past decade, that chance went way up to 85%: 34 out of 40, including sweeps in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019.

If you‘re using the guilds as Oscar predictor, in other words, DGA is down while SAG is soaring. 

Oh, and for a while there, it seemed like Oscar and BAFTA were in tune. For six years, from 2008 to 2013, the two never disagreed on best picture. In the six years since, they’ve never agreed:

Year BAFTA Oscar
2019 1917 Parasite
2018 Roma Green Book
2017 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri The Shape of Water
2016 La La Land Moonlight
2015 The Revenant Spotlight
2014 Boyhood Birdman

This year, we hosted the usual party, a bit smaller, kind of fun for that. I liked Steve Martin and Chris Rock's bit. I still think Oscar is better with hosts, particularly funny ones. I loved Joaquin Phoenix's speech and hated the way the usual snarky folks on Twitter immediately reduced it to a joke. Jesus, people, listen. Didn't see Eminem. Loved the different singers who dubbed ”Frozen II“ in other countries joining Idina Menzel's Elsa on stage. Truly an international movie moment. Don't know why Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph don't host. It's just sitting there, people. Half the standing o's seemed to be for politically correct reasons now. Hildur Gušnadottir gets an Oscar for best score for ”Joker" and everyone stands? For her? No, not for her. She's the first woman to win best score, so they stood for what she represented. Essentially the Academy was giving itself the standing o for being woke. Stop that. Embarrassing. 

See you next year, Oscar. When, hopefully, you have hosts. And sit on your asses a little more. 

Posted at 07:29 AM on Tuesday February 11, 2020 in category Movies - The Oscars  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard