Best Picture 2018: The Final Five


We have reached 2018 in my posts speculating on a specific piece of Oscar history. As awards followers are aware, 2009 saw the Academy expand the Best Picture category from five movies to ten. That lasted for two years and in 2011, it switched to anywhere from 5-10 with 8 or 9 as the magic numbers for several years. In 2021, the number reverted back to a set ten.

What if that hadn’t happened? What if the BP derby had stayed at a quintet? What pictures would have made the cut? If you missed my write-ups centered on 2009-16, they are linked at the bottom of the post.

2018 is a tricky year to winnow down. In fact, all 8 nominees have strong cases to make the final five. Only one thing is for sure. Peter Farrelly’s Green Book is one of the five considering it won Best Picture. It stands as one of the more surprising (and derided) victors in recent years. The race relations drama went an impressive 3/5 on its nominations – taking Picture, Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), and Original Screenplay and missing Actor (Viggo Mortensen) and Film Editing.

So what of the other seven hopefuls? Here’s my speculation:

Black Panther

The only MCU flick (and for that matter comic book adaptation) to score a BP nom was Ryan Coogler’s phenomenon with Chadwick Boseman as the title character. Its seven nominations included three wins for Score, Production Design, and Costume Design.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Besides BP, the other six mentions were all technical. It missed directing, any acting inclusions, screenplay, and even editing. It’s hard to leave this out though that’s the case with everything here.

BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee received his first and only Oscar for his adapted screenplay. That’s the only victory of the night among its six total nods as Lee did make the quintet for direction. The others were Supporting Actor (Adam Driver), Score, and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Had this not taken Adapted Screenplay, I’d leave this off. Yet that win has me (somewhat reluctantly) leaving it in.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek was crowned Best Actor for his performance as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the biopic. Despite mixed reviews, Rhapsody was successful in four of its five noms. Picture is the only race it didn’t win as it took Actor, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. That 80% ratio solidifies it even without attention for the direction or screenplay.

The Favourite

The period piece from Yorgos Lanthimos tied all nominees with 10. The lone victory was an unexpected one as Olivia Colman took Best Actress over the favored Glenn Close (The Wife).

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Despite the 10% ratio, it still led all contenders with key placements in Director, two Supporting Actress bids (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz), Original Screenplay, and Editing.

Roma

Alfonso Cuaron was your Best Director in the Mexican drama that was the other picture with 10 nods. It also won Foreign Language Film and Cinematography while contending in Actress (Yalitza Aparicio), Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira), Original Screenplay, both Sound competitions, and Production Design.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes and easily. The Netflix property was supposed to be the streamer’s first BP (they’re still waiting) and was favored before that Book upset.

A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper’s version of the frequently remade melodrama achieved 8 nominations and one win for the director’s duet with costar Lady Gaga “Shallow” in Original Song. Both Cooper and Gaga were up for their acting as was Sam Elliot in Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Sound Mixing, and Cinematography.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No, but another tough call. Star‘s shine with voters seemed to dim as the season wore on. This is evidenced by it missing directing and editing.

Vice

This is a good time to point out that all 8 BP hopefuls won at least one statue. Adam McKay’s biopic of former Vice President Cheney (played by Christian Bale) took home the Makeup and Hairstyling award. Other noms were for the direction, Bale, Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell), Supporting Actress (Amy Adams), Original Screenplay, and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No and I really struggled here. Vice landed mentions everywhere it needed to. The so-so critical reaction made it a tad easier to leave it out. Simply put, this could’ve been in over BlacKkKlansman or Bohemian, but I had to make the judgment call.

So that means my 2018 final five is:

BlacKkKlansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

I’ll have my post for 2019 up soon! The 2009-17 write-ups are here:

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever does a commendable job in its treatment of Chadwick Boseman’s 2020 passing. What remains in the sequel feels bloated (161 minutes) and is a significant decline from its 2018 predecessor. The MCU in 2022 has been in a relative rut (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse and Thor: Love and Thunder) and Forever extends that.

I will start by accentuating the aforementioned positive. Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler and his team were obviously faced with a sad and unenviable task of handling the title character’s real life death. King T’Challa’s absence is addressed immediately. The departure is the emotional ripple that causes genuine waves of emotion in the beginning and especially the end.

However, we are left to wonder if the filmmakers would’ve been better off recasting the role. Boseman’s presence and the idea of having a central protagonist is missed in the follow-up. The narrative of Wakanda often feels pulled into too many directions. I found myself wishing to untangle it and cut loose ends.

The plot comes into focus one year after T’Challah’s funeral. Sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is haunted that her tech skills couldn’t save her sibling. Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) rules the country with an iron fist. Other nations, including the United States, are jealous of their vibranium hoarding ways. It turns out the precious metal is also present under the surface in the underwater land of Talokan. Their ruler is Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and his legion of Avatar looking subjects are grappling with how to handle their valuable commodity. Namor decides that Wakanda either needs to join him in declaring war on the rest of the world (who want that sweet vibranium) or become a nemesis of the subsurface society.

Namor, as written, is a fairly decent antagonist. Like Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger in the original, his motives to be “the bad guy” are rather understandable. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had plenty of forgettable villains. Namor isn’t one, but Huerta also isn’t much of a threatening presence. This is especially true when comparing Namor to Killmonger as there is no comparison.

My biggest gripe is the one item that also hindered the third act of 2018’s adventure. The action sequences are frequently handled in clumsy fashion. They are too dimly lit or the CG happenings are confusing.

There are some welcome returns with Winston Duke as the warrior M’Baku and Danai Gurira as Okoye, leader of Wakanda’s all female fighting force. Lupita Nyong’o is back as Nakia, T’Challah’s love interest. She is summoned back to her native land by Ramonda and Bassett is given a couple of potent monologues as the mourning Queen.

Then there’s Martin Freeman back on duty as CIA agent Everett Ross. This time around, he’s teamed with his boss and ex-wife Val (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as they are at odds in their views on how to deal with Wakanda. The screenwriters should have dealt them off the page. They could have been eliminated altogether and the only difference would be a thankfully shorter runtime.

For all the working in water happening during Wakanda Forever, the real waterworks occur as Mr. Boseman is honored and those are powerful moments. Too much of the rest doesn’t work at all.

**1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Predictions – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hopes to land the biggest opening of 2022 when it debuts this weekend. Disney would also love to see the MCU sequel to 2018’s cultural phenomenon achieve the awards love that its predecessor got. It’s not out of the question that it could.

The review embargo is up today and the Rotten Tomatoes meter is an impressive 90% (under part 1’s 96%). Critics are praising the film’s treatment of the loss of its star Chadwick Boseman in 2020. There is some griping about it being overlong. Few reviews are saying it surpasses the original in terms of quality.

The first Panther was nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Still the only superhero pic to make the BP cut, it took 3 of 7 (Score, Production Design, Costume Design). The other nods were Original Song (“All the Stars” from Kendrick Lamar) and Sound Editing and Sound Mixing (these categories have since been combined).

All 3 races where it won four years ago could pop up this time around. Production Design and Costume Design seem like givens. Sound appears a fairly safe bet. Same with Original Song as Rihanna’s closing credits ballad “Lift Me Up” is a threat to win. Ironically, Mr. Lamar lost in 2018 to Lady Gaga and “Shallow”. Gaga could strike again with “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick.

Panther did miss Visual Effects four years back and there were grumbles about the quality. The general consensus is that Wakanda‘s effects are a step up. I don’t think it’s guaranteed to make the VE quintet. However, I do think it has the best shot of the MCU’s 2022 slate (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder are the others).

As for performances, I could see Angela Bassett nabbing some ink. Ultimately I don’t see a second nom materializing nearly 30 years after her first one for What’s Love Got to Do with It.

Now the major question – can Wakanda Forever get a BP nomination? Short answer is yes. Longer answer is more complicated. With Maverick, there’s already one sequel that looks pretty safe. We still have Avatar: The Way of Water and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery waiting in the wings. I think it’s logical to say we won’t see four sequels in BP. Three seems like a stretch. While I wouldn’t discount Wakanda in the big race, I believe the more feasible scenario is tech nods and possibly 5 to even 7 of them. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (11/09): I am revising my estimate down from $205.2M to $195.2M. As opposed to the narrative below, that would now give it the #9 opening of all time behind its 2018 predecessor.

On November 11th, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever looks to score the second largest opening of the young decade and add another MCU pic to the top 10 debuts of all time. The sequel to 2018’s phenomenon has Ryan Coogler returning to the director’s chair. Early reactions are very positive saying that part 2 pays touching tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who played the title character in the original and passed away in 2020. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Dominique Thorne, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, and Angela Bassett are among the large cast.

Wakanda is not expected to approach the $260 million that Spider-Man: No Way Home made out of the gate last December. It should, however, get beyond the $191 million that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earned in May. If it does, it would land the #2 opening of the decade and the pandemic era.

In February of 2018, Black Panther rode a wave of sizzling buzz to a $202 million start over the Friday to Sunday portion of President’s Day weekend. For the four-day frame, it topped out at $242 million before eventually grossing $700 million domestically. The three-day premiere still stands at #8 all-time while the overall haul is 6th.

I do believe that all the Wakanda stars are lining up for a Friday to Sunday take that surpasses the original by a small margin. My estimate would give the new Panther the #8 opening while moving its predecessor down to ninth. Time will tell if it eventually approaches the $700 million that the first part amassed.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opening weekend prediction: $195.2 million

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actor Race

My detailed look at six of the top Oscar categories – Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies – arrives at Best Actor. If you missed the posts covering the supporting races, you can find them here:

At this late October/early November stage of forecasting in the previous three years, my picks in the lead acting competitions have been more accurate than the supporting ones.

In 2019 at this juncture, I managed to correctly identify four of the five eventual nominees: winner Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes). The fifth was Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory and he was listed in Other Possibilities.

Three of five was the story in 2020 and 2021. Two years ago, I had The Father‘s Anthony Hopkins (who won), Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Gary Oldman (Mank) pegged with Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) and Steven Yeun (Minari) as possibles.

You may remember that Will Smith took gold last year for King Richard. I had him correctly called with two months remaining on the calendar. Same with Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog and Denzel Washington for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!) was mentioned in Other Possibilities. Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) had yet to enter my top ten.

Had a certain slap heard around the world not occurred, it’s totally possible that Will Smith (Emancipation) might be listed in my top 5. However, with his current ban from attending the ceremony, I question whether he could make a return to the ballot so quickly after the controversy. Therefore he’s not in my top 10. We’ll see if the reviews (coming soon) change the dynamic.

We do have a frontrunner and that’s Brendan Fraser in The Whale. Since its Venice and Toronto fest bows, he’s drawn raves. This is also a comeback narrative that the Academy should fall for. I’ve had Fraser listed in 1st for several weeks and I see no reason to change that.

There are two viable runners-up in Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Austin Butler (Elvis). I’ve been switching them in 2nd and 3rd place over the past few posts. Farrell is 2nd because I think Banshees stands a better shot at a BP nod. You have to go back to 2009 and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) where the Best Actor recipient’s movie didn’t achieve BP inclusion. If Elvis makes the big dance – an argument could be made that Butler is Fraser’s most serious competition to shake the race up.

After those three names, it could be a free for all for the final two slots. The only other performer I had listed in 1st place other than Fraser was Hugh Jackman for The Son. This was before it premiered at the festivals and garnered middling reviews. Now the question is whether Jackman gets in at all.

Someone who has fared well on the fest circuit is Bill Nighy for Living. Sony Pictures will need to mount a spirited campaign, but they’re good at that kinda thing. I’m starting to feel better about Nighy than Jackman.

Diego Calva is the biggest remaining question mark for Babylon. Screenings coming up in two weeks should help answer his viability. There’s a pair of indie performances that could bubble up if critics groups assist – Paul Mescal for Aftersun and Jeremy Pope in The Inspection. One possible hindrance for both of them is their movies are both A24 and that studio could be distracted with crowning Fraser. We could see foreign film leads Song Kang-ho (Broker) and Park Hae-il (Decision to Leave) make a play.

Netflix is apparently going in on a spirited campaign for Adam Sandler in Hustle. I have a hard time seeing that pan out (especially since he couldn’t get in for Uncut Gems). The streamer could also focus on Christian Bale (The Pale Blue Eye) or Adam Driver (White Noise). Bale also has Amsterdam, but it failed with critics and audiences.

Finally… there’s Tom Cruise. A three-time nominee, it’s been 23 years since he was in the mix. And a little pic called Top Gun: Maverick was easily the largest blockbuster of his career and the runaway hit of 2022. I’m not ready to put him in my five. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up there.

Here’s my current state of this race:

1 . Brendan Fraser, The Whale (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

2. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 4) (E)

5. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Song Kang-ho, Broker

Best Actress is up next!

Oscar Predictions: The Son

Two awards seasons ago, Florian Zeller’s The Father premiered at Sundance all the way back at a time known as January 2020. For over a year (and with the Oscars delayed due to COVID), the performance of Anthony Hopkins stayed in the minds of voters and he scored an upset Best Actor victory over the late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). The pic nabbed five other nominations including a win for its Adapted Screenplay.

Zeller’s follow-up is The Son and prognosticators including me anointed Hugh Jackman as the Best Actor frontrunner sight unseen. That dynamic has changed as it’s screened at Venice before moving to Toronto (the actual release is November 11th). The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, and Hopkins.

Unlike The Father where reviews were basically all laudatory, the Italian buzz for The Son is wildly mixed. Some are calling it an emotional gut punch and highly effective. Others are claiming it’s a big failure. If there seems to be agreement on one item, it’s the potency of Jackman. He still seems likely to make the Actor cut for his second nod after 2012’s Les Miserables. Yet I’m feeling more confident that I made the right call by placing Brendan Fraser (The Whale) in 1st place on Monday’s update and sliding Jackman to second.

Beyond its star, any other nominations for The Son appears questionable at press time. Perhaps Toronto reaction will help flesh it out – for better or worse. From the initial reaction, I’d say Kirby and McGrath could be possible in the supporting fields. Hopkins is said to have a smaller role and Dern’s character reportedly has less to work with than Kirby. It could find its way into Adapted Screenplay, but a win seems like a reach already.

Bottom line: Jackman should be safe though nothing else is with this one. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

22 for ’22: Oscars Early Look

It’s been an entire week since The Slap… check that, the 94th Academy Awards where CODA parlayed its Sundance buzz from January 2021 all the way to a Best Picture victory.

That also means I’ve managed to wait a whole week without speculation for the next Academy Awards which will hopefully be a slap free zone. So what are some titles that could be vying for attention?

On May 27th and after numerous delays, Top Gun: Maverick will find Tom Cruise returning to his iconic role some 36 years after the original. There’s a decent chance it could be up for similar prizes that its predecessor landed like Sound, Film Editing, and Song (courtesy of Lady Gaga apparently). Visual Effects is a possibility as well.

My weekly Oscar prediction posts won’t begin until mid to late August. In the meantime, you’ll get individualized write-ups for pics that open or screen at festivals.

Yet for today – I feel the need. The need to identify 21 other 2022 titles that might end up on the Academy’s radar. Enjoy!

Armageddon Time

Despite acclaimed movies like The Lost City of Z and Ad Astra, James Gray has yet to connect with awards voters. This drama, rumored to be centered on his Queens upbringing, is the next hopeful and features a stellar cast including Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, and Jeremy Strong. Release Date: TBD

Avatar 2

The 2009 original amassed nine nominations and won took home three. The first sequel (there’s three more on the way) arrives in December from James Cameron. Will it capture the critical and box office magic of part one? That’s impossible to know at this juncture, but one can safely assume it’ll be up for some tech categories like Sound and Visual Effects. Release Date: December 16th

Babylon

Damien Chazelle is no stranger to the big dance. Whiplash was a BP nominee and J.K. Simmons won Supporting Actor. Chazelle took Director for his follow-up La La Land along with Emma Stone’s Actress victory and it almost famously took BP. First Man nabbed four nominations, but missed the top of the line races. Babylon is a period drama focused on Hollywood’s Golden Age and should be right up the Academy’s alley. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Tobey Maguire. Release Date: December 25th

Canterbury Glass

Robbie also turns up in David O. Russell’s latest ensemble piece. Anytime he’s behind the camera, Oscar nods typically follow (think The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle). Slated for November, the dramedy also features Christian Bale, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, and… Chris Rock. Release Date: November 4th

Elvis

Arriving in June but with a Cannes unveiling in May, Baz Luhrmann’s musical bio of The King stars Austin Butler in the title role and Tom Hanks as The Colonel. If this doesn’t contend for the major awards, I would still anticipate potential tech recognition (Production Design, Sound, etc…). Release Date: June 24th

Empire of Light

Sam Mendes was likely in the runner-up position in 2019 for Picture and Director (behind Parasite) with 1917. His follow-up is an English set romance starring Olivia Colman (who would be going for her fourth nomination in five years), Michael Ward, and Colin Firth. Release Date: TBD

Everything Everywhere All at Once

From two filmmakers known collectively as Daniels, Once is already out in limited release with spectacular reviews (97% on RT). The sci-fi action comedy might be too bizarre for the Academy, but I wouldn’t count it out as its admirers are vocal. Picture, Director, Actress (Michelle Yeoh), and Original Screenplay are all on the table. Release Date: out in limited release, opens wide April 8th

The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg directs a semi-autobiographical tale and cowrites with his Lincoln and West Side Story scribe Tony Kushner. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Paul Dano. Needless to say, this is a major contender on paper. Release Date: November 23rd

Killers of the Flower Moon

Alongside The Fabelmans, this might be the most obvious nominee from a personnel standpoint. Martin Scorsese helms this western crime drama featuring Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, and his two frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Apple TV just became the first streamer to get a BP victory with CODA. This could be the second in a row. Release Date: November

Poor Things

In 2018, The Favourite scored a whopping ten nominations. Based on an acclaimed 1992 novel, Poor Things is Yorgos Lanthimos’s follow-up and it reunites him with Emma Stone along with Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, and Mark Ruffalo. The plot sounds bizarre but it could also be an Oscar bait role for Stone and others. Release Date: TBD

Rustin

One of Netflix’s contenders is George C. Wolfe’s profile of gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (played by Colman Domingo). In 2020, Wolfe directed Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman to nods for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Look for Domingo to be a competitor and the supporting cast includes Chris Rock (maybe he will be back at the show), Glynn Turman, and Audra McDonald. Release Date: TBD

See How They Run

The 1950s set murder mystery could provide 27-year-old Saoirse Ronan with an opportunity to land her fifth nomination. Sam Rockwell, David Oyelowo, Adrien Brody, and Ruth Wilson are among the supporting players. Tom George directs. Release Date: TBD

She Said

Five years after the scandal rocked Hollywood, She Said from Maria Schrader recounts the New York Times sexual misconduct investigation into Harvey Weinstein. Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, and Patricia Clarkson lead the cast. Release Date: November 18th

The Son

Florian Zeller won Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020 for The Father along with Anthony Hopkins taking Best Actor. This follow-up (based on the director’s play) finds Hopkins reprising his Oscar-winning part in supporting fashion. Other cast members seeking awards attention include Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, and Vanessa Kirby. Release Date: TBD

TAR

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Todd Field behind the camera. Previous efforts In the Bedroom and Little Children received 8 nominations between them. A decade and a half following Children comes this Berlin set drama with Cate Blanchett, Noemie Merlant, and Mark Strong. Release Date: October 7th

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Scheduled for a Cannes bow in May, Longing is a fantasy romance from the legendary mind of George Miller (who last made Mad Max: Fury Road which won six tech Oscars). Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton star. Release Date: TBD

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Mickey Rourke to a comeback narrative nod for 2008’s The Wrestler. Two years later, his follow-up Black Swan earned Natalie Portman a statue. Brendan Fraser is hoping for the same treatment with The Whale as he plays a 600 pound man attempting to reconnect with his daughter. Costars include Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Samantha Morton. I’d expect Makeup and Hairstyling could also be in play with this. Release Date: TBD

White Noise

Not a remake of the Michael Keaton supernatural thriller from 2005, this is Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to Marriage Story. Based on a 1985 novel, it’s the filmmaker’s first picture based on other source material. Marriage landed three acting nods (with Laura Dern winning Supporting Actress). The cast here includes frequent Baumbach collaborator Adam Driver, real-life partner Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Andre Benjamin, Alessandro Nivola, and Don Cheadle. This could be Netflix’s strongest contender. Release Date: TBD

The Woman King

Expect this West Afrian set historical epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood to be heavily touted by Sony with awards bait roles for leads Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu. The supporting cast includes John Boyega and Lashana Lynch. Release Date: September 16th

Women Talking

Based on a 2018 novel, Sarah Polley writes and directs this drama focused on eight Mennonite women and their story of abuse. The sterling cast includes Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Claire Foy, and Rooney Mara. Release Date: TBD

And that’s just a small preview of the features that could materialize for the 95th Academy Awards! As always, the speculation on this site will continue throughout the year and into the next. Stay tuned…

2021 BAFTA Awards WINNERS Predictions

As if Sunday’s Critics Choice Awards weren’t enough, the British Academy Film Awards air the same day. The BAFTAs, as of late, have been a rather reliable predictor for Oscar races (especially the acting derbies). Last year, the BAFTA/Oscar matched in all 4 thespian derbies and that included the surprise Anthony Hopkins (The Father) victory over Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. 

That can’t occur this time around because none of the Best Actress contenders at BAFTA are nominated for the Academy Award (go figure!). As I have with other ceremonies, I’m giving you my winner pick with a runner-up. On Monday, expect recaps for Critics Choice and this show!

Best Film

Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Belfast

Best Director

Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Audrey Diwan, Happening

Julia Ducournau, Titane

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Aleem Khan, After Love

Predicted Winner: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Emilia Jones, CODA

Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Joanna Scanlan, After Love

Tessa Thompson, Passing

Predicted Winner: Joanna Scanlan, After Love

Runner-Up: Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Adeel Akhtar, Ali & Ava

Mahershala Ali, Swan Song

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Stephen Graham, Boiling Point

Will Smith, King Richard

Predicted Winner: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Will Smith, King Richard

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Ann Dowd, Mass

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Predicted Winner: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Ruth Negga, Passing

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Mike Faist, West Side Story

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Woody Norman, C’Mon C’Mon

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: Licorice Pizza

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees:

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: The Lost Daughter

Best Animated Film

Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Predicted Winner: Flee

Runner-Up: Encanto

Best Documentary 

Nominees:

Becoming Cousteau

Cow

Flee

The Rescue

Summer of Soul

Predicted Winner: Summer of Soul

Runner-Up: Flee

Best Film Not in the English Language

Nominees:

Drive My Car

The Hand of God

Parallel Mothers

Petite Maman

The Worst Person in the World

Predicted Winner: Drive My Car

Runner-Up: The Worst Person in the World

Best Casting

Nominees:

Boiling Point

Dune

The Hand of God

King Richard

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: West Side Story

Runner-Up: Dune

Best Cinematography

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: The Power of the Dog

Best Costume Design

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

Predicted Winner: Cruella

Runner-Up: Dune

Best Editing

Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Licorice Pizza

No Time to Die

Summer of Soul

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: No Time to Die

Best Makeup and Hair

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Predicted Winner: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Runner-Up: House of Gucci

Best Original Score

Nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Don’t Look Up

Dune

The French Dispatch

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: The Power of the Dog

Best Production Design

Nominees:

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: Nightmare Alley

Best Sound

Nominees:

Dune

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

A Quiet Place Part II

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: No Tme to Die

Best Special Visual Effects

Nominees:

Dune

Free Guy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife 

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: No Time to Die

Outstanding British Film

Nominees:

After Love

Ali & Ava

Belfast

Boiling Point

Cyrano

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

House of Gucci

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

Passing

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: After Love

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer

Nominees:

After Love

Boiling Point

The Harder They Fall

Keyboard Fantasies

Passing

Predicted Winner: Passing

Runner-Up: After Love

My predictions mean the following movies get these numbers of wins:

6 Wins

Dune

5 Wins

The Power of the Dog

2 Wins

Belfast, West Side Story

1 Win

After Love, Cruella, Drive My Car, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, Passing, Summer of Soul

Oscars 2021: The Case of Will Smith

My fourth Case Of post for the Best Actor competitors is Will Smith in King Richard. If you missed the previous entries, they can be found here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Javier Bardem

Oscars 2021: The Case of Benedict Cumberbatch

Oscars 2021: The Case of Andrew Garfield

The Case for Will Smith:

As the doggedly determined father of eventual tennis royalty Venus and Serena Williams, Smith has held frontrunner status for months. He lost his first two bids in 2001 and 2006 for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, respectively. As one of the most bankable stars of the past quarter century, Hollywood could certainly feel like it’s time to honor him. The Golden Globe and SAG voters moved in the that direction as he took both awards for his work. Richard also over performed at the Oscars with six nominations.

The Case Against Will Smith:

There’s not much of one except there’s been upsets previously in this race. That includes last year when Anthony Hopkins (The Father) took the statue over the favored Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Playing the role of spoiler could be Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog, which dominated overall nods at 12. If Cumberbatch wins the Critics Choice award or BAFTA, look for plenty of chatter on the tightness of this competition.

Previous Nominations: 2

Ali (2001 – Actor); The Pursuit of Happyness (2006 – Actor)

The Verdict:

Look for Smith to be crowned the victor, but there’s a nagging feeling that Cumberbatch could surprise.

My Case Of posts will continue with Kirsten Dunst’s Supporting Actress bid for The Power of the Dog

Oscars 2021: The Case of Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch is the second Best Actor hopeful covered in my Case Of posts for that category. If you missed the first on Javier Bardem for Being the Ricardos, it’s here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Javier Bardem

The Case for Benedict Cumberbatch:

We might be witnessing a right year and right movie matchup for Cumberbatch to nab his first Oscar. After being previously nominated seven years back for The Imitation Game, he’s starring in the Best Picture frontrunner and garnered career best reviews. He’s been mentioned in all key precursors such as the Globes, SAG, BAFTA and Critics Choice. Furthermore, he had an impressive 2021 beyond Dog with kudos for the title role in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain and appearing as Doctor Strange in box office behemoth Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The Case Against Benedict Cumberbatch:

Only 3 Best Actor recipients in the 21st century came from the BP winner. Yet the most compelling case against comes courtesy of Will Smith, who stands as the favorite for King Richard. This is Smith’s third try and Benedict’s second. Voters may figure Cumberbatch will have other opportunities. The Academy has three other options to bestow gold on the Dog cast (with the best possibility being Kodi Smit-McPhee in supporting actor).

Previous Nominations: 1

The Imitation Game (2014 – Actor)

The Verdict:

I do believe Cumberbatch is a strong second to Smith at the moment.  If Cumberbatch manages to grab the SAG or BAFTA, he could play the spoiler role that Anthony Hopkins (The Father) managed last year over the favored Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

My Case Of posts will continue with Supporting Actress and Ariana DeBose in West Side Story