‘Get Out’ and ‘Lady Bird’ attempting to be sixth Best Picture champ without any below-the-line nominations

Get Out” and “Lady Bird” have inhabited the No. 3 and 4 spots in our Best Picture Oscar odds in some order since nominations were announced. On the surface, those high rankings make sense — they’re two well-received, critically acclaimed movies by exciting new filmmakers. But look a little closer and you’ll see that neither film has any below-the-line nominations. If either wins the top prize, it’d only be the sixth film to do so and the first in 37 years.

The five films in this small club are “The Broadway Melody” (1928/29), “Grand Hotel” (1931/32), “It Happened One Night” (1934), “Annie Hall” (1977) and “Ordinary People” (1980). Of these, Best Picture was the only award “The Broadway Melody,” which was also up for director and actress, won and it was the only category in which “Grand Hotel” was nominated.

“Get Out” has four nominations, one fewer than “Lady Bird,” and they’re all for acting, writing, directing and Best Picture. Neither is a whiz-bang, heavy effects-driven film, so a plethora of craft nominations wasn’t expected like it was for “Dunkirk” or “The Shape of Water.” But blow-the-line nominations are important since the whole academy membership votes for the winners and it helps to be on multiple branches’ radars. When a less showy film sneaks into a tech category that you weren’t expecting, you know that branch is paying attention. “Get Out” was a longshot in the sound races, but the best chance at a below-the-nomination for both was in Best Editing, one of the tried and true tea leaves we use to predict Best Picture; both were snubbed.

SEE 2018 Oscars: Can ‘Get Out’ or “Lady Bird’ win Best Picture without an editing nomination?

As we previously noted, “Get Out”’s editing snub hurts more because it’s a genre film with one of the most memorable film sequences of the year (The Sunken Place). “Lady Bird” can actually look to modern films “Annie Hall” and “Ordinary People” as precedence for a Best Picture win — they’re all acting- and writing-driven relationship films without the flashy editing that the Oscars usually favors.

But both those films were much stronger overall. “Annie Hall” won four of the five awards it was up for and “Ordinary People” won four of six. And “It Happened One Night,” which won the year Best Editing was introduced, is one of three films to sweep the Big Five: picture, director, both lead acting races and a writing award. “Lady Bird” is currently not a favorite in any of its five categories in our odds, having been eclipsed by “Get Out” in Best Original Screenplay following the latter’s Writers Guild Awards win. Besides screenplay, “Get Out” is not predicted to win any of its other categories either.

In the era of the preferential ballot, anything is possible — streaks are getting broken and Best Picture champs are walking away with smaller hauls — but you’re probably safest going with something with below-the-line support.

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