Oscar Predictions: Showing Up

Kelly Reichardt is an acclaimed indie filmmaker behind the recent Certain Women and First Cow. Her latest, which premiered at Cannes, is Showing Up and it casts Michelle Williams as a sculptor in the family drama. Costars include Hong Chau, Judd Hirsch, John Magaro, Andre Benjamin, and James Le Gros.

Reviews say this is a lighter take on Reichardt’s material and the 100% Rotten Tomatoes indicates a winner. In what is becoming a common refrain in these posts, the distributor is A24. It will be a juggling act when it comes to their Oscar campaigns (Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Whale, and Aftersun are just three of their hopefuls).

Williams is drawing early raves. She’s seeking her fifth nomination after two lead nods for 2010’s Blue Valentine and 2011’s My Week with Marilyn and two supporting mentions for 2005’s Brokeback Mountain and 2016’s Manchester by the Sea. While she could draw attention here, there’s also Steven Spielberg’s upcoming The Fabelmans where she could make an appearance in supporting.

It’s important to remember that First Cow starting garnering some awards chatter that ended up petering out. That could happen here but the strong Cannes start helps its case. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Oscar Predictions: May 10th Edition

My second round of Oscar predictions in the six biggest races are before you. When I update them next, we’ll be in the midst of the Cannes Film Festival where some of these hopefuls are screening.

As for category placement changes, I’ve moved Jesse Plemons in Killers of the Flower Moon to Supporting Actor from lead. It remains to be seen which contest he’s placed in. If it is supporting, we shall see if it’s him or Robert De Niro that gets the buzz. I’m betting on the latter at press time.

Let’s get into it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Women Talking (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Son (PR: 4) (-1)

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (+2)

7. She Said (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Bardo (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Whale (PR: 9) (E)

10. Rustin (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

11. Amsterdam (PR: 11) (E)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: Not Ranked)

13. White Noise (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Poor Things (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 17) (+2)

16. Empire of Light (PR: 16) (E)

17. Tar (PR: 14) (-3)

18. Till (PR: 15) (-3)

19. Armageddon Time (PR: 25) (+6)

20. Elvis (PR: 22) (+2)

21. Thirteen Lives (PR: 20) (-1)

22. The Woman King (PR: 23) (+1)

23. Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: 24) (+1)

24. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 18) (-6)

25. Next Goal Wins (PR: 19) (-6)

Dropped Out:

The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 2) (-1)

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

5. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (E)

7. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 7) (E)

8. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 8) (-2)

11. George C. Wolfe, Rustin (PR: 10) (-1)

12. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 12) (E)

13. David O. Russell, Amsterdam (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things (PR: 11) (-3)

15. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Noah Baumbach, White Noise

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 2) (E)

3. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (-1)

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

Other Possibilities: 

6. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Emma Stone, Poor Things (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (E)

9. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Saoirse Ronan, See How They Run (PR: 13) (E)

14. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Tilda Swinton, Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Greta Gerwig, White Noise 

Best Actor

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 2) (+1)

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

3. Colman Domingo, Rustin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Christian Bale, Amsterdam (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Michael Fassbender, Next Goal Wins (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Joaquin Phoenix, Disappointment Blvd. (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Idris Elba, Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: 15) (E)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 3) (E)

4. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 7) (E)

8. Whoopi Goldberg, Till (PR: 8) (E)

9. Margot Robbie, Amsterdam (PR: 9) (E)

10. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Rooney Mara, Women Talking (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Patricia Clarkson, She Said (PR: 12) (E)

13. Audra McDonald, Rustin (PR: 13) (E)

14. Margaret Qualley, Poor Things (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth

Sadie Sink, The Whale

Frances McDormand, Women Talking 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 10) (+6)

5. John David Washington, Amsterdam (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Willem Dafoe, Poor Things (PR: 7) (E)

8. Glynn Turman, Rustin (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: Not Ranked – moved from lead Actor)

10. Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Frankie Faison, Till (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 8) (-6)

15. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Don Cheadle, White Noise 

2022 Oscar Predictions: May 1st Edition

Welcome to the first ranked Oscar predictions of the 2022 season for the 95th Academy Awards! I’ll be doing these every few days (once a week or every two weeks) for the high-profile races of Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies. In the fall (maybe earlier), this will expand to all categories covering feature lengths films.

For BP, I will list 25 possibilities with 15 hopefuls in the others. Some quick caveats that always apply – titles of the pictures will change. Just this week, David O. Russell’s Canterbury Glass became Amsterdam and Avatar 2 is now Avatar: The Way of Water. 

Actors listed in lead will become supporting players and vice versa. Some movies will be pushed to 2023. And, of course, titles listed on the first day of May will become commercial and critical disappointments and drop off the list. Some pics and performances I’m not even considering at the moment will rise during festivals like Cannes, Toronto, Telluride, and Venice.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon 

2. Killers of the Flower Moon

3. The Fabelmans

4. The Son

5. Women Talking

6. She Said

7. Bardo

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once

9. The Whale

10. Rustin

Other Possibilities: 

11. Amsterdam

12. White Noise

13. Poor Things

14. Tar

15. Till

16. Empire of Light

17. Avatar: The Way of Water

18. Don’t Worry Darling

19. Next Goal Wins

20. Thirteen Lives

21. The Banshees of Inisherin

22. Elvis

23. The Woman King

24. Three Thousand Years of Longing

25. Armageddon Time

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Damien Chazelle, Babylon 

2. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon

3. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking

5. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo

Other Possibilities:

6. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once

7. Florian Zeller, The Son

8. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale 

9. Maria Schrader, She Said

10. George C. Wolfe, Rustin

11. Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things

12. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water

13. Noah Baumbach, White Noise

14. David O. Russell, Amsterdam

15. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon

2. Regina King, Shirley 

3. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

4. Carey Mulligan, She Said 

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till 

Other Possibilities: 

6. Cate Blanchett, Tar

7. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light 

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody 

9. Emma Stone, Poor Things 

10. Laura Dern, The Son

11. Viola Davis, The Woman King 

12. Greta Gerwig, White Noise

13. Saoirse Ronan, See How They Run 

14. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling 

15. Tilda Swinton, Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale

2. Hugh Jackman, The Son 

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon 

4. Colman Domingo, Rustin 

5. Christian Bale, Amsterdam 

Other Possibilities: 

6. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon 

7. Adam Driver, White Noise 

8. Austin Butler, Elvis 

9. Diego Calva, Babylon 

10. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans 

11. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo 

12. Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives 

13. Michael Fassbender, Next Goal Wins

14. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin 

15. Idris Elba, Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon

2. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

3. Zoe Kazan, She Said

4. Vanessa Kirby, The Son 

5. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking 

Other Possibilities: 

6. Hong Chau, The Whale 

7. Jean Smart, Babylon 

8. Whoopi Goldberg, Till

9. Margot Robbie, Amsterdam 

10. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth

11. Sadie Sink, The Whale 

12. Patricia Clarkson, She Said 

13. Audra McDonald, Rustin 

14. Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King

15. Frances McDormand, Women Talking 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon 

4. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once 

5. Glynn Turman, Rustin 

Other Possibilities: 

6. John David Washington, Amsterdam 

7. Willem Dafoe, Poor Things

8. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans 

9. Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things 

10. Tom Hanks, Elvis

11. Anthony Hopkins, The Son

12. Frankie Faison, Till

13. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking 

14. Don Cheadle, White Noise 

15. Colin Firth, Empire of Light 

2022 Oscar Predictions: April Edition (Best Supporting Actress)

My first glance at who and what I think could be on the Oscar’s radar screen for next year continues with Best Supporting Actress. If you missed my post for Supporting Actor, it’s right here:

2022 Oscar Predictions: April Edition (Best Supporting Actor)

At this early stage, there’s obviously plenty of mystery for category placements. For instance – Women Talking could have its whole cast (that includes Frances McDormand, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, and Jessie Buckley) in this race. I’m putting McDormand in lead at this juncture with the rest here and only Buckley making the top five. The same applies for Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan in She Said. They could both be lead or supporting (as of now I’m going with the former in Actress and the latter in supporting).

Let’s get to it and I’ll have Best Actor up next!

TODD’S APRIL 2022 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

Jessie Buckley, Women Talking 

Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon

Zoe Kazan, She Said

Vanessa Kirby, The Son

Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

Other Possibilities:

Raffey Cassidy, White Noise

Hong Chau, The Whale

Patricia Clarkson, She Said

Claire Foy, Women Talking

Whoopi Goldberg, Till

Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth

Rooney Mara, Women Talking 

Audra McDonald, Rustin

Sadie Sink, The Whale

Jean Smart, Babylon

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…

Will The Indie Spirits Nominees Showcase Oscar Gems?

This afternoon, the nominations for the 35th Independent Spirit Awards were released as we prepare for the onslaught of Oscar precursors to follow. And make no mistake – the Indie Spirits are indeed a precursor. In this decade from 2010-2018, five of the nine Best Feature winners emerged victorious with the Academy for Best Picture: 2011’s The Artist, 2013’s 12 Years a Slave, 2014’s Birdman, 2015’s Spotlight, and 2016’s Moonlight. Some of these years have three or four of the five nominees get Oscar nods in the big race.

However, 2018 marked the first year of this decade when none of the five nominated pictures at the Indies garnered any Academy love. I don’t expect that to occur for a second year in a row.

In this post, I’ll break down Feature, Director, and the four acting races and what it might mean for Oscar:

Best Feature

Nominees: A Hidden Life, Clemency, The Farewell, Marriage Story, Uncut Gems

First things first: Marriage Story is going to get a Best Picture nomination and probably wins here. And it might be the only one here that does. The Farewell has a decent shot and Uncut Gems is a potential sleeper (though I wouldn’t bet on it).

That said, Gems did tie The Lighthouse for most Indie mentions (5). And that brings us back to Marriage Story. The voters here chose to give it a special Robert Altman award honoring the team behind it. That includes cast members Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, and Alan Alda. They all probably would’ve heard their names here had that not occurred and same goes for director Noah Baumbach. If that seems like a bit of a cheat (taking out probable winners like Driver and Baumbach), I wouldn’t argue. The silver lining is that it does make some of these categories more interesting.

Best Director

Nominees: Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse), Alma Hor’el (Honey Boy), Julius Onah (Luce), Ben and Josh Safdie (Uncut Gems), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers)

Like Best Feature, 2018 saw no directors recognized get Academy attention. With Baumbach getting his Altman award and out of the running, that could certainly happen again as I don’t even have any of these directors in my top ten Oscar possibilities. Perhaps this could help spur chatter for the Safdies or Scafaria. Again… I wouldn’t bet on it.

Best Female Lead

Nominees: Karen Allen (Colewell), Hong Chau (Driveways), Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell), Mary Kay Place (Diane), Alfre Woodard (Clemency), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Six out of nine winners here from 2010-2018 went onto win the Best Actress statue: Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Brie Larson (Room), and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).

Even with Johansson not included, it could be 7/10 as Zellweger is my current Oscar front runner. Woodard and Moss stand shots at nods. The other three need not shop for red carpet dresses.

One noticeable omission is Awkwafina in The Farewell, who many are predicting for Oscar attention. I currently had her on the outside looking in at sixth. That could slide when I update my estimates on Monday.

Best Male Lead

Nominees: Chris Galust (Give Me Liberty), Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (Luce), Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems), Matthias Schoenarts (The Mustang)

Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), and Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) are the three Indie/Oscar recipients. Only in 2015 and (yes) 2018 did no nominees get Oscar nods…

I expect that to occur again. I believe only Sandler stands a chance, but it’s a reach based on severe competition.

Best Supporting Female

Nominees: Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Taylor Russell (Waves), Lauren Spencer (Give Me Liberty), Octavia Spencer (Luce), Shuzhen Zhou (The Farewell)

Four winners here have picked up Academy trophies – Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), and the past two winners Allison Janney (I, Tonya) and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk).

With soft front runner Laura Dern in the Marriage Story special category thing, we could still see a third year in a row match with Lopez. Zhou and Spencer (to a lesser degree) may also find themselves in the Oscar mix.

And with Taylor Russell’s nod here, it’s a good time to mention that Waves really came up short with the Indies today. That doesn’t help its Oscar viability.

Best Supporting Male

Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), Noah Jupe (Honey Boy), Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy), Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco), Wendell Pierce (Burning Cane)

This category is another ultra crowded one for Oscar attention, but Dafoe and LaBeouf are legit contenders for nods. Not so with the other three. The omission of Sterling K. Brown in Waves is a surprise.

There have been four Indie/Oscar victors this decade: Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), and Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). With Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Al Pacino (The Irishman) as likely favorites for the Academy, I wouldn’t expect a fifth match.

And there you have it, folks! My take on the Indies and which Oscar gems they could produce…

Downsizing Movie Review

Director Alexander Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor enter new genre territory with Downsizing, but it’s filled with the themes found in their previous efforts. A central character searching for meaning in life, marital strife, and classism are on display. Unlike prior features, science fiction elements and a bigger budget are in the mix. This is a story loaded with intriguing prospects  that doesn’t lead to a totally rewarding whole.

A prologue shows the advent of a monumental discovery by Norwegian scientists – the ability to shrink humans to only five inches tall. The reasoning to do it is to save the Earth by significantly reducing pollution and overpopulation. Not all citizens who choose to go through the procedure are hardcore environmentalists. There’s also the added bonus that downsizing is a financial boon. Every dollar in big world translates to about a grand in the smaller one.

This is the primary reason why occupational therapist Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristin Wiig) choose their new path. The Omaha couple agree to downsize and populate the colony of Leisureland. In Nebraska, they’re scraping by. They will be millionaires post op. A surprise happens on the way to the procedure. Paul goes through with it, but Audrey backs out and leaves him.

Lonely Paul must adjust to his tiny new surroundings and life. His eventual divorce agreement causes him to trade his Leisureland mansion for an apartment (albeit a pretty nice one). Up to this point, Downsizing is pretty nifty. The leadup and explanations of how this new world works are fascinating. There’s some prejudice involved with the full size humans meeting those about to become small. Should they get full voting rights, for instance? We also discover there’s nefarious governments that forcibly shrink their dissidents.

Further exploration of themes like these could have made a potentially rich experience. Downsizing goes a different direction. Paul’s upstairs neighbor is a party animal played with expected gusto by Christoph Waltz. It’s through this freewheeling character that Paul meets Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau), a Vietnamese political activist who was punished by that government. She’s an amputee and cleaning lady with a heart of gold. Ngoc Lan takes Paul to the slums of Leisureland where he begins to medically assist its poor residents. He also begins to fall for his companion.

The picture, at this juncture, largely abandons its sci fi leanings and concentrates on issues of self-worth, love, and political themes. Of course, all these things have been present in many great science fiction efforts. However, the tone of Downsizing is a shifty one. There’s moments of satire that aren’t biting enough and an earnestness that can come off cloying. That latter description could sometimes apply to Damon’s work. Payne has directed a number of actors to Oscar nominations. His lead here displays the same syrupy conviction in which he once bought a zoo. Chau is a different story. She creates a character whose backstory might have been really rewarding if shown onscreen. Unfortunately, Ngoc Lan eventually becomes just the love interest to the blander protagonist.

Payne and Taylor deserve a degree of credit for crafting this odd concoction. There’s some original thoughts here and some sequences are truly impressive, especially the downsizing procedure itself. That said, the emotional payoff the filmmakers are reaching for never quite reached me. There are moments in About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants and Nebraska that did so more often and with an appreciated higher level of subtlety. So while I admire Downsizing for some big ideas, the overall impact is smaller.

**1/2 (out of four)

2017 Oscar Nominations Reaction

And they’re out!

The nominations for this February’s Academy Awards were revealed this morning by Andy Serkis and Tiffany Haddish. As always, there were some surprises and my months long quest for prediction perfection fell short. Of the 109 nominations, I correctly guessed 78 of them and that works out to 71% (a bit lower than previous years, but oh well).

Here I’ll break down every category and tell you how I did with a bit of analysis:

Best Picture

Nominees: Call Me by Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I Did: 7/9

Analysis: OK, lesson learned. When in doubt, predict NINE. The Best Picture category can fluctuate between 5 and 10 nominees, but that seems to be the magic number. I had The Florida Project in, but it was 8th out of my 8 predictions in likelihood so no big surprise there. Also not surprising is Darkest Hour getting in. A bit more so is the inclusion of Phantom Thread, which did far better this morning than I or almost anyone else figured.

Best Director

Nominees: Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Jordan Peele (Get Out)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: As mentioned above, the surprise here is Anderson’s nod for Phantom. Hard to believe but this is Nolan’s first nomination for direction. I had Martin McDonagh’s work in Three Billboards included. Worth noting: it’s happened, but it’s rare for a movie to win Best Picture without their maker being recognized. This could fuel even more talk that The Shape of Water is the front-runner in the big race.

Best Actor

Nominees: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: One of the major questions going into this morning is whether recent allegations could prevent James Franco’s nod for The Disaster Artist. We may never know the answer to that fully, but it was expected he’d be a safe inclusion until then and he missed out. In his place – Mr. Washington, nominated for the second year in a row. In short: this is Oldman’s race to lose and it’s highly doubtful he will.

Best Actress

Nominees: Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Meryl Streep (The Post)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: For quite some time, this has seemed like the five for Actress and it panned out that way.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Plummer got in for his highly publicized role after taking over for Kevin Spacey at very short notice over my prediction of Armie Hammer in Call Me by Your Name.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: The Phantom love continued with Manville’s inclusion over my prediction for Hong Chau in Downsizing.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Call Me by Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game, Mudbound

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: In a bit of a surprise to me, Logan became the first superhero flick to get a writing nomination. I had Wonder in instead.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: I went with I, Tonya over The Big Sick, but this certainly was no shocker. Unlike several prognosticators, I did correctly leave Sick out of the Best Picture race and this marks its sole nod.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: People love that Boss Baby apparently. It got in over my projected The Girl Without Hands. This is an easy winner to predict – Pixar’s Coco. 

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: A Fantastic Woman, The Insult, Loveless, On Body and Soul, The Square

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: Golden Globe winner In the Fade and Foxtrot (which some saw as a potential winner) missed the cut. In their place: Soul and Square.

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Faces Places, Icarus, Last Men in Aleppo, Strong Island

How I Did: 2/5

Analysis: Welp… there always seem to be that category where I whiff and get 2 out of 5 (last year it was Production Design). This year it’s the docs, where Jane (which many saw as a front-runner), City of Ghosts, and Long Strange Trip missed out in favor of Abacus, Aleppo, and Island. 

Best Film Editing

Nominees: Baby Driver, Dunkirk, I, Tonya, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: Besides Actress, this is my only other perfect category.

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Mudbound, The Shape of Water

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Rachel Morrison made some Oscar history by becoming the first female nominated in this category for Mudbound. I predicted The Post over Darkest Hour.

Best Production Design

Nominees: Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Wouldn’t you know it? Here’s one race where I had Phantom Thread in and it didn’t make it. Beauty got in instead.

Best Costume Design

Nominees: Beauty and the Beast, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Victoria and Abdul

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: I went with Murder on the Orient Express, but Darkest Hour prevailed. This should be a rather easy victory for Phantom (and perhaps its only).

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Darkest Hour, Victoria and Abdul, Wonder

How I Did: 2/3

Analysis: Victoria over I, Tonya. Look for Gary Oldman’s transformation to Churchill in Darkest Hour to be the victor.

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Kong: Skull Island, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: Dunkirk and The Shape of Water were my misses with Guardians and Kong filling in.

Best Sound Editing

Nominees: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Turns out I should have predicted The Shape of Water in both sound categories. I had War for the Planet of the Apes instead here.

Best Sound Mixing

Nominees: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: The sound races matched this year with Star Wars in over my predicted The Greatest Showman.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: I expected John Williams to be recognized, but for The Post instead of Star Wars. Also had Darkest Hour here and not Three Billboards.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Mighty River” from Mudbound, “The Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name, “Remember Me” from Coco, “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall, “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: “The Mystery of Love” got in over “It Ain’t Fair” from Detroit. 

And that leaves the final official breakdown of films and number of nominations to this:

13 Nominations

The Shape of Water

8 Nominations

Dunkirk

7 Nominations

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

6 Nominations

Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread

5 Nominations

Blade Runner 2049, Lady Bird

4 Nominations

Call Me by Your Name, Get Out, Mudbound, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

3 Nominations

Baby Driver, I, Tonya

2 Nominations

Beauty and the Beast, Coco, The Post, Victoria and Abdul

1 Nomination

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, All the Money in the World, The Big Sick, The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, The Disaster Artist, Faces Places, A Fantastic Woman, Ferdinand, The Florida Project, The Greatest Showman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Icarus, The Insult, Kong: Skull Island, Last Men in Aleppo, Logan, Loveless, Loving Vincent, Marshall, Molly’s Game, On Body and Soul, Roman J. Israel, Esq., The Square, Strong Island, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder

I’ll have a post up either later tonight or tomorrow with my initial round of predicted winners! Until then…

2017 SAG Awards Predictions

With Oscar nominations set to drop Tuesday, a big precursor is bestowing trophies on Sunday night when the SAG Awards air. Oftentimes, this particular show can be a better indicator of things to come at the Academy Awards than the Golden Globes.

In the 23 years that the SAG ceremony has been held, the winners of the four categories have matched up with Oscar as follows:

Actor: 18/23

Actress: 17/23

Supporting Actor: 14/23

Supporting Actress: 16/23

Of course, since this is an award given out by fellow actors, there is no “Best Picture” category. Instead the night’s top prize is Best Ensemble (which has matched Best Picture just 10 of 23 times). The individual acting races could give further fuel to performers looking for that Oscar and continue to dilute the hopes of others.

Here’s my estimates for the SAG winners on Sunday:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Nominees:

The Big Sick

Get Out

Lady Bird

Mudbound 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Predicted Winner: Gary Oldman

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Predicted Winner: Frances McDormand

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: Willem Dafoe

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Hong Chau, Downsizing

Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Predicted Winner: Allison Janney

And there you have it! You can peruse my FINAL Oscar predictions here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/01/18/todds-2017-final-oscar-predictions/

 

Todd’s 2017 FINAL Oscar Predictions

Well, here we are folks!

For over four months, I have been making weekly Oscar predictions and it all comes down to this Tuesday morning when they are at last revealed. These are my FINAL predictions along with a first and second alternate in each category.

Tuesday on the blog – I’ll have results on how I did with reaction to the nominations in general. Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Call Me by Your Name

Dunkirk

The Florida Project

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

1st Alternate – I, Tonya

2nd Alternate – The Big Sick

Best Director

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Jordan Peele, Get Out

1st Alternate – Steven Spielberg, The Post

2nd Alternate – Sean Baker, The Florida Project

Best Actor

Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

1st Alternate – Tom Hanks, The Post

2nd Alternate – Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Best Actress

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Meryl Streep, The Post

1st Alternate – Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game

2nd Alternate – Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul

Best Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name

Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

1st Alternate – Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name

2nd Alternate – Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

Best Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Hong Chau, Downsizing

Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

1st Alternate – Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

2nd Alternate – Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

Best Adapted Screenplay

Call Me by Your Name

The Disaster Artist

Molly’s Game

Mudbound

Wonder

1st Alternate – Victoria and Abdul

2nd Alternate – Wonderstruck

Best Original Screenplay

Get Out

I, Tonya

Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

1st Alternate – The Big Sick

2nd Alternate – The Florida Project

Best Animated Feature

The Breadwinner

Coco

Ferdinand

The Girl Without Hands

Loving Vincent

1st Alternate – The LEGO Batman Movie

2nd Alternate – Cars 3

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman

Foxtrot

The Insult

In the Fade

Loveless

1st Alternate – The Square

2nd Alternate – The Wound

Best Documentary Feature

City of Ghosts

Faces Places

Icarus

Jane

Long Strange Trip

1st Alternate – Strong Island

2nd Alternate – Last Men in Aleppo

Best Film Editing

Baby Driver

Dunkirk

I, Tonya

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

1st Alternate – The Post 

2nd Alternate – Get Out

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

Mudbound

The Post

The Shape of Water

1st Alternate – Darkest Hour

2nd Alternate – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Production Design

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

1st Alternate – Beauty and the Beast

2nd Alternate – Murder on the Orient Express

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

Murder on the Orient Express

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Victoria and Abdul

1st Alternate – The Post

2nd Alternate – The Beguiled

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Darkest Hour

I, Tonya

Wonder

1st Alternate – Bright

2nd Alternate – Victoria and Abdul

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

1st Alternate – Okja

2nd Alternate – Kong: Skull Island

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

1st Alternate – The Shape of Water

2nd Alternate – The Greatest Showman

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Greatest Showman

The Shape of Water

1st Alternate – Star Wars: The Lat Jedi

2nd Alternate – Beauty and the Beast

Best Original Score

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

1st Alternate – Victoria and Abdul

2nd Alternate – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Original Song

“It Ain’t Fair” from Detroit

“Mighty River” from Mudbound

“Remember Me” from Coco

“Stand Up for Something” from Marshall

“This is Me” from The Greatest Showman

1st Alternate – “Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast

2nd Alternate – “The Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name 

And that leaves the final predicted list of nominations for each picture:

13 Nominations

The Shape of Water

9 Nominations

Dunkirk

7 Nominations

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

5 Nominations

Lady Bird, I, Tonya, Blade Runner 2049

4 Nominations

Get Out, Phantom Thread, Darkest Hour, The Post, Mudbound

3 Nominations

Baby Driver

2 Nominations

The Florida Project, The Disaster Artist, Wonder, Coco, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes, The Greatest Showman

1 Nomination

Downsizing, Molly’s Game, Beauty and the Beast, Murder on the Orient Express, Victoria and Abdul, Detroit, Marshall, The Breadwinner, Ferdinand, The Girl Without Hands, Loving Vincent, A Fantastic Woman, Foxtrot, The Insult, In the Fade, Loveless, City of Ghosts, Faces Places, Icarus, Jane, Long Strange Trip 

And there you have it, folks! I’ll have reaction up Tuesday…