Here's how to predict the Oscars, according to the stats

While the Oscars may still be more than two months away, the awards race is in full swing and contenders will have no time to rest if they want to be in with a shot at Oscar glory.

Predicting what will and what won’t win at the Academy Awards in 2019 is by no means an exact science, but if you want to impress your friends with some serious awards knowledge, you need to keep a close eye on the awards shows leading up to the Oscars.

More often than not, these early industry awards will give you a stronger indication on what won’t win at the Oscars. No surprise there. But there are patterns that you can follow to work out what will take home the Oscar come February 24, 2019.

Because we’re helpful souls, here’s a rundown of the major events to look out for and why. (Note, this isn’t an extensive list and it’s not our fault if the Academy decides to go against all previous patterns in 2019.)

1. Directors Guild of America Awards

When’s it held? February 2, 2019

Why’s it important? There have only been seven times in the DGA’s history where a director has won the DGA Award of Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film and NOT gone on to win the Best Director Oscar.

The most recent example of this was Ben Affleck for Argo, but that’s because he wasn’t even nominated for the Oscar. So, on the whole, don’t expect to see a director win at the Oscars if they haven’t already got a DGA award under their belt.

What’s more, the key DGA award is usually a good indicator for Best Picture winner at the Oscars, such as with The Shape of Water this year. That’s not a stone-cold guarantee though, just ask La La Land and The Revenant from recent years.

2. Producers Guild Awards

When’s it held? January 19, 2019

Why’s it important? Out of the 29 years it’s been running, the PGA Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture has correctly predicted 20 Best Picture winners.

It’s stuttered a bit recently though, as both La La Land and The Big Short nabbed the big PGA award, but failed to repeat their success at the Oscars. (Although La La Land thought it did for a bit, as we all remember.)

Since it’s been introduced, nine of the thirteen movies that have won the PGA Award for Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures have gone on to lift the Oscar. The Lego Movie was the last PGA winner not to have triumphed at the Academy Awards where it, astonishingly, wasn’t even nominated.

3. Screen Actors Guild Awards

When’s it held? January 27, 2019

Why’s it important? While the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture hasn’t guaranteed an Oscar win, it’s unlikely that a movie will even be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars without a SAG nomination.

In the 23 years since the SAG awards introduced the ensemble category, only Braveheart and The Shape of Water have managed to win Best Picture at the Oscars without a SAG nomination. So currently, they’re the exception rather than the rule.

As an added bonus, if a movie happens to win the top honours at the SAG, DGA and PGA awards, then it’s basically a certainty for Best Picture success. There has only been one occasion (Apollo 13 at the 1996 Oscars) where a movie winning all three previous honours hasn’t won the big one at the Oscars too.

What the SAG awards are better at judging – as you’d expect – are the acting categories. 18 out of the 23 winners for Best Leading Actor have gone on to win Best Actor at the Oscars (Denzel Washington for Fences was the last to miss out), while 17 out of the 23 winners for Best Leading Actress have gone on to win Best Actress at the Oscars (Viola Davis for The Help was the last to not repeat her success).

The SAG awards are slightly less successful in predicting the Supporting Actor and Actress awards, although they are a decent indicator. 14 of the 23 SAG winners in the male category and 16 of the 23 SAG winners in the female category have gone on to secure Oscar glory too.

4. Independent Spirit Awards

When’s it held? February 23, 2019

Why’s it important? Taking place only a day before the Oscars, the Independent Spirit Awards come a bit too late to predict an Oscar winner for your office sweepstake, but the nominations should give you an indication of what won’t be in contention.

Limited to movies with a budget of less than $20 million, the awards celebrate the best of independent cinema. If you’re an indie movie and you don’t get any recognition at the Independent Spirit Awards, we’re sorry to say it but you might not even get off the starting blocks in the awards race

They’ve already announced the nominations for next year’s awards and it doesn’t spell good news for the likes of BlacKkKlansman (one nomination for Adam Driver), The Old Man & the Gun (no nomination for Robert Redford in his final ever role) and Tully (no recognition for Charlize Theron).

However, it looks like Leave No Trace, You Were Never Really Here, First Reformed and Eighth Grade could all feature heavily when the Oscar nominations roll around.

5. Golden Globes

When’s it held? January 6, 2019

Why’s it important? Like with the Independent Spirit Awards, the Golden Globes are usually a barometer for what won’t triumph at the Oscars.

Comprised of a much smaller voting pool (only 90-odd members compared to the Oscars pool of around 7,000), if a movie doesn’t get the love at the Globes in either the Drama or Musical/Comedy sections, then don’t expect it to feature at the Oscars.

For example, if such box-office hits like Crazy Rich Asians or Bohemian Rhapsody don’t get any Globes love, then that likely ends any chance of a Best Picture nomination for Crazy Rich Asians or a Best Actor nod for Rami Malek, to name a couple of potential contenders.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Globes have matched the Oscars with a Best Picture winner 65% of the time, so it certainly lengthens the odds of any Oscar hopeful if they don’t triumph in the Drama or Musical/Comedy categories at the Globes.

It’s even less likely for any Best Actor or Best Actress contenders if they don’t win at the Globes as the Globes match the Oscars for 75% of the time (Actor) and 72% of the time (Actress).

The 91st Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019.

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