2017 Industry Guild Awards


This thread will keep track of the nominees and eventual winners in the major professional guild awards for last year's films, other than the Screen Actors Guild. The SAG Awards are the only of these events that are televised nationally, and they already have their own thread. The other major awards are given by The Producers Guild of America, The Directors Guild of America, The Writers Guild of America, and The American Society of Cinematographers.

The WGA announced their nominees yesterday. The Producers and the Cinematographers both do theirs this coming Tuesday (January 10th), and the Directors a week from today (January 12th). All of their winners will be announced before the Oscars, and some are historically more accurate than others in predicting who will win Academy Awards.

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"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

WGA Award Nominees

Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

Hidden Figures
Nocturnal Animals

Winners announced Sunday February 19th.

The Writers Guild of America Awards can be problematic Oscar predictors, sometimes because both bodies have different eligibility rules and/or make different decisions about categories. For example, this year the WGA decided that both Loving and Moonlight would compete as Original Screenplays (where both secured noms). On the other hand, the Academy has decided that both of those fall under the Adapted Screenplay category.

Loving is based on a true story, and writer/director Jeff Nichols used Nancy Buirski's 2011 documentary The Loving Story as a partial template. He has made no secret about this and her film is even credited in his, but the WGA decided in spite of that since Loving follows a structure all its own and has invented dialogue that it counts as an Original. The Academy says it is based enough on existing material they consider it Adapted. Writer/director Barry Jenkins' Moonlight was inspired by an unproduced play by Tarell Alvin McCraney called In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. Again Jenkins and McCraney have made no secret of this, but the film has its own structure and enough originality that when combined with the fact that the play was unproduced, the WGA deemed it Original while the Oscars say it is Adapted.

It's a good bet both will get Oscar noms as Best Adapted Screenplay, but its difficult to use their WGA Award outcomes as predictors since they don't line up and will be competing against a different slate for the Academy Award.

It's not always that complicated. Last year the winners in both categories lined up perfectly for both awards: The Big Short won Best Adapted at the WGAs and Oscars, while Spotlight got both Originals. But even when they agree on the category, the winners aren't always the same. Going back to 1996, in the past twenty years Adapted Screenplay has differed between the two voting bodies six times, and for Original Screenplay as well they have matched fourteen out of the last twenty. When they do split, it can be wildly. The WGA gave Zero Dark Thirty Original in 2013 while the Academy went with Django Unchained. In 2011 the WGA thought Inception was best while the Oscars went for The King's Speech. In 2010 the WGA liked Up in the Air for Adapted while the Academy chose Precious. Back at the 2000 ceremonies, the WGA awarded Election for Adapted while the Oscars gave it to The Cider House Rules.

We'll see how it shakes out this year.

Producers Guild of America Award Nominees

Outstanding Theatrical Motion Picture
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

Outstanding Animated Theatrical Motion Picture
Finding Dory
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Secret Life of Pets

Outstanding Documentary Theatrical Motion Picture
The Eagle Huntress
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America

Winners announced Saturday January 28th.

American Society of Cinematographers Award Nominees

Greig Fraser, Lion

James Laxton, Moonlight

Rodrigo Prieto, Silence

Linus Sandgren, La La Land

Bradford Young, Arrival

Winner announced Saturday February 4th.

Honestly think i'm looking forward to Moonlight a bit more than Silence which is surprsing since Scorsese is one of my favourite directors. I'm only really aware of Lion existing because of the awards it has been nominated before, haven't really heard how it has been received.

Which one is better Holden: Lion, Moonlight, or Silence?
Cinematography wise? To me Lion was good though nothing new. Prieto did Wolf of Wall Street with Scorsese, and Silence is obviously a completely different kind of assignment. Some absolutely beautiful shots, of course, but I don't know that I'd put it top of the tops for the year. Moonlight is excellent, a real clinic for how to use color schemes, themes, and filters. I love La La Land loads. Arrival is gorgeous, like all of Denis Villeneuve's films, and Bradford Young is a name to be aware of.

Rodrigo Prieto has been twice nominated by the ASC before, for Brokeback Mountain and Frida, though he hasn't won, yet. He is the only one of the five previously nominated for either the ASC Award or an Oscar, so it's mostly new blood. Which is nice to see.

If I had a voice, I'd probably vote for Linus Sandgren and La La Land, though if I were placing a wager I'd guess it is probably going to go to James Laxton for Moonlight.

Directors Guild of America Award Nominees

Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Garth Davis, Lion
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Winner announced Sunday February 4th.

All five of the DGA names are first time nominees. The last time that happened was back in 1997 when the nominees were Joel Coen (Fargo), Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire), Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies), Scott Hicks (Shine), and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient). We'll see in a couple weeks if the Academy replaces one or two of these five with veterans who have already won Oscars like Scorsese (Silence), Eastwood (Sully), or Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)? Or will they mix in another first time nominee like Jeff Nichols (Loving), Denzel Washington (Fences), David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), or Pablo Larrain (Jackie)? Chazelle, Jenkins, and Lonergan seem like locks to make the Oscar cut, but either Garth Davis or Denis Villeneuve may be left out.

The winner of the DGA Award is still statistically the most reliable predictor of any of the awards leading up to the Oscars.

The Producer's Guild of America held their awards gala last night, and the winner of the top prize was La La Land. The winners in the Documentary Feature and Animated Feature categories were also the favorites: O.J.: Made in America and Zootopia.

The PGA Award is a very good predictor for Best Picture. They started handing out this award in 1989, and in the twenty-seven years since then it has matched up with the Academy choice for Best Picture all but eight times. That's 70% accuracy. And since the PGA and the Academy both went to the preferential ballot system nine years ago, where voters number the choices and instant runoffs are calculated if the collective top choice doesn't receive at least 50% of the votes outright, they have matched every single time...except for last year. Last year The Big Short won the PGA Award but Spotlight won Oscar's Best Picture. Is this the start of a new trend where the PGA regularly breaks from Oscar? Probably not. It's certainly a low percentage bet to go against what the PGA chooses, but as last year proved it's not an absolute lock, either.

La La Land's momentum continues to build as we draw closer to Oscar night.

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Two more of the guilds gave their awards, last night.

Grieg Fraser won the American Society of Cinematographers Award for his work in Lion. The winner of the ASC Award has been the same as the Oscar winner for the past three years when Emmanuel Lubezki won both prizes three years in a row (Gravity, Birdman, and The Revenant). The Cinematographers only started handing out this annual award in 1986. In those thirty years it has not been an especially reliable predictor as to which director of photography will win the Academy Award. Including this recent Lubezki run, the ASC and Oscar have only matched up THIRTEEN times in those thirty years. 43% is low compared to the other guild awards.

For the record those thirteen matches were Dances with Wolves, Braveheart, The English Patient, Titanic, American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Memoirs of a Geisha, There Will Be Blood, Slumdog Millionaire, Inception, Gravity, Birdman, and The Revenant.

We'll see if the Oscars go back to splitting their decision with the ASC.

Elsewhere in Los Angeles last night, Damien Chazelle won the Directors Guild of America Award for La La Land.

Unlike the ASC or any other of the guild awards, the Directors Guild of America Award is a very reliable predictor of the Oscar winner. It is the most reliable. Sine 1950 there have only been seven deviations between the DGA and Oscar for Best Director...though it has happened three times in this 21st Century: 2001 when Ang Lee won the DGA for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Steven Soderbergh won the Oscar for Traffic, in 2004 when Rob Marshall won the DGA for Chicago but Roman Polanski got the Oscar for The Pianist, and four years ago when Ben Affleck won the DGA for Argo while Ang Lee the Academy Award for The Life of Pi. In three of those only seven deviations between the two awards, the DGA winner was not even nominated for the Oscar: in 1986 when Spielberg won the DGA for The Color Purple (Sydney Pollack won the Oscar for Out of Africa), in 1996 when Ron Howard won the DGA for Apollo 13 (Mel Gibson the Oscar for Braveheart), and Affleck for Argo. Which means when the DGA winner has been nominated for the Oscar, in nearly sixty years the two awards have not matched only four times. Four.

Chazelle is of course nominated for the Best Director Oscar, and even before the DGA Award last night he was the favorite. An upset certainly could happen. Barry Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan, Denis Villeneuve, or Mel Gibson may have their name printed in that Oscar envelope. But if you're playing the odds, it is a sucker's bet to guess it will be anyone other than Chazelle.

The Writers Guild of America gave out their annual awards on Sunday. Barry Jenkins won Best Original Screenplay for Moonlight, while Eric Heisserer won Best Adapted for Arrival. Jenkins is the favorite to win the Oscar this weekend, but in the Adapted category. Barry Jenkins was partially inspired by an unproduced play. The Oscars considered that enough of a connection to make it an adaptation of existing material. The WGA did not.