As a precursor to the Oscars, all the Hollywood guilds and associations have been announcing their own nominations, and you might have noticed a pattern developing:
  • The Producers Guild of America named these films as candidates for its best picture award: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Slumdog Millionaire.
  • Then the Directors Guild of America announced its nominees, and they were the men who directed these films: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Slumdog Millionaire.
  • And the Writers Guild of America had 10 nominees, five each in original screenplay and adapted screenplay, and among those nominees were the people who wrote these films: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Slumdog Millionaire.
The same five films were nominated for each of these guild awards -- a trifecta, to use a word I don't get to use often enough. So now you're wondering, is this trifecta common? And how does it predict the Oscar nominations?

It turns out it is pretty common for a movie to be nominated for all three of these. (It helps that the WGA nominates 10 films, increasing the chances of overlap with the other awards.) The PGA awards are the newest, having begun in 1990, and since that time 43 films (not counting this year's) have hit the trifecta. And of those 43 -- and this is the important part -- only three have then failed to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

So if history is any indication, the nominees for Best Picture at the Academy Awards will be these five films: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Slumdog Millionaire. Put on your sad clown mask and take it to the bank.