New York Circles Tár

The New York Film Critics Circle have made their selections for the year’s best and that kicks off a flurry of regional awards coming our way in the days and weeks ahead. This particular critics group (as is the case with most) isn’t much of a barometer on who and what will win. It is, however, a decent glimpse of who and what could contend.

Todd Field’s Tár and Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin each earned two honors. The former was named Best Film with Cate Blanchett taking the Actress award. Eight of the last 10 NYFCC victors in Film went on to receive a BP Oscar nomination. Yet none of those movies won the big prize from the Academy. The last one that did was 2011’s The Artist. And that make sense here. Tár appears highly likely to make the BP cut though it isn’t much of a threat to take the gold. Five of the past 10 Actress recipients were nominated with only one winner. Who was that winner? Cate Blanchett for 2013’s Blue Jasmine. She could certainly do so again. This won’t be the only critics branch to name her.

Colin Farrell was Best Actor for Banshees and After Yang. Like Actress, half of the previous ten New York honorees made the Oscar quintet with two winners – Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) and Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea). Farrell appears to be locked in a tight three-way race with Brendan Fraser (The Whale) and Austin Butler (Elvis). Every precursor like this helps a little. Banshees also won Best Screenplay. That’s another Academy three-way battle in Original Screenplay with Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Fabelmans.

The supporting fields are a bit more predictive as far as Academy matches. Eight of 10 Supporting Actor NYFCC takers were at the Oscars. That includes four winners in Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), and Mahershala Ali (Moonlight). We could see another match with Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once). Expect to hear his name a lot.

Supporting Actress, on the contrary, was more of a surprise. Keke Palmer’s work in Nope topped all rivals in a wide open field that’s hard to peg for Oscar prognosticating. 7 of 10 winners here made the big dance including the victorious Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), and Laura Dern (Marriage Story). I’ve yet to have Palmer in my top ten. I’m starting to wonder if she could get in the mix for her memorable performance in the sci-fi horror tale. I should note that NYFCC named Lupita Nyong’o Best Actress for Peele’s Us from 2019 and she came up short with Oscar voters.

The rest of the categories all showcased viable contenders in their respective competitions. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On picked up Animated Feature and I expect it to get love from the critics. Same with Non-Fiction Film and All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (I have it ranked first in Oscar’s Documentary Feature). Poland’s EO was a slightly unexpected choice in Foreign Film over Decision to Leave (which I have pegged as the soft frontrunner for the Academy). Finally, Top Gun: Maverick aced Cinematography and it should get an Oscar nod there for the thrilling aerial camerawork.

Keep coming to the blog for all your awards news and I’ll have updated Oscar predictions up this Sunday!

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Picture Race

My deep dives into 6 high profile Oscar races reaches the top one with Best Picture. If you missed my posts on Director and the four acting competitions, you can find them here:

At this early November period from 2019-21, here’s how accurate I was with my BP forecast. Three years ago, I correctly called 8 of the 9 eventual nominees. That includes the winner Parasite, 1917, Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Marriage Story, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The ninth hopeful was Joker and it was listed in Other Possibilities. In the wildly unpredictable 2020, I was right about 5 of 8 with two months left in the calendar – Nomadland (which won), The Father, Mank, Minari, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Judas and the Black Messiah was named in Other Possibilities while Promising Young Woman and Sound of Metal were not yet in my top 15. In 2021, the Academy went back to a set number of 10 BP nominees. I rightly identified 7 of the 10 with Belfast, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, and West Side Story. The film that emerged victorious – CODA was not yet predicted but in Other Possibilities. So was Don’t Look Up while Drive My Car wasn’t among the 15.

Moving to 2022 – I can’t recall a year where four sequels were viable for inclusion. That’s where we stand at the moment. The top grosser of the year is Top Gun: Maverick and I do believe the Academy will reward it for bringing older audiences back to multiplexes (and of course for its quality). In a few weeks, we’ll have a better idea about Avatar: The Way of Water. I’m not ready to vault into my ten, but that could change soon. Knives Out missed out on BP in 2019 so I’m skeptical for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. And while Black Panther made the lineup in 2018, Wakanda Forever seems like a stretch despite the solid buzz. Nevertheless it’s not crazy to think that 40% of the BP players could be sequels.

On the non-sequel front, we begin with The Fabelmans. Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical coming-of-age tale has been listed at #1 for weeks on the blog. Only one of the filmmaker’s works – 1993’s Schindler’s List – has won BP. Shakespeare in Love was a surprise recipient in 1998 over the favored Saving Private Ryan. Nearly 30 years later, Fabelmans could have the credentials to be the second.

However, the frontrunner at this stage often doesn’t cross the finish line and Spielberg’s latest feels like a soft frontrunner. I could easily envision a scenario where the voters go outside the box with Everything Everywhere All at Once. A24’s multi-genre pic achieved wide acclaim and did great business at the box office. While spring releases rarely make the journey all the way through the awards calendar, Everything could buck that trend.

Other spoilers include The Banshees of Inisherin and Women Talking, which both garnered kudos at film festivals and will have their ardent admirers. I believe that logic also applies to Tár and The Whale though I don’t see either having a shot to win. And we are still waiting to see if Damien Chazelle’s Babylon is as viable as its pedigree suggests (we’ll know in a few days when it screens).

It’s become more common for an international feature film to get in and the two most likely to do so are All Quiet on the Western Front (which might just be Netflix’s most serious hopeful) and Decision to Leave. The reviews for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Bardo should leave it out (it might not even make the separate international race).

While Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is the favorite to be Best Animated Feature, I don’t see it breaking into the big dance. It’s probably the only animated title with any sort of chance.

The festival circuit always lessens the viability of some pics. In 2022, I would put the following on that list: Empire of Light, The Son, and Armageddon Time.

The Academy could choose to honor some moneymakers like Elvis and The Woman King (though putting Maverick in could check that box). Till may only show up in Best Actress for Danielle Deadwyler. And it’s tough to know what to make of the upcoming Emancipation considering it’s led by Will Smith (who has some, um, recent history with the ceremony).

Bottom line: there is a lot of uncertainty about BP. I feel fairly confident about The Fabelmans, Everything Everywhere, Women Talking, The Banshees of Inisherin, Top Gun: Maverick, Tár, and The Whale (more than others with that one). We’ll know about Babylon shortly so that leaves two spots. I could definitely see a sequel or a foreign flick jumping up. For now, the 9th and 10th entries go to Triangle of Sadness and She Said. Expect movement as the weeks roll along.

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

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

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: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tár (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Whale (PR: 8) (E)

9. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (E)

10. She Said (PR: 12) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

11. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 11) (E)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Elvis (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 15) (E)

Stay tuned for estimates on all the races coming up soon!

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actress Race

We have reached Best Actress in my deep dives of the major Oscar races. If you didn’t catch my takes on the supporting derbies and lead actor, you can access them here:

Before we get to this very competitive Actress competition, let’s see how I did at this point in the calendar from 2019-21. Three years ago, I managed to identify all 5 eventual nominees – winner Renee Zellweger (Judy), Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), and Charlize Theron (Bombshell). For the late October/early November frame in 2020 and 2021, I correctly called 3 of the 5. In 2020, that was Frances McDormand (Nomadland), who won her third Oscar along with Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman). Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) were mentioned in Other Possibilities. The victor was also named last year with Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye as well as Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter) and Kristen Stewart (Spencer). Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) and Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) were in Other Possibilities.

So if the last three years are any precursor, you should find the eventual quintet in my ten picks! Frances McDormand could have company with performers sporting a trio of gold statues. A Supporting Actress winner in 2004 for The Aviator and lead actress recipient for 2013’s Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett is drawing some career best kudos for Tár. She’s been in my #1 spot for weeks and if she wins, she’d join McDormand, Katherine Hepburn, and Ingrid Bergman as the only actresses to win more than two Oscars.

Her main competition could come from several performers. Michelle Yeoh is receiving a massive push for Everything Everywhere All at Once, which is a threat to win numerous big races including Best Picture. There’s another Michelle and it’s a surprise… Michelle Williams. As I discussed in my Supporting Actress write-up, her performance in The Fabelmans would likely be a guaranteed winner in that category. With the more competitive vibe of lead actress, it’s not even a guarantee that she makes it in.

While Till may struggle to get recognition elsewhere despite strong reviews and an A+ Cinemascore, Danielle Deadwyler looks pretty strong to make the cut. On the other hand, so-so critical reaction could prevent Olivia Colman (Empire of Light) from getting her fourth nod in five years.

There are two performances yet to be seen that could both make a splash: Margot Robbie for Babylon and Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston in I Wanna Dance with Somebody. It’s easy to envision either rising up if the reactions are positive enough.

Despite solid box office, Viola Davis could face an uphill battle for The Woman King. That narrative could change if both Robbie and Ackie falter. Some intensely negative audience and critical buzz for Blonde may leave Ana de Armas out. And there’s always potential dark horses. Emma Thompson will probably get a Golden Globes nom for Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, but Academy inclusion could be a reach. Women Talking‘s Rooney Mara might be ignored in favor of her supporting costars like Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley. Causeway may not draw enough attention for Jennifer Lawrence to make it and the same holds true for The Wonder‘s Florence Pugh. Decision to Leave (despite having a chance to take International Feature Film) may not see its cast be a factor. That would leave out Tang Wei.

Here’s my state of this race!

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1 . Cate Blanchett, Tár (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

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

3. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 3) (E)

4. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (E)

5. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 6) (E)

7. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (+1)

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

9. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 9) (E)

10. Rooney Mara, Women Talking (PR: 10) (E)

Best Director is up next!

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actor Race

My detailed look at six of the top Oscar categories – Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies – arrives at Best Actor. If you missed the posts covering the supporting races, you can find them here:

At this late October/early November stage of forecasting in the previous three years, my picks in the lead acting competitions have been more accurate than the supporting ones.

In 2019 at this juncture, I managed to correctly identify four of the five eventual nominees: winner Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes). The fifth was Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory and he was listed in Other Possibilities.

Three of five was the story in 2020 and 2021. Two years ago, I had The Father‘s Anthony Hopkins (who won), Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Gary Oldman (Mank) pegged with Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) and Steven Yeun (Minari) as possibles.

You may remember that Will Smith took gold last year for King Richard. I had him correctly called with two months remaining on the calendar. Same with Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog and Denzel Washington for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!) was mentioned in Other Possibilities. Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) had yet to enter my top ten.

Had a certain slap heard around the world not occurred, it’s totally possible that Will Smith (Emancipation) might be listed in my top 5. However, with his current ban from attending the ceremony, I question whether he could make a return to the ballot so quickly after the controversy. Therefore he’s not in my top 10. We’ll see if the reviews (coming soon) change the dynamic.

We do have a frontrunner and that’s Brendan Fraser in The Whale. Since its Venice and Toronto fest bows, he’s drawn raves. This is also a comeback narrative that the Academy should fall for. I’ve had Fraser listed in 1st for several weeks and I see no reason to change that.

There are two viable runners-up in Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Austin Butler (Elvis). I’ve been switching them in 2nd and 3rd place over the past few posts. Farrell is 2nd because I think Banshees stands a better shot at a BP nod. You have to go back to 2009 and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) where the Best Actor recipient’s movie didn’t achieve BP inclusion. If Elvis makes the big dance – an argument could be made that Butler is Fraser’s most serious competition to shake the race up.

After those three names, it could be a free for all for the final two slots. The only other performer I had listed in 1st place other than Fraser was Hugh Jackman for The Son. This was before it premiered at the festivals and garnered middling reviews. Now the question is whether Jackman gets in at all.

Someone who has fared well on the fest circuit is Bill Nighy for Living. Sony Pictures will need to mount a spirited campaign, but they’re good at that kinda thing. I’m starting to feel better about Nighy than Jackman.

Diego Calva is the biggest remaining question mark for Babylon. Screenings coming up in two weeks should help answer his viability. There’s a pair of indie performances that could bubble up if critics groups assist – Paul Mescal for Aftersun and Jeremy Pope in The Inspection. One possible hindrance for both of them is their movies are both A24 and that studio could be distracted with crowning Fraser. We could see foreign film leads Song Kang-ho (Broker) and Park Hae-il (Decision to Leave) make a play.

Netflix is apparently going in on a spirited campaign for Adam Sandler in Hustle. I have a hard time seeing that pan out (especially since he couldn’t get in for Uncut Gems). The streamer could also focus on Christian Bale (The Pale Blue Eye) or Adam Driver (White Noise). Bale also has Amsterdam, but it failed with critics and audiences.

Finally… there’s Tom Cruise. A three-time nominee, it’s been 23 years since he was in the mix. And a little pic called Top Gun: Maverick was easily the largest blockbuster of his career and the runaway hit of 2022. I’m not ready to put him in my five. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up there.

Here’s my current state of this race:

1 . Brendan Fraser, The Whale (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

2. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 4) (E)

5. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

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

8. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: 8) (E)

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

10. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Song Kang-ho, Broker

Best Actress is up next!

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actress Race

The Supporting Actress derby is up next for my deep dives in the six major categories (Picture, Director, the 4 acting competitions). If you missed my current take on Supporting Actor, it’s here:

With two months left to go in the calendar year, it’s a good time to take stock in where we stand in 2022 with the various hopefuls. In 2019 and 2020 in late October, I correctly identified 3 of the 5 eventual nominees in Supporting Actress. Three years ago, that included eventual winner Laura Dern (Marriage Story) as well as Florence Pugh (Little Women) and Margot Robbie (Bombshell). I had Scarlett Johansson listed in Other Possibilities for Jojo Rabbit while not having Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell) yet on the radar. A year later, the trio of Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), and Amanda Seyfried (Mank) were already in my top five. Youn Yuh-jung (Minari) took the gold. Both she and Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) were tagged in Other Possibilities.

The ratio dropped in 2021. I named 2 of the 5 women with Ariana DeBose in West Side Story (who won) and Kirsten Dunst for The Power of the Dog. 2 nominees – Judi Dench (Belfast) and Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) – were in Other Possibilities while Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter) wasn’t in my listed ten.

We arrive at 2022 where Ms. Buckley is in the mix again. She appears in Women Talking alongside a large ensemble of additional actresses. This film gives us the highest probability of seeing double nominees from the same picture. It’s happened three times since 2010. Melissa Leo and Amy Adams were up for The Fighter that year with Leo emerging victorious. In 2011, Octavia Spencer took the statue for The Help with Jessica Chastain also making the cut. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were both in the mix for 2018’s The Favourite.

With Women Talking, the Academy could dive a tad deeper with Judith Ivery and Sheila McCarthy (who are standouts). I suspect they’ll go with Buckley and Claire Foy (who was notably snubbed three years ago for First Man). I’ve had the latter listed in first place as she’s got a slightly meatier role.

That brings us to a key caveat in this race. A few weeks back, there was the unexpected announcement that Michelle Williams in Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans would be campaigned for in lead actress. She could’ve easily been placed here. If the studio had done that, I would continue to have Williams at #1 and feel confident that she’d win her first Oscar. However, in the Best Actress competition, I only have her in fourth position as of my last forecast.

Back to performers who are eligible in this. As long as The Banshees of Inisherin performs well with voters (and it should), Kerry Condon should make the quintet and could be a threat to win. Truth be told, this seems like a wide open competition without Williams. I could see either Women Talking actress at the podium or Condon. Same goes for Hong Chau as Brendan Fraser’s caretaker in The Whale or Stephanie Hsu as the world altering daughter in Everything Everywhere All at Once. That film offers the possibility of an additional double nomination with Jamie Lee Curtis’s nearly unrecognizable role. As for The Whale, I think Chau is far more likely than costar Sadie Sink.

I’m not as sold on Anne Hathaway in Armageddon Time, which may not make a dent at the ceremony. The many negative reviews for The Son have me questioning the viability of Vanessa Kirby or Laura Dern. Cha Cha Real Smooth might be too small for Dakota Johnson to nab her first Academy mention. Thuso Mbedu in The Woman King seems like a stretch. There’s unseen performances that could rise up like Kate Winslet (Avatar: The Way of Water) or Jean Smart (Babylon). Of all those choices, only Smart is in the top ten.

Critics groups may be integral in weeding out the nominees. This is where we could see Nina Hoss (Tár) or Dolly de Leon (Triangle of Sadness) rise up. Or we could get a nominee from a forthcoming hit such as Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) or Janelle Monae (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery).

Over the past couple of months, all of my five nominees have come from films that I have in my 1o Best Picture hopefuls. That also holds true for Supporting Actor. And, frankly, that usually doesn’t happen. This is partly why I’m putting Carey Mulligan (She Said) in my projections after the studio announced she’ll vie for supporting instead of lead. I’ve got She Said barely missing a BP nod.

Bottom line: nothing is close to being settled in Supporting Actress and the talking about these women could change as we get closer to nomination time.

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Claire Foy, Women Talking (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

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

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

4. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 4) (E)

5. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Nina Hoss, Tár (PR: 8) (E)

9. Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 10) (+1)

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

Dropped Out:

Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Actor is up next!

2022 Oscar Predictions: October 16th Edition

On the bright side for Netflix, I have Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio at #1 in Animated Feature where it’s been perched all along. That would mean the streamer could nab its first victory ever in that race.

Now the bad news as my current Best Picture nominees leaves Netflix on the cutting room floor. In 2018, Roma was the first hopeful in the big dance. It was expected to win, but lost to Green Book. 2019 brought double nominees with The Irishman and Marriage Story. Same in 2020 with Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7. And there were two contenders again last year in Don’t Look Up and The Power of the Dog (a frontrunner until CODA fever emerged).

I had All Quiet on the Western Front in the mix 11 days ago. Yet I’ve had a nagging feeling that another blockbuster not named Top Gun: Maverick will get in. So for the first time, Elvis is in the top ten. That moneymaker spot could also be filled with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (from Netflix), Avatar: The Way of Water, or Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Think could also be called the “Second Sequel” slot, I suppose.

Don’t be surprised if Netflix eventually gets back in. Quiet, the aforementioned Onion, Bardo, and Pinocchio are all viable (maybe even White Noise). For now, my BP hopefuls would mean a disappointing nomination morning for the streamer.

She Said received mostly positive notices when it was unveiled Thursday at the New York Film Festival. It could absolutely be a BP contender, but I’m got it just on the outside and feel more comfortable forecasting it as a lone screenplay nominee (I don’t love the current 76% RT meter for it). You’ll note I don’t have any of the cast in my top tens. Perhaps the eventual announcement of category placements could change that.

In other developments:

    • I’ve decided to move Babylon‘s Margot Robbie back in Best Actress instead of supporting (can we please get that placement announcement??). It means she’s back in and Olivia Colman (Empire of Light) is out.
    • Bill Nighy’s work in Living returns to Actor five with Diego Calva (Babylon) sliding into sixth position.
    • With Robbie returning to lead, Dolly De Leon (Triangle of Sadness) is elevated to fifth in Supporting Actress.
    • My Supporting Actor dual nominee projections of Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan for The Banshees of Inisherin shifts to Paul Dano and Judd Hirsch for The Fabelmans. That means Hirsch rises while Keoghan falls.

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. Babylon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Women Talking (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Whale (PR: 8) (E)

9. Elvis (PR: 13) (+4)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

11. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (-1)

12. She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Decision to Leave (PR: 11) (-3)

15. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Till

The Woman King 

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: 3) (E)

4. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (-1)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 9) (E)

10. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (E)

5. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Supporting

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 8) (E)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Carey Mulligan, She Said

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

3. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (E)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 4) (E)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 5) (-1)

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

8. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Will Smith, Emancipation 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

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

4. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (E)

7. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Margot Robbie, Babylon (moved to Best Actress)

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: 2) (E)

3. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (-1)

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

9. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jeremy Strong, Armageddon Time

Micheal Ward, Empire of Light 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (+1)

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

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (E)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (E)

5. Tar (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (E)

8. Armageddon Time (PR: 8) (E)

9. Empire of Light (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Menu (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Broker 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. She Said (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 3) (-1)

5. White Noise (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Living (PR: 6) (E)

7. Till (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Bones and All (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Son (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

All Quiet on the Western Front 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. Strange World (PR: 3) (E)

4. Wendell and Wild (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. The Bad Guys (PR: 8) (+2)

7. The Sea Beast (PR: 6) (-1)

8. My Father’s Dragon (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Minions: The Rise of Gru (PR: 9) (E)

10. Lightyear (PR: 10) (E)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 1) (E)

2. Decision to Leave (PR: 2) (E)

3. Close (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bardo (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Saint Omer (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Klondike (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Holy Spider (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Alcarras (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Argentina, 1985 (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Corsage (PR: 10) (E)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Descendant (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Navalny (PR: 3) (E)

4. All That Breathes (PR: 4) (E)

5. Fire of Love (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Good Night Oppy (PR: 7) (E)

8. Moonage Daydream (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Last Flight Home (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Aftershock (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Sr. 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Empire of Light (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bardo (PR: 5) (+1)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 6) (E)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (E)

9. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 9) (E)

10. Emancipation (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Batman

Best Costume Design 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

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

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

5. Corsage (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Woman King (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Fabelmans (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Living (PR: 9) (+1)

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

10. Blonde (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Amsterdam

Best Film Editing 

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Women Talking (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Elvis (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tar (PR: 9) (+2)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Bardo (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Decision to Leave

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The Batman (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. The Woman King (PR: 10) (+3)

8. (PR: 8) (E)

9. Blonde (PR: Not Ranked)

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

Dropped Out:

Amsterdam

Corsage

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Empire of Light (PR: 3) (E)

4. Tar (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Women Talking (PR: 4) (-3)

8. Bardo (PR: 10) (+2)

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Top Gun: Maverick 

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. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR (PR: 4) (+1)

4. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman (PR: 3) (-1)

5. “Stand Up” from Till (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing (PR: 5) (-1)

7. “This is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (+1)

8. “New Body Rhumba” from White Noise (PR: 7) (-1)

9. “On My Way” from Marry Me (PR: 6) (-3)

10. “Love Is Not Love” from Bros (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“I Ain’t Worried” from Top Gun: Maverick

“Heartbeat” from Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile 

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Bardo (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fabelmans (PR: 5) (-1)

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

8. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Batman (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Babylon (PR: 4) (E)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Batman (PR: 6) (E)

7. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 7) (E)

8. Nope (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Fabelmans (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Bardo (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Thirteen Lives

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: 3) (E)

4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Batman (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 8) (+1)

8. RRR (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Good Night Oppy (PR: 9) (E)

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

Dropped Out:

Nope 

That equates to these movies getting these numbers of nominations:

10 Nominations

Babylon

9 Nominations

The Fabelmans

8 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

7 Nominations

Women Talking

6 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis

5 Nominations

Tar, Top Gun: Maverick, The Whale

3 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, Bardo, Triangle of Sadness 

2 Nominations

The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Empire of Light, Till, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Close, Corsage, Decision to Leave, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Living, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Navalny, RRR, Saint Omer, She Said, The Son, Strange World, Tell It Like a Woman, Wendell and Wild, White Noise

Oscar Predictions: White Noise

Can a satire about the apocalypse premiering on Netflix at year’s end contend for a Best Picture nomination? It happened in 2021 for Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up. Will lightning strike again for the streamer with White Noise, Noah Baumbach’s latest which has opened the Venice Film Festival?

Based on a 1985 Don DeLillo novel that many tagged as unfilmable, Adam Driver headlines the filmmaker’s follow-up to 2019’s Marriage Story (which nabbed 6 Academy nods). Costars include Baumbach’s partner in real life Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Andre Benjamin, Sam Nivola, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Don Cheadle. A November 25th limited theatrical rollout is planned prior to the December 30th streaming start.

Early reviews are a bit all over the place. The Tomatoes meter is 78% at the moment. There’s some “ex’s” in the mix like exciting and exhilarating, but also exhausting and exasperating. Some are indicating its ambition is admirable, but it falters in the execution.

Those are some of the same criticisms lobbed at the aforementioned Up, which still managed a slot in the ten BP hopefuls. That could happen with Noise. However, there is a caveat and it’s an important one. Don’t Look Up didn’t go through the film festival circuit and I believe that worked to its advantage. Despite its heavily mixed reaction, it hit Netflix at the end of the year just as awards voters were beginning to consider their ballots. At that time, it was easily the most talked about motion picture in the country. The bulk of Noise‘s chatter is occurring four months earlier.

As for its acting prospects, Driver, Gerwig, and Cheadle are getting solid ink, but I don’t really see them as viable players. If anything, a weak lead actor field (undetermined at the moment) could help Driver. This could land an Adapted Screenplay nod as a reward for it not being the disaster that some feared it might be (this is Baumbach’s first non-original script). Most critics are claiming it’s far from that. And we have a new LCD Soundsystem track titled “New Body Rhumba” that is being praised (we’ll see if Netflix mounts a major Original Song campaign for it). Same goes for Danny Elfman’s score. Tech nods (particularly Production Design) might be doable.

Bottom line: I wouldn’t completely discount that Noise could make just that in awards season though skepticism is warranted. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Venice Film Festival Preview

How important is the Venice Film Festival when it comes to premiering Oscar hopefuls? In the past decade, nearly half of the Best Picture winners got their rollout in Italy. That would be Birdman, Spotlight, The Shape of Water, and Nomadland. It’s tough to find a recent Venice fest where there’s not at least 2 eventual nominees for the Academy’s biggest race.

This year’s competition kicks off tomorrow and you can anticipate plenty of individualized Oscar prediction posts coming your way. Telluride follows this weekend (with the lineup announcement on Thursday) and Toronto starts next Thursday (I’ll be there!).

Let’s take a look at ten Venice entries looking to create their Oscar buzz over the next few days…

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed 

Laura Poitras, who won an Academy Award for her 2014 Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, turns her eye to activist Nan Goldin and her fight against the opioid epidemic. This could certainly be a player in the Doc competition.

The Banshees of Inisherin 

The last time filmmaker Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, and Brendan Gleeson collaborated, the result was the acclaimed 2008 black comedy In Bruges. They’re playing in the same genre here with McDonagh’s follow-up to 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which earned acting Oscars for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.

Bardo

3 out of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s last four films were nominated for Best Picture. Birdman took gold with Babel and The Revenant contending. Expectations are that his latest drama (available on Netflix in December) could be the streamer’s most serious contender and it could immediately become a frontrunner for International Feature Film.

Blonde

Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas (another Netflix offering) comes with an NC-17 rating and lots of prognosticators wondering if it’s too risqué to get awards attention. We’ll know soon.

Bones & All

Luca Guadagnino had a pic in the BP derby five years ago with Call Me by Your Name and then followed with the confounding Suspiria remake. This horror romance with cannibalistic themes stars Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell. I have’t really had this as much of a threat for the Oscar race so let’s see if that narrative shifts.

Don’t Worry Darling

Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to Booksmart is a tale of marital and suburban strife headlined by Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. The thriller  has been generating headlines for some wrong reasons lately, but great reviews could turn that buzz around.

The Son

Florian Zeller took home a Screenplay Oscar for 2020’s The Father while Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor. The Father is next and Hugh Jackman is seeking his first statue. The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, and Hopkins. Any and all could be in the mix for acting honors.

Tar

Cate Blanchett could be lined up for a third Oscar win in Todd Field’s latest in which the acclaimed actress plays a composer. It’s the director’s first feature in over 15 years after both In the Bedroom and Little Children received Academy nods.

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Natalie Portman to the podium in 2010’s Black Swan. There’s chatter he could do the same and assist in mounting a significant career comeback for Brendan Fraser (something he did for Mickey Rourke with 2008’s The Wrestler). The Mummy star plays a 600 pound man reconnecting with his daughter (Sadie Sink).

White Noise

Noah Baumbach’s last Netflix film was the BP contending Marriage Story from 2019. His Marriage star Adam Driver is back in this adaptation of a 1980s sci-fi dark comedy. It will open Venice tomorrow and it will be my first Oscar Predictions post. Stay tuned!

Shoulda Been Oscar Contenders: Ray Liotta in GoodFellas

Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas is one of the greatest motion pictures of all time (it’s in my top ten) and the Academy recognized that with six Oscar nominations in 1990. It won Best Supporting Actor for Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco received a Supporting Actress mention for Supporting Actress as the wife of Henry Hill. That’s in addition to the superb acting from Robert De Niro and Paul Sorvino and others. The Best Picture and Director nods should’ve been victories over Dances with Wolves. 

Furthermore, we ought’ve seen at least a seventh nomination for Best Actor with Ray Liotta as the main character. Henry Hill’s onscreen journey from a naive kid learning the ropes of Mob life to that riveting, unforgettable and coke addled last half hour of paranoia complete with black helicopters is cinema at its most addictive. And it’s Liotta’s performance that fuels it. Through the course of Scorsese’s mastery, we witness its lead shift from tender to menacing with total believability. It’s a star making role for a man who turned out to be an ace character actor.

I should’ve written this post a while ago. It’s unfathomable that the film’s central performance went unrecognized. Liotta had just achieved his biggest exposure a year earlier as Shoeless Joe Jackson in the beloved Field of Dreams. GoodFellas announced him as a leading man and he would continue on with more memorable roles with above the title credits and supporting parts. For those seeking out worthy titles, check out Something Wild and Unlawful Entry. Watch his descent into madness in Cop Land or his acclaimed role in Narc. There’s his recent turn in the Oscar nominated Marriage Story as a divorce lawyer (his costar Laura Dern won a gold statue).

Sadly – I write this post today as we learn of Ray Liotta’s passing at the age of 67. He was on location shooting his latest effort with at least 2 pictures in the can. For GoodFellas alone, he will forever be a part of the history of this medium we love. Yes, he should’ve been a contender for it. Ray Liotta, through decades of impressive performances, won us over time and again.

22 for ’22: Oscars Early Look

It’s been an entire week since The Slap… check that, the 94th Academy Awards where CODA parlayed its Sundance buzz from January 2021 all the way to a Best Picture victory.

That also means I’ve managed to wait a whole week without speculation for the next Academy Awards which will hopefully be a slap free zone. So what are some titles that could be vying for attention?

On May 27th and after numerous delays, Top Gun: Maverick will find Tom Cruise returning to his iconic role some 36 years after the original. There’s a decent chance it could be up for similar prizes that its predecessor landed like Sound, Film Editing, and Song (courtesy of Lady Gaga apparently). Visual Effects is a possibility as well.

My weekly Oscar prediction posts won’t begin until mid to late August. In the meantime, you’ll get individualized write-ups for pics that open or screen at festivals.

Yet for today – I feel the need. The need to identify 21 other 2022 titles that might end up on the Academy’s radar. Enjoy!

Armageddon Time

Despite acclaimed movies like The Lost City of Z and Ad Astra, James Gray has yet to connect with awards voters. This drama, rumored to be centered on his Queens upbringing, is the next hopeful and features a stellar cast including Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, and Jeremy Strong. Release Date: TBD

Avatar 2

The 2009 original amassed nine nominations and won took home three. The first sequel (there’s three more on the way) arrives in December from James Cameron. Will it capture the critical and box office magic of part one? That’s impossible to know at this juncture, but one can safely assume it’ll be up for some tech categories like Sound and Visual Effects. Release Date: December 16th

Babylon

Damien Chazelle is no stranger to the big dance. Whiplash was a BP nominee and J.K. Simmons won Supporting Actor. Chazelle took Director for his follow-up La La Land along with Emma Stone’s Actress victory and it almost famously took BP. First Man nabbed four nominations, but missed the top of the line races. Babylon is a period drama focused on Hollywood’s Golden Age and should be right up the Academy’s alley. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Tobey Maguire. Release Date: December 25th

Canterbury Glass

Robbie also turns up in David O. Russell’s latest ensemble piece. Anytime he’s behind the camera, Oscar nods typically follow (think The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle). Slated for November, the dramedy also features Christian Bale, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, and… Chris Rock. Release Date: November 4th

Elvis

Arriving in June but with a Cannes unveiling in May, Baz Luhrmann’s musical bio of The King stars Austin Butler in the title role and Tom Hanks as The Colonel. If this doesn’t contend for the major awards, I would still anticipate potential tech recognition (Production Design, Sound, etc…). Release Date: June 24th

Empire of Light

Sam Mendes was likely in the runner-up position in 2019 for Picture and Director (behind Parasite) with 1917. His follow-up is an English set romance starring Olivia Colman (who would be going for her fourth nomination in five years), Michael Ward, and Colin Firth. Release Date: TBD

Everything Everywhere All at Once

From two filmmakers known collectively as Daniels, Once is already out in limited release with spectacular reviews (97% on RT). The sci-fi action comedy might be too bizarre for the Academy, but I wouldn’t count it out as its admirers are vocal. Picture, Director, Actress (Michelle Yeoh), and Original Screenplay are all on the table. Release Date: out in limited release, opens wide April 8th

The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg directs a semi-autobiographical tale and cowrites with his Lincoln and West Side Story scribe Tony Kushner. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Paul Dano. Needless to say, this is a major contender on paper. Release Date: November 23rd

Killers of the Flower Moon

Alongside The Fabelmans, this might be the most obvious nominee from a personnel standpoint. Martin Scorsese helms this western crime drama featuring Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, and his two frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Apple TV just became the first streamer to get a BP victory with CODA. This could be the second in a row. Release Date: November

Poor Things

In 2018, The Favourite scored a whopping ten nominations. Based on an acclaimed 1992 novel, Poor Things is Yorgos Lanthimos’s follow-up and it reunites him with Emma Stone along with Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, and Mark Ruffalo. The plot sounds bizarre but it could also be an Oscar bait role for Stone and others. Release Date: TBD

Rustin

One of Netflix’s contenders is George C. Wolfe’s profile of gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (played by Colman Domingo). In 2020, Wolfe directed Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman to nods for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Look for Domingo to be a competitor and the supporting cast includes Chris Rock (maybe he will be back at the show), Glynn Turman, and Audra McDonald. Release Date: TBD

See How They Run

The 1950s set murder mystery could provide 27-year-old Saoirse Ronan with an opportunity to land her fifth nomination. Sam Rockwell, David Oyelowo, Adrien Brody, and Ruth Wilson are among the supporting players. Tom George directs. Release Date: TBD

She Said

Five years after the scandal rocked Hollywood, She Said from Maria Schrader recounts the New York Times sexual misconduct investigation into Harvey Weinstein. Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, and Patricia Clarkson lead the cast. Release Date: November 18th

The Son

Florian Zeller won Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020 for The Father along with Anthony Hopkins taking Best Actor. This follow-up (based on the director’s play) finds Hopkins reprising his Oscar-winning part in supporting fashion. Other cast members seeking awards attention include Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, and Vanessa Kirby. Release Date: TBD

TAR

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Todd Field behind the camera. Previous efforts In the Bedroom and Little Children received 8 nominations between them. A decade and a half following Children comes this Berlin set drama with Cate Blanchett, Noemie Merlant, and Mark Strong. Release Date: October 7th

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Scheduled for a Cannes bow in May, Longing is a fantasy romance from the legendary mind of George Miller (who last made Mad Max: Fury Road which won six tech Oscars). Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton star. Release Date: TBD

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Mickey Rourke to a comeback narrative nod for 2008’s The Wrestler. Two years later, his follow-up Black Swan earned Natalie Portman a statue. Brendan Fraser is hoping for the same treatment with The Whale as he plays a 600 pound man attempting to reconnect with his daughter. Costars include Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Samantha Morton. I’d expect Makeup and Hairstyling could also be in play with this. Release Date: TBD

White Noise

Not a remake of the Michael Keaton supernatural thriller from 2005, this is Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to Marriage Story. Based on a 1985 novel, it’s the filmmaker’s first picture based on other source material. Marriage landed three acting nods (with Laura Dern winning Supporting Actress). The cast here includes frequent Baumbach collaborator Adam Driver, real-life partner Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Andre Benjamin, Alessandro Nivola, and Don Cheadle. This could be Netflix’s strongest contender. Release Date: TBD

The Woman King

Expect this West Afrian set historical epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood to be heavily touted by Sony with awards bait roles for leads Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu. The supporting cast includes John Boyega and Lashana Lynch. Release Date: September 16th

Women Talking

Based on a 2018 novel, Sarah Polley writes and directs this drama focused on eight Mennonite women and their story of abuse. The sterling cast includes Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Claire Foy, and Rooney Mara. Release Date: TBD

And that’s just a small preview of the features that could materialize for the 95th Academy Awards! As always, the speculation on this site will continue throughout the year and into the next. Stay tuned…