It was a whirlwind weekend in Hollywood.
First, the World War I epic “1917” won the bloody battle at the PGA Awards.
Then, the South Korean black comedy “Parasite” beat out hometown favorite “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” for Best Cast at the SAG Awards.
And Monday morning quarterbacks are still no closer to confidently declaring this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture.
Fortunately, we still have the DGA Awards to look forward to this coming weekend. And that should give us our answer.
Or will it?
Let’s consider the history of the three major guild awards (DGA, PGA and SAG.) Since the creation of the SAG Award for Best Cast in 1995, virtually every film to earn the triple crown has won the Best Picture Oscar. That includes 1999’s “American Beauty,” 2002’s “Chicago,” 2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” 2007’s “No Country for Old Men,” 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” 2010’s “The King’s Speech,” 2012’s “Argo” and 2014’s “Birdman.” The sole exception was 1995’s “Apollo 13,” which crash landed as “Braveheart” mounted a come-from-behind victory.
With PGA and SAG already split this year, there’s no chance of a triple threat.
However, there is one key stat to keep in mind. Should Bong Joon Ho win the DGA trophy, that could perfectly position “Parasite” for an upset at the Academy Awards.
Over the past 20 years, NO film that has claimed both SAG and DGA has lost the Best Picture Oscar. (It’s the same list as above.) Granted, “Parasite” was defeated by “1917” at PGA. But the statistic still holds. No film with the DGA/SAG double dose has missed the Academy’s biggest prize. Even when the DGA recipient lost the Oscar to someone else (Rob Marshall for “Chicago” to Roman Polanski for “The Pianist”) or wasn’t even nominated (Ben Affleck for “Argo”) – their films still prevailed in the top Oscar category.
But if Sam Mendes should prevail at DGA for “1917,” that doesn’t signal the end of the war. Three highly-touted films with the DGA/PGA combo have ended up losing Best Picture. Those were 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan,” 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain” and 2016’s “La La Land,” which fell in major upsets to “Shakespeare in Love,” “Crash” and “Moonlight,” respectively. (2013’s “Gravity” also had DGA/PGA and missed the top Oscar, but it had tied at PGA with eventual Oscar recipient “12 Years a Slave.”)
Of course, the DGA/PGA formula has proven successful on multiple other occasions. That includes 1996’s “The English Patient,” 1997’s “Titanic,” 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind,” 2009’s “The Hurt Locker,” 2011’s “The Artist” and 2017’s “The Shape of Water.” So “1917” would be in good shape after DGA conquest, but it won’t quite be walking on water.
The real bombshell would be if DGA went to a director of a different film – Martin Scorsese for “The Irishman,” Taika Waititi for “Jojo Rabbit” or Quentin Tarantino for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – leaving a wide open three-way race.
The DGA/PGA/SAG split has happened a handful of times the past quarter of a century, including just last year. (Alfonso Cuaron won DGA for “Roma,” “Black Panther” grabbed SAG ensemble, and “Green Book” claimed PGA – and ultimately the Best Picture Oscar.)
In short, the DGA could seal the deal for “Parasite,” or put us on track for another photo finish.
Be sure to make your Oscar winner predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the ceremony on February 9. And join in the thrilling debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.