Breaking down the precursor awards — both nominations and winners — as well as the top Oscar nominations by categories gives us 35 key races that highlight the strongest films at the Academy Awards. Different films have different strengths: some will do well with acting, others with writing and directing and some will pop up here and there. To be a leading Oscar contender, a film needs to be represented across a range of races.
This year, none of the eight Best Picture contenders picked up the last box of the season by winning at the WGA Awards on Sunday. Bo Burnham‘s Oscar-snubbed “Eighth Grade” won Best Original Screenplay, beating Oscar Best Picture nominees “Green Book,” “Roma,” and “Vice,” while “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty) won Best Adapted Screenplay, over Oscar-favourite “BlacKkKlansman” as well as “A Star is Born.”
The chart cataloguing the performances of the Best Picture nominees stayed static after this shut out by the Writers Guild of America.
Had “BlacKkKlansman” prevailed at the WGAs, it would have owned second place. And “Green Book” missed the chance to end in first place with an even two dozen boxes ticked. Likewise, Alfonso Cuaron‘s “Roma” could have moved into joint second with 20 had it won and Adam McKay‘s “Vice” could have moved up to joint third with 19 boxes ticked.
The WGA results suggest that the ink is not dry in the Adapted Screenplay race at the Oscars with “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” now a viable option to spoil Spike Lee’s party. “The Favourite,” which was ineligible at the WGAs looks like even more of an sure thing at the Oscars. The win there by “Eighth Grade” over “Green Book” suggests that that the latter does not have the strength to mount a challenge against “The Favourite” for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards.
Here is the final league table:
1st Place: “Green Book” – 23
2nd Place: “BlacKkKlansman,” “The Favourite” – 20
3rd Place: “Roma” – 19
4th Place: “A Star is Born,” “Vice” – 18
5th Place: “Bohemian Rhapsody” – 15
6th Place: “Black Panther” – 7
Based on this theory, then, your 2019 Best Picture winner is… “GREEN BOOK.” With a total of 23 boxes ticked, three more than any other film, it has been found to have the most consistent, broad support across all areas of filmmaking with all awards groups right the way through Oscar season. We’ll see how my well my theory has served me next week at the Academy Awards. I’m not holding my breath…