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This past weekend proved to be a wild ride on the awards circuit.

The Producers Guild of America Awards bestowed its top honors upon Apple Original Film’s “CODA” on Saturday night while the Cinema Audio Society went with Warner Bros’ “Dune.”

At the Writers Guild of America Awards, several of the Oscar nominees for screenplay — “Belfast” (Kenneth Branagh), “Drive My Car” (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe), “The Lost Daughter” (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and “The Power of the Dog” (Jane Campion) — were not eligible for recognition. So instead, the group went with “Don’t Look Up” from Adam McKay and David Sirota in original, with “CODA” taking another trophy for adapted following the BAFTAs.

And the final shoe to drop was the American Society of Cinematographers delivering Greig Fraser (“Dune”) the statuette, his second win following “Lion” (2016).

With Oscar voting still underway, a legitimate three-horse race is underway — Apple’s “CODA,” Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog” and Focus Features’ “Belfast.” Multiple possibilities, including the falling of numerous Oscar statistics, are sending awards pundits and studio strategists into a frenzy.

Read more: Variety’s Awards Circuit Predictions Hub

Below are some highlights and challenges for the top three films heading into the final two days of voting.

Why it could be “CODA”

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©Apple TV/Courtesy Everett Coll

The family drama from writer and director Siân Heder has been the Cinderella story of awards season, overcoming insurmountable odds to remain in the conversation and build an organic support system that could bring the title of “first streamer to win best picture” to Apple. Walking into the Dolby Theatre doors with the winning combination of SAG and PGA are huge benefactors for any film.

Since the existence of SAG, 10 movies have won the two guilds, with only two losing the Oscar in the end.

  • “Apollo 13” (1995) – lost Oscar to “Braveheart” (not nominated for BAFTA best film)
  • “American Beauty” (1999) – won best picture
  • “Chicago” (2002) – won best picture
  • “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) – won best picture
  • “Little Miss Sunshine” (2007) – lost best picture to “The Departed”
  • “No Country for Old Men” (2007) – won best picture
  • “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) – won best picture
  • “The King’s Speech” (2011) – won best picture
  • “Argo” (2012) – won best picture
  • “Birdman” (2014) – won best picture

Those are very good odds.

When looking at the list above, “CODA” has the same precursor makeup as former best picture nominee “Little Miss Sunshine,” which lost the Oscars’ top awards to a film from an auteur filmmaker (Martin Scorsese), and wasn’t nominated in any artisan categories. Sounds very familiar.

Then there’s the hurdle of its total combination of guilds and categories received and missed. With only three nominations for picture, supporting actor (Troy Kotsur) and adapted screenplay, no movie has won best picture without noms for directing plus editing (since the editing category has been active). The film also missed a DGA nomination, and only “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989) won the Academy Award without the minimum of a nom.

While there are countless stats to consider that people love to throw out as “definitive” reasons why “it can’t win” the Oscar, there’s precedent for every miss.

Why it could be “The Power of the Dog”

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“The Power of the Dog” has held its head incredibly high on the circuit. Netflix has been out front with the film early, making stops at each of the significant fall festivals, including Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York. As a result, the western has won more critics’ prizes for best picture than any other movie and racked in an aggressive and impressive 12 nomination tally.

Approximately one-fourth of the Academy are international voters. The group has eclectic tastes and has made its presence known since AMPAS began expanding in the last few years. Campion is a beloved filmmaker abroad and it would be safe to assume they would be more inclined to love her style and exquisite filmmaking qualities.

In conversations with voters of the last few days, I feel confident that the film will likely receive the most no. 1 votes on members’ ballots. But as Variety explains, you need 50% plus one to win best picture.

The challenge for Campion’s methodical piece has been the preferential ballot. Looking at the last few years, it can be argued that if the preferential vote weren’t instated, Netflix would have already secured the best picture Oscar with “Roma.” Instead, their sensibilities as a studio have surrounded auteur filmmakers who have a unique perspective on cinema. That, unfortunately, typically comes with “divisive” reactions from critics and casual film enthusiasts. Without a doubt, the streamer is in the best position it’s ever been to win, but the voting method seems to be working against them.

There’s also the question of how many statuettes can “The Power of the Dog” win?

Then there’s the streaming bias, which shouldn’t be confused with “movie theater vs. watching at home.” Unfortunately, unfair or not, there are members within the Academy that have a “never Netflix” mentality, even if they brought the world the next “Citizen Kane.”

Perception is often reality, and with the former, they are looked upon as a behemoth that spends countless dollars on securing nominations and wins. The reality is that they don’t look any different than any other traditional movie studio or streaming platform that wants to secure gold statuettes. There often has to be a villain in a story, and unfortunately, they’re labeled as such (for the moment).

Why It Could be “Belfast”

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Personal filmmaking is always an added touch. Writer, director and producer Kenneth Branagh is a beloved and respected figure in Hollywood, proven by five previous nominations before this year. He is now the first person to be nominated in seven separate categories.

The “Don’t Look Up” win at the Writers Guild of America for original screenplay was a breath of fresh air to its campaign, showing that it can still win that prize.

It could go down the route of “Spotlight,” which only won best picture and original screenplay. Or, to create even more chaos, “Belfast” could go down the path of “The Broadway Melody” (1929), “Grand Hotel” (1932) and “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1935) — three films that won only best picture in their respective years.

If the anti-streamer bias is still relevant, then the Focus Features-backed film is the leading contender to take home the prize of the lot.

Noteworthy is the win of the People’s Choice Award at Toronto. If you think that the monochrome drama is pulling a donut on Oscar night, know that not a single winner of the TIFF prize (when it musters an Oscar nom for best picture) has gone home empty-handed. The last few have been “Nomadland” (2020), “Jojo Rabbit” (2019), “Green Book” (2018), “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017), “La La Land” (2016), “Room” (2015) and “The Imitation Game” (2014).

Being anointed early on is never a good thing for a film because the only way you can travel is downward. Debuting at the Telluride Film Festival, the film has been assumed (admittedly by yours truly) that it would perform the best on a preferential ballot and be the primary benefactor for the method.

The four most critical precursors to the Oscars with membership overlap are PGA, DGA, SAG and BAFTA. “Belfast” hasn’t won a single one of them. Even with the home-field advantage at BAFTA, it pulled out just a single win for outstanding British film, which doesn’t typically translate to anything within the American media.

Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” is the only film in the modern era able to win the best picture without any major guilds selecting it, making it a true outlier. Other divisive, shocking upsets in the last few decades had a minimum of one of those four — “Parasite” (SAG), “Green Book” (PGA), “Spotlight” (SAG), “Crash” (SAG), “Gladiator” (PGA and BAFTA) and “Shakespeare in Love” (SAG).

You can also subscribe to the theory that “Belfast” and “The Power of the Dog” are both double-dipping from the international voting bloc, which is helping “CODA” succeed.

Final Oscar voting ends on Tuesday, March 22 at 5:00 PM PST.