Newsletter: Gold Standard: ‘Mad Max’ to roar on Oscar nominations morning

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season, leading up to the Oscars. I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host. We’re less than a week away from Oscar nominations. Let’s look at what movies and performances have the most momentum heading into the big reveal.

Oscar noms prediction: Ten nominations for ‘Fury Road’

With a Producers Guild of America nomination and the strong potential to score in a number of crafts categories, I’m looking for “Mad Max: Fury Road” to score the most nominations this year. You can read my reasoning here. And, yes, it’s still somewhat staggering to think that George Miller’s barking-mad, post-apocalyptic chase movie could leave all its competitors in the dust.


For a more detailed breakdown of the crafts categories, check out my predictions.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

"Mad Max: Fury Road" could well lead the field in Oscar nominations this year.

(Jasin Boland / Warner Bros. Pictures)

PGA Awards: ‘Compton’ makes the cut; ‘Carol,’ ‘Room’ left out

The Producers Guild’s best picture lineup typically matches the Oscars’ best picture slate at about an 80% rate. And every best picture winner has been PGA-nominated since the group began giving out awards in 1990.


That means this year’s best picture Oscar winner will almost certainly come from this list of 10: “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Ex Machina,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Sicario,” “Spotlight” and “Straight Outta Compton.”

The good news, if you’re not on this list: Oscar voters always nominate at least one movie not cited by the PGA. Which movies could make the academy’s cut? Read here for the answers.

Writers like awards too

We just don’t take the Writers Guild of America Awards quite as seriously as the other guild honors because a lot of celebrated writers (Quentin Tarantino for one) don’t belong to the guild and many movies aren’t eligible for the honors because they’re not WGA signatories. (Foreign films and animated movies typically aren’t.)

Still, this year’s slate for original and adapted screenplay offers a strong and varied set of titles. Check out which movies might go on to find favor with the academy.


"Spotlight" was among the WGA Awards original screenplay nominees.

(Kerry Hayes / Open Road Films)

Golden Globes coming this Sunday

We’ll be live blogging the red carpet and the ceremony from 2 to 10 p.m. at And if you want to fill out your own ballot and match your taste with members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (I bet you make better picks!), we have a play-at-home ballot for you.


For even more fun, match your picks with my predictions. If you do better than me, let me know. I’ll ask for your advice next year!


I’d love to hear from you. Email me at

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.

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