Oscar Watch: 20th Century Women

The New York Film Festival has screened another high-profile Oscar contender and that would be Mike Mills’s 20th Century Women. The comedic drama set in the late 1970s was unveiled today to a lot of positive reviews and some that pointed out various flaws.

I’ve included Women on my list of 25 possible Best Picture nominees (as of yesterday it stood at #19). Based on the initial buzz, it could move up some slots next Thursday. Yet I would maintain that it’s unlikely at this juncture that it’ll be included among the five to ten eventual nominees. Same goes for Mills in the Director race.

The director’s last effort (Beginners) nabbed Christopher Plummer a Best Supporting Actor victroy. And it’s in the acting categories that this film has always seemed like a stronger contender and the New York screening has confirmed that. Ms. Bening has heard her name called for Academy recognition four times, but she’s never won. My latest predictions listed her as fourth for likelihood in receiving a Best Actress nod and that still seems right. Critics have praised her work here and she’s probably on her way to her fifth nomination. It still appears, however, that the trio of Emma Stone (La La Land), Natalie Portman (Jackie), and Viola Davis (Fences) have a firmer chance at actually winning.

Early notices have also pointed out the work of both Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig. It’s unlikely that both will be nominated in Supporting Actress (though you never know). The edge currently goes to Gerwig. As for Crudup in Supporting Actor, he’s probably on the outside looking in, though it’s worth noting that Supporting Actor looks wide open at the moment. While Mills won’t see a Directing nod, Original Screenplay is possible (though there’s major competition there too).

Bottom line: The early buzz for 20th Century Women solidified the standing of Bening and Gerwig, with outside shots at other races.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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