How easy is it to win an Oscar if your film isn’t a Best Picture nominee?

In 2009 the Academy Awards expanded the Best Picture race in the hopes of giving more popular films a chance at being nominated. In the years since, it has produced hit and miss results when it comes to this goal. However, we have seen an uptick in the number of winners of other categories at the Oscars now being from films that number among the Best Picture nominees.

Between 2009 and 2017, 81 films received a Best Picture nomination. Collectively they racked up an impressive 157 nominations of which they’ve won 138 or 88%. Below is a breakdown of the number of times the winner of a category was also a Best Picture contender and the impact that could have on this year’s Oscars.

Best Director: 9 for 9
Only Bennet Miller (“Foxcatcher,” 2014) has received a Best Director bid without his film being nominated. This rules out a win by Pawel Pawlikowski for “Cold War.”

Best Actor: 8 for 9
Only Jeff Bridges for “Crazy Heart” (2009) prevailed without his film figuring in the Best Picture lineup. He was a dominant force that awards season winning both the Golden Globe and SAG Award. That is bad news for Willem Dafoe as he is the sole nominee for “At Eternity’s Gate.”

Best Actress: 6 of 9
On three separate occasions the Best Actress winner did not come from a film in the top race: Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady” (2011); Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine” (2013) and Julianne Moore for “Still Alice” (2014). This should put Glenn Close’s (“The Wife”) mind at ease.

Best Supporting Actor: 8 of 9
Christopher Plummer won “Beginners” (2011) won despite his film not making the cut– this was after sweeping Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA Awards. Unfortunately Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) hasn’t fared as well in the precursors.

Best Supporting Actress 7 of 9
Alicia Vikander “(The Danish Girl,” 2015) didn’t need her film to be nominated to translate her SAG Award win into an Oscar. Last year Alison Janney (“I, Tonya”) did likewise after winning the Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA Awards. Current front-runner Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) was snubbed at both SAG and BAFTA after winning the Golden Globe; her film is not part of the Best Picture lineup.

Best Original and Adapted Screenplay: 9 for 9 (for each category)
This stat is a big roadblock for three Best Adapted Screenplay nominees — “Ballad of Buster Scruggs,”“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” — as well as Original Screenplay nominee “First Reformed.”

PREDICT the Oscar winners now; change them until February 24

Best Cinematography: 8 for 9
Only last year’s champ, the long overdue Roger Deakins for “Blade Runner: 2049.” was able to win for a film from outside the Best Picture lineup. That makes it tough for both the ASC winner “Cold War” and “Never Look Away.”

Best Costume Design: 4 of 9
Five films have won this award without being nominated for the top Oscar: “The Young Victoria” (2009); “Alice in Wonderland” (2010); “Anna Karenina” (2012) “The Great Gatsby” (2013) and“Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them” (2016). This gives “Mary Poppins,” “Mary Queen of Scott” and “Ballad of Bastard Scruggs” hope.

Best Film Editing: 8 of 9
Only the cutters for “Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” (2011) were able to win without their film being in the running. There is no advantage this year as all five nominees are from Best Picture contenders.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: 7 for 7
There were two years where none of the three nominees was a Best Picture contender. 2009 (winner: “Star Trek”) and 2016 (winner: “Suicide Squad”). This gives front-runner “Vice” an overwhelming edge.

Best Production Design: 7 of 9
Only “Alice in Wonderland” (2010) and “The Great Gatsby” (2013) were able to pull off wins without their films numbering among the best of the year.

Best Score: 8 of 9
The only film snubbed for Best Picture to win this award was “The Hateful Eight” (2015). With that in mind, we may want to reconsider the odds for  “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which is predicted to win. Could “Black Panther” or “BlacKkKlansman” pull off an upset?

SEE Which film wins Best Picture at the Oscars when PGA and DGA disagree?

Best Song: 3 of 6
On three occasions none of the Best Song nominees was featured in a Best Picture nominee: 2009 (winner: “The Weary Kind” from” “Crazy Heart”); 2011 (winner: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”) and 2015 (winner: “Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”). Another three times the Best Song winner was able to overcome a tune from a Best Picture: 2012 (winner: “Skyfall”” from “Skyfall”); 2013 (winner: “Let It Go” from “Frozen”) and 2017 (winner: “Remember Me” from “Coco”). If you’re going to predict a category to go to a non-Best Picture nominee this is the one.

Best Sound Editing 9 of 9*
** In 2012 Best Picture nominee “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall” tied. Can “First Man” overcome this overwhelming stat?

Best Sound Mixing 9 of 9
Likewise for “First Man” in this race, where it vies against four Best Picture nominees.

Best Visual Effects: 5 of 6
Best Visual Effects hasn’t included any Best Picture on three previous occasions: 2014 (winner: “Interstellar”); 2016 (winner: “The Jungle Book”) and 2017 (winner: “Blade Runner 2049”). Only once in 2015 (winner: “Ex Machina”) did a film overcome a film amongst the Best Picture lineup. With no Best Picture nominee in the lineup this year it could be anyone’s to win.

Best Foreign Language Film: 1 of 1
In 2012 “Amour” made the Best Picture lineup and won this award. That gives “Roma” the edge to finally win Mexico its first Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Best Animated Film: 2 for 2
“Up” (2009) and “Toy Story 3” (2010) numbered amongst the Best Picture lineup, which was fixed at 10. No animated film has been nominated since the race changed to a varying amount.

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Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on February 24.


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