34th PGA Awards Nominations Reaction

One day after the Screen Actors Guild and the Director Guild announced their nominees for best in show for 2022, the Producers Guild were up to bat today. The PGA picks 10 nominees for Best Picture and 5 contenders for Animated Film (just like the Academy).

Over the past couple of decades, the PGA’s match rate with the Oscar BP has been impressive. You can probably expect no less than 7 of the PGA players to make it into the Academy’s race. 8 or 9 is even likelier based on history.

The nominees are:

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Banshees of Inisherin

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Tár

Top Gun: Maverick

The Whale

That means I went 8/10 in my forecast. To me, the biggest surprise is the inclusion of The Whale and not Wakanda.

I didn’t have either of them in my list. Instead I had The Woman King and Women Talking. PGA has shown a willingness to include popcorn fare that the Academy ignores (they nominated Wonder Woman five years back). For those thinking Wakanda is now getting a BP nod, it’s possible. Yet I’d proceed with caution.

The reason The Whale is more of a shock is that its fortunes had seemingly dwindled in recent weeks. It didn’t make Critics Choice or the Globes or AFI or NBR. Darren Aronofsky’s latest is divisive (it’s loved and loathed depending on who you’re reading). While Brendan Fraser’s nomination in Actor is a given, its status in BP seemed unlikely. The chances improved today.

You may notice that PGA’s list is 40% sequels. I don’t believe that will occur on Oscar nom morning. In addition to Panther, Onion is a question mark that has missed other key precursors. Its chances are greater, in my view, than Panther by a slim margin.

As mentioned yesterday in my prediction post, I do feel there’s a “safe 7” for Oscar BP (Avatar, Banshees, Elvis, EEAAO, Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun). They were all nominated at PGA.

The Woman King and Women Talking both took hits. I’ve had the latter clinging to the top 10. That may change when I update my Oscar picks on Monday. All Quiet on the Western Front, meanwhile, seems like the kind of pic PGA would ignore and the Academy might not. That was mentioned in my forecast and held true. This was also not a good day for Babylon, RRR, or Triangle of Sadness

In the animated competition, I went for 4 for 5 (picking The Bad Guys instead of Minions: The Rise of Gru). The correctly called 4 are Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (the frontrunner), Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and Turning Red.

I’ll have thoughts on who wins up on the blog shortly before the February 25th ceremony!

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.

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Director Race

Best Director is on deck for my closeup looks at six major categories at the Oscars. If you missed my posts covering the four acting derbies, you can find them here:

As I have with the other competitions, let’s see how accurate my estimates were from 2019-21 at the same early November time period. In 2019, I correctly had 4 of the 5 eventual directors: winner Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). Todd Phillips (Joker) was identified in Other Possibilities. 2020 was a trickier year due to COVID complications and I had 2 of the contenders rightly pegged: Chloe Zhao for Nomadland (who won) and David Fincher for Mank. Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) was in Other Possibilities while Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) and Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) were not yet in my top ten. Last year, I had 3 of 5 with the victorious Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), and Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza). Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) was in Other Possibilities and I didn’t have Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) yet in the mix.

I don’t have Spielberg down as an Other Possibility in 2022. This time around, he could be in line for his third Best Director statue behind 1993’s Schindler’s List and 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. It would mark his ninth overall nom. If he wins, he would become only the fourth filmmaker with three or more victories. John Ford has 4 while Frank Capra and William Wyler have 3.

The last four years have given us a nominee with an International Feature Film contender. In addition to Joon-ho in 2019 and Vinterberg and Hamaguchi the following years, Alfonso Cuaron took the prize in 2018 for Roma. There are two in 2022 that stand the best shot: Edward Berger (All Quiet on the Western Front) and Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave). If you want to be brave and predict an out of nowhere selection (like Vinterberg kinda was in 2020), look to Lukas Dhont (Close) or Jerzy Skolimowski (EO). Maybe even Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Bardo though he faces a tough road due to mixed critical reception.

However, I’m not quite ready to elevate any of them to the forecasted quintet. Damien Chazelle’s Babylon will soon screen prior to its December bow. It has the looks of a contender and he’s in unless the buzz tells me differently in a few days.

I’m also feeling good about the Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Same goes for Sarah Polley (Women Talking). Both appear to be surefire BP selections and would mark the Academy’s first mentions for them in this race.

As for the fifth spot, there’s plenty of names beyond the aforementioned international auteurs. Todd Field for Tár tops that list with Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin) not far behind. If Avatar: The Way of Water approaches the reception that the original received, James Cameron could enter the conversation.

If She Said or The Whale pick up even more steam in BP, I wouldn’t discount Maria Schrader or Darren Aronofsky respectively. That same logic applies to Ruben Ostlund for Triangle of Sadness. I’ve had him in my five previously.

Perhaps the voters will honor the maker of the year’s biggest blockbuster with Joseph Kosinski for Top Gun: Maverick. The more likely path is a BP nom and a few tech inclusions.

This race can and will evolve over the next couple of months. Here’s the state of the race right now:

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1 . Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. Todd Field, Tár (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (E)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Picture is up next, folks! Stay tuned…

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 28th Edition

For the time being at least, I’m settling on Edward Berger’s antiwar epic All Quiet on the Western Front as Netflix’s strongest contender. It moves into my predicted BP hopefuls for the first time and that takes out Triangle of Sadness. Additionally, Berger is in the quintet for Director and it’s Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave) that drops. The Quiet love shows up in International Feature Film where it moves to first place with Leave sliding to runner-up status.

We also have a category placement change to discuss. While nothing has been announced, it makes a lot of sense for Babylon‘s Margot Robbie to move to Supporting Actress after Michelle Williams (rather inexplicably) elevated to Best Actress for The Fabelmans. Robbie moves there (hopefully Paramount lets us know soon) so Danielle Deadwyler is back in Best Actress. Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) is now on the outside looking in for supporting.

There’s a change in Actor as I’m finally putting Diego Calva (Babylon) in over Bill Nighy (Living). In Original Screenplay, The Fabelmans is now #1 over Everything. 

The New York Film Festival starts this weekend. By the time of my next update, we will know what the real prospects are for Till with She Said soon to follow.

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tar (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Whale (PR: 7) (-1)

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

11. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (-1)

12. The Woman King (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Elvis (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Empire of Light (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

She Said

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (E)

10. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Darren Aronofsky, The Whale 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Margot Robbie, Babylon – moved to Supporting Actress

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (-1)

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

8. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 8) (E)

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

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

Dropped Out:

Jeremy Pope, The Inspection 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Best Actress

4. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 9) (E)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Vanessa Kirby, The Son

Jean Smart, Babylon 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 6) (E)

7. Judd Hirsch, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jeremy Strong, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (-1)

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Babylon (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (E)

8. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Bros (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Broker (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Empire of Light

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. She Said (PR: 3) (E)

4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 4) (E)

5. White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+4)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Till (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Living (PR: 6) (-3)

10. The Son (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 1) (E)

2. Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. Strange World (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (PR: 4) (E)

5. Wendell and Wild (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. My Father’s Dragon (PR: 7) (+1)

7. The Sea Beast (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The Bad Guys (PR: 8) (E)

9. Minions: The Rise of Gru (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Lightyear (PR: 9) (-1)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Decision to Leave (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Close (PR: 3) (E)

4. Saint Omer (PR: 4) (E)

5. Argentina, 1985 (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Holy Spider (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Bardo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Klondike (PR: Not Ranked)

9. EO (PR: 9) (E)

10. Alcarras (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Eight Mountains 

Plan 75

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (PR: 1) (E)

2. Navalny (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Descendant (PR: 2) (-1)

4. All That Breathes (PR: Not Ranked)

5. Fire of Love (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory (PR: 6) (E)

7. Good Night Oppy (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Moonage Daydream (PR: 8) (E)

9. Last Flight Home (PR: 5) (-4)

10. Sr. (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Black Ice

Riotsville, U.S.A.

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Empire of Light (PR: 2) (-1)

4. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+3)

5. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Bardo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Batman (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Tar

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 3) (E)

4. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Woman King (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fabelmans (PR: 6) (E)

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Corsage (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Living (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Amsterdam (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (E)

5. Elvis (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Women Talking (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Batman (PR: 4) (-2)

7. The Woman King (PR: 7) (E)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: 8) (-1)

10. (PR: 10) (E)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Women Talking (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Empire of Light (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Tar (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities: 

6. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 6) (-1)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Batman (PR: 9) (E)

10. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. “Nobody Like U” from Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman (PR: 3) (E)

4. “On My Way” from Marry Me (PR: 5) (+1)

5. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (E)

7. “Vegas” from Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

8. “I Ain’t Worried” from Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

9. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR (PR: 7) (-2)

10. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

“Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys

“Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues 

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

3. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Empire of Light (PR: 5) (-1)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+1)

8. Amsterdam (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Batman (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Bardo 

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 2) (E)

3. Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Babylon (PR: 4) (E)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. The Batman (PR: 6) (E)

7. Nope (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Batman (PR: 4) (E)

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 10) (+4)

7. Nope (PR: 8) (+1)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (-3)

10. RRR (PR: 9) (-1)

And that equates to these movies getting these numbers of nominations:

13 Nominations

Babylon

9 Nominations

The Fabelmans

8 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

6 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Women Talking 

5 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, Top Gun: Maverick, The Whale

4 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water

3 Nominations

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Empire of Light, Tar

2 Nominations 

Decision to Leave, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Argentina, 1985, The Batman, Close, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Marry Me, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Navalny, Saint Omer, She Said, The Son, Strangle World, Tell It Like a Woman, Till, Triangle of Sadness, Wendell and Wild, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King 

Toronto Crowns The Fabelmans

Just how indicative is nabbing the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival of eventually receiving a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars? Let’s go the numbers: 13 out of the last 14 have and that includes the past 10 in a row. 2011’s Where Do We Go Now? is the only outlier since 2008. Of those 13 films, five would go on to win the Academy’s top prize (Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, 12 Years a Slave, Green Book, Nomadland).

So it was with anticipation that awards prognosticators like yours truly awaited the bestowment of the Canadian fest’s biggest award. True to form, it went to a movie widely anticipated to be in the BP mix: Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans. The legendary director’s most personal work to date was his first journey up north and he was rewarded handsomely for it. When I did my latest round of predictions on Friday, I had The Fabelmans listed in first place and this helps solidify that decision. Don’t get me wrong – this doesn’t mean the BP race is over (far from it). Yet there’s no doubt that The Fabelmans has positioned itself as a major threat to take the top prize.

That’s not all because TIFF also names a first and second runner-up. And those picks are frequent indicators of what will play down the road. Over the previous decade, nine of the 20 runner-ups have gotten BP nods. This includes victorious ones like Argo, Spotlight, and Parasite and nominees such as Call Me by Your Name, Roma, and The Power of the Dog. 

Sarah Polley’s Women Talking is first runner-up for 2022. It played to mostly raves at TIFF and I have it ranked 4th currently in the BP derby. Second runner-up was Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. The top 3 placement is something predecessor Knives Out didn’t manage 3 years ago. My estimates two days back put Onion on the outside looking in at 14th (though I did project for it for an Adapted Screenplay nod). My hesitation to put it in is this: just how many sequels could that Academy include in their group of 10? I’ve got Top Gun: Maverick already there (at 6th) and we still need to see Avatar: The Way of Water and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (whose predecessors were both BP hopefuls). However, at this point, Netflix may choose to go all in on Onion being their most likely contender.

There are a couple films in particular that could’ve benefited from a top 3 showing today. I think immediately of Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale and Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin. I still anticipate both to be in the hunt (I’ve got them ranked 5th and 7th respectively).

Bottom line: The Fabelmans had itself a meaningful premiere in Toronto that currently puts Spielberg’s latest in the Oscar driver’s seat.

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 16th Edition

As the Toronto Film Festival draws to a close, we have some significant updates since I did my last predictions 11 days ago!

And you may notice that, for the first time, I’m including all categories covering feature films. It’s the initial peek at what pics I believe will lead the nominations. The answer is Babylon (11) followed closely by The Fabelmans (10) followed closely by Everything Everywhere All at Once (9).

I’ve also made the shift of whittling 25 BP picks down to 15 possibilities and the other big races from 15 to 10.

I will point out that some categories (particularly Original Song) are in their infancy as far as knowing the contenders.

One year ago, my projections in mid-September yielded eight of the eventual 10 BP nominees and 3 of the 5 Directing hopefuls. For Best Actress – it was 4 of 5 and 3 of 5 for Actor. For Supporting Actress – 2/5, but Supporting Actor (somehow) was 0 for 5.

Let’s talk changes:

    • In Best Picture, I’m putting Empire of Light back in and removing The Son. You’ll send a trend there as The Son drew divided reactions in Venice and Toronto. It could still contend in more races than just Hugh Jackman in Actor, but for now, I’ve got it nabbing that sole nod.
    • Todd Field (Tar) is in the directing quintet over Ruben Ostlund for Triangle of Sadness.
    • Surprisingly enough, Actress and Actor remain the same.
    • Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin) crashes the Supporting Actress party with Vanessa Kirby (The Son) dropping.
    • I’ve put Micheal Ward back in Supporting Actor (I elevated him to lead recently). He’s in the final five along with a bit of an upset selection in Barry Keoghan for The Banshees of Inisherin. Zen McGrath (The Son) and Woody Harrelson (Triangle of Sadness) fall out.
    • Original Screenplay remains the same but Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is in Adapted Screenplay over (you guessed it) The Son.

You can peruse all the movement below and my inaugural take on the other derbies!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Whale (PR: 7) (+2)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Tar (PR: 8) (E)

9. Empire of Light (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (+1)

12. She Said (PR: 13) (+1)

13. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 20) (+6)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Son

Avatar: The Way of Water

White Noise

Bones and All

Armageddon Time

Till

Broker

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Living

Bardo

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Florian Zeller, The Son

James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water

Sam Mendes, Empire of Light

Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick

Noah Baumbach, White Noise

Baz Luhrmann, Elvis 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 12) (+5)

8. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 8) (E)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Carey Mulligan, She Said 

Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Taylor Russell, Bones and All

Tang Wei, Decision to Leave

Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Song King-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (-1)

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

10. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (moved to Supporting)

Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All

Paul Mescal, Aftersun

Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans

Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier

Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+5)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 3) (-4)

8. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 15) (+5)

Dropped Out:

Laura Dern, The Son

Jean Smart, Babylon

Samantha Morton, She Said

Zoe Kazan, She Said

Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth

Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Best Actor)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Zen McGrath, The Son

Tom Hanks, Elvis

Anthony Hopkins, The Son

Mark Strong, Tar

Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans

Ralph Fiennes, The Menu

Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Babylon (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Armageddon Time (PR: 9) (E)

10. Bros (PR: 11) (+1)

Dropped Out:

Broker

Aftersun

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Bardo

The Menu

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Whale (PR: 3) (+1)

3. She Said (PR: 4) (+1)

4. White Noise (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Son (PR: 1) (-5)

7. Living (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Bones and All (PR: 7) (-2)

10. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Till

The Lost King

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

The Wonder

Elvis

The Good Nurse 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

2. Turning Red

3. Strange World

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

5. The Sea Beast

Other Possibilities:

6. Wendell and Wild

7. The Bad Guys

8. Lightyear

9. My Father’s Dragon

10. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Decision to Leave

2. All Quiet on the Western Front

3. Close

4. Saint Omer

5. Holy Spider

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo

7. RMN

8. RRR

9. Plan 75

10. Argentina, 1985

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

2. Descendant

3. Navalny

4. Fire of Love

5. Last Flight Home

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory

7. Moonage Daydream

8. Riotsville, U.S.A.

9. Good Night Oppy

10. All That Breathes

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. Empire of Light

3. The Fabelmans

4. All Quiet on the Western Front

5. Top Gun: Maverick

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo

7. Avatar: The Way of Water

8. The Banshees of Inisherin

9. The Whale

10. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. Elvis

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

4. The Fabelmans

5. The Woman King

Other Possibilities:

6. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once

8. Three Thousand Years of Longing

9. The Northman

10. Corsage

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

2. Babylon

3. Top Gun: Maverick

4. The Fabelmans

5. Women Talking

Other Possibilities:

6. Elvis

7. Tar

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

9. Triangle of Sadness

10. Decision to Leave

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale

2. Babylon

3. Elvis

4. The Batman

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. Blonde

8. The Woman King

9. The Fabelmans

10. All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. The Fabelmans

3. Empire of Light

4. Women Talking

5. Tar

Other Possibilities:

6. The Banshees of Inisherin

7. Top Gun: Maverick

8. Avatar: The Way of Water

9. The Batman

10. All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Song

1. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

2. “Nobody Like U” from Turning Red

3. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

4. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing

5. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman

Other Possibilities:

6. “On My Way” from Marry Me

7. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

8. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise

9. “Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys

10. “Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. The Fabelmans

3. Elvis

4. Avatar: The Way of Water

5. Empire of Light

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once

8. Bardo

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

10. The Batman

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

2. Avatar: The Way of Water

3. Babylon

4. Elvis

5. The Batman

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once

9. Nope

10. The Fabelmans

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

2. Top Gun: Maverick

3. The Batman

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Other Possibilities: 

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. RRR

8. All Quiet on the Western Front

9. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

10. Nope 

And that equates to this very first rundown of how many nominations I am projecting for each picture:

11 Nominations

Babylon

10 Nominations

The Fabelmans’

9 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

7 Nominations

Women Talking

6 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Empire of Light, Top Gun: Maverick

5 Nominations

Elvis, The Whale

4 Nominations

Tar

3 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman

2 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, Triangle of Sadness, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Close, Decision to Leave, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Holy Spider, Last Flight Home, Living, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Navalny, Saint Omer, The Sea Beast, She Said, The Son, Strange World, Tell It Like a Woman, Till, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 5th Edition

As I always say at the beginning of September on this blog – what a difference a few days makes as Venice is at its midpoint and Telluride occurred over the holiday weekend. The Toronto Film Festival begins Thursday. For the first time, I am thrilled to announce that I will be in attendance and have screenings scheduled for several potential heavy hitters! They include The Fabelmans, The Son, The Whale, Women Talking, The Banshees of Inisherin, Triangle of Sadness, Empire of Light, The Menu, The Wonder, Bros, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, and The Good Nurse. 

The fall festivals always cause the fortunes of certain pictures to rise and fall. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Bardo received mixed reviews out of Lido and it has dropped out of my predictions in Picture, Director, Actor (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), and Supporting Actress (Griselda Sicillani). On the other hand, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking looks to have solidified its position as a BP hopeful while Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley appear to be the two likeliest nominees from its ensemble. Cate Blanchett (Tar) and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) have positioned themselves as surefire nominees and potential winners in the lead acting derbies. Tar itself improved its standing in Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay. Empire of Light is no slam dunk for BP, but it’s in the mix and Olivia Colman seems solid in Actress. The Banshees of Inisherin may be Fox Searchlight’s better hope over Empire. It drew a rapturous Venice reaction today and has vaulted into Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Original Screenplay on my chart. Bones and All, despite some gushing reviews, could face challenges to fit into the BP race. Don’t Worry Darling, due to some middling write-ups, is probably toast.

Of course, we know that festivals are not the end all and be all for final verdicts. For example, Armageddon Time from James Gray seemed DOA after a so-so Cannes bow in the summer. Yet when it played Telluride over the weekend, the buzz was stronger. It’s awards heart is beating again – even if faintly.

This will probably be my last update for two weeks as I’ll be a Canadian for a few days. You can bet you’ll see lots of other individual Oscar prediction posts as well as reviews of the aforementioned pictures. When I update in a couple of weeks, I’m anticipating branching out to all races covering feature films. Until then, you can peruse all the movement (and there is definitely a lot of it) below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Son (PR: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+4)

7. The Whale (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Tar (PR: 11) (+3)

9. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 18) (+9)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (E)

13. She Said (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 16) (+2)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

16. White Noise (PR: 13) (-3)

17. Bones and All (PR: 22) (+5)

18. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

19. Till (PR: 20) (+1)

20. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 23) (+3)

21. Broker (PR: 17) (-4)

22. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 19) (-3)

23. Living (PR: 25) (+2)

24. Bardo (PR: 4) (-20)

25. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 24) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Menu

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 11) (+5)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 9) (+1)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo

Maria Schrader, She Said 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (E)

7. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

11. Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Taylor Russell, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Regina King, Shirley (moved to 2023)

Frances McDormand, Women Talking (role not large enough)

Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 10) (+6)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (E)

8. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (-3)

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

10. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 14) (+10)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (-3)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (-3)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (-4)

15. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Griselda Sicillani, Bardo

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR 2) (E)

3. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 3) (E)

4. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+4)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 9) (E)

10. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Mark Strong, Tar (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (E)

14. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 14) (E)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Colin Firth, Empire of Light

Toby Jones, Empire of Light

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Babylon (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Broker (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Bros (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Bardo (PR: 5) (-9)

15. The Menu (PR: 10) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Worry Darling

Chevalier

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. She Said (PR: 4) (E)

5. White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Bones and All (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Living (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (E)

10. Till (PR: 10) (E)

11. The Lost King (PR: 11) (E)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 12) (E)

13. The Wonder (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Elvis (PR: 13) (-1)

15. The Good Nurse (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King 

Oscar Predictions: The Whale

The Venice Film Festival is where filmmaker Darren Aronofsky debuted 2008’s The Wrestler, which was a career resurgent role for Mickey Rourke that resulted in a Best Actor nomination (he was probably runner-up after Sean Penn as Milk). In 2010, his follow-up Black Swan‘s premiere in Lido began Natalie Portman’s eventual trip to the Academy’s stage in Best Actress.

Prognosticators have been expecting the same from Aronofsky with The Whale as it seeks to bring Brendan Fraser into the Oscar fold. Based on Samuel D. Hunter’s 2012 play, the pic takes place in one apartment with Fraser as 600 pound teacher attempting to reconnect with his daughter (Sadie Sink of Stranger Things). Costars include Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton.

Reviews are just starting to surface and they are of the mixed variety. Some are claiming it’s an effective tearjerker while others say it misses the mark. However, Fraser’s work is being lauded to the extent that his first Best Actor nomination seems assured. Any other nods are iffy (with the likely exception of Makeup and Hairstyling due to the prosthetics work involved). In Supporting Actress, Chau is being singled out more than Sink and she appears to have a fair shot. As for Picture and Adapted Screenplay, let’s see how the coming days (it will hit Toronto as well) play out with the buzz. With the critical reaction varying widely, Fraser can at least plan his trip to the red carpet. Other races are up in the air. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: TÁR

Four actresses have won three or more acting Oscars. Katherine Hepburn leads the pack with four while Ingrid Bergman, Frances McDormand, and Meryl Streep are the trio boasting three. Could Cate Blanchett join that elite club with Tár, which has premiered at the Venice Film Festival ahead of its October 7th bow? Based on early reviews, it’s very possible.

The psychological drama, which clocks in at over two and a half hours, is the third feature from Todd Field and his first in 16 years. His previous psychological dramas In the Bedroom (2001) and Little Children (2006) scored a combined 8 Academy nods (five of them for their respective casts). Playing a conductor whose drive borders on insanity, critics are heaping praise on Blanchett and the film itself. The Rotten Tomatoes meter is at a clean 100%.

In 2004, Blanchett won her first statue in Supporting Actress for The Aviator in which she played the aforementioned Hepburn. Nine years later, she took Best Actress for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. With Tár, a third Oscar could follow nine years after that. Initial reaction is saying this is one of her greatest performances. This would be her 8th nomination overall and first since 2015’s Carol. I would go as far to say that her inclusion in the Actress final five is already close to assured.

What of its other prospects? It’s worth noting that Bedroom and Children both received adapted screenplays nods. This is Field’s first original screenplay in a category that could be jam packed. He helped his cause today with the Venice buzz (and that could include a directing mention as well). That said, even some of the gushing write-ups warn that Tár may not be accessible to mainstream audiences. This could potentially complicate its viability in Best Picture, but it certainly announced itself as a possibility.

I can’t help but think of 2010’s Black Swan from Darren Aronofsky as a comp. The two pics seem to share similar plot themes. It premiered in Italy 12 years ago and eventually received 5 Oscar nods including a win for its star Natalie Portman. Tár would love to follow that trajectory considering Picture and Director were among the quintet of Swan nominations.

Besides Blanchett, supporting actresses Nina Hoss and Noemie Merchant are picking up laudatory ink. I’m guessing Focus Features will mount a campaign for the former yet that remains to be seen. Cinematography and Score are among the chances for tech nods.

Bottom line: it’s hard to imagine Blanchett not being a major force in the Actress field for 2022. How far Tár goes beyond that is more in question. I do think its chances of being in my ten BP picks is better today than it was yesterday. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Venice Film Festival Preview

How important is the Venice Film Festival when it comes to premiering Oscar hopefuls? In the past decade, nearly half of the Best Picture winners got their rollout in Italy. That would be Birdman, Spotlight, The Shape of Water, and Nomadland. It’s tough to find a recent Venice fest where there’s not at least 2 eventual nominees for the Academy’s biggest race.

This year’s competition kicks off tomorrow and you can anticipate plenty of individualized Oscar prediction posts coming your way. Telluride follows this weekend (with the lineup announcement on Thursday) and Toronto starts next Thursday (I’ll be there!).

Let’s take a look at ten Venice entries looking to create their Oscar buzz over the next few days…

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed 

Laura Poitras, who won an Academy Award for her 2014 Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, turns her eye to activist Nan Goldin and her fight against the opioid epidemic. This could certainly be a player in the Doc competition.

The Banshees of Inisherin 

The last time filmmaker Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, and Brendan Gleeson collaborated, the result was the acclaimed 2008 black comedy In Bruges. They’re playing in the same genre here with McDonagh’s follow-up to 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which earned acting Oscars for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.

Bardo

3 out of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s last four films were nominated for Best Picture. Birdman took gold with Babel and The Revenant contending. Expectations are that his latest drama (available on Netflix in December) could be the streamer’s most serious contender and it could immediately become a frontrunner for International Feature Film.

Blonde

Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas (another Netflix offering) comes with an NC-17 rating and lots of prognosticators wondering if it’s too risqué to get awards attention. We’ll know soon.

Bones & All

Luca Guadagnino had a pic in the BP derby five years ago with Call Me by Your Name and then followed with the confounding Suspiria remake. This horror romance with cannibalistic themes stars Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell. I have’t really had this as much of a threat for the Oscar race so let’s see if that narrative shifts.

Don’t Worry Darling

Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to Booksmart is a tale of marital and suburban strife headlined by Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. The thriller  has been generating headlines for some wrong reasons lately, but great reviews could turn that buzz around.

The Son

Florian Zeller took home a Screenplay Oscar for 2020’s The Father while Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor. The Father is next and Hugh Jackman is seeking his first statue. The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, and Hopkins. Any and all could be in the mix for acting honors.

Tar

Cate Blanchett could be lined up for a third Oscar win in Todd Field’s latest in which the acclaimed actress plays a composer. It’s the director’s first feature in over 15 years after both In the Bedroom and Little Children received Academy nods.

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Natalie Portman to the podium in 2010’s Black Swan. There’s chatter he could do the same and assist in mounting a significant career comeback for Brendan Fraser (something he did for Mickey Rourke with 2008’s The Wrestler). The Mummy star plays a 600 pound man reconnecting with his daughter (Sadie Sink).

White Noise

Noah Baumbach’s last Netflix film was the BP contending Marriage Story from 2019. His Marriage star Adam Driver is back in this adaptation of a 1980s sci-fi dark comedy. It will open Venice tomorrow and it will be my first Oscar Predictions post. Stay tuned!