2020 BAFTAs: The Nomadland Train Keeps Rolling

The road for Nomadland to Best Picture coronation at the Oscars keeps rolling today thanks to the BAFTAs (the United Kingdom’s version of the Academy Awards). Meanwhile, the Actor and Actress derbies got a bit more interesting while the supporting players continued its recent narrative.

Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland won Best Film and Director in what has become a common theme. However, Frances McDormand’s victory in Actress is her first major precursor in an Oscar race that has truly become a tossup. To break it down, the four significant precursors have all produced different results: McDormand for BAFTA, Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) at SAG, Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) at Critics Choice, and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) at the Globes. Bottom line: it’s going to be quite a chore to make a final predictions for the Academy’s ceremony two weeks from today.

Chadwick Boseman’s work in Ma Rainey had swept all the precursors, but that was interrupted this afternoon by Anthony Hopkins in The Father. This is not a huge upset since Hopkins is British royalty. Yet it does establish him as the surefire runner-up to Boseman and a potential threat.

The supporting races followed the SAG path with Yuh-jung Youn (Minari) in Supporting Actress and Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) continuing his sweep in Supporting Actor. Both can be considered favorites at the Oscars (especially the latter).

In the screenplay competition, The Father took Adapted over Nomadland in what could be a two picture race in two weeks. Promising Young Woman took Original honors (besting The Trial of the Chicago 7, which came up empty across the pond). Promising also took home Best British Film.

Unlike the other precursors, the BAFTAs cover most of the down ticket categories and I’ll simply say that all the victors below stand decent to very strong chances at repeating at the Oscars:

Animated Film: Soul

Documentary: My Octopus Teacher

Film Not in the English Language: Another Round

Cinematography: Nomadland

Costume Design: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Editing: Sound of Metal

Makeup & Hair: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Original Score: Soul

Production Design: Mank

Sound: Sound of Metal

Special Visual Effects: Tenet

My final Oscar predictions will be before you know it! Stay tuned…

Oscars 2020: The Case of Leslie Odom Jr.

Leslie Odom, Jr.’s performance as crooner Sam Cooke in One Night in Miami is my third writeup for Supporting Actor contenders at the Oscars. If you missed my first two covering Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7) and Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), you can find them here:

Oscars 2020: The Case of Sacha Baron Cohen

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/07/oscars-2020-the-case-of-daniel-kaluuya/

The Case for Leslie Odom, Jr.:

It was a sterling 2020 for the performer with his critically hailed work as Cooke in Regina King’s Amazon Prime drama. This is in addition to reminding viewers of his heralded take on Aaron Burr in Hamilton (which drew new viewers in its Disney+ filmed version). He’s managed mentions in all the significant precursors (BAFTA, Globes, SAG, Critics Choice).

The Case Against Leslie Odom, Jr.:

This category has a major frontrunner with Daniel Kaluuya, who has cleaned up in the precursor action. Miami also fell short of expectations on Oscar morning by missing an anticipated Best Picture nod and recognition for King.

The Verdict

Anyone not named Daniel Kaluuya is not expected to make a trip to the podium this year.

My Case Of posts will continue with Thomas Vinterberg’s direction of Another Round…

Oscars 2020: The Case of Daniel Kaluuya

The second contest in the Supporting Actor field is up next in my Case Of posts for the Oscars and that’s Daniel Kaluuya for Judas and the Black Messiah. If you missed my first post covering Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7, it can be read here:

Oscars 2020: The Case of Sacha Baron Cohen

The Case for Daniel Kaluuya

Ever since the trailer came out months ago for Judas, it was clear that Kaluuya’s performance as Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton could be something special. When it was confirmed that he would compete in Supporting Actor, it was pretty much assumed he was an automatic hopeful. That buzz has only grown louder as Kaluuya (a previous nominee in Best Actor for 2017’s Get Out) has swept this race in the major precursors: Globes, SAG, and Critics Choice.

The Case Against Daniel Kaluuya

Perhaps the biggest surprise on Oscar nomination morning was Kaluuya’s costar Lakeith Stanfield garnering a nod here (especially since Warner Bros campaigned for him in the lead competition). So there’s always the chance that the two could cancel some of each other’s votes.

The Verdict

The vote splitting dilemma certainly didn’t hurt Sam Rockwell three years ago alongside Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It’s highly unlikely to hurt Kaluuya either as he feels like the safest pick in the four acting derbies.

My Case Of posts will continue with David Fincher’s direction of Mank…

2020 SAG Awards Reaction

The 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards took place this evening in an abridged pre-taped hourlong ceremony. So how did this prognosticator do and what does it mean for the Oscars coming up in three weeks?

Well, I went 3/5 on my picks and missed Outstanding Ensemble and Actress. The Trial of the Chicago 7 won the former while I picked Minari. The Trial victory is not a surprise, but I’m not so sure it provides a Best Picture boost over frontrunner Nomadland (which wasn’t nominated here).

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom had a strong evening after missing out on a Best Picture nod at the Oscars. Chadwick Boseman, as projected, continued his sweep in Actor. The surprise came with Viola Davis taking Actress over my selection of Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman).

The Best Actress derby at the Academy Awards is now a bit of a mystery. Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday, who wasn’t on SAG’s list) took the Golden Globe. Mulligan won the Critics Choice. And now Davis at SAG. And I still wouldn’t rule out Frances McDormand for Nomadland. 

I did correctly pick both supporting categories. Daniel Kaluuya was named Supporting Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah and he’s a heavy favorite three weeks from now.

The Supporting Actress race has been far more of a challenge to figure out. Yuh-jung Youn (Minari) took the SAG and it could be argued she’s now a soft frontrunner with the Academy (though the race could certainly still go in a different direction).

As for what’s next for my Oscar forecasting, look for final predictions around April 21st or April 22nd!

Oscars 2020: The Case of Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen’s work as antiwar activist Abbie Hoffman in Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 is my first Case Of post for the five contenders in Best Supporting Actor:

The Case for Sacha Baron Cohen:

The comedic performer had a high profile and acclaimed 2020. In addition to his dramatic role here, Cohen received many accolades for his buzzy sequel Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Sorkin’s Netflix pic showcased his chops outside of what he’s best known for and Academy voters could take notice.

The Case Against Sacha Baron Cohen:

Trial‘s chances at winning in the major categories has waned in recent months. In this particular race, Daniel Kaluuya’s performance in Judas and the Black Messiah has swept the significant precursors and he’s become a strong frontrunner for the Oscar.

The Verdict

Cohen’s Borat costar Maria Bakalova stands a much better chance at taking Supporting Actress. He had a great year, but it’s unlikely to culminate with a trip to the Oscar stage.

My Case Of posts will continue with Emerald Fennell’s direction for Promising Young Woman

2020 SAG Awards Winner Predictions

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards airs this Easter Sunday evening in an abridged hour long ceremony and, as usual, it could carry significant Oscar implications as to who the frontrunners truly are. That means it’s time for me to put my forecasting hat on and give it my best shot with predictions.

Let’s break it down category by category, shall we? I’ll provide my runner-up selection as well.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Nominees: Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Minari, One Night in Miami, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Analysis: Interestingly, the last two films in the big race (Black Panther, Parasite) won without a single nomination in the individual acting races. That had only happened two times previously between 1995-2017 with 1997’s The Full Monty and 2003’s Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. That will not happen for 2020’s selections as all five have at least one performer contending in a separate category.

However, in a rare occurrence, only two of the five ensembles here landed a Best Picture nomination from the Academy. Those are Minari and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Only once in SAG’s history has a movie emerged victorious here without a BP Oscar nod (1996’s The Birdcage). This serves as my annual reminder that SAG picks the best cast and not the best movie.

Truth be told, Da 5 Bloods is the only pic that I believe has little chance at winning here. Yet Ma Rainey and Miami are likely at a disadvantage due to precedent. That leaves us with Minari and Trial. The latter has seen its Oscar momentum stalled in recent weeks, but its sprawling cast could finally get the major precursor victory that it’s been missing. I’m tempted to pick it and it might be the safe choice.

Minari, on the other hand, has gained steamed recently and emerged as a potential upset winner at the Oscars against Nomadland (as has Promising Young Woman, which missed here). I’m choosing to go with the picture with the hotter hand.

Predicted Winner: Minari

Runner-Up: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees: Amy Adams (Hillbilly Elegy), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

Analysis: The Golden Globe winner in this category (Andra Day for The United States vs. Billie Holiday) isn’t featured here. Therefore we can take a precursor sweep off the table for Best Actress. Adams is the sole nominee without an Oscar nomination so she’s out of contention. Mulligan has the Critics Choice Award and is looked at as the prohibitive favorite from the Academy. She’s the most likely SAG winner. Davis and McDormand could upset, but I’m relatively confident with this pick.

Predicted Winner: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Runner-Up: Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank), Steven Yeun (Minari)

Analysis: There’s a five for five match here with the Academy, but I find this SAG lineup to be a bit more complicated due to other factors. While Boseman has taken the Globes and Critics Choice, his nod in Supporting Actor with the actors guild for Da 5 Bloods (if he wins there) opens the door for either Ahmed or Hopkins. That wouldn’t totally shock me, but it’s hard to predict against Boseman and I won’t.

Predicted Winner: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Runner-Up: Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), Yuh-jung Youn (Minari), Helena Zengel (News of the World)

Analysis: Now this is a tough one. The Supporting Actress derby in the precursors has been a true head scratcher. Like in Best Actress, Golden Globe winner Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian) is nowhere to be found (she missed at the Oscars too). Colman and Zengel are the two performers who are highly unlikely to take the prize. This is a genuine three person race between Bakalova, Close, and Youn. Bakalova seems to have momentum with a recent Critics Choice victory. SAG could certainly opt for Close’s baity role (the fact that they nominated her costar Amy Adams lends credence to that). Youn is without a major precursor, but Minari‘s upswing could sweep her in.

Simply put, I’ve very torn here. With Close, the Academy’s narrative for a win is that she’s without an Oscar and is looked at as overdue. SAG, on the other hand, has bestowed trophies for her twice including just two years ago for The Wife. Bakalova has the disadvantage of being in a comedy, but that hindrance may not matter much in this wide open field. I’m left with buying the Minari momentum for Youn. However, I can’t stress enough how feasible a win is for all three actresses.

Predicted Winner: Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

Runner-Up: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods), Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Jared Leto (The Little Things), Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami)

Analysis: This one is far simpler than Supporting Actress as Kaluuya has racked up the Globe and Critics Choice and is the heavy favorite. The only wrinkle, as mentioned above, is if SAG voters decide to honor Boseman here instead of in Best Actor. It probably won’t happen, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

Predicted Winner: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Runner-Up: Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods

And there you have it! I’ll have reaction up on Sunday evening. Until then…

 

Oscars 2020: The Case of The Trial of the Chicago 7

My Case Of posts for the 8 Best Picture nominees concludes with Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7. If you missed the previous seven entries on the other contenders, you can peruse them here:

Oscars 2020: The Case of The Father

Oscars 2020: The Case of Judas and the Black Messiah

Oscars 2020: The Case of Mank

Oscars 2020: The Case of Minari

Oscars 2020: The Case of Nomadland

Oscars 2020: The Case of Promising Young Woman

Oscars 2020: The Case of Sound of Metal

The Case for The Trial of the Chicago 7:

When the Netflix drama began streaming in October, Sorkin’s sophomore directorial effort became an immediate player in the Oscar discussion and was considered a soft frontrunner for weeks. Along with The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, and Sound of Metal, it scored six nominations. This is also the kind of effort that seems tailor-made for Academy attention. Sorkin is already a gold winner for his 2010 screenplay for The Social Network.

The Case Against The Trial of the Chicago 7:

Well… it’s grown recently. Trial couldn’t manage a Golden Globe or Critics Choice victory over Nomadland, which has become the favorite. In fact, all of its major nominations appear in jeopardy. Sacha Baron Cohen’s chances in Supporting Actor are behind Daniel Kaluuya’s for Judas and the Black Messiah. Original Screenplay seems iffy with Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman surging. Perhaps most notably, Sorkin missed the cut in Best Director.

The Verdict

While other nominees like Minari, Promising Young Woman, and Sound of Metal have gained momentum in recent weeks, Trial appears to be going in the opposite direction. There is a legitimate chance that it walks away with zero wins come Oscar night (Film Editing might be its best hope). I wouldn’t completely count out its chances to take Best Picture, but its prospects have undoubtedly dwindled.

My Case Of posts for Best Picture have wrapped up, but now it’s time for the directing and acting players. That begins with Lee Isaac Chung for Minari and that will be posted tomorrow…

Oscars 2020: The Case of Minari

My Case of posts for the Best Picture nominees of 2020 continues with fourth entry Minari. If you missed my previous takes on The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, and Mank, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/16/oscars-2020-the-case-of-the-father/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/17/oscars-2020-the-case-of-judas-and-the-black-messiah/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/18/oscars-2020-the-case-of-mank/

Let’s get to the Sundance sensation!

The Case for Minari

Like its fellow nominees The Father and Promising Young Woman, this American drama about Korean immigrants burst onto the awards scene early in 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival. Minari won the festival’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award and has developed staying power throughout the season. On Oscar nomination morning, it tied five other pics with six nods. That includes Director (Lee Isaac Chung), Actor (Steven Yeun), Supporting Actress (Yuh-jung Youn), Original Screenplay, and Score. This is exactly the kind of feel-good crowd pleaser that could be a trendy upset pick over a frontrunner like Nomadland and its stock has seemed to rise in recent weeks.

The Case Against Minari

As mentioned, there is a frontrunner. Additionally, only one Best Picture recipient in nearly four decades missed a Film Editing nod (2014’s Birdman and that was for good reason) so Minari would be seriously going against tradition in that sense.

The Verdict

Minari could go two ways on Oscar evening. This could end up being embraced by voters, following Sundance’s lead with a Picture win and others down the line (Supporting Actress certainly seems doable). Or it could end up going 0 for 6. The latter is more likely, but distributor A24 has done a remarkable job keeping this as an outside contender.

My Case Of posts will continue with Nomadland…

Oscars 2020: The Case of Mank

David Fincher’s Mank marks my third Case Of post weighing the pros and cons of the Best Picture contenders. If you missed my takes on The Father and Judas and the Black Messiah, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/16/oscars-2020-the-case-of-the-father/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/17/oscars-2020-the-case-of-judas-and-the-black-messiah/

The Case For Mank

With 10 nominations, the Netflix pic easily leads the field in terms of nominations. In fact, it has four more nods than anything else as there are six movies with six mentions. Hollywood loves stories about itself and Fincher is rightfully seen as overdue for Oscar recognition (his previous nominated features are The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network).

The Case Against Mank

Leading the pack isn’t much of a designation when it comes to the ceremony itself. Only three times in the previous decade did the film with the most nominations (or tied for most nods) win Best Picture (2010’s The King’s Speech, 2014’s Birdman, 2017’s The Shape of Water). While the pic managed nominations for Director, Gary Oldman for Actor (winner three years ago for Darkest Hour), and first time contender Amanda Seyfried in Supporting Actress, it missed major races that usually bode well for a Picture win. The most notable omissions are Original Screenplay (for the director’s late father Jack Fincher) and Film Editing. Of the 8 nominees, its 83% Rotten Tomatoes rating is the lowest of the bunch.

The Verdict

You may have noticed the case against Mank is a higher word count than the case for. That’s because Mank, despite its numbers, is an unlikely hopeful for any category besides Production Design.

My Case Of posts will continue with Minari…

Oscars 2020: The Case of Judas and the Black Messiah

My Case Of posts for the eight Best Picture players arrives at alphabetical entry #2 and that’s Judas and the Black Messiah. If you missed my entry for The Father, you can find it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/16/oscars-2020-the-case-of-the-father/

The Case for Judas and the Black Messiah

Like The Father, this Warner Bros/HBO Max drama performed quite well on nomination morning with 6 mentions. In addition to the big race, Judas has two nods in Supporting Actor with Daniel Kaluuya (garnering his second nom after Get Out) and Lakeith Stanfield. Kaluuya is considered the frontrunner. It also got an Original Screenplay slot, which is usually key to serious BP contention. This was one of the later entries in the expanded Oscar calendar (arriving in mid February in theaters and streaming). Voters clearly like what they saw.

The Case Against Judas and the Black Messiah

Also like The Father, Judas missed in some races that usually coincide with a BP victory. Most notable is Best Director (where first timer Shaka King was left out) and Best Film Editing. It also failed to nab a Drama nomination at the Golden Globes.

The Verdict

Judas clearly came on strong late with the Academy, but its misses in significant races and previous precursors make Judas a long shot to win it all.

My Case Of posts will continue with Mank…