What the 2019 award season means for the Oscars

Skimm Girl on the red carpet

The Story

Welcome to award season 2019, where all shows build up to the Oscars later this month.

What’s the buzz so far?

The shows that've already happened can sometimes give us an idea.

Golden Globes...

How it works: It kicks off the season in January with awards for the best of the big and the small screen. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association – made up of around 90 journalists who write for foreign outlets – does the deciding.

The buzz: This year, they decided on “Bohemian Rhapsody” for best drama and “Green Book” for best comedy. “Roma” won best foreign film. Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Glenn Close (the wife in “The Wife”) won best actor and actress. There wasn’t a lot of love for “A Star Is Born.” But heads up: this group has almost no crossover with the Academy, so it isn’t a great predictor of who will take home Oscar.

SAG Awards...

How it works: The one that’s decided by the actors’ union. Meaning a combo of the biggest names in the biz and your friend’s roommate who’s still trying to make it. Some members are randomly selected to choose what’s nominated. Then the whole squad gets to vote. Since there’s some overlap between SAG members and Oscar voters, this is the first show that’s sometimes a predictor for the Academy Awards (but not always).

The buzz: This year, “Black Panther” took home the equivalent of best pic. Malek and Close took best actor and actress.

DGA Awards...

How it works: The one that’s decided by the directors’ union. The group includes directors of movies, TV shows, and even commercials. It only gives awards for categories like best director of a film, best first-time director, etc. It’s also a pretty accurate predictor of what will be crowned best picture at the Oscars.

The buzz: This year, the equivalent of best director went to Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma.” But “Roma” is considered an underdog in the Oscar best picture race. That’s because a foreign-language movie has never snagged a best pic Oscar before. And Netflix (which produced it) isn’t exactly beloved by Hollywood for disrupting the movie theater industry.

BAFTA Film Awards...

How it works: The one across the pond. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is a club of thousands of higher-ups in the entertainment industry. Think: executive producers, longtime actors. Members also have to have some connection to British entertainment. And yes, there’s overlap with Oscar voters. So this awards ceremony can sometimes hint at who’s getting the gold statuette. To be eligible, movies have to show in a certain number of UK theaters, but they don’t have to be British films.

The buzz: This year, “Roma” won best film and Cuarón won best director. Malek is still on his best actor streak but Olivia Colman (Queen Anne in “The Favourite”) beat out Close for best actress.

Academy Awards...

How it works: Mark your calendar for Feb 24. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decides who’s going home with Oscar. The group has more than 7,900 members. To join, you need to have worked in the movie industry, and be sponsored by two current members. It’s shuffled up its membership in response to recent controversies (see: #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo). This year, the Academy’s top concerns are ratings, ratings, and ratings.

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Last year, the Oscars had its worst ratings, ever. It’s been trying to switch things up: like shortening the format so people don’t fall asleep. It also announced a popular movie category…then said ‘nvm’ after backlash. Here’s the latest issue the Academy’s been dealing with: not having a host. Kevin Hart was supposed to do it but then some of his homophobic tweets resurfaced. So he dropped out. Instead, the show might have more presenters.

Tell me about the frontrunners.

We Skimm'd all the best picture nominees here. But here’s the shorter version: “Roma” and “The Favourite” have the most noms. Given Cuarón’s DGA win, he’s the director to beat for “Roma.” Malek and Close have been dominating the best actor and actress categories – but those categories can be difficult to predict. Same with best picture. “Black Panther” won the big SAG award and would be the first superhero movie to win a best picture Oscar if it continues on that streak.


Awards season isn't just about red carpets. The people who win big tend to make more money and have bigger opportunities. With a foreign-language film and a superhero movie in some of the top categories, who comes out on top could also mark a shift in the types of films the Academy will recognize moving

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