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Reading the Oscar Tea Leaves via Guilds; Art Director & Costume Guild Votes

Reading the Oscar Tea Leaves via Guilds; Art Director & Costume Guild Votes

As PriceWaterhouseCoopers starts to tabulate filed Oscar ballots and Nominations Day approaches January 16, the best way to get an accurate lay of the land–especially with one of the more wide-open fields in years–is to look at all the guild nominations.

The big guilds are more populist versions of the Academy branches they reflect–the Screen Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers Guilds all reveal strength and weakness among the larger Academy voting blocks. Who landed on all lists? Only David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” nabbed the coveted Ensemble nomination at SAG as well as PGA, DGA and WGA nominations. “Captain Phillips” also nabbed nominations from all the Guilds. Had “12 Years a Slave” been eligible for a WGA nomination it likely would have swept the Guilds as well. Safe to say those are the top three Oscar contenders for Best Picture. 

Eligible but left off the WGA were “Gravity,” “The Butler,” “Saving Mr. Banks” and “Enough Said.” “Gravity,” which landed SAG, PGA, DGA and 11 BAFTA nominations, will be boosted by all the crafts and tech categories. (For the Coens’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” not to be nominated for acting, directing or producing was one thing, but to be snubbed by the WGA was the coup de grace.) “August: Osage County” scored SAG ensemble and WGA nods, but did not make the DGA or the PGA’s list of ten. Clearly actors like “The Butler,” granting it an Ensemble nod, more than any other Guild. 

Showing weakness with actors are SAG also-rans “Her” (which did get PGA and WGA) and “The Wolf of Wall Street” (PGA and WGA), which was the last to screen. Both are Best Picture Oscar contenders. Omitted from the DGA’s top five were Oscar Best Picture contenders “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Dallas Buyer’s Club,” “Blue Jasmine,” and “Nebraska.” That puts them in the second tier of Best Picture contenders. (We don’t know if there will be as few as seven or as many as 10.)

The Academy, which despite various new initiates, from the music branch’s Prince and Beyonce to actor James Franco (who Instagrammed his Oscar ballot), is still dominated by white men, many of them bonafide “Steakeaters” who tend to favor the likes of “The Wolf of Wall Street” or “Captain Phillips” over relationship movies such as “Before Midnight,” “Blue Jasmine,”  “Blue is the Warmest Color” or “Enough Said.” (Still to vote for the final five is Mark Johnson’s foreign branch committee, who will catch up on the shortlist of nine they missed at back-to-back screenings this weekend.)

But the Academy also splits into more mainstream branches (executives, producers, members-at-large, and publicists), who are more likely to go for “American Hustle,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Saving Mr. Banks” or “Gravity,” and the crafts (art directors, costume designers, cinematographers, editors, visual effects, sound mixers etc.), likeliest to favor the artistic merits of “12 Years a Slave,” “Nebraska” or “Her.” 

Look at the recent Cinematographers’ votes (so far the only Guild to ignore “American Hustle,” along with “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Her ” and “Blue Jasmine”) or the Art Directors Guild, which just nominated Best Picture contenders “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” as well as tech competitor “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (full list of nominations are below) but breaks their 15 nominees into three categories (period, contemporary and fantasy), so any omissions are telling indeed. Basically, low-budget entries “Nebraska” and “Dallas Buyers Club” were left out. (Winners will be named on February 8.)

Check the Costume nominees (full list also below), which also breaks their categories down into period, contemporary and fantasy. They favored period Best Picture contenders “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Saving Mr. Banks.” On the contemporary side are “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” “Her,” and “Blue Jasmine,” while the fantasy category had three nominees, including Trish Summerville’s eye-popping designs for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” 

But they left off “Captain Phillips,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and “Gravity,” where arguably costumes do not play a key role.  (Winners will be presented on February 22.)

OK. I’d better go update my Oscar predictions. 

NOMINEES FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A FEATURE FILM IN 2013:

Period Film

AMERICAN HUSTLE – Production Designer: Judy Becker

THE GREAT GATSBY – Production Designer: Catherine Martin

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – Production Designer: Jess Gonchor

SAVING MR. BANKS – Production Designer: Michael Corenblith

12 YEARS A SLAVE – Production Designer: Adam Stockhausen

Fantasy Film

ELYSIUM – Production Designer: Philip Ivey

GRAVITY – Production Designer: Andy Nicholson

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG – Production Designer: Dan Hennah

OBLIVION – Production Designer: Darren Gilford

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS – Production Designer: Scott Chambliss

Contemporary Film

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – Production Designer: David Gropman

BLUE JASMINE – Production Designer: Santo Loquasto

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS – Production Designer: Paul Kirby

HER – Production Designer: K.K. Barrett

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET – Production Designer: Bob Shaw

NOMINEES FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN IN TELEVISION FOR 2013:

One-Hour Single Camera Television Series

BOARDWALK EMPIRE

Production Designer: Bill Groom

Episode: Old Ship of Zion

BREAKING BAD

Production Designer: Mark Freeborn

Episode: Felina

DOWNTON ABBEY

Production Designer: Donal Woods

Episode: 7

GAME OF THRONES

Production Designer: Gemma Jackson

Episode: Valar Dohaeris

MAD MEN

Production Designer: Dan Bishop

Episode: The Better Half

Television Movie or Mini-Series

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN

Production Designer: Mark Worthington

Episode: Bitchcraft

BEHIND THE CANDELABRA

Production Designer: Howard Cummings

BONNIE & CLYDE

Production Designer: Derek R. Hill

Episode: Night 1 & Night 2

MOB CITY

Production Designer: Gregory Melton

Episode: A Guy Walks Into A Bar, Reason To Kill A Man

PHIL SPECTOR

Production Designer: Patrizia von Brandenstein

Half Hour Single-Camera Television Series

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

Production Designer: Dan Butts

Episode: The B. Team

CALIFORNICATION

Production Designer: Ray Yamagata

Episode: The Unforgiven

MODERN FAMILY

Production Designer: Richard Berg

Episode: The Wow Factor

PARKS AND RECREATION

Production Designer: Ian Phillips

Episode: London

VEEP

Production Designer: Jim Gloster

Episode: Helsinki

Short Format, Live Action Series

10,000 DAYS

Production Designer: Mimi Gramatky

Episode: Salvation or Destruction

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA:

BLOOD AND CHROME

Production Designer: Brian Kane

Episode: Pilot

BLUE

Production Designer: Rachel Myers

Episode: The Truth Hurts

DAYBREAK

Production Designer: Stuart Blatt

Episode: 5

H+: THE DIGITAL SERIES

Production Designer: Andres Cubillan

Episode: Visions Of Whats To Come

Multi-Camera, Variety, or Unscripted Series

THE BIG BANG THEORY

Production Designer: John Shaffner

Episode: The Bakersfield Expedition

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

Production Designer: Steve Olson

Episode: The Light House

PORTLANDIA

Production Designer: Tyler Robinson

Episode: Missionaries

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Production Designers:

Akira Yoshimura

Eugene Lee

Keith Ian Raywood

N. Joseph Detullio

Episode: Justin Timberlake/Justin Timberlake

THE VOICE

Production Designers:

Anton Goss

James Pearse Connelly

Episode: Live Playoffs, Part 1

Awards, Music, or Game Shows

THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS 2013

Production Designer: Joe Stewart

2013 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS

Production Designer: Brian Stonestreet

THE 65th PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS

Production Designer: Brian Stonestreet

THE 67th ANNUAL TONY AWARDS

Production Designer: Steve Bass

SUPERBOWL XLVII HALFTIME SHOW

STARRING BEYONCE

Production Designer: Bruce Rodgers

Commercial, PSA, Promo, and Music Video

ARCADE FIRE

Production Designer: Anastasia Masaro

Episode: Reflektor

CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS

Production Designer: Todd Cherniawsky

Episode: Epic Night Out

DIEHARD

Production Designer: Tom Wilkins

Episode: The Getaway

INFINITI

Production Designer: Christopher Glass

Episode: Factory of Life

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FT. JAY Z

Production Designer: Richard Bridgland

Episode: Suit & Tie

COSTUME NOMINEES

EXCELLENCE IN CONTEMPORARY FILM

“Blue Jasmine,” Suzy Benzinger

“Her,” Casey Storm

“Nebraska,” Wendy Chuck

“Philomena,” Consolata Boyle

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Sarah Edwards

EXCELLENCE IN PERIOD FILM

“12 Years a Slave,” Patricia Norris

“American Hustle,” Michael Wilkinson

“Dallas Buyers Club,” Kurt & Bart

“The Great Gatsby,” Catherine Martin

“Saving Mr. Banks,” Daniel Orlandi

EXCELLENCE IN FANTASY FILM

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor, Bob Buck

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” Trish Summerville

“Oz the Great and Powerful,” Gary Jones, Michael Kutsche

OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY TELEVISION SERIES

“Breaking Bad,” Jennifer Bryan

“House of Cards,” Tom Broecker

“Nashville,” Susie DeSanto

“Scandal,” Lyn Paolo

“Saturday Night Live,” Tom Broecker, Eric Justian

OUTSTANDING PERIOD/FANTASY TELEVISION SERIES

“Boardwalk Empire,” John Dunn, Lisa Padovani

“The Borgias,” Gabriella Pescucci

“Downton Abbey,” Caroline McCall

“Game of Thrones,” Michele Clapton

“Mad Men,” Janie Bryant

OUTSTANDING MADE FOR TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINI SERIES

“American Horror Story: Coven,” Lou Eyrich

“Behind the Candelabra,” Ellen Mirojnick

“Bonnie & Clyde,” Marilyn Vance

“House of Versace,” Claire Nadon

“Phil Spector,” Debra McGuire

EXCELLENCE IN COMMERCIAL COSTUME DESIGN

Call of Duty: “Ghosts Masked Warriors,” Nancy Steiner

Dos Equis: “Most Interesting Man in the World Feeds a Bear,” Julie Vogel

Fiat “British Invasion,” Donna Zakowska

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