House of Gucci Review

I wouldn’t necessarily say I totally bought into Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, but it’s a lively and garish world to play in for much of the duration. There were also moments where I just stared blankly at its bewildering tonal swings, not wanting to purchase this overblown product anymore. All the money and Oscar nominees and winners and well placed pop banger needle drops in the world can’t completely save it. Yet it’s hard to look away from.

We meet Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) in the late 1970s. A receptionist at her dad’s trucking business in Italy, she meets Maurizio (Adam Driver) at a nightspot where they awkwardly interact until she hears his last name. Gucci. Her demeanor changes and the awkward interaction turns to awkward flirtation. Maurizio is fickle when it comes to involving himself in the legendary upscale family fashion business. Patrizia is laser focused on inserting herself. Soon to be father-in-law Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), an ailing former screen star, doesn’t think she’s up to snuff. His brother Aldo (Al Pacino) takes to her and eventually the couple jet from their native country to New York armed with a 50% interest in the corporation.

From the moment back in the club where Patrizia meets her eventual hubby, she takes his surname and schemes with it. No one appears safe from her calculations. That includes Aldo and his – I guess we’ll say eccentric – son Paolo (Jared Leto). Unrecognizable under a balding wig, a fat suit,  and a mound of makeup, Leto is alternately hilarious and dumbfounding. I struggle how to describe this performance. During the first hour, Leto seems right at home with the campy vibe. By the time the company intrigue grows more serious, Paolo’s appearances are equivalent to a highly insecure Muppet crashing a serious conversation. Pacino, surprisingly, is far more toned down (though he does get a chance to yell late in the proceedings).

Driver’s character (and in turn his performance as a whole) is more of a blank slate. There’s a bit of a Michael Corleone arc happening with Maurizio. He starts out wishing to be on the outside looking in but can’t escape all the trappings of the business and is soon consumed by it. Unlike Corleone, that shift seems sudden and without much context. And that’s where The Godfather comparisons will and should end.

Patrizia wants to be consumed it all. Gaga is terrific as the wily outsider who  outfoxes her new clan. She’ll do anything to get ahead including consorting with a crime minded psychic (Salma Hayek). After impressing with her vulnerability in A Star Is Born, she’s a force of nature as she never stops maneuvering. That’s until she’s reminded that being born with the Gucci name has more advantages than marrying into it.

Gucci‘s final act gets bogged down in boardroom shenanigans that aren’t as frothy like the early portions that have a guilty pleasure soapy appeal. This will not be remembered highly atop Ridley Scott’s filmography and he made a far better picture (The Last Duel) that was out a month prior. This is more of a curiosity and a well-tailored one (expect for when Jared Leto lumbers in to do whatever the filmmakers somehow allowed him to do).

*** (out of four)

House of Gucci Box Office Prediction

The trailers have already inspired plenty of memes and GIFs and soon we’ll know if audiences are inspired to check out House of Gucci in theaters. From director Ridley Scott, the flashy crime drama centered on the fashion family is out November 24th over the long Thanksgiving weekend. It’s filled with Academy players like Lady Gaga (in her second major role after her Oscar nominated turn in A Star Is Born), Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek, and Al Pacino.

While the review embargo is not yet up, plenty of reactions have come from screenings and they are very mixed. Despite the prevalence of award winning thespians, it appears doubtful that Gucci will be a significant Oscar contender (though Gaga and Leto could get in). The varied buzz could prevent some moviegoers from checking in and adult dramas have struggled mightily in the COVID era. Just last month, Scott’s own The Last Duel was a high priced bomb.

I do believe the curiosity factor will be higher for Gucci than Duel and it also helps that Gaga has plenty of ardent followers who should turn up. That said, a debut in the lower double digits for the traditional frame and close to $2o million for the five-day is probably where this lands.

House of Gucci opening weekend prediction: $12.3 million (Friday to Sunday); $19.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Encanto prediction, click here:

Encanto Box Office Prediction

For my Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City prediction, click here:

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Box Office Prediction

2021 Oscar Predictions: November 11th Edition

My Oscar predictions in all feature film categories are updated and there’s movement to discuss! There’s been a change in my ten Best Picture nominees for the first time in several weeks as House of Gucci has fallen and I’m putting Don’t Look Up in. The social media reaction to Gucci has resulted in it dropping for multiple categories. I still have Lady Gaga garnering an Actress nod (though she drops from 2nd to 4th) as well as Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling.

In other developments:

    • Andrew Garfield vaults from 6th to 3rd in Best Actor for Tick, Tick… Boom! That’s to the detriment of Joaquin Phoenix for C’Mon C’Mon
    • Two changes in the ever evolving Supporting Actor derby with Jason Isaacs (Mass) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) making the cut and displacing Jared Leto (Gucci) and Ciaran Hinds (Belfast)
    • Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) is on the outside looking in for Supporting Actress with Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) rising
    • Don’t Look Up also enters Original Screenplay with Mass falling out of the top five

You can read all the updates right here!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Dune (PR: 4) (-1)

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+4)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Spencer (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Flee (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 14) (+2)

13. House of Gucci (PR: 8) (-5)

14. CODA (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Mass (PR: 13) (-2)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6) (E)

7. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (E)

8. Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Tessa Thompson, Passing 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 6) (+3)

4. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (E)

8. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 8) (E)

9. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Jude Hill, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Adam Driver, House of Gucci 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 3) (E)

4. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 7) (E)

8. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 8) (E)

9. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Al Pacino, House of Gucci

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 4) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (+3)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mass (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Spencer (PR: 6) (-1)

8. A Hero (PR: 10) (+2)

9. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Parallel Mothers (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Humans (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Passing (PR: 9) (+3)

7. West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Dune (PR: 7) (-1)

9. CODA (PR: Not Ranked)

10. House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-4)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Encanto (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 3) (E)

4. Luca (PR: 4) (E)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Summit of the Gods (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Who Is Anne Frank (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Charlotte (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Vivo

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 2) (E)

3. Flee (PR: 3) (E)

4. Drive My Car (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Titane (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hand of God (PR: 4) (-2)

7. I’m Your Man (PR: 7) (E)

8. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 8) (E)

9. Great Freedom (PR: 9) (E)

10. Memoria (PR: 10) (E)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 3) (E)

4. Attica (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The First Wave (PR: 9) (+3)

7. President (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ailey (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Procession (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Ascension

The Velvet Underground 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Belfast (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The French Dispatch (PR: 8) (-1)

10. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cruella (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Spencer (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Dune (PR: 4) (+1)

4. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Cyrano (PR: 8) (E)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (E)

5. West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. King Richard (PR: 8) (E)

9. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

10. House of Gucci (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Cruella (PR: 4) (E)

5. Spencer (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (E)

8. Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Green Knight (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+3)

4. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (-2)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Cyrano (PR: 10) (+2)

9. King Richard (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Belfast (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Licorice Pizza

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto (PR: Not Ranked)

3. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (-1)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. “Every Letter” from Cyrano (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 6) (E)

7. “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

8. “Believe” from The Rescue (PR: 7) (-1)

9. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 5) (-4)

10. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: 10) (E)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Dune (PR: 1) (-1)

3. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (+1)

4. West Side Story (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Spencer (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Cyrano (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Belfast (PR: 7) (-1)

9. House of Gucci (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Power of the Dog

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (E)

5. No Time to Die (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

7. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Last Duel (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Cyrano (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Matrix Resurrections

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 2) (E)

3. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 3) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Free Guy (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Eternals (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Finch (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Spider-Man: Far From Home (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Suicide Squad (PR: 10) (E)

And that equates to the following pictures nabbing these numbers in terms of nominations:

10 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast

8 Nominations

Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

Spencer

5 Nominations

King Richard, Licorice Pizza

4 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

3 Nominations

Flee, House of Gucci

2 Nominations

Cruella, Cyrano, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Humans, The Lost Daughter, Mass, No Time to Die

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, C’Mon C’Mon, Drive My Car, Godzilla vs. Kong, A Hero, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Passing, The Rescue, Respect, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Summer of Soul, Tick, Tick… Boom!, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

Oscar Predictions: House of Gucci

While its official embargo isn’t up until two days before its unveiling on November 24th, MGM has lifted the curtain on social media reactions for House of Gucci. They are something to behold as critics are wildly divergent in their takes. There are some consistencies – it’s overlong (157 minutes), all over the place in tone (switching from camp to quite serious), and that the performances of Lady Gaga and Jared Leto will garner plenty of ink as well as memes.

So how will this play in the House of Oscar? There appear to be plenty of naysayers for the pic’s overall quality (the word “mess” has been bandied about). Enough negative reviews could certainly downgrade the chance of a Best Picture nod and I don’t see director Ridley Scott or the screenwriters (Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna) making the cut in their races. For Sir Ridley, this is his second at bat for awards attention this year after The Last Duel. Its minuscule box office earnings seem to have sunk its chances.

Besides Makeup and Hairstyling and Costume Design (where Gucci could easily show up), the Academy’s primary focus here should be the performances. The cast is filled with Oscar winners and nominees, but don’t expect much chatter for Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, or Salma Hayek. Driver has been lingering at the bottom of my ten Best Actor hopefuls for weeks. I’d anticipate him dropping this weekend when I update my projections.

The two performers that should vie for the ballot are Lady Gaga and Jared Leto. Three years after her Actress nod in A Star Is Born, the pop superstar’s inclusion once again seems probable. That said, don’t expect her to top the frontrunner Kristen Stewart (Spencer) and she also might be a tad behind Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye).

Leto won Supporting Actor eight years ago for Dallas Buyers Club and likely fell just short of a second nomination last year for The Little Things. The buzz for his work is that he wildly overacts in Gucci. Whether it’s tremendously entertaining or embarrassing depends on whose Tweet you lay eyes on. It’s entirely feasible that his role might be memorable enough that he gets in (especially since Supporting Actor seems wide open in 2021).

Bottom line: I’ve had House of Gucci in my top ten Picture contenders the whole way. Today I’m more skeptical it makes it. As for Gaga and Leto, their chances are stronger. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actor Race

Starting on the blog today, I’m taking a deeper dive into the four acting derbies at the Oscars as well as Picture and Director. It begins with Supporting Actor.

If I could use a couple words to describe this particular race – “very open” immediately comes to mind. With just two months left in the calendar year, I would go as far to say that not I’m not 100% certain on any performer discussed below making the final five. That’s rare.

Before I delve into the many hopefuls, let’s take a look at where my projections were at in 2019 and 2020 during the same time frame. Two years ago, I had already correctly pegged four of the five eventual nominees: winner Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time Hollywood), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), and Al Pacino (The Irishman). The other contender was Joe Pesci (also for The Irishman) and I had him listed at #6 in Other Possibilities. In hindsight, Supporting Actor was well on its way to being established with two months remaining in 2019.

Not so much for 2020. Last year was more difficult than perhaps any before it in figuring out who’d make the cut (much of that uncertainty was due to COVID and the constantly shifting release schedule). On November 1, 2020 – my forecasted five contenders yielded just two of the eventual nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Leslie Odom, Jr. for One Night in Miami. I still had the winner (Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah) listed for the lead Actor competition. Both Lakeith Stanfield (Judas) and Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) were not yet mentioned in Other Possibilities.

With that context, we arrive in 2021. And I would say this year looks more like the previous one as opposed to 2019. There has been one constant since I began projecting the race back in the summer: Bradley Cooper for Licorice Pizza (known as Soggy Bottom just a couple of months ago). I’ve had him listed at #1 the whole way and it’s a prediction based mostly on gut since no one has seen the picture (that’ll change shortly). Cooper is a four-time acting nominee (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, American Sniper, A Star is Born). He’s yet to take the gold. Pizza looks like it should be a juicy role for him. On the other hand, we do not yet known just how big (or small) his role is. When reviews come out, he could solidify himself as the frontrunner or drop out altogether. There’s also the possibility that one of the other supporting players (Sean Penn or Benny Safdie) could rise. For now, I’m still hangin’ with Mr. Cooper until the word-of-mouth tells me otherwise.

Shifting gears – here’s a fun fact. In three out of the last four years, we’ve seen two actors from the same movie recognized here. In 2017, it was Sam Rockwell (who won) and Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. For 2019 – you had Pacino and Pesci in The Irishman. Last year, it was the victorious Kaluuya and Stanfield for Judas.

Could that happen again? Absolutely and the best chance for that right now appears to be Belfast. A strong contender to win Best Picture, we could also see Jamie Dornan and Ciaran Hinds punch their tickets here. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it happen. Dornan seems likelier to make it in, but Hinds is getting plenty of laudatory chatter as well.

There are other scenarios to make it four out of five years and some lie with pictures still not screened. Don’t Look Up has Jonah Hill, Rob Morgan, and Mark Rylance. Willem Dafoe and David Strathairn are viable for Nightmare Alley. And then there’s Jared Leto and Al Pacino in House of Gucci. The latest trailer features the latter more than the former. That disrupts the consensus that Leto has a better shot. I’m still going with Leto above Pacino, but when Gucci screens that dynamic may shift.

The double nominee situations don’t end there. Yet they both have actors that I believe have a significantly better chance than the other. For Mass, Jason Isaacs has been in my five while Reed Birney hasn’t made the top ten in some time. After The Power of the Dog was unveiled on the festival circuit, the narrative unexpectedly shifted to Kodi Smit-McPhee having a clearer path than Jesse Plemons. The Tragedy of Macbeth buzz solidified Corey Hawkins over Brendan Gleeson (though I’m skeptical either get in).

Now is a good time to point out that it’s been ten years since a Supporting Actor winner didn’t come from a Best Picture nominee (Christopher Plummer in Beginners). That’s why I find it a stretch that Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar), Idris Elba (The Harder They Fall), or Troy Kotsur (CODA) will be making trips to the podium. They could still get in, but their paths are tougher and they will all need heavy critics awards love to make the dance. There’s been some mentions for Jeffrey Wright in The French Dispatch, but (somewhat surprisingly) no Wes Anderson directed performance has been Academy nominated and I don’t see this being the first.

One actor where an exception could occur is Richard Jenkins in The Humans. I doubt it will land a Pic nod, but Jenkins is drawing raves for his work. Twice nominated before for The Visitor and The Shape of Water, I could see the veteran becoming a threat to win if Cooper falls.

Others worthy of mention include Jon Bernthal in King Richard. The attention could be so focused on Will Smith (who appears to be in the driver’s seat to take Actor) that his supporting cast fails to get in (that logic also applies to Supporting Actress hopeful Aunjanue Ellis). It’s also totally feasible that Richard is so popular with the Academy that it sweeps them all in. Andrew Garfield picked up solid notices for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. He might stand a better shot in lead for the upcoming and yet to be screened Tick, Tick… Boom! Timothy Spall for Spencer is doable, but Kristen Stewart is just as likely to be the sole nominee (and maybe the winner in Actress). The work of David Alvarez (West Side Story) and Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) has yet to be seen and is worth keeping an eye on.

So how does that all shake out? Truth be told, the five predicted performers listed below could look quite different a couple months from now. Here’s my best guesstimate for the moment:

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 3)

3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 2)

4. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5)

5. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4)

7. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: 6)

8. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 7)

9. Al Pacino, House of Gucci (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

I’ll have my analysis on the current state of Supporting Actress up next!

2021 Oscar Predictions: August 5th Edition

As we await film festivals that will shed light on many of the pictures mentioned below, today brings us my second weekly outlook on the major Oscar categories.

So what’s happened since last Thursday? That House of Gucci trailer came out and it didn’t do anything to dissuade my feeling that it’s a contender. In fact, while I shouldn’t use trailers to judge, it was enough for me to put Jared Leto in my final five (taking out Idris Elba for The Harder They Fall).

In other developments:

    • A Hero is in my top 10 for Best Picture over Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. The film also is in my projections for Original Screenplay to the detriment of Blue Bayou.
    • CODA (which I was very tempted this week to put in BP) makes the Adapted Screenplay cut over Dune. 
    • The Director, Actress, Actor, and Supporting Actress fields remain the same – with some movement in the rankings.

By this time next week, we should have a good idea of where Jennifer Hudson’s performance in Respect stands since it releases next week. It remains in my five at spot four.

Finally, I didn’t have Matt Damon in Stillwater listed in my top 15 possibilities last week. Based on the film’s subpar box office performance and some comments that landed Damon in hot water, I don’t anticipate him surfacing at any point.

Check out all the activity below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. Dune (PR: 5)

6. Soggy Bottom (PR: 6)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 10)

8. Mass (PR: 7)

9. West Side Story (PR: 8)

10. A Hero (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

11. CODA (PR: 12)

12. Belfast (PR: 9)

13. The French Dispatch (PR: 14)

14. Spencer (PR: 15)

15. Cyrano (PR: 17)

16. King Richard (PR: 20)

17. Tick Tick… Boom! (PR: 16)

18. Flee (PR: 13)

19. The Humans (PR: 18)

20. Blue Bayou (PR: 19)

21. The Last Duel (PR: 21)

22. The Worst Person in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

23. Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

24. In the Heights (PR: 23)

25. Annette (PR: 25)

Dropped Out:

Dear Evan Hansen

Last Night in Soho

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 1)

2. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3)

3. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 2)

4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Thomas Anderson, Soggy Bottom (PR: 6)

7. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero (PR: 7)

8. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10)

9. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 9)

10. Fran Kranz, Mass (PR: 11)

11. Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch (PR: 14)

12. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 8)

13. Sian Heder, CODA (PR: 12)

14. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 15)

15. Joe Wright, Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 1)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3)

3. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 2)

4. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 4)

5. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 7)

7. Emilia Jones, CODA (PR: 8)

8. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 10)

9. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 12)

11. Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World (PR: 11)

12. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 13)

13. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 9)

14. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 15)

15. Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up (PR: 14)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 1)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 3)

4. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 4)

5. Amir Jadidi, A Hero (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10)

7. Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom! (PR: 6)

8. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 8)

9. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 9)

10. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 11)

11. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 7)

12. Adam Driver, Annette (PR: 13)

13. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 15)

14. Michael B. Jordan, A Journal for Jordan (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Cooper Hoffman, Soggy Bottom (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 1)

2. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 2)

3. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 4)

4. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 5)

5. Martha Plimpton, Mass (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley (PR: 10)

7. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 6)

8. Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Olga Merediz, In the Heights (PR: 7)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, The Power of the Dog (PR: 9)

11. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 13)

12. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 11)

13. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Audra McDonald, Respect (PR: 14)

15. Anya Taylor-Joy, Last Night in Soho (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Regina King, The Harder They Fall

Sally Hawkins, Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Soggy Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 3)

4. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 4)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6)

7. Richard E. Grant, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (PR: 7)

8. Idris Elba, The Harder They Fall (PR: 5)

9. Mark Rylance, Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Reed Birney, Mass (PR: 9)

11. Bradley Whitford, Tick Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano (PR: 10)

13. Adam Driver, The Last Duel (PR: 12)

14. Simon Helberg, Annette (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Brendan Gleeson, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Al Pacino, House of Gucci

David Alvarez, West Side Story

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soggy Bottom (PR: 2)

2. Mass (PR: 1)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4)

5. A Hero (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 8)

7. Being the Ricardos (PR: 10)

8. Spencer (PR: 7)

9. The Worst Person in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Last Night in Soho (PR: 9)

11. Blue Bayou (PR: 5)

12. Belfast (PR: 6)

13. Parallel Mothers (PR: Not Ranked)

14. King Richard (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Adapted Screenplay)

15. Annette (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

The Harder They Fall

After Yang

Nine Days

Red Rocket

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

2. House of Gucci (PR: 1)

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. CODA (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Humans (PR: 7)

7. Dune (PR: 5)

8. Cyrano (PR: 9)

9. West Side Story (PR: 8)

10. The Last Duel (PR: 12)

11. Tick Tick… Boom! (PR: 10)

12. Passing (PR: Not Ranked)

13. The Lost Daughter (PR: 13)

14. A Journal for Jordan (PR: 15)

15. Dear Evan Hansen (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

King Richard (moved to Original Screenplay)

Back at it next week!

2021 Oscar Predictions: July 29th Edition

I can’t help myself. I keep doing my Oscar predictions earlier and earlier each year. Today marks the first edition of my ranked forecasts in the 8 biggest races: Picture, Director, the four acting competitions, and the two screenplay contests.

It probably stands to reason that the sooner you do projections – the more inaccurate they might be. Oh but it’s so very fun to speculate! I do like to put my initial rankings up before the Toronto, Venice, and Telluride Film Festivals make the picture more clear and we are only about a month from that. Those events will bring us early buzz on The Power of the Dog, Dune, Spencer, The Last Duel, The Humans, Parallel Mothers, Belfast, Dear Evan Hansen, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Last Night in Soho, and more.

This post comes about three weeks ahead of when I did this in 2020. That year, to say the least, was hard to figure out. In fact, many of the pictures and performers I had in my 2020 inaugural rankings were moved back to 2021 due to COVID delays. Think Dune, The French Dispatch, West Side Story, Respect, C’Mon C’Mon, Annette, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

So how did my first ranked predictions from 2020 pan out? My Best Picture guesstimates yielded three of the eventual nominees: winner Nomadland, Mank, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Nomadland started out of the gate at #2 (behind Mank). Three other contenders were listed under Other Possibilities – The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, and Minari. Promising Young Woman and Sound of Metal were not mentioned.

2 of the 5 director nominees were correctly identified: winner Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) and David Fincher (Mank). None of the other hopefuls (Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman, or Another Round‘s Thomas Vinterberg) were even in Other Possibilities.

In Best Actress, I initially identified 2 – winner Frances McDormand (Nomadland) and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) were Other Possibilities while Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman didn’t score a listing.

As for Actor, winner Anthony Hopkins (The Father) and Gary Oldman (Mank) made my first cut. I incorrectly had Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) projected here instead of Supporting Actor (which he won). **This is a good time to remind you all that some of the acting contenders thought to be in lead right now will switch to supporting and vice versa. As further evidence, I had Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey) predicted in supporting, but he contended here. I did not yet have Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) or Steven Yeun (Minari) on my radar.

Two Supporting Actress players were correctly called: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy) and Olivia Colman (The Father) with Amanda Seyfried (Mank) in Other Possibilities. No mention for the winner Youn Yun-jung in Minari or Maria Bakalova for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Per above, Daniel Kaluuya’s work in Judas was slotted in lead, but he emerged victorious here. My Supporting Actor picks did get 2 of 5: Lakeith Stanfield in Judas and Sacha Baron Cohen for Chicago 7. The two others (Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night in Miami and Paul Raci in Sound of Metal) went unnoticed at the early stage.

Just one nominee in Original Screenplay got the initial mention – Chicago 7. I did have 3 others (winner Promising Young Woman, Judas, Minari) down for Other Possibilities while Sound of Metal wasn’t mentioned. And in Adapted Screenplay, I only rightly projected Nomadland. Winner The Father, One Night in Miami, and The White Tiger were other possibilities with no mention for Borat.

Whew. OK. I’m not going through all for 2019. However, I will say my results were better two years ago with my first picks (evidence of the uncertainty of last year). The quick rundown: I got 6 of the 9 nominees in Best Picture and identified the remaining three in other possibilities. In Director, it was 4 out of 5. For Actress – 4 for 5 with the other nominee listed sixth. Actor – 3 for 5 with the two others as possibilities. The weak spot was Supporting Actress – just 1 out of 5 with 2 others as possibilities. 2 for 5 in Supporting Actor with 2 others as possibilities. 3 for 5 initially in both screenplay races.

And now we come to 2021. Will I look back next year and be happy with the accuracy or shake my head? Hopefully a mix (that’s probably the best case scenario). In about two months, I will start predictions for all categories covering feature films and whittle BP from 25 to 15 hopefuls with all others going from a projected 15 to 10.

There already was some news from when I penned my early and unranked predictions last week. David O. Russell’s Canterbury Glass, with an all star cast led by Christian Bale and Margot Robbie, has reportedly moved to 2022. It was mentioned in numerous categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor – John David Washington) and it now waits its turn until next year. Same story for Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins and Blonde from Andrew Dominik.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. The Power of the Dog

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth

4. Nightmare Alley

5. Dune

6. Soggy Bottom

7. Mass

8. West Side Story

9. Belfast

10. Don’t Look Up

Other Possibilities:

11. A Hero

12. CODA

13. Flee

14. The French Dispatch

15. Spencer

16. Tick Tick… Boom!

17. Cyrano

18. The Humans

19. Blue Bayou

20. King Richard

21. The Last Duel

22. Dear Evan Hansen

23. In the Heights

24. Last Night in Soho

25. Annette

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune

3. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

5. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Thomas Anderson, Soggy Bottom

7. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

8. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

9. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

10. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

11. Fran Kranz, Mass

12. Sian Heder, CODA

13. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee

14. Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch

15. Pablo Larrain, Spencer

Best Actress

1. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

2. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

4. Jennifer Hudson, Respect 

5. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

7. Kristen Stewart, Spencer

8. Emilia Jones, CODA

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

11. Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

12. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

13. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

14. Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up

15. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

3. Will Smith, King Richard

4. Adam Driver, House of Gucci

5. Amir Jadidi, A Hero

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

7. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey

8. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

9. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

11. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon

12. Cooper Hoffman, Soggy Bottom

13. Adam Driver, Annette

14. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

15. Nicolas Cage, Pig

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ann Dowd, Mass

2. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

3. Martha Plimpton, Mass

4. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans

5. Marlee Matlin, CODA

Other Possibilities:

6. Ruth Negga, Passing

7. Olga Merediz, In the Heights

8. Regina King, The Harder They Fall

9. Thomasin McKenzie, The Power of the Dog

10. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley

11. Judi Dench, Belfast

12. Anya Taylor-Joy, Last Night in Soho

13. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up

14. Audra McDonald, Respect

15. Sally Hawkins, Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Soggy Bottom

2. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

3. Jason Isaacs, Mass

4. Richard Jenkins, The Humans

5. Idris Elba, The Harder They Fall

Other Possibilities:

6. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth

7. Richard E. Grant, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

8. Jared Leto, House of Gucci

9. Reed Birney, Mass

10. Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano

11. Jamie Dornan, Belfast

12. Adam Driver, The Last Duel

13. Al Pacino, House of Gucci

14. Brendan Gleeson, The Tragedy of Macbeth

15. David Alvarez, West Side Story

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mass

2. Soggy Bottom

3. Don’t Look Up

4. The French Dispatch

5. Blue Bayou

Other Possibilities:

6. Belfast

7. Spencer

8. C’Mon C’Mon

9. Last Night in Soho

10. Being the Ricardos

11. Annette

12. The Harder They Fall

13. After Yang

14. Nine Days

15. Red Rocket

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. The Power of the Dog

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth

4. Nightmare Alley

5. Dune

Other Possibilities:

6. CODA

7. The Humans

8. West Side Story

9. Cyrano

10. Tick Tick… Boom!

11. Dear Evan Hansen

12. The Last Duel

13. The Lost Daughter

14. King Richard

15. A Journal for Jordan

Back at it next week, ladies and gents!

Shoulda Been Oscar Contenders: Jack Lemmon in Glengarry Glen Ross

James Foley’s 1992 adaptation of David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Glengarry Glen Ross is an abundance of riches featuring some of the finest actors around. From Alec Baldwin’s now legendary speech to the assorted desperate salesmen to Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, and Jonathan Pryce showcasing their chops (and many creative uses for profanity), it is truly an actors showcase. Looking back, it’s surprising that it only received one Oscar nomination. I would argue they picked the wrong screen legend to honor in Supporting Actor. This brings us to our latest Shoulda Been Contender.

1992 was a huge year for Al Pacino. He had been nominated for six Oscars and had zero victories to show for it. That included amazing work in the first two Godfather epics and Dog Day Afternoon. Pacino was a double nominee in ’92 for lead in Scent of a Woman and in supporting here. The former would finally bring him his long awaited win. However, I would argue that Jack Lemmon should have filled the slot for the latter.

As the once thriving and now down on his luck Shelley “The Machine” Levene, it is Lemmon’s character that is the heart of the picture. By its year of release, Mr. Lemmon had already garnered 8 nods for his long body of work. This includes two wins – 1955’s Mister Roberts in supporting and 1973’s Save the Tiger in lead. His last nomination came in 1982 for Missing. No disrespect to Pacino, but this should have marked #9 and would have rightfully given Lemmon deserved mentions in five different decades.

Shoulda Been Oscar Contenders: Sean Penn in Carlito’s Way

Continuing with my new series covering performances that could have warranted some Oscar attention, I move to my second post in the Supporting Actor race of 1993. The first one centered on Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday in Tombstone. As a reminder, the actual five nominees were a strong grouping with Tommy Lee Jones emerging victorious for The Fugitive. The other nominees: Leonardo DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Ralph Fiennes for Schindler’s List, John Malkovich for In the Line of Fire, and Pete Postlethwaite for In the Name of the Father. 

Another notable performance for that derby: Sean Penn in Brian De Palma’s Carlito’s Way. Almost unrecognizable as a sleazy coked up lawyer with an unforgettable hairdo, Penn managed to steal scenes from Al Pacino’s title character. Had his work been included here, it would have marked his first nod. Two years later, he achieved that with Dead Man Walking. Four more nominations (all in Best Actor) would follow with two victories in 2003’s Mystic River and 2008’s Milk as well as 1999’s Sweet and Lowdown and 2001’s I Am Sam. 

Yet his rare supporting turn alongside Pacino would have been fine with me for a sixth mention – even with the solid competition nearly three decades ago.

My Should Been Contenders posts will continue with another sturdy supporting turn from 1993…

Early 2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

And a new day has dawned on this blog of mine as the 2020 Oscar Predictions begin!

To put it mildly, this is a challenge in 2020. The obvious hindrance is the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut theaters down for the past nearly five months and prevented scores of titles from their release.

It doesn’t stop there. I always do my early prediction posts in the later part of August when significant film festivals are about to get underway. The coronavirus has altered that dynamic as well. The Toronto and Venice festivals will operate in a much different fashion with some releases getting remote screenings and you should expect quite a few Oscar Watch posts in the coming weeks. However, it’s not nearly the volume of previous years. I have chosen to push up these early prediction posts because… well, I don’t have much else to write about!

To add to the mayhem – we have understandably seen a year in which release dates are constantly changing. Some of the pictures mentioned here may not see the light of day by February 2021. That, by the way, is the month the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have extended eligibility to for the upcoming ceremony. A good example: Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch (which has seen its date pushed back more than once) is now a TBD release. We’ve grown accustomed to that lately. For this reason, I am not including it in my inaugural round of predictions.

One potential beneficiary to all of this is Netflix. The streaming giant has loaded up on awards contenders for the season. Three of them in particular – David Fincher’s Mank, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, and Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 – boasts multiple performers who could see their work recognized in this particular category. In fact, four of the five early predicted nominees here are for Netflix properties.

As with any other year, these first projections are done with another degree of uncertainty and that’s category placement. It is inevitable that some performances in the supporting field could move to lead and vice versa. These decisions will become clearer as time goes along and will certainly shift my predictions in the future. For instance, Delroy Lindo seems bound for a nod in Da 5 Bloods. The smart money is that he’ll be campaigned for in Best Actor, but it’s in the realm of possibility that he could be a Supporting Actor contender.

Looking back at my early 2019 predictions in this category nearly a year ago, only one of my five projected nominees got through the process. It was, however, the winner with Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. For context, I predict my top 5 and then list ten other possibilities. All four other eventual nominees (Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for The Irishman), were all listed as possibilities.

So… let’s get to it with my very speculative first look at which gentlemen could contend in the supporting field!

EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Tom Burke, Mank

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

David Strathairn, Nomadland

Other Possibilities:

David Alvarez, West Side Story

Charles Dance, Mank

Lucas Hedges, French Exit

Jonathan Majors, Da 5 Bloods

Clarke Peters, Da 5 Bloods

Jesse Plemons, I’m Thinking of Ending Things 

Eddie Redmayne, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Forest Whitaker, Respect 

I’ll have Supporting Actress up next! Until then…