The Lone Screenplay Nominee: An Oscar Prediction Analysis

We are getting the nitty gritty on nailing down Oscar predictions on this blog and it’s time to consider a prevailing trend in the 21st century when it comes to the Adapted and Original Screenplay contests. That would be The Lone Screenplay Nominee.

What’s that you ask? For the last 20 award ceremonies, at least one movie has been nominated in its screenplay race and in no other additional category. That’s a rather startling statistic, but it’s true. You have to go all the way to 2000 to find a year in which the ten nominated films in those two derbies didn’t get a nod elsewhere.

Here’s the list from 2001-2020 of pictures that got The Lone Screenplay nomination (abbreviation are AS for Adapted and OS for Original):

2001 – Ghost World (AS), The Royal Tenenbaums (OS)

2002 – About a Boy (AS), My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Y Tu Mama Tambien (OS)

2003 – American Splendor (AS), Dirty Pretty Things (OS)

2004 – Before Sunset (AS)

2005 – Match Point, The Squid and the Whale (OS)

2006 – Borat (AS)

2007 – Lars and the Real Girl (OS)

2008 – Happy-Go-Lucky, In Bruges (OS)

2009 – In the Loop (AS)

2010 – Another Year (OS)

2011 – The Ides of March (AS), Margin Call (OS)

2012 – Moonrise Kingdom (OS)

2013 – Before Midnight (AS)

2014 – Nightcrawler (OS)

2015 – Straight Outta Compton (OS)

2016 – 20th Century Women, The Lobster (OS)

2017 – The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game (AS), The Big Sick (OS)

2018 – First Reformed (OS)

2019 – Knives Out (OS)

2020 – The White Tiger (AS)

Clearly the writing branch of the Academy enjoy singling out a pic or two that doesn’t get any love elsewhere. And it’s a tradition that I haven’t really factored into my predictions for 2021’s hopefuls. That changes today.

My latest round of predictions from last week were the following for Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay:

Adapted – CODA, Dune, The Lost Daughter, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

Original – Being the Ricardos, Belfast, Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza

Here’s the problem – all ten of those pictures are highly likely to find nominations elsewhere.

So… what’s vulnerable and what are the movies that could fit the Lone Screenplay Nominee mold when the announcement is made on February 8?

Glad you asked. In Adapted, Dune could absolutely miss. The voters in the screenplay race could decide that it’ll get plenty of tech nods (it will) as well as Picture and Director mentions (highly probable). Its screenplay nod could  wait until its sequel.

So what are the contenders in Adapted that may not get nods elsewhere? There’s The Last Duel, which could get points for its unique script that tells its medieval tale from three differing perspectives. It appears to have little chance at Picture or even Jodie Comer’s acclaimed performance in lead actress.

There’s also Passing, but that’s assuming Ruth Negga misses out in Supporting Actress (and I’ve got her in). Other possibilities are Nightmare Alley (though it should at least be recognized for Production Design) and Tick, Tick… Boom! (which could be in line for Picture but especially for Andrew Garfield in lead actor). The Lost Daughter could be the one. However, I have a hard time seeing Olivia Colman not getting in for Best Actress.

Moving to Original Screenplay, my five current nominees all seem destined to achieve mentions elsewhere. I look at King Richard and Being the Ricardos as potentially being two that could miss the screenplay cut.

There are three pictures with original scripts that could fill the slots and be The Lone Nominee and they are:

    • C’Mon C’Mon. And there’s history here. Mike Mills was the writer/director for the aforementioned 20th Century Women from 2016. With Joaquin Phoenix as a long shot for Best Actor inclusion, this is the type of nominee that the writers might celebrate.
    • Mass. It looked like a potential BP nominee for some time but it has fallen (it’s not even in my top 15). Ann Dowd could score a Supporting Actress nomination, but I currently have her ranked 7th. It’s a pic that’s all dialogue between four actors and that could strike the voters fancies.
    • Parallel Mothers. The Pedro Almodovar pic was not Spain’s selection for International Feature Film and is therefore not eligible. Penelope Cruz is a possibility for Actress, but I have her outside the top five.

When I update my estimates for all categories this weekend, expect to see one of these titles (either in Adapted or Original or maybe both) selected. History says it’s the right call. Stay tuned!

2021: The Year of Jodie Comer

My fourth and final post regarding actors who had a memorable 2021 on the big screen brings us to the only performer that wasn’t in Spider-Man: No Way Home and that’s Jodie Comer.

Prior to this year, the English actress was primarily known for her small screen leading role on the BBC’s Killing Eve (for which she’s won an Emmy). While that work continues, she made waves with audiences and critics alike in the multiplexes.

While box office success did not greet Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, Comer earned raves as Marguerite de Carrouges in the historical yet timely drama. In a cast that included Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck, Comer garnered the lion’s share of awards buzz and deservedly so.

A couple of months before Duel, she was widely seen alongside Ryan Reynolds in the family friendly action comedy Free Guy (which took in over $300 million worldwide). A sequel is already being planned.

For Comer, 2021 succeeded in transitioning her success from TV to film. This concludes my Year Of write-ups and here’s to 2022!

The Last Duel Review

Sword fights abound literally and figuratively in Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, which finds the legendary director covering familiar red stained territory in a unique storytelling format. Based on a true incident that transpired in late 14th century France, Good Will Hunting scribes Matt Damon and Ben Affleck collaborate with Nicole Holofcener for this three tiered tale of a tragic crime mixed with a touch of black comedy. It explores the horrors of machismo at a time when women were seen as property by the standards of thought and law. The most fascinating aspect of the film (and most appalling) is that the three principals may truly believe they’re the victim, including two that should not.

Shot in gray with a focus on grey areas, Duel is fashioned into triangular chapters (from a novel by Eric Jager). Each outlines the plot from these perspectives: Jean de Carrouges (Damon), who fancies himself a brave and noble knight; the philandering squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) who has the ear of the authoritative and even more philandering Count Pierre d’Alencon (Affleck); and Jean’s educated and strong wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer). Jean and Marguerite’s marriage is one of convenience and real estate opportunities for the former. He also desires a male heir that Marguerite has yet to produce. Jacques, meanwhile, has access to influence that Jean doesn’t possess. When he becomes smitten with his friend’s bride, the power dynamic turns more dangerous.

An accusation of rape is made in an era when most women didn’t dare do so (made clear in a potent monologue by Jean’s emotionally barren mother played by Harriet Walter). 600 plus years ago, that meant Jean and Jacques would participate in the picture’s title if a trial permitted it (and allow for Scott to play in some Gladiator type set pieces). Where the screenplay derives some humor is that the two leading men seem convinced that they are the aggrieved party and are oblivious to the damage inflicted on Marguerite. As nearly every male character is given a chance to bask in his laurels, we detect plenty of side eyes from the women around them. I suspect those sharp edges come courtesy of Holofcener’s script portions.

The Last Duel is fueled by Comer’s central performance as a victim who spoke up centuries before hashtags existed. The struggles to hold her perpetrator responsible are both centuries old and of today. Didn’t she remark that he was attractive? Maybe her no was a yes and she enjoyed it. Damon and especially Driver add sturdy support and Affleck commands the screen in his relatively brief runtime (once you get past the odd looking wigs).

The chaptered structure is occasionally repetitive. However, by the time the literal swordplay commences, the time spent with the trio builds a sense of genuine tension. Marguerite will be punished by a grisly death unless Jacques succeeds. In other words, her words mean little and she must rely on her husband to determine whether her time is up. That’s the wound that cuts the deepest as we await their fates.

***1/2 (out of four)

2021 Critics Choice Nominations: Reaction

The Critics Choice Awards, on the same day the Golden Globes did so, announced their nominations for their best of 2021. This is a particularly tricky group to predict and not for just normal reasons like who’s in and who’s out. The critics group seems to fluctuate the number of contenders in a given race year by year. There’s always ten for Best Picture but it can be anywhere from 5-7 on the others (this explains why I projected more nominees than there were in some competitions).

Belfast and West Side Story led the way with 11 nods apiece with Dune and The Power of the Dog close behind with 10. That foursome likely stands as the top quartet in the Oscars derby for the grand prize.

As I did with the Globes, let’s walk through each category and see how I did. FYI – I made predictions for Best Action and Sci-Fi/Horror Movie yesterday, but the critics apparently jettisoned those races. Overall I went 98 for 132.

Best Picture

Nominees: Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, Tick Tick… Boom!, West Side Story

How I Did: 9/10

Comments: Only misstep here was having The Tragedy of Macbeth over Boom! For Nightmare Alley, this was a nice bounce back after being completely snubbed by HFPA this morning. The strongest hopeful might be Belfast but it’s no surefire winner.

Best Director

Nominees: Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Guillermo del Toro (Nightmare Alley), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Denis Villeneuve (Dune)

How I Did: 6/7

Comments: I got all the nominees correct, but I had an extra in there with Joel Coen (The Tragedy of Macbeth). Both the critics and the Globes weren’t kind to Macbeth. I don’t see Anderson or del Toro taking this award. The other four are feasible.

Best Actress

Nominees: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos), Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

How I Did: 5/7

Comments: Once again, I pegged 7 individuals but the number was six. Haim scored a nod over my picks of Jodie Comer (The Last Duel) and Rachel Zegler (West Side Story). This could go four directions in my view – Chastain, Gaga, Kidman, or Stewart.

Best Actor

Nominees: Nicolas Cage (Pig), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Peter Dinklage (Cyrano), Andrew Garfield (Tick Tick… Boom!), Will Smith (King Richard), Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

How I Did: 6/7

Comments: Just like Director, I had the players right and not the number. My extra was Joaquin Phoenix for C’Mon C’Mon, who’s seeing his viability dwindle. Actor is shaping up to a showdown between Cumberbatch and Smith.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Caitriona Balfe (Belfast), Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Ann Dowd (Mass), Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog), Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), Rita Moreno (West Side Story)

How I Did: 5/6

Comments: Little surprised that Ruth Negga (Passing) missed with the critics and landed with the Globes. Rita Moreno takes her spot. This is a tough race to call with Balfe and DeBose as soft favorites.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Jamie Dornan (Belfast), Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Troy Kotsur (CODA), Jared Leto (House of Gucci), J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: In this wide open group, Smit-McPhee could reign supreme as he’s picking up early critics notices. I had Jon Bernthal (King Richard) and Jason Isaacs (Mass) in over Leto and Simmons.

Best Ensemble

Nominees: Belfast, Don’t Look Up, The Harder They Fall, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Had CODA and Dune instead of Harder and Pizza. Belfast, Power, and Story all possible with this one.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Being the Ricardos, Belfast, Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Picked an extra nominee here too. Ricardos got in over C’Mon C’Mon and Mass. Like the Oscars, this should boil down to Belfast v. Pizza.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: CODA, Dune, The Lost Daughter, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Yet another extra nominee situation and I had The Last Duel (which came up empty-handed) and Macbeth instead of Dune. This race should go to the Dog. 

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: Encanto, Flee, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Raya and the Last Dragon

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: After its Globes snub, Mitchells factors in here. I had Belle as opposed to Raya (which had a good morning with HFPA and this). Encanto or Flee are the two probable takers.

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Drive My Car, Flee, The Hand of God, A Hero, The Worst Person in the World

How I Did: 5/6

Comments: Had an extra selection with Titane (which didn’t score with Globes either). A Hero could win, but Car is coming up strong.

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Belfast, Dune, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

How I Did: 6/6

Comments: Finally got one totally right! Dune v. Dog is the expectation.

Best Costume Design

Nominees: Cruella, Dune, House of Gucci, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Alley continued its better than expected showing to the detriment of Cyrano and The French Dispatch. This one could go to Cruella.

Best Editing

Nominees: Belfast, Dune, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Pizza over my picks of Don’t Look Up and King Richard. This could be a Dune trophy or West Side Story.

Best Hair and Makeup

Nominees: Cruella, Dune, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, House of Gucci, Nightmare Alley

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Alley over Spencer (which had a subpar day). Gucci could fashion a victory.

Best Production Design

Nominees: Belfast, Dune, The French Dispatch, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story

How I Did: 3/6

Comments: Didn’t pick Belfast or Dispatch. Incorrectly called Cyrano, Last Duel, and Macbeth. I expect this to be between Dune and Alley.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Don’t Look Up, Dune, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, Spencer

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Didn’t have Don’t Look Up. Did have Dispatch and Macbeth. This goes to either Dune or Dog.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Be Alive” from King Richard, “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall, “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up, “No Time to Die” from “No Time to Die”

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: “Guns” gets in over “Beyond the Shore” from CODA and (somewhat surprisingly) “Down to Joy” from Belfast. “Alive” and Beyonce could reign supreme.

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Dune, The Matrix Resurrections, Nightmare Alley, No Time to Die, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

How I Did: 2/7

Comments: Yikes. Where to begin? Only had Dune and Shang-Chi correct. I didn’t think Matrix had screened so therefore it was left off. There were seven nominees last year, but only five in 2021. The five I wrongly called were Don’t Look Up, Eternals, Finch, Free Guy, and Godzilla vs. Kong.

Best Comedy Movie

Nominees: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Don’t Look Up, Free Guy, The French Dispatch, Licorice Pizza

How I Did: 5/6

Comments: Got ’em all but had an extra with Red Rocket. Thinking Pizza sounds good in this one.

Best Young Performer

Nominees: Jude Hill (Belfast), Cooper Hoffman (Licorice Pizza), Emilia Jones (CODA), Woody Norman (C’Mon C’Mon), Saniyya Sidney (King Richard), Rachel Zegler (West Side Story)

How I Did: 6/6

Comments: Ending on a high note! I’ll say Zegler, but don’t discount Hill.

That means these films achieved these numbers of nods:

11 Nominations

Belfast, West Side Story

10 Nominations

Dune, The Power of the Dog

8 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley

6 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, King Richard

4 Nominations

CODA, House of Gucci

3 Nominations

Being the Ricardos

2 Nominations

Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, The French Dispatch, The Harder They Fall, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, Spencer, Tick Tick… Boom!, The Tragedy of Macbeth

1 Nomination

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, C’Mon C’Mon, Cyrano, Drive My Car, Free Guy, The Hand of God, A Hero, Luca, Mass, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Pig, Raya and the Last Dragon, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Worst Person in the World

I’ll have final predictions for this show shortly before its airing on January 9th!

2021 Critics Choice Awards Predictions

As if the Golden Globe nominations coming tomorrow morning weren’t confusing enough to figure out, we also have the nods on the same day for the Critics Choice Awards. They’re frequently a reliable indicator of which way the Academy could go. However, there’s a caveat. While both branches choose ten pictures, the other races can fluctuate between 5-7 nominees. Generally Director and the lead acting races are seven while supporting and the screenplay derbies are six. The rest are a rather (needlessly unpredictable) mix. This show also contains some categories not seen in others like Best Ensemble, action, comedy, and sci-fi/horror pics, and Young Performer.

Here’s my best shot at projecting what the critics will do. The ceremony itself hits January 9th… the same day as the Globes. And as I did with the Globes, I’ll name runners-up and second alternates…

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Tick Tick… Boom!

Second Alternate: The Last Duel

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Runner-Up: Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Second Alternate: Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Nicolas Cage, Pig

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Ann Dowd, Mass

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Runner-Up: Marlee Matlin, CODA

Second Alternate: Rita Moreno, West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Jon Bernthal, King Richard

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Jason Isaacs, Mass

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Second Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Best Ensemble

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: King Richard

Second Alternate: Mass

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

C’Mon C’Mon

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Mass

Runner-Up: Being the Ricardos

Second Alternate: The Worst Person in the World

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

CODA

The Last Duel

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Dune

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

Belle

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Runner-Up: Raya and the Last Dragon

Second Alternate: The Summit of the Gods

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

The Hand of God

A Hero

Titane

The Worst Person in the World

Runner-Up: Parallel Mothers

Second Alternate: I’m Your Man

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Spencer

Second Alternate: The French Dispatch

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Spencer

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Editing

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Tick Tick… Boom!

Second Alternate: Licorice Pizza

Best Makeup

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Spencer

Runner-Up: The Last Duel

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cyrano

Dune

The Last Duel

Nightmare Alley

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: The French Dispatch

Second Alternate: Belfast

Best Score

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Cyrano

Best Song

Predicted Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Beyond the Shore” from CODA

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Runner-Up: “Every Letter” from Cyrano

Second Alternate: “Here I Am” from Respect

Best Visual Effects (note that it is unlikely that The Matrix Resurrections or Spider-Man: No Way Home screened in time for inclusion)

Predicted Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Eternals

Finch

Free Guy

Godzilla vs. Kong

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Runner-Up: The Green Knight

Second Alternate: The Suicide Squad

Best Action Movie

Predicted Nominees:

Black Widow

Dune

The Harder They Fall

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The Suicide Squad

Runner-Up: Nobody

Second Alternate: Eternals

Best Comedy

Predicted Nominees:

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Don’t Look Up

Free Guy

The French Dispatch

Licorice Pizza

Red Rocket

Runner-Up: Cruella

Second Alternate: Zola

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Predicted Nominees:

Candyman

Dune

Finch

Free Guy

A Quiet Place Part II

Runner-Up: The Suicide Squad

Second Alternate: Titane

Best Young Performer

Predicted Nominees:

Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

Jude Hill, Belfast

Emilia Jones, CODA

Woody Norman, C’Mon C’Mon

Saniyya Sidney, King Richard

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Millicent Simmonds, A Quiet Place Part II 

Second Alternate: Demi Singleton, King Richard

This list means I’m projecting the following number of nominations for these movies:

12 Nominations

Dune

11 Nominations

Belfast, West Side Story

10 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

8 Nominations

King Richard

7 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth

6 Nominations

CODA

5 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley

3 Nominations

C’Mon C’Mon, Cyrano, Free Guy, The French Dispatch, House of Gucci, The Last Duel, Mass, Spencer

2 Nominations

Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

1 Nomination

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Being the Ricardos, Belle, Black Widow, Candyman, Drive My Car, Eternals, Finch, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, The Harder They Fall, A Hero, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Passing, Pig, A Quiet Place Part II, Red Rocket, The Suicide Squad, Tick Tick… Boom!, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

Reaction (along with that for the Globes) up tomorrow!

2021 Golden Globe Predictions

Let’s begin with this blanket statement… I’m basically flying a bit blind with my predictions for the Golden Globe Awards, which will be revealed tomorrow morning. For those who don’t follow the awards derbies closely like I do, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has been in some considerable hot water for the last couple of years. So much so that NBC has decided they won’t air the January 9th ceremony due to lack of diversity for its voting membership. There were genuine questions as to whether the HFPA would even hold an event for their 79th awards, but they are pushing forward amidst the controversy.

Then there’s the simply the matter of the Globes being quite unpredictable. We tend to see a shocker nomination at least once a year… remember Kate Hudson’s nod in Actress (Musical/Comedy) for the barely seen and critically reviled Sia directed Music in 2020? Then the voters went ahead and nominated the picture itself!

Last year in Supporting Actress, Jodie Foster scored a surprise nomination and win for The Mauritanian. The Academy didn’t even bother to nominate her. In Supporting Actor, both Jared Leto (The Little Things) and Bill Murray (On the Rocks) made the cut in Supporting Actor though not at the Oscars. This is why my general rule at the Globes is to fill in bigger names when I’ve got a spot or two left over in an acting race.

The HFPA’s method of dividing Drama and Musical/Comedy always creates category questions and that holds true in 2021. Where’s CODA? Or House of Gucci and C’Mon C’Mon? Or Being the Ricardos. We don’t know. For prediction purposes, I’m putting them in Drama. Obviously, if they’re not, that would alter my estimates and make some of my calls moot.

Let’s take go through the categories one by one and see how this guesswork turns out, shall we? I’ll do a runner-up and second alternate for each race as well.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

King Richard

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: CODA

Second Alternate: The Tragedy of Macbeth

Commentary – At this point, Belfast, Dune, King Richard, and Power of the Dog seem like pretty safe bets. Any one of them missing out would be considered a significant snub. The fifth slot is wide open in my view. The surging CODA (if it’s placed in Drama) could certainly make the cut. Tragedy is a strong possibility and I wouldn’t count out Being the Ricardos, C’Mon C’Mon and House of Gucci (if they’re in Drama), The Last Duel, or Spencer. Despite some critical reservations, I’ll go with Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley. It’s important to remember that foreign films are relegated to their own category at the Globes. That’s why Parasite didn’t show up here two years ago and it’s why A Hero or Drive My Car won’t contend in this competition.

Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy

Predicted Nominees:

Cyrano

Don’t Look Up

Licorice Pizza

Tick Tick… Boom!

West Side Story

Runner-Up: In the Heights

Second Alternate: Cruella

Commentary – The Musical/Comedy derby actually has a bunch of musicals to choose from in 2021 and West Side Story and Tick Tick… Boom! especially seem like surefire additions. Between In the Heights and Cyrano, I’m giving the latter a slight edge (though both could make it). Licorice Pizza should get in though I’m a tad more unsure about Don’t Look Up. I would generally say the top six listed here will be duking it out for five slots (Cruella is kind of a throwaway addition but if Music could get in…)

**Note that pics like CODA, Gucci, or Being the Ricardos could be campaigned for here and not Drama and that could change the dynamic.

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Runner-Up: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Second Alternate: Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard

Commentary – Feeling good about Branagh, Campion, Spielberg, and Villeneuve. The 5 spot is tougher but I’ll give del Toro the nod over Anderson (who, somehow, has never been nominated for a Globe).

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Drama (Actress)

Predicted Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Runner-Up: Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Second Alternate: Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Commentary – So here’s when it gets truly complicated as Gaga, Hudson, and Kidman could all theoretically wind up in Musical/Comedy. If not, both Gaga and Kidman seem like likely nominees in Drama. So do Chastain and Stewart. I’m picking Hudson over considerable competition that includes Colman, Comer, Emilia Jones in CODA (if placed here), Frances McDormand (The Tragedy of Macbeth), and Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers).

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Drama (Actor)

Predicted Nominees:

Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Second Alternate: Nicolas Cage, Pig

Commentary – Cumberbatch, Smith, and Washington are obvious choices. The other two slots – not so much. Phoenix could be in Musical/Comedy, but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and put him here. Same with runner-up Bardem. As much as I’d like to anoint Cage for Pig, I’ll hedge with Cooper in Alley. Super dark horse choice: Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey. 

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy (Actress)

Predicted Nominees:

Haley Bennett, Cyrano

Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up

Emma Stone, Cruella

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Melissa Barrera, In the Heights

Second Alternate: Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Once again – there’s some women I have in Drama that might shift over this way (Gaga, Hudson, Kidman, Jones). That would make this category more interesting as, right now, this is Zegler’s to lose based on my current composition. If serious hopefuls like Gaga and Kidman stay in Drama, this race could be ripe for an out of nowhere pick (I’m thinking either Annie Mumolo or Kristin Wiig in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar).

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy (Actor)

Predicted Nominees:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

Anthony Ramos, In the Heights

Ryan Reynolds, Free Guy

Runner-Up: Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

Second Alternate: Simon Rex, Red Rocket

Commentary – The first four seem probable and the safer choice for #5 would be Hoffman (that’s if Joaquin Phoenix or Javier Bardem don’t play here). I gotta pick at least one head scratcher though so let’s throw in Reynolds for the hit Free Guy!

Best Supporting Performance in a Motion Picture (Supporting Actress)

Predicted Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up

Runner-Up: Rita Moreno, West Side Story

Second Alternate: Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Commentary – Balfe, DeBose, Dunst, and Ellis are likely. If any of that quartet miss, it could be Dunst. I’m utilizing my aforementioned big name theory by picking Streep in the five spot. Could be Moreno or Blanchett and the star power could overshadow other possibilities like Ruth Negga (Passing) or Ann Dowd (Mass).

Best Supporting Performance in a Motion Picture (Supporting Actor)

Predicted Nominees:

Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Mike Faist, West Side Story

Second Alternate: Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

Commentary – No one can really make heads or tails of Supporting Actor in 2021 so there’s some winging it happening. I’ll say both Belfast boys get in while HFPA recognizes Cooper’s limited screen time in Pizza and Leto’s out there performance in Gucci. Smit-McPhee has been picking up critics awards and that could get him in. Truth be told… anything could happen in this one.

Best Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: King Richard

Second Alternate: Being the Ricardos

The one I’m uncertain about is Don’t Look Up with its many lackluster reviews, but I’ll go for it over Richard. I also wouldn’t completely dismiss Ricardos due to the Aaron Sorkin factor.

Best Animated Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Vivo

Runner-Up: Raya and the Last Dragon

Second Alternate: Belle

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

A Hero

Titane

The Worst Person in the World

Runner-Up: Parallel Mothers

Second Alternate: The Hand of God

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: The French Dispatch

Second Alternate: Don’t Look Up

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Every Letter” from Cyrano

“Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Runner-Up: “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

Second Alternate: “So May We Start” from Annette

My picks equate to the following scorecard in terms of total nominations:

7 Nominations

Belfast, The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

Don’t Look Up

5 Nominations

West Side Story

4 Nominations

Cyrano, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley

3 Nominations

Dune

2 Nominations

Flee, House of Gucci, Spencer, Tick Tick… Boom!, The Tragedy of Macbeth

1 Nomination

Being the Ricardos, C’Mon C’Mon, Cruella, Drive My Car, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Free Guy, A Hero, In the Heights, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, No Time to Die, Respect, Titane, Vivo, The Worst Person in the World

I’ll have a post up later tomorrow with my results! Critics Choice predictions are next…

2021 Oscar Predictions: November 11th Edition

My Oscar predictions in all feature film categories are updated and there’s movement to discuss! There’s been a change in my ten Best Picture nominees for the first time in several weeks as House of Gucci has fallen and I’m putting Don’t Look Up in. The social media reaction to Gucci has resulted in it dropping for multiple categories. I still have Lady Gaga garnering an Actress nod (though she drops from 2nd to 4th) as well as Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling.

In other developments:

    • Andrew Garfield vaults from 6th to 3rd in Best Actor for Tick, Tick… Boom! That’s to the detriment of Joaquin Phoenix for C’Mon C’Mon
    • Two changes in the ever evolving Supporting Actor derby with Jason Isaacs (Mass) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) making the cut and displacing Jared Leto (Gucci) and Ciaran Hinds (Belfast)
    • Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) is on the outside looking in for Supporting Actress with Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) rising
    • Don’t Look Up also enters Original Screenplay with Mass falling out of the top five

You can read all the updates right here!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Dune (PR: 4) (-1)

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+4)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Spencer (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Flee (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 14) (+2)

13. House of Gucci (PR: 8) (-5)

14. CODA (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Mass (PR: 13) (-2)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6) (E)

7. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (E)

8. Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Tessa Thompson, Passing 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 6) (+3)

4. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (E)

8. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 8) (E)

9. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Jude Hill, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Adam Driver, House of Gucci 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 3) (E)

4. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 7) (E)

8. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 8) (E)

9. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Al Pacino, House of Gucci

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 4) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (+3)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mass (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Spencer (PR: 6) (-1)

8. A Hero (PR: 10) (+2)

9. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Parallel Mothers (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Humans (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Passing (PR: 9) (+3)

7. West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Dune (PR: 7) (-1)

9. CODA (PR: Not Ranked)

10. House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-4)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Encanto (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 3) (E)

4. Luca (PR: 4) (E)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Summit of the Gods (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Who Is Anne Frank (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Charlotte (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Vivo

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 2) (E)

3. Flee (PR: 3) (E)

4. Drive My Car (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Titane (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hand of God (PR: 4) (-2)

7. I’m Your Man (PR: 7) (E)

8. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 8) (E)

9. Great Freedom (PR: 9) (E)

10. Memoria (PR: 10) (E)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 3) (E)

4. Attica (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The First Wave (PR: 9) (+3)

7. President (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ailey (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Procession (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Ascension

The Velvet Underground 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Belfast (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The French Dispatch (PR: 8) (-1)

10. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cruella (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Spencer (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Dune (PR: 4) (+1)

4. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Cyrano (PR: 8) (E)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (E)

5. West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. King Richard (PR: 8) (E)

9. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

10. House of Gucci (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Cruella (PR: 4) (E)

5. Spencer (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (E)

8. Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Green Knight (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+3)

4. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (-2)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Cyrano (PR: 10) (+2)

9. King Richard (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Belfast (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Licorice Pizza

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto (PR: Not Ranked)

3. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (-1)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. “Every Letter” from Cyrano (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 6) (E)

7. “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

8. “Believe” from The Rescue (PR: 7) (-1)

9. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 5) (-4)

10. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: 10) (E)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Dune (PR: 1) (-1)

3. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (+1)

4. West Side Story (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Spencer (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Cyrano (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Belfast (PR: 7) (-1)

9. House of Gucci (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Power of the Dog

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (E)

5. No Time to Die (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

7. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Last Duel (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Cyrano (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Matrix Resurrections

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 2) (E)

3. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 3) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Free Guy (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Eternals (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Finch (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Spider-Man: Far From Home (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Suicide Squad (PR: 10) (E)

And that equates to the following pictures nabbing these numbers in terms of nominations:

10 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast

8 Nominations

Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

Spencer

5 Nominations

King Richard, Licorice Pizza

4 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

3 Nominations

Flee, House of Gucci

2 Nominations

Cruella, Cyrano, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Humans, The Lost Daughter, Mass, No Time to Die

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, C’Mon C’Mon, Drive My Car, Godzilla vs. Kong, A Hero, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Passing, The Rescue, Respect, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Summer of Soul, Tick, Tick… Boom!, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actress Race

The Oscar race for Best Actress takes center stage in my latest rundown of where the major competitions stand in early November. If you missed my posts covering lead actor and the supporting categories, they can accessed right here:

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actor Race

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actress Race

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actor Race

As I have with the others, let’s start with my track record during the same time period from 2019 and 2020. Two years ago, I somehow had all five nominated actresses forecasted correctly with two months to go: winner Renee Zellweger as Judy in addition to Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), and Charlize Theron (Bombshell). For 2020, it was three: gold recipient Frances McDormand for Nomadland and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman). Both Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) were listed in Other Possibilities.

In 2021, we already have a strong frontrunner and that’s Kristin Stewart in Spencer. Playing the high profile role of Princess Diana, Ms. Stewart is practically guaranteed to nab her first nod after plenty of critically appreciated post Twilight turns. She’s a serious threat to win and Stewart has been atop my chart ever since the picture screened back in September at the Venice Film Festival.

Her biggest competition could come from an as yet unseen performance – Lady Gaga in House of Gucci. Judging from the trailers alone, her part seems like the kind of bait that would cause Academy voters to bite. If so, the pop superstar would receive her second nomination three years after her breakout cinematic role with A Star Is Born. 

After that, there’s a lengthy list of hopefuls for the three remaining slots. When The Eyes of Tammy Faye premiered on the festival circuit, it was a given that Jessica Chastain would make the cut. I still think she will, but the pic’s barely existent box office numbers are reason for some uncertainty.

Screenings were also kind to Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter and that momentum could result in her third inclusion in the last four years after a 2018 Actress victory for The Favourite and a supporting nod for last year’s The Father. 

Colman isn’t the only actress from a Netflix offering eyeing the prize. There’s Tessa Thompson in Passing, Jennifer Lawrence in Don’t Look Up, Sandra Bullock for The Unforgivable, and Halle Berry with Bruised. All could factor in. Other than Thompson (her costar Ruth Negga stands a greater chance in supporting), the three others have yet to be unveiled. The streamer may have to pick and choose whose campaigns they go all in with.

There’s other possibilities in the unseen column where the buzz will shortly materialize: Cate Blanchett for Nightmare Alley, Alana Haim in Licorice Pizza, Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball with Being the Ricardos, and Rachel Zegler (West Side Story). At press time, I only have Kidman in the top ten but that could change as soon as reviews start posting.

As for pictures that have been available for awhile, I feel Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur’s supporting parts in CODA are more likely to be recognized than lead Emilia Jones. Renate Reinsve will have her share of supporters for The Worst Person in the World, but its best chance lies with an International Feature Film nomination. Bad financial returns could negatively impact Jodie Comer for The Last Duel, though I will note that a number of prognosticators have her in.

For the fifth spot, I currently see three performances with roughly equal chances. Frances McDormand took the prize last year and that might make the Academy think twice about putting her up again for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Penelope Cruz is just on the outside looking in for Parallel Mothers. That leaves me with Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in Respect. Even though the film received mixed reviews and so-so box office, praise for the Supporting Actress winner in 2006’s Dreamgirls was universal. Voters may have to think all the way back to summer to include her but I do believe it’s feasible.

And with that, here’s my standings:

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 3)

3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 7)

7. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6)

8. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 8)

9. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10)

10. Tessa Thompson, Passing (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Now that the acting derbies are wrapped, I’ll have Best Director up next!

2021 Oscar Predictions: October 27th Edition

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune hit box office expectations this past weekend and I’m more confident than ever that it makes the Best Picture ten. Belfast still maintains the #1 slot in Picture and I nearly put its maker Kenneth Branagh in the same spot in Director. Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog) is hanging on by a thread as I also believe Villeneuve could be rewarded for his technical bravura behind the camera.

Per usual, I’ve made a change in the #5 rank in Actor – swapping out Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!) for Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon). It was a good week for the upcoming Phoenix comedic drama as it reenters Original Screenplay over Spencer.

You can read all the latest activity below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Dune (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (-2)

6. Licorice Pizza (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. House of Gucci (PR: 8) (E)

9. Spencer (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Mass (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Flee (PR: 14) (+1)

14. CODA (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 13) (-2)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 6) (E)

7. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Julia Ducournau, Titane (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out: Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6)

7. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)

5. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 9) (E)

10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 4) (E)

5. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Martha Plimpton, Mass

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: 9) (E)

10. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Parallel Mothers (PR: 9) (E)

10. A Hero (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Humans (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. House of Gucci (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Dune (PR: 8) (+1)

8. West Side Story (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Passing (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Last Duel (PR: 10) (E)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Encanto (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 3) (E)

4. Luca (PR: 2) (E)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Summit of the Gods (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Where Is Anne Frank (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Vivo (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 2) (E)

3. Flee (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Hand of God (PR: 4) (+2)

5. Titane (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Drive My Car (PR: 5) (-1)

7. I’m Your Man (PR: 7) (E)

8. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Great Freedom (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Memoria (PR: 10) (E)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Attica (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. President (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Ascension (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The First Wave (PR: 6) (-3)

10. The Velvet Underground (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Ailey

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Belfast (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Power of the Dog (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. The French Dispatch (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Last Duel (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cyrano

C’Mon C’Mon

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Cruella (PR: 3) (+1)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Dune (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (E)

8. Cyrano (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (+3)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+1)

5. West Side Story (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (+1)

8. King Richard (PR: 7) (-1)

9. House of Gucci (PR: 9) (E)

10. Spencer (PR: 10) (E)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. Spencer (PR: 3) (E)

4. Cruella (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Green Knight (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Last Duel (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Licorice Pizza (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cyrano

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Spencer (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (-1)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Belfast (PR: 7) (E)

8. King Richard (PR: 10) (-2)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Look Up

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” from Encanto (PR: 3) (E)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 8) (+2)

7. “Believe” from The Rescue (PR: 7) (E)

8. “Every Letter” from Cyrano (PR: 5) (-3)

9. “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days (PR: 9) (E)

10. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Beyond the Shore” from CODA

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (E)

5. Cyrano (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Belfast (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Spencer (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 5) (+1)

5. No Time to Die (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Last Duel (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 7) (-1)

9. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Look Up

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Eternals (PR: 2) (-4)

7. Free Guy (PR: 7) (E)

8. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Green Knight (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Suicide Squad (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Finch

This adds up to these pictures nabbing the following numbers in terms of nominations:

10 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast

8 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

Nightmare Alley

5 Nominations

House of Gucci, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Spencer, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

3 Nominations

Flee, The French Dispatch, Mass

2 Nominations

C’Mon C’Mon, Cruella, Cyrano, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The Humans, No Time to Die, Respect

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, Don’t Look Up, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, A Hero, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, The Rescue  Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Summer of Soul, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

October 22-24 Box Office Predictions

Arriving a year after its COVID delay is Denis Villeneuve’s version of the sci-fi epic Dune along with the animated Ron’s Gone Wrong. The latter will try to keep the October box office hot streak rolling along with the latter attempting to bring in family audiences. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Dune Box Office Prediction

Ron’s Gone Wrong Box Office Prediction

We have had three weekends in a row with newcomers premiering at over $50 million or darn close. Dune could fall right in that range. A potential drawback could be its simultaneous availability on HBO Max. However, I do believe enough viewers are aware that it should be seen on the biggest screen possible. I have it in the low 40s, but as Venom and Halloween Kills have shown us, the chance of over performing is certainly there for the taking.

As for Ron’s Gone Wrong, it has the disadvantage of not being based on known IP. Reviews are decent yet I have it placing fifth and under $10 million.

Halloween Kills exceeded most estimates (more on that below). Its 2018 predecessor fell 59% in its sophomore frame with a B+ Cinemascore average. The sequel has a B- and I envision it dropping in the high 60s range. No Time to Die could see around 50% decline in its third outing while Venom: Let There Be Carnage may see only a dip in the low 40s to mid 40s.

And with that, my top 5 take on the weekend ahead:

1. Dune

Predicted Gross: $42.8 million

2. Halloween Kills

Predicted Gross: $15.4 million

3. No Time to Die

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

4. Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Predicted Gross: $9.5 million

5. Ron’s Gone Wrong

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

Box Office Results (October 15-17)

Haddonfield wasn’t the only place where Michael Myers made a killing over the weekend as Halloween Kills premiered at the highest end of projections. The $49.4 million start slashed my $41.2 million prediction. Its simultaneous release on Peacock didn’t appear to make much of a difference. That’s no huge surprise considering the streamer’s membership is minuscule compared to Netflix, HBO Max, and others. While the Kills gross is far under the $76 million achieved by Halloween in 2018, this is still a big win for Universal.

No Time to Die slipped to second with $23.7 million, a bit below my $25.8 million take. The 25th Bond adventure stands at $99 million. While its overseas earnings are pleasing, Daniel Craig’s swan song isn’t quite hitting the anticipated target stateside.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage was third with $16.5 million (I said $14.1 million) and it’s up to $168 million.

The Addams Family 2 had the best hold of all in fourth with $7 million, in range with my $6.6 million projection for $42 million total.

Finally, despite mostly solid reviews, Ridley Scott’s medieval tale The Last Duel with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jodie Comer, and Adam Driver received little good will from moviegoers. It bombed hard with only $4.7 million in fifth. That’s a far cry from my estimate of $10.4 million. Duel is further proof that adult themed product is having a difficult time getting the intended demographic to the multiplex.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…