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Why Have Picture And Director Split So Much This Decade?

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  • Joe Burns
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    It’s been one of the most interesting patterns that we’ve seen this decade but for some it is one of the more irksome as traditionally Picture and Director have gone together. To be honest I think that if Afleck had gotten in for Argo we wouldn’t have seen so many splits this decade as it appears that with Afleck out of the race and with Best Director having been a wide open opportunity to honor a different film other then the Best Picture winner created an avenue of awarding achievements in film that was different then what they normally did and that Oscar voters liked it. I would have preferred to have seen 12 Years A Slave win Director but Cuaron was so popular that year and was overdue for industry recognition. Voters ended up going with Birdman in both categories the year after as Boyhood didn’t have enough passion behind it to overcome the guild support for Birdman even with its BAFTA wins. Spotlight never really had any surefire chance at the directing prize(although if it had been a stronger Best Picture contender McCarthy could have just gotten name checked) so Alejandro was able to take advantage of a weak field. But if this whole proposal that the Academy wants to honor the most visually compelling film in this category now is supposed to be valid I’ll be damned as to why George Miller never got any real chance to win this category. He fit the mold of the previous split winners(Ang Lee and Cuaron) whose films won a bunch of tech prizes. Bias against comic book films I guess? La La Land looked like it would take both but Moonlight pulled off the win in Best Picture. What makes that year different was that the split was never an industry consensus as La La Land was widely expected to take both. Then in 2017 it appeared to me that there could be a match again as I could have seen McDonaugh winning Director but then he got snubbed which cleared the way for Del Toro to triumph. I predicted The Shape Of Water to win Best Picture as well almost arbitrarily but it looked like Three Billboards had been gutted by the director snub and the racial controversy even though this was another year that on paper fit the bill between the more visual film being honored in Directing and another film winning Best Picture. And then this year I thought Roma had enough industry strength to pull off both Picture/Director wins even though this was one of the most wide open Best Picture races in a while with wins for Green Book, The Favourite, and Black Panther all looking like possibilities to me(sorry BlackKlansman was done after losing at Best Ensemble at SAG and A Star Is Born had officially become A Star Is Dead after losing there too) but in the end Green Book triumphed because of anti-Netflix sentiment. I know that the whole visual film winning in Directing and another film winning Best Picture theory has merit but there have been enough varying factors and even anomalies(I doubt we’ll see another race like this year’s for at least a little while as things were so all over the place) that make this question more complicated then you’d think. What do you guys think? Do you agree with the “most visual film winning in directing” theory? How likely do you think it is to happen again next year? Do you agree with how the splits have gone and with splitting the two awards in general? Why or why not? Why do you think the 4 films(The King’s Speech,The Artist, Birdman, and The Shape Of Water)that were able to survive this new trend this decade were able to do so? Do you think that this will become a lasting trend or will it go out of style in the coming decade?

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    JGibson
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    I’m curious to see how this thread goes but it’s clear preferential ballot have a voice in it and how less of “undeniable frontrunners” as King’s Speech and The Artist are happening right now since Affleck’s snub.

    La La Land was the closest to this one but they decided they got tired of these kind of films that year but went basic again the following ceremonies.

    And the films that matched picture and director since Argo weren’t expected to sweep. Boyhood and Three Billboard were the frontrunners but it showed the importance of guild support. Something that also benefited Green Book since the PGA.

    It is interesting how Best Picture and Best Director split reminds me to the two best picture categories in the first Oscar ceremony. Now, the first being a “best message/story” award and the second a “technical achievement” award (as pointed out in the OP). Argo/Life of Pi, 12 Years/Gravity, Moonlight/La La Land, Green Book/Roma fits that mold

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    Joe Burns
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    I personally don’t think the preferential ballot has made a drastic impact on who wins Best Picture and I don’t think that it is responsible for Best Director splitting with it either as I believe that all of the winners would have won Best Picture in a winner take all system with Spotlight being the only possible exception. It’ll take some time for Green Book’s win to sink in for me but right now I think it could have pulled off the win in a winner take all system.

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    JGibson
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    I personally don’t think the preferential ballot has made a drastic impact on who wins Best Picture and I don’t think that it is responsible for Best Director splitting with it either as I believe that all of the winners would have won Best Picture in a winner take all system with Spotlight being the only possible exception. It’ll take some time for Green Book’s win to sink in for me but right now I think it could have pulled off the win in a winner take all system.

    I believe what doomed La La Land was the backlash of people putting it on the last places of the ballot or not putting it at all while Moonlight had more universal placement in the ballots. Still, on a 9-nominees lineup its easier to get more pure votes, which La La Land would probably get and win it if not for preferential ballot.

    Green Book’s win is ridiculous and preferential ballot helped it for sure, even though they still got Original Screenplay which also seems unforgivable because you could’nt get through such a basic script, but they had ‘pure votes’ support somehow. idk then, they just screwed up bad this year

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    Lil Tony
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    I’m curious to see how this thread goes but it’s clear preferential ballot have a voice in it and how less of “undeniable frontrunners” as King’s Speech and The Artist are happening right now since Affleck’s snub. La La Land was the closest to this one but they decided they got tired of these kind of films that year but went basic again the following ceremonies. And the films that matched picture and director since Argo weren’t expected to sweep. Boyhood and Three Billboard were the frontrunners but it showed the importance of guild support. Something that also benefited Green Book since the PGA. It is interesting how Best Picture and Best Director split reminds me to the two best picture categories in the first Oscar ceremony. Now, the first being a “best message/story” award and the second a “technical achievement” award (as pointed out in the OP). Argo/Life of Pi, 12 Years/Gravity, Moonlight/La La Land, Green Book/Roma fits that mold

    you’ve spoken so well but there was no competition between Argo and Life of Pi. It was more like Argo vs Les Miserables. Of course, Les mis wasn’t a director think…..so Lincoln took over the director spot. Ang Lee was never a threat as Steven Spielberg took charge the moment Ben Affleck was snubbed. The real show down was Boyhood/Birdman

    I don't know who to STAN yet

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    Honey
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    you’ve spoken so well but there was no competition between Argo and Life of Pi. It was more like Argo vs Les Miserables. Of course, Les mis wasn’t a director think…..so Lincoln took over the director spot. Ang Lee was never a threat as Steven Spielberg took charge the moment Ben Affleck was snubbed. The real show down was Boyhood/Birdman

    Took charge where?

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    Bee
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    Simple, the preferential ballot. The key to winning this for Best Picture is that you have to at least be liked by everyone and be the consensus choice. Green Book was obviously not for everyone as far as cinephiles go (it’s a very basic, tone-deaf film), but for basic voters, it was the film they could constantly go back to unlike Roma. Voters knew that Roma was the frontrunner so if they didn’t watch it already, they had to watch it at some point. You have your people that will put it off until the absolute last minute and then they realize how slow it is. So then, it’s “I’ll finish it later”. Green Book just had more rewatchability than Roma and placed higher on ballots so it won, unfortunately.

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    kingfan011
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    #1202895227

    The Academy loved Green Book and it played well with festival audiences so it won with a preferential ballot,

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    Dennis El Mar
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    Funny enough, I also think that we were also really close to Picture/Director splits in the years where there wasn’t one. IE Fincher winning Director in 2010 would have been very plausible and it was likely a very close race, same with Scorsese 2011, Linklater, Del Toro/3BB and etc.

    The only way to explain these sort of trends is by the preferential ballot. Huge frontrunners have historically tended to fare better under a winner takes all ballot. The amount of times that another movie has upset the early frontrunner after the preferential ballot as opposed to the amount of times that’s happened in the era of multiple precursors is pretty noticeable. Of course, correlation doesn’t always imply causation, but after having deviated from the predicted winner for so many years it makes sense.

    I think that the days of an all-out clean sweep frontrunner are gone. If a movie like Titanic came out today, there would very likely be a Picture/Director split because of the preferential ballot. The Director branch has always been known to show praise via nominations to films that the more conservative BP voters wouldn’t even nominate; ie Cold War, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, The Sweet Hereafter, Last Temptation. Between the preferential ballot and the higher likelihood of deviating from the sheep mentality with BP voters, there’s undeniably going to be many Picture/Director splits.

     

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    Joe Burns
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    Scorsese had no chance of winning whatsoever for Hugo and I honestly think Linklater was a long shot for Director. Alejandro was too beloved to lose and its clear Hollywood was not in love with Boyhood. Fincher was probably the closest to winning Director but A Social Network was too cold and cynical for Oscar voters who loved the feel good nature of The King’s Speech in addition to the British factor. As for Three Billboards the controversy surrounding it and the political climate of the time doomed it as it is certainly a much more un-politically correct movie then Green Book. It was also in the position of being the strong frontrunner(in my mind anyway) before the Oscar nominations came out so the directing snub really hurt its chances. The Shape Of Water appealed to both traditional Academy voters who enjoyed the sentimental story as well as the 1960’s setting and to the newer crowd of voters who wanted to see Del Toro honored by the industry in addition to being wildly impressed by its visuals(I’m sure the tech branches voted for it in droves). Green Book on the other hand was not the overwhelming frontrunner although it was a strong candidate with it over performing at the Globes and winning PGA so the directing snub wasn’t nearly as fatal to its chances especially since we all knew it could happen. For me it was the directing snub combined with its controversy that made me think its chances of winning anything else then Supporting Actor were weak.

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    FairWeatherAffair
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    Why would you find the notion of the split irksome, generally speaking?

    I quite enjoy the splits, actually, even if I don’t agree with the ultimate winners, and even if I would not have actually awarded the splits in the first place. I have said this before, but I’d like to explore shelving the BD award entirely and awarding BP to the director anyway; or, at least try something in the vein of the Cannes juries, where Palme d’Or winners are unofficially disqualified from winning their Best Director awards.

    Anyway, if I’d had my way:

    2010: split, Black Swan, Fincher
    2011: no split, The Tree of Life, Malick
    2012: split, Zero Dark Thirty, Haneke
    2013: split, Her, Scorsese
    2014: split, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Linklater
    2015: no split, Mad Max: Fury Road, Miller
    2016: no split, Manchester by the Sea, Lonergan
    2017: no split, Phantom Thread, Anderson
    2018: no split, BlacKkKlansman, Lee

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    Joe Burns
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    I’d rather see picture and director go together or at least not make Best Director into the most visually flashy film all the time. I was not a fan of Life Of Pi and would have preferred to see Steve McQueen to win for 12 Years A Slave. I think this whole visual film taking the directors prize every year diminishes the triumph of smaller films that aren’t all about visual effects or gimmicks(black and white movies, space movies, fantasy musical numbers) and the more the splits occur the more likely they are to go that way at least from whats it looking like right now.

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    Joe Burns
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    That said, I would have given Darren Arofonsky the Best Director win for Black Swan pretty easily given the scope of his vision on that film. All of the nominees are well directed but Black Swan was in a league of its own. Why would you give Black Swan Best Picture and Fincher Best Director?

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    Lil Tony
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    Took charge where?

    Spielberg took over the predictions center on many sites. He had the hype. Only few people predicted Lee

    I don't know who to STAN yet

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    kellis
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    Spielberg took over the predictions center on many sites. He had the hype. Only few people predicted Lee

    That still doesn’t mean he wasn’t considered a threat lol. I mean he won and most people had him as the runner-up (not to mention LoP was more accessible and the technical marvel). I didn’t even pay attention to the Oscars back then (save for watch them) and I even knew he was probably going to win.

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