Oscars: The Case of Cate Blanchett in Tár

Cate Blanchett’s character in Todd Field’s Tár is an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) recipient. Can she nab a third O in her acclaimed filmography? She’s the first Best Actress hopeful up in my Case Of posts.

The Case for Cate Blanchett:

In 2004, Blanchett won Supporting Actress for The Aviator. Nine years later, it was a lead victory for Blue Jasmine. Nine years after that, Tár gave her plenty of career best notices. Rewards have been many from regional critics groups and the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globe in the Drama category.

The Case Against Cate Blanchett:

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once. She’s picked up a few regional mentions as well and was the Globes recipient among the Musical or Comedy quintet. If Everything is the big winner on Oscar night (and it certainly could be), Yeoh could be swept in.

Previous Nominations (*denotes WON):

Elizabeth (Actress, 1998); *The Aviator (Supporting Actress, 2004); Notes on a Scandal (Supporting Actress, 2006); Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Actress, 2007); I’m Not There (Supporting Actress, 2007); *Blue Jasmine (Actress, 2013); Carol (Actress, 2015)

The Verdict:

Yeoh is a serious competitor and this sure looks like a two-person race. I have Blanchett slightly out front, but not by much.

My Case Of posts will continue with the first Best Actor entry. That’s Austin Butler as Elvis!

Oscars: The Case of the Daniels for Everything Everywhere All at Once

Now that I’ve gotten through my Case Of posts for the 10 Best Picture nominees, it’s time to move to the directors and performers vying for statues in their respective categories. I will alternate alphabetically between the hopefuls in Director, Actress, Actor, Supporting Actress, and Supporting Actor over the next couple of weeks. That’s 25 posts coming your way in short order and it begins with Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known as the Daniels) and their behind the camera work for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The Case for the Daniels:

For starters, it helps to be the directors of the Best Picture frontrunner and Everything fits that description in my view. In just their second feature (following 2016’s Swiss Army Man), they broke through to the mainstream in a major way with the acclaimed multi-genre experience. The reward so far has been numerous Best Director honors from regional critics groups and at the Critics Choice Awards.

The Case Against the Daniels:

The duo started out making music videos. One of their best known is 2013’s “Turn Down for What” from DJ Snake and Lil Jon. Voters may turn them down for Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans). Even if Fabelmans doesn’t take BP, the Academy could opt to recognize its maker’s legendary career with a third prize. That’s what happened at the Golden Globes.

Previous Nominations:

None

The Verdict:

The Spielberg threat is real, but the Daniels could be benefactors of a big night in both Original Screenplay and this competition.

My Case Of posts will continue with Cate Blanchett in Tár!

Oscars: The Case of Women Talking

Women Talking is the final Case Of post for the Best Picture nominees at the 95th Academy Awards. Will we be talking about Women gathering Oscars come March 12th? Let’s get into it.

The Case for Women Talking:

Sarah Polley’s adaptation of the 2018 Miriam Toews novel generated awards buzz out of the gate when it premiered at Toronto. At the Critics Choice Awards, it had a respectable showing with six mentions including BP and Director with a victory in Adapted Screenplay.

The Case Against Women Talking:

There’s a lot. For starters, its total of two nominations is the lowest of the candidates (it’s rare for a BP contender to have only one other nom). Women was ignored in Director, Original Score, and for any of its performances and it was once thought to be in contention for all. BAFTA totally ignored it. The Golden Globes only put it up in two races (Screenplay and Score) and it lost both. Its SAG count is one category. That was in Ensemble with individual players like Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, and Ben Whishaw left out. Box office grosses have been subpar.

Other Nominations:

Adapted Screenplay

The Verdict:

Women Talking does stand a chance of becoming the Adapted Screenplay recipient. Perhaps this can cling to the hope that CODA took BP last year and it tied for the least numbers of nominations among the ten. Realistically there is just about zero chance of this becoming Best Picture.

While my Case Of posts for BP have concluded, I will now move to the filmmakers and thespians in Director and the four acting derbies. That will begin with the Daniels and their direction of Everything Everywhere All at Once!

If you missed my Case Of posts for the other BP nominees, you can access them here:

Oscars: The Case of Triangle of Sadness

Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness is the penultimate Case Of post for the ten Best Picture nominees at this year’s Academy Awards.

The Case for Triangle of Sadness:

The Swedish filmmaker’s satire targeting the mega-rich began gathering buzz when it played at Cannes and received the Palme d’Or. That made it just the second feature in the 21st century to receive the top Cannes prize and nab a BP nod. The other is Parasite and it won BP three years ago. Östlund was a surprise nominee in Director which could indicate this is stronger than anticipated.

The Case Against Triangle of Sadness:

It hasn’t exactly cleaned up in the precursors. At Critics Choice, it had a sole mention for Best Comedy. There were two Globe noms for Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Dolly de Leon in Supporting Actress (the Academy left her off). The three BAFTA inclusions (de Leon, Original Screenplay, Casting) don’t include Picture. Furthermore, Triangle has yet to win any of these.

Other Nominations:

Director (Östlund), Original Screenplay

The Verdict:

Despite its maker unexpectedly making the directorial quintet, Triangle appears on course for an 0 for 3 performance on Oscar night.

My Case Of posts will continue with Women Talking!

Previous write-ups for the BP hopefuls can be accessed here:

Oscars – The Case of Top Gun: Maverick

Will Academy voters feel the need? The need for recognizing the year’s biggest domestic grosser in the Best Picture race at the 95th Academy Awards? It’s the eighth film up for consideration in my Case Of posts.

The Case for Top Gun: Maverick:

This would represent the People’s Choice. Tom Cruise’s summer sequel rode a wave of sizzling buzz to towering business ($718 million stateside) while critics raved (96% on Rotten Tomatoes). It nabbed six nominations including some key ones for a BP victory like Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing.

The Case Against Top Gun: Maverick:

It also missed in some important precursors. Despite a DGA spot, director Joseph Kosinski was omitted from the Oscar five. Maverick was considered a threat to take Cinematography gold (as it did at the Globes), but was snubbed. Mega-blockbusters don’t usually take the grand prize (it’s been almost 20 years since Lord of the Rings: Return of the King rose above its competitors).

Other Nominations:

Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, Original Song, Sound, Visual Effects

The Verdict:

The sound of a Maverick win may be likeliest in Sound. The preferential ballot could lend itself to an upset in BP. It has a better shot than the other sequel in contention Avatar: The Way of Water. However, the odds are slightly against it.

My Case Of posts will continue with Triangle of Sadness!

If you didn’t catch my previous write-ups on BP contenders, click here:

Oscars: The Case of Tár

Todd Field’s Tár is next up in my Case Of posts for the ten Best Picture nominees. Time to weigh the pros and cons…

The Case for Tár:

Auteur Field has a knack for attracting the Academy’s attention with his trilogy of pictures. In 2001, In the Bedroom received five nods (including BP and Field’s Adapted Screenplay). Five years later, Little Children nabbed three and that once again included its maker’s adapted screenplay. Tár, with a towering lead performance from Globes and Critics Choice victor Cate Blanchett, saw him emerge from a long break and it received six Oscar mentions (including directing and original screenplay for Field).

The Case Against Tár:

Despite Blanchett being at least a co-frontrunner in Actress, she marked the only Globes win. At Critics Choice, its additional award was for Original Score. While this is a critical darling that generated some regional groups victories, the box office office was quiet at $10 million. Both Bedroom and Children went home empty-handed on Oscar night.

Other Nominations:

Director (Field), Actress (Blanchett), Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing

The Verdict:

As with the aforementioned precursors, Tár‘s strongest shot at gold is with Blanchett and not Best Picture.

My Case Of posts will continue with Top Gun: Maverick!

To access my previous Case Of posts, click here:

Oscars: The Case of The Fabelmans

My Case Of posts will for the ten Best Picture hopefuls is past the halfway point as we consider the pros and cons of our sixth competitor The Fabelmans.

The Case for The Fabelmans:

Steven Spielberg’s 13th movie to be nominated for BP (only Schindler’s List won) is his most personal as arguably today’s most iconic director gets autobiographical. It was first seen at the Toronto Film Festival where it took the People’s Choice Award. That’s a prize shared by later Oscar winners such as The King’s Speech, 12 Years a Slave, Green Book, and Nomadland. At the Golden Globes, it had a big night as it was bestowed Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Spielberg nabbed the directorial trophy. A victory here could be seen as a genuine thank you for its maker’s cinematic contributions.

The Case Against The Fabelmans:

That genuine thank you could just as easily come with Spielberg being Best Director and BP going to something else. Despite the Globes love, BAFTA was shockingly dismissive as its sole nomination is for screenplay. At Critics Choice, it went a mere 1/11 with Gabriel LaBelle as Best Young Actor (a non-existent Academy race). While the seven nominations are decent, there were notable omissions including Film Editing and Cinematography. It’s also undeniably a box office dud with $16 million at press time.

Other Nominations:

Director (Spielberg), Actress (Michelle Williams), Supporting Actor (Judd Hirsch), Original Screenplay, Original Score, Production Design

The Verdict:

There is a universe in which The Fabelmans gets BP and Director, but I would put it behind Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Banshees of Inisherin right now. An Ensemble win at SAG could help momentum. It may be behind the aforementioned at that ceremony too.

My Case Of posts will continue with Tár!

If you missed my previous posts in the series, you can access them here:

Oscar Predictions: Knock at the Cabin

Nearly a quarter century ago, M. Night Shyamalan’s phenom The Sixth Sense scared up six Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Director. It didn’t win any, but it established the filmmaker as a force at the box office. His fortunes have certainly ebbed and flowed in the 21st century with financial hits and misses. As far as awards attention, only 2004’s The Village achieved another Academy nod for its score.

Shyamalan’s latest is the apocalyptic thriller Knock at the Cabin with Dave Bautista headlining the cast. Based on Paul G. Tremblay’s 2018 novel, Knock‘s embargo is up today ahead of its Friday release. The results are pretty encouraging with a 71% Rotten Tomatoes score. At the low point in his filmography, he had a string of flops and critical bombs (Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth) that racked up plenty of Golden Raspberry mentions.

Cabin is ahead of Shyamalan’s two predecessors Glass and Old as far as the RT meter. It isn’t as high (77%) as comeback vehicle Split from 2017. While Bautista is being complimented for his performance, I don’t see this being welcomed in any of the Academy races a year from now. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscars: The Case of Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once is fifth on the docket in my Case Of posts for the 10 Best Picture nominees. Let’s plead the case for and against it!

The Case for Everything Everywhere All at Once:

The sophomore feature from Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known collectively as the Daniels) debuted at South by Southwest on March 11th and will have been a legit contender for over a year when the Oscars air March 12th. A critical darling with a 95% Rotten Tomatoes rating, it has been nominated in every major precursor. This includes 10 BAFTA nominations, 14 Critics Choice mentions with 5 wins (including Picture, Director and Screenplay), 6 Golden Globe nods with two wins for Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan, and 5 pending SAG noms. While some have griped that recent BP recipients didn’t break through with mass audiences, Everything was a box office success with $71 million domestically. Its 11 Academy nods are the most of any picture and that includes four for its ensemble (Yeoh, Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu).

The Case Against Everything Everywhere All at Once:

In the last 10 ceremonies, only two films that led or tied in total nominations (Birdman and The Shape of Water) ended up winning BP. One could argue Everything is the frontrunner. In recent years, ask how that worked out for La La Land, Roma, and 1917. The Academy could follow the Globes suit and skew toward The Banshees of Inisherin. There are some prognosticators who feel it’s too strange for the Academy.

Other Nominations:

Director (the Daniels), Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Supporting Actress (Stephanie Hsu), Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Original Screenplay, Costume Design, Film Editing, Original Score, Original Song

The Verdict:

I’ve never bought the “too weird for the Academy” or not traditional enough argument. You could say the same for Birdman or The Shape of Water and Everything is looking to model them on the road to victory. It is risky to be out front, but I do feel this is the odds on favorite. A SAG Ensemble loss on February 26th (especially if it’s to Banshees or The Fabelmans) could cause more intrigue. If it wins, look for this to enter March 12th as even more of a probable BP.

My Case Of posts will continue with The Fabelmans!

If you missed my previous posts in this series, you can find them here:

Oscars: The Case of Elvis

Baz Luhrmann’s flashy musical biopic Elvis is the fourth Case Of post for the ten Best Picture nominees at the 95th Academy Awards. Will it shake up the race with a victory? I present the pros and cons.

The Case for Elvis:

Over the summer, Elvis captured the attention of moviegoers to the tune of $151 million domestically. That makes it the highest grosser of the contenders that’s not a gigantic sequel (Avatar: The Way of Water, Top Gun: Maverick). It performed well at precursors including 9 BAFTA nods, 7 Critics Choice nods (winning Hair and Makeup), and 3 Golden Globe mentions with Austin Butler taking Actor in a Drama. The 8 nominations are right where this was expected to be.

The Case Against Elvis:

Best Picture victories among precursors and critics groups are nowhere to be found. The 77% Rotten Tomatoes meter is one of 3 hopefuls below the 80% mark. Omissions in the directing and screenplay races are significant misses.

Other Nominations:

Actor (Austin Butler), Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Sound

The Verdict:

Elvis could leave the building on Oscar night with Butler holding gold and various tech wins. It won’t leave as the Best Picture winner.

My Case Of posts will continue with Everything Everywhere All at Once!

If you missed my previous posts, you can find them here: