Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Guild Awards Recap

The deadline for Oscar voters to submit their picks is later today so I thought it was the perfect time to offer up my belated thoughts on the guild results from the past couple of months. While critics, the Golden Globes, and the BAFTAs are all well and good, it's the guilds that really speak to the industry support for films and performances. The fact that their winners are announced during the sweet spot of the Oscar voting period make them all the more influential. First stop, the producers...

Producers Guild Awards Winners

Motion Picture:
Animated Motion Picture: The LEGO Movie
Documentary Motion Picture: Life Itself
Drama Television: Breaking Bad
Comedy Television: Orange is the New Black
Long Form Television: Fargo

I'm including the TV winners for completeness sake, but I love all three shows so neither here nor there. The LEGO Movie has been dominant all season long so its exclusion at the Oscars really opens up that category while Life Itself was also left out giving a clear path to victory for Citizenfour. Birdman winning here though was the first signal that Boyhood's Cinderella award season trajectory was going to be a bit more complicated than expected. And then the actors chimed in with their favorite picks...

Screen Actors Guild Awards Winners

Best Ensemble, Motion Picture:
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne, Theory of Everything
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Best Ensemble, TV Drama: Downton Abbey
Best Ensemble, TV Comedy: Orange is the New Black
Best Actress, TV Drama: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Best Actress, TV Comedy: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Best Actor, TV Drama: Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Best Actor, TV Comedy: William H. Macy, Shameless
Best Actress, Miniseries: Frances McDorman, Olive Kitteridge
Best Actor, Miniseries: Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

Not much to say about TV only to say that I was thrilled to see Orange if the New Black winning ensemble just to see its fantastic and diverse cast of mostly women take the stage. In the film side, however, the winners here solidified their front-runner status for an eventual win especially Moore, Arquette, and Simmons who had dominated all season long. The tricky result was Redmayne winning Actor over Keaton giving him the trio of Globes-BAFTA-SAG that seems unstoppable and yet Keaton didn't go home empty-handed either winning as part of the winning ensemble of Birdman, aka the top prize of the night. If anything, Birdman's triumph here just made its Best Picture case stronger and why wouldn't Keaton also see that love in the end?

A coupleof smaller guild awards were given out after this as Boyhood and Grand Budapest Hotel won the top awards at the ACE Eddie Awards (editing) while Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel, and Guardians of the Galaxy won the top awards from the ADG for best production design. If these wins says anything, it's that maybe Grand Budapest Hotel will be the film to look out for not only in the technical awards but also in the bigger awards if people are looking for a viable alternate to Boyhood/Birdman. Of course the big kahuna of guild awards was next...

Directors Guild Awards Winners

Feature Film:
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Documentary Feature: Laura Poitras, Citizenfour
TV Drama Series: Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland
TV Comedy Series: Jill Soloway, Transparent
TV Movie/Miniseries: Lisa Cholodenko, Olive Kitteridge

With Iñárritu's win, Birdman suddenly went from "possible spoiler" to "frontrunner" as many expected Richard Linklater to win for Boyhood here. Even now people are STILL predicting Linklater to prevail at the Oscars, but this win here clearly shows where the wind is blowing and Birdman has the momentum. All of that is well and good, by the way, but can we also just take a moment to appreciate that ALL of the other top directing winners were women? That was a really happy development. Finally, we get to the writers...

Writers Guild Awards Winners

Original Screenplay:
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Documentary: Brian Knappenberger, The Internet's Own Boy
Drama Series: Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective
Comedy Series: Louis CK, Louie
New Series: Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective
Comedy Episode: "The Last Call," Robert & Michelle King (The Good Wife)
Drama Episode: "So Did the Fat Lady," Louis C.K. (Louie)

Winners were announced just this past weekend and though the film nominees differ from the Oscars (due to various ineligible films and Oscar snubs), they're still of note. Grand Budapest was always going to be the winner in its category, but it will have to go against Birdman (WGA ineligible) at the Oscars. Imitation Game is perhaps slightly more vulnerable either from Whiplash (which was nominated in Original by the WGA) or Theory of Everything (not eligible). With regards to the latter though I had wish those Oscar snubbed-films could've won (Gone Girl, Wild, Guardians of the Galaxy), but alas. Not much to comment regarding the TV winners only to say YAY for The Good Wife!

All in all, Birdman is clearly running ahead with big wins from SAG, PGA, DGA as well as smaller guilds while its biggest competition is not Boyhood, but Grand Budapest Hotel. I'm hoping many people remember the early and effusive love Boyhood received in its debut though, but regardless the Picture/Director categories will come down to the wire. Acting is less unpredictable, but at least Lead Actor is also still up for grabs as are the Screenplay categories making this one of the more exciting Oscars in terms of predicting winners. Less than a week away.

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