Think the Oscar race is between ‘1917’ and ‘Parasite’ after PGA and SAG Awards? Tell that to ‘Moonlight’

On January 18 the Producers Guild Award for Best Picture went to “1917.” And on January 19 the top Screen Actors Guild Award went to the ensemble cast of “Parasite.” So the Oscar race is down to those two films, right? That’s possible, but don’t forget recent history: “Moonlight” didn’t win either of those three years ago, but it claimed the top Academy Award anyway.

The 2016 awards season was dominated by “La La Land,” which was awarded by the Producers Guild, Directors Guild and the BAFTAs — among many others. But it wasn’t nominated for its ensemble cast at the SAG Awards. Most of us didn’t think that mattered much, though, since the movie was mostly a two-hander between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and not really an ensemble movie. “Moonlight” was nominated for its cast at the SAG Awards, but it lost in an upset to “Hidden Figures.” So “Moonlight” ended up losing top prizes at the PGA, DGA, SAG and BAFTA Awards yet still managed to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

So those who think the Oscar race has now been narrowed down to the weekend’s two big winners might be right, but you shouldn’t write off the rest of the field yet. Don’t get me wrong, the victory for “1917” at the PGA Awards was a big deal; the PGA has agreed with the motion picture academy 10 times in the last 12 years, and they decide their winner using the same preferential ballot that the Oscars use.

And the SAG Awards have presaged major Oscar upsets before: “Shakespeare in Love” over “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), “Crash” over “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) and “Spotlight” over “The Big Short” (2015). But the makeup of the motion picture academy keeps changing with the addition of hundreds of new members every year including more women and professionals from a wider variety of ethnic and national backgrounds. Trying to anticipate how that will shake up the preferential vote every year is tricky to say the least.

So take any “the race is over” declarations with a grain of salt between now and Oscar night, including mine — especially mine. “1917” and “Parasite” are looking good, but it’s not over until Faye Dunaway announces the wrong winner.

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 winners are announced on February 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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