NBR Delivers for Pizza

The National Board of Review bestowed their honors today for their finest of 2021 and they delivered it to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza. The coming-of-age dramedy took Best Film and Director. The awards certainly solidify its status as a major contender in the Picture race at the Oscars. In the 21st century, only 3 of the 21 winners (2000’s Quills, 2014’s A Most Violent Year, last year’s Da 5 Bloods) did not manage to make the Academy’s cut. On the flipside, the victorious picture here usually doesn’t win. In this century it’s happened thrice (2007’s No Country for Old Men, 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, 2018’s Green Book). So if we’re going by recent history, Pizza should get nominated but probably won’t take the gold.

This voting branch also names nine other movies in their Best Of rundown. Over the past five years, the number of NBR selections compared to Oscar BP contestants ranges between 4-7. In 2016, it hit the high mark at 7. There were six in 2017 and 2019, five in 2020, and just four in 2018. The other nine films in 2021 are Belfast, Don’t Look Up, Dune, King Richard, The Last Duel, Nightmare Alley, Red Rocket, The Tragedy of Macbeth, and West Side Story. From that list, I would say only Duel and Rocket seem like major longshots to get attention from the Academy. All others are feasible.

The biggest omission from NBR’s list is absolutely Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which I’ve had ranked at #2 in my BP standings for awhile. The solace for Dog is that two recent BPs (2017’s The Shape of Water, 2019’s Parasite) didn’t make the NBR ten. Other pics that missed NBR: Being the Ricardos, C’Mon C’Mon, CODA, House of Gucci, Mass, Spencer, and Tick Tick… Boom!

As for the actors – Will Smith (the Academy frontrunner) took Best Actor for his King Richard while costar Aunjanue Ellis won Supporting Actress. Both are widely expected to play in the Oscar race and either or both could win.

NBR did not choose Academy favorite Kristen Stewart for Spencer and opted for Rachel Zegler in West Side Story (her debut role). I had Zegler placed sixth yesterday in the crowded Actress derby, but she could be on her way to making the final five cut.

The wide open Supporting Actor derby favored Ciaran Hinds for Belfast. I am completely unsure what the Academy does in this race. This could forward a narrative that Hinds is more likely to receive Oscar attention than his costar Jamie Dornan (though they could both get in).

Screenplay races provided a couple of surprises. Pizza would have been the logical choice for Original, but NBR instead chose Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero. In Adapted, Joel Coen was selected for The Tragedy of Macbeth (which also took Cinematography). Most pundits (including myself) have Power of the Dog as the winner, but the category opened up on this platform since it missed the ten.

Lastly, the Animated, Documentary, and Foreign Language races all featured movies that could prevent Flee from taking any of the three prizes at the Oscars: Encanto, Summer of Soul, and A Hero. 

My blog posts on the state of the 2021 Oscar race will continue…

The NBR Likes Spike

The National Board of Review bestowed their end of year honors today and the unpredictable group showed some love for Netflix… just not in the expected way. The NBR named Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods as Best Film along with Lee taking their top filmmaking prize. Bloods, which premiered on Netflix this summer, has been seen as a prospect whose Best Picture chances are questionable. In my rankings, it has risen over recent weeks all the way up to #5.

As for its chances to win, one could legitimately argue the NBR win means it probably won’t (and it probably won’t). In the 21st century, only 4 of the 20 NBR victors took Best Picture at the big show and only one in the past decade (2003’s Mystic River, 2007’s No Country for Old Men, 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, 2018’s Green Book).

The NBR also names 10 of their other favorite pics and they are: First Cow, The Forty-Year-Old Version, Judas and the Black Messiah, The Midnight Sky, Minari, News of the World, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Soul, and Sound of Metal. The major surprise here is easily Netflix’s The Midnight Sky from George Clooney. It received very mixed reviews and is not anticipated to play with the Academy except for tech races. The other story here is the omission of three legit Netflix contenders at the Oscars: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. In particular, Chicago is seen as the main competitor to Nomadland for BP winner. That said, only 6 of the 11 NBR pics last year nabbed Oscar attention. Two other notable exclusions from the Board are The Father and One Night in Miami. 

In the acting races, Riz Ahmed took Best Actor for Sound of Metal. He’s looked at as a likely Academy contender. Similar to the Picture discussion, only 1 NBR recipient here (Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea) achieved Oscar glory. Carey Mulligan named Best Actress for Promising Young Woman. The Oscar/NBR connection is slightly better as three of the past 10 trophy takers had good fortune with the Academy. The Sound of Metal love continued in Supporting Actor with Paul Raci winning. Like Actress, it’s a 3 out of 10 match in the 2010s. Youn Yuh-jung is NBR’s Supporting Actress choice for Minari. Only 1 of the last 10 victors for the Board won the Oscar (Regina King in 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk). Minari also took Original Screenplay with News of the World winning Adapted. Soul, the front runner for the Oscar, was named Best Animated Feature.

Bottom line: the NBR can certainly increase exposure for hopefuls, but it’s certainly not a barometer for who wins at the Oscars. Nevertheless it’s a nice day for a Netflix feature that I currently have behind three others from the streamer that weren’t named here.

Oscars 2019: The Case of Kathy Bates

My Case of posts on the major nominees for the Oscars brings us to our first contender for Supporting Actress – Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell. Let’s see what the verdict is for the veteran thespian:

The Case for Kathy Bates

She’s a critically acclaimed performer who’s excelled in drama, horror (earning an Emmy for TV’s American Horror Story), and comedy (she’s famously Adam Sandler’s Mama in The Waterboy). In 1990, she went from relative obscurity to winning the Best Actress Oscar for her terrifying role in the Stephen King adaptation Misery. Since then, she’s picked up two Supporting Actress nods for 1998’s Primary Colors and 2002’s About Schmidt. For her work in Clint Eastwood’s Jewell playing the title character’s mother, Bates also nabbed a Golden Globe nomination and a win from the National Board of Review.

The Case Against Kathy Bates

Even with the Globes recognition and NBR victory, she didn’t make the SAG cut. Her nomination was a bit of a surprise with most prognosticators assuming it might go to Annette Bening (The Report), Nicole Kidman (Bombshell), and especially Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers. Her nomination represents the only one for Jewell, which had decent reviews but struggled mightily at the box office.

The Verdict

Considering her inclusion wasn’t totally expected, I would rank Bates 5th out of five in terms of likelihood for the win.

My Case of posts will continue with the second Best Actor hopeful… Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood!

AFI Sharpens The Oscar Focus

The AFI Film Awards came out with their 2019 honors today and they do things a little differently. This particular group names their favorite 10 pictures of the year without naming a winner. And their top films are the only category they bother with.

Today those ten movies were as follows: 1917, The Farewell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Knives Out, Little Women, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Richard Jewell. 

So what’s to learn when it comes to Oscar pontificating? Let’s start with comparing this list to yesterday’s announcement of the National Board of Review’s 10 honored titles… eleven actually because their winner was The Irishman. The NBR’s different titles were Dolemite Is My Name, Ford v Ferrari, Uncut Gems, and Waves. Not on NBR’s list from AFI:  The Farewell and Little Women. 

Shared AFI/NBR pics: The Irishman, 1917, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Richard Jewell. If you think getting Picture mentions in both guarantees Oscar love, 2018 proved otherwise. Five films did just that last year and didn’t land Best Pictures nods: Eighth Grade, First Reformed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns, and A Quiet Place.

Confused? Welcome to the world of awards speculation. As I see it currently, there are only two shared 2019 AFI/NBR features that could miss out on the big race: Knives Out and Richard Jewell. I’ll also take this opportunity to note that Parasite (which is looking decent for Best Pic attention) is ineligible for AFI since it’s a foreign film.

As for Best Pic hopefuls that landed no love from these groups, we have A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (I believe its chances are fading quickly) and Bombshell (not as convinced that it cannot rebound). It could get the 2018 Vice slot, which was ignored by AFI/NBR. There’s also Rocketman, which can hang on to the thought that it could be this year’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

When you look at the AFI list’s history over the past half decade, it is a fairly reliable barometer on certain directions the Academy will take. Last year, five out of the eventual eight nominees were on their list and that’s the lowest percentage. In 2016 and 2017, it was 7 for 9. In 2014 and 2015, it was 6 for 8. So you can pretty much bank on at least half of AFI’s list and probably a bit more landing Oscar nominations.

I’ll leave you with this: while Knives Out is certainly one of the most obvious candidates for something that could miss a Picture nod, I like its chances better than I ever have before. This could be a case of perfect timing as it just opened, had a much bigger debut than expected, and audiences and critics are singing its praises. I wouldn’t count it out. In fact, I suspect when I update my estimates on Monday – it will rank higher than ever before and enter my top 15 possibilities. That will knock a candidate out and Mister Rogers could be the unfortunate victim.

The Irishman Takes New York

The awards precursors keep coming as the New York Film Critics Circle named their best of 2019 today. Yesterday’s discussion focused on the National Board of Review winners. I explained how a victory with them often doesn’t equate to Oscar glory. And the same holds true for the film reviewers in the Big Apple.

That said, it’s the second day in a row where The Irishman has been named Best Film. Yet the last NYFCC recipient to take Best Picture was back in 2011 with The Artist. It’s the only one of this decade and in the 2000s, there were only three matches: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, No Country for Old Men, and The Hurt Locker. 

One might think that these critics in particular might name Martin Scorsese as Best Director. You would be wrong. It is Ben and Josh Safdie for Uncut Gems. This Adam Sandler crime pic is picking up steam at the right moment, but it could be a reach for them to be included in Director with the Academy.

While Mr. Sandler picked up Best Actor with the NBR trophy yesterday, the New York bunch went with Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory. He’s an on the bubble candidate in an ultra crowded Oscar derby. If Banderas continues to rack up critical kudos, it could certainly help him make the final five.

For the second year in a row, the NYFCC had a surprise victor in Actress. Last year, they went quite outside the box with Regina Hall in Support the Girls. Today it’s Lupita Nyong’o in Us. While this isn’t as much of a shocker, she’s generally been seen as an unlikely candidate for Oscar attention. However, this category isn’t as packed as Actor and she could factor into the mix.

More Irishman love came in Supporting Actor and not for Al Pacino. No, it was Joe Pesci taking the prize and I’m becoming more and more convinced he gets the Academy nod along with his co-star Pacino. Interestingly, this leads me to think voice splitting could occur and that may help Brad Pitt’s chances even more for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Supporting Actress is perhaps the only category where New York seems to match the Oscar front-runner with Laura Dern. NYFCC threw in a caveat, though, by naming her for both Marriage Story and Little Women. Oscar voters are nearly certain to only notice her in the former.

This critics do not divide original and adapted written works and it was Quentin Tarantino taking Screenplay for Hollywood. When it comes to the big show in Original Screenplay, he appears to have an edge over competitors like Marriage Story and Parasite. 

Bottom line: New York spread the love around with their news today, but it’s another solid showing for The Irishman. 

The Irishman Takes The NBR

The National Board of Review announced its victors this afternoon for their best of 2019. For the pictures and performers who were named as winners, you could say that it’s a double edged sword.

Allow me to explain. In this 2010’s, only one of their Best Film recipients took home Best Picture at the Oscars. That was last year with Green Book. This year, the award goes to Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. So from an odds perspective, that could mean it faces an uphill battle for the big gold statue. On the other hand, all of the NBR Film winners from this decade, with the exception of 2014’s A Most Violent Year, have scored an Academy nod. This isn’t really in doubt for The Irishman so expect that trend to continue.

The Board always goes on to name their additional favorite 10 motion pictures and this year they are: 1917, Dolemite Is My Name, Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Richard Jewell, Uncut Gems, and Waves. In 2018, only three of the ten additional NBR selections got Picture noms: Black Panther, Roma and A Star Is Born. Some notable titles that didn’t make the NBR cut for 2019: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Bombshell, The Farewell, Joker, Little Women, Parasite, and The Two Popes. 

When it comes to Best Director, the news is even worse for the NBR recipient. No movie this decade has seen that winner match with Oscar. In fact, the last direct match was in 2006 for… Irishman maker Scorsese for The Departed. The NBR named Quentin Tarantino today for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He’s got history against his side for a walk up the Academy steps.

In Best Actor, it’s the same story as only Casey Affleck for 2016’s Manchester by the Sea won NBR and Oscar in the 2010s. Adam Sandler is the winner for Uncut Gems. He’s part of a packed Best Actor race where there’s about a dozen viable candidates looking for five spots. This victory could at least help him get in as only Oscar Isaac (Violent Year in 2014) and Tom Hanks (2017’s The Post) didn’t land nods.

The numbers improve only slightly for Best Actress with two matches: Julianne Moore for 2014’s Still Alice and Brie Larson for 2015’s Room. The NBR bestowed the award this year to Renee Zellweger for Judy, who could be considered a soft front-runner for Oscar.

This brings us to Brad Pitt, winner today for Supporting Actor in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He also holds the status of apparent favorite to win the Academy’s love. Yet there’s just two matches this decade between them and NBR: Christian Bale in 2010’s The Fighter and Christopher Plummer from 2011’s Beginners. 

Last year was the only match of the decade for Supporting Actress: Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk. Kathy Bates took the NBR for Richard Jewell. I don’t see her winning the Oscar, but it could help her nomination odds.

In Original Screenplay, it’s interesting to note that 7 of the past nine NBR winners didn’t even get an Oscar nomination. Could that be a sign of trouble for honoree Uncut Gems? Time will tell…

And for Adapted Screenplay, the NBR went with The Irishman. Par for the course, just two matches here: 2010’s The Social Network and 2011’s The Descendants. 

Bottom line: the NBR announcements might help with fleshing out who certain nominees will be. As far as winners, that’s a whole different story…

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: November 29th Edition

We’ve had the Gotham Awards, the National Board of Review, and New York Film Critics Circle transpire over the past week and my Oscar predictions are updated! Let’s get to it:

Best Picture

1. A Star Is Born (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Green Book (PR: 7)

5. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 4)

6. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

7. Vice (PR: 5)

8. Black Panther (PR: 8)

9. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 10)

10. First Man (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

11. First Reformed (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Eighth Grade (PR: 14)

13. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 12)

14. Widows (PR: 11)

15. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

The Mule

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 4)

5. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 7)

7. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 6)

8. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 9)

9. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 8)

10. Rob Marshall, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 10)

Best Actor

1. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

3. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 5)

5. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 6)

7. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 7)

8. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 9)

9. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 8)

10. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: 10)

Best Actress

1. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 3)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 2)

4. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

5. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 6)

7. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: 7)

8. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 8)

10. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Nicole Kidman, Destroyer

Best Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 1)

2. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

3. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 2)

4. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 5)

5. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 6)

7. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 7)

9. Steve Carell, Vice (PR: 9)

10. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give

Best Supporting Actress

1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 2)

3. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 5)

5. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 6)

7. Marina De Tavira, Roma (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 9)

9. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 7)

10. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Meryl Streep, Mary Poppins Returns

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 2)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

3. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

4. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. First Man (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows (PR: 5)

7. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 9)

8. The Hate U Give (PR: 7)

9. Boy Erased (PR: 8)

10. Leave No Trace (PR: 10)

Best Original Screenplay

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. First Reformed (PR: 6)

4. Green Book (PR: 3)

5. Eighth Grade (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Vice (PR: 4)

7. A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

8. Private Life (PR: 8)

9. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 9)

10. The Mule (PR: 10)

Best Foreign Language Film

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. Cold War (PR: 2)

3. Shoplifters (PR: 3)

4. Capernaum (PR: 5)

5. Burning (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Never Look Away (PR: 8)

7. Border (PR: 10)

8. Girl (PR: 4)

9. Birds of Passage (PR: 6)

10. The Guilty (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

I Am Not a Witch

Best Animated Feature

1. Incredibles 2 (PR: 1)

2. Isle of Dogs (PR: 2)

3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (PR: 4)

4. Ralph Breaks the Internet (PR: 3)

5. Mirai (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Smallfoot (PR: 8)

7. Early Man (PR: 6)

8. Lu Over the Wall (PR: 9)

9. Ruben Brandt, Collector (PR: 7)

10. Tito and the Birds (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Best Documentary Feature

1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (PR: 1)

2. Three Identical Strangers (PR: 2)

3. Free Solo (PR: 3)

4. RBG (PR: 4)

5. Minding the Gap (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Crime + Punishment (PR: 7)

7. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Dark Money (PR: 8)

9. Amazing Grace (PR: 6)

10. Science Fair (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Quincy

Jane Fonda in Five Acts

Best Film Editing

1. First Man (PR: 2)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Roma (PR: 3)

4. Black Panther (PR: 7)

5. The Favourite (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows (PR: 8)

7. Green Book (PR: 10)

8. Vice (PR: 5)

9. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 6)

10. BlacKkKlansman (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Mary Poppins Returns

Best Cinematography

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. First Man (PR: 5)

3. The Favourite (PR: 2)

4. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 4)

5. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther (PR: 6)

7. Cold War (PR: 7)

8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 8)

9. Widows (PR: 9)

10. Green Book (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

BlacKkKlansman

Best Production Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. First Man (PR: 5)

4. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

5. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Roma (PR: 6)

7. A Star Is Born (PR: 8)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 7)

9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 9)

10. Colette (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Best Costume Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

4. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 4)

5. Colette (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 7)

7. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 6)

8. A Star Is Born (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 8)

10. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

1. Black Panther (PR: 1)

2. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 2)

3. Vice (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

4. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 7)

5. The Favourite (PR: 4)

6. Stan & Ollie (PR: 5)

7. Colette (PR: 6)

8. A Star Is Born (PR: 8)

9. A Wrinkle in Time (PR: 10)

10. Solo: A Star Wars Story (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Suspiria

Best Sound Editing

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 3)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

4. A Quiet Place (PR: 4)

5. Roma (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

7. Incredibles 2 (PR: 8)

8. Annihilation (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Avengers: Infinity War (PR: 10)

10. Ready Player One (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Sound Mixing

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Black Panther (PR: 3)

4. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

5. A Quiet Place (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 7)

7. Roma (PR: 6)

8. Incredibles 2 (PR: 8)

9. Avengers: Infinity War (PR: 10)

10. Ready Player One (PR: 9)

Best Visual Effects

1. Avengers: Infinity War (PR: 2)

2. First Man (PR: 1)

3. Ready Player One (PR: 4)

4. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

5. Black Panther (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Annihilation (PR: 6)

7. A Wrinkle in Time (PR: 8)

8. Solo: A Star Wars Story (PR: 7)

9. A Quiet Place (PR: 10)

10. AntMan and the Wasp (PR: 9)

Best Original Score

1. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. First Man (PR: 2)

3. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

4. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 4)

5. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows (PR: 7)

7. Colette (PR: 6)

8. Incredibles 2 (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 8)

10. Roma (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Green Book

Best Original Song

1. “The Shallow” from A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 2)

3. “I’ll Fight” from RBG (PR: 3)

4. “All the Stars” from Black Panther (PR: 4)

5. “Time for Change” from On the Basis of Sex (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. “We Won’t Move” from The Hate U Give (PR: 6)

7. “Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin’ (PR: Not Ranked)

8. “I’ll Never Love Again” from A Star Is Born (PR: 5)

9. “Revelation” from Boy Erased (PR: 7)

10. “Gravity” from Free Solo (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Always Remember Us This Way” from A Star Is Born

”A Place Called Slaughter Race” from Ralph Breaks the Internet

That equates to the following number of nominations for each picture:

11 Nominations

A Star Is Born

10 Nominations

The Favourite, First Man

9 Nominations

Black Panther

8 Nominations

Mary Poppins Returns

6 Nominations

If Beale Street Could Talk, Roma

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman

4 Nominations

Green Book, Mary Queen of Scots, Vice

3 Nominations

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

2 Nominations

First Reformed, A Quiet Place, RBG

1 Nomination

Bohemian Rhapsody, The Wife, Beautiful Boy, Eighth Grade, Cold War, Shoplifters, Capernaum, Burning, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Mirai, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Three Identical Strangers, Free Solo, Minding the Gap, Colette, Avengers: Infinity War, Ready Player One, On the Basis of Sex

NBR Goes Green

The National Board of Review bestowed its annual honors today for the pictures of 2018 and they went green. That means it was a very good day for Peter Farrelly’s race relations drama Green Book and it might have come at just the right moment. It won Best Film at a time when its box office performance has been lackluster and lead Viggo Mortensen got into hot water for remarks at a recent event. The last three winners of the NBR top prize (Mad Max: Fury Road, Manchester by the Sea, The Post) all received Picture nominations at the Oscars (it’s worth pointing out that none of them won).

I don’t expect Green Book to emerge victorious at the Academy Awards, but this does help its case for a nomination. The NBR is also unique in that it names 10 other movies as their favorites beyond the big recipient. The list this year is as follows:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Black Panther

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Eighth Grade

First Reformed

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary Poppins Returns

A Quiet Place

Roma

A Star Is Born

Over the past decade or so, usually 5-7 of those 11 honorees go on to Oscar recognition. In addition to Green Book, I’m currently assuming Black Panther, If Beale Street Could Talk, Roma, and A Star Is Born are in. That’s five. I’m also growing more confident that Mary Poppins Returns could manage to reach the final nine or ten nominees. The rest remain question marks. Eighth Grade and First Reformed seem to be gaining steam, but I’m uncertain they’ll get all the way to the top. The three that I believe are least likely are Can You Ever Forgive Me?, A Quiet Place, and Buster Scruggs. 

Bradley Cooper took Directing honors for A Star Is Born and he’s already a safe bet for Academy inclusion. His costars Lady Gaga and Sam Elliot took the Actress and Supporting Actor races. All in all, it was a fine day for A Star Is Born. Elliot’s win is a boost for him and it’s a little surprising they didn’t name Green Book costar Mahershala Ali, considering the film’s other successes today.

Speaking of Green Book, the aforementioned Mr. Mortensen took Best Actor. He’s looking good for an Oscar nod, but I still put him behind Cooper and Christian Bale (Vice) when it comes to winning possibilities.

Regina King’s work in If Beale Street Could Talk earned her Supporting Actress and she’s a lock for Oscar inclusion.

Paul Schrader’s original screenplay for First Reformed was honored for the second day in a row after its Gotham Award. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve had Reformed just on the outside of my nominated predictions in that category. I foresee that changing on Thursday when I update them… though I’m uncertain which entry falls out between The Favourite, Roma, Vice, and Eighth Grade. Barry Jenkins took Adapted Screenplay for Beale Street and he’s got a real shot at the gold statue.

The notable snubs on the list are primarily BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, First Man and Vice. However, it’s worth noting again that plenty of movies have missed the NBR cut and managed Oscar glory.

As for some down the line honorees – Incredibles 2 won Best Animated Film, RBG took Best Documentary, and Cold War got Best Foreign Language Film. All seem bound for the final five a couple of months from now.

And there’s your NBR report, folks! The New York Film Critics are on deck next and I’ll have a recap of that one Thursday!

Oscar Watch: Will Get Out Get In?

Way back on January 29th of this year, I wrote my Oscar Watch post for Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which had just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival nearly a month before its opening.

At the time, I wrote: “The chances of this getting into the Best Picture convo is unlikely. However, depending on level of competition, it could be in the mix for Peele’s Original Screenplay if voters remember it nearly a year after its February 24th domestic debut.”

Of course, since then, Get Out became a box office phenomenon, taking in $175 million domestically. Furthermore, it became a water cooler picture with its focus on racial themes that have often dominated the news.

From late January until this Monday, I have yet to put Get Out in my predicted nine films to be named for Best Picture at the Oscars. However, recent precursor action has done nothing except up its chances.

The National Board of Review named it among their 10 best movies of 2017. Mr. Peele was also honored with Best Directorial Debut. The Critics Choice Awards named their nominees this week and Get Out was among six Picture nominees and Peele made the cut for seven nominated directors. The Washington D.C. Film Critics Association nominated it for Picture, Director, and Actor (Daniel Kaluuya).

So where does Get Out stand now 10 months following my original post? Well, the chances of it getting into the Best Picture convo isn’t unlikely… it’s here. There’s a very good chance that I’ll be predicting its inclusion into Best Picture when I update my Oscar predictions this Monday. Peele wasn’t even in my top 10 listed possibilities for his direction three days ago and he most certainly will be now. Kaluuya has yet to be named in my top ten possibles for Actor. That should change. That said, I still see a nomination for him as unlikely.

Stay tuned on Monday and my Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: The Post

The three major players involved have a combined 32 Oscar nominations and 7 wins. It’s a historical drama with relevance to current events. And it’s got a plum December release date for Academy voters.

Since the announcement of the project, Steven Spielberg’s The Post has rightly been pegged as an Oscar hopeful. Today its review embargo lifted so let’s discuss its chances, shall we? The pic tells the story of journalists exposing government secrets during the Vietnam War and casts Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Kate Graham and Tom Hanks as the paper’s editor Ben Bradlee.

Just last week, The Post won the National Board of Review’s Best Picture prize, along with Streep and Hanks in the lead acting categories. That’s a good sign of things to come for its Oscar chances. That said, critical reaction today is not completely over the moon. While some reviews have been quite strong, its Rotten Tomatoes score currently stands at 73% – decent, but far from the standings of other likely competitors.

Yet its inclusion in Best Picture looks almost assured. Spielberg also could well nab his 8th nomination as Best Director (he’s won twice). Streep looks safe to get her 21st (!) nod in Actress (she’s been victorious thrice). Hanks has a nice shot to get his 6th recognition (having won twice), though it’s a bit less safe. At press time, Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) and Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread) appear to be locks in Actor. Hanks, Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), James Franco (The Disaster Artist), and Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger) appear to be vying for the other three slots and someone has to be left out (we also wait for reaction to Hugh Jackman’s work in The Greatest Showman).

The Post could also contend in Original Screenplay, but that’s a packed category as well and its inclusion isn’t guaranteed. Other races where it could play: Cinematography, Editing, Costume Design, Production Design, and Original Score.

Bottom line: A Best Picture and Streep nomination are looking good, while some of the others are a bit more questionable. However, due its subject matter, I’m thinking The Post walks away with at least a handful of nominations.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…