And away we go with my very early initial Oscar predictions for the films of 2019! As has become tradition on this here blog, I make my first projections in the six top races (the acting categories, Director, Picture) in late August. This is right on the cusp of festival season (Toronto, Venice, Telluride, New York) when dozens of hopefuls will screen beginning Thursday and into the next several weeks. Expect a whole bunch of Oscar Watch posts coming your way!
At that time, the outlook will become considerably clearer when it comes to real deal contenders and pretenders. Beginning Thursday and through October, I will have a weekly column estimating my top 25 Best Picture possibilities and 15 entries in the five other races. They will be ranked unlike these first posts. Starting in November, that will dwindle down to 15 Pictures and top 10 predictions in all other categories weekly.
There is no doubt that these lists will fluctuate significantly as the year progresses. We begin with Supporting Actress. Last year, only one of my initial 5 predictions for this race ended up being nominated. It happened to be the winner… Regina King in IfBealeStreetCouldTalk. Of the 10 performers below the estimated five, two scored nods (Amy Adams in Vice and Rachel Weisz in TheFavourite).
So without further adieu, Todd’s first Oscar calls for 2019!
Today begins a new blog series where I’m looking back at five of the major Oscar categories from 1990 to the present: the four acting races and Best Picture. This is essentially the time period where I’ve closely watched and analyzed. My charge? Picking the three largest upsets in each said category and the three least surprising winners… a film or performer where it truly would have been a shock if they didn’t emerge victorious.
We begin with Best Supporting Actress and this is one in which there have been some genuine upsets over the past quarter century plus. Unlike some other races we’ll get to later, it was not a challenge to pick three unexpected winners.
The other agenda item here is I’m picking my personal selections for strongest and weakest overall field among the five nominees in the acting derby’s and five-ten for Best Picture.
For starters, here’s the list of women that won gold statues in the supporting race from 1990 to now:
1990 – Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost
1991 – Mercedes Ruehl, TheFisherKing
1992 – Marisa Tomei, MyCousinVinny
1993 – Anna Paquin, ThePiano
1994 – Dianne Wiest, BulletsOverBroadway
1995 – Mira Sorvino, MightyAphrodite
1996 – Juliette Binoche, TheEnglishPatient
1997 – Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential
1998 – Judi Dench, ShakespeareinLove
1999 – Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted
2000 – Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock
2001 – Jennifer Connelly, ABeautifulMind
2002 – Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago
2003 – Renee Zellweger, ColdMountain
2004 – Cate Blanchett, TheAviator
2005 – Rachel Weisz, TheConstantGardner
2006 – Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
2007 – Tilda Swinton, MichaelClayton
2008 – Penelope Cruz, VickyChristinaBarcelona
2009 – Mo’Nique, Precious
2010 – Melissa Leo, TheFighter
2011 – Octavia Spencer, TheHelp
2012 – Anne Hathaway, LesMiserables
2013 – Lupita Nyong’o, 12YearsaSlave
2014 – Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
2015 – Alicia Vikander, TheDanishGirl
2016 – Viola Davis, Fences
2017 – Allison Janney, I, Tonya
I’ll begin with the least surprising winners. Truthfully, there are plenty of selections (and will be in each race) to pick from here. It’s normal procedure for the front runner to actually win. Here’s three that did just that:
3. Dianne Wiest, BulletsOverBroadway
Of the 28 recipients to choose from, note that 3 of them were under the direction of Woody Allen. None were surprise winners. That’s most evident with Wiest’s showcase work as an aging diva here. Her win here came just eight years following her Oscar winning role in another Allen pic, HannahandHerSisters.
2. Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Fans of the Broadway play this is based upon knew Ms. Hudson could have a legitimate breakthrough part here. She nailed it and her win was never in much doubt.
1. Anne Hathaway, LesMiserables
Similar to Hudson’s victory, Hathaway’s casting as Fantine and her “I Dreamed a Dream” dramatic solo made her the odds-on favorite from the moment the project was announced. That never changed.
Now we get to the upsets and there were four to choose from. I could easily include Anna Paquin in ThePiano, who became the second youngest winner when she beat out favorite Winona Ryder for TheAgeofInnocence. Here’s 3 I rank as even more surprising:
3. Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock
Harden had won no significant precursors and Kate Hudson was expected to have her name called for AlmostFamous. She wasn’t even nominated for a Golden Globe or SAG.
2. Juliette Binoche, TheEnglishPatient
While the film itself was the anticipated winner for Picture (which it did), the Oscars were expected to select the legendary Lauren Bacall for her work in Barbra Streisand’s TheMirrorHasTwoFaces. Yet it was Binoche’s performance that was unexpectedly honored.
1. Marisa Tomei, MyCousinVinny
For starters, comedic roles are rarely nominated and wins are even more unheard of. Tomei was a newcomer in a picture that wasn’t a factor in any other category. Her competition was a list of venerable actresses: Judy Davis (HusbandsandWives), Joan Plowright (EnchantedApril), Vanessa Redgrave (HowardsEnd), and Miranda Richardson (Damages). The victory here was so shocking that conspiracy theories emerged that presenter Jack Palance had accidentally read the wrong name. That’s been debunked, but Tomei’s trip to the stage remains one of Oscar’s largest jaw droppers.
As for the fields, I’m going with 1991 for the weakest link in the chain. I probably would have given the award to Juliette Lewis in CapeFear. However, the group was not particularly strong:
Mercedes Ruehl, TheFisherKing (Winner)
Diane Ladd, RamblingRose
Juliette Lewis, CapeFear
Kate Nelligan, ThePrinceofTides
Jessica Tandy, FriedGreenTomatoes
For the strongest field overall, I went with 2004 when Cate Blanchett won for her portrayal of Katherine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s TheAviator. The other nominees:
Laura Linney, Kinsey
Virginia Madsen, Sideways
Sophie Okonedo, HotelRwanda
Natalie Portman, Closer
And there you have it! I’ll have Supporting Actor up soon…
It’s an exciting time on the blog as Oscar prediction season is here. Readers of this here know that every Thursday starting very soon, I will be posting weekly Oscar predictions in the six major categories… wait, make that seven as I will now be including the new and controversial Most Popular Film race.
It begins today with Best Supporting Actress where I’m posting my first initial five predicted women and ten other possibilities. We will move on to Supporting Actor, the lead acting categories, Director, Most Popular Film, and Picture in short order.
A word of warning: these are very early predictions and they will unquestionably change. I like to do my first estimates before the film festival season approaches (beginning next week). Toronto and Venice and other fests will surely shape my predictions in a massive away. Expect lots of Oscar Watch posts in the next month concentrating on dozens of screened movies at the festivals.
Beginning next Thursday (August 30), I will begin my weekly posts listing 25 possibilities for Picture and 15 in the other major races. At that time, numerical rankings will come into play. In November, that will switch to 15 listings for Picture and 10 in ALL other categories honoring feature films.
Today it begins and here is my early bird look at Supporting Actress…
Fall season is upon us and that means my Oscar prediction posts will be ramping up on this here blog. I will be following the same formula as I did last year. Six “early” prediction posts on Picture, Director, and the four acting races. It’s my goal to have all of these posted by Monday, if not earlier.
From there, every Thursday I’ll bring you my weekly prediction posts all the way to the nominations next year. In both these initial posts covering the six categories and for the weekly posts starting next week, I’ll list my predicted nominees for Best Picture as well as 25 pictures total as possibilities. For the other races (the two Screenplay categories will be included with the weekly posts), I’ll list my five predicted nominees along with ten other ranked possibilities. From week to week, you’ll be able to track the up and down movement of my predictions, who and what have dropped out, and who and what have joined the mix.
We begin today with Best Supporting Actress and just like any category at this juncture (just as festival season is beginning), everything is up in the air. I would say Hong Chau’s work in Downsizing is pretty darn close to a sure thing with Melissa Leo’s role in Novitiate close as well (as long as her campaign doesn’t switch to Lead Actress).
As far as history with my previous year’s earliest predictions in Supporting Actress, 2014 and 2016 yielded two of the eventual five nominees while 2015 gave us three.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
TODD’S FIRST PREDICTIONS – BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Melissa Leo, Novitiate
Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour
Michelle Williams, The Greatest Showman
Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled
Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Samantha Isler, Molly’s Game
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Tatiana Maslany, Stronger
Julianne Moore, Suburbicon
Michelle Pfeiffer, mother!
Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin
Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
And there you have it! I’ll have Supporting Actor up shortly…
Hello all! Welcome to December and welcome to my weekly Thursday Oscar predictions!
It’s been seven days since my last Turkey Day estimates in the eight major categories. A lot can change in a week and there’s been significant developments since we were all couch bound after our Thanksgiving feasts.
Let us count them…
1) Martin Scorsese’s Silence finally held some screenings, meaning buzz is out. Official reviews are embargoed until December 10, but the first reactions indicate that the director’s latest could be a force in the Oscar race. My predictions reflect that. Furthermore, initial word makes one wonder whether it’ll be Liam Neeson or Adam Driver that get the lion’s share of attention in Supporting Actor.
2) A number of awards precursors have rolled out their winners and nominations. We begin with the National Board of Review. Yesterday, the NBR bestowed their winners upon us. They are: Manchester by the Sea (Best Film), Barry Jenkins for Moonlight (Director), Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea (Actor), Amy Adams in Arrival (Actress), Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water (Supporting Actor), Naomie Harris in Moonlight (Supporting Actor), Manchester by the Sea (Original Screenplay), and Silence (Adapted Screenplay). The critics organization also lists ten other pictures on the year’s best list and they are: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hail Caesar!, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Moonlight, Patriots Day, Silence, and Sully. Now – the NBR’s list of films have not and will not match what the Academy does. For instance, Hail Caesar! is not going to nab a Best Picture nod (it’s never been in my top 20 list of possibles and still isn’t). All the others, however, are at least feasible. The most notable snub is Fences, though I’d say it’s still near the top for Academy recognition. Lion is another notable omission.
3) The Critics Choice Awards came out today with their nominations. An important caveat: Silence (and Passengers and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) weren’t screened in time for consideration. The CCA nominates 10 pictures and they are: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Lion, Loving, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, and Sully. Another note: the upcoming Jackie got no Picture love from the NBR or CCA.
There are seven nominees for Best Director and six each in the acting and screenplay races. They are:
Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), Denis Villeneueve (Arrival), and Denzel Washington (Fences). Gibson’s nod is a fascinating one and he may have slightly increased his chances at Oscar attention. That said, it’s important to remember that Scorsese (who’s almost sure to get a nomination) was ineligible.
Actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester), Joel Edgerton (Loving), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Tom Hanks (Sully), and Denzel Washington (Fences). Nothing out of the ordinary here, though Garfield seems more likely to get Acting attention for Silence via the Academy.
Actress: Amy Adams (Arrival), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), and Emma Stone (La La Land). Note: No nod for either Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) or Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane).
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Ben Foster (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals). Note: While some awards prognosticators have listed Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins as a possibility, his fortunes seem to be dwindling. Also, no Mykelti Williams or Stephen Henderson for Fences.
Supporting Actress: Viola Davis (Fences), Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Janelle Monae (Hidden Figures), and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea). No real surprises here.
Original Screenplay: Hell or High Water, La La Land, The Lobster, Loving, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight. Again, no shocks though the ignoring of Jackie continues here.
Adapted Screenplay: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, Nocturnal Animals, Sully. With Hacksaw getting Pic and Director and Actor attention, a bit surprising it didn’t land a nod here.
4) The New York Film Critics Circle named their winners today. La La Land (the current front runner for Best Picture) was victorious. However, Director went to Barry Jenkins yet again for his work in Moonlight. Casey Affleck took another Actor prize with Isabelle Huppert in Elle helping her case out with an Actress win. Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Michelle Williams (for both Manchester and Certain Women) won their Supporting categories. The NYFCC combines screenplay into one and Manchester took top honors there.
Whew. Lots of information, I know, with plenty to digest! Taking all that into account and knowing there’s a bunch more precursors to come – here’s where I have the eight major races standing at this moment:
1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)
2. Silence (PR: 4)
3. Moonlight (PR: 3)
4. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)
5. Fences (PR: 2)
6. Lion (PR: 5)
7. Arrival (PR: 8)
8. Hidden Figures (PR: 10)
9. Loving (PR: 7)
10. Hell or High Water (PR: 11)
11. Jackie (PR: 9)
12. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 16)
13. Sully (PR: 15)
14. Patriots Day (PR: 13)
15. 20th Century Women (PR: 12)
16. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 17)
17. Live by Night (PR: 14)
18. Passengers (PR: Not Ranked)
19. The Jungle Book (PR: 18)
20. The Founder (PR: 19)
1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)
2. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 2)
3. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 4)
4. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 3)
5. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)
6. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (PR: 6)
7. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 7)
8. Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)
9. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 8)
10. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)
Pablo Larrain, Jackie
1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)
2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)
3. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 4)
4. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 5)
5. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 9)
6. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 3)
7. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: 7)
8. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 6)
9. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)
10. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 10)
Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply
1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)
2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)
3. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 3)
4. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 4)
5. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 6)
6. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 8)
7. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 5)
8. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)
9. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)
10. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: 9)
Best Supporting Actor
1. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 1)
2. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 3)
3. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 2)
4. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)
5. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 4)
6. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 6)
7. Adam Driver, Silence (PR: Not Ranked)
8. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 8)
9. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 7)
10. Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie
Best Supporting Actress
1. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 1)
2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)
3. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)
4. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 4)
5. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)
6. Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures (PR: 6)
7. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 7)
8. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 8)
9. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 9)
10. Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold (PR: Not Ranked)
Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls
Best Original Screenplay
1. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)
2. Moonlight (PR: 1)
3. La La Land (PR: 3)
4. Hell or High Water (PR: 4)
5. Loving (PR: 6)
6. 20th Century Women (PR: 5)
7. The Lobster (PR: 8)
8. Jackie (PR: 7)
9. Patriots Day (PR: Not Ranked)
10. Captain Fantastic (PR: 9)
Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Fences (PR: 1)
2. Silence (PR: 3)
3. Lion (PR: 2)
4. Arrival (PR: 5)
5. Hidden Figures (PR: 6)
6. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 4)
7. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 8)
8. Sully (PR: 10)
9. Elle (PR: 9)
10. Indignation (PR: Not Ranked)
Live by Night
Whew! And there you have it…
Let’s see what transpires over the next 7 days until my next round! Until then…
The summer movie season has wound to a close and we can feel the autumn season just around the corner. That means football, leaves changing, and back to school. It also means the 2016 fall movie season is about to begin and that means – early Oscar speculation!!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it may seem a bit too early for that, but it isn’t. The film festival season will be starting before we know it with Venice, Toronto, Telluride and New York on deck. A host of Oscar hopefuls will receive their first screenings and generate their first buzz. So this week – as I have in years past – I roll out my first round of Oscar predictions. This will be done in six installments beginning with Supporting Actress today and continuing daily with Supporting Actor, Actress, Actor, Director, and the big dog – Picture. Each post will predict the five nominees (or in the case of Picture – five to ten). As the week wear on, I’ll be increasing my predictions to a weekly feature on the blog.
For Supporting Actress, let’s take a little trip down memory lane with my predictions in 2014 and 2015. Two years back, my earliest predictions yielded two out of the eventual five nominated performers (including winner Patricia Arquette for Boyhood). Last year, these initial predictions gave us three of the five and, in a way, four. At the time, there was uncertainty as to whether Alicia Vikander would be campaigned for in lead or supporting for The Danish Girl and I predicted her at the time for Actress. The campaign went with supporting and she was the winner. Let’s get to it!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
At this juncture, I’d say there’s no shoo-in nominees but Michelle Williams in this fall’s Manchester by the Sea is about as close as it gets. The pic has already screened at festivals to raves with many critics singling out her work.
Ang Lee’s November war drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk looks to be a player in many categories and that could certainly trickle down to Kristen Stewart. The trailer for Moonlight seems to indicate a very meaty and Oscar-baity type role for Naomie Harris. There are questions surrounding how many nominations the acclaimed slavery pic The Birth of a Nation will receive (more on that in future posts), but Aja Naomi King has gotten acclaim for her role already.
As for a fifth, I’m just going to go with a total and complete wild card: Bryce Dallas Howard in December’s Gold, which not much is known about at the moment (no trailer even). Why? Well, this category is quite unformed at the moment, so why not? If it pans out, I’ll look really smart!
There’s a slew of others as possibilities, including multiple possibilities for 20th Century Women, American Pastoral and The Girl on the Train (with both Fanning sisters no less) and we shall see how it plays out in the coming weeks and months. For now…
TODD’S FIRST PREDICTIONS – BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Tonight we begin my second round of Oscar predictions in the six top categories and it begins with Best Supporting Actress. Since my initial round of estimates, the list of possible nominees in this race has been diminished greatly – from 24 names to just 10 that I see as real possibilities.
Three of my original five nominees remain: Jennifer Jason Leigh in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Rooney Mara in Todd Haynes’s Carol, and Kate Winslet in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs. We also have the inclusion of Alicia Vikander in Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. Originally I predicted her in the Actress race but it’s since become clear that her studio will make their campaign in this category. As for another earlier predicted nominee, Elizabeth Olsen in I Saw the Light – that pic has since been met with mostly poor reviews and just got pushed to 2016.
So who’s our fifth? Names being bandied about include Rachel McAdams in Spotlight, Jane Fonda in Youth, Julie Walters in Brooklyn (who I predicted last time), Elizabeth Banks in Love and Mercy, and Diane Ladd in Joy (there’s not much buzz yet for her, but director David O. Russell’s last three films have resulted in four nominations in this category). Yet for now I’ll go with Joan Allen in Room, the upcoming indie pic that is getting raves from critics and film festival crowds. We’ll see how much changes when my third round comes in November and I’ll have Supporting Actor up tomorrow.
TODD’S BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS PREDICTIONS (ROUND TWO)