Oscar Predictions: The Tragedy of Macbeth

The veil has lifted for a major awards hopeful with Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. This version of the Shakespearian tragedy casts Denzel Washington as Lord Macbeth and Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth and it is kicking off the New York Film Festival. Between the two leads, they have five Oscars between them. Do they need to find more room on their shelves?

With Denzel, news from the Big Apple indicates yes. Some early reviews are calling it among his career best work. In the Best Actor derby, it’s likely that Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) and Will Smith (King Richard) have already punched their tickets to the dance. I believe we can add a third today with Mr. Washington.

With McDormand, it’s a bit more complicated. The answer may come down to whether distributor A24 elects for a campaign in lead or supporting. Based on the buzz, it sounds like a case could be made for either. My hunch is that Supporting Actress (which appears fairly wide open at the moment) will be the play. If so, McDormand probably stands a better chance for inclusion. I question whether her recent Best Actress victories (in 2017 for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and last year’s Nomadland) make her vulnerable to newcomers. Yet in Supporting Actress, I could easily see the Academy making room for her.

As for the rest of the cast, both Corey Hawkins and Kathryn Hunter are generating solid notices. However, their screen time could be a hindrance to make the cut (for Hunter, this definitely holds true if McDormand goes supporting).

Beyond Denzel, the cinematography is being heralded and it’s a safe bet Macbeth gets recognized there. Other techs like Production Design and Sound are feasible. Adapted Screenplay from Mr. Coen (making his first pic without brother Ethan) is in the cards. On the other hand, it’s said to deviate very little from the Shakespeare text and that may leave it off some ballots in that particular category.

Moving to the largest race of all, I’ve included Macbeth in my top ten for Best Picture all along. I don’t think it’s guaranteed a slot, but I don’t see myself moving it out based on the current buzz. Coen’s placement in Best Director is questionable but possible.

Bottom line: The Tragedy of Macbeth has elevated its lead actor and put itself in position for numerous other races. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

CODA Review

A remake of the 2014 French film La Famille Belier, Sian Heder’s CODA finds its emotional pitches and frequently hits them out of the park. This is an uncomplicated and charming story with a central character in a complicated position. Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) fits the description of the title as she’s a child of deaf adults. She’s the only hearing person in her family of four – parents Jackie (Marlee Matlin) and Frank (Troy Kotsur) and older brother Leo (Daniel Durant).

Ruby spends her early mornings in the water as part of the family’s struggling New England fishing business. As she arrives at school during her senior year, she finally decides to take up choir. Her little secret is she loves to sing.  It doesn’t hurt that her crush Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is also enlisted. The teacher Mr. V (Eugenio Derbez) soon recognizes her potential. Family obligations make her ability to practice a challenge. Ruby is the clan’s full-time interpreter and has never really considered leaving the nest until the opportunity to attend the Berklee College of Music becomes achievable.

CODA is a romance between Ruby and Miles with the teacher/pupil dynamic  involving the caring and tough Mr. V in there too. Neither of those subplots makes a huge impression (though Derbez gives a fine performance). The Rossi family dynamic is where its heart lies. And it’s also where we find some truly superb acting.

Jones’s Ruby is a believable teen torn between her outsized obligations and her dream. This may be a typical coming-of-age tale in many respects but we see it through a unique lens of an atypical cinematic household. Kudos go to Matlin as the mom who just assumes her daughter will always be there and Durant as the brother who supports Ruby’s need to spread her wings and vocal cords. The biggest tearjerking moments come courtesy of her relationship with her father and Kotsur’s work leaves an impression equal to that of Jones. He’s also responsible for some genuinely funny moments.

With a minimum of melodrama, the teary joy you may experience at key moments feels earned. This is a love letter to family and the idea that we need them to get by and sometimes that involves getting out of the way.

***1/2 (out of four)

2021 Oscar Predictions: August 12th Edition

Film festival season is approaching with Toronto, Venice, Telluride, and more. The early days of September will assist in answering plenty of questions as to the Oscar viability of several pictures.

As for this mid August timeframe, we mostly wait. However, one contender’s chances are clearer than last week. The Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, as I suspected, will not play in Best Picture. Yet the raves for Jennifer Hudson keep me believing she could make the final five in what looks to be a crowded field. Hudson remains in the four spot. The many performances left to witness will eventually answer whether she remains.

There is some movement in the other categories:

    • CODA was one of the acclaimed titles at Sundance and it releases on Apple TV tomorrow. Widely regarded as a crowdpleaser, I’m feeling more hopeful that it makes the top ten in BP. To make room, I’ve removed another buzzed about Sundance effort – Mass. I’ll confess that Mass is a head scratcher for me at press time. The four main leads (Jason Isaacs, Ann Dowd, Reed Birney, Martha Plimpton) will apparently all be campaigned for in the supporting fields. Dowd seems the most assured to make it, but they all could. However, both Isaacs and Plimpton are being taken out of my predicted five.
    • That means Toni Collette for Nightmare Alley is in over Plimpton in Supporting Actress. It felt strange not to have at least one actor from Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming pic in the mix. That could also be Rooney Mara in the same race.
    • In Supporting Actor, taking out Isaacs puts Corey Hawkins (The Tragedy of Macbeth) in. I’ve also made a switch in the #1 position. Bradley Cooper has had it the first two weeks for Soggy Bottom and now it’s Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog. 
    • The lead actor and screenplay derbies reflect the same five as last week.

Check out all the movement below! I’ll be back at it next week…

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. Soggy Bottom (PR: 6)

6. Dune (PR: 5)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7)

8. CODA (PR: 11)

9. West Side Story (PR: 9)

10. A Hero (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

11. Mass (PR: 8)

12. The French Dispatch (PR: 13)

13. Belfast (PR: 12)

14. King Richard (PR: 16)

15. Spencer (PR: 14)

16. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 17)

17. Parallel Mothers (PR: Not Ranked)

18. Cyrano (PR: 15)

19. Flee (PR: 18)

20. Passing (PR: Not Ranked)

21. The Humans (PR: 19)

22. Last Night in Soho (PR: Not Ranked)

23. Blue Bayou (PR: 20)

24. Being the Ricardos (PR: 23)

25. In the Heights (PR: 24)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

The Worst Person in the World

Annette

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

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

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

5. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: 8)

8. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero (PR: 7)

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

10. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 12)

11. Sian Heder, CODA (PR: 13)

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

13. Fran Kranz, Mass (PR: 10)

14. Pedro Almodovar, Parallel Mothers (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Joe Wright, Cyrano

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 1)

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

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (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: 6)

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

8. Emilia Jones, CODA (PR: 7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. Halle Berry, Bruised (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

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

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

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

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

10. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 8)

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

12. Steven Yeun, The Humans (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Adam Driver, Annette (PR: 12)

14. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 13)

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

Dropped Out:

Michael B. Jordan, A Journal for Jordan

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 1)

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

3. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 4)

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

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Martha Plimpton, Mass (PR: 5)

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

8. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 7)

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

10. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 13)

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

12. Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley (PR: 8)

13. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 12)

14. Nina Arianda, Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

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

Dropped Out:

Audra McDonald, Respect

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

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

4. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 3)

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

8. Reed Birney, Mass (PR: 10)

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

10. Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

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

12. Bradley Whitford, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 11)

13. Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano (PR: 12)

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

15. Simon Helberg, Annette (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Brendan Gleeson, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soggy Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3)

3. Mass (PR: 2)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4)

5. A Hero (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parallel Mothers (PR: 13)

7. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6)

8. Last Night in Soho (PR: 10)

9. Being the Ricardos (PR: 7)

10. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 9)

11. Spencer (PR: 8)

12. Belfast (PR: 12)

13. King Richard (PR: 14)

14. Blue Bayou (PR: 11)

15. Annette (PR: 15)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1)

2. House of Gucci (PR: 2)

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. CODA (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Humans (PR: 6)

7. Dune (PR: 7)

8. Passing (PR: 12)

9. Cyrano (PR: 8)

10. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 11)

11. West Side Story (PR: 9)

12. The Last Duel (PR: 10)

13. The Lost Daughter (PR: 13)

14. Dear Evan Hansen (PR: 15)

15. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

A Journal for Jordan

Oscar Watch: The Velvet Underground

The 2021 crop of documentary hopefuls has the potential to be quite a sonically pleasing affair. Just recently, I discussed Questlove’s heralded Summer of Soul which seems like a surefire contender. We also have acclaimed directors known most for non-docs staking a claim in the subgenre.

At the Cannes Film Festival, Todd Haynes has just debuted The Velvet Underground. Focused on the influential NYC band featuring Lou Reed, this is yet another acclaimed example of an auteur dipping back into the musical vaults. Edgar Wright did so earlier this year with The Sparks Brothers. Peter Jackson has his three-part The Beatles: Get Back hitting Disney Plus in November.

Haynes is most known for numerous indie darlings. His screenplay for 2002’s Far from Heaven was nominated, but he was surprisingly not mentioned for directing or writing with 2015’s Carol. Could the Academy recognize him here?

It’s now standard practice on the blog to point out that the Academy’s documentary branch is a fickle bunch. There could simply be too many rock docs competing against each other (and I’d certainly give Soul an edge over this). However, depending on the forthcoming competition, there could potentially be room for this Underground offering. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Palmer

I’m sad to report that Palmer starring Justin Timberlake does not feature the pop superstar playing 1980s “Addicted to Love” crooner Robert Palmer (that would be pretty sweet). Instead the drama (streaming on Apple TV this Friday) casts JT as a former felon caring for a young boy. Fisher Stevens directs with a supporting cast featuring Juno Temple, Ryder Allen, Alisha Wainwright, and June Squibb.

As of late, Timberlake has mostly focused on his music efforts. His acting credits in recent years has primarily consisted of voice work in the Trolls franchise. Some critics have praised his performance here, but the 56% Rotten Tomatoes score indicates this won’t be an awards contender.

Bottom line: Palmer doesn’t have the look of a late breaking Academy hopeful and it should be easy for voters to simply resist it. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Cherry

Cherry marks the fourth collaboration between directors Anthony and Joe Russo and actor Tom Holland and it’s the first time the lead star isn’t sporting a Spider-Man outfit in it. The crime drama casts him as a soldier who’s turned to a life of crime. Costars include Ciara Bravo and Jack Reynor.

The pic hits theaters in limited fashion on February 26th which grants it 2020 Oscar eligibility. It streams on Apple TV starting March 12th. The review embargo has yet to lift, but social media reaction from critics is out. Bottom line: Cherry is highly unlikely to be picked by awards voters in any races.

Much of the reaction indicates this is a misfire. As mentioned, the Russos have had tremendous success in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and with Holland’s participation in Captain America: Civil War and the last two Avengers pics. Before the recent buzz, Holland was looked at as an outside possibility for Best Actor. Yet that chatter should dissipate quickly if it hasn’t already. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

2020 Oscar Predictions: October 22nd Edition

The big news of the week when it comes to Oscar forecasting unquestionably involves Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the forthcoming Netflix feature starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. The studio has confirmed that the late Mr. Boseman will contend in the lead actor race and that upends my predictions in both that category and Supporting Actor. For weeks, I have had Boseman listed in 1st position in the latter. He now moves to #2 in lead behind Anthony Hopkins in The Father. 

This significant move shifts my thinking when it comes to other performers. Most notably, I am now guesstimating that Warner Bros. will campaign for Daniel Kaluuya’s work in Judas and the Black Messiah in the supporting field. To be clear, this is not confirmed and is simply speculation. However, that alteration means Kaluuya is now listed in first for Supporting Actor. This activity also means Boseman could potentially be a double nominee as Netflix is likely to mount a campaign for him with Da 5 Bloods in supporting. I have not listed him in the top ten, but it could certainly happen. The same dynamic applies to Glynn Turman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In the coming weeks, we will see if Boseman and Turman materialize in the top ten Supporting Actor players.

While the Actor derbies see those changes (which include Bill Murray now making the cut in Supporting Actor for On the Rocks, out tomorrow on Apple TV), Picture, Director, Actress, and Supporting Actress have remained the same.

And with that, let’s see how I have each contest shaping up!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 4)

5. One Night in Miami (PR: 5)

6. The Father (PR: 7)

7. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 6)

8. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 8)

9. Minari (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

11. Soul (PR: 11)

12. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 13)

13. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 12)

14. Respect (PR: 14)

15. The Midnight Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ammonite

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 1)

2. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Paul Greengrass, News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 5)

5. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 6)

7. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

8. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

9. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 9)

10. Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 3)

4. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 4)

5. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 7)

7. Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

9. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 6)

10. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Meryl Streep, The Prom

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 1)

2. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Supporting)

3. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 2)

4. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 3)

5. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tom Hanks, News of the World (PR: 6)

7. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 7)

8. Tom Holland, Cherry (PR: 8)

9. Stanley Tucci, Supernova (PR: 9)

10. Michael Fassbender, Next Goal Wins (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

George Clooney, The Midnight Sky

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 1)

2. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 3)

4. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 4)

5. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 6)

7. Mary J. Blige, Respect (PR: 7)

8. Audra McDonald, Respect (PR: 8)

9. Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Swankie, Nomadland (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Natasha Lyonne, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Best Actor)

2. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 2)

3. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 3)

4. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

5. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 4)

7. Charles Dance, Mank (PR: 10)

8. Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 8)

10. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 6)

Dropped Out:

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – moved to Best Actor

Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 2)

3. Minari (PR: 3)

4. Soul (PR: 5)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 6)

7. On the Rocks (PR: 7)

8. Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

9. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: 10)

10. Palm Springs (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Respect

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

3. The Father (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

5. News of the World (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 7)

7. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

8. First Cow (PR: 9)

9. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 8)

10. Next Goal Wins (PR: 10)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Wolfwalkers (PR: 2)

3. Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. Onward (PR: 4)

5. The Croods: A New Age (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Connected (PR: 6)

7. The Willoughbys (PR: 7)

8. Earwig and the Witch (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Lupin III: The First (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Trolls World Tour

Bombay Rose

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dick Johnson Is Dead (PR: 2)

2. Totally Under Control (PR: 3)

3. Crip Camp (PR: 1)

4. Boys State (PR: 5)

5. The Dissident (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 6)

7. The Truffle Hunters (PR: 7)

8. 76 Days (PR: 8)

9. I Am Greta (PR: Not Ranked)

10. MLK/FBI (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Welcome to Chechnya

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Quo Vadis, Aida? (PR: 1)

2. Another Round (PR: 2)

3. New Order (PR: 3)

4. My Little Sister (PR: 9)

5. Night of the Kings (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Disciple (PR: 5)

7. The Life Ahead (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Never Gonna Snow Again (PR: 10)

9. A Sun (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Wife of a Spy (PR: 6)

Dropped Out:

Atlantis

Ema 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 8)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 6)

8. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

9. One Night in Miami (PR: 10)

10. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Midnight Sky

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

3. Emma (PR: 3)

4. Coming 2 America (PR: 4)

5. Mulan (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rebecca (PR: 6)

7. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 9)

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 8)

9. Death on the Nile (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Prom (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

News of the World

Ammonite

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 5)

4. Nomadland (PR: 3)

5. The Father (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 8)

8. One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

9. Tenet (PR: 10)

10. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 3)

2. Birds of Prey (PR: 1)

3. Emma (PR: 8)

4. Mank (PR: 2)

5. Coming 2 America (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 5)

7. Mulan (PR: 6)

8. Respect (PR: 7)

9. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Death on the Nile (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. News of the World (PR: 2)

3. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 6)

4. Mank (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Over the Moon (PR: 10)

7. Ammonite (PR: 5)

8. One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

9. The Midnight Sky (PR: 7)

10. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Tenet

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami (PR: 1)

2. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (PR: 2)

3. “Seen” from The Life Ahead (PR: Not Ranked)

4. “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 3)

5. “Free” from The One and Only Ivan (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 6)

7. “Never Break” from Giving Voice (PR: 4)

8. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana (PR: 7)

9. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (PR: 9)

10. “Carry Me with You” from Onward (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

“Love Myself” from The High Note

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. News of the World (PR: 2)

3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 3)

4. Mulan (PR: 4)

5. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 6)

7. Rebecca (PR: 5)

8. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 9)

9. Emma (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Death on the Nile (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ammonite

Hillbilly Elegy

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. News of the World (PR: 2)

3. Sound of Metal (PR: 5)

4. Mank (PR: 7)

5. Soul (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 6)

7. Greyhound (PR: 4)

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 8)

9. Respect (PR: 9)

10. The Prom (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Midnight Sky

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. The Midnight Sky (PR: 2)

3. Greyhound (PR: 3)

4. Mulan (PR: 4)

5. The Invisible Man (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sonic the Hedgehog (PR: 6)

7. The Call of the Wild (PR: 8)

8. Birds of Prey (PR: 7)

9. Dolittle (PR: 9)

10. The Old Guard (PR: 10)

And that equates to these pictures getting the following number of nominations:

12 Nominations

Mank

9 Nominations

News of the World

8 Nominations

The Trial of the Chicago 7

7 Nominations

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

6 Nominations

Nomadland

5 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods, The Father, One Night in Miami

4 Nominations

Soul

3 Nominations

Mulan

2 Nominations

Coming 2 America, Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, Minari, Over the Moon, Tenet

1 Nomination

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Ammonite, Another Round, Birds of Prey, Boys State, Crip Camp, The Croods: A New Age, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Dissident, Greyhound, The Invisible Man, Judas and the Black Messiah, The Life Ahead, The Midnight Sky, My Little Sister, New Order, Night of the Kings, The One and Only Ivan, On the Rocks, Onward, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Pieces of a Woman, Quo Vadis, Aida?, Respect, Totally Under Control, Wolfwalkers

2020 Oscar Predictions: September 24th Edition

It’s a new week for Oscar predicting and there’s been some significant developments over the past seven days!

Of particular note is the news that Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story has been pushed back to December 2021. You will see it drop off all the categories where I had it as a possibility and that includes Picture (where I had it the final 9), Director, Actress, Supporting Actress, and Adapted Screenplay.

I am also jumping off the Dune train for now. Part of this is uncertainty as to whether it will be released by the February deadline. The other part is general uncertainty if it’s Oscar material. Hopefully we will find out sooner than later. I still have it listed as a possibility in Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay, but I’m holding judgment on having it make the final cut.

Now to the pictures that look like they will be released and we begin with The Trial of the Chicago 7. The Aaron Sorkin courtroom drama held industry screenings this week and the verdict is quite positive. It appears to be a shoo-in for a Picture nomination. I’m still listing it at #3 behind the unscreened Mank and Nomadland, but Trial is a threat to win the whole thing as I see it. Sorkin moves into the top five in directing. He replaces Dune maker Denis Villeneuve.

As for the actors in Trial, early reaction appears focused on four of them in the sprawling cast: Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Frank Langella, and Mark Rylance. I’m currently assuming everyone will be campaigned for in Supporting Actor, but that could always change. For the moment, I have Cohen and Rylance getting in (I struggled with this). In my Oscar Watch post, I even mentioned that three actors could make it. If that were to occur, we would see the first Supporting Actor competition with three performers from the same feature since The Godfather Part II in 1974. My shift to thinking it’s all a supporting play by Netflix takes Eddie Redmayne out of contention in the lead derby.

My Dune drop and the West Side delay means there are two new pics in my estimated nine Best Picture nominees. The risers are Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Pixar’s Soul.

In other developments:

  • Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks, which reunites the director with her Lost in Translation star Bill Murray, opened the New York Film Festival. Reviews were mostly positive. If Supporting Actor weren’t so potentially crowded, I may have put Murray in my five (he sits in 8th). He could get in, but I also posited the theory that Apple TV might be wise to compete for him in lead actor because the Golden Globes would likely take notice in their Musical/Comedy race.
  • I wrote an Oscar Watch post for the documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, which could absolutely be a factor in Documentary Feature. You can find my Watch write-ups for Trial, Rocks, and Trouble all linked below.
  • My Best Actress and Actor five remain the same from last week. Same with Supporting Actress.
  • In Supporting Actor, the aforementioned Rylance rises and that takes out his costar Mateen II for Trial.
  • In Original Screenplay, it’s Minari in and Judas and the Black Messiah out. The Adapted Screenplay five stays intact.

Finally, you will see big changes next Thursday with my predictions! First off – all categories covering feature films will be added from Animated Feature to Documentary Feature and International Feature to the tech races.

There will also be a dwindling of the numbers. My 25 Picture estimates will drop to 15 with all other races shrinking to ten predictions. It’s gettin’ serious, folks!

Here are the links to this week’s individualized Oscar Watch posts:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/09/22/oscar-watch-the-trial-of-the-chicago-7/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/09/22/oscar-watch-on-the-rocks/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/09/21/oscar-watch-john-lewis-good-trouble/

Give me a follow on Twitter @tthizz as I’m posting Oscar related polls. For example, 90% of respondents agree with me that Trial will nab a Best Picture nod. 59% believe Bill Murray will not be nominated for Supporting Actor.

And here we go with this Thursday’s estimates!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 4)

5. One Night in Miami (PR: 5)

6. The Father (PR: 9)

7. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

8. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 10)

9. Soul (PR: 12)

Other Possibilities:

10. Dune (PR: 4)

11. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 14)

12. Minari (PR: 16)

13. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 11)

14. The White Tiger (PR: Not Ranked)

15. The French Dispatch (PR: 15)

16. Ammonite (PR: 13)

17. Stillwater (PR: 17)

18. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 19)

19. Respect (PR: 20)

20. The Midnight Sky (PR: 23)

21. Annette (PR: 18)

22. Next Goal Wins (PR: 21)

23. Red, White and Water (PR: 22)

24. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 25)

25. French Exit (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

West Side Story

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 1)

2. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Paul Greengrass, News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 6)

5. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 7)

7. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 8)

8. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 10)

9. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4)

10. Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 11)

11. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Ron Howard, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 12)

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

14. Ramin Bahrani, The White Tiger (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Tom McCarthy, Stillwater (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story 

Francis Lee, Ammonite

Best Actress 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

3. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

4. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 3)

5. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

7. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 7)

8. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 10)

9. Meryl Streep, The Prom (PR: 11)

10. Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead (PR: 14)

11. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

12. Jennifer Lawrence, Red, White and Water (PR: 13)

13. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 12)

14. Rachel Brosnahan, I’m Your Woman (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Marion Cotillard, Annette (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Rachel Zeller, West Side Story 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 1)

2. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 2)

3. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 3)

4. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 4)

5. Tom Hanks, News of the World (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Matt Damon, Stillwater (PR: 7)

7. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 8)

8. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 10)

9. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Courier (PR: 12)

10. Michael Fassbender, Next Goal Wins (PR: 11)

11. Adam Driver, Annette (PR: 9)

12. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 15)

13. Trevante Rhodes, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 13)

14. Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 14)

15. Ben Affleck, The Way Back (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Eddie Redmayne, The Trial of the Chicago 7 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 1)

2. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 3)

4. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 4)

5. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 6)

7. Audra McDonald, Respect (PR: 8)

8. Abigail Breslin, Stillwater (PR: 10)

9. Natasha Lyonne, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 9)

10. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 11)

11. Mary J. Blige, Respect (PR: 14)

12. Toni Collette, I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 12)

13. Gaby Hoffman, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 13)

14. Lily Collins, Mank (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Kristin Scott Thomas, Rebecca (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Ariana Debose, West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 3)

3. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 2)

4. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 14)

5. Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6.  Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

7. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

8. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 13)

9. Tom Pelphrey, Mank (PR: 10)

10. Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

11. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 7)

12. Jonathan Majors, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 11)

13. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 12)

14. Tom Burke, Mank (PR: 9)

15. Charles Dance, Mank (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jeremy Strong, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 2)

3. Soul (PR: 4)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

5. Minari (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

7. The French Dispatch (PR: 6)

8. Stillwater (PR: 8)

9. Ammonite (PR: 7)

10. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 10)

11. On the Rocks (PR: 13)

12. Respect (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Pieces of a Woman (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Red, White and Water (PR: 14)

15. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Promising Young Woman

Palm Springs

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. One Night in Miami (PR: 4)

3. The Father (PR: 2)

4. News of the World (PR: 3)

5. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 7)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 13)

8. Dune (PR: 6)

9. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 8)

10. French Exit (PR: 12)

11. The White Tiger (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Next Goal Wins (PR: 10)

13. The Humans (PR: 11)

14. First Cow (PR: 14)

15. The Midnight Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

West Side Story

The Prom 

Oscar Watch: On the Rocks

Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks has premiered at the New York Film Festival and it marks a reunion with Oscar history in tow. The comedy reunites the filmmaker with her Lost in Translation star Bill Murray. That 2003 pic earned 4 Oscar nods including Picture, Director, and the sole acting nomination for the iconic Murray. In fact, Murray may well have come in second in lead Actor to Sean Penn in Mystic River. It won Best Original Screenplay.

Ahead of its October Apple TV streaming premiere, it’s natural that Rocks would be looked at as a potential contender. While early buzz is mostly solid (82% on Rotten Tomatoes), I don’t think the reviews are strong enough that this will make any play for Picture, Director, or Screenplay.

This leaves the legendary comic performer as I don’t see costars Rashida Jones or Marlon Wayans garnering any attention. Supporting Actor has been seen as the likely placement and that race is already looking super crowded (you’ll hear about a number of contenders from The Trial of the Chicago 7 shortly on this blog). Murray appears iffy to make the cut and I have the same feeling for Best Actor if Apple goes that route with their campaign. However – they might be smart to do the latter as the Golden Globes could certainly nominate him for lead in the Musical/Comedy category.

Bottom line: don’t look for this to be an Academy player save for possibly Murray. The Globes could be another story. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Wolfwalkers

Disney/Pixar isn’t the only entity with a sterling track record in the Best Animated Feature race at the Oscars. Irish outlet Cartoon Saloon has seen all three of their features nominated in the category. In all these instances, their product lost to a film with Disney and Pixar stamped on the credits.

Saloon’s fourth title is the environmentally conscious adventure Wolfwalkers, which screened at the Toronto Film Festival over the weekend. It is Saloon’s third collaboration with filmmaker Tomm Moore (who co-directs alongside Ross Stewart). His 2009 effort The Secret of Kelis scored a nod and lost to Up. Follow-up Song of the Sea fell short to Big Hero 6. The studio’s third feature – 2017’s The Breadwinner – made the final five with Coco emerging as the victor.

Early reviews from Toronto indicate that Wolfwalkers is another winner and it seems bound for nomination #4 for the Saloon. The pic is slated for stateside distribution later this year via Apple TV. Yet Pixar awaits with the impending release of Soul, which is currently seen as the favorite to take the gold.

Bottom line: Cartoon Saloon should make it 4 for 4 in Best Animated Feature. Beating the Mouse Factory looks to be its ongoing challenge. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…