The whole point of statistics is to give us a predetermined outcome that we can see coming. In sports, we’re given information like points per game, batting average, Quarterback rating, because through numerical knowledge, we have a better advantage and perception of the future. If a major leaguer averages around .300 the last 5-6 season, we can safely assume that he’ll hit for .300 the following season. Sometimes we’re wrong, but usually, numbers can predict the future.
Thank you for reading that introductory paragraph. Now, to my main point. Just like sports and many other fields, the awards season relies heavily on statistics and numbers. Without them, we are given absolutely no consistent and fundamental patterns, and without this information, we are given a completely blind journey through the circuit. And though the complaint for the last few years has always been the outcry from less predictability and more shock and awe, most actually don’t want the chaos and anarchy of it. Why? Because we all root for films. This is obvious. We all have our personal choices, and we favor some films more than others. But when we’re given this noticeable path of how it’s all going to go down, it’s easier to swallow and accept the eventual outcome, even if it’s not what we want. When The Social Network was being recognized in a record amount by critics all over the country, we assumed that it would dominate through the guilds. But we saw a changing tide, where the Producers Guild, Directors Guild and BAFTAs all went for the King’s Speech. And in two months, we experienced the Social Network to the King’s Speech transition. Though it doesn’t sit well at all with TSN fans, we saw it coming. Though we hoped for shock and awe (in a good way), we knew our expectations would trump our wishes, and eventually, our expectations were fulfilled.
But this year, 2013, is a year for the ages. It all started with the change of Academy voting, where the ballots were turned in before PGA nominations, DGA nominations, Golden Globe awards and WGA nominations. Oscar voters heavily lean towards some sort of guidance, and without any help from these outlets, they were totally blind. Now, the Academy are not completely dependent on other awards, nor will they ever admit that they are. And there are members of these guilds that represent members of the Academy, but the reason why this date change is so important is because any past history must be thrown away. It’s no coincidence that the DGA nominations and the Best Director (Oscars) nominations don’t resemble each other at all. You actually have to go back years to find the last the DGA only matched two directors with the Oscars. With Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg (Spielberg didn’t even get a BAFTA nomination) being the only ones nominated in both, the three switcharoo throws another curveball to an already absent fastball game.
The reason why this DGA-Directors connection is so important is because YOU CANNOT WIN BEST PICTURE WITHOUT A DIRECTOR NOMINATION. This is a statistic that almost all Oscar experts will go by, and though I don’t consider myself an Oscar expert (I like to think I am), this is truly important considering that if the Academy is unwilling to recognize the director, then the film most definitely cannot be worthy of a win in the field of Best Picture. But this year cannot use this statistic or any other prior year because we have a year where the favorite at this very moment has no Director nomination.
Argo, coming off Best Director and Best Picture wins from both the Critics’ Choice and Golden Globes, was just recently snubbed by the Academy in the field of directors for Ben Affleck. Considering that the votes were already placed for the Critcs’ and Golden Globes before the announcement, Argo has genuine support throughout. The Golden Globes showed that Argo must be respected and recognized, no matter if history has put it out the game completely. And with knuckleheaded move by the Academy to ignore Affleck in this category, there could be a remorse vote for Argo, and that it’ll be rewarded in an apologetic format for screwing up the no nomination. Unfortunately for Argo, there’s no such thing as momentum this year as the gap between nominations and Oscar night is huge (a month and a half). But to ignore Argo now is just as idiotic and repulsive as the snub.
Looking at not just Argo but all the film winners at the Golden Globes, you can see that no film dominates the evening. Les Miserables won the most that night (three) for Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Best Picture for Comedy or Musical. Other films that won include Django Unchained (2), Lincoln (2), Argo (2), Life of Pi (1), Silver Linings Playbook (1), Zero Dark Thirty (1) and Skyfall (1). The Hollywood Foreign Press are sluts for celebrities. They want to make sure that the A-listers all come out and play nice, and to do that year in and year out, they must reward equally. No film ever dominates the Golden Globes, and this is also true for the 2013 season.
The Oscars, on the other hand, reward the film they feel most deserves the category (that’s up for debate sometimes). The HFPA consists of film critics and journalists from different countries represented in Los Angeles, so to safely put it, they are not a reflection of the Academy. The HFPA is a 100 member group, where the Academy includes over 6,000 members of actors, directors, producers, writers, etc. To even remotely say they have a similar background is being profoundly negligent. And in the past 10 years of Golden Globes and Oscar similarities, they are around 50/50, being more off with Best Picture (specifically drama). The only one they are pretty accurate on is Screenplay (which bodes well for Tarantino and Kushner).
It was great seeing Christoph Waltz, Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman all win in their respective categories, especially they each deserve those wins. But those three aren’t going to win come Oscar night. Christoph Waltz just recently won for Inglourious Basterds in the same category three years ago. Hugh Jackman, though is very exceptional as Jean Valjean, is at best third behind Daniel Day-Lewis and Bradley Cooper. And Ben Affleck isn’t even nominated (I mentioned this right?). Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain is no lock either as the rise of Emannuelle Riva, Naomi Watts and Quvenzhane Wallis and their respective films have given the leaders a run for their money. Riva and Wallis were both ignored by the Golden Globes, but the fact that they are still recognized by the Academy shows the discrepancy.
Simply put: the Golden Globes are not the Oscars. Most experts, fans and average moviegoers will tell you that Argo is in the lead, and I somewhat agree. It has momentum. It has the angry and violent mob demanding so repercussions in the form of a Best Picture win. But like any passionate outcry, it will eventually die. And more importantly, the Academy won’t listen. If Argo wins, it’s going to win because they thought it was the most deserving, not because of their sympathy towards Affleck (Remember, the Academy doesn’t nominate the five directors, the Directors Branch does).
The announcement of winners that will soon be coming from the Writers, Producers and Directors Guild, BAFTAs and the SAG is more important than the Golden Globes. But as we stated before, this is the year that statistics may not matter. We cannot throw out the past as that would be absolutely ignorant on our part, but if we see variety and diversity in winners that don’t match up with any prior precursor, then when Oscar night comes, we really are in the dark. This is the most exciting but also the most nerve-wrecking Oscar race in recent memory, and it’s a reminder that we should be careful what we wish for because we all may have a Tommy Lee Jones moment come late February.
(And talking about Tommy Lee Jones, here’s my favorite moment of the Golden Globes.)