Zachary Heinzerling – "Cutie and the Boxer"
X -- Jehane Noujaim – "The Square"
Joshua Oppenheimer – "The Act of Killing"
Sarah Polley -–"Stories We Tell"
Lucy Walker – "The Crash Reel"
Bryan Cranston – "Breaking Bad" ("Blood Money")
David Fincher – "House of Cards" ("Chapter 1")
X -- Vince Gilligan – "Breaking Bad" ("Felina")
Lesli Linka Glatter – "Homeland" ("The Star")
David Nutter – "Game of Thrones" ("The Rains of Castamere")
The 56th annual edition of the Grammys airs on CBS Sunday night, live in the east and tape delayed in the west.
Sara Bareilles and Carole King
Beyonce and Jay-Z
Gary Clark, Jr.
Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder
Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Blake Shelton
Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons
Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong (tribute to Phil Everly/In Memoriam)
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with Madonna
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr
Metallica and Cultural Ambassador to China Lang Lang
Nine Inch Nails, Lindsay Buckingham, Dave Grohl and Queens of the Stone Age (show finale)
Pink and Nate Ruess
Robin Thicke and Chicago
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
And slated to take to the stage of the Staples Center to present the prizes and introduce the musical acts are:
At this year's Oscar party, you're not allowed to claim ignorance about the roster of documentary features and a certain foreign language film thanks to Netflix making early streaming available for five of 2013's nominees.
Best Documentary Feature nominees available on Netflix are: "The Act of Killing," "Cutie and the Boxer," "Dirty Wars" and "The Square." The fifth -- "20 Feet from Stardom" -- is still in theatrical release. (Read Daniel Montgomery's take on the Best Documentary race here.)
Netflix has reason to be happy this awards derby, as "The Square" was produced by the streaming website and resulted in its first-ever Oscar nomination.
This comes on the heels of Netflix winning its first Golden Globe award for Best TV Drama Actress Robin Wright ("House of Cards") earlier this month as well as a trio of Emmys for that series last September: Best Drama Director (David Fincher), Best Drama Casting and Best Single-Camera Series Cinematography.
Where do these five streaming films fall in terms of our predictions for the Oscars?
Last Sunday, "12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity" were both named Best Picture at the Producers Guild Awards in an unprecedented tie. So, if one of them wins the Directors Guild Award on Saturday, is the Oscar race for Best Picture pretty much over?
The PGA has a strong track record predicting Oscar's Best Picture: they have previewed the champ 17 out of 24 times (71%), including the last six years in a row. The DGA's record is even better: 52 out of their 65 winners (80%) have gone on to see their films named Best Picture by the acadmy.
And when you combine these two guilds, you have an even better Oscar crystal ball.
PGA and DGA have picked the same film 18 times in the past 24 years and 15 of those went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. That's an accuracy rate of 83%. The three outliers were:
“Gravity” is the latest in a string of critically-acclaimed, effects-driven blockbusters to reap Oscar bids across many of the craft categories. It is our absolute odds-on favorite to win Cinematography, Editing, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. (Its helmer Alfonso Cuaron is the frontrunner for Best Director, the film figures in our top three for Best Picture and it is in second for Actress and Production Design.)
But is its Oscar fate really so cut-and-dry? Let's look at what happened with four similar contenders -- "Avatar," "Inception," "Hugo" and "Life of Pi" -- in recent years.
All four were nominated for Best Picture, as is "Gravity," as well as six of the same craft categories: Cinematography, Production Design (formerly called Art Direction), Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. “Inception” was the only one snubbed for Director and Editing; “Avatar” was the only one not nominated for screenplay; "Gravity" was likewise left out of contention for its script.
All four won Cinematography and Visual Effects, along with one to three others, varying by film, as detailed below.
MetaCritic score: 83
Box office: $2.78 billion
Oscar wins: 3/9 nominations: Art Direction, Cinematography, Visual Effects
MetaCritic score: 74
Box office: $825 million
Oscars wins: 4/8 nominations: Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects
MetaCritic score: 83
Box office: $186 million
Oscar wins: 5/11 nominations - Art Direction, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects
"Life of PI" (2012)
MetaCritic score: 79
Box office: $609 million
Oscar wins: 4/11 nominations - Director, Cinematography, Score, Visual Effects
Why do we expect "Gravity" to take all these below the line races, save Production Design, when none of these did?
Both Lupita Nyongo ("12 Years a Slave") and Barkhad Abdi ("Captain Phillips") have earned Oscar nominations for their feature film debuts, making this the first time in 17 years that two actors have done so. The last time was Edward Norton ("Primal Fear") and Emily Watson ("Breaking the Waves") in 1996; if their careers are any indication, Nyongo and Abdi have a lot to look forward to regardless of the Oscar results.
Since winning at Critics' Choice and the SAG Awards, Nyongo has dramatically widened her lead in the Best Supporting Actress race over Golden Globe champ Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle"). Indeed, Supporting Actress has crowned more debuts that any other category; Nyongo would be the ninth, following:
Gale Sondergaard ("Anthony Adverse," 1936)
Katina Paxinou ("For Whom the Bell Tolls," 1943)
Mercedes McCambridge ("All the King's Men," 1949)
Eva Marie Saint ("On the Waterfront," 1954)
Jo Van Fleet ("East of Eden," 1955)
Tatum O'Neal ("Paper Moon," 1973)
Anna Paquin ("The Piano," 1993)
Jennifer Hudson ("Dreamgirls," 2006)
Another four women won lead Oscars for their film debuts:
Shirley Booth ("Come Back, Little Sheba," 1952)
Julie Andrews ("Mary Poppins," 1964)
Barbra Streisand ("Funny Girl," 1968)
Marlee Matlin ("Children of a Lesser God," 1986)
Unfortunately for Abdi, Oscar isn't nearly as fond of male newcomers. If he can overcome his steep 50/1 odds to win Best Supporting Actor, he will join only three other fellows who won for their screen debuts, all of them also in the supporting category:
Why can't black-and-white movies manage to win Best Cinematography at the Oscars?
Since the academy merged its color and black-and-white categories in 1967, only one of the latter has won: "Schindler's List" 20 years ago.
Usually the most conspicuous achievement in below-the-line Oscar categories prevails. The biggest period gowns tend to win Costume Design, the most elaborate sets win Production Design, the loudest movies win Sound, and so on. And if any kind of cinematography stands out in the modern era, it's black-and-white. But it hasn't worked out that way.
In recent years, the Best Cinematography Oscar has gone to the director of photography who points the camera at the most CGI ("Avatar," "Inception," "Hugo," "Life of Pi"). This year that tradition is likely to continue, with Emmanuel Lubezki far out front for his work on "Gravity."
And if I were an academy member, I'd be hard-pressed to vote against Lubezki – "Gravity" is such a visual marvel I think Visual Effects and Cinematography Oscars are equally warranted and he is long overdue – but I'd quibble with previous results. "Inception" over "True Grit"? "Hugo" over "The Tree of Life"? Those awards felt like the academy not paying enough attention.
This year another black-and-white film is in the running: "Nebraska," shot by Phedon Papamichael. Discussing his decision to go monochromatic, Alexander Payne said at the New York Film Festival last fall, "It's just so darn beautiful," and he's right. Full of associations with classic Hollywood, it has a nostalgic quality that enhances "Nebraska's" stroll through old Woody Grant's (Bruce Dern) hometown. (Watch our interview with Papamichael here.)
Following Sunday's tie by "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" at the PGA Awards and the win by "American Hustle" of Best Ensemble at Saturday's SAG Awards, we can be fairly certain that one of these three will win Best Picture at the Oscars?
But which one?
We might have a better sense this Saturday when the Directors Guild of America reveals their winner. After all, in the 65-year history of these kudos, the guild choice has helmed the academy's pick for Best Picture 52 times, including last year when Oscar-snubbed Ben Affleck won with the DGA while "Argo" went on to take the top Academy Award.
This 80% success rate at predicting the Best Picture champ eclipses that of both the PGA (17/24 -71%) and SAG (9/18 -- 50%).
The 13 exceptions to the DGA rule (and three of these also number among the seven instances where the DGA champ did not also win Best Director at the Oscars) were:
This first-time nominee is far out in front, with the support of all of our Experts save for Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), all of our Editors, 21 of our Top 24 Users from last year and 85% of All Users. That support gives him odds of 1/5.
With just a smattering of support each, second-time nominee David O. Russell ("American Hustle") has odds of 33/1 while 2006 champ Martin Scorsese -- who reaped his eight film nomination for "The Wolf of Wall Street" is at 50/1 and another newcomer, Paul Greengrass ("Captain Phillips"), ranks last with odds of 100/1.
All but Greengrass also contend for Best Director at the Oscars; he was bumped out there by Alexander Payne ("Nebraska").
In the 65-year history of the DGA awards, it's winner has gone on to take home the Oscar on 58 occasions. Not surprisingly then, Cuaron is the overwhelming favorite at the Oscars too. The seven exceptions have been:
Earliest Oscars Predictions Ever
Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.