Filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania is no stranger to awards attention. In 2020, her Tunisian feature The Man Who Sold His Skin was a surprise nominee for International Feature Film (ultimately losing to Another Round).
Her next round for Oscar chatter lies with Four Daughters. The Arabic-language documentary (known as Les Filles d’Olfa at its French debut) premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. It centers on a Tunisian mother and the disappearance of her two eldest daughters. In this mix of real life and fiction, the director hires professional actresses to portray the missing women.
Early reviews are predominantly fresh with 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some of the write-ups, however, indicate it doesn’t fully deliver on the unique premise. Ben Hania scored a surprise nod three years back and perhaps this could accomplish the same in Documentary Feature. It remains somewhat of a long shot currently. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Get those pens (not pencils) ready for one nominee in the Animated Feature race at the 96th Academy Awards. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is out this weekend. The sequel to 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is drawing similar reactions to its predecessor. That means some serious raves as it currently stands at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes (on par with the 97% for part 1).
In December 2018, Into upended the animated category. Any hope that Incredibles 2 or Isle of Dogs held for taking the prize fell by the wayside upon its release. That happened late in the calendar for the first Spidey. We are not even at the midpoint of 2023 and Across has established itself as the strong frontrunner. Pixar’s Elemental, which drew so-so chatter from Cannes, may even struggle to make the final cut of five nominees.
Across is guaranteed a slot and is a huge threat to win no matter what follows in the next few months. It is only the first half of two sequels as Beyond the Spider-Verse follows in March of next year. You can safely assume it might be a hopeful for the 97th Academy Awards.
As for other competitions, I suppose Adapted Screenplay is feasible if Sony were to make a dedicated push. Critics are also pointing out the visual effects. Yet animated titles struggle to get noticed in that particular derby. It’s more likely this will stick to Animated Feature and it could very well stick the landing. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
30 years after his debut The Scent of Green Papaya was nominated in the international picture race at the Oscars, Vietnamese filmmaker Tran Anh Hung could see his latest The Pot-au-Feu achieve the same.
Set in the late 19th century, the French romance centered around the culinary arts features Juliette Binoche (Supporting Actress winner for 1996’s The English Patient) and Benoît Magimel. The Rotten Tomatoes reaction is strong with a 100% current rating.
In 1993, Papaya won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and nabbed a final five spot in Best Foreign Language Film (now International Feature Film). At this year’s ceremony in the south of France, Hung was honored with the Best Director statue.
If France makes this their selection for IFF at the 96th Academy Awards, look for this to potentially be on the menu. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
As the month of May closes out, we arrive at my post Cannes forecast for the 96th Academy Awards! There were heavy hitters premiering in the south of France and buzz to discuss for several of them.
One year ago, Triangle of Sadness took the Palme d’Or (the fest’s top prize) and it eventually became a Best Picture contender at the Oscars. Ruben Östlund, Triangle‘s director who served as this year’s jury president, was also nominated for his behind the camera work.. In 2023, Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall won the biggest honor. The French courtroom drama established itself as a major factor in International Feature Film and it is feasible that it could nab a slot in the eventual BP ten.
Other films that solidified their statuses as Academy bait? We start with Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. The three and a half hour epic maintains its #1 position in Picture, Director, Supporting Actress (Lily Gladstone), and Supporting Actor after many raves at Cannes. However, the Supporting Actor in first is Robert De Niro and not Jesse Plemons, who was perched there two weeks ago. Reviews indicate it’s De Niro who should have the better shot.
Let’s be clear. My rankings right now reflect who I believe will be nominated and not necessarily who I think will win (it’s simply too early for that). Killers looks to be in a fantastic position for multiples nods after its unveiling.
Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest is right behind Moon as far as significant chatter out of the festival. The Holocaust drama could contend in Pic and Director. So could lead actress Sandra Hüller. Yet she might have an even stronger chance for her performance in Anatomy of a Fall.
For May December from Todd Haynes, reviews were quite solid. Its best chances at inclusion could be for its trio of actors Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton. We’re still not sure if Portman and Moore will be co-campaigned for lead. For now I’m slotting the former in Actress and the latter in supporting.
Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City drew plaudits though mixed reaction elsewhere. I’m skeptical of its chances (though it could play in down-the-line races like Production Design and Score).
Then there’s the features that dropped out of contention. Pixar’s Elemental won’t be the first studio title to vie for BP since Toy Story 3. It might be lucky to get an Animated Feature mention after some lackluster reaction. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will not be a Top Gun: Maverick style hopeful for Oscars. And the fest’s opener Jeanne du Barry with Johnny Depp might get a Costume Design nod and that’s all.
In 2022, I made predictions for the 95th Academy Awards on this same day. It yielded 3 of the eventual 10 BP nominees with eventual winner Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, and Women Talking. Four others (Avatar: The Way of Water, Elvis, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick) were named in Other Possibilities. I wasn’t ready to anoint Triangle of Sadness despite its Cannes hardware. In Director – I correctly named the victorious Daniels for Everything Everywhere and Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans. With Best Actress, I had Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere) who would take the gold. Cate Blanchett (Tár) and Ana de Armas (Blonde) were Other Possibilities. I will note that I had Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans) listed in supporting and she was nominated in lead. For Actor, winner Brendan Fraser (The Whale) were correctly called with Austin Butler (Elvis) listed. Both Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Paul Mescal (Aftersun) were Other Possibilities. None of the five contenders in Supporting Actress were rightly placed. I did have winner Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere), her costar Stephanie Hsu, and Hong Chau (The Whale) in Other Possibilities. Finally, Ke Huy Quan (who took the statue) for Everything Everywhere was the only correctly tagged performer in Supporting Actor.
OK… deep breath. With all that context, let’s see where everything and everyone ranks…
1. Killers of the Flower Moon (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)
2. The Color Purple (PR: 3) (+1)
3. Past Lives (PR: 2) (-1)
4. Dune: Part Two (PR: 4) (E)
5. Oppenheimer (PR: 5) (E)
6. Saltburn (PR: 7) (+1)
7. The Zone of Interest (PR: 15) (+8)
8. The Holdovers (PR: 8) (E)
9. Air (PR: 9) (E)
10. Poor Things (PR: 6) (-4)
11. May December (PR: 10) (-1)
12. Maestro (PR: 11) (-1)
13. Anatomy of a Fall (PR: Not Ranked)
14. Challengers (PR: 14) (E)
15. Blitz (PR: 13) (-2)
16. Barbie (PR: 12) (-4)
17. Napoleon (PR: 18) (+1)
18. Rustin (PR: 20) (+2)
19. Flint Strong (PR: 17) (-2)
20. Bob Marley: One Love (PR: 16) (-4)
21. The Nickel Boys (PR: 21) (E)
22. The Book of Clarence (PR: 22) (E)
23. The Killer (PR: 19) (-4)
24. Asteroid City (PR: 25) (+1)
25. Ferrari (PR: 23) (-2)
1. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)
2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune: Part Two (PR: 3) (+1)
3. Blitz Bazawule, The Color Purple (PR: 4) (+1)
4. Celine Song, Past Lives (PR: 2) (-2)
5. Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest (PR: 14) (+9)
6. Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer (PR: 6) (E)
7. Emerald Fennell, Saltburn (PR: 7) (E)
8. Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things (PR: 5) (-3)
9. Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall (PR: Not Ranked)
10. Alexander Payne, The Holdovers (PR: 9) (-1)
11. Bradley Cooper, Maestro (PR: 13) (+2)
12. Ben Affleck, Air (PR: 11) (-1)
13. Ridley Scott, Napoleon (PR: 15) (+2)
14. Greta Gerwig, Barbie (PR: 10) (-4)
15. Steve McQueen, Blitz (PR: 12) (-3)
Todd Haynes, May December
1. Fantasia Barrino, The Color Purple (PR: 1) (E)
2. Greta Lee, Past Lives (PR: 2) (E)
3. Emma Stone, Poor Things (PR: 3) (E)
4. Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Fall (PR: Not Ranked)
5. Natalie Portman, May December (PR: 5) (E)
6. Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (PR: 4) (-2)
7. Carey Mulligan, Maestro (PR: 7) (E)
8. Zendaya, Challengers (PR: 8) (E)
9. Margot Robbie, Barbie (PR: 6) (-3)
10. Saoirse Ronan, Blitz (PR: 9) (-1)
11. Kate Winslet, Lee (PR: 11) (E)
12. Annette Bening, Nyad (PR: 12) (E)
13. Sandra Hüller, The Zone of Interest (PR: 13) (E)
14. Ryan Destiny, Flint Strong (PR: 14) (E)
15. Jane Levy, A Little Prayer (PR: Not Ranked)
Regina King, Shirley
Amy Adams, Nightbitch
1. Colman Domingo, Rustin (PR: 1) (E)
2. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 2) (E)
3. Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers (PR: 4) (+1)
4. Barry Keoghan, Saltburn (PR: 3) (-1)
5. Kingsley Ben-Adir, Bob Marley: One Love (PR: 8) (+3)
6. Bradley Cooper, Maestro (PR: 5) (-1)
7. Teo Yoo, Past Lives (PR: 7) (E)
8. Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer (PR: 6) (-2)
9. Anthony Hopkins, Freud’s Last Session (PR: 11) (+2)
10. Joaquin Phoenix, Napoleon (PR: 10) (E)
11. David Strathairn, A Little Prayer (PR: Not Ranked)
12. Matt Damon, Air (PR: 9) (-3)
13. Ed Harris, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (PR: 13) (E)
14. Mike Faist, Challengers (PR: 12) (-2)
15. John David Washington, The Piano Lesson (PR: 14) (-1)
Andrew Scott, Strangers
Best Supporting Actress
1. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)
2. Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple (PR: 2) (E)
3. Taraji P. Henson, The Color Purple (PR: 3) (E)
4. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers (PR: 4) (E)
5. Julianne Moore, May December (PR: 6) (+1)
6. Viola Davis, Air (PR: 5) (-1)
7. Rosamund Pike, Saltburn (PR: 7) (E)
8. Lashana Lynch, Bob Marley: One Love (PR: 9) (+1)
9. Audra McDonald, Rustin (PR: 8) (-1)
10. Halle Bailey, The Color Purple (PR: Not Ranked)
11. Aunjanue Ellis, The Nickel Boys (PR: 11) (E)
12. Tilda Swinton, The Killer (PR: 10) (-2)
13. Danielle Deadwyler, The Piano Lesson (PR: 13) (E)
14. Jodie Foster, Nyad (PR: 14) (E)
15. Vanessa Kirby, Napoleon (PR: Not Ranked)
Claire Foy, Strangers
Rebecca Ferguson, Dune: Part Two
Best Supporting Actor
1. Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 4) (+3)
2. Willem Dafoe, Poor Things (PR: 2) (E)
3. Colman Domingo, The Color Purple (PR: 10) (+7)
4. Charles Melton, May December (PR: 8) (+4)
5. John Magaro, Past Lives (PR: 3) (-2)
6. Samuel L. Jackson, The Piano Lesson (PR: 5) (-1)
7. Ryan Gosling, Barbie (PR: 6) (-1)
8. Richard E. Grant, Saltburn (PR: 11) (+3)
9. Ben Affleck, Air (PR: 7) (-2)
10. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (-9)
11. Brian Tyree Henry, Flint Strong (PR: 13) (+2)
12. Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things (PR: 9) (-3)
13. Corey Hawkins, The Color Purple (PR: Not Ranked)
14. Glynn Turman, Rustin (PR: 15) (+1)
15. Ben Foster, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (PR: 14) (-1)
At the 91st Academy Awards, Disney/Pixar (a frequent winner in the Best Animated Feature derby at the Oscars) had Incredibles 2 in contention. Yet it came up short to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. At last year’s ceremony, the studio’s Turning Red was never much of a threat to win and their summer release Lightyear received mixed reactions and didn’t make the cut. Similar elements could be in play for the 96th Oscars and Pixar’s 27th picture Elemental.
Out stateside on June 16, the computer-animated dramedy closed out the Cannes Film Festival. Buzz from France is fairly troubling. The Rotten Tomatoes meter, based on a handful of reviews, is 60%. Peter Sohn directs. He’s best known for 2015’s The Good Dinosaur, which underperformed at the box office and failed to register with the Academy. Voiceover artists include Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie del Carmen, Shila Ommi, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Pera, and Matt Yang King.
This is Pixar’s one at bat for 2023 and prospects look iffy. We may have a frontrunner emerging with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse opening this weekend. Look for my Oscar Predictions post on it shortly. Even if Elemental manages to make the quintet vying for gold, the chances of a victory look non-existent. If it doesn’t catch on at the box office like Lightyear (and that’s certainly possible), it could get left out altogether. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
It’s been nearly 40 years since Paris, Texas from Wim Wenders won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1987, he took the Best Director prize at the fest for Wings of Desire. The German filmmaker is back in the south of France with his drama Perfect Days starring Koji Yakusho, Arisa Nakano, and Tokio Emoto.
There’s another honor that Wenders can add to his Cannes accomplishments. At the awards ceremony for their best in show today, Yakusho was named Best Actor for his work. Reviews in general have been laudatory and it stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
That said, I’m not sure the critical reaction is effusive enough for it to contend in anything beyond International Feature Film. Japan or German could choose to make it their submission. If they do, it’s got a shot but is far from guaranteed placement. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Sandra Hüller, best known for 2016’s Toni Erdmann, is having quite a Cannes. The German actress first drew raves for Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest and now she’s receiving further praise for Anatomy of a Fall. Playing a writer on trial for the death of her husband, expect her name to pop in awards chatter for the next few months. Justine Triet directs with a supporting cast including Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado-Graner, Jehnny Beth, and Samuel Theis.
The Rotten Tomatoes meter stands at 100%. If France makes it their official selection for International Feature Film, look for it to contend. Its prospects could grow if it manages any trophies from the Cannes jury in a few days.
As for Hüller, she’ll draw competition from herself in Zone. While that feature may stand a better chance at a Best Picture nomination, the lead’s viability may be strongest with this one. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Wes Anderson is no stranger to Cannes or Oscar nominations as Focus Features hopes the debut of Asteroid City at the former leads to the latter. A mix of comedy, drama, romance, and sci-fi, it features the auteur’s typical sprawling cast (many of whom have worked with him on multiple occasions). This includes (deep breath) Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Stephen Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Tony Revolori, and Jeff Goldblum. Exhale.
Out stateside on June 23rd, City premiered in the south of France just like Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and The French Dispatch. Four of his last five works have generated the Academy’s attention. 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox was up for Animated Feature and Original Score (from frequent collaborator Alexandre Desplat). 2012’s Kingdom was in the Original Screenplay derby (with Anderson’s cowriter Roman Coppola). Two years later, The Grand Budapest Hotel was the massive awards breakthrough with nine Oscar nods and four victories in Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, and Production Design. It is Anderson’s sole BP nominee. 2018’s Isle of Dogs nabbed Animated Feature and Score mentions. In 2021, I had The French Dispatch predicted for Score and Production Design. It was surprisingly blanked on the morning of nominations.
Critics indicate this is an Anderson effort through and through and most reviews are of the thumbs up variety. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 84%. Like Dispatch and pics before it, Score (by Desplat of course) and Production Design are possibilities. So is the screenplay from Anderson and Coppola. Yet the overseas reaction is not to the level of Hotel and City could come up short like Dispatch did. A Best Picture nod probably won’t occur though perhaps the Golden Globes could slot it in Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy).
Finally, despite the sheer volume of familiar faces appearing in his filmography, no actors have received recognition in one of Anderson’s pics from the Academy. Bill Murray in Rushmore and Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums likely came close. I do not anticipate that streak being broken here. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Alicia Vikander won a Supporting Actress trophy for 2015’s The Danish Girl and she looks for her first lead nod as Catherine Parr, the sixth spouse of Jude Law’s Henry VIII in Firebrand. The period drama comes from Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz with a supporting cast including Sam Riley, Eddie Marsan, Simon Russell Beale, and Erin Doherty.
Buzz coming from its screening at Cannes is of the mixed variety and that’s evidenced by the 50% Rotten Tomatoes score. Even the recommendatory write-ups aren’t exactly glowing. Law is getting the best ink. However, his third nod (after 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley in supporting and 2003’s Cold Mountain in lead) is highly unlikely to come to fruition as well as any hope for Vikander. I suppose a Costume Design nod could occur, but Firebrand should be put out of contention by the time nominations are out. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan has seen a number of his features shortlisted for Best International Feature Film, but none has yet to make the final five. This includes 2008’s Three Monkeys for which he won Best Director at Cannes and 2014’s Winter Sleep, which took the Palme d’Or.
Ceylan looks to reverse that trend with About Dry Grasses which debuted in the south of France over the weekend. Clocking in at a near Killers of the Flower Moon level 197 minutes, it tells the story of a teacher’s alleged abuse of a student. The cast is led by Deniz Celiloglu, Merve Dizdar, and Musab Ekici.
The Rotten Tomatoes score is a sturdy 86% and it’s a smart educated guess that Turkey will make Ceylan’s latest its submission in IFF. My suspicion is that, since it’s not quite reaching the acclaim of some of his earlier pics, he may once again find himself on the outside looking in. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…