Oscar Watch, charting the ups and downs of the award season, comes to you every Monday from now through the end of February. With the Directors Guild of America giving yet another big prize to "Birdman" and "Boyhood" making a last stand with voters across the Atlantic, let's check in on the contenders with one more week to go of Oscar balloting.
Alejandro G. Inarritu's dazzling tour de force about an actor's quest for reinvention and redemption has now won the top prizes from the Producers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild and, on Saturday, the Directors Guild. The last movie to win the PGA, DGA and SAG ensemble and not go on to win the best picture Oscar was 1995's "Apollo 13." The movies that swept the guilds and won best picture: "American Beauty," "Chicago," "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," "No Country for Old Men," "Slumdog Millionaire," "The King's Speech" and "Argo."
Look now for "Birdman" to join that group. It simply has too much history on its side.
The last shred of hope for supporters of Richard Linklater's tender coming-of-age movie came Sunday when the British Academy of Film and Television Arts gave "Boyhood" prizes for picture and director. The last six BAFTA winners have gone on to take the best picture Oscar, and the "Boyhood" faithful can hope that the broad spectrum of industry voters that comprise BAFTA will reflect their counterparts in the academy this year as well. It's not a likely scenario, but, hey, it's something.
"The Theory of Everything" star won the British Academy Film Award on Sunday for lead actor, which, following his Screen Actors Guild victory, puts him nicely in line to win the Oscar. Unfortunately, Redmayne is more in the news right now for his appearance in the critically ridiculed box office bomb "Jupiter Ascending." His team can only hope that when academy members mark their ballots this week, they think of this and not this when voting for lead actor.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Wes Anderson's charming caper comedy isn't likely to win best picture, but its big BAFTA haul Sunday could well portend a nice night at the Oscars on Feb. 22. The five BAFTA awards "Budapest" took -- score, makeup and hair, costume design, production design and an original screenplay prize for Anderson -- might all be Oscar wins too, making it the night's most celebrated movie. For a filmmaker known for impeccable detail and craft, it's recognition long overdue in arriving.