Oscarathon 2016: Predictions: DGA Update

In All, Movies by David

Oscarathon 2016 continues, as I look at how the Best Picture and Directing award races have changed since my February 4th and February 6th posts.

The DGA Awards have come and gone. They brought clarity to one race, but turned another into complete chaos.

Best Picture

  • This was already a chaotic race, but now things have gone completely off the rails. The major guilds so far are completely split (other than the fact that The Big Short did actually get an Eddie, even if it was for the less prestigious Comedy category). The BAFTA and Satellite Awards will take an even more important role now in the race, but even if a film takes both of those awards, it still won’t bring true clarity to what has been one of the most unpredictable award season in a longer time.

The Big Short
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers

Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers

Mad Max: Fury Road
Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers

The Martian
Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers

The Revenant
Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers

Ed Guiney, Producer

Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

Nothing New To See Here


Bridge of Spies


  • I’ll remind you again that the BAFTAs could do something interesting with Bridge of Spies. Otherwise, none of these film’s chances have improved, and we can just move along.

That’s A Wrap

The Martian

  • Whatever chance this film had was extremely slim, but if it was going to make a run, it was going to be on the back of Ridley Scott winning the DGAs. That didn’t happen, so about the only thing this film has going for it is that this is a crazy award season. It is very possible that there will be enough disagreement among voters about the number one movie that a film with a lot of second and third place ranking votes could win, and The Martian could be such a film.

The Dream is Probably Over

Mad Max: Fury Road

  • Unlike The Martian, there are still plenty of real reasons that this film could win. It still is likely to win Best Editing and rack up a lot of visual awards (though that is a much shakier proposition now than before the DGAs). Still, considering it is on the Best Picture Ballot for neither the BAFTAs nor the Satellite Awards, and has no WGA support at all, the main case for this film winning was that it was the favorite for both Best Editing and Best Directing. That is no longer the case. So this film’s days of being a real threat have passed.

The Three-Headed Monster

  • There is no real favorite among these last three films, as all of them have a lot of support. The PGAs like The Big Short, the SAGs like Spotlight, and the DGAs like The Revenant. If the DGAs had sided with The Big Short or Spotlight, this race would have been much clearer, as either would be the big favorite going into the Oscars. But that didn’t happen, so instead we simply have a cluster at the top. All three of these films could still win at the BAFTAs and Satellite Awards, so if any of them sweep that will be the closest we will get to a real favorite. If not–especially if both groups pick different films (or yet another outside this top three), then this will remain a chaotic mess.

The Big Short

Don’t rush to judgement yet.

  • The Big Short still has the biggest guild indicator on its side, the PGAs; plus, unlike The Revenant, it has a writing nomination. But support for The Big Short really hasn’t been as strong as you would expect outside the Producer’s Guild. This film and Spotlight have the best historical profile for the win, with each having all of the right Oscar nominations, so it is absolutely in this until the end.


Don’t count this film out.

  • Spotlight‘s lack of buzz may ultimately cost it. Voters may just want a flashier film to go down in history as the year’s Best Picture. (If Spotlight was the British version of this story, maybe things would be different, because everything is better if it’s British.) Spotlight has SAG support, and like The Big Short it has writing support as well; plus it has won a couple of other awards that would appear to give it more consensus than The Big Short, so, while not the most exciting choice, this film could still get the job done.

The Revenant

Bursting back into the final three.

  • Other than The Martian, all the other films would have to be declared the favorite if they won at the DGAs. The difference is that, while it would have made Spotlight and The Big Short prohibitive favorites, it simply would have made Mad Max a slight favorite. The same goes for actual winner The Revenant, which is why this race isn’t over. The DGA win does, however, put into play another scenario: the Oscar sweep. It had seemed like this would be a year with a multitude of winners, and if The Big Short or Spotlight win the top prize that will probably be true, because both probably max out at three Oscar wins (and that number is a stretch), but The Revenant has a chance to rack up huge win totals. It has the most nominations, and could very easily just get a blanket vote in all categories it is nominated in, which could lead to an eight- or nine-win night. This potential gives The Revenant the slight lead right now, even if history is still massively against this movie: it would only be the third film to win without a writing nomination, and would be the first time a film by the same director wins two years in a row.

Here is how things are looking as of February 12th, 2016:

Welcome back to the top. Can you stay there?

Current Predicted Winner: The Revenant

Current Rankings:

  1. The Revenant
  2. The Big Short
  3. Spotlight
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road
  5. The Martian
  6. Room
  7. Bridge of Spies
  8. Brooklyn

What Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Should Have Been Nominated (Okay, I am just going to have fun with this, and highlight different films): Anomalisa


Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Still Not Winning

Lenny Abrahamson

  • Still lucky to be nominated, and still has no chance of winning. We’re done here.

Chances of Winning Entirely Linked to Best Picture Chances

Adam McKay

Tom McCarthy

  • The only way these two would win would be if Oscars are hesitant to split Best Picture and Best Director, but this really feels like a year where that split has a good chance of happening. Still, if either of these films are to win Best Picture, we’ll know early early in the night if either of these men win Best Director.


George Miller

There is still a chance… But not much of one.

  • The DGA loss was a much bigger blow to Mad Max‘s Best Picture chances than George Miller’s Best Director chances. Miller has had more success than his film at racking up awards this season, and he could still win at both the BAFTAs and Satellite Awards, unlike the movie itself. So while it seems really unlikely that the Oscars will differ from the DGAs, it is a real possibility.

The New King

Looks rough. Probably means we should give him an Oscar.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

  • The legend of Iñárritu is growing by the day, and the difficulty of making The Revenant seems very likely to be leading him to an historic second straight victory (only John Ford has done this). The love for Iñárritu is immense right now. Also, while this feels like a year in which Best Picture and Best Director will split, The Revenant is the only film that really feels like it could sweep both awards, which, as previously stated, would fit historically with how the Academy votes.

Current Predicted Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Current Rankings:

  1. Alejandro González Iñárritu
  2. George Miller
  3. Adam McKay
  4. Tom McCarthy
  5. Lenny Abrahamson

Who Should Win: George Miller

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Someone else besides Abrahamson (seriously, pick a so-called snub and I would probably be okay with them in that spot over Abrahamson)

Extra Analysis: I don’t feel this requires an entire overhaul of these categories yet until I get a bit more information, but The Revenant‘s return to frontrunner throws into question a lot of the technical and creative awards. Oscar voters can be very lazy, and unless given a compelling reason will just pick the same movie in every category it is nominated in, so if it becomes more clear that The Revenant is going to take Best Picture, a lot of those races could flip the film’s way.

That’s it for now. Be on the lookout for more updates as we get closer and closer to Oscar Sunday.