Oscars 2021: The Case of King Richard

Reinaldo Marcus Green’s King Richard is the next film to be served up in my Case Of posts focused on 2021’s Best Picture nominees. For my takes on the other five entries thus far, you can peruse them here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Belfast

Oscars 2021: The Case of CODA

Oscars 2021: The Case of Don’t Look Up

Oscars 2021: The Case of Drive My Car

Oscars 2021: The Case of Dune

The Case for King Richard

The uplifting tale of Richard Williams (Will Smith) and his tutelage of Venus and Serena hit all its expected categories on nomination morning: Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress (Aunjanue Ellis), Original Screenplay, Editing, and Original Song (courtesy of Beyonce). It’s an easy movie to like and if Academy voters are in feel good mode, they could court this one for attention.

The Case Against King Richard:

There’s other feel good choices with Belfast and CODA. Green showing up in Best Director would have been an indicator of strength, but it didn’t materialize. Richard also struggled at the box office (it simultaneously premiered on HBO Max). The best opportunity it has for a win is with Smith, who might make it to the podium in Actor on his third try.

The Verdict

Smith definitely has the strongest chance to feel the Richard love. It’s a long shot for BP.

My Case Of posts will continue with Licorice Pizza

2021 Oscar Nominations Reaction

And at last… they’re out! After months of speculating on the blog (starting all the way back with my initial predictions in August), the Oscar nominations for the 94th Academy Awards were unveiled early this morning.

As always, there’s shocking omissions and surprising additions. There’s races that went as planned. And (for me at least) there’s always that one tricky category where I end up going 2/5. This year it was Documentary Feature which is notoriously tough to figure out. On the flip side, I projected 4 out of the 20 feature film competitions with 5/5 accuracy. All in all – I went 82 for 105 on the picks.

Some initial thoughts before I break it down race by race. The Power of the Dog was easily the winner of the morning with 12 nods (even more than anticipated). It led all nominees with Dune second (10).

Other movies that either met or exceeded expectations: Drive My Car, King Richard, and Nightmare Alley (which was the only somewhat surprising BP addition). For others, it was more of a mixed bag. Belfast garnered 7 mentions but came up short in key tech indicators like Cinematography and Editing. The same can be said for Licorice Pizza. Seven was also the number for West Side Story, but it missed screenplay. Being the Ricardos got 3 acting nods but no Picture or screenplay. And even Dune, with the 10 nods, somehow missed a director nomination for Denis Villeneuve.

Then there’s House of Gucci, which showed up only in Makeup and Hairstyling. No Jared Leto (I predicted he’d be left off), but no Lady Gaga in Actress was perhaps the shocker of the day.

Let’s get into it and I’ll offer my initial take on what/who could win (my final predictions will come shortly before the March 27th show).

Best Picture

Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

How I Did: 9/10

Commentary: My one miss was Alley coming in over Being the Ricardos. Make no mistake. With its 12 mentions, The Power of the Dog is undoubtedly the frontrunner. Yes, the Twitterverse will offer alternate theories. Could Drive My Car‘s impressive haul give us our second foreign BP winner in three years? Could Belfast or West Side Story spoil? I doubt it.

Best Director

Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Hamaguchi getting in wasn’t unforeseen. If so, I figured he’d do so over Anderson, Branagh, or Spielberg and certainly not Villeneuve. That’s what happened. Campion made history today by becoming the first female nominee to get a second nomination. All signs point to her becoming the third (after Kathryn Bigelow and Chloe Zhao) to win.

Best Actress

Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: We now arrive at the biggest head scratcher of the major categories. Gaga’s aforementioned omission is truly unexpected (Cruz takes her slot). The precursors (BAFTA, Globes, SAG) have been all over the map and there’s no obvious favorite. I would say Cruz doesn’t stand much of a chance, but the other four do (it’s a lot like last year’s Actress derby). This is also the first time since 2005 where no Actress hopeful has their film in contention for Best Picture. Kidman’s Globe win could help and we’ll see what SAG does, but this is wide open.

Best Actor

Nominees:

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

How I Did: 5/5

Commentary: That’s more like it! Smith (especially after Richard‘s good morning) is out ahead though I could see Cumberbatch definitely threatening after Dog‘s very good morning. Fun tidbit: not since 1980 has the Best Actor race consisted entirely of previous nominees until today.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Judi Dench, Belfast

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: This was the first race announced today and the jaws of prognosticators dropped immediately. Buckley and (especially) Dench were not anticipated by most. I didn’t even have either as my runner-up or second alternate. They displace Ruth Negga (Passing) and Dench’s costar Caitriona Balfe. While the lineup is different than we thought, the frontrunner (DeBose) remains the same with Dunst (getting her first nod) as a possible upset pick.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees:

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Simmons in over Bradley Cooper in Licorice Pizza. Mr. Cooper has two movies contending for BP but no singling out to show for it. Smit-McPhee may be out in front but a Kotsur victory is feasible.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Worst Person in the World

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Worst Person is the surprise. I didn’t predict Richard though its  inclusion was expected. They’re in over Ricardos and Parallel Mothers (which was admittedly a bit of an upset pick from me). This should be between Belfast and Pizza and it may represent the best opportunity for either to grab a statue.

Tidbit: since 2001, there was at least one screenplay contender where it served as its only nomination. Until today.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees:

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 5/5

Commentary: Let’s not overcomplicate it when we don’t need to. Power is far and away the leader in this pack.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon

How I Did: 5/5

Commentary: This went as planned. There are three Disney products in the group, but the other two (Flee, Mitchells) are potential roadblocks to Encanto winning. Yet betting against Disney usually isn’t wise in this one and Encanto will probably take it.

Best International Feature Film

Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

The Hand of God

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

The Worst Person in the World

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: I’m gonna go ahead and say Lunana is the first Oscar contender with Yak in its title without checking (correct me if wrong). It surprisingly gets in (along with far less surprising The Hand of God) over A Hero and Playground. This one’s simple: anything other than Car would be a massive upset.

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees:

Ascension

Attica

Flee

Summer of Soul

Writing with Fire

How I Did: 2/5

Commentary: There’s that blasted 2 for 5 race! Ascension, Attica, and Fire are up over my selections of Faye Dayi, Procession, and The Rescue (its omission is stunning considering it was a contender to win).

Flee made history by becoming the first film to be nominated for Animated Feature, International Feature Film, and here. This race probably marks its best chance to win, but I wouldn’t sleep on Summer of Soul. 

Best Cinematography

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Alley over Belfast. Get used to hearing this with the tech categories – Dune might be out in front. Dog could threaten.

Best Costume Design

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

Nightmare Alley

West Side Story

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Cyrano‘s sole nod comes here. I had House of Gucci instead. Dune can’t win all the techs and Cruella could take this.

Best Film Editing

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

Tick, Tick… Boom!

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Richard and Boom! over Belfast and Licorice Pizza. The Belfast omission is particularly notable as BP victors nearly always are nominated here. This could be more Dune gold.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees:

Coming 2 America

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Went with Suicide Squad over Coming 2 America. Despite its bad performance this morning, Gucci could win this. Or it might just go to Dune.

Best Original Score

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

No Time to Die

Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Went with The French Dispatch (which goose egged) over Mothers. As for the winner (get ready for it) – expect Dune or Dog.

Best Original Song

Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Maybe the surprise here shouldn’t be with “Somehow You Do” over “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up. After all, this marks Diane Warren’s 13th nomination and sixth in the last seven years. She’s never won and won’t this time.

“Be Alive” from Beyonce or “Oruguitas” could get it, but “No Time to Die” from Billie Eilish could be the third Bond theme in a row to be celebrated.

Best Production Design

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Another category where I said French Dispatch and missed. Power gets in instead. While Dune is strong, I wouldn’t be startled to see this as the lone victory for Nightmare Alley.

Best Sound

Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

How I Did: 5/5

Commentary: You should hear Dune‘s name called.

Best Visual Effects

Nominees:

Dune

Free Guy

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Spider-Man: No Way Home

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Free Guy and Spidey over The Matrix Resurrections and Godzilla vs. Kong. As for the winner: See Best Sound.

Here’s the overall nominations break down:

12 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

10 Nominations

Dune

7 Nominations

Belfast, West Side Story

6 Nominations

King Richard

4 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Nightmare Alley

3 Nominations

Being the Ricardos, CODA, Encanto, Flee, Licorice Pizza, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, The Tragedy of Macbeth

2 Nominations

Cruella, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Parallel Mothers, Tick, Tick… Boom!, The Worst Person in the World

1 Nomination

Ascension, Attica, Coming 2 America, Cyrano, Four Good Days, Free Guy, The Hand of God, House of Gucci, Luca, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Raya and the Last Dragon, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spencer, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Summer of Soul, Writing with Fire

Starting very shortly, you can peruse my Case Of posts in which I write individualized posts for all the contenders in Picture, Director, and the four acting races!

2021 Golden Globes Reaction

This evening’s Golden Globes ceremony was certainly like no other in recent history. Due to controversies that have fallen upon the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in the past couple of years, the show was not broadcast, not streaming, and no celebrities attended. Reveals of the winners were available via Twitter.

The Globes could still provide a window for what might occur when Oscar nods are out next month. If so, there could be good things coming to the big winners of the evening – West Side Story and The Power of the Dog. They are likely the two that stand the greatest chance to take Best Picture (along with Belfast) and each had key wins tonight. And while Belfast only landed one victory, it was a rather key one.

So how’d I do with my predictions? 9 for 14. That’s about how I thought I’d perform to be honest as the HFPA is a little unpredictable.

Let’s start with what I got right:

West Side Story won Best Musical/Comedy and Ariana DeBose took Supporting Actress.

Kodi-Smit McPhee is Best Supporting Actor for The Power of the Dog. For DeBose and McPhee, it could be the start of healthy runs throughout the season.

Encanto is Best Animated Feature and Drive My Car took Foreign Film. I have both in my #1 positions for the Oscars.

Dune received Best Score and “No Time to Die” won Original Song. At the Academy Awards, I expect Billie vs. Beyonce (for “Be Alive” from King Richard). In round 1, Billie is victorious.

Will Smith’s turn as King Richard is your Best Actor (Drama) while Andrew Garfield in Tick, Tick… Boom! is Best Actor (Musical/Comedy). Both were widely expected and the two are anticipated to easily make the cut at the Oscars.

Where I went wrong:

My one true upset pick was Emma Stone in Best Actress (Musical/Comedy) for Cruella. I went with the upset because I couldn’t choose between Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) or Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza). Zegler took the prize.

I did have Pizza being delivered a Screenplay win, but that went to Belfast. I thought that early award might forecast its win for Best Drama (I picked it) but…

The Power of the Dog won and that’s a pretty significant boost for its Oscar chances. Its maker Jane Campion also was named Best Director and I went with Steven Spielberg for West Side Story. 

And perhaps the only true surprise of the evening was Best Actress (Drama) though I did make a point to say that any could win. I predicted Kristen Stewart in Spencer, but Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos was awarded. This points to a real competition at the other shows to come.

Quick take – Dog and Story had solid nights. Smith, DeBose, and Smit-McPhee may have solidified their frontrunner statuses. And Best Actress might be wide open.

2021 Oscar Predictions: January 8th Edition

My first 2022 predictions for the 2021 Oscar season comes on the eve of the Golden Globes and four days before SAG announces their nominees. By my next update, we will have those useful bits of information to consider.

If you missed my predictions for the Globe winners, you can find them here:

2021 Golden Globe Winner Predictions

I’ll have my forecast for the SAG nominees up on the blog tomorrow so stay tuned! In the meantime, there are numerous changes to point out:

    • I keep going back and forth on whether momentum for Japan’s Drive My Car is still revving up or perhaps stalling. I’ve taken it out of my ten predicted BP contenders and put The Tragedy of Macbeth back in.
    • While I continue to struggle with all 5 Best Actress hopefuls representing non BP nominees, I’m back to that lineup. That means Lady Gaga (House of Gucci) returns with Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza) falling out.
    • For many weeks, I’ve held to same Best Actor five. That changes today with Leonardo DiCaprio (Don’t Look Up) joining the quintet and Peter Dinklage (Cyrano) dropping.
    • In Supporting Actor, both Belfast boys are in so Jamie Dornan is back in the mix. That takes out Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog).
    • Drive My Car is also out for Adapted Screenplay with Dune in.
    • The Beyonce vs. Billie battle in Original Song switches places. Beyonce’s track “Be Alive” from King Richard has been my #1 for months, but I’ve now vaulted Billie’s “No Time to Die” to top position.

You can read all the movement below and keep an eye out for a Globes recap and SAG prognostications.

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. Dune (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (-1)

6. King Richard (PR: 6) (E)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (+2)

8. CODA (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 11) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Drive My Car (PR: 10) (-1)

12. The Lost Daughter (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Nightmare Alley (PR: 13) (E)

14. Being the Ricardos (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 15) (E)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car (PR: 6) (E)

7. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Sian Heder, CODA (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2) (E)

3. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 8) (E)

9. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 9) (E)

10. Emilia Jones, CODA (PR: 10) (E)

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: 3) (E)

4. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (E)

5. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 7) (E)

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

9. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Rita Moreno, West Side Story (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up

Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 7) (E)

8. Mike Faist, West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 4) (+1)

4. King Richard (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Being the Ricardos (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mass (PR: 6) (E)

7. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 7) (E)

8. Parallel Mothers (PR: 9) (+1)

9. A Hero (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The French Dispatch (PR: 10) (E)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. CODA (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. Dune (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Drive My Car (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 7) (E)

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

9. Passing (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Last Duel (PR: 10) (E)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Encanto (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Luca (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Belle (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Summit of the Gods (PR: 7) (E)

8. Vivo (PR: 8) (E)

9. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 9) (E)

10. My Sunny Maad (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Sing 2

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Drive My Car (PR: 1) (E)

2. A Hero (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 3) (E)

4. Flee (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Hand of God (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. I’m Your Man (PR: 6) (E)

7. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 7) (E)

8. Great Freedom (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Prayers for the Stolen (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Good Boss (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Lamb

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Summer of Soul (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Rescue (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Procession (PR: 4) (E)

5. Ascension (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Attica (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The First Wave (PR: 6) (-1)

8. President (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Faya Dayi (PR: 8) (-1)

10. In the Same Breath (PR: 10) (E)

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (E)

5. Belfast (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (E)

8. The French Dispatch (PR: 8) (E)

9. No Time to Die (PR: Not Ranked)

10. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cruella (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. Spencer (PR: 5) (+2)

4. West Side Story (PR: 3) (-1)

5. House of Gucci (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Cyrano (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The French Dispatch (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. Last Night in Soho (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

The Tragedy of Macbeth 

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Don’t Look Up (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 8) (E)

9. King Richard (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The French Dispatch (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Being the Ricardos

Last Night in Soho

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. House of Gucci (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (E)

4. Cruella (PR: 4) (E)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Coming 2 America (PR: 5) (-1)

7. West Side Story (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Cyrano (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (-2)

10. No Time to Die (PR: 10) (E)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3) (E)

4. Spencer (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Parallel Mothers (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (-2)

7. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (-1)

8. King Richard (PR: 8) (E)

9. Encanto (PR: 9) (E)

10. Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Green Knight

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto (PR: 3) (E)

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

5. “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Beyond the Shore” from CODA (PR: 6) (E)

7. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: 7) (E)

8. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 9) (+1)

9. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 8) (-1)

10. “Right Where I Belong” from Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (+1)

3. West Side Story (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Belfast (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Cyrano (PR: 7) (E)

8. Spencer (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Cruella (PR: Not Ranked)

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. No Time to Die (PR: 4) (E)

5. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 6) (E)

7. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Power of the Dog (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Last Night in Soho (PR: 10) (E)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 2) (E)

3. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Free Guy (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. No Time to Die (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Eternals (PR: 8) (E)

9. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Black Widow (PR: 10) (E)

And that boils down to these pictures garnering these numbers for nominations:

11 Nominations

Dune

10 Nominations

Belfast

9 Nominations

The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

5 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza

4 Nominations

The Tragedy of Macbeth

3 Nominations

CODA, Flee, House of Gucci, Spencer, Tick, Tick… Boom!

2 Nominations

Being the Ricardos, Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The Lost Daughter, Nightmare Alley, No Time to Die

1 Nomination

Ascension, Drive My Car, Free Guy, The French Dispatch, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, A Hero, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Parallel Mothers, Passing, Procession, Raya and the Last Dragon, The Rescue, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Summer of Soul, The Worst Person in the World

2021 Golden Globes Nominations: Reaction

Under a cloud of controversy and uncertainty as to what their January 9th ceremony will even look like (it won’t be on NBC), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominees this morning for the 79th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Per usual, there were some surprises though no Kate Hudson for Best Actress in Music level one like in 2020. Overall I went 49/70 in my picks for the 14 cinematic races – going perfect in just one derby while striking out 2/5 in two others.

Let’s break them down one by one with some commentary and my initial thoughts on who/what could win:

Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Nominees: Belfast, CODA, Dune, King Richard, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: No shockers here as my runner-up CODA got in over Nightmare Alley. Guillermo del Toro’s noir thriller got zero love from the HFPA and it’ll need to rally with Oscar voters. Belfast and Dog led all nods with seven apiece. Both could vie for the victory with the former perhaps having a slight edge.

Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Cyrano, Don’t Look Up, Licorice Pizza, Tick Tick… Boom!, West Side Story

How I Did: 5/5

Comments: The real mystery here was whether Cyrano or In the Heights would be the third musical of the bunch. I picked correctly. Seeing that Steven Spielberg is the only director in this race nominated, it’s hard to imagine West Side Story not emerging victorious here.

Best Director

Nominees: Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Denis Villeneuve (Dune)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Gyllenhaal’s inclusion was not anticipated and she got in over my selection of Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley. Truth be told, I could see any of the other four hopefuls taking this prize.

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos), Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Colman in over Jennifer Hudson (Respect). This could absolutely be the Oscar five. Stewart is the soft frontrunner with any other of the performers viable.

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Swan Song), Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Will Smith (King Richard), Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

How I Did: 3/5

Comments: Bardem getting in is not all that unexpected but I didn’t see Ali coming. They make the cut over Bradley Cooper (Nightmare Alley) and Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon). This one should boil down to Smith and Cumberbatch.

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Marion Cotillard (Annette), Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza), Jennifer Lawrence (Don’t Look Up), Emma Stone (Cruella), Rachel Zegler (West Side Story)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Cotillard over Haley Bennett for Cyrano. As for the favorite, expect West Side Story to carry Zegler.

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Leonardo DiCaprio (Don’t Look Up), Peter Dinklage (Cyrano), Andrew Garfield (Tick Tick… Boom!), Cooper Hoffman (Licorice Pizza), Anthony Ramos (In the Heights)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: I went a little out there with my fifth pick of Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy. Hoffman is here instead. Garfield is out in front in this one.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Caitriona Balfe (Belfast), Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog), Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), Ruth Negga (Passing)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Negga gets a needed boost (I had Meryl Streep for Don’t Look Up in her slot). If Jodie Foster could win an upset victory last year here for The Mauritanian, any of these performers could win.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar), Jamie Dornan (Belfast), Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Troy Kotsur (CODA), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

How I Did: 3/5

Comments: The Golden Globes often go for big names so the fact that Kotsur got in with HFPA bodes well for his Oscar chances. He and Affleck make it over my picks of Bradley Cooper (Licorice Pizza) and Jared Leto (House of Gucci). Conversely I’d argue that if Leto can’t make it here, his Academy prospects look shaky. Smit-McPhee is picking up critics prizes but this race is wide open in my view.

Best Screenplay

Nominees: Being the Ricardos, Belfast, Don’t Look Up, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: The HFPA loves them some Aaron Sorkin and his Ricardos script triumphs over West Side Story. This could be Belfast, Pizza, or Power.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: Encanto, Flee, Luca, My Sunny Maad, Raya and the Last Dragon

How I Did: 3/5

Comments: My Sunny Maad came out of nowhere. Not so much with Raya. They’re in instead of The Mitchells vs. the Machines (which I’m genuinely surprised missed) and Vivo (which I’m not). Don’t discount Flee, but Encanto is the likely winner.

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Compartment No. 6, Drive My Car, The Hand of God, A Hero, Parallel Mothers

How I Did: 2/5

Comments: Ouch. Only got Drive My Car and A Hero correct (and they could duke it out for the prize). On the cutting room floor: Flee, Titane, and The Worst Person in the World. Mothers could contend here as well.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Dune, Encanto, The French Dispatch, Parallel Mothers, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 2/5

Comments: The pain continues as I only called Dune and Power correctly. The others are in over Nightmare Alley, Spencer, and The Tragedy of Macbeth. This should be Dune, but Power is possible too.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Be Alive” from King Richard, “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, “Down to Joy” from Belfast, “Here I Am” from Respect, “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

How I Did: 3/5

Comments: The Encanto and Respect cuts make it instead of “Every Letter” from Cyrano and “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up. Like the Oscars, this could be a battle between Beyonce (“Be Alive”) and Billie Eilish (“No Time to Die”).

That means the following films garnered these numbers with their nominations:

7 Nominations

Belfast, The Power of the Dog

4 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, West Side Story

3 Nominations

Being the Ricardos, Dune, Encanto

2 Nominations

CODA, Cyrano, The Lost Daughter, Parallel Mothers, Tick Tick… Boom!

1 Nomination

Annette, Compartment No. 6, Cruella, Drive My Car, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, The French Dispatch, The Hand of God, A Hero, House of Gucci, In the Heights, Luca, My Sunny Maad, No Time to Die, Passing, Raya and the Last Dragon, Respect, Spencer, Swan Song, The Tender Bar, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Oscar Predictions: Sing 2

Sing 2 is likely to make loud box office noises when it’s released December 22nd. The sequel to the animated musical comedy arrives five years after the original took in $270 million domestically. From Illumination Entertainment, Garth Jennings returns to direct as do the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Nick Kroll, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, and Nick Offerman. Newbies include Bobby Cannavale, Halsey, Pharrell Williams, Letitia Wright, Eric Andre, and Bono.

Despite part one being a smash hit, it did not manage to nab a Best Animated Feature nod. The first Sing achieved a decent 71% Rotten Tomatoes rating. There’s just a handful of reviews out for the follow-up and it’s currently lower at 60%.

With a trio of Disney efforts (Encanto, Luca, Raya and the Last Dragon), two Netflix properties (The Mitchells vs. the Machines, The Summit of the Gods), and acclaimed foreign features Flee and Belle all in the mix, Animated Feature is already crowded. I don’t foresee a sequel to something that couldn’t get in the first time around being viable.

In Best Original Song, a band that Bono started that you might be familiar with (U2) has “Your Song Saved My Life”. This is another category with plenty of high profile contenders (Beyonce and Billie Eilish among them). Bono and his mates probably won’t make the cut. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Encanto

The Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars was established in 2001 and since then, Disney has won the race 14 out of 20 times (including 8 out of the past 9). It’s safe to say they have a distinct advantage in the competition and that’s why Encanto has long been seen as a frontrunner. From 2016 winner Zootopia makers Byron Howard and Jared Bush, it features the voices of Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo, Diane Guerrero, and Wilmer Valderrama.

With songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musical fantasy opens over Thanksgiving and the review embargo lifted today. The current 92% Rotten Tomatoes rating is encouraging. The track “Dos Oruguitas” could put Miranda in the running for an EGOT. For the unfamiliar, that’s winning an Emmy, Tony, Oscar, and Grammy and only 16 people have done it. My guess is that Beyonce and her King Richard song “Be Alive” could prevent that from occurring.

I do believe Encanto stands the best chance of the 2021 Mouse Factory offerings to take the prize over Luca and Raya and the Last Dragon (which may miss the top five altogether). Yet there is a sturdy competitor with Flee, the Danish critically lauded effort that could make history with nods in Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, International Feature Film, and maybe even Best Picture. It’s a guessing game at the moment as to which of the first three it wins (if any). My best guess is that the animated competition is where it could do so and that could leave Encanto as runner-up.

That said, betting against Disney has been the correct call just 30% of the time. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Harder They Fall

Prior to its limited theatrical output on October 22 and Netflix bow on November 3, The Harder They Fall has dropped at the London Film Festival. The late 19th century set Western revenge tale comes from Jeymes Samuel, who wears many hats here as director, writer, producer, and composer. This is a fictional tale consisting of many actual African-American figures from the era. The cast includes Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, and Lakeith Stanfield.

Early reviews are quite positive and Fall stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with the handful of write-ups available thus far. Some critics have compared the violent, funny, and period piece elements to Quentin Tarantino. Of the impressive cast, Elba seems to be garnering lots of ink. Despite Emmy, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG nods in his filmography, he’s yet to make the cut with the Academy (his snub in 2015 for Beasts of No Nation was a surprising one).  At the moment, Supporting Actor has very few surefire hopefuls (one could argue there’s none). If Fall is able to land with awards voters, here is an obvious category where it could play.

Regina King could factor in as well though Supporting Actress may already have at least a slot or two filled. She did also win just three years ago for 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk. 

As for the movie itself, I could see a scenario where it gains popularity once it streams and has its pushers for inclusion. I wouldn’t bank on it happening, but I wouldn’t totally discount it.

Finally, there’s the soundtrack which includes original tracks from Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, and Kid Cudi. Mr. Z (who also produces) could find himself in a slot for the Original Song five. If he manages to do so, he’d almost certainly be competing against Mrs. Z (aka Beyonce, who’s got a close to assured nod for “Be Alive” from King Richard).

Bottom line: we need to see what kind of reaction The Harder They Fall garners when it steams, but the buzz is sturdy enough now to indicate a potential contender. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Oscar Predictions: No Time to Die

The 15 year era of Daniel Craig as one of cinema’s most famous characters concludes with No Time to Die. James Bond will return… but not with arguably his best incarnation since Sean Connery. Prior to the October 8 stateside bow, the embargo lifted this evening and the results are encouraging.

007’s 25th adventure stands at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes (with 35 reviews out at press time). Many critics are calling it a surprisingly emotional swan song for Craig’s contribution to the British super spy series. There’s also hints that it resembles more of the Roger Moore era of the canon than one might expect (a direction it seemed to be taking with predecessor Spectre). Ana de Armas is drawing raves for her very short amount of screen time. The consensus on Rami Malek’s main villain seems a bit mixed. There’s some complaints about the length (a Bond high 163 minutes).

Yet no one seems to be arguing that it’s a rather fitting conclusion to Craig’s tenure in the part. So will Oscar take notice? Skyfall, the third pic in the actor’s five appearances, probably came close to a Best Picture nod. It did earn five nominations – winning Sound Editing and Original Song (Adele’s title track) with mentions in Sound Mixing, Score, and Cinematography. 2015’s follow-up Spectre (which had less laudatory reviews) managed a sole nomination in Song with Sam Smith’s “The Writing’s on the Wall” where it scored an upset victory.

I wouldn’t be shocked if an internet campaign is mounted for Craig to get a Best Actor slot (kind of as a tribute to the whole run). It’s highly unlikely to materialize. I do believe Die will make it three in a row for the songs with Billie Eilish’s title tune work. Whether she wins is a question mark (Beyonce has a ditty from King Richard that might serve as its main competition). Cinematography and Sound are two other feasible possibilities.

Bottom line: while I don’t foresee this factoring into the biggest races, tech and musical recognition could be coming its way. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Oscar Predictions: King Richard

My previous Oscar Predictions post was for the Princess Diana biopic Spencer. I explained that it’s risky to make bold pronouncements at this juncture of the awards season. Yet the buzz from Venice strongly suggests that Kristen Stewart is going to nab a Best Actress nod for her work.

At Telluride, the same feeling holds true for King Richard from director Reinaldo Marcus Green. Hitting theaters and HBO Max on November 19, the title character is Richard Williams. He’s best known as the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena. Portraying him is Will Smith and he’s going for nomination #3 after 2001’s Ali and 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness. 

So here we go again. The early reaction for Richard makes me comfortable enough to declare that Smith will get that third recognition. And he could win. Reviews also single out Aunjanue Ellis as Richard’s wife Brandy. An Emmy winner for When They See Us, I will likely include her in Supporting Actress when my estimates are updated on Monday.

As for the movie itself, it could certainly follow in the sports drama footsteps of previous Best Picture nominees like The Blind Side and Moneyball. I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s certainly a possibility as this sounds like a major crowdpleaser. There’s also an original song that plays over the credits from Beyonce (“Be Alive”) and I wouldn’t bet against her.

Bottom line: Will Smith has put himself in position to be the Fresh Prince of the Best Actor derby. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…