An Analysis of the Two Major Best Picture Contenders With its recent win at the Producer's Guild of America awards and twelve Oscar nominations to it's name, it sure seems that the tide is turning and The King's Speech has stolen The Social Network's thunder as the academy's Best Picture favourite. According to NY Post however the Vegas and offshore American bookies are recommending The Social Network as the safest bet still at 2/3 odds compared to The King's Speech which currently stands at 5/2. The following analysis takes a look at the factors which could sway the vote either way in regards to each film's chances of Oscar glory. FACTOR 1: THE DIRECTOR'S GUILD AWARDS This weekend sees the ceremony for the Director's Guild Awards take place which history tell us has always been a heavy indicator of Oscar success. In the last ten years in fact only two time winner Ang Lee has failed to see his film go onto claim Best Picture. It would seem then that the Screen Director's Guild winner has a strong chance of prospering at the Academy. Can any correlation be drawn then between the Producer's Guild Awards and the Director's Guild Awards? Well the good news for The King's Speech is that in the past three years both ceremonies have both been in agreement in awarding The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country for Old Men as their top films. Of course all three of these films went on to win Best Picture. In the last ten years there has only been three occasions where the Producer's Guild winning film has not seen the same director crowned at the Director's Guild, 2001 - where Moulin Rouge won the PGA and A Beautiful Mind won the DGA, 2004 where The Aviator won the PGA and Million Dollar Baby won the SGA, and 2006 where Little Miss Sunshine won the PGA and The Departed won the DGA. David Fincher will take some comfort in these deviations but statistically at least one has to make The King's Speech the favourite for this Sunday's prize. And should Tom Hooper pick up the award tomorrow night The King's Speech would become the heavy Oscar favourite. After all of the fifteen films that have won both the Producer's Guild Awards and Director's Guild Awards only three have gone on to miss out on the Best Picture prize - Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan and Brokeback Mountain. Should Fincher stand tall on Sunday however he would take comfort in the fact that the Director's Guild winner statistically has a stronger Best Picture chance than the Producer's Guild winner. Conclusion: A win on Sunday night in all categories is vital for Oscar success. FACTOR 2: SOCIAL NETWORK'S EARLY SEASON DOMINANCE Part of the reason why The Social Network is still heavy favourite is because of its early awards season sweep which has seen the film rewarded at all four of the big state-side critics prizes - the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Film Review, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Critics Film Circle. This feat has only been accomplished twice before. First by Schindler's List in 1993 and then in 1997 by LA Confidential. The latter film looked destined for Best Picture glory as a result but a shock James Cameron win at the Producer's Guild Awards and then again at the Director's Guild Awards a week later suddenly turned tide in favour of his big budget epic. This is partly what makes this Sunday so fascinating to see whether The King's Speech has truly managed to shake the seemingly unstoppable momentum that The Social Network enjoyed at the start of 2011. Conclusion: We wouldn't look too much into the previous awards, the real indicator of Oscar success begins this weekend. FACTOR 3: HEAVY NOMINATIONS EQUALS BEST PICTURE SUCCESS? There has been some talks that The King's Speech twelve nominations and whether or not this significant number makes the film the Best Picture favourite. Although many heavily nominated films have gone onto dominate the Oscars (Ben Hur, The Return of the King, Titanic, Gandhi) there have been just as many that haven't (Cabaret, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Gangs of New York, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf) and so whilst this may give The King's Speech a certain psychological advantage I don't think it is anything more than that. Conclusion: Being nominated twelve times simply means there's twelve times you can lose. The Coen Brothers Western classic True Grit has more Oscar nominations than The Social Network but nobody really considers Grit a contender for the top prize. Factor 4: THE WEINSTEIN FACTOR There is no doubt that Harvey Weinstein is a cunning genius when it comes to the Oscars. The English Patient was made for under $30 million and took home 9 Oscars. Two years later Weinstein spent $5 million helping to promote Shakespeare in Love and in spite of the film going empty handed at all the big four critics awards and being ousted by Saving Private Ryan at both the Director's and Producer's Guild Awards, the period drama achieved perhaps the most surprising Best Picture victory of all time. This was largely thanks to the Weinstein Brothers and their relentless campaigning. MY VERDICT: Although The Social Network dominated the awards season early on I think The King's Speech is gathering momentum at just the right time and in Harvey Weinstein they have the ideal man campaigning for their cause. As such I'm predicting King's Speech to squeeze its way to the Best Picture prize.