Yesterday I remarked on the omission of Doubt and Revolutionary Road from this year’s American Film Institute honorees and mentioned how I considered the top 10 lists from the AFI, National Board of Review, and Broadcast Film Critics Association combined the most reliable bellwether of eventual Academy success. In case any of you were wondering, here are the films that made it onto at least two of those tallies in the past three years, with each year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture in bold type. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
Three lists: No Country for Old Men, Michael Clayton, Juno, Into the Wild
Two lists: There Will Be Blood, Atonement, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Sweeney Todd, The Kite Runner
Three lists: Little Miss Sunshine, Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima
Two lists: The Departed, Dreamgirls, United 93, The Devil Wears Prada, Blood Diamond, Notes on a Scandal
(note: The Queen was ineligible for the AFI but made it onto the BFCA list)
Three lists: Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Good Night and Good Luck, Capote, Munich
Two lists: Walk the Line, A History of Violence, King Kong, Syriana, Memoirs of a Geisha
So what does this all mean for this year’s race? Let’s look at the tallies.
Three lists: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Dark Knight, Wall-E, The Wrestler
Two lists: Slumdog Millionaire, Gran Torino, Changeling
The case could easily be made that the five Best Picture nominees will come from the above nine films. Doubt, meanwhile, was only recognized by the BFCA, while Revolutionary Road was ignored by all three groups. If history repeats, then both films may already be out of the running.
UPDATE: The very savvy Cynthia Swartz, executive at 42West and orchestrator of Doubt and Revolutionary Road’s Academy campaigns, sent me the following response: “Here is another piece of history that totally rebuts your history. In the past 50 years, 60 films have received at least 3 acting nominations. 52 of them were nominated for Best Picture. Of the 8 that were not, only 4 also had a screenplay nomination. And since there are no actors in the NBR, the BFCA or on the AFI board, I will go with my history.”
Well, we’ll see which history wins out in a month, won’t we? I’m a big fan of both Doubt and Revolutionary Road, so I hope they’re not totally over. I’m merely presenting the facts here.
addCredit(“Doubt: Andrew Schwartz; Revolutionary Road: François Duhamel”)