2023 Oscar Predictions: March Edition (Best Actor)

My wildly early first look at the major categories for next year’s Oscars continues with Best Actor! If you missed my posts covering the supporting derbies, they are linked at the bottom.

Quite honestly, I had a hard time shrinking this list down to 15. Leaving out possible contenders such as Benedict Cumberbatch (The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar), Adam Driver (Ferrari), or Michael Fassbender (The Killer or Next Goal Wins) felt odd. Even Matt Damon for Air (out next weekend) is a legit hopeful. There’s plenty of others I could name.

It is worth pointing out that my inaugural projections for 2022 correctly placed eventual winner Brendan Fraser (The Whale) in the top five while Austin Butler (Elvis) and Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) were both mentioned in Other Possibilities.

A final note (and there’s no great to broach this) is that I likely would’ve had Jonathan Majors (Magazine Dreams) in my quintet instead of in Other Possibilities a week ago. However, his weekend arrest obviously complicates the matter and throws any potential campaign into disarray.

Here’s the premiere forecast for ’23 and Best Actress is up next.

TODD’S MARCH 2023 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST ACTOR

Kingsley Ben-Adir, Untitled Bob Marley Movie

Bradley Cooper, Maestro

Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon

Mike Faist, Challengers

Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer

Other Possibilities:

Colman Domingo, Rustin

Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers

Ryan Gosling, Barbie

Andre Holland, The Actor

Anthony Hopkins, Freud’s Last Session

Barry Keoghan, Saltburn

Jonathan Majors, Magazine Dreams

Charles Melton, May December

Joaquin Phoenix, Napoleon

Lakeith Stanfield, The Book of Clarence

Best Picture 2020: The Final Five

We have reached 2020 in my posts speculating on a specific piece of Oscar history. As awards followers are aware, 2009 saw the Academy expand the Best Picture category from five movies to ten. That lasted for two years and in 2011, it switched to anywhere from 5-10 with 8 or 9 as the magic numbers for several years. In 2021, the number reverted back to a set ten.

What if that hadn’t happened? What if the BP derby had stayed at a quintet? What pictures would have made the cut?

2020 is a tricky year to consider. As we all know, it was a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us were working from home and theaters were essentially shuttered for the majority of the year.

Beyond the challenging, tragic, and unprecedented news events of 2020, it was just a strange year for motion pictures. Eight pictures contended for the big prize. I have the leading nominee (with 10) missing the BP cut. The next most nominated film had 6 mentions… and there’s 6 of them. The other BP contender had 5.

My point? Whittling these 8 down to 5 is not easy. Considering it took BP, Director (Chloe Zhao, the second female ever to win), and Actress (Frances McDormand), we can safely reserve a spot for Nomadland. As for the rest? Let’s get into it!

The Father

Florian Zeller’s devastasting drama about Alzheimer’s missed a nod in Director, but Anthony Hopkins landed his second Actor statue over the late Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, who was the frontrunner. Zeller did win Adapted Screenplay and this was also up for Supporting Actress (Olivia Colman), Film Editing, and Production Design.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Its two wins not only give me confidence of its inclusion in a quintet, but it could be argued this was runner-up to Nomadland.

Judas and the Black Messiah

Daniel Kaluuya won Supporting Actor for his performance as Fred Hampton in Shaka King’s historical drama. Costar Lakeith Stanfield was up in the same race and it was nominated for Original Screenplay and Cinematography. A second statue was given to H.E.R. for her original song “Fight for You”.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No but I certainly struggled with this one. The lack of directing and editing noms have it on the outside looking in.

Mank

This is where it gets complicated. David Fincher’s jaded Netflix aired look at Old Hollywood easily led the program with 10 mentions and it won Cinematography and Production Design. Fincher was also in contention for his behind the camera work. Other nods went to Gary Oldman for Actor, Amanda Seyfried in Supporting Actress, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, and Sound.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Surprisingly enough… I’m saying no. Despite the haul, it is the only one of the 8 nominees not up for screenplay. Furthermore the Film Editing omission feels significant. It certainly isn’t normal to project the leader not making the final five. However, rules are meant to be broken.

Minari

Lee Isaac Chung also garnered a directing spot in that quintet while Youn yuh-Jung was the Supporting Actress recipient in this family drama. Other nods: Actor (Steven Yeun), Original Screenplay, and Original Score.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes though I went back and forth. This seemed to gather strength as the season wore on and not just with yuh-Jung. I think it squeaks in.

Promising Young Woman

Emerald Fennell was up for director and won Adapted Screenplay for this revenge dramedy. Carey Mulligan made the Actress cut (and may have been second to McDormand) and it was in for Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. The victory in Adapted Screenplay over four other BP hopefuls helps solidify that decision.

Sound of Metal

The impressive haul for the indie drama is Riz Ahmed in Actor, Paul Raci in Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, and wins in Film Editing and Sound.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes though I again went back and forth. While director Darius Marder was left out, it’s the Editing and Sound combo that give it an edge over the three that got left out.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

7‘s six nods came (in addition to BP) in Supporting Actor (Sacha Baron Cohen), Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, and Original Song. The Aaron Sorkin political drama is the only BP vier not to take home a single trophy.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No though I struggled again. This Netflix pic undoubtedly didn’t match awards expectations after it was once seen as the on paper favorite. The 0 for 6 performance make it easier to elevate some of the others.

And there you have it. That means my 2020 vision of the Final Five is:

The Father

Minari

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

2021 will be be up soon! If you missed my entries covering 2009-19, you can find them here:

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actor Race

With two months to go for 2022 releases to make their mark with awards voters, it’s a opportune time to assess the six major Oscar races. That would be Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies.

It begins with Supporting Actor. Over the past couple of years, this has been the category that’s confounded me the most during this juncture in the calendar.

That was a different story three years ago. In late October of 2019, I correctly identified 4 out of the eventual 5 nominees. This included winner Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as well as Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), and Al Pacino (The Irishman). The other nominee – Joe Pesci for The Irishman – was in my #6 spot.

For the unpredictable year that was 2020 (due to constantly shifting release dates because of COVID), I only named 2 of the 5 hopefuls two months out – Sacha Baron Cohen for The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Leslie Odom Jr. for One Night in Miami. I still had eventual victor Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) projected for lead actor until the studio announced him for supporting.

In 2021, I made a point to say that the Supporting Actor derby was wide open in late October. And that was evidenced in my only identifying 1 of the eventual Supporting Actor quintet in the Halloween time frame – Ciaran Hinds in Belfast. I had Troy Kotsur (CODA), who would take the gold statue, in 10th place. Bradley Cooper (Licorice Pizza) was in first place and he missed out. Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog), who made the cut, was in 8th place. His costar Jesse Plemons and J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos) weren’t listed at all.

Which brings us to 2022 and at this spooky time of year, I would say this competition is up in the air with no obvious frontrunner. 12 months ago, however, I couldn’t have imagined I’d kick off the speculation with this sentence…

The Supporting Actor discussion starts with Ke Huy Quan.

The 51-year-old actor belongs in the mid 80s cinematic Hall of Fame with his turns as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data in The Goonies. His return to acting in Everything Everywhere All at Once has been met with raves. It’s also undeniable that his win would be a heckuva Academy narrative nearly 40 years after his iconic child performances. I’ve had him listed in first place for weeks and that remains.

In four of the last five years, we’ve witnessed double nominees in Supporting Actor. Last year it was the aforementioned Smit-McPhee and Plemons for The Power of the Dog. In 2020, we had the winner Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah and his costar Lakeith Stanfield. 2019’s Irishman double duo was Pacino and Pesci. Five years ago, it was Sam Rockwell (who won) and Woody Harrelson for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Martin McDonagh directed Billboards and his follow-up is The Banshees of Inisherin. Brendan Gleeson has sat in the #2 position for several prediction posts in a row. He’s a threat to take the prize. I believe his costar Barry Keoghan may also get in.

Banshees is not the only viable option for double nominees. Ke Huy Quan’s Doom maker Steven Spielberg has The Fabelmans. Before it screened at the Toronto Film Festival, we wondered whether Paul Dano or Seth Rogen (or both) would be the likely nominee(s). Post screening, scene (just one scene) stealer Judd Hirsch bubbled up while Rogen’s viability dwindled. Dano’s work is understated and certainly not as flashy as Hirsch’s brief turn. That leads me to put Hirsch in with Dano on the outside looking in. I’ll admit it’s a coin flip.

Damien Chazelle’s Babylon screens for critics in two weeks. There’s a trio of possibilities with Brad Pitt, Jovan Adepo, and Tobey Maguire. I’ve had Pitt in my 5 previously. It’s fair to speculate whether his recent tabloid headlines could hinder him. We’ll know more once reviews roll in.

Ben Whishaw in Women Talking is a trendy selection and for good reason. I’m not completely sold as voters could opt to focus only on his female cast members Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley (and maybe others) in Supporting Actress. Yet it feels wrong to keep him out right now.

You have to go back to 2013 to find the last time the five contenders all came from Best Picture nominees. I’m not wild about the fact that my projections currently do. There’s a few names that could get in from movies I’m not putting in BP list. We have Eddie Redmayne in The Good Nurse, Brian Tyree Henry for Causeway, Jeremy Strong or Anthony Hopkins in Armageddon Time, Mark Rylance in Bones and All, Micheal Ward in Empire of Light, Don Cheadle in White Noise, and Tom Hanks in Elvis. Of that group, I’m starting to flirt with the idea of Rylance being the guy. He scored an upset win here with Bridge of Spies in 2015 over Sylvester Stallone in Creed and Bones has its ardent admirers. I wouldn’t discount the Redmayne pick as he’s a Best Actor winner in 2014 for The Theory of Everything who was nominated again the following year with The Danish Girl. If Elvis manages a BP nod (not out of the question), this would increase the inclusion of Hanks. I do have Triangle of Sadness in my BP ten and that could mean a third nomination for Woody Harrelson.

Bottom line: I feel pretty confident about Ke Huy Quan and Brendan Gleeson. Everything everywhere else is up in the air.

With that said, here’s my state of the race:

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 6) (+2)

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

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 7) (E)

8. Mark Rylance, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Eddie Redmayne, The Good Nurse (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway

Tom Hanks, Elvis

My deep dive with the Supporting Actress field is next!

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 21st Edition

So I wasn’t planning to do a new predictions post just five days after the last one, but a lot can change in five days! When I made those previous picks, I was sitting in my hotel room in Toronto getting ready to return to United States. On this inaugural trip to the festival, I saw awards hopefuls including The Fabelmans, Women Talking, The Whale, The Banshees of Inisherin, Empire of Light, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and The Son. 

The headline this afternoon is a shocker that’s resulted in universal confusion. Michelle Williams, considered to be a lock for Supporting Actress, will be campaigned for in lead Actress by Universal Pictures. I am doubly surprised because, having seen the film, there would be zero controversy with her in the supporting field. In fact, I would say it is more of a supporting performance than lead. Furthermore, a Williams victory seemed likely in the race she won’t be in. Best Actress is an entirely different ball game with Cate Blanchett (Tar), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Margot Robbie (Babylon), and Olivia Colman (Empire of Light). Nevertheless I’ll slot Williams in third place and she knocks out Danielle Deadwyler for the as yet unseen Till. There’s another dynamic potentially at play. Two years ago, Lakeith Stanfield was being touted in Best Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah. The Academy went ahead and nominated him in Supporting Actor. Don’t discount the idea that this could happen with Williams though I won’t predict that.

This Williams news isn’t the only unexpected developments of the week. RRR, RMN, and Godland were all ignored by their native countries as their submissions to the International Feature Film derby. There’s reporting that India’s RRR, in particular, will get a spirited campaign for Best Picture and tech races. Yet IFF was probably its strongest chance to show up on Oscar night.

In other developments:

    • An alteration in BP as I’m putting Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave in over Empire of Light. I’ll be honest – this was basically a coin flip between Decision to Leave or All Quiet on the Western Front. This also results in Chan-wook making the director cut over Todd Field for Tar. 
    • Due to the Williams news, Claire Foy is the new #1 in Supporting Actress for Women Talking. Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere) also joins the quintet.
    • In Supporting Actor, Brad Pitt (Babylon) is back in the mix due to the removal of Micheal Ward for Empire of Light. 

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

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

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Whale (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 8) (E)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 13) (+2)

12. She Said (PR: 12) (E)

13. Empire of Light (PR: 9) (-4)

14. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 14) (E)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+1)

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

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 5) (-1)

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

8. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (E)

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

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

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Supporting Actress

4. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

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

Other Possibilities:

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

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

8. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Florence Pugh, The Wonder

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 4) (E)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

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

8. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 8) (E)

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

10. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 2) (+1)

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

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

4. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 5) (+1)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

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

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (moved to Best Actress)

Nina Hoss, Tar

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

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

4. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (+1)

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

8. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (-4)

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

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

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Babylon (PR: 4) (E)

5. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (E)

8. Bros (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Empire of Light (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Armageddon Time 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. She Said (PR: 3) (E)

4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 5) (+1)

5. White Noise (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Living (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Son (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Till (PR: Not Ranked)

10. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Bones and All 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. Wendell and Wild (PR: 6) (+3)

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

5. Strange World (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Sea Beast (PR: 5) (-1)

7. My Father’s Dragon (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Bad Guys (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Lightyear (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Minions: The Rise of Gru (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Decision to Leave (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Close (PR: 3) (E)

4. Saint Omer (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Eight Mountains (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo (PR: 6) (E)

7. Argentina, 1985 (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Holy Spider (PR: 5) (-3)

9. EO (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Plan 75 (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

RMN

RRR

Best Documentary Feature:

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

2. Descendant (PR: 2) (E)

3. Navalny (PR: 3) (E)

4. Fire of Love (PR: 4) (E)

5. Last Flight Home (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory (PR: 6) (E)

7. Black Ice (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Moonage Daydream (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Good Night Oppy (PR: 9) (E)

10. Riotsville, U.S.A. (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

All That Breathes 

Best Cinematography 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Empire of Light (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo (PR: 6) (E)

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

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 10) (+2)

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

10. Tar (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Whale

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

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

4. The Woman King (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Corsage (PR: 10) (+3)

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

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

10. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Northman 

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (E)

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Elvis (PR: 6) (E)

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

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 8) (E)

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

10. Tar (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Triangle of Sadness

Decision to Leave 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Batman (PR: 4) (E)

5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. The Woman King (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: Not Ranked)

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+1)

10. (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Blonde

The Fabelmans

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Babylon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Empire of Light (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 8) (+2)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Tar (PR: 5) (-3)

9. The Batman (PR: 9) (E)

10. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (-3)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman (PR: 5) (+2)

4. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing (PR: 4) (E)

5. “On My Way” from Marry Me (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (-3)

7. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR (PR: 7) (E)

8. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise (PR: 8) (E)

9. “Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys (PR: 9) (E)

10. “Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues (PR: 10) (E)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 4) (E)

5. Empire of Light (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (E)

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

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

9. The Batman (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Bardo (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Everything Everywhere All at Once 

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Elvis (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Batman (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Nope (PR: 9) (+1)

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

10. The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The Batman (PR: 3) (-1)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (E)

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

8. Nope (PR: 10) (+2)

9. RRR (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 9) (-1)

And this equates to these pictures garnering the following numbers of nominations:

12 Nominations

Babylon

9 Nominations

The Fabelmans 

8 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

7 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Women Talking 

6 Nominations

Top Gun: Maverick

5 Nominations

Elvis, The Whale 

4 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water, Empire of Light

3 Nominations

Decision to Leave

2 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Tar, Triangle of Sadness, Turning Red

1 Nomination

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

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jesse Plemons

My Case Of posts arrive at the third Supporting Actor contender and it’s Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog. The first two write-ups can be found here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Ciaran Hinds

Oscars 2021: The Case of Troy Kotsur

The Case for Jesse Plemons:

Having appeared in acclaimed TV and cinematic works including Breaking Bad and Fargo on the small screen and The Master, The Irishman, and Judas and the Black Messiah on the big one, Plemons scores his first Academy nod. Dog led all nominees with 13 and that includes Kirsten Dunst (the actor’s real life love interest).

The Case Against Jesse Plemons:

It also includes his costar Kodi Smit-McPhee, who’s nominated in the same category and won the Golden Globe. Despite a BAFTA mention, Plemons didn’t make the SAG, Globe, or Critics Choice shortlists. Smit-McPhee and Troy Kotsur (CODA) are looked at as the potential victors. Woody Harrelson in 2017 lost to his costar Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as did Lakeith Stranfield last year to Daniel Kaluuya for the aforementioned Judas. Plemons could play that role this time around.

Previous Nominations: 

None

The Verdict:

Plemons might be back again next year with Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Don’t look for an Oscar delivery here.

My Case Of posts will continue with Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s direction of Drive My Car

2021 Oscar Predictions: December 29th Edition

My final Oscar predictions of the calendar year brings changes in three major categories:

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car, in addition to spending its second week at #1 in International Feature Film, pulls into the top ten for Best Picture. That’s at the expense of The Tragedy of Macbeth. I toyed with the idea of removing Don’t Look Up (which has drawn wildly mixed reactions from audiences and critics). I’m keeping it in as its most vocal supporters could keep Adam McKay’s satire in the mix.

In Best Actress, I’ve had a nagging suspicion that the quintet of Kristen Stewart, Jessica Chastain, Nicole Kidman, Olivia Colman, and Lady Gaga may not be the final five. Why? Mainly because I don’t have any of their movies getting BP nods. Since the Academy expanded to 5-10 nominees in that big race, there hasn’t been a year where the acting nominees didn’t represent at least one Best Picture nominee. That was in 2009. If you still went with the previously mentioned five, it might be wise to consider Spencer or Being the Ricardos or The Lost Daughter making the 10 BP contenders. I’m not prepared to put any of that trio in at the moment. Therefore – I’m dropping Gaga and elevating Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza). It could also be Rachel Zegler (West Side Story).

I’m going with a somewhat surprise nominee (perhaps two) in Supporting Actor. I still have Bradley Cooper (Pizza) making the cut and now I’m putting in Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog). This knocks out Jamie Dornan for Belfast. Last year, we saw a shocker when Lakeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah) made the supporting five. Power‘s potency (I have it as the favorite to take BP) could sweep Plemons in along with his costar Kodi Smit-McPhee (my #1). That could be a repeat of 2020 when Daniel Kaluuya won for Judas and Stanfield was in the race.

You can read all the movement below and my predictions will continue into the new year!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Dune (PR: 3) (-2)

6. King Richard (PR: 6) (E)

7. CODA (PR: 7) (E)

8. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 8) (E)

9. Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Drive My Car (PR: 12) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

11. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 9) (-2)

12. Being the Ricardos (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Nightmare Alley (PR: 11) (-2)

14. The Lost Daughter (PR: 14) (E)

15. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

A Hero

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 3) (-1)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (E)

8. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero (PR: 9) (E)

10. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Emilia Jones, CODA (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. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 3) (E)

4. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (E)

5. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

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

5. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Rita Moreno, West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Mike Faist, West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: 7) (-2)

10. J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jason Isaacs, Mass

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 4) (E)

5. Being the Ricardos (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mass (PR: 8) (+2)

7. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 7) (E)

8. A Hero (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Parallel Mothers (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The French Dispatch (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. CODA (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. Drive My Car (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Dune (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Passing (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Last Duel (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Nightmare Alley

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Encanto (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Luca (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Belle (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Summit of the Gods (PR: 7) (E)

8. Vivo (PR: 8) (E)

9. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 9) (E)

10. Sing 2 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Where Is Anne Frank

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Drive My Car (PR: 1) (E)

2. A Hero (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 3) (E)

4. Flee (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Hand of God (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. I’m Your Man (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Prayers for the Stolen (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Great Freedom (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Lamb (PR: 10) (E)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Rescue (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 3) (E)

4. Procession (PR: 4) (E)

5. Attica (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The First Wave (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ascension (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Faya Dayi (PR: 8) (E)

9. President (PR: 7) (-2)

10. In the Same Breath (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Velvet Underground

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 4) (+1)

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

5. Belfast (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (E)

8. The French Dispatch (PR: 9) (+1)

9. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Spencer (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cruella (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. House of Gucci (PR: 4) (E)

5. Spencer (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Last Night in Soho (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (-2)

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

Dropped Out:

The French Dispatch

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (-1)

7. King Richard (PR: 7) (E)

8. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 8) (E)

9. Being the Ricardos (PR: 9) (E)

10. Last Night in Soho (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Nightmare Alley

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. House of Gucci (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (E)

4. Cruella (PR: 4) (E)

5. Coming 2 America (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Cyrano (PR: 7) (-1)

9. West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. No Time to Die (PR: 10) (E)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Spencer (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Parallel Mothers (PR: 7) (E)

8. King Richard (PR: 8) (E)

9. Encanto (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Green Knight (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Harder They Fall

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. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto (PR: 3) (E)

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

5. “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Beyond the Shore” from CODA (PR: 6) (E)

7. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: 7) (E)

8. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 9) (+1)

9. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 8) (-1)

10. “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days (PR: 10) (E)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (E)

5. Belfast (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Cyrano (PR: 10) (+3)

8. The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (E)

9. Spencer (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Cruella (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Being the Ricardos

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. No Time to Die (PR: 4) (E)

5. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 6) (E)

7. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 9) (+2)

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

9. The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Last Night in Soho (PR: 10) (E)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 3) (+1)

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

4. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 4) (E)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Free Guy (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Eternals (PR: 8) (E)

9. No Time to Die (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Black Widow (PR: 10) (E)

And this all equates to these numbers of nominations for said movies:

10 Nominations

Belfast, Dune

9 Nominations

The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

6 Nominations

Licorice Pizza

5 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, King Richard

3 Nominations

CODA, Drive My Car, Flee, Spencer, Tick, Tick… Boom!

2 Nominations

Being the Ricardos, Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, House of Gucci, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, The Tragedy of Macbeth

1 Nomination

Attica, Coming 2 America, Cyrano, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, A Hero, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Nightmare Alley, Passing, Procession, Raya and the Last Dragon, The Rescue, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Summer of Soul, The Worst Person in the World

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actor Race

Starting on the blog today, I’m taking a deeper dive into the four acting derbies at the Oscars as well as Picture and Director. It begins with Supporting Actor.

If I could use a couple words to describe this particular race – “very open” immediately comes to mind. With just two months left in the calendar year, I would go as far to say that not I’m not 100% certain on any performer discussed below making the final five. That’s rare.

Before I delve into the many hopefuls, let’s take a look at where my projections were at in 2019 and 2020 during the same time frame. Two years ago, I had already correctly pegged four of the five eventual nominees: winner Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time Hollywood), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), and Al Pacino (The Irishman). The other contender was Joe Pesci (also for The Irishman) and I had him listed at #6 in Other Possibilities. In hindsight, Supporting Actor was well on its way to being established with two months remaining in 2019.

Not so much for 2020. Last year was more difficult than perhaps any before it in figuring out who’d make the cut (much of that uncertainty was due to COVID and the constantly shifting release schedule). On November 1, 2020 – my forecasted five contenders yielded just two of the eventual nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Leslie Odom, Jr. for One Night in Miami. I still had the winner (Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah) listed for the lead Actor competition. Both Lakeith Stanfield (Judas) and Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) were not yet mentioned in Other Possibilities.

With that context, we arrive in 2021. And I would say this year looks more like the previous one as opposed to 2019. There has been one constant since I began projecting the race back in the summer: Bradley Cooper for Licorice Pizza (known as Soggy Bottom just a couple of months ago). I’ve had him listed at #1 the whole way and it’s a prediction based mostly on gut since no one has seen the picture (that’ll change shortly). Cooper is a four-time acting nominee (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, American Sniper, A Star is Born). He’s yet to take the gold. Pizza looks like it should be a juicy role for him. On the other hand, we do not yet known just how big (or small) his role is. When reviews come out, he could solidify himself as the frontrunner or drop out altogether. There’s also the possibility that one of the other supporting players (Sean Penn or Benny Safdie) could rise. For now, I’m still hangin’ with Mr. Cooper until the word-of-mouth tells me otherwise.

Shifting gears – here’s a fun fact. In three out of the last four years, we’ve seen two actors from the same movie recognized here. In 2017, it was Sam Rockwell (who won) and Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. For 2019 – you had Pacino and Pesci in The Irishman. Last year, it was the victorious Kaluuya and Stanfield for Judas.

Could that happen again? Absolutely and the best chance for that right now appears to be Belfast. A strong contender to win Best Picture, we could also see Jamie Dornan and Ciaran Hinds punch their tickets here. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it happen. Dornan seems likelier to make it in, but Hinds is getting plenty of laudatory chatter as well.

There are other scenarios to make it four out of five years and some lie with pictures still not screened. Don’t Look Up has Jonah Hill, Rob Morgan, and Mark Rylance. Willem Dafoe and David Strathairn are viable for Nightmare Alley. And then there’s Jared Leto and Al Pacino in House of Gucci. The latest trailer features the latter more than the former. That disrupts the consensus that Leto has a better shot. I’m still going with Leto above Pacino, but when Gucci screens that dynamic may shift.

The double nominee situations don’t end there. Yet they both have actors that I believe have a significantly better chance than the other. For Mass, Jason Isaacs has been in my five while Reed Birney hasn’t made the top ten in some time. After The Power of the Dog was unveiled on the festival circuit, the narrative unexpectedly shifted to Kodi Smit-McPhee having a clearer path than Jesse Plemons. The Tragedy of Macbeth buzz solidified Corey Hawkins over Brendan Gleeson (though I’m skeptical either get in).

Now is a good time to point out that it’s been ten years since a Supporting Actor winner didn’t come from a Best Picture nominee (Christopher Plummer in Beginners). That’s why I find it a stretch that Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar), Idris Elba (The Harder They Fall), or Troy Kotsur (CODA) will be making trips to the podium. They could still get in, but their paths are tougher and they will all need heavy critics awards love to make the dance. There’s been some mentions for Jeffrey Wright in The French Dispatch, but (somewhat surprisingly) no Wes Anderson directed performance has been Academy nominated and I don’t see this being the first.

One actor where an exception could occur is Richard Jenkins in The Humans. I doubt it will land a Pic nod, but Jenkins is drawing raves for his work. Twice nominated before for The Visitor and The Shape of Water, I could see the veteran becoming a threat to win if Cooper falls.

Others worthy of mention include Jon Bernthal in King Richard. The attention could be so focused on Will Smith (who appears to be in the driver’s seat to take Actor) that his supporting cast fails to get in (that logic also applies to Supporting Actress hopeful Aunjanue Ellis). It’s also totally feasible that Richard is so popular with the Academy that it sweeps them all in. Andrew Garfield picked up solid notices for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. He might stand a better shot in lead for the upcoming and yet to be screened Tick, Tick… Boom! Timothy Spall for Spencer is doable, but Kristen Stewart is just as likely to be the sole nominee (and maybe the winner in Actress). The work of David Alvarez (West Side Story) and Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) has yet to be seen and is worth keeping an eye on.

So how does that all shake out? Truth be told, the five predicted performers listed below could look quite different a couple months from now. Here’s my best guesstimate for the moment:

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (Previous Ranking: 1)

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

3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 2)

4. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5)

5. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4)

7. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: 6)

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

9. Al Pacino, House of Gucci (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

I’ll have my analysis on the current state of Supporting Actress up next!

Oscar Predictions: The Harder They Fall

Prior to its limited theatrical output on October 22 and Netflix bow on November 3, The Harder They Fall has dropped at the London Film Festival. The late 19th century set Western revenge tale comes from Jeymes Samuel, who wears many hats here as director, writer, producer, and composer. This is a fictional tale consisting of many actual African-American figures from the era. The cast includes Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, and Lakeith Stanfield.

Early reviews are quite positive and Fall stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with the handful of write-ups available thus far. Some critics have compared the violent, funny, and period piece elements to Quentin Tarantino. Of the impressive cast, Elba seems to be garnering lots of ink. Despite Emmy, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG nods in his filmography, he’s yet to make the cut with the Academy (his snub in 2015 for Beasts of No Nation was a surprising one).  At the moment, Supporting Actor has very few surefire hopefuls (one could argue there’s none). If Fall is able to land with awards voters, here is an obvious category where it could play.

Regina King could factor in as well though Supporting Actress may already have at least a slot or two filled. She did also win just three years ago for 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk. 

As for the movie itself, I could see a scenario where it gains popularity once it streams and has its pushers for inclusion. I wouldn’t bank on it happening, but I wouldn’t totally discount it.

Finally, there’s the soundtrack which includes original tracks from Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, and Kid Cudi. Mr. Z (who also produces) could find himself in a slot for the Original Song five. If he manages to do so, he’d almost certainly be competing against Mrs. Z (aka Beyonce, who’s got a close to assured nod for “Be Alive” from King Richard).

Bottom line: we need to see what kind of reaction The Harder They Fall garners when it steams, but the buzz is sturdy enough now to indicate a potential contender. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

2021 Oscar Predictions: July 29th Edition

I can’t help myself. I keep doing my Oscar predictions earlier and earlier each year. Today marks the first edition of my ranked forecasts in the 8 biggest races: Picture, Director, the four acting competitions, and the two screenplay contests.

It probably stands to reason that the sooner you do projections – the more inaccurate they might be. Oh but it’s so very fun to speculate! I do like to put my initial rankings up before the Toronto, Venice, and Telluride Film Festivals make the picture more clear and we are only about a month from that. Those events will bring us early buzz on The Power of the Dog, Dune, Spencer, The Last Duel, The Humans, Parallel Mothers, Belfast, Dear Evan Hansen, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Last Night in Soho, and more.

This post comes about three weeks ahead of when I did this in 2020. That year, to say the least, was hard to figure out. In fact, many of the pictures and performers I had in my 2020 inaugural rankings were moved back to 2021 due to COVID delays. Think Dune, The French Dispatch, West Side Story, Respect, C’Mon C’Mon, Annette, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

So how did my first ranked predictions from 2020 pan out? My Best Picture guesstimates yielded three of the eventual nominees: winner Nomadland, Mank, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Nomadland started out of the gate at #2 (behind Mank). Three other contenders were listed under Other Possibilities – The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, and Minari. Promising Young Woman and Sound of Metal were not mentioned.

2 of the 5 director nominees were correctly identified: winner Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) and David Fincher (Mank). None of the other hopefuls (Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman, or Another Round‘s Thomas Vinterberg) were even in Other Possibilities.

In Best Actress, I initially identified 2 – winner Frances McDormand (Nomadland) and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) were Other Possibilities while Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman didn’t score a listing.

As for Actor, winner Anthony Hopkins (The Father) and Gary Oldman (Mank) made my first cut. I incorrectly had Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) projected here instead of Supporting Actor (which he won). **This is a good time to remind you all that some of the acting contenders thought to be in lead right now will switch to supporting and vice versa. As further evidence, I had Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey) predicted in supporting, but he contended here. I did not yet have Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) or Steven Yeun (Minari) on my radar.

Two Supporting Actress players were correctly called: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy) and Olivia Colman (The Father) with Amanda Seyfried (Mank) in Other Possibilities. No mention for the winner Youn Yun-jung in Minari or Maria Bakalova for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Per above, Daniel Kaluuya’s work in Judas was slotted in lead, but he emerged victorious here. My Supporting Actor picks did get 2 of 5: Lakeith Stanfield in Judas and Sacha Baron Cohen for Chicago 7. The two others (Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night in Miami and Paul Raci in Sound of Metal) went unnoticed at the early stage.

Just one nominee in Original Screenplay got the initial mention – Chicago 7. I did have 3 others (winner Promising Young Woman, Judas, Minari) down for Other Possibilities while Sound of Metal wasn’t mentioned. And in Adapted Screenplay, I only rightly projected Nomadland. Winner The Father, One Night in Miami, and The White Tiger were other possibilities with no mention for Borat.

Whew. OK. I’m not going through all for 2019. However, I will say my results were better two years ago with my first picks (evidence of the uncertainty of last year). The quick rundown: I got 6 of the 9 nominees in Best Picture and identified the remaining three in other possibilities. In Director, it was 4 out of 5. For Actress – 4 for 5 with the other nominee listed sixth. Actor – 3 for 5 with the two others as possibilities. The weak spot was Supporting Actress – just 1 out of 5 with 2 others as possibilities. 2 for 5 in Supporting Actor with 2 others as possibilities. 3 for 5 initially in both screenplay races.

And now we come to 2021. Will I look back next year and be happy with the accuracy or shake my head? Hopefully a mix (that’s probably the best case scenario). In about two months, I will start predictions for all categories covering feature films and whittle BP from 25 to 15 hopefuls with all others going from a projected 15 to 10.

There already was some news from when I penned my early and unranked predictions last week. David O. Russell’s Canterbury Glass, with an all star cast led by Christian Bale and Margot Robbie, has reportedly moved to 2022. It was mentioned in numerous categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor – John David Washington) and it now waits its turn until next year. Same story for Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins and Blonde from Andrew Dominik.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. The Power of the Dog

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth

4. Nightmare Alley

5. Dune

6. Soggy Bottom

7. Mass

8. West Side Story

9. Belfast

10. Don’t Look Up

Other Possibilities:

11. A Hero

12. CODA

13. Flee

14. The French Dispatch

15. Spencer

16. Tick Tick… Boom!

17. Cyrano

18. The Humans

19. Blue Bayou

20. King Richard

21. The Last Duel

22. Dear Evan Hansen

23. In the Heights

24. Last Night in Soho

25. Annette

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune

3. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

5. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Thomas Anderson, Soggy Bottom

7. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

8. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

9. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

10. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

11. Fran Kranz, Mass

12. Sian Heder, CODA

13. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee

14. Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch

15. Pablo Larrain, Spencer

Best Actress

1. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

2. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

4. Jennifer Hudson, Respect 

5. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

7. Kristen Stewart, Spencer

8. Emilia Jones, CODA

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

11. Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

12. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

13. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

14. Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up

15. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

3. Will Smith, King Richard

4. Adam Driver, House of Gucci

5. Amir Jadidi, A Hero

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

7. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey

8. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

9. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

11. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon

12. Cooper Hoffman, Soggy Bottom

13. Adam Driver, Annette

14. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

15. Nicolas Cage, Pig

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ann Dowd, Mass

2. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

3. Martha Plimpton, Mass

4. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans

5. Marlee Matlin, CODA

Other Possibilities:

6. Ruth Negga, Passing

7. Olga Merediz, In the Heights

8. Regina King, The Harder They Fall

9. Thomasin McKenzie, The Power of the Dog

10. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley

11. Judi Dench, Belfast

12. Anya Taylor-Joy, Last Night in Soho

13. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up

14. Audra McDonald, Respect

15. Sally Hawkins, Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Soggy Bottom

2. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

3. Jason Isaacs, Mass

4. Richard Jenkins, The Humans

5. Idris Elba, The Harder They Fall

Other Possibilities:

6. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth

7. Richard E. Grant, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

8. Jared Leto, House of Gucci

9. Reed Birney, Mass

10. Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano

11. Jamie Dornan, Belfast

12. Adam Driver, The Last Duel

13. Al Pacino, House of Gucci

14. Brendan Gleeson, The Tragedy of Macbeth

15. David Alvarez, West Side Story

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mass

2. Soggy Bottom

3. Don’t Look Up

4. The French Dispatch

5. Blue Bayou

Other Possibilities:

6. Belfast

7. Spencer

8. C’Mon C’Mon

9. Last Night in Soho

10. Being the Ricardos

11. Annette

12. The Harder They Fall

13. After Yang

14. Nine Days

15. Red Rocket

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. The Power of the Dog

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth

4. Nightmare Alley

5. Dune

Other Possibilities:

6. CODA

7. The Humans

8. West Side Story

9. Cyrano

10. Tick Tick… Boom!

11. Dear Evan Hansen

12. The Last Duel

13. The Lost Daughter

14. King Richard

15. A Journal for Jordan

Back at it next week, ladies and gents!

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

On this here blog starting right now, my 2021 Oscar predictions officially begin! I seem to start this earlier and earlier in the calendar each year. Why? Well, it’s just about my favorite thing to write about and the Cannes Film Festival and recent announcements for the Venice and Toronto line-ups fueled the flame.

As is tradition, I would like to throw out the annual caveats and a general rundown of how this works. I begin with the early predictions in the six major categories: Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies. For Picture, I will list my ten early forecasted nominees and 15 other possibilities. In the other five races, you will see my five predicted players and 10 other hopefuls. In these initial posts, my nominees will be unranked.

Beginning next week, I’ll have a weekly write-up where I’ll begin ranked predictions in these competitions in addition to Adapted and Original Screenplay.

In late September or early October, my weekly posts will shift to all categories covering feature films. The Picture predictions and possibilities will be whittled down from 25 to 15. All others will be reduced to 10.

Got all that? Good! Now for the caveats. First off, it’s July. So when I say these are early projections – I mean it. Release dates will change. Some movies will be moved out of contention to 2022 (that certainly happened a lot last year due to the pandemic). Some of the actors that appear to be supporting will be moved to lead and vice versa.

You need look no further than the Supporting Actor derby from 2020. In my initial round of early picks, I had Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) listed here. He was eventually moved to Best Actor. Conversely, I had Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) down for Actor, but he was campaigned for in supporting and won.

Part of that category confusion led to yours truly only naming one of the five eventual nominees from 2020 (Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7). I did mention Lakeith Stanfield (Judas) as a possibility. Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) and Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami) were not named initially.

Additionally, you will see the titles Canterbury Glass and Soggy Bottom as contenders here and elsewhere in the coming days. These are the next pictures, respectively, from David O. Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson. It is not confirmed yet whether these are working titles or the actual ones, but I prefer a name rather than saying Untitled over and over.

With all that out of the way, let’s get rolling with the speculation that will last for months (and I’ll enjoy every second of it)!

EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Bradley Cooper, Soggy Bottom

Richard E. Grant, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Idris Elba, The Harder They Fall

Jason Isaacs, Mass

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

Other Possibilities:

David Alvarez, West Side Story

Reed Birney, Mass

Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Adam Driver, The Last Duel

Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Richard Jenkins, The Humans

Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano

John David Washington, Canterbury Glass

And we’re off! I’ll have my inaugural choices for Supporting Actress up shortly…