For several weeks, I have had Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans listed at the top in my predictions for Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams). Prior to its November 11th limited release and Thanksgiving holiday domestic expansion, the coming-of-age drama has screened in Toronto. That’s a first for the most famous director in the world and festival goers are celebrating what they’re seeing in his autobiographical tale.
Reviews are strong with a current 86% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Awards voters have always been fans of pictures centered on its industry and The Fabelmans is said to be a loving look back at Spielberg’s formative years. There’s little doubt that this has already done enough to become his 14th feature to nab a Best Picture nod (Schindler’s List remains the sole winner). This should also mark his 8th mention in Director (he’s won twice for List and Saving Private Ryan). An Original Screenplay nod (alongside Tony Kushner) is coming where it could be a battle with Everything Everywhere All at Once or others.
What of the cast? It appears Williams (essentially portraying the filmmaker’s mom) deserves that front runner status in Supporting Actress. Her fifth nomination (after Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week with Marilyn, Manchester by the Sea) could at last be the charm. As Dad, Paul Dano could be in the mix for his first nod in an impressive year that includes his turn as The Riddler in The Batman. Yet it could be Judd Hirsch (in what’s said to be about 10 minutes of screen time) that lands attention in that race. His scene is said to be a scene stealer and if there’s only one nominee in the Supporting Actor field, expect it to be Hirsch over Dano or Seth Rogen. If so, that would come 42 years following Hirsch’s sole nod for Ordinary People. As for 19-year-old newcomer lead Gabriel LaBelle, he’s absolutely a contender for Best Actor though I’d say his making the cut is less certain than Williams or Hirsch.
No surprise that tech nods are anticipated including Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Sound, and so forth. Bottom line: The Fabelmans has begun its long Oscar journey north of the border. Not only will it be nominated in the major categories, but it could win. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…