What do other awards tell us?
While the Academy Awards might be the biggest game in town, there certainly are plenty of other trophies handed out between December and March of each year, selected by a variety of professional guilds, members of the press, and critic organizations. Are any of these other awards accurate predictors for the eventual best picture winner at the Oscars? Let's check:
|Golden Globes *||60%|
|Boston Critics **||30%|
|Critics Choice Awards ***||80%|
|Chicago Critics **||50%|
|L.A. Critics **||0%|
|Nat. Board of Review||30%|
|Nat. Soc. of Film Critics||10%|
|N.Y. Critics **||20%|
So just one of these organizations -- the Broadcast Film Critics Association (who give out the Critics Choice Awards) -- seems to consistently vote with the Academy, and only two other groups (the Producers Guild and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who hand out the Golden Globes) match the Oscar winner more than half the time. The Boston Society of Film Critics, however, is on a three-year streak of picking the same film as the Academy.
(That big red stain under 2006, by the way, is yet another indicator that Academy members were alone in enjoying Crash -- or that they were afraid to anoint Brokeback Mountain the winner, despite the fact that nearly every other organization championed that film.)
That brings up the question: which films won these organizations' awards this year?
|Organization||Pick for Best Film|
|Golden Globes (Drama)||Avatar|
|BAFTA||[announced Feb. 21]|
|Producers Guild||The Hurt Locker|
|Boston Society of Film Critics||The Hurt Locker|
|BFCA Critics Choice Awards||The Hurt Locker|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||The Hurt Locker|
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association||The Hurt Locker|
|National Board of Review||Up in the Air|
|National Society of Film Critics||The Hurt Locker|
|New York Film Critics Circle||The Hurt Locker|
The organizations with the best track record of matching the Oscar winners are in bold above. That brings up yet another question: Now what do we do? Obviously, most of these organizations championed The Hurt Locker. But among those groups were the BFCA, which almost always matches the Academy's pick, and the Los Angeles critics, who literally never do (at least over the past decade).
Interestingly, many of these organizations announced their awards before Avatar even reached theaters. Presumably, the critic groups had already seen James Cameron's film when making their picks, but back in early December, there was still a question about whether the film would even be successful -- and it certainly wasn't the historic pop culture event that it is now. Whether that makes a difference is another matter. The Producers Guild -- which is a fairly reliable indicator of the eventual Oscar winner -- announced their award just over a week ago, choosing The Hurt Locker even after Avatar had already shattered box office records.
What about the fact that so many different organizations agreed on the same film? That also happened in 2005 and 2006, and both times, the consensus (Brokeback Mountain one year, Sideways the other) failed to match the Academy's pick.
So the best that we can tell you is that other awards seem to be an unreliable indicator, although the huge amount of acclaim means The Hurt Locker certainly should not be discarded as a serious Oscar contender this year, especially if it can also manage a win at the BAFTA ceremony on February 21st.
Based on everything we've discussed so far, Avatar, Up and The Hurt Locker look like the best candidates to take home the trophy this year. Are there any other factors to consider? Let's check, on the next page ...