The NBR Likes Spike

The National Board of Review bestowed their end of year honors today and the unpredictable group showed some love for Netflix… just not in the expected way. The NBR named Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods as Best Film along with Lee taking their top filmmaking prize. Bloods, which premiered on Netflix this summer, has been seen as a prospect whose Best Picture chances are questionable. In my rankings, it has risen over recent weeks all the way up to #5.

As for its chances to win, one could legitimately argue the NBR win means it probably won’t (and it probably won’t). In the 21st century, only 4 of the 20 NBR victors took Best Picture at the big show and only one in the past decade (2003’s Mystic River, 2007’s No Country for Old Men, 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, 2018’s Green Book).

The NBR also names 10 of their other favorite pics and they are: First Cow, The Forty-Year-Old Version, Judas and the Black Messiah, The Midnight Sky, Minari, News of the World, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Soul, and Sound of Metal. The major surprise here is easily Netflix’s The Midnight Sky from George Clooney. It received very mixed reviews and is not anticipated to play with the Academy except for tech races. The other story here is the omission of three legit Netflix contenders at the Oscars: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. In particular, Chicago is seen as the main competitor to Nomadland for BP winner. That said, only 6 of the 11 NBR pics last year nabbed Oscar attention. Two other notable exclusions from the Board are The Father and One Night in Miami. 

In the acting races, Riz Ahmed took Best Actor for Sound of Metal. He’s looked at as a likely Academy contender. Similar to the Picture discussion, only 1 NBR recipient here (Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea) achieved Oscar glory. Carey Mulligan named Best Actress for Promising Young Woman. The Oscar/NBR connection is slightly better as three of the past 10 trophy takers had good fortune with the Academy. The Sound of Metal love continued in Supporting Actor with Paul Raci winning. Like Actress, it’s a 3 out of 10 match in the 2010s. Youn Yuh-jung is NBR’s Supporting Actress choice for Minari. Only 1 of the last 10 victors for the Board won the Oscar (Regina King in 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk). Minari also took Original Screenplay with News of the World winning Adapted. Soul, the front runner for the Oscar, was named Best Animated Feature.

Bottom line: the NBR can certainly increase exposure for hopefuls, but it’s certainly not a barometer for who wins at the Oscars. Nevertheless it’s a nice day for a Netflix feature that I currently have behind three others from the streamer that weren’t named here.

Oscar Watch: Palmer

I’m sad to report that Palmer starring Justin Timberlake does not feature the pop superstar playing 1980s “Addicted to Love” crooner Robert Palmer (that would be pretty sweet). Instead the drama (streaming on Apple TV this Friday) casts JT as a former felon caring for a young boy. Fisher Stevens directs with a supporting cast featuring Juno Temple, Ryder Allen, Alisha Wainwright, and June Squibb.

As of late, Timberlake has mostly focused on his music efforts. His acting credits in recent years has primarily consisted of voice work in the Trolls franchise. Some critics have praised his performance here, but the 56% Rotten Tomatoes score indicates this won’t be an awards contender.

Bottom line: Palmer doesn’t have the look of a late breaking Academy hopeful and it should be easy for voters to simply resist it. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

2020 AFI Top 10 Films Predictions

The American Film Institute will announce their top 10 pictures of the year tomorrow and it’s usually a safe predictor of half or more of the films that will land Best Picture nods at the Oscars. Over the past five years, the magic number has been 7 of the AFI selections getting Oscar love in the big race. That holds true for 2016, 2017, and 2019. In 2015 – it was 6. In 2018- it was 5.

So where do we stand this year? My overall estimates keep the estimated AFI number at 7 for my current Best Picture hopefuls (which could and probably will change). It is worth noting that for the previous two years, there’s a bit of an asterisk. Being that it’s the American Film Institute, foreign selections are ineligible. Due to this, surefire Oscar contenders Roma and Parasite didn’t qualify. This would apply in 2020 to The Father which is a British production.

As for the matches, they are as follows: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Minari, News of the World, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, and The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Now for the differences. AFI has shown a Disney love recently that the Academy did not share. AFI nominated Inside Out, Zootopia, and Mary Poppins Returns over the last five years with Oscar not following suit. Therefore I’m saying Pixar’s Soul makes the AFI cut.

The other two are critical favorites that (at press time) I have just missing Oscar’s cut: Promising Young Woman and Sound of Metal. This means the three pics I have getting Oscar’s attention and not from AFI are Da 5 Bloods, The Father, and Judas and the Black Messiah.

What else could surprise? I would not be shocked to see Borat Subsequent Moviefilm make AFI’s list. If they don’t choose that comedy, there’s a lesser chance that Palm Springs could show up. AFI has also selected some blockbusters that Oscar ignored as of late. Examples include Knives Out, A Quiet Place, Wonder Woman, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, due to COVID in 2020, there’s just not a huge list of those types of contenders. Could Tenet sneak in? Doubtful.

Others that could be sleepers are First Cow, Pieces of a Woman, Malcolm & Marie, and Hillbilly Elegy, but here’s my take on what AFI does tomorrow:

AFI TOP TEN LIST PREDICTIONS

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

Promising Young Woman

Soul

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

2020 Oscar Predictions: January 24th Edition

My latest round of Oscar estimates keeps my predicted number of Best Picture nominees at the full 10 – with a change. It’s News of the World back in and Promising Young Woman on the outside looking in.

In the other major categories, my picks remain the same with some movement in the rankings. Most notably, in the Supporting Actress field, I am putting Amanda Seyfried’s work in Mank back at #1 over Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy.

You can read all the developments below and I’ll be back at it next weekend!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

6. One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 9)

8. The Father (PR: 8)

9. Minari (PR: 7)

10. News of the World (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

11. Promising Young Woman (PR: 10)

12. Sound of Metal (PR: 13)

13. Soul (PR: 12)

14. First Cow (PR: 14)

15. Malcolm & Marie (PR: 15)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 7)

7. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

8. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 6)

9. Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 9)

10. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman (PR: 10)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

4. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

5. Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead (PR: 9)

7. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

8. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 7)

9. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 8)

10. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 10)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

4. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 3)

5. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

7. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 7)

8. Tom Hanks, News of the World (PR: Not Ranked)

9. John David Washington, Malcolm & Marie (PR: 10)

10. Ben Affleck, The Way Back (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 2)

2. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 3)

4. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 5)

5. Youn Yuh-jung, Minari (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 6)

7. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 9)

8. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 7)

9. Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Olivia Cooke, Sound of Metal

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 3)

3. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 2)

4. Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 6)

7. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 8)

8. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 7)

9. Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

10. Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 4)

3. Promising Young Woman (PR: 2)

4. Minari (PR: 3)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

7. Soul (PR: 6)

8. Sound of Metal (PR: 9)

9. Malcolm & Marie (PR: 8)

10. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: 10)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

3. The Father (PR: 4)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 3)

5. First Cow (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 7)

7. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 6)

8. The White Tiger (PR: 8)

9. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 9)

10. French Exit (PR: 10)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Wolfwalkers (PR: 2)

3. Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. Onward (PR: 4)

5. Earwig and the Witch (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Croods: A New Age (PR: 7)

7. The Willoughbys (PR: 6)

8. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (PR: 8)

9. Demon Slayer (PR: 10)

10. Trolls World Tour (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (formerly Connected)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Totally Under Control (PR: 3)

2. Time (PR: 1)

3. Dick Johnson Is Dead (PR: 4)

4. The Dissident (PR: 2)

5. All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Boys State (PR: 6)

7. Collective (PR: 7)

8. Crip Camp (PR: 8)

9. Welcome to Chechnya (PR: 9)

10. The Truffle Hunters (PR: 10)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Another Round (PR: 1)

2. Quo Vadis, Aida? (PR: 2)

3. Night of the Kings (PR: 3)

4. A Sun (PR: 6)

5. I’m No Longer Here (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Dear Comrades! (PR: 5)

7. Collective (PR: 4)

8. My Little Sister (PR: 8)

9. Two of Us (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Notturno (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Never Gonna Snow Again 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 2)

2. Nomadland (PR: 1)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 6)

7. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

8. Minari (PR: 7)

9. The Midnight Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Malcolm & Marie

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Emma (PR: 4)

4. Mulan (PR: 3)

5. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 5)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 7)

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

9. The Glorias (PR: 9)

10. Ammonite (PR: 8)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Nomadland (PR: 3)

4. The Father (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 7)

7. Tenet (PR: 9)

8. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 10)

9. One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

10. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 6)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 2)

3. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 6)

4. Mank (PR: 3)

5. Birds of Prey (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mulan (PR: 8)

7. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

8. Pinocchio (PR: 5)

9. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 7)

10. Emma (PR: 9)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. The Midnight Sky (PR: 5)

5. Minari (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 8)

7. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

8. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 7)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

10. Ammonite (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

One Night in Miami

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami (PR: 1)

2. “Seen” from The Life Ahead (PR: 2)

3. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

4. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (PR: 3)

5. “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana (PR: 6)

7. “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

8. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (PR: 8)

9. “The Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 9)

10. “Free” from The One and Only Ivan (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Wear Your Crown” from The Prom

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

3. Emma (PR: 5)

4. News of the World (PR: 4)

5. Tenet (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mulan (PR: 3)

7. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

8. The Midnight Sky (PR: 6)

9. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 8)

10. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sound of Metal (PR: 1)

2. Tenet (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 6)

5. The Midnight Sky (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

7. Soul (PR: 5)

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

9. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

10. Greyhound (PR: 10)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. The Midnight Sky (PR: 2)

3. The Invisible Man (PR: 4)

4. Greyhound (PR: 5)

5. Wonder Woman 1984 (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mulan (PR: 3)

7. Birds of Prey (PR: 6)

8. Sonic the Hedgehog (PR: 7)

9. Mank (PR: 8)

10. The Call of the Wild (PR: 9)

And that equates to the following films garnering these numbers for nominations:

12 Nominations

Mank

7 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

6 Nominations

The Father, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7

5 Nominations

News of the World

4 Nominations

Minari, One Night in Miami

3 Nominations

Judas and the Black Messiah, The Midnight Sky, Sound of Metal, Tenet

2 Nominations

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, Promising Young Woman, Soul

1 Nomination

Another Round, Birds of Prey, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Dissident, Earwig and the Witch, First Cow, Greyhound, I’m No Longer Here, The Invisible Man, The Life Ahead, Malcolm & Marie, Mulan, Night of the Kings, Onward, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Quo Vadis, Aida?, A Sun, Time, Totally Under Control, Wolfwalkers, Wonder Woman 1984

Oscar Watch: Cherry

Cherry marks the fourth collaboration between directors Anthony and Joe Russo and actor Tom Holland and it’s the first time the lead star isn’t sporting a Spider-Man outfit in it. The crime drama casts him as a soldier who’s turned to a life of crime. Costars include Ciara Bravo and Jack Reynor.

The pic hits theaters in limited fashion on February 26th which grants it 2020 Oscar eligibility. It streams on Apple TV starting March 12th. The review embargo has yet to lift, but social media reaction from critics is out. Bottom line: Cherry is highly unlikely to be picked by awards voters in any races.

Much of the reaction indicates this is a misfire. As mentioned, the Russos have had tremendous success in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and with Holland’s participation in Captain America: Civil War and the last two Avengers pics. Before the recent buzz, Holland was looked at as an outside possibility for Best Actor. Yet that chatter should dissipate quickly if it hasn’t already. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: The White Tiger

In the 2020 Oscar season that is spilling over to January and February of 2021, Netflix has an abundance of serious contenders in the major races. That includes everything from The Trial of the Chicago 7 to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom to Da 5 Bloods to Mank to name just four. On January 22nd, Ramin Bahrani’s The White Tiger debuts on the streaming service. Will it be added to the lengthy list of contenders?

I have doubts with the exception of one category. Based on the 2008 novel by Aravind Adiga, the rags to riches drama set in India stars Adarsh Gourav, Priyanka Chopra Jones, and Rajkummar Rao. Reviews are stellar and it currently sports an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, Netflix would need to mount a major push for Picture, Directing, or any acting slots and their attention may simply be elsewhere with entities that could potentially win.

The possible exception is Adapted Screenplay. The conventional wisdom is that four slots are filled with Nomadland, One Night in Miami, The Father, and Ma Rainey. For the last couple of weeks, I have put First Cow (which is doing well on the critics awards circuit) in spot #5. Netflix’s own I’m Thinking of Ending Things has a shot as does News of the World. Yet it’s not unrealistic that The White Tiger could sneak in as a surprise pick to round out the competition.

Bottom line: it’s more feasible that Tiger comes up empty-handed on nominations morning, but it could achieve one mention. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

2020 Oscar Predictions: January 14th Edition

For the past several years, the magic number has traditionally been nine when it comes to Best Picture nominees. It can fluctuate anywhere between 5 and 10 according to the rules, unlike every other category. This changes to a finite 10 starting in 2022. And since August when I began these (mostly) weekly estimates, I’ve kept it at 9.

However, I am expanding it to ten this week as I believe Judas and the Black Messiah could easily make the cut and I just couldn’t take any of the other nine films out. Obviously this may change as we move closer to nomination morning, but that’s where I stand today.

In the major categories, other changes are Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods) entering the Best Director mix for the first time and that takes out George C. Wolfe for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In Supporting Actor, I have yet again switched the 5 spot with Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) in and Mark Rylance (The Trial of the Chicago 7) out.

Zendaya’s work in Malcolm & Marie goes from unranked status all the way to #5 and this displaces Andra Day for The United States vs. Billie Holiday. 

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

6. One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

7. Minari (PR: 5)

8. The Father (PR: 7)

9. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 12)

10. Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

11. News of the World (PR: 11)

12. Soul (PR: 13)

13. Sound of Metal (PR: 12)

14. First Cow (PR: 14)

15. Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

5. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

7. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 6)

8. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

9. Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Darius Marder, Sound of Metal

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

4. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

5. Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

7. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 7)

8. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 5)

9. Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead (PR: 8)

10. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Robin Wright, Land

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 4)

4. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

5. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

7. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 8)

8. Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

9. Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round (PR: 9)

10. John David Washington, Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Tom Hanks, News of the World

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 1)

2. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 3)

4. Youn Yuh-jung, Minari (PR: 5)

5. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 7)

7. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 8)

8. Olivia Cooke, Sound of Metal (PR: 9)

9. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 6)

10. Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 3)

3. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

4. Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

7. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 8)

8. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 7)

9. Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

10. Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Stanley Tucci, Supernova

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

3. Minari (PR: 4)

4. Mank (PR: 2)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Soul (PR: 6)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

8. Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Sound of Metal (PR: 8)

10. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

The Forty-Year-Old Version

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. One Night in Miami (PR: 3)

3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

4. The Father (PR: 2)

5. First Cow (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 6)

7. News of the World (PR: 7)

8. The White Tiger (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 9)

10. French Exit (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Emma

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Wolfwalkers (PR: 2)

3. Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. Onward (PR: 4)

5. Earwig and the Witch (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Willoughbys (PR: 6)

7. The Croods: A New Age (PR: 7)

8. Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (PR: 8)

9. Connected (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Demon Slayer (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Bombay Rose

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Time (PR: 2)

2. The Dissident (PR: 4)

3. Totally Under Control (PR: 1)

4. Dick Johnson Is Dead (PR: 3)

5. All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Boys State (PR: 5)

7. Collective (PR: 9)

8. Crip Camp (PR: 7)

9. Welcome to Chechnya (PR: 8)

10. The Truffle Hunters (PR: 10)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Another Round (PR: 1)

2. Quo Vadis, Aida? (PR: 2)

3. Night of the Kings (PR: 3)

4. Collective (PR: 7)

5. Dear Comrades! (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Sun (PR: 5)

7. I’m No Longer Here (PR: 4)

8. My Little Sister (PR: 6)

9. Never Gonna Snow Again (PR: 9)

10. Notturno (PR: 10)

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees

1. Nomadland (PR: 2)

2. Mank (PR: 1)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 6)

7. Minari (PR: 7)

8. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

10. Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Trial of the Chicago 7

The United States vs. Billie Holiday 

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

2. Mank (PR: 1)

3. Mulan (PR: 5)

4. Emma (PR: 3)

5. News of the World (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 6)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 4)

8. Ammonite (PR: 10)

9. The Glorias (PR: 9)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 8)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Nomadland (PR: 3)

4. The Father (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

7. News of the World (PR: 5)

8. One Night in Miami (PR: 9)

9. Tenet (PR: 10)

10. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

Minari

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 6)

4. Birds of Prey (PR: 3)

5. Pinocchio (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 4)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 7)

8. Mulan (PR: 8)

9. Emma (PR: 10)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

News of the World

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Minari (PR: 4)

5. The Midnight Sky (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 8)

7. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 5)

8. Tenet (PR: 6)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

10. One Night in Miami (PR: 10)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami (PR: 1)

2. “Seen” from The Life Ahead (PR: 2)

3. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

5. “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana (PR: 6)

7. “Wear Your Crown” from The Prom (PR: 7)

8. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (PR: 9)

9. “The Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 10)

10. “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Poverty Porn” from The Forty-Year-Old Version

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

3. Mulan (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 7)

5. Emma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Midnight Sky (PR: 6)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

8. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 4)

9. Tenet (PR: 8)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sound of Metal (PR: 1)

2. Tenet (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 5)

5. Soul (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 7)

7. Da 5 Bloods (PR: Not Ranked)

8. The Midnight Sky (PR: 6)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

10. Greyhound (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

The Prom

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. The Midnight Sky (PR: 2)

3. Mulan (PR: 4)

4. The Invisible Man (PR: 5)

5. Greyhound (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Birds of Prey (PR: 3)

7. Sonic the Hedgehog (PR: 7)

8. Mank (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Call of the Wild (PR: 10)

10. Wonder Woman 1984 (PR: 6)

Dropped Out:

Dolittle

And that equates to the following pictures garnering these numbers in terms of nominations:

12 Nominations

Mank

8 Nominations

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

7 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods

6 Nominations

The Father, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7

4 Nominations

Minari, News of the World, One Night in Miami

3 Nominations

Judas and the Black Messiah, Mulan, Promising Young Woman, Soul, Sound of Metal

2 Nominations

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, The Midnight Sky, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, Tenet

1 Nomination

Another Round, Birds of Prey, Collective, Dear Comrades!, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Dissident, Earwig and the Witch, First Cow, Greyhound, The Invisible Man, The Life Ahead, Malcolm & Marie, Night of the Kings, Onward, Pinocchio, Quo Vadis, Aida?, Time, Totally Under Control, Wolfwalkers

Oscar Watch: The Mauritanian

Political legal drama The Mauritanian, which tells of the true life trial of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner, hits theaters on February 19th and its embargo lifted this week. Kevin Macdonald, who directed Forest Whitaker to a Best Actor Oscar in The Last King of Scotland, is behind the camera with a cast headlined by Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Zachary Levi.

Critical reaction thus far is quite mixed with a 55% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Distributor STX Entertainment has already announced the category placements of Rahim for lead actor and two-time winner Foster for Supporting Actress. They are the two performers getting the most praise for their work.

However, the subject matter and the so-so feedback will present a challenge for The Mauritanian to reach audiences and awards voters. Two years ago, the similarly themed The Report had a much better Tomatoes rating (82%) and a thought that Annette Bening could contend in Supporting Actress. That never materialized and I’d be surprised if this ends up being a player in a couple of months. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Judas and the Black Messiah

I continue with my Oscar Watch posts for pictures sending screeners late in the season and we arrive at one with real potential – Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah. The Warner Bros production hits theaters and HBO Max simultaneously on February 12. It stars Lakeith Stanfield as an undercover FBI informant tasked to take down Black Panther head Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya).

While the review embargo is still intact, social media reactions are available today. They point to a feeling many had when the first trailer debuted months ago in that Judas could nab several nominations come Oscar morning. In particular, Kaluuya’s performance (being campaigned for in Supporting Actor) is being highly praised. This would be his second nomination behind his lead work in 2017’s Get Out. His inclusion in the supporting field appears not only likely, but he could win. I could foresee a narrative in which Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7) and Kaluuya vie for the prize and this storyline could play out until April.

Stanfield is in the Best Actor mix, but his final five status is much more questionable. Like Best Actress in 2020, lead actor may already have four performances that are “in”. That would be Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), and Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods). The fifth slot could be a toss-up between several performers including Kingsley Ben-Adir (One Night in Miami), Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round), Gary Oldman (Mank), and Steven Yeun (Minari). Today’s buzz suggests adding Stanfield to that list is warranted.

Same goes for Supporting Actress with Dominique Fishback as several posts are highlighting her work. This year’s lineup appears in flux and there’s room for last minute surprises in that particular field. She will be one to keep an eye on.

As for Best Picture, Judas has been kept out of my predicted nine until word of mouth was available. When my estimates are updated on Thursday, it could well make its initial appearance. King’s direction is also on the table for final five status. Several down the line races are possible including Cinematography (also being mentioned a lot), Editing, Production Design, and Original Song (with a composition by H.E.R.). Warner Bros seems to know it has a real hopeful on its hands as this has been added to the Sundance schedule later this month.

Bottom line: the social media reaction indicates critics aren’t betrayed by Judas and it has officially announced its way into Academy consideration. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: The United States vs. Billie Holiday

As the latecomers for awards consideration are getting their industry screenings, the Oscar picture is becoming a bit more clear for several contenders. In the case of The United States vs. Billie Holiday (hitting Hulu on February 26), the verdict is not encouraging. The biopic of singer Billie Holiday has yet to have its official review embargo lifted, but word of mouth indicates many think this is a misfire.

The pic comes from director Lee Daniels, whose 2009 effort Precious picked up six Academy nominations and victories in Supporting Actress for Mo’Nique and its Adapted Screenplay. Based on early buzz, the only performer with any shot of recognition is Andra Day in the title role for Best Actress. The supporting cast that includes Natasha Lyonne, Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph appear to be non-factors.

As I have discussed on the blog previously, Best Actress is a crowded field with four likely slots filled: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman). The fifth spot does appear up for grabs and some pundits have lauded Day’s work as a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing experience. However, I find it more plausible that the Academy could go for anyone from Zendaya (Malcolm & Marie) to Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit) to Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead), to name just three. Last week, I had Day in the mix at #5. Expect her to drop when I release my new estimates this Thursday.

Down the line races such as Production and Costume Design (and perhaps Makeup and Hairstyling) could be possibilities here, but I have a hunch Holiday could also be blanked come nomination morning. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…