We are 11 days removed from the 2017 Best Picture award debacle and already Awards Circuit has projected its first list of nominees for the 2018 Best Picture race. Obviously it is way too early make predictions like this with a high degree of accuracy. Many of the movies are still being filmed and can’t be realistically evaluated. It does, though, give us an idea of the movies that evaluators believe have Oscar pedigree.
Here is the Awards Circuit list with its current production status:
|2018 Projected Academy Award Nominees for Best Picture|
|Movie||Release Status||Short Description|
|Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project||In Production||1950’s Drama set in London Fashion world.|
|Suburbicon||Post-Production||1950’s Crime mystery set in small family town.|
|Darkest Hour||Nov. 24 release||Churchill biopic set in early days of WW II|
|The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara||Pre-Production||Historical Drama set in 19th century Italy|
|Battle of the Sexes||Post-Production||Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs 1973 tennis match|
|The Current War||In Production||Edison-Westinghouse scientific competition.|
|Mudbound||Post-Production||Post-WW II drama set in rural Mississippi|
|Downsizing||Dec. 22 release||Social Satire about less is more.|
|Marshall||Oct. 13 release||Biopic about a young Thurgood Marshall|
|The Snowman||Oct. 13 release||Adaptation of Jo Nesbo crime thriller.|
If this first list is representative of the entire year, 2018 is going to be a year of looking back in time. Only two of the ten movies listed here take place in a contemporary setting, Downsizing and The Snowman.
I’m probably most interested in Battle of the Sexes. Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King and is projected as a Best Actress nominee by Awards Circuit. Can she go back to back years as Best Actress?
I’m least interested in the Paul Thomas Anderson movie, even if it includes a rare star turn by Daniel Day Lewis. I hated There Will Be Blood and wasn’t a big fan of Boogie Nights.
In any event, that’s my gut reaction to the Best Picture projections. Is there any data to support my gut? I’m trying out a new data point called an Anticipation Score. The website Criticker provides averages of my ratings for movies involving specific Directors, Screenwriters, and Actors. By tabulating the scores for the film makers involved in each movie I can create an Anticipation Score based on my historical rating of their work. I’m including the two lead actors for each movie. For example, Battle of the Sexes is directed by Jonathon Dayton, screen written by Simon Beaufoy, and stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell. I’ve seen two of Jonathon Dayton’s movies and given them an average rating of 65.5 out of 100. I’ve seen five movies written by Simon Beaufoy for an average of 68.6. I’ve seen seven Emma Stone movies, averaging 81.57, and eight Steve Carell movies, averaging 73. When you add all four numbers together they total an Anticipation Score of 288.67. This represents my potential enjoyment of the movie if each artist entertains me at the average level that they have in the past.
Here’s the entire list ranked by Anticipation Score:
|My Anticipation Score|
|Director||Writer||Lead Actor 1||Lead Actor 2||Score|
|The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara||S. Spielberg||T. Kushner||M. Rylance||O. Isaac||323.39|
|Downsizing||A. Payne||J. Taylor||M. Damon||K. Wiig||313.14|
|Darkest Hour||J. Wright||A. McCarten||G. Oldman||K. Scott-Thomas||293.39|
|Battle of the Sexes||J. Dayton||S. Beaufoy||E. Stone||S. Carell||288.67|
|Suburbicon||G. Clooney||E. Coen||M. Damon||O. Isaac||283.01|
|The Snowman||T. Alfredson||H. Amini||M. Fassbender||R. Ferguson||216.67|
|The Current War||A. Gomez-Rejon||M. Mitnick||B. Cumberbatch||M. Shannon||212.13|
|Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project||P. T. Anderson||P. T. Anderson||D. D. Lewis||L. Manville||159.13|
|Mudbound||D. Rees||D. Rees||C. Mulligan||J. Clarke||137.23|
|Marshall||R. Hudlin||J. Koskoff||C. Boseman||S. K. Brown||86.5|
My gut reaction to Battle of the Sexes and the Paul Thomas Anderson movie are borne out in the data, although these movies are neither the best or worst of the rankings. The two movies at the bottom of the list are there because I have never seen movies directed or written by the two film makers involved. In the case of Marshall, although I’ve seen Sterling K. Brown on TV shows, I haven’t seen any movies that he has been in. As a result, the Anticipation Score for Marshall is based solely Chadwick Boseman’s movies that I’ve seen.
I think my Anticipation Score formula needs some tweaking to take into account the volume of movies seen for each artist. The fact that I’ve seen 21 Spielberg movies should be recognized in addition to the average rating I give each of his movies.
In any event, keep your eye out for these movies as we get back into Oscar season, beginning in October.