Oscar Predictions: A Man Called Otto

Marc Forster’s A Man Called Otto is the second cinematic rendering of Fredrik Backman’s 2012 Swedish dramedy novel titled A Man Called Ove. The first originated from that nation in 2015, drew wide critical praise, and was nominated for both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Makeup Hairstyling at the Oscars.

The American remake is out for an awards qualifying run on December 30th before a wide release on January 13th. I’m really wondering if Sony Pictures dropped the ball a bit with their campaign. Reviews are of the mixed variety with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 74%. However, this sounds like a crowdpleaser that might win over audiences and rustle up decent business.

In a stronger year for lead, I might discount Hanks. The two-time recipient of the prize and six-time nominee plays against type as a widowed grumpy old man. Four slots in the Actor derby seem spoken for: Austin Butler for Elvis (in which Hanks costars), Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin, Brendan Fraser in The Whale, and Bill Nighy for Living. The fifth seems wide open with Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick), Hugh Jackman (The Son), and Paul Mescal (Aftersun) among those in contention. If Otto had been allowed a little more runway for its buzz to build, I’d throw Hanks in that mix. Now it might simply be too late.

That same logic applies to Mariana Treviño and even more so. The Mexican actress is getting rave notices. More than any other of the acting competitions, Supporting Actress has lots of possibilities and perhaps no slam dunk nominees. Had Sony mounted a spirited drive for Treviño, her inclusion would have been feasible. It’s still doable though unlikely.

There is one category where Otto could hear its name called. Of the 15 announced shortlist tunes for Original Song, “Til You’re Home” is in. The track is performed by the star’s wife Rita Wilson and Sebastiān Yatra. It was a surprise entry in the field and I’d be surprised if it makes the eventual five. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

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