Emancipation Enters the Oscar Race

In an alternative universe, Emancipation might be in my top 10 predicted Best Picture nominees. I could potentially be discussing Will Smith’s chances of being the first back to back acting winner since Tom Hanks in 1993 and 1994.

I didn’t think this alternative universe could be a potential reality in the 2022 awards season. In 2021, Apple TV beat Netflix and others to the punch as CODA was the inaugural streaming Best Picture winner. For a while, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon appeared to be Apple’s best shot at making it two years in a row. That’s until it got pushed to 2023. In recent weeks, there was speculation that Ridley Scott’s Napoleon starring Joaquin Phoenix could make a jump to 2022. It wasn’t to be.

This has left Apple without a legit across the board Oscar player… until maybe today. Why? The streamer announced that Antoine Fuqua’s historical drama Emancipation will hit theaters for an awards qualifying run on December 2nd and then be available for home viewing on December 9th. The trailer was unveiled this morning.

And in case you’re still wondering why I’m skeptical… two words: The Slap. Yes, the slap heard around the globe when Chris Rock presented Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards and cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. And, of course, slap provider Will Smith giving his acceptance speech a few minutes later when he was victorious in Best Actor for King Richard.

Since then, many of Smith’s planned projects have entered turnaround status. Emancipation, in which he plays a slave who joins the Union Army, was already filmed. And Apple made the surprising decision in early October to get it out two months later. This surely means Smith will be subject to interviews where he’ll address The Slap sooner than later.

So… the obvious question: can Smith get nominated? Can the film itself do so in other categories? Even though the star resigned from the Academy in the aftermath of the incident, he can still be nominated (and he can attend if invited by other members). So while the short answer is yes… the real answer is more complicated.

My gut is that Smith’s work in Emancipation would have to be undeniably awards worthy to make the final five. Even that could be a stretch. Time heals controversies and not much time has passed. As for the film itself, it could surely garner nods from Best Picture on down (I’m curious if Ben Foster gets any chatter for Supporting Actor). Yet it starts off at a unique disadvantage.

We won’t know until reviews start surfacing and that could be a few weeks. I can only assume Apple will give this a major push for consideration. It’s a campaign that is an uphill battle for reasons unfathomable just a few months ago.

Oscar Predictions: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Before you call me crazy for penning this Oscar Predictions post, I’m not saying Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile will crawl into Best Picture consideration. And I’m not forecasting a Javier Bardem Supporting Actor nomination 15 years after he won for No Country for Old Men. I don’t need a coin to make those calls, friendo.

Yet the live-action/animated musical comedy for the kids could contend in one race. Shawn Mendes (the pop superstar who voices the title croc) has contributed some tunes to the soundtrack. One in particular called “Heartbeat” just debuted.

At present, unless your name is Lady Gaga with her ballad “Holy My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, the remaining four slots for Original Song are wide open. If the Academy wants another recognizable face crooning material… well, they might look to Taylor Swift with “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing. Or who knows? Maybe this could pop up. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: All That Breathes

After winning the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary competition at Sundance, All That Breathes has been winding its way through the fest circuit including Cannes and New York. The environmental doc from Shaunak Sen holds a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. It’s slated for an eventual HBO Max streaming bow after a limited and awards qualifying theatrical run before year’s end.

As I’ve opined about many times on this blog, predicting Documentary Feature is often the trickiest category to nail down. Breathes certainly has the prerequisites to make the quintet, but that often doesn’t matter. Bottom line: this is certainly one that should be in the conversation. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Till

Danielle Deadwyler’s performance as Mamie Till-Mobley, mother of lynched Emmett Till in 1955 has come into focus this weekend. Chinonye Chukwu’s Till premiered at the New York Film Festival prior to its October 14th theatrical release. Over the past several months, I’ve had Deadwyler either just making the Best Actress cut in fifth or on the outside looking in at sixth.

Now that reviews are out, it appears she’s fully in. Critics are raving about her work to the extent that Deadwyler is a threat to win. The Rotten Tomatoes score for the picture itself is 100% though many write-ups claim it’s her performance that elevates the material. It’s unlikely any costars get attention. They include Jalyn Hall as her slain son, Frankie Faison, Haley Bennett, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Ms. Deadwyler enters an already crowded Best Actress field where I’ve had Cate Blanchett (Tar) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) slotted in first and second. There’s also Michelle Williams and Universal’s curious decision to campaign for her in lead for The Fabelmans. Let’s not forget Olivia Colman (Empire of Light) and Viola Davis (The Woman King) or Ana de Armas (Blonde) and the as yet unseen Margot Robbie for Babylon (though I’m currently putting her in Supporting Actress).

Even with that considerable competition, Deadwyler seems pretty safe and there’s a narrative in which she moves past the aforementioned to claim gold. A better question is whether Till picks up any other nominations. Picture is not impossible, but I’d say it’s iffy. Adapted Screenplay is more feasible as that race is on the weak side (compared to 2022’s original hopefuls). There’s also an original song titled “Stand Up” that I expect to contend.

Bottom line: like Blanchett and Yeoh particularly, we have another close to sure thing in the lead actress field. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Daliland

It was forty years ago that Ben Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor as Gandhi. He’s been nominated three times since then – twice in supporting for 1991’s Bugsy and 2001’s Sexy Beast and in lead with 2003’s House of Sand and Fog. 

Daliland closed the Toronto Film Festival and its release date is undetermined. Sir Ben plays famed artist Salvador Dali in his twilight years. This is the latest pic from Mary Harron, who made I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho, and The Notorious Bettie Page. Costars include Barbara Sukowa, Christopher Briney, and Rupert Graves.

With only a 40% Rotten Tomatoes rating, Daliland failed to make much of an impression at the Canadian fest. Whether it comes out in 2022 or 2023, I highly doubt awards branches will take notice either. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Descendant

Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown explores her Alabama roots through the tracking of a slave ship in Descendant, which arrives in theaters in limited fashion and streams on Netflix October 21st. This is the latest venture from Higher Ground Productions, founded by former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama.

The company’s critical and awards history has been impressive. In 2019, American Factory won Best Documentary Feature. A year later, Crip Camp made the final five for consideration. Descendant, following its Sundance unveiling back in January, is garnering acclaim. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 100%.

I’ve had Descendant listed in either 2nd or 3rd place in my projections for the Doc derby. I expect it to get in and it could win. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 28th Edition

For the time being at least, I’m settling on Edward Berger’s antiwar epic All Quiet on the Western Front as Netflix’s strongest contender. It moves into my predicted BP hopefuls for the first time and that takes out Triangle of Sadness. Additionally, Berger is in the quintet for Director and it’s Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave) that drops. The Quiet love shows up in International Feature Film where it moves to first place with Leave sliding to runner-up status.

We also have a category placement change to discuss. While nothing has been announced, it makes a lot of sense for Babylon‘s Margot Robbie to move to Supporting Actress after Michelle Williams (rather inexplicably) elevated to Best Actress for The Fabelmans. Robbie moves there (hopefully Paramount lets us know soon) so Danielle Deadwyler is back in Best Actress. Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) is now on the outside looking in for supporting.

There’s a change in Actor as I’m finally putting Diego Calva (Babylon) in over Bill Nighy (Living). In Original Screenplay, The Fabelmans is now #1 over Everything. 

The New York Film Festival starts this weekend. By the time of my next update, we will know what the real prospects are for Till with She Said soon to follow.

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tar (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Whale (PR: 7) (-1)

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

11. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (-1)

12. The Woman King (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Elvis (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Empire of Light (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

She Said

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (E)

10. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Darren Aronofsky, The Whale 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Margot Robbie, Babylon – moved to Supporting Actress

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jeremy Pope, The Inspection 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Best Actress

4. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 9) (E)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Vanessa Kirby, The Son

Jean Smart, Babylon 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 6) (E)

7. Judd Hirsch, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jeremy Strong, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (-1)

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Babylon (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (E)

8. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Bros (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Broker (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Empire of Light

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. She Said (PR: 3) (E)

4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 4) (E)

5. White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+4)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Till (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Living (PR: 6) (-3)

10. The Son (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 1) (E)

2. Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. Strange World (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (PR: 4) (E)

5. Wendell and Wild (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. My Father’s Dragon (PR: 7) (+1)

7. The Sea Beast (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The Bad Guys (PR: 8) (E)

9. Minions: The Rise of Gru (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Lightyear (PR: 9) (-1)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Decision to Leave (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Close (PR: 3) (E)

4. Saint Omer (PR: 4) (E)

5. Argentina, 1985 (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Holy Spider (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Bardo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Klondike (PR: Not Ranked)

9. EO (PR: 9) (E)

10. Alcarras (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Eight Mountains 

Plan 75

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (PR: 1) (E)

2. Navalny (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Descendant (PR: 2) (-1)

4. All That Breathes (PR: Not Ranked)

5. Fire of Love (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory (PR: 6) (E)

7. Good Night Oppy (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Moonage Daydream (PR: 8) (E)

9. Last Flight Home (PR: 5) (-4)

10. Sr. (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Black Ice

Riotsville, U.S.A.

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Empire of Light (PR: 2) (-1)

4. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+3)

5. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Bardo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Batman (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Tar

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 3) (E)

4. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Woman King (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fabelmans (PR: 6) (E)

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Corsage (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Living (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Amsterdam (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (E)

5. Elvis (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Women Talking (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Batman (PR: 4) (-2)

7. The Woman King (PR: 7) (E)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: 8) (-1)

10. (PR: 10) (E)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Women Talking (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Empire of Light (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Tar (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities: 

6. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 6) (-1)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Batman (PR: 9) (E)

10. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. “Nobody Like U” from Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman (PR: 3) (E)

4. “On My Way” from Marry Me (PR: 5) (+1)

5. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (E)

7. “Vegas” from Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

8. “I Ain’t Worried” from Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

9. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR (PR: 7) (-2)

10. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

“Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys

“Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues 

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

3. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Empire of Light (PR: 5) (-1)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+1)

8. Amsterdam (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Batman (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Bardo 

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 2) (E)

3. Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Babylon (PR: 4) (E)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. The Batman (PR: 6) (E)

7. Nope (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Batman (PR: 4) (E)

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 10) (+4)

7. Nope (PR: 8) (+1)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (-3)

10. RRR (PR: 9) (-1)

And that equates to these movies getting these numbers of nominations:

13 Nominations

Babylon

9 Nominations

The Fabelmans

8 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

6 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Women Talking 

5 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, Top Gun: Maverick, The Whale

4 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water

3 Nominations

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Empire of Light, Tar

2 Nominations 

Decision to Leave, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Argentina, 1985, The Batman, Close, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Marry Me, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Navalny, Saint Omer, She Said, The Son, Strangle World, Tell It Like a Woman, Till, Triangle of Sadness, Wendell and Wild, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King 

Oscar Predictions: Amsterdam

From 2010-13, David O. Russell made three pictures (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) that collectively earned an astonishing 25 Oscar nominations. This included acting wins for Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Jennifer Lawrence. The filmmaker himself has yet to receive a gold statue and his previous effort (2015’s Joy) nabbed just 1 Academy nod for its lead Lawrence.

His latest is Amsterdam and the comedic mystery will be lucky to garner any attention during awards season. It was a curious decision when Russell’s first feature in seven years skipped the festival circuit of Venice, Telluride, and Toronto. Now we may know why.

Early reviews for the October 7th release are not encouraging. There’s only a handful of official reviews which show a 20% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Yet we also have plenty of social media reaction claiming this is a high profile disappointment. The impressive cast is led by Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington with tons of other familiar faces including Robert De Niro, Zoe Saldana, Taylor Swift, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek, Michael Shannon, and Chris Rock (to name some). I wouldn’t expect any to compete in the acting derbies. Bale and De Niro are getting some decent notices, but it shouldn’t matter (maybe Bale could show up at the Globes for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy if competition is light).

As I see it, Costume Design and/or Production Design are the only possibilities for Amsterdam to be an Academy player. It’s entirely feasible that it won’t show up at all. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Saint Omer

The French cinematic community had some choices as to which pic to submit for their International Feature Film contender at the Oscars. There’s critically appreciated efforts such as Mia Hansen-Love’s One Fine Morning and Romain Gavras’s Athena. Yet they (unsurprisingly) went with Alice Diop’s Saint Omer. Making her first non-documentary film, Diop has already garnered buzz for the legal drama.

Omer received the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival (basically the fest’s second place award). That positive reaction continued in Toronto and it holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%.

2015’s Mustang and 2019’s Les Miserables are the only two French IFF hopefuls of the past decade. I currently have Omer listed in fourth position behind Decision to Leave, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Close. It’s a long shot to win, but it has a great shot to make the cut. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Catherine Called Birdy

Catherine Called Birdy is actually Lena Dunham’s second 2022 directorial feature that she also wrote. Sharp Stick, which began streaming just last month, managed only a 47% Rotten Tomatoes score. The Girls creator might have better luck with Catherine Called Birdy. The medieval times set comedy played the Toronto Film Festival and begins its limited theatrical run tomorrow. Its Amazon Prime premiere is October 7th.

Based on a 1994 children’s novel by Karen Cushman, Bella Ramsey is the title character and the supporting cast includes Andrew Scott, Billie Piper, Joe Alwyn, Dean-Charles Chapman, Ralph Ineson, and Russell Brand. Reviews are certainly sharper than Stick with an 89% RT meter.

I don’t really see this as an Oscar contender, but I wonder if Amazon might attempt a play for Globes attention in the Musical/Comedy race. I doubt if it comes to fruition though the decent buzz doesn’t make it out of the question.My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…