Oscar Watch: News of the World

When Paul Greengrass directed Tom Hanks seven years ago in Captain Phillips, the result was six Oscar nominations that included Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and a supporting nod for newcomer Barkhad Abdi. It was not nominated for Director or Hanks in Best Actor (something I still vehemently disagree with). With the release of their second collaboration on Christmas, the western drama News of the World, history could absolutely repeat itself.

The review embargo is up today and News is currently breaking at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. While that’s a great rating, much of the critical reaction is not of the rave variety. However, this looks to be a feature that should appeal to older members of the Academy and that very well could be enough to nab it a Best Picture nomination. I suspect that when I update my Oscar predictions tomorrow on the blog, I will still have it listed in my estimated nine.

It’s been 20 years since the beloved Hanks scored his last Best Actor nod for Cast Away, though he was featured in last year’s Supporting Actor derby for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Like in 2013 when he was snubbed for Phillips, this year’s contest is likely too crowded for him to be included. Like with Abdi, on the other hand, there is a newcomer here that could garner attention. 12-year-old Helena Zengel is his costar and the fifth slot in Supporting Actress seems to be open. This is assuming that Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Amanda Seyfried (Mank), Olivia Colman (The Father), and Ellen Burstyn (Pieces of a Woman) make the cut and I currently am. Zengel, who critics are certainly praising, is a strong hopeful for #5.

Greengrass may struggle to make it in for his direction just as he did with Phillips. Adapted Screenplay (by the director and Luke Davies) seems more of a possibility. There’s also tech races where it stands a solid chance and this includes Original Score, Cinematography, Film Editing, Production Design, and Sound. My feeling is that it will show up in most or all. In fact, I’ll go out on an early limb and say that News of the World will get the most 2020 Oscar nominations without winning any. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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