Tomorrow is a busy day with the PGA nods, the Art Directors Guild (ADG) nods, and several critics awards all coming out on the same day. Wednesday is the Writers Guild, next Tuesday the Directors, next Thursday the Oscar nominations. It is about to get real. Everything up until this point, except for the SAG Nominations, really does not matter. They do matter in the sense that they have built us up to this point. But the guilds are the real players. This is the industry voting on its favorites, these are the groups with overlapping members with AMPAS. A contender that has been missing out on the critical circuit can suddenly emerge with the guilds or BAFTA and suddenly be a huge Oscar player. So with that in mind, let's predict which ten films will make the PGA cut.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Other Potentials - Whiplash, A Most Violent Year, Nightcrawler, Into the Woods, Interstellar, Wild, Mr. Turner, Inherent Vice, Big Eyes, Fury.
Selma's miss at the Eddies was big, but I think it rebounds here at PGA. Birdman, Boyhood, The Theory of Everything, and The Imitation Game are probably easy picks as well. From there it is where we could see the real battles emerge. I feel like The Grand Budapest Hotel has done well enough, that it could get in here, and I think it goes all the way to a Best Picture nomination. Gone Girl and Foxcatcher are the two darker films that either could be included, or could easily be snubbed. This is a real test for both of them. For now, I still think they get in. Finally, two latecomers have emerged with two different trajectories. Unbroken was the favorite for so long, only to open to middling reviews. I still think it will have enough broad support within the industry that it will at least make the PGA cut tomorrow keeping its Oscar hopes alive. If it misses here, it could be the end of the road. The other is American Sniper, which was underestimated for most of the year, and has emerged with good (not great, but good) reviews from critics, and just surprised at the Eddies beating out the likes of Unbroken, Selma, and The Theory of Everything. Like Unbroken, this is the big test for the film. I have felt its buzz rising, and if it can score here, it can make the Best Picture cut. So that is my ten, but there are several films that are looking to crash. I am so ready to include smaller films like Whiplash and A Most Violent Year in the mix, but they need to prove their chops tomorrow with the PGA for me to take them seriously. Nightcrawler has been on a fast rise this season, and the Eddie nod on Friday was a huge boost. I still think it is an outside contender, but if it gets in tomorrow, all bets are off. Into the Woods, Interstellar, and Mr. Turner are still hanging on, this could be a place for them to reignite their campaigns. Tomorrow is a big day, Wednesday shows us three guilds and the BAFTA nods. We have about a week and a half till Oscar nominations. As always, we'll have to wait and see...