Heat Meter: 'The Help' gets a SAG Awards boost, but is it enough?
This post has been corrected. Please see below for details.
The Screen Actors Guild awards on Sunday night gave a huge boost to “The Help,” with the Viola Davis-Octavia Spencer picture scoring three wins, including the coveted prize for best cast.
According to The Times’ Heat Meter rankings, the wins beefed up the movie’s overall score — tallied by all wins or nominations garnered by anyone affiliated with a given film — by a significant margin, taking it from 198 points to 322.
That helps the film go from a distant fourth to a nearly second-place tie with “The Descendants,” which has 325 points. ("The Artist" is solidly in first with 416.)
But can “The Help” actually pull off the coup of best picture at the Oscars?
Fans of the Tate Taylor film were quick to point out that in 2006, another movie about race, “Crash,” came out of nowhere to win the big one. And “Crash” also won the SAG cast award over that year’s favorite, “Brokeback Mountain,” before going on to stage its Oscar upset.
But as many pundits pointed out, the “Crash” analogy doesn’t exactly hold. That film won Oscars for writing and editing — categories in which “The Help” hasn’t even been nominated. In fact, the last time a movie won best picture without an editing nom came a long time ago, in 1980, when “Ordinary People” pulled off the feat.
So despite the “Help” surge, “The Artist” remains the front-runner. For now.
[Tuesday, 11:21 am: An earlier version of this post noted that "Crash" won an Oscar for directing; it won for writing.]
— Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Viola Davis, left, and Octavia Spencer in "The Help." Credit: DreamWorks.