Oscar Watch: A Midyear 2020 Report

It might be hard to fathom, but we are at the midpoint of this experience we call 2020. As COVID-19 and social issues dominate the landscape, the cinematic world has necessarily taken a backseat to the times. The Academy recently announced that the Oscars will be delayed until April 2021 and that movies premiering in January and February of that year will be eligible for consideration. This is in addition to previous notice that streaming pictures that forgo a theatrical release will also be able to nab nominations at that ceremony.

Since theaters have essentially been shuttered since March and with several festivals (the normal breeding grounds for awards hopefuls) either canceled or significantly modified, a midyear report on Oscar contenders is, to put it mildly, challenging.

Yet… here goes! As awards followers already know, the bulk of serious contenders aren’t  typically released until fall anyway. In fact, the earliest release of the nine Best Picture nominees last year was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which came out in late July. The remaining 8 had autumn and winter dates.

The Sundance Film Festival from January did give us some potential contenders. Florian Zeller’s The Father was acclaimed and it could score nods for previous winners Anthony Hopkins in lead actor and Olivia Colman in Supporting Actress. The biographical tale of feminist icon Gloria Steinem finds several actresses playing her at different ages. Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander (they also both have gold statues) are among them and could be potential nominees. Previous nominee Carey Mulligan garnered solid reviews for Promising Young Woman. 

And there’s Minari. The South Korean family drama starring Steven Yeun won the Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance. I wouldn’t sleep on its chances with the right marketing push from its studio A24. That same studio has the 19th century set indie First Cow, which also has its ardent admirers. They would need to make a major push in order for Oscar to notice it.

For movies that have actually come out, the Jane Austen inspired Emma saw positive notices for lead Anya-Taylor Joy. Ben Affleck got some of the best reviews of his career with the basketball drama The Way Back. Pete Davidson’s starring debut in The King of Staten Island drew mostly praise. And Elisabeth Moss starred in the hit The Invisible Man and it’s a possibility she could be recognized even though acting nominations in horror flicks are rare. Neither Toni Collette (Hereditary) in 2018 or Lupita Nyong’o (Us) last year could pull it off. Moss could also be recognized for Shirley, a drama that debuted at Sundance and is already available via streaming.

Then there’s Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods from Spike Lee. The director saw his last picture, BlacKkKlansman, receive numerous nominations and win Adapted Screenplay. I would posit that Bloods stands the best chance at multiple nods including possibly Picture and Director. Delroy Lindo (though it’s not clear whether he’d be campaigned for in lead or supporting) seems highly likely to be recognized. And if he’s campaigned for in Best Actor (which he probably should be), it could open the door for Clarke Peters or Jonathan Majors to make the cut in supporting.

In other races – Pixar’s Onward could compete in Animated Feature, though Disney could save their muscle for the upcoming Soul. Look for Emma to nab a Costume Design nod.

And we shall leave it there for now, folks! As readers of the blog know, expect more Oscar Watch posts to come your way as titles screen. Typically it’s late August when I start my weekly predictions and hopefully that’s a tradition that can be kept in this crazy thing we call 2020…

Oscar History: 2013

Recapping the Oscar Season of 2013, a few things stick out. The big winners were 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, which cleaned up in the tech races. The big loser was American Hustle, which came away with zero victories despite 10 nominations (tying it for most nods with Gravity, which won 7 of them). Another take: it was a packed year for Best Actor with some deserving gents left out.

As I have done with previous years, let’s take a deeper dive in the 86th Academy Awards in the major races:

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave unsurprisingly came away with the Best Picture prize in a field that yielded eight other films. They were David O. Russell’s American Hustle, Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips, Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, Spike Jonze’s Her, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Philomena from Stephen Frears, and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. 

That’s a solid grouping of pictures and there’s probably no obvious omissions from my end in 2013.. That said, many young girls may protest Frozen not making the cut though it did win Best Animated Feature. And certainly Inside Llewyn Davis from the Coen Brothers had its ardent admirers.

There was a Picture/Director split with Cuaron emerging victorious for Gravity. The filmmaker would achieve the same feat five years later when he won for Roma but Green Book took Best Picture. Other nominees were McQueen, Payne, Russell, and Scorsese.I would argue that Greengrass and Jonze could have made the final five.

In the aforementioned crowded Best Actor derby, Matthew McConaughey took gold for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. The four other contenders were Christian Bale for Hustle, Bruce Dern in Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio for Wall Street, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave. Note that all nominees came from Best Picture hopefuls.

Let’s start with Tom Hanks, who I absolutely feel should have gotten in for his remarkable performance in Captain Phillips. The clip I’ve included below proves it and then some. You could say the same for Joaquin Phoenix in Her. Others worth noting: Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis, Hugh Jackman in Prisoners, and Robert Redford for All Is Lost. 

Cate Blanchett was the latest actress to be honored for her work in a Woody Allen picture as she took Best Actress for Blue Jasmine. The other nominees were Amy Adams (American Hustle), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), and the ever present Meryl Streep (August: Osage County).

I’ll mention three others left out worthy of consideration: Brie Larson in Short Term 12, Julia-Louis Dreyfus for Enough Said, and Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks. For the latter, it was a bit unexpected that she was left out.

McConaughey’s Dallas Buyers costar Jared Leto won Supporting Actor over Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), and Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street). Again, all nominees stemmed from Picture contenders.

Some others that didn’t quite make it: Daniel Bruhl in Rush, Steve Coogan for Philomena, Paul Dano in Prisoners, and Will Forte in Nebraska.

Another big 12 Years victory was Lupita Nyong’o in Supporting Actress. She took the prize despite competition from Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), and June Squibb (Nebraska).

Despite it being a voice only performance, I would say Scarlett Johansson in Her deserved a spot and the same could be said for Margot Robbie in Wall Street.

And there you have it, folks! My look back at the Oscar landscape in 2013. I’ll have 2014 up in due time…

A Marvel Cinematic Oscar History: Best Supporting Actress

Wrapping up my look back at the 110 Oscar nominees and 20 winners that have appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man in 2008 and continuing through its next two releases (Black Widow and The Eternals), we arrive at Best Supporting Actress. If you missed my posts for the lead races and Supporting Actor, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/04/12/a-marvel-cinematic-oscar-history-best-actor/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/04/14/a-marvel-cinematic-oscar-history-best-actress/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/04/16/a-marvel-cinematic-oscar-history-best-supporting-actor/

Supporting Actress has the least number of nominees (19), but equals the most victories with six (tying Best Actor). We start with those six gold recipients:

Tilda Swinton, who appeared in Doctor Strange, won in 2007 for Michael Clayton

Marisa Tomei, Aunt May in the Spider-Man pics, was a surprise victor in 1992 for My Cousin Vinny

Cate Blanchett, the villainess in Thor: Ragnarok, in 2004 for The Aviator

Lupita Nyong’o, of Black Panther, for 2013’s 12 Years a Slave

Rachel Weisz, who’s in the forthcoming Black Widow, for 2005’s The Constant Gardner

Angelina Jolie, who will appear in The Eternals, in 1999’s Girl, Interrupted

As for the 13 other nominees:

Scarlett Johansson, aka Black Widow, for last year’s Jojo Rabbit

Natalie Portman, Thor’s flame, for 2004’s Closer

Glenn Close, who appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, is a three-time nominee in this category for 1982’s The World According to Garp, 1983’s The Big Chill, and 1984’s The Natural

Rachel McAdams, also of Doctor Strange, for 2015’s Spotlight

Marisa Tomei was nominated twice more after her Vinny win for 2001’s In the Bedroom and 2008’s The Wrestler

Cate Blanchett received two additional nods for 2006’s Notes on a Scandal and 2007’s I’m Not There

Annette Bening, from Captain Marvel, for 1990’s The Grifters

Florence Pugh, costar of the upcoming Black Widow, for last year’s Little Women

Rachel Weisz received another nod for 2018’s The Favourite 

And that concludes my look back on the MCU and its Oscar pedigree. Hope you enjoyed!

Oscar Watch: The Invisible Man

Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, updating the H.G. Wells novel and classic 1933 film, debuts Friday. With 90% currently on Rotten Tomatoes, the word-of-mouth should propel the pic to quite visible box office numbers. In doing so, Invisible should break a streak of underperforming horror titles in recent months.

Much of the praise from reviewers is centered on its lead Elisabeth Moss. The Emmy winner for The Handmaid’s Tale garnered a small amount of Oscar buzz in 2019 for Her Smell that never came to fruition. I look for this to be the third year in a row where an actress garners buzz for a scary movie. In 2018, it was Toni Collette in Ari Aster’s Hereditary. In 2019 – Lupita Nyong’o for Jordan Peele’s Us. Both performers received a few wins from the critics groups. They both failed to get nods come Academy time.

This will likely be the case for Moss as well, but expect lots of speculation that she could make the cut before she doesn’t. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

2019 SAG Awards WINNER Predictions

Another major Oscar precursor holds their ceremony this evening with the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. This particular show has definitely served as a massive indicator where the Academy might go with the acting winners. As for Best Picture, not so much.

So let’s get into it as I make my projections for what will happen tonight!

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Analysis: Nyong’o is the odd one out here as she didn’t nab an Oscar nomination. A win here by Johansson and Theron (both are possible) could set up a narrative as being Zellweger’s legit competition. Over the past decade, the SAG and Oscar winner have matched seven out of nine times. The outliers include last year when Glenn Close took the SAG for The Wife and Olivia Colman won the Academy Award for The Favourite. Tonight could also solidify Zellweger’s work as Judy Garland in the biopic. My suspicion is that it happens.

PREDICTED WINNER: RENEE ZELLWEGER

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees: Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Analysis: A Best Actor derby where ten performers were vying for five spots means 2 men here didn’t make the Oscar cut: Bale and Egerton. Therefore, I see this as a three person showdown between DiCaprio, Driver, and Phoenix. The Oscar/SAG linkage here is significant as eight of the last nine victors went on to take the Academy Award. 2016 was the only exception when Denzel Washington got the SAG for Fences and Casey Affleck was the Oscar recipient for Manchester by the Sea.

Driver could be the larger threat, but this season is shaping up to be a sweep for Phoenix. That’s where the smart money is tonight.

PREDICTED WINNER: JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

The Nominees: Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Analysis: There is a 7 for 9 SAG/Oscar match in this category this decade. Foxx didn’t get the Academy attention. Hanks is beloved, but his movie has underwhelmed elsewhere. Pacino and Pesci should split votes. And the narrative continues for Pitt to have a terrific awards season.

PREDICTED WINNER: BRAD PITT

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role 

The Nominees: Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Nicole Kidman (Bombshell), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

Analysis: During the 2010s, there was an 8 for 8 SAG/Oscar match here from 2010-2017. Yet 2018 was the exception and a rather enormous one. Emily Blunt’s victory last year for A Quiet Place was a stunner since she had no Oscar nod. And the Academy’s winner (Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk) didn’t get a SAG nod.

Could this set up a situation where Lopez, snubbed by the Academy, could walk to the podium tonight? I’m tempted to make that upset pick. However, Dern is unquestionably the favorite and I just can’t bet against her.

PREDICTED WINNER: LAURA DERN

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Nominees: Bombshell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite

Analysis: Now here is where it gets interesting! Unlike the individual acting races, there isn’t as much of a history with this category matching up with Oscar’s Best Picture. This decade it’s happened four out of nine times. For the 21st century, it’s nine out of nineteen times.

You don’t see 1917 listed here and with its Golden Globe Best Drama and PGA victories, it’s the soft front runner for Oscar. An omission here doesn’t mean much as the last two Academy BP recipients (The Shape of Water, Green Book) missed here. Other than Bombshell, the nominees here are all nominated for Best Picture. Any of them winning tonight could position that film as the main competitor to 1917. That said, I don’t discount Bombshell taking the prize this evening as it received the greatest number of SAG nods.

Parasite is the only nominee where none of its individual performers were nominated. You could argue that the voters simply saved for their votes for this race. Jojo has its hardcore fans. The Irishman boasts a trio of acting legends.

Ultimately, I’m leaning toward the sprawling cast of Hollywood. Yet I’ll freely admit that this category seems wide open.

PREDICTED WINNER: ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

And there you have it! I’ll have a post up recounting how I did and what it means for the Oscar race soon enough…

2019 FINAL Oscar Nomination Predictions

And it comes down to this…

After months and months of speculation, dozens of blog posts, and constant shifting around, these are my final predictions for the 2019 Oscars. There’s been thousands of words written about the races so I’ll keep it simple here.

The nominations are out Monday. I’m picking nine pictures to get recognition (there can be anywhere from 5 to 10 and 8-9 is usually the sweet spot). For each category, I’m also naming an alternate and second alternate.

Lastly, you can be sure come Monday that I’ll have a recap up with reaction and my results. Here we go folks!

Best Picture

1917

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite 

ALTERNATE – The Farewell

ALTERNATE 2 – Knives Out

Best Director

Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite

Sam Mendes, 1917

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

ALTERNATE – Todd Phillips, Joker

ALTERNATE 2 – Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story 

Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Renee Zellweger, Judy

ALTERNATE – Awkwafina, The Farewell

ALTERNATE 2 – Lupita Nyong’o, Us

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Taron Egerton, Rocketman

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

ALTERNATE – Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari

ALTERNATE 2 – Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

Florence Pugh, Little Women

Margot Robbie, Bombshell

ALTERNATE – Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

ALTERNATE 2 – Nicole Kidman, Bombshell

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

ALTERNATE – Song Kang-Ho, Parasite

ALTERNATE 2 – Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

The Two Popes

ALTERNATE – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

ALTERNATE 2 – Hustlers

Best Original Screenplay

The Farewell

Knives Out

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

ALTERNATE – 1917

ALTERNATE 2 – Uncut Gems

Best International Feature Film

Atlantics

Les Miserables

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Those Who Remained

ALTERNATE – Beanpole

ALTERNATE 2 – Honeyland

Best Animated Feature

Frozen II

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Missing Link

Toy Story 4

ALTERNATE – Klaus

ALTERNATE 2 – Abominable

Best Documentary Feature

American Factory 

Apollo 11

For Sama

Honeyland

One Child Nation

ALTERNATE – Midnight Family

ALTERNATE 2 – Maiden

Best Cinematography

1917

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Joker

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

ALTERNATE – The Lighthouse

ALTERNATE 2 – Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Best Costume Design

Dolemite Is My Name

Jojo Rabbit

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rocketman

ALTERNATE – Downton Abbey

ALTERNATE 2 – The Irishman

Best Film Editing

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Joker

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

ALTERNATE – 1917

ALTERNATE 2 – Marriage Story 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Bombshell

Joker

Judy

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rocketman

ALTERNATE – Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

ALTERNATE 2 – Dolemite Is My Name

Best Production Design

1917

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

ALTERNATE – Parasite

ALTERNATE 2 – Joker

Best Original Score

1917

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

ALTERNATE – Ford v Ferrari

ALTERNATE 2 – Jojo Rabbit

Best Original Song

“Glasgow” from Wild Rose

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman

“Into the Unknown” from Frozen II

“Spirit” from The Lion King

“Stand Up” from Harriet

ALTERNATE – “I’m Standing with You” from Breakthrough

ALTERNATE 2 – “A Glass of Soju” from Parasite

Best Sound Editing

1917

Avengers: Endgame

Ford v Ferrari

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

ALTERNATE – Joker

ALTERNATE 2 – Rocketman

Best Sound Mixing

1917

Ford v Ferrari

Joker

Rocketman

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

ALTERNATE – Avengers: Endgame

ALTERNATE 2 – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Visual Effects

1917

Avengers: Endgame

The Irishman

The Lion King

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

ALTERNATE – Alita: Battle Angel

ALTERNATE 2 – Gemini Man 

And that means my final tally for pictures getting the following number of nominations goes like this:

11 Nominations

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

9 Nominations

The Irishman

8 Nominations

1917, Joker, Little Women

6 Nominations

Marriage Story

5 Nominations

Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Parasite, Rocketman

4 Nominations

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

3 Nominations

Bombshell

2 Nominations

Avengers: Endgame, Frozen II, Harriet, Judy, The Lion King, Pain and Glory, The Two Popes

1 Nomination

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, American Factory  Apollo 11, Atlantics, Dolemite Is My Name, The Farewell, For Sama, Honeyland, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Hustlers, I Lost My Body, Knives Out, Les Miserables, Missing Link, One Child Nation, Those Who Remained, Toy Story 4, Wild Rose

2019 Oscar Predictions: January 6th Edition

There are years when the Golden Globes don’t seem to have much of an impact on my Oscar predictions. That could still hold true at the end of the day, but last night’s ceremony did so and that especially applies to the Best Actor derby and my numeric rankings in general with other top races. Let us count the ways…

  • The surprising wins for 1917 as Best Drama and Sam Mendes as its director is a real story. The timing could not be more perfect as the World War I action drama opens wide this weekend. In Picture, it rises from 5th to 4th. For Mendes, he goes from 4th to 3rd and that’s at the expense of Martin Scorsese.
  • Joaquin Phoenix hits the #1 slot in the ultra competitive Best Actor competition over Adam Driver, who’s been first for many weeks. Perhaps more significantly, Taron Egerton’s victory over Leonardo DiCaprio and Eddie Murphy in the Musical/Comedy race at the Globes places in my predicted five for the first time (he goes from 10th to 5th!). I’ve also put Antonio Banderas back in and that means Robert De Niro and Jonathan Pryce are on the outside looking in.
  • In Original Screenplay, Quentin Tarantino vaults to #1 over Noah Baumbach.

And an important programming note… this is the last time you will see my weekly predictions for 2019 in this manner. With nominations out a week from today, I will have a FINAL predictions post up this weekend (likely Friday or perhaps Saturday). As of this moment, here’s how I have it all shaking out!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Parasite (PR: 3)

3. The Irishman (PR: 2)

4. 1917 (PR: 5)

5. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

6. Joker (PR: 7)

7. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

8. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

9. Little Women (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. The Farewell (PR: 12)

11. Bombshell (PR: 11)

12. The Two Popes (PR: 10)

13. Knives Out (PR: 14)

14. Uncut Gems (PR: 15)

15. Pain and Glory (PR: 13)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 1)

2. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 4)

4. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman (PR: 3)

5. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Phillips, Joker (PR: 6)

7. Greta Gerwig, Little Women (PR: 9)

8. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

9. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

10. Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory (PR: 10)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

2. Adam Driver, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

4. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (PR: 6)

5. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 4)

7. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 5)

8. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

9. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 9)

10. Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 8)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

2. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (PR: 2)

3. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 3)

4. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 4)

5. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 6)

7. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 7)

8. Mary Kay Place, Diane (PR: 10)

9. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 8)

10. Ana de Armas, Knives Out (PR: 9)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 3)

4. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

5. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Song Kang-Ho, Parasite (PR: 7)

7. Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (PR: 6)

8. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 8)

9. Alan Alda, Marriage Story (PR: 10)

10. Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy (PR: 9)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 3)

4. Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 4)

5. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nicole Kidman, Bombshell (PR: 6)

7. Shuzhen Zhao, The Farewell (PR: 7)

8. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 8)

9. Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell (PR: 9)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 10)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. Little Women (PR: 3)

4. Joker (PR: 5)

5. The Two Popes (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 6)

7. Hustlers (PR: 7)

8. Just Mercy (PR: 8)

9. Dark Waters (PR: 10)

10. Richard Jewell (PR: 9)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

2. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Knives Out (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. 1917 (PR: 7)

7. Uncut Gems (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Pain and Glory (PR: 6)

9. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

10. Bombshell (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Dolemite Is My Name

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Parasite (PR: 1)

2. Pain and Glory (PR: 2)

3. Les Miserables (PR: 3)

4. Corpus Christi (PR: 6)

5. Atlantics (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Beanpole (PR: 7)

7. Those Who Remained (PR: 9)

8. The Painted Bird (PR: 5)

9. Honeyland (PR: 8)

10. Truth and Justice (PR: 10)

Best Animated Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Toy Story 4 (PR: 1)

2. Frozen II (PR: 2)

3. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PR: 3)

4. I Lost My Body (PR: 4)

5. Missing Link (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Funan (PR: 9)

7. Klaus (PR: 6)

8. Weathering with You (PR: 8)

9. Abominable (PR: 7)

10. Bunuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (PR: 10)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. American Factory (PR: 1)

2. For Sama (PR: 3)

3. Apollo 11 (PR: 2)

4. One Child Nation (PR: 4)

5. Honeyland (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Cave (PR: 6)

7. Midnight Family (PR: 9)

8. Maiden (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Biggest Little Farm (PR: 7)

10. The Edge of Democracy (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Knock Down the House 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Joker (PR: 4)

4. The Irishman (PR: 3)

5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

7. The Lighthouse (PR: 6)

8. Parasite (PR: 5)

9. Little Women (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Marriage Story (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

A Hidden Life 

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Little Women (PR: 2)

3. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 3)

4. Rocketman (PR: 4)

5. Downton Abbey (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Irishman (PR: 7)

7. Joker (PR: 8)

8. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 9)

9. Judy (PR: 6)

10. The Aeronauts (PR: 10)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 1)

2. The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

5. Parasite (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker (PR: 6)

7. 1917 (PR: 7)

8. Uncut Gems (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

10. Little Women (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Bombshell

Apollo 11

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bombshell (PR: 1)

2. Judy (PR: 3)

3. Joker (PR: 2)

4. Rocketman (PR: 5)

5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (PR: 7)

7. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 6)

8. 1917 (PR: 10)

9. Little Women (PR: 8)

10. Downton Abbey (PR: 9)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Joker (PR: 2)

3. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

4. Little Women (PR: 3)

5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 5)

7. Motherless Brooklyn (PR: 7)

8. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

9. The King (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Pain and Glory

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II (PR: 1)

2. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman (PR: 2)

3. “Glasgow” from Wild Rose (PR: 4)

4. “Spirit” from The Lion King (PR: 5)

5. “Stand Up” from Harriet (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. “A Glass of Soju” from Parasite (PR: 7)

7. “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn (PR: 6)

8. “Letter to My Godfather” from The Black Godfather (PR: Not Ranked)

9. “I’m Standing with You” from Breakthrough (PR: 9)

10. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4 (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

“Speechless” from Aladdin 

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Little Women (PR: 3)

4. 1917 (PR: 5)

5. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite (PR: 4)

7. Joker (PR: 6)

8. The Two Popes (PR: 10)

9. Downton Abbey (PR: 8)

10. Knives Out (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ford v Ferrari 

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 4)

5. Ad Astra (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rocketman (PR: 5)

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 6)

8. Joker (PR: 7)

9. The Irishman (PR: 9)

10. Us (PR: 10)

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

3. Rocketman (PR: 4)

4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 6)

5. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 5)

7. Ad Astra (PR: 7)

8. Joker (PR: 8)

9. The Irishman (PR: 9)

10. Us (PR: 10)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Lion King (PR: 1)

2. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 2)

3. The Irishman (PR: 4)

4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

5. 1917 (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Gemini Man (PR: 7)

7. Alita: Battle Angel (PR: 6)

8. Terminator: Dark Fate (PR: 8)

9. Captain Marvel (PR: 9)

10. Cats (PR: 10)

And that equates to these pictures garnering the following numbers for nominations:

10 Nominations

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

9 Nominations

The Irishman

8 Nominations

1917, Marriage Story

7 Nominations

Little Women

6 Nominations

Joker

5 Nominations

Parasite, Rocketman 

4 Nominations

Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

3 Nominations

Avengers: Endgame, Bombshell

2 Nominations

Frozen II, Harriet, Judy, The Lion King, Pain and Glory, The Two Popes

1 Nomination

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Ad Astra, American Factory, Apollo 11, Atlantics, Corpus Christi, Dolemite Is My Name, Downton Abbey, The Farewell, For Sama, Honeyland, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Hustlers, I Lost My Body, Knives Out, Les Miserables, Missing Link, One Child Nation, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Toy Story 4, Wild Rose

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review

We talk about the Star Wars franchise the same way we speak of politics or sports. With passion and fervent opinions and disagreements. Perhaps we are giving it too much credit, but it’s become an American cinematic pastime. No group of films has inspired as much thought and re-thought. So we arrive at the ninth episode, The Rise of Skywalker, with all that baggage and more. After all, this one is tasked with closing out the saga that began at a time far, far away in 1977. Returning to direct with that weight on his shoulders is J.J. Abrams, who kickstarted the series for new owner Disney four years ago with The Force Awakens.

He does so two years following The Last Jedi from Rian Johnson, which sharply divided fans and critics by going in unexpected directions. Even Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, didn’t jive with the choices Johnson made with his character shuddered on an island and not wishing to utilize his Jedi skills. That was one compliant from some diehard fans, among others. You could say they had their knives out for it, so to speak.

I found The Last Jedi to be flawed and disjointed, but also filled with great moments. There aren’t many of them here in Skywalker. As I ponder it, episodes VII-IX do follow a similar arc as the iconic I-III. The Force Awakens was tasked with introducing new and exciting characters from these galaxies. It also had to mix in Luke and Leia and Han Solo and Chewie. I felt, for the most part, that it did so successfully. That especially applies to Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). In fact, their little therapy sessions from The Last Jedi were highlights of the whole trilogy. The common critique of Awakens is that it was a rehash of the first Star Wars. While this is with some merit, it didn’t take away my immense enjoyment of it.

As mentioned, The Last Jedi was more of a mixed bag. Yet with Johnson’s sometimes confounding but often daring choices, it was also the boldest. This is where a comparison with 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back seems fair. Don’t get me wrong. It’s nowhere in its league, but it did take what happened in the predecessor and take it in unexpected directions.

And now The Last Skywalker. Like 1983’s Return of the Jedi, this trilogy finale has to wrap it all up. Allow me to throw in this disclaimer – I don’t hold Return of the Jedi anywhere near the regards of what came before it. While I feel there are terrific moments, there’s a lot that didn’t work me and not just the Ewoks. It often felt a little tired and unsure of what to do with itself for a chunk of the running time. That applies to Skywalker and there’s aren’t as many terrific moments.

The similarities don’t end on just a quality level. Ultimately, the main plot here finds Rey facing a choice of whether to stay a Jedi or follow her lineage to the dark side… just as Luke did in Jedi. By the way, those lineage inquiries are addressed. Another complaint in Rian Johnson’s script was how he handled that aspect. Rey’s supporting cast is around with Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) marshaling support to take on Kylo. And as the trailer suggested, Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is back in the mix, too. So is Billy Dee Williams as cocky fighter pilot Lando. His return isn’t exactly as pined for as what we got with Luke, Leia, and Han. As for Leia, Carrie Fisher does return utilizing unused footage from Awakens and Last Jedi. It’s handled delicately.

There are new players with Richard E. Grant joining Domhnall Gleeson as one of Kylo’s top lieutenants. Abrams throws some small parts to Keri Russell and Dominic Monaghan (who both starred in his TV shows). The short shrift is given to Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), who had more of a presence in Last Jedi, but is basically ignored. That’s not exactly a problem as this is the Rey and Kylo show. Once again, both Ridley and Driver’s performances are first rate. Truth be told, though, Johnson wrote their dynamic better the last time around.

For the major detractors of The Last Jedi, perhaps this episode will feel like a return to Star Wars normalcy. I’m happy to listen to an argument that Johnson’s effort pairs well with the return of Abrams, but it would take lots of convincing. Skywalker often reeks of a course correction. This is becoming more common with franchises. We just saw Terminator: Dark Fate ignore the three pictures ahead of it. The X-Men series had to get creative with their timeline and do away with it under specific circumstances.

Those franchises aren’t Star Wars. The meeting between Han Solo and his son Kylo in The Force Awakens was a memorable, emotional, and surprising one. Whatever Mark Hamill and others might think about his treatment in The Last Jedi, a brief reunion with his sister in it was marvelous. In Skywalker, Abrams goes for a lot of those moments. And it felt, well, forced. The visual splendor and incredible production design (and the rousing John Williams score) is intact. A few scenes with Rey and Kylo work. Ultimately, I suspect my feelings about The Rise of Skywalker will be somewhat similar to Return of the Jedi – as an inferior product to its two predecessors.

**1/2 (out of four)

2019 Oscar Predictions: December 30th Edition

There are two weeks to go before Oscar nominations come out and it’s been two weeks since I’ve updated my predictions. There’s not much in the way of major movement in the top races, but the numbers have shifted in some cases. Let’s break it down:

  • In Picture, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood vaults to #1 in what looks like a three-way competition between it, The Irishman, and Parasite.
  • Bong-Joon Ho rises to first in Director over Tarantino and Scorsese.
  • There is a change in Actor as Jonathan Pryce is back in over Antonio Banderas. Pain and Glory takes another hit in Original Screenplay as I’ve taken it out and put Knives Out back in.

Check in later this week for my predictions on winners for the Golden Globes, which airs this Sunday. The plan is to have Oscar predictions next Monday and then a post up on Saturday (January 11) with final predictions on the races.

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Previous Ranking: 2)

2. The Irishman (PR: 1)

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

5. 1917 (PR: 5)

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

7. Joker (PR: 7)

8. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

9. Little Women (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. The Two Popes (PR: 10)

11. Bombshell (PR: 11)

12. The Farewell (PR: 12)

13. Pain and Glory (PR: 13)

14. Knives Out (PR: 13)

15. Uncut Gems (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Rocketman 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 2)

2. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

3. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman (PR: 1)

4. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 4)

5. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Phillips, Joker (PR: 6)

7. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

8. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 9)

9. Greta Gerwig, Little Women (PR: 8)

10. Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ben and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Adam Driver, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

4. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 5)

5. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (PR: 4)

7. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 6)

8. Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 10)

9. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 8)

10. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 9)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

2. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (PR: 2)

3. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 3)

4. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 4)

5. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 7)

7. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 6)

8. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 8)

9. Ana de Armas, Knives Out (PR: Not Rankled)

10. Mary Kay Place, Diane (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 3)

4. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

5. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (PR: 7)

7. Song Kang-Ho, Parasite (PR: 6)

8. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 8)

9. Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy (PR: 9)

10. Alan Alda, Marriage Story (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 3)

4. Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 5)

5. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nicole Kidman, Bombshell (PR: 9)

7. Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell (PR: 6)

8. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 7)

9. Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell (PR: 8)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jo Yeo-Jeong, Parasite 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. Little Women (PR: 3)

4. The Two Popes (PR: 4)

5. Joker (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 6)

7. Hustlers (PR: 7)

8. Just Mercy (PR: 8)

9. Richard Jewell (PR: 9)

10. Dark Waters (PR: 10)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Knives Out (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Pain and Glory (PR: 5)

7. 1917 (PR: 8)

8. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 9)

9. Bombshell (PR: 7)

10. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Uncut Gems

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Parasite (PR: 1)

2. Pain and Glory (PR: 2)

3. Les Miserables (PR: 3)

4. Atlantics (PR: 4)

5. The Painted Bird (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. Corpus Christi (PR: 7)

7. Beanpole (PR: 5)

8. Honeyland (PR: 8)

9. Those Who Remained (PR: 6)

10. Truth and Justice (PR: 10)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Toy Story 4 (PR: 1)

2. Frozen II (PR: 2)

3. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PR: 3)

4. I Lost My Body (PR: 4)

5. Missing Link (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Klaus (PR: 8)

7. Abominable (PR: 6)

8. Weathering with You (PR: 7)

9. Funan (PR: 10)

10. Bunuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (PR: 9)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. American Factory (PR: 1)

2. Apollo 11 (PR: 2)

3. For Sama (PR: 4)

4. One Child Nation (PR: 3)

5. Honeyland (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Cave (PR: 6)

7. The Biggest Little Farm (PR: 8)

8. The Edge of Democracy (PR: 7)

9. Midnight Family (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Knock Down the House (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Maiden

Aquarela 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. The Irishman (PR: 4)

4. Joker (PR: 3)

5. Parasite (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Lighthouse (PR: 6)

7. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

8. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (PR: 7)

9. Marriage Story (PR: Not Ranked)

10. A Hidden Life (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Ad Astra

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Little Women (PR: 2)

3. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 3)

4. Rocketman (PR: 4)

5. Downton Abbey (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judy (PR: 7)

7. The Irishman (PR: 6)

8. Joker (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

10. The Aeronauts (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Cats

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

2. The Irishman (PR: 1)

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 6)

5. Parasite (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker (PR: 7)

7. 1917 (PR: 4)

8. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

9. Bombshell (PR: 9)

10. Apollo 11 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Knives Out

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bombshell (PR: 1)

2. Joker (PR: 3)

3. Judy (PR: 2)

4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 6)

5. Rocketman (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 4)

7. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (PR: 10)

8. Little Women (PR: 7)

9. Downton Abbey (PR: 4)

10. 1917 (PR: 9)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Joker (PR: 5)

3. Little Women (PR: 3)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

5. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 2)

7. Motherless Brooklyn (PR: 10)

8. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

9. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 9)

10. Pain and Glory (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Us

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II (PR: 1)

2. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman (PR: 2)

3. “Stand Up” from Harriet (PR: 3)

4. “Glasgow” from Wild Rose (PR: 5)

5. “Spirit” from The Lion King (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn (PR: 6)

7. “A Glass of Soju” from Parasite (PR: 9)

8. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4 (PR: 8)

9. “I’m Standing with You” from Breakthrough (PR: 10)

10. “Speechless” from Aladdin (PR: 7)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. The Irishman (PR: 4)

3. Little Women (PR: 3)

4. Parasite (PR: 6)

5. 1917 (PR: 2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker (PR: 5)

7. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 7)

8. Downton Abbey (PR: 8)

9. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 9)

10. The Two Popes (PR: 10)

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 5)

5. Rocketman (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 7)

7. Joker (PR: 4)

8. Ad Astra (PR: 9)

9. The Irishman (PR: 8)

10. Us (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

3. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 5)

4. Rocketman (PR: 4)

5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

7. Ad Astra (PR: 10)

8. Joker (PR: 6)

9. The Irishman (PR: 8)

10. Us (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cats

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Lion King (PR: 4)

2. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 3)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 2)

4. The Irishman (PR: 1)

5. 1917 (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Alita: Battle Angel (PR: 6)

7. Gemini Man (PR: 7)

8. Terminator: Dark Fate (PR: 10)

9. Captain Marvel (PR: 8)

10. Cats (PR: 9)

And that equates to these films getting the following numbers of nods:

11 Nominations

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

10 Nominations

The Irishman

8 Nominations

1917, Marriage Story 

7 Nominations

Little Women, Parasite

6 Nominations

Joker

5 Nominations

Ford v Ferrari, Rocketman

3 Nominations

Avengers: Endgame, Bombshell, Jojo Rabbit, The Two Popes

2 Nominations

Frozen II, Harriet, Judy, The Lion King, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

1 Nomination

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, American Factory, Apollo 11, Atlantics, Dolemite Is My Name, Downton Abbey, The Farewell, For Sama, Honeyland, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Hustlers, I Lost My Body, Knives Out, Les Miserables, Missing Link, One Child Nation, Pain and Glory, The Painted Bird, Toy Story 4, Wild Rose 

Oscar Watch – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

One day before its galactic release, the review embargo for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has expired and the news is not so great. The ninth chapter of the ginormous franchise sits at 59% on Rotten Tomatoes. For all the talk about the mixed reaction to predecessor The Last Jedi in 2017, its RT score was 91%. Even last year’s mostly disregarded spin-off Solo: A Star Wars Story managed 70%.

So… what does that mean for Oscar attention? Well, any remote possibility of Skywalker playing in top line categories like Picture is gone. Yet possibilities for tech nods remain intact. When counting the eight official episodes and spin-offs Rogue One and Solo, the series as a whole has gathered 34 total nominations and won seven. Six of them went to the 1977 original with another for 1980’s sequel The Empire Strikes Back. That’s right… it’s been almost 40 years since a Star Wars pic has nabbed a competitive gold statue. And I don’t expect that streak to end here.

In this currently trilogy, 2015’s The Force Awakens received five nominations: Score for the legendary John Williams, Visual Effects, Editing, and both Sound categories. The Last Jedi got the same nods minus Editing. I anticipate Skywalker will probably be recognized for the same four as Jedi and win none. Interestingly, there’s a solid chance it loses three of them (Score and the Sounds) to 1917. As for Visual Effects, that could go to The Irishman or another epic Disney franchise finale Avengers: Endgame. 

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…