Oscar Winning Movies of 2014

How to predict the Oscars, Feature | Movies

The Academy Awards are all glitz, glamour, and praying for Leonardo DiCaprio from the outside, and studio campaigns, after parties, and Leonardo DiCaprio praying for himself from the inside. But there’s also over eight decades of Oscar trends, a whole host of unwritten rules and more than 40 critics’ ceremonies to take into consideration each year.

Attempting to crack the Oscars is a bit like trying to decipher the Da Vinci Code, so buckle up as we get into the nitty gritty of where to place your chips come Oscar night.

1. You need a Best Director nomination to win Best Picture

Like Spielberg and Hanks, DiCaprio and Scorsese, these two go hand in hand.

Only four films have ever won Best Picture without a Best Director nomination: Wings, Grand Hotel, Driving Miss Daisy, and, of course, Argo. On the flipside, two Best Director Oscars have been won for films without a Best Picture nomination - but these (Two Arabian Nights; The Divine Lady) were in the 1920s, so the chances of that ever happening again are surely zero.

Everything except The Big Short, Max Max: Fury Road, The Revenant and Spotlight can wave goodbye to their hopes of winning this year’s Best Picture Oscar. Room may have a directorial nomination, but with no DGA nom for Lenny Abrahamson, well, that leads rather neatly into our next point...

2. To win Best Director, you need to win the Directors Guild of America’s big prize

In 2013, Argo won Best Picture even though Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for Best Director. Which is big news when you consider the DGA and Oscar director prizes have matched every single time bar seven (Oliver! beating; The Lion In Winter; Cabaret over The Godfather; Out Of Africa instead of The Color Purple; Braveheart over Apollo 13; Traffic beating Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Pianist trumping Chicago; Life Of Pi instead of Argo). Three of those instances (The Color Purple, Apollo 13, Argo) were purely because the Academy didn’t nominate a director.

This year that spells bad news for Brooklyn’s John Crowley, Bridge Of Spies’ Steven Spielberg, and Room’s Lenny Abrahamson who, though, nominated for Best Director by the Academy, didn’t receive a DGA nomination. Ridley Scott did get a DGA nomination, but was left out of the Best Director Oscar race.

3. Want to win Best Picture? A screenplay nod will help

Alright, so Titanic didn’t get a script nomination, but it was the only Best Picture winner in five decades not to do so. Such is the power of Jack and Rose, apparently.

4. You can’t win Best Picture without a SAG Best Ensemble nomination

As well as defying Academy Award logic by taking Best Picture in 1996 (we’ll get to that later), Braveheart snatched the top prize without its ensemble receiving a SAG nomination - which is practically unheard of. It’s worth noting the overlap of votes between SAG and the Academy - something that reared its head when the guild awarded Crash Best Ensemble prior to its infamous Oscar win over Brokeback Mountain. (For the record, BAFTA’s voting membership also overlaps, but less so than SAG, and the Critics’ Choice lot are entirely journalists. So no overlap.)

5. Animations, sequels and foreign films don’t win Best Picture

And that’s if you’re nominated in the first place... Of the nine foreign films (2012’s Amour being the most recent) and three animations that have been considered for the top prize, none have ever won. Sequels have had it slightly better, but only two have made the grade (The Godfather: Part II, The Return Of The King). Scorsese’s The Departed flies a solo flag for remakes taking top honours on Oscar night, with documentaries yet to gain a single nomination.

6. Female director? Then you probably won’t get nominated at all

Only one (yes, one) female director has won a Best Directing Oscar. Take a bow, Kathryn Bigelow. Prior to her win for The Hurt Locker in 2009, only three (yes, three) other women were up for the prize: Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties, 1976), Jane Campion (The Piano, 1993), and Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation, 2003). Here’s looking at you, Ava DuVernay, Lisa Cholodenko, Claire Denis, Kelly Reichardt, Jodie Foster, Ana Lily Amirpour, Lone Scherfig, Agnès Varda, Lynn Shelton, Reed Morano, Andrea Arnold, Lana Wachowski and so many, many more…

7. The Critics’ Choice Awards have a surprisingly good record of predicting the big Oscar categories

Back in 1996, the Broadcast Film Critics Association held their first ceremony, aka the Critics’ Choice Awards. It may sound like it’s voted for by teenagers, but there’s a lot of reason to keep their picks in mind. (Here comes our Ray Winstone floaty head bit…)

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