The Case for Best Picture – 2012

In an effort to keep myself from dying of boredom this Oscar week I have made a break down of each Best Picture nominee’s chances of actually winning Best Picture.  Each film has a section of those statistics that give it even the slightest chance of taking home the Oscar as well as statistics showing its chances of losing.  All of these assumptions are based on past Best Picture winners compared to the other Big 4 category nominations (Director, Editing, Screenplay & Actor) and the 5 Major Guilds (PGA, DGA, ACE, WGA & SAG).
 1) The Artist
Why It Will Win
– Must win either Director or any 2 of Editing, Original Screenplay and Actor.
– The Artist won the DGA, which has an 80% match to Best Picture. 
– Gladiator (2000) won Best Picture with just an Actor win and Director, Editing, Original Screenplay nominations.
 – Rebecca (1940) won Best Picture with only nominations for Director, Editing, Screenplay & 3 Acting noms; no wins…but that was Adapted Screenplay…
 – Won 41% of Precursor Best Pictures
How It Can Lose
– by losing Director, Editing, Actor and Original Screenplay but that still won’t shut it out completely.  It will just crack the door open for a Hugo or The Descendants upset, which won’t happen. 
2) The Descendants
How It Could Win
– Needs to win any 3 of Director, Editing, Screenplay & Actor, which is possible.
– Crash (2005) won Best Picture with Editing & Screenplay wins & a Director loss.
– Rebecca (1940) won Best Picture with only nominations for Director, Editing, Screenplay & 3 Acting noms; no wins.
– Won 22% of Precursor Best Pictures
Why It Will Lose
 – by losing any 2 of Director, Editing, Screenplay and Actor
3) Hugo
How It Could Win
– It must win Director to have a shot, but that would just constitute a split.  Winning Editing & Screenplay, however, would put things in its favor.
– Braveheart (1995) won Best Picture with a Director win & Editing, Screenplay nominations with no Acting nominations.
– Won 8% of Precursor Best Pictures
Why It Will Lose
– by losing Director & Adapted Screenplay
– No film has won Best Picture without winning PGA, DGA ACE or WGA      
4) Moneyball
How It Could Win     
– Needs to win Adapted Screenplay.  This would give it roughly a 1% chance.
– Driving Miss Daisy (1989) won Best Picture without a Director nomination, but won Adapted Screenplay with 3 Acting nominations and Editing.
Why It Will Lose
– No film has ever won Best Picture without a Director nomination & a Screenplay win.
5) The Help
How It Could Win
– Statistically unprecedented.  This film has no chance of winning
Why It Will Lose
– No Film has ever won Best Picture without Director and Editing nomination
6) Midnight in Paris
How It Could Win
– Statistically unprecedented.  This film has no chance of winning
Why It Will Lose
– No film has ever won Best Picture without Editing & Acting nominations.
– No film has ever won Best Picture by losing PGA, DGA & Editing
           
7) War Horse
How It Could Win
– Statistically unprecedented.  This film has no chance of winning.
Why It Will Lose
– No film has ever won Best Picture without a Director, Editing, Screenplay & Acting nomination.
8) The Tree of Life
How It Could Win
– Statistically unprecedented.  This film has no chance of winning.
Why It Will Lose
– No film has ever won Best Picture without an Editing, Screenplay & Acting nomination.
– No film has ever won Best Picture without PGA, DGA, ACE, WGA & SAG nominations.
9) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
How It Could Win
– Statistically unprecedented.  This film has no chance of winning.
Why It Will Lose
– No film has ever won Best Picture without a Director, Editing & Screenplay nomination.
– No film has ever won Best Picture without PGA, DGA, ACE, WGA & SAG nominations.
– Did not win a single precursor award of any kind
RED FLAGS
The Artist is going to win.  All of this is just to keep my interest until the show is over.  The following points should raise red flags during the show if they do or do not occur.  The right combination of the red flags below could derail the train that is, The Artist, so keep your eyes open for any of these tell-tale signs of Oscar chaos.  Perhaps this will help many of you maintain an interest during the show.
1) The Artist losing Director, Editing, Acting and Original Screenplay.
2) The Descendants winning any 3 of Director, Editing, Adapted Screenplay & Actor
3) Hugo winning Director, Editing & Adapted Screenplay
4) Moneyball winning Adapted Screenplay.
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A Cinematic Valentine’s Tradition

My wife and I have had this Valentine’s Day tradition for the past 3 years where instead of going out to a fancy dinner, we stay home and watch movies.  (I know.  I’m a genius.)  Since Valentine’s Day usually falls within a couple of weeks of the Academy Awards and since we’re huge movie fans and obsessed with seeing as many of the Oscar-nominated films as possible, Valentine’s Day gives us a good excuse to stay in and watch a couple of the more obscure films nominated for Oscars each year. 
The tradition is still a relatively new one, but we’ve only been married 4 ½ years.  It all began in 2009 when we were busy packing up our townhouse for a move.  Most of the downstairs consisted of stacked boxes full of our stuff, ready to move.  We had been packing all evening and instead of going out, we decided to order Italian food in, light some candles, spread out a blanket, set up a picnic in our living room, Yada Yada Yada and watch what’s left on our list of nominated films.  Along with choosing to watch those films of little consequence, we inadvertently chose the films that were more of a depressing nature, and a tradition was born. Here is a run-down of how our Valentine’s Days have shaped up over our first few years of marriage. 
On the inaugural “Valentine’s Packing Picnic with Oscar” in 2009, we chose two films.  The first was the brutally stark and depressing, Frozen River, which stars Melissa Leo who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.  If you like films about poor people doing bizarre things for the betterment of their family, including but not limited to smuggling a newborn baby in a car over a river that has frozen over, then this just might be the film for you.  It was a downer to say the least, but that didn’t put a damper on the romance of the evening.  Nay, I would say that it made it all the more fun. 
For our second film that evening we decided to watch Vicky Christina Barcelona, one of the better Woody Allen films from the first decade of the 21rst century and one that centers on a love triangle of sorts, but also with many beautiful shots of Spain.  Penelope Cruz was nominated for and won Best Supporting Actress.  The film also stars the great Javier Bardem and the not-so-great-but-Woody’s-obsession-at-the-time Scarlett Johansson.  There’s something about people sitting around, drinking wine, talking and making bad decisions that I thoroughly enjoy.  Valentine’s Day 2009 was a supporting performance kind of night and we all know how important performance is. 
 
For the 2nd annual “Oscar Valentine’s Movie and a Blanket”, we decided to do the very same thing, but this time in a different house.  We got our usual Italian and made up our usual picnic, and watched In the Loop, an Adapted Screenplay nominee from that year.  It’s a very smart, darkly funny satire about the relationship between American and British politics and stars Tony Soprano, the girl from My Girl and Gabe from The Office.  It’s a neat, light little film that keeps you laughing and keeps you on your toes, though on your toes, may not be where you’d like to end up.
In 2011, the 3rd Annual “Oscar Italia Movie-palooza”, we went back to the ways of Supporting Actress and watched the grim, independent film, Animal Kingdom, which is an Australian crime drama film about a family that sort of runs the crime in their area.  It’s a good film and stars the fighting teacher that married way up from Warrior and Jacki Weaver, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.  It’s violent, sad and an all-around bummer of a film with a hint of Reverse Oedipus Complex; the key ingredients for a night of romance.
This year, the “Oscar Fest Movie Food Candle Magic Carpet Ride” will change course just a tad.  We will explore the far-away lands of the non-nominated films, though it could be argued that both films on the agenda deserved a nomination in certain categories.  The movie playlist this year consists of Contagion, the very depressing and unromantic disaster thriller directed by Stephen Soderbergh starring lots of famous people getting all sick and stuff followed by 50/50, a serious comedy starring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt about just one person getting sick.  Here’s to hoping my chances are greater than 50/50.
Let’s be real, nobody likes to get out on Valentine’s Day and when I say “Nobody”, I mean me and hopefully my wife or else I’ve got a lot of making up to do.  If you already have a Valentine’s Day tradition of dressing up and going out into the cold night and waiting for a table, then consider shaking things up for once.  A change from the usual plan implies that some thought went into it.  Likewise, bringing home dinner and movies shows that you put forth some effort: 
THOUGHT + EFFORT = BROWNIE POINTS
If you’re just now realizing that it is Valentine’s Day, then I’ve got good news.  This really doesn’t take much thought or effort at all.  It just looks like it does.  And honestly, it’s the impression of thought and effort that you’re really going for anyways.
PERCEPTION = REALITY
Enjoy the time together, enjoy the food, enjoy the films, but most importantly, enjoy the rewards that you will reap, my friends.  And…..ACTION!