Oscar Predictions: Cassandro

Director Roger Ross Williams is no stranger to the Academy. His short film Music by Prudence was 2009’s recipient for Documentary Short Subject (making him the first African-American director to win an Oscar). The 2016 feature length doc Life, Animated was a contender in that race.

At Sundance, Williams is branching outside of the doc genre for Cassandro, which explores a real life subject. Gael Garcia Bernal is the title character – an openly gay Mexican wrestler who attained huge stardom. With a smattering of reviews in, the Rotten Tomatoes score is 100%.

With earlier acclaimed roles in The Motorcycle Diaries, Bad Education, and Babel, Bernal has yet to find his awards showcase role. He might get it here if distributor Amazon launches a serious campaign. The same can be said for Jonathan Majors and Magazine Dreams, which was my previous predictions write-up coming from Utah’s festival. Needless to say it’s early, but we already have potential hopefuls for next year’s Actor derby.

Cassandro could also contend for the memorable costumes that Bernal dons in the ring. Bottom line: this is worth keeping tabs on as the 2023 awards season is in its infancy. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Magazine Dreams

Jonathan Majors is about to have a high profile first quarter of 2023 and it begins at Sundance this weekend. The Lovecraft Country and Devotion star (who first captured the attention of reviewers in 2019’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco) will appear as the villainous Kang the Conquerer in February’s MCU sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Just two weeks later in early March, he will square off against Michael B. Jordan in Creed III.

At Sundance, audiences are getting their first look at him in Magazine Dreams. The sophomore effort from writer/director Elijah Bynum, Majors is a disturbed bodybuilder with roided out rage. Costars include Haley Bennett, Taylour Paige, Mike O’Hearn, Harrison Page, and Harriet Sansom Harris.

Early reaction is mostly positive though they’re not across the board raves. The praise for Majors exceeds that of the picture. Critics are applauding the lead’s commitment to the challenging role. With supporting roles in the aforementioned likely blockbusters, look for a distributor to snatch Magazine up quickly. Don’t be surprised if they issue a major campaign for Best Actor. Majors could be a factor a year down the road. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…