Oscars: The Case of Triangle of Sadness

Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness is the penultimate Case Of post for the ten Best Picture nominees at this year’s Academy Awards.

The Case for Triangle of Sadness:

The Swedish filmmaker’s satire targeting the mega-rich began gathering buzz when it played at Cannes and received the Palme d’Or. That made it just the second feature in the 21st century to receive the top Cannes prize and nab a BP nod. The other is Parasite and it won BP three years ago. Östlund was a surprise nominee in Director which could indicate this is stronger than anticipated.

The Case Against Triangle of Sadness:

It hasn’t exactly cleaned up in the precursors. At Critics Choice, it had a sole mention for Best Comedy. There were two Globe noms for Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Dolly de Leon in Supporting Actress (the Academy left her off). The three BAFTA inclusions (de Leon, Original Screenplay, Casting) don’t include Picture. Furthermore, Triangle has yet to win any of these.

Other Nominations:

Director (Östlund), Original Screenplay

The Verdict:

Despite its maker unexpectedly making the directorial quintet, Triangle appears on course for an 0 for 3 performance on Oscar night.

My Case Of posts will continue with Women Talking!

Previous write-ups for the BP hopefuls can be accessed here:

Oscar Predictions: Cairo Conspiracy

Tarik Saleh’s political thriller Cairo Conspiracy (known as Boy from Heaven in other areas of the globe) is Sweden’s submission for International Feature Film at the Oscars. Following its premiere at Cannes in early summer, Saleh took the Best Screenplay prize. With shortlists being announced last week, it’s one of 15 foreign entries vying for 5 slots.

Cairo isn’t quite as acclaimed as some other hopefuls with its 71% Rotten Tomatoes score. The Swedes, on the other hand, are pretty crafty at getting their pics nominated. There’s been two in the past decade with 2016’s A Man Called Ove and 2017’s The Square. You do have to go back a ways to find the previous winner in 1983’s Fanny and Alexander.

It was a question mark whether Conspiracy would even make the shortlist. I suspect it won’t be seen in the eventual quintet despite its country’s previous successes. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Blue Caftan

The nation of Morocco has submitted a total of 18 pictures for consideration from 1977 to the present in the Academy’s International Feature Film race. Only two have made the shortlist – 2011’s Omar Killed Me and this year’s The Blue Caftan. They’re hoping the latter is the first to make the final five.

Maryam Touzani’s relationship drama starring Lubna Azabal and Saleh Bakri premiered at Cannes back in May to appreciative reviews. The Rotten Tomatoes meter is at 93%. Her previous film Adam from 2019 was also Morocco’s designee for IFF, but didn’t make the shortlist like her sophomore feature length effort.

Of the 15 features vying for five spots, I didn’t have Caftan in the top ten for possibilities when I updated my projections last weekend. This will likely remain the case in my next forecast. In the international competition, there’s always the possibility for a surprise. It happened last year with Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom. Caftan could do the same though I wouldn’t count on it. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022: The Year of Hong Chau

My Year Of posts focused on six performers who gave audiences a memorable 2022 culminates with what I’ll consider the Utility Player prize. This goes to a character actor who improves the viewing experience of the projects they’re in. We could coin it the Patricia Clarkson or J.T. Walsh Award.

This year, I’m giving it to Hong Chau. Five years ago, she received Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations for her supporting part in Alexander Payne’s Downsizing. An Oscar nod was expected to follow, but didn’t materialize.

In the half decade since, she’s been seen more in small screen material. That changed in ’22 with two critically heralded roles in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale and Mark Mylod’s The Menu. For the former, her Liz (caretaker and confidant to Brendan Fraser’s lead) could mark Chau’s first Academy recognition. For the latter, her Elsa (second in command to the sadistic chef played by Ralph Fiennes) was a highlight in a terrific cast.

At the Cannes Film Festival in May, another Chau performance received acclaim. Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up features her with Michelle Williams in a dramedy that sports a 95% Rotten Tomatoes score. It’ll be released stateside in 2023. So will Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City where she’ll be part of his typical impressive ensemble that includes Tom Hanks, Tilda Swinton, Margot Robbie, Edward Norton, and many more. Chau is also cast in Yorgos Lanthimos’s And with Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, and Margaret Qualley.

Among all those well-known filmmakers and stars, Chau stands out and earns a final slot in the Year Of write-ups.

Oscar Predictions: Return to Seoul

Return to Seoul centers on a young woman’s journey to her native South Korea about being raised in France. Danny Chou’s drama is actually Cambodia’s submission for International Feature Film at the Oscars. MUBI and Sony Pictures Classics picked up distribution rights following its Cannes premiere over the summer. It came out in limited release domestically over the weekend. The cast includes Ji-Min Park, Oh Kwang-rok, Guka Han, and Kim Sun-young.

Reviews out of the French Riviera and in recent days are quite glowing. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 97% with some critics claiming it’s among the best of 2022.

I’m a little surprised this isn’t generating more Oscar buzz, but there’s still time. Part of that could be Cambodia’s track record at the ceremony. Out of 10 previous hopefuls, only one (2013’s The Missing Picture) made the cut of five. I haven’t had Return to Seoul in my top 10 contenders yet. Let’s see if the chatter picks up and I wouldn’t be shocked if it does. If so, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Cambodia could have a second picture that doesn’t miss. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Joyland

Despite submitting 10 pictures for consideration (including eight from 2013-20), the nation of Pakistan has yet to receive a nomination in the International Feature Film Oscar race. Could that change with Joyland?

The directorial debut of Saim Sadiq, the family drama won the Jury Prize when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May. It also picked up a nod for Best International Film at the Independent Spirit Awards earlier this week. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 100%.

We have plenty of potential heavy hitters in IFF for 2022 including likely frontrunners All Quiet on the Western Front and Decision to Leave. Pakistan has a non-existent track record of making the eventual cut, but Joyland might be its most promising contender so far. I haven’t listed it in my top five (or even top 10 yet), but I wouldn’t completely discount its viability. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: All That Breathes

After winning the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary competition at Sundance, All That Breathes has been winding its way through the fest circuit including Cannes and New York. The environmental doc from Shaunak Sen holds a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. It’s slated for an eventual HBO Max streaming bow after a limited and awards qualifying theatrical run before year’s end.

As I’ve opined about many times on this blog, predicting Documentary Feature is often the trickiest category to nail down. Breathes certainly has the prerequisites to make the quintet, but that often doesn’t matter. Bottom line: this is certainly one that should be in the conversation. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Moonage Daydream

Exploring the world of the late David Bowie through previously unreleased sounds and visions, Moonage Daydream hits various IMAX theaters this Friday. Directed by Brett Morgen, the domestic release follows screenings at Cannes and Toronto.

Morgen is no stranger to Academy attention though it’s been a bit. His 1999 On the Ropes was nominated as best feature in the documentary race. Various follow-ups have been high profile including The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002), Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015), and Jane (2017). In particular, Jane (focused on primatologist Jane Goodall) was expected to make the Academy’s final cut, but didn’t.

Daydream is receiving plenty of raves with a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score. Yet musical docs often face a tough road to make the doc quintet and that could apply here. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: EO

The nation of Poland has been well represented in the International Feature Film competition at the Oscars over the past decade. 2014’s Ida won while 2018’s Cold War and 2019’s Corpus Christi made the final quintet. The Poles have already announced their selection for 2022 is EO from 84-year-old filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski. Sandra Drzymalska, Lorenzo Zurzolo, Mateusz Kościukiewicz, and Isabelle Huppert star.

Often told from the perspective of a circus donkey (your eyes aren’t deceiving you), this garnered plenty of praise and head scratching when it played the Cannes Film Festival over the summer. It also tied for the Jury Prize in France. EO plays the Toronto Film Festival in a matter of days.

Said to be quite the surrealistic experience, the Rotten Tomatoes is at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. The International branch is tough to predict. If they didn’t go for last year’s Lamb, I’m not overly confident they go for this. Based on the history of its country recently though – could it contend with the right marketing campaign? You bet your ass. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Plan 75

Japan surprised awards prognosticators this week with the announcement that Plan 75 will be their competitor for International Feature Film at the Oscars. This has nothing to do with the quality of Che Hayakawa’s dystopian drama where the aging population is given the option to be euthanized. Plan garnered strong reviews out of Cannes and it will receive plenty of North American eyeballs next week in Toronto.

The unexpected development is that Japan could have submitted Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s heralded Broker (also making the rounds on the fest circuit) and it chose otherwise. The general consensus is that Broker, after South Korea understandably went with Decision to Leave over it, would have been close to a shoo-in nominee for the Academy’s international competition.

75‘s chances are a little murkier though solid notices out of Toronto could help. This comes a year after Japan’s Drive My Car was victorious in the foreign film race so we will see if their campaign skills are still sharp in 2022. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…