Gilded by the Guild Awards

Posted by Zachary Mandinach on 1.9.2013

Film and awards buffs are in store for a morning full of calls, texts, tweets and Facebook rants tomorrow when this year's Academy Awards nominations are announced at 8:30am (EST). The reactions are sure to run the gamut from ecstatic celebration when favorite films get the recognition they deserve to frustration and melancholy over perceived snubs.

Why not get a jump on the emotional roller coaster with a closer look at the awards that are often the most indicative of the Oscars? We're talking, of course, about the guild awards, and we've saved you some work by putting together a roundup of the nominations for this year's Directors Guild Awards, Writers Guild Awards, Producers Guild Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards.


John Madden's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Perhaps the most well-known of the guild awards due to the fact that it's the only publicly televised ceremony, the Screen Actors Guild Awards (better known as the SAGs) are set to take place later this month. While one may not be able to glean any Oscar hints from the SAGs' top prize, since the Academy does not give an award for ensemble effort, the individual acting prizes are certainly insightful and, for thespian lovers, the SAG Awards ceremony is a must-see celebration of the Actor.

Leading the pack for the 19th annual SAG Awards with four nominations each are three films: Silver Linings Playbook, Les Miserables, and Lincoln. While the films vying for the top prize of Best Ensemble are more or less the usual suspects, there is one outlier: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Despite not garnering as much awards buzz as its competition, the John Madden-directed film has enjoyed a recent boost with two SAG and two Golden Globe nominations. As surprising as it may be, take one look at the film's cast and its praise becomes immediately clear. Marigold offers a who's who of legendary British screen talent including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Tom Wilkinson, and Maggie Smith. To see these lovely actors and many more of your favorites, tune into the SAG Awards on January 27.


Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Writers Guild Awards

The lexophiles among us will want to pay attention to the Writers Guild Awards, which, in recent years, have been an astonishingly good predictor of the eventual Oscar winners for the Best Screenplays of the year. In both the adapted and original categories, nine of the last 12 WGA winners have gone on to win the corresponding Academy Award.

This year's selection is a mixture of respected masters of the word and lesser-known voices that have crafted equally distinct, linguistically delicious works. The aforementioned household names include Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master), Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty), and Tony Kushner (Lincoln), all of whom have been previously nominated for Academy Awards. For those wondering where the likes of Quentin Tarantino are in these nominations, his Django Unchained was among the many films deemed ineligible for the awards.

Also recognized for their achievements on the page are films such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower (adapted by the author of the novel, Stephen Chbosky) and NYFF50 Opening and Closing Night films Life of Pi and Flight, penned by David Magee and John Gatins, respectively. The winners will be revealed February 17.


Ang Lee's Life of Pi

Directors Guild Awards

Just yesterday, the nominees were announced for the 65th annual DGA Awards. Maybe more than any other guild, a DGA Award nomination is nearly a sure-fire indication of the potential Oscar nominees in its category. In the last 5 years, only three filmmakers that have received a DGA nomination have been absent from the Best Director category at the Academy Awards.

All of this year's nominees are recognizable, but new to the group with his first DGA nomination is Ben Affleck, whose captivating Argo scored him a nod. Rounding out the nominees are Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Steven Spielberg, (Lincoln), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables). All four of these filmmakers have previously won a DGA award. With a selection that appears to be so directly correlated with Academy Awards, many are left wondering if others such as David O. Russell, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Quentin Tarantino will even be in the hunt for Oscar gold. The winners for the DGA Awards will be announced on February 2nd. 


Sam Mendes' Skyfall

Producers Guild Awards 

We've saved the first for last, it appears, as the winners of the PGA Awards will be announced on January 26, just one day before the SAG Awards. While the Academy has changed its practice of nominating 10 Best Picture candidates to a complex system that produces between five and 10 nominees each year, the PGA Awards have stuck with the rule of 10, thus allowing for an interesting mix of films competing for its top prize. Along with the more familiar films, the Producers Guild nominated films such as critical darling and ND/NF '12 closer Beasts of the Southern Wild from first time director Benh Zeitlin and the latest installment in the James Bond series, Skyfall, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sam Mendes. 

There you have it! Given how far off the actual Academy Awards ceremony still is (February 24), the guild awards are sure to tide you over for the next month and a half. Although this overview may point to the apparent correlation between these awards and the Oscars, we warn you not convince yourself of anything. Some of your favorite films, missing from the guilds' selections, may very well be included in the Oscar nominees tomorrow morning, and the reverse may hold just as true. 'Tis The Season, after all, and the big surprises are only just beginning!

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