On February 9, the 92nd Academy Awards will take place. It’s a long, difficult path to get there, with every film that eventually receives Oscar glory having to run the gauntlet that is awards season. Each year, dozens of critic organizations across the country as well as several guilds of industry professionals vote on various categories for which film is the best. I have made it my mission to take this awards season and quantify it numerically to determine the best movie of 2019.
Step One: Selecting the films
The first thing I needed to do for this experiment was select the films I would include. I did this by scouring every “2020 Oscars Predictions” cite and selecting even the most unlikely films I found there until I had 50 potential contenders. Then, just for comparison, I selected what I thought would be the 15 most successful blockbusters of the year. But having all of those films would be a lot to keep up with, so I thought it would be fun to group the films into “teams” and see which team ended up with the most points. So, as best as I could guess on August 1, I did a fantasy draft for 5 teams, taking turns selecting the film I thought would be most successful and assigning it to each team. That left five teams with 10 awards contenders and 3 blockbusters each. Here are our teams:
Step Two: The Method
Now that we have our teams, we need to figure out how to assign point values to each film. These categories will be from critic groups, guilds, the Golden Globes, the Oscars and also factoring in the film’s Rotten Tomatoes , just to get a decent sense of the quality of the film. The rules are as follows:
- 1 point per critic award nomination in a major category (picture, director, acting, supporting acting and screenplay)
- 2 points per critic award win in those categories
- .5 points per every other critic award nomination (costumes, ensemble, production design, etc.)
- 1 point per win in those categories
- 2 points per guild nomination
- 4 points per guild win
- 4 points per major nomination
- 8 points per major win
- 2 points per every other minor nomination
- 4 points per minor nomination
- 1 point per Rotten Tomatoes Score minus 50 (ex: a film with a score of 85 would recieve 35 points)
It is important to note that wins are not to be double counted as nominations. For example, if a film has 5 major Oscar nominations with 2 wins, it would receive 12 points for the nominations plus 16 points for the two wins.
Step Three: Testing it Out
I tried a few past years with this data to try and make sure it would work. First, I tried 2017. This is a little bit different than I am doing 2019. In the 2017 example, I only counted critic wins and only counted guild nominations, so the numbers are a bit smaller than they will be this year, but it is pretty close.
I also ran the numbers for last year’s awards season. I included the eight Best Picture nominees, plus “First Man” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” two films that won a few Oscars, but fell short of Best Picture. I also included “You Were Never Really Here,” an independent movie that was well-received, but too small to make much of an Oscar impact. The only difference in this data and the actual method I will be using is that I will be including a few more different categories in the minor critic section such as cinematography and foreign language film. Also, I double counted wins and nominations, which I decided I will not do this year. Here’s how those results turned out.
Let’s break down last year’s Best Picture winner, “Green Book.” “Green Book” had 40 major critic nominations with 16 wins and only 1 minor critic nomination. It had 5 guild nominations, and 3 wins. The film combined for 9 major nominations with 6 wins and 1 minor nomination. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was 78, so it got 28 points for that. All put together, this came out to 208.5 points.
Step Four: Tracking
My big board can be found here so that you can follow along as we go. The spreadsheet includes a tracking sheet with every award this year, a comparison of each team’s current total and a running top 10 to see which films have picked up the most points so far. I will be back sometime late December to summarize what we have so far once all the critic organizations have picked their winners. Until then, happy awards season!