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Remember: Not All Precursors Are Created Equal (Pay Attention to the Guilds)

Last night, the 80th Golden Globes went down, for better and/or worse. If you care about how I did, prediction-wise, I went 10/14, notably swapping out out The Fabelmans for Elvis in Best Motion Picture – Drama at the last minute, foolishly, but more on that later. Later on this morning, the Screen Actors Guild will notably announce their nominations, as well as the Directors Guild of America. Those DGA and SAG nods, along with the noms given by many a Guild over the past few days, are what we should be paying attention to, as opposed to the Globes, which are mostly a sideshow, even if their picks may well end up being similar to what ends up happening at the Academy Awards in March.

When I wrote about the start of precursor season (here), I warned everyone not to pay too much attention to critics prizes or what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was up to. This is most of what I said:

It goes without saying that Social Media is a toilet, but it can, on occasion, be a place where film lovers can congregate to celebrate their favorite works. At the end of each year, when the precursor season begins, that’s the platonic ideal. As movies and performances are cited by critics groups, and potentially later by the guilds, it’s a time to feel as a community that your favorites are being rightly recognized. Not to be a buzzkill today, but as we enter a big day of precursor announcements, coming hot on the heels of yesterday’s multiple ones, I want to caution against reading too much into anything that happens.

Right now, we’ve seen several critics groups announce, with the big one in the Critics Choice Association (of which, full disclosure, I am a voting member) announcing this week. Throw in the Golden Globe nominations that should hit right around when this post goes live, and it’s a veritable smorgasbord of precursors. I just want to remind everyone though…none of them really matter just yet. Sure, it’s cool when RRR gets Best Director citations, but is S. S. Rajamouli suddenly the frontrunner, or even likely to be cited? No, not without the Directors Guild backing him next month. We’ve seen time and time again frontrunners from the critics group section fall short at the Oscars, sometimes not even getting nominated. Think back to The Social Network for one such notable example of how the critics group vs guild split does matter for the Academy Awards.

When the guilds begin, that’s when you begin to cross-reference and see who/what is really catching on. Right now, it’s simply exposure. Of course, getting nominated here during the early section of Phase One is better than not, but missing out on wins right now doesn’t doom a Brendan Fraser or a Michelle Williams, just like it doesn’t assure anyone of ultimately getting wins. Someone like a Ke Huy Quan is doing a great job of consistently being mentioned, which in turn keeps him on the Academy’s mind, but simply put, most voters haven’t even come close to making up their minds yet.

Again, none of this means that you shouldn’t be happy. Just remember that CCA and the Golden Globes, for example, aren’t the first or last word when it comes to Oscar season. There’s much to be decided, to the point where I’d argue that not a single thing has been decided. That’s actually a bit of a rarity, so we should all just enjoy it, right?

So, just sit back. There’s a lot more precursors left to be announced. Some will mention your favorites. Some won’t. Just take it all with a grain of salt, at least for several more weeks. When it gets really serious, we’ll be sure to let you know…

I reiterate this just to say that it’s the Guilds to pay attention to today, as opposed to the Globe results last night. Putting too much stock in the latter, especially at the expense of the former, is a fool’s errand. The Academy Awards will be influenced far more by groups with crossover membership, plain and simple.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 21: The ‘Actor’ statue on display before the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Trophy Room at The Shrine Auditorium on January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. 27522_010 (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Turner)

I specifically made sure to tinker with my Oscar predictions (here) at the same time as I finalized my Globe picks, just to hammer home the danger in following the HFPA, in terms of what the Academy might do. Hence how I boosted Elvis up with the Globes, while not doing so with the Oscars, which remains a tight race, likely led by The Fabelmans. Lots more is still to be decided, and who knows, maybe we’ll know more in just a few short hours?

Watch out for DGA and SAG today (I’ll update predictions after they announce). Pay attention to them. Sit tight for PGA soon. As for last night’s Globes and the impending Critics Choice Awards? Well, hopefully you found them to be fun…

Stay tuned for more precursors all month long!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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