Oscar Predictions – Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

On the eve of its premiere, the embargo for Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody finally lifted. For those not familiar, waiting until December 21st for critics to weigh in is not a good sign for awards possibilities. The biopic comes from Kasi Lemmons, who last directed Cynthia Erivo to a Best Actress nod for 2019’s Harriet. Then there’s the screenwriter Anthony McCarten. He’s a bit of an awards whisperer. His screenplays for 2014’s The Theory of Everything, 2017’s Darkest Hour, and 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody resulted in Best Actor victories for (respectively) Eddie Redmayne, Gary Oldman, and Rami Malek.

That’s why I was a tad surprised that Somebody was MIA at film festivals and that there were no early reviews to generate buzz. Now it makes more sense. The Rotten Tomatoes score is a mere 41%. That said, some write-ups are singing the praises of Naomi Ackie as the iconic and troubled legend. I don’t think it would’ve been impossible for Ackie to make the five in Best Actress. At this juncture, only Cate Blanchett (Tár) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) have guaranteed spots in my opinion. Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans and Danielle Deadwyler for Till are probably in as well. The fifth slot could be Margot Robbie (Babylon), Viola Davis (The Woman King), Olivia Colman (Empire of Light), or a surprise.

It is probably too late for Ackie to be a factor. The Critics Choice and Globes skipped her and the Academy is unlikely to make her queen of the night. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

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