2020 BAFTAs: The Nomadland Train Keeps Rolling

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

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

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

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

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

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

Animated Film: Soul

Documentary: My Octopus Teacher

Film Not in the English Language: Another Round

Cinematography: Nomadland

Costume Design: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Editing: Sound of Metal

Makeup & Hair: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Original Score: Soul

Production Design: Mank

Sound: Sound of Metal

Special Visual Effects: Tenet

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

Oscars 2020: The Case of Olivia Colman

My third Case Of entry for Supporting Actress hopefuls arrives at Olivia Colman in The Father. If you missed my first two posts for Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) and Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), you can find them here:

Oscars 2020: The Case of Maria Bakalova

Oscars 2020: The Case of Glenn Close

The Case for Olivia Colman

Colman has been a fixture on the awards scene in recent years including as the Queen on Netflix’s The Crown. She’s shown the ability to surprise prognosticators before. In 2018, Colman took Best Actress for The Favourite at the Oscars in an unexpected win over the favorite Glenn Close (The Wife).

The Case Against Olivia Colman

While her fellow nominee Close in no longer the anticipated victor, Colman seems to have longer odds this time around. She has been shut out in the precursors in favor of Bakalova and Yuh-jung Youn in Minari. It’s also hard to imagine her taking the gold if her costar Anthony Hopkins doesn’t in Best Actor (where Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is garnering the attention).

The Verdict

In this unpredictable Supporting Actress derby, it’s a strange thing with Colman. When I did my nomination predictions, I actually felt she was most likely to get a nod and least likely to win. I still feel that way.

My Case Of posts will continue with Leslie Odom, Jr. in One Night in Miami…

Oscars 2020: The Case of David Fincher

My Case Of posts for nominees at the 93rd Academy Awards reaches its third director with David Fincher for Mank. If you missed my previous two posts covering Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), they can be found here:

Oscars 2020: The Case of Lee Isaac Chung

Oscars 2020: The Case of Emerald Fennell

The Case for David Fincher

For over a quarter century, Fincher has been one of the most acclaimed and commercially successful filmmakers on the scene. His pictures have received a collective 40 Oscar nods. However, he’s yet to win himself for his direction despite two previous nods for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network. In other words, there’s an overdue factor at play.

The Case Against David Fincher

Despite Mank leading in terms of total nominations (10) at the upcoming ceremony, it missed out in key categories like Original Screenplay and Editing. Of the 8 Best Picture nominees, it actually has the lowest (83%) Rotten Tomatoes score. While Fincher has landed mentions in the significant precursors, he’s lost at each turn to Chloe Zhao for Nomadland and she stands as the heavy favorite to take the Academy’s gold.

The Verdict

He may be overdue, but expect that to continue for Fincher as Zhao may well have this race wrapped up.

My Case Of posts will continue with Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman…

Oscars 2020: The Case of Glenn Close

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy is next up in my Case Of posts for Supporting Actress contenders. If you missed my first entry covering Maria Bakalova in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, it is right here:

Oscars 2020: The Case of Maria Bakalova

The Case for Glenn Close

Three Supporting Actress nominations for The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, and The Natural. Four Actress nods for Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs, and The Wife. And no victories thus far. With her 8th nomination for the Netflix drama, Glenn Close has tied Peter O’Toole for the most Academy mentions with zero podium trips. So there’s clearly an overdue factor for one of the most celebrated actresses. Her career includes three each of the following: Golden Globes, Tonys, and Emmys. There is no clear favorite to emerge here as previous precursor recipients have included Maria Bakalova at the Critics Choice Awards, Yuh-jung Youn (Minari) at SAG, and Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian) at the Globes (she missed Academy inclusion). In other words, anything could happen.

The Case Against Glenn Close

On paper, Close was looked at as a frontrunner all year. However, poor reviews for the picture itself stunted that momentum. In fact, she received a Razzie nod (honoring the worst in 2020) here and is only the third performer ever with that dubious distinction. For trivia completists, the other two are James Coco for Supporting Actor in 1981’s Only When I Laugh and Amy Irving in Supporting Actress for 1983’s Yentl. And while I mentioned the open nature of this particular contest, Close has yet to attain a precursor.

The Verdict

The 8th time is probably not the charm for Close unless the Academy really leans into the overdue sentiment.

My Case Of posts will continue with Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah…

2020 SAG Awards Reaction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oscars 2020: The Case of Chadwick Boseman

My Case Of posts have reached the second performer for Best Actor at the Oscars and that’s the late Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. If you missed my first post focused on Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal, you can find it here:

Oscars 2020: The Case of Riz Ahmed

The Case for Chadwick Boseman

Despite acclaimed work in 42, Get On Up, Marshall, and Black Panther, his role as Levee Green in the Netflix drama marks Boseman’s first Academy nod. Premiering three months after his passing, critics hailed this as a career best performance. Boseman has swept the key precursors thus far such as the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. If he wins the SAG Award this evening, that’s a clean sweep. One could even argue that his omission in Supporting Actor for Da 5 Bloods is a sign that voters will honor him here.

The Cast Against Chadwick Boseman

You have to go back 11 years since a Best Actor winner’s movie wasn’t nominated for Best Picture (Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart). All four of his fellow nominees are appearing in BP contenders. Of those four, Anthony Hopkins (The Father) and Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) have their ardent supporters.

The Verdict

Best Actor is not a race in which upsets often happen. Anyone other than Boseman taking the gold would constitute one. He is likely to become the first posthumous winner in this category since Peter Finch in Network.

My Case Of posts will continue with Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy…

2020 SAG Awards Winner Predictions

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

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

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

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

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

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

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

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

Predicted Winner: Minari

Runner-Up: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

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

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

Predicted Winner: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Runner-Up: Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

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

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

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

Runner-Up: Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

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

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

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

Predicted Winner: Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

Runner-Up: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

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

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

Predicted Winner: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Runner-Up: Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods

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

 

Oscars 2020: The Case of Lee Isaac Chung

Now that my Case Of posts for the 8 nominated Best Picture candidates has concluded, it’s time to move to the 25 contenders in the directing and acting competitions. It begins with Best Director and Lee Isaac Chung for Minari.

The Case for Lee Isaac Chung

Since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020, Chung’s drama about South Korean immigrants in 1980s rural America has been a critical and audience favorite. The film performed about as well as expected on nomination day with 6 nods. While Nomadland is certainly the frontrunner to take BP, Minari stands as one of the few titles with upset potential. Chung also landed a DGA spot which is critical for a win with the Academy.

The Case Against Lee Isaac Chung

Even if Nomadland doesn’t win the biggest prize of all, its maker Chloe Zhao seems destined for Best Director. While Minari performed well with Academy, its miss in Editing casts doubt on a BP victory. As for Chung himself, his lack of recognition at the Golden Globes seems significant. You have to go all the way back to Roman Polanski in 2002 for The Pianist to find an Oscar winning filmmaker who wasn’t nominated at the Globes.

The Verdict

In a trend you will see with other director nominees not named Chloe Zhao, it’s hard to envision Chung or the others overcoming her momentum.

My Case Of posts will continue in the field of Best Actress with Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom…

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

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

Oscars 2020: The Case of The Father

Oscars 2020: The Case of Judas and the Black Messiah

Oscars 2020: The Case of Mank

Oscars 2020: The Case of Minari

Oscars 2020: The Case of Nomadland

Oscars 2020: The Case of Promising Young Woman

Oscars 2020: The Case of Sound of Metal

The Case for The Trial of the Chicago 7:

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

The Case Against The Trial of the Chicago 7:

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

The Verdict

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

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

Oscars 2020: The Case of Sound of Metal

Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal is next up in my Case Of posts for 2020’s Best Picture nominees. If you missed my previous entries, they’re linked here:

Oscars 2020: The Case of The Father

Oscars 2020: The Case of Judas and the Black Messiah

Oscars 2020: The Case of Mank

Oscars 2020: The Case of Minari

Oscars 2020: The Case of Nomadland

Oscars 2020: The Case of Promising Young Woman

The Case for Sound of Metal

While fellow nominees The Father, Minari, and Promising Young Woman were first unveiled back in January 2020, Sound of Metal was out of the gate way back in September 2019 when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Its road to the Oscar stage was more of a slow burn and that culminated with its December 2020 bow on Amazon Prime. On nominations morning, it over performed with six nominations: Picture, Actor (Riz Ahmed), Supporting Actor (Paul Raci), Original Screenplay, Film Editing, and Sound. Its 96% Rotten Tomatoes is near the top of the films selected and it’s been an audience pleaser.

The Case Against Sound of Metal

The nominations haul was better than expected, but Sound‘s miss for director Marder is a noteworthy one. Only twice in the past decade has a movie taken Best Picture without its maker being recognized. Another key omission is no nod for Best Drama at the Golden Globe Awards.

The Verdict

Critics saw Sound before any other nominee, but the late breaking surge has been impressive. The pic is unlikely to go home empty-handed on Oscar night. However, those victories are more probable in Editing and (especially) Sound and not the major races it’s up for.

My Case Of posts will continue with The Trial of the Chicago 7…