Oscar Predictions: 80 for Brady

The four leads in 80 for Brady – Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field – can tout a combined 12 Oscar nods for their performances and five victories. That hardware rivals the seven Super Bowls won by Tom Brady (who is also in the sports farce opening Friday).

That said – can an early February comedy contend for awards attention? The 63% Rotten Tomatoes score, while not bad, doesn’t inspire confidence. Perhaps if the main actress category in Musical or Comedy is weak at the Golden Globes, Tomlin could sneak in (she’s being singled out by some as best of the quartet). Even that is unlikely.

Yet there is one race where 80 for Brady could play and that’s Original Song. Diane Warren is the writer of “Gonna Be You” which is sung by the quintet of Dolly Parton, Belinda Carlisle, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, and Debbie Harry. Between those five crooners, that’s over 80 Grammy nominations. Then there’s Diane Warren. She rather famously has received 13 Academy mentions without a trip to the stage. This includes ballads such as “Because You Loved Me” from Up Close & Personal and “How Do I Live” from Con Air. She received her 14th nod last week for “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman where it’s doubtful the 14th time will be the charm. Warren is receiving a lifetime achievement prize so she will be an Oscar winner. With the star power involved in the “Gonna Be You”, the chances of 80 for Brady being a nominee are actually solid. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

95th Academy Awards Nominations Reaction

It was a glorious performance for Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Banshees of Inisherin with this morning’s Oscar nominations. Both pics were up everywhere they needed to be for everything to potentially win the big prize on March 12th.

There were also strong showings for All Quiet on the Western Front, Elvis, The Fabelmans, and Top Gun: Maverick. However, it’s fair to say that each missed a key race or two that would’ve helped for their Best Picture viability.

As far as my own showing, I went 79 for 105 in my projections. I’ll take it though it’s slightly under my 82/105 performance from the previous year. One bright spot: no 2 for 5’s as I’d experienced a couple of times in preceding years.

Let’s walk through each race one by one with initial thoughts, shall we?

Best Picture

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness, Women Talking

How I Did: 8/10

No real shockers. The movies that I had listed 11th and 12th (Avatar and Women Talking) made it over my selections of Babylon and The Whale. I went a little bold omitting Water in the first place.

As hinted at, I’m seeing this as between Everything and Banshees with Fabelmans as a potential spoiler (and maybe Maverick if I’m feeling bold).

Best Director

The Nominees: Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Todd Field (Tár), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

How I Did: 4/5

The Daniels v. Spielberg is where this may come down to. All Quiet had a solid morning, but Edward Berger missing (I predicted him) likely eliminates it as a BP winner. Ostlund gets in instead.

Best Actress

The Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Tár), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

How I Did: 3/5

In just the last few days, there was an organic (?) campaign launched for Riseborough by plenty of famous faces. She was nowhere near the radar for the bulk of the season. Her inclusion might alter how campaigns look in the future. Williams (who was looking shaky) and Riseborough make it over my predictions of Viola Davis (The Woman King) and Danielle Deadwyler (Till). Both of their pics were shutout completely. As for who makes the podium trip, it’s either Blanchett or Yeoh.

Best Actor

The Nominees: Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Paul Mescal (Aftersun), Bill Nighy (Living)

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

For most prognosticators, this came down to Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick vs. Mescal for the fifth slot. It wasn’t to be for a fourth Cruise nod. For Mescal and Nighy, it’s an honor to be in the quintet. The race is between Butler and Farrell and Fraser (who have all nabbed key precursors). FYI – this entire lineup is first-time nominees and 16 of the acting nominees are newbies (which is very high).

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Hong Chau (The Whale), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

How I Did: 4/5

Hsu, who was my alternate, is in over Triangle‘s Dolly De Leon. If you’d told me De Leon’s movie would get Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay – I would’ve been even more confident she’d make it. With victories already at the Globes and Critics Choice, Bassett is the frontrunner.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway), Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans), Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

How I Did: 4/5

Henry gets the unanticipated nod over my pick of Paul Dano in The Fabelmans (many had Eddie Redmayne in The Good Nurse projected here). This is, frankly, the simplest acting derby to call and it is Quan.

Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees: The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Triangle of Sadness

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

The expected five as the Banshees v Everything showdown could be a clue during the night as to what wins BP at the end of it.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Living, Top Gun: Maverick, Women Talking

How I Did: 3/5

Maverick and All Quiet over She Said (which was shut out) and The Whale. Considering Women Talking made it in the BP ten, it could get the gold in this race and this one only since it received the least amount of nods (2) for the BP hopefuls. As an aside, there’s always a screenplay contender that gets no other noms anywhere else. This year it was Glass Onion.

Best Animated Feature

The Nominees: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, The Sea Beast, Turning Red

How I Did: 4/5

Pinocchio should take this, but this marks its only nod (it was expected to contend for Song and some techs). I had gone with Netflix’s Wendell and Wild for the fifth spot over Netflix’s The Sea Beast.

Best International Feature Film

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Argentina, 1985, Close, EO, The Quiet Girl

How I Did: 3/5

Here’s where there was a total surprise with Decision to Leave getting snubbed. I would’ve had it as the runner-up possibility to win over All Quiet (easily the favorite). I didn’t have Close or EO (though neither is unexpected). In addition to Decision, I also had Joyland.

Best Documentary Feature

The Nominees: All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Fire of Love, A House Made of Splinters, Navalny

How I Did: 4/5

Had Descendant instead of Splinters. There’s a path to victory for everything but Splinters in my view.

Best Cinematography

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Bardo, Elvis, Empire of Light, Tár

How I Did: 3/5

Top Gun: Maverick missing is baffling considering it was a major threat to win. It misses along with The Batman in favor of Bardo and Tár. I wouldn’t discount Empire for the victory though Quiet could make noise in this one.

Best Costume Design

The Nominees: Babylon, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

How I Did: 4/5

Everything‘s over performance is evident. I had The Woman King instead. The first three alphabetically are your possible winners.

Best Film Editing

The Nominees: The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick

How I Did: 3/5

In years past, getting an editing nod is often needed if you want to take BP. So it’s bad news for All Quiet and The Fabelmans. Banshees and Tár join the lineup in their place. Elvis, Everything, and Maverick all possibilities.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Elvis, The Whale

How I Did: 4/5

Had Amsterdam and not Quiet. Elvis or The Whale are most likely.

Best Original Score

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans

How I Did: 3/5

Considering it made BP, I didn’t think Women Talking would miss. I also had Pinocchio but it’s All Quiet and Everything. This could be the sole Oscar for Babylon.

Best Original Song

The Nominees: “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman, “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

How I Did: 4/5

Had Pinocchio‘s “Ciao Papa” and not the Everything tune. Despite big names like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and producer Diane Warren in the mix, “Naatu Naatu” has taken the precursors.

Best Production Design

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, Elvis, The Fabelmans

How I Did: 4/5

A rare occurrence as I had Everything projected and it didn’t make it. All Quiet materializes instead. This could be Elvis or maybe a second shot for Babylon.

Best Sound

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick

How I Did: 4/5

The sound you hear when the envelope opens might be Maverick‘s only victory (now that Cinematography is impossible). I had EEAAO and not The Batman.

Best Visual Effects

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Top Gun: Maverick

How I Did: 3/5

Had the wrong MCU pic with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and not Panther. All Quiet is also in and I had Thirteen Lives. This should be the Avatar trophy.

That means these movies ended up garnering these numbers in terms of nominations:

11 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

9 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin

8 Nominations

Elvis

7 Nominations

The Fabelmans

6 Nominations

Tár, Top Gun: Maverick

5 Nominations

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

4 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water

3 Nominations

Babylon, The Batman, Triangle of Sadness, The Whale

2 Nominations

Living, Women Talking

1 Nomination

Aftersun, All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Argentina, 1985, Bardo, Blonde, Causeway, Close, Empire of Light, EO, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, A House Made of Splinters, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Navalny, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, The Quiet Girl, RRR, The Sea Beast, Tell It Like a Woman, To Leslie, Turning Red

So what’s next? Followers of the blog may recall that I will soon begin my “Case Of” posts. That’s 35 separate write-ups making the case for and against all contenders in Picture, Director, and the four acting competitions. Stay tuned!

2021 Oscars: FINAL Winner Predictions

And it’s come to this! After seven months of endless speculation, predictions, and posts – the 94th Academy Awards (with your hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, and Regina Hall) airs this Sunday evening.

These are my final picks for the races covering feature films. Will the Best Picture be CODA?

Or The Power of the Dog?

We have ourselves some real intrigue as both are strong possibilities. Either way, a steamer (either Netflix or Apple TV) should pick up its inaugural Best Pic victory.

Will there be upsets in any of the acting derbies where there seems to be a consensus four based on precursors? And just what will occur in the screenplay races which look unpredictable?

For each race, I’ll give you a bit of commentary along with my projected victor and the runner-up.

Let’s get to it! On Sunday evening, you will see a recap with how I performed…

Best Picture

Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Commentary:

Well, the big daddy of them all has certainly become fascinating. CODA, the little Sundance pic that could, has surged in the past few days. In addition to winning the SAG Ensemble prize, it captured the Producers Guild top honor and was a BAFTA selection for Adapted Screenplay. These designations (PGA especially) are significant precursors. A strong argument could be made that it has the momentum as voting closed yesterday. In fact, I’ve seen more prognosticators picking it this week than not…

However, The Power of the Dog is still quite viable. It took the Golden Globe Best Drama trophy as well as Critics Choice and BAFTA. Until CODA‘s rise, it was the heavy favorite.

We’ve got a real coin flip, folks! That definitely makes the end of Oscar night more suspenseful than last year when Nomadland seemed unbeatable and indeed was.

I don’t believe any of the other eight pictures have a chance. As for the two that do, I’ve gone back and forth constantly all week. There’s a time to stop speculating and make a final pick and I still believe there’s enough power for the Dog to edge out CODA. That said, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it turns out the other way.

PREDICTED WINNER:

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up:

CODA

Best Director

Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Commentary:

This is far easier than Picture. With CODA maker Sian Heder absent, Jane Campion is in line to become the third female (and second in a row) to make a podium trip. She’s won all the key precursors – DGA, Globes, Critics Choice. It’s even a challenge to name a runner-up (I guess I’ll say Spielberg because he’s Spielberg). Make no mistake – this is one of the simplest checkmarks on the ballot.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up:

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Best Actress

Nominees:

Jessicas Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Commentary:

Kidman garnered the initial heat after a surprise Globe win, but that’s stalled as no other awards programs followed suit. Instead it’s been Chastain on the minor streak with SAG and Critics Choice. If there’s an upset in any acting derby, this is probably where it happens. Stewart’s road to Oscar looked shaky after some snubs. Academy voters could reward her and there’s some chatter about Cruz being viable. Yet I’m sticking with the safest best and that’s Chastain taking her first gold.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Riunner-Up:

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Best Actor

Nominees:

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, tick, tick… Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Commentary:

During the fall, I was thinking there could be a barnburner between Smith and Cumberbatch (with Garfield as potential spoiler). That’s not how it’s played out as the Fresh Prince has been crowned the king in all preceding shows. I expect the sweep to continue.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Will Smith, King Richard

Runner-Up:

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Judi Dench, Belfast

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Commentary:

Buckley and Dench were surprising inclusions, but there won’t be any shocks with the winner. DeBose has run the table and she should represent Story‘s lone victory.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Runner-Up:

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees:

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Commentary: 

Despite its quartet of performers getting nominations, Dog is likely to produce Oscars for none of them. Smit-McPhee received the Golden Globe but it’s been all Kotsur since. This is the race where I’m most confident of a CODA moment.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Runner-Up:

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog 

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Worst Person in the World

Commentary:

Good luck with this one! The Writer’s Guild threw everyone for a loop last weekend when Don’t Look Up won over Licorice Pizza (Belfast was not eligible). I just don’t envision the Academy honoring Up. With a Belfast or Pizza victory, they would bestowing first ever Oscars to Kenneth Branagh and Paul Thomas Anderson respectively. With the Globe and Critics Choice going to Belfast, it has my vote (though it’s close).

PREDICTED WINNER:

Belfast

Runner-Up:

Licorice Pizza

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog 

Commentary:

CODA‘s BAFTA win kickstarted its momentum. Even if Dog is Best Picture, CODA could still take this. On the other hand, I think there’s a better chance Best Pic and Adapted Screenplay match so I’m rolling with the Dog with no degree of confidence whatsoever.

PREDICTED WINNER:

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up:

CODA

Best Animated Feature

Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon

Commentary:

I’m tempted to pick a Mitchells upset, but it’s dangerous to pick against Disney and Encanto is the frontrunner.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Encanto

Runner-Up:

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Best International Feature Film

Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

The Hand of God

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

The Worst Person in the World

Commentary:

This is unquestionably one of the no brainer picks as Drive My Car has dominated the precursors and is the only nominee to also nab a Best Picture nod.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Drive My Car

Runner-Up:

The Worst Person in the World

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees:

Ascension

Attica

Flee

Summer of Soul

Writing with Fire

Commentary:

With nominations in Animated Feature, International Feature, and Doc – it sure seems like Flee should win one of them. It might stand the best chance in this competition, but Summer of Soul has been impressive in precursors and should continue the streak.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Summer of Soul

Runner-Up:

Flee

Best Cinematography

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Commentary: 

This might be the tech race where Dog is successful. I’m not predicting it though and (get used to hearing this) think Dune emerges.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

The Power of the Dog

Best Costume Design

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

Nightmare Alley

West Side Story

Commentary:

Cruella has killed it the preceding competitions. Dune, if it crushes all techs, could take it but I’m going with the former.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Cruella

Runner-Up:

Dune

Best Film Editing

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

tick, tick… Boom!

Commentary:

Don’t sleep on King Richard which was bestowed the EDDIE award. I still think this is Dune‘s to lose.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

King Richard

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees:

Coming 2 America

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Commentary:

Gucci could fashion a 1 for 1 victory but Tammy Faye has taken some precursors.

PREDICTED WINNER:

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Runner-Up:

House of Gucci

Best Original Score

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Encanto

Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog

Commentary:

Like Cinematography, this is between Dog and Dune. Like Cinematography, I’m choosing the latter.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

The Power of the Dog

Best Original Song

Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days

Commentary:

Diane Warren gets her 13th nomination with “Somehow” and somehow she’s never won. That will continue. The smart money is on the 007 theme song from Billie Eilish. Yet I’m going with a minor upset with the Disney tune.

PREDICTED WINNER:

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

Runner-Up:

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Best Production Design

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Commentary:

For the last three categories, I could just say Dune and be done with it. In fact, I think I will…

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

West Side Story

Best Sound

Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Commentary:

See Production Design

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

West Side Story

Best Visual Effects

Nominees:

Dune

Free Guy

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Commentary:

See Production Design

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

There isn’t one… that’s how I’m confident I am that Dune takes it.

And so, ladies and gents, that means I’m predicting that these movies win these numbers of Oscars:

6 Wins

Dune

3 Wins

The Power of the Dog

2 Wins

Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

1 Win

Belfast, CODA, Cruella, Drive My Car, King Richard, Summer of Soul, West Side Story

Make sure to check out the blog post ceremony!

Oscar Watch: The Life Ahead

Added to the long list of potential nominations for Netflix is the release of The Life Ahead on November 13th. The Italian drama marks a return to the silver screen for the legendary Sophia Loren at the age of 86. It’s a family affair as the feature is directed by her son Edoardo Ponti. Early reviews are out and they’re positive with much of the focus on its leading lady.

As has been discussed on the blog previously, Best Actress is shaping up to be a crowded field in 2020. Even with Respect delayed until summer 2021 which takes Jennifer Hudson out of the mix, there are plenty of hopefuls. Even without being screened at the moment, Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom seems like a safe bet. Same goes for Frances McDormand in Nomadland. Then it gets interesting. For the remaining three spots, there are plenty of contenders: Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy, Vanessa Kirby for Pieces of a Woman, Michelle Pfeiffer in French Exit, Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman, Kate Winslet for Ammonite, and Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

Loren is absolutely part of the mix. In my rankings yesterday, I had Loren at sixth and just on the outside looking in. She is a previous Oscar winner and it was all of 59 years back for Two Women. Her last nomination was 55 years ago for Marriage Italian Style. The Oscars love a good storyline and Loren getting nominated after that long gap certainly constitutes one. In fact, it would set the Academy’s record for longest wait between nominations.

A Best Actress nod isn’t the only race where Life will contend. If Italy submits it as their International Feature player, it could certainly land recognition there. Furthermore, producer Diane Warren has the original song “Seen”. She’s an 11-time nominee who’s never won and early buzz suggests #12 is coming with this composition.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Loren enters the top five at some point and that chatter could increase once viewers get a look in a couple of weeks. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: The One and Only Ivan

Disney’s streaming service combines humans and familiar faces voicing creatures this weekend with the release of The One and Only Ivan, based on the 2012 children’s book by K.A. Applegate. Directed by Thea Sharrock, the family friendly fantasy features Bryan Cranston, Ramon Rodriguez, and Ariana Greenblatt in front of the camera. Stars including Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Helen Mirren, Brooklyn Prince, and Chaka Khan (!) lend their voices as gorillas, elephants, and dogs.

In what is now a familiar story on this blog, Ivan was intended for theatrical release last Friday before the COVID-19 pandemic altered the plans. It is now hitting the Disney+ service this weekend. Why an Oscar Watch post for this unlikely contender? Fair question as even a Visual Effects nod is probably a long shot. Reviews out today are decent, but not overwhelmingly positive with a current 64% Rotten Tomatoes score.

There is, however, a solid shot for Ivan to come under Academy consideration and that’s with Original Song. It was announced this week that Diane Warren has written the track “Free” that will play over the end credits. Performed by Charlie Puth, the song is another possibility in a lengthy list of Warren’s works that could vie for a nomination.

Diane Warren has been nominated in the Original Song race 11 times over four decades. This began with “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” from 1987’s Mannequin and runs through last year with “I’m Standing with You” from Breakthrough. In between, we have massive hits like Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” from Up Close and Personal and the Aerosmith ballad “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” from Armageddon in the 90s. Despite the multitude of nods, Warren has never made the trip to the podium.

I doubt that “Free” would earn her the win, but a 12th nomination is certainly feasible. It remains to be seen how this particular category will play out in the coming months. Billie Eilish’s title track for the upcoming 007 adventure No Time to Die will likely make it in the final five.

Bottom line: Original Song could mark the one and only nod for Ivan next year. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

This Is Oscar

Since 2016, the NBC drama This Is Us has kept viewers in a perpetual state of tears and it’s been a massive hit for the network. As the show’s popularity has continued, the various leads on the family affair have seen their movie offers increase.

When looking at how Oscar voters could reward the work of these actors that have garnered plenty of Emmy nods, there’s some we can quickly discount. Don’t look for Milo Ventimiglia to contend for The Art of Racing in the Rain. His onscreen wife Mandy Moore won’t get supporting actress attention for next weekend’s Midway. Justin Hartley will not be feted for Little or Jexi. And while A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood could see Tom Hanks receive another nomination, the same won’t hold true for Susan Kelechi Watson.

That brings us to Watson’s TV hubby Sterling K. Brown. His big screen family drama Waves has gotten raves on the film festival circuit. It would appear his performance is most likely to appear on the radar of the awards crowd. Yet there’s a problem. 2019’s crop of supporting actor possibilities is packed. The list includes the aforementioned Hanks in Neighborhood, Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, both Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for The Irishman, Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes, Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse, and Jamie Foxx for Just Mercy. The race simply might be too crowded for Brown.

Surprisingly, the best chance for an Us thespian to get into the Academy derby might come in an unexpected category.  This spring’s faith based release Breakthrough featured Chrissy Metz in the cast. Her acting will not be honored. However, Metz did cut an original song for the soundtrack titled “I’m Standing With You”. The songwriter is Diane Warren and she’s no stranger to Oscar. Warren has landed ten nods for her work, including songs from the last two years – “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall and “I’ll Fight” from RBG. The Best Original Song race is still uncertain, but Disney appears bound to get in with expected selections from Toy Story 4, Frozen II, Aladdin, and The Lion King. There’s also tracks from Rocketman and Cats that could factor in. Still, Metz’s pipes probably have the highest chance for recognition over the acting skills of her fellow cast members.