While we are predicting that the Oscar race for Best Picture is a close one between "Spotlight" and "The Revenant," the former is far out in front to win at Saturday's Producers Guild of America awards. We give "Spotlight" overwhelming odds of 8/12 to prevail at this key precursor prize while "The Revenant" is tied with "Mad Max: Fury Road" for second at 15/2.
The support for "Spotlight" extends across all four of our groups making predictions. A majority of both our Experts (journalists who cover the Oscar beat year-round) and our in-house Editors are backing its bid. Beyong that, two-thirds of all Users and a staggering 19 of our Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who did the best predicting last year's PGA winners) are predicting it to prevail.
And that bodes well for its Oscar hopes. Remember, the PGA picks a winner using the same kind of counting as the Oscars — the preferential ballot. Since the academy reintroduced that system in 2009 when it expanded the Best Picture line-up, the PGA has predicted the Oscar winner every year.
Compare that to it less than stellar success rate in its first 20 years. These kudos kicked off in 1989 and previewed the Oscar winner only 13 times in the first two decades, getting it wrong in the following seven instances:
1992: "The Crying Game" over "Unforgiven"
1995: "Apollo 13" over Braveheart
1998: "Saving Private Ryan" over "Shakespeare in Love"
2001: "Moulin Rouge!" over "A Beautiful Mind"
2004: The Aviator" over "Million Dollar Baby
2005: "Brokeback Mountain" over "Crash"; and
2006: "Little Miss Sunshine" over "The Departed"
In 2009 — when the academy went to 10 Best Picture nominees for the first time since 1943 — the preferential system of voting, which had been used from 1934 to 1945, was reintroduced. The Oscars had first used the preferential method of voting in 1934 when there were 12 Best Picture nominees (there had been between three and 10 in the first six years of the Academy Awards). It was used the following year when there were again 12 nominees, then from 1936 to 1943 when there were 10 nominees, and finally in both 1944 and 1945 when there were just five contenders before being dropped in favor of the popular vote from 1946 to 2008.
The academy believes the preferential method "best allows the collective judgment of all voting members to be most accurately represented." The PGA followed suit by expanding its field to 10 and using the preferential ballot.
Since 2009, Oscar and PGA voters have ranked their respective Best Picture nominees. If one nominee garners more than 50% of the first-place votes, it will win Best Picture. If, as is more likely, no nominee reaches this threshold, the film with the fewest first place votes is eliminated, with its ballots being reapportioned to the second place choice.
Should no film cross the required 50% + one ballot threshold, the film with the fewest first place votes is again eliminated, with its ballots being apportioned to the next choice still in play (i.e., if the second place choice is no longer in the running, then the ballot would be reapportioned to the third place choice and so on.)
This process of elimination and reapportion continues until one film reaches at least 50% + one ballots. That is the Best Picture. While passionate support gets a film nominated, it is the consensus choice that prevails as the winner.
Make your Producers Guild winner predictions starting with Best Picture to the right or at the bottom of this post. You can predict all major film and television categories for this event.
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