2019 Oscar Predictions: December 9th Edition

It’s been two weeks since I’ve prognosticated Oscar picks on the blog and a lot has happened since then. The precursors are coming out in full force with the Golden Globe nominations out this morning and numerous critics bestowing their awards or nods.

The Globes potentially provided a needed boost to The Two Popes and displayed a better than anticipated showing for Joker. 

So how have my estimates changed in the last 14 days? There’s been one change in all major categories with the exception of Director and Adapted Screenplay. They are:

  • In Best Picture, I’ve put Ford v Ferrari back in and taken out Bombshell. The official review embargo for Bombshell lapsed and the current Rotten Tomatoes score is 60%. It could still sneak in, but with that rating and a lack of precursor love, it’s certainly fallen.
  • My ongoing struggle with picking Best Actor candidates continues. Whittling it down to five is a challenge and that’s an understatement. As has been discussed previously, I truly believe all 10 listed performers could get in. For that matter, so could Paul Walter Hauser for Richard Jewell if that film does better with Academy voters than expected. This is the first time I have Leonardo DiCaprio on the outside looking in with Antonio Banderas (recipient of some precursors) getting in. Look for this saga to continue until nominations morning.
  • In Best Actress, I’ve got Awkwafina in over Cynthia Erivo. This is basically a coin flip for the five spot and there’s also Lupita Nyong’o (another precursor favorite) as a spoiler.
  • Joe Pesci has done quite well in the precursors. He’s in over Willem Dafoe for Supporting Actor.
  • Annette Bening is back in the fold over Zhao Shuzhen in Supporting Actress.
  • I’m putting Knives Out in Original Screenplay and that takes out Pain and Glory.

You can read the rest of the happenings below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (Previous Ranking: 1)

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

3. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

4. Parasite (PR: 5)

5. 1917 (PR: 3)

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

7. Little Women (PR: 7)

8. Joker (PR: 8)

9. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 11)

10. The Two Popes (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

11. The Farewell (PR: 12)

12. Knives Out (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Uncut Gems (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Richard Jewell (PR: 13)

15. Bombshell (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Rocketman

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

3. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 3)

4. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 2)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Greta Gerwig, Little Women (PR: 6)

7. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 9)

8. Todd Phillips, Joker (PR: 7)

9. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

10. Ben and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

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

4. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 3)

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

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 10)

8. Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 7)

9. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

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

3. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 3)

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

5. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 5)

7. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 8)

8. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 7)

9. Mary Kay Place, Diane (PR: 10)

10. Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell (PR: 9)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 6)

4. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 5)

5. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 4)

7. Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy (PR: 7)

8. Song Kang-Ho, Parasite (PR: 9)

9. Sam Rockwell, Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

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

Dropped Out:

Sterling K. Brown, Waves

John Lithgow, Bombshell

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 3)

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

5. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell (PR: 4)

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

8. Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

9. Nicole Kidman, Bombshell (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Taylor Russell, Waves (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. Joker (PR: 5)

5. Little Women (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hustlers (PR: 7)

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

8. Richard Jewell (PR: 8)

9. Just Mercy (PR: 9)

10. Dark Waters (PR: 10)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Marriage Story (PR: 2)

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

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Knives Out (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Pain and Glory (PR: 5)

7. Uncut Gems (PR: Not Ranked)

8. 1917 (PR: 7)

9. Bombshell (PR: 6)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Honey Boy

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Parasite (PR: 1)

2. Pain and Glory (PR: 2)

3. Les Miserables (PR: 3)

4. Monos (PR: 4)

5. Invisible Life (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Atlantics (PR: 7)

7. A White, White Day (PR: 10)

8. Beanpole (PR: 8)

9. And Then We Danced (PR: 5)

10. Those Who Remained (PR: 9)

Best Animated Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Toy Story 4 (PR: 1)

2. Frozen II (PR: 2)

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

4. I Lost My Body (PR: 4)

5. Missing Link (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Klaus (PR: 6)

7. Abominable (PR: 7)

8. Weathering with You (PR: 5)

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

10. Funan (PR: 10)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. American Factory (PR: 1)

2. Apollo 11 (PR: 4)

3. One Child Nation (PR: 2)

4. For Sama (PR: 5)

5. Sea of Shadows (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Cave (PR: 6)

7. Honeyland (PR: 8)

8. The Biggest Little Farm (PR: 7)

9. The Edge of Democracy (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Maiden (PR: 3)

Dropped Out:

The Kingmaker 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

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

3. Joker (PR: 5)

4. The Irishman (PR: 3)

5. The Lighthouse (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Parasite (PR: 6)

8. The Two Popes (PR: Not Ranked)

9. A Hidden Life (PR: 7)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Little Women (PR: 1)

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

3. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 3)

4. Rocketman (PR: 4)

5. Downton Abbey (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: Not Ranked)

7. The Irishman (PR: 6)

8. Aladdin (PR: 10)

9. The Aeronauts (PR: 8)

10. Cats (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Judy

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. 1917 (PR: 3)

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

4. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 4)

5. Marriage Story (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite (PR: 5)

7. Joker (PR: 7)

8. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Two Popes (PR: 10)

10. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Bombshell

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bomshell (PR: 1)

2. The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Judy (PR: 3)

4. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 4)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker (PR: 7)

7. Us (PR: 5)

8. Rocketman (PR: 8)

9. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 9)

10. Cats (PR: 10)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. 1917 (PR: 3)

3. The Irishman (PR: 4)

4. Little Women (PR: 2)

5. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite (PR: 6)

7. Joker (PR: 7)

8. Downton Abbey (PR: 10)

9. The Two Popes (PR: 8)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cats

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

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

3. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

4. Little Women (PR: 2)

5. Joker (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 6)

7. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

8. Us (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Aeronauts (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Waves (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

A Hidden Life

Ad Astra 

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats (PR: 4)

4. “Stand Up” from Harriet (PR: 3)

5. “Spirit” from The Lion King (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4 (PR: 7)

7. “Speechless” from Aladdin (PR: 5)

8. “I’m Standing with You” from Breakthrough (PR: Not Ranked)

9. “Glasgow” from Wild Rose (PR: 9)

10. “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

“Together From Afar” from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

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

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 4)

5. Ad Astra (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rocketman (PR: 6)

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 9)

8. Joker (PR: 8)

9. The Irishman (PR: 7)

10. Cats (PR: 10)

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

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

4. Rocketman (PR: 5)

5. Joker (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 4)

7. Cats (PR: 8)

8. Ad Astra (PR: 6)

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

10. The Irishman (PR: 9)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

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

3. The Lion King (PR: 4)

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 3)

5. The Aeronauts (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. 1917 (PR: 7)

7. Ad Astra (PR: 6)

8. Alita: Battle Angel (PR: 8)

9. Gemini Man (PR: 9)

10. Aladdin (PR: 10)

And that equates to these pictures getting the following number of nominations:

11 Nominations

The Irishman

9 Nominations

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

8 Nominations

1917, Marriage Story

7 Nominations

Little Women

6 Nominations

Joker

4 Nominations

Ford v Ferrari, Parasite, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Two Popes

3 Nominations

Bombshell, Jojo Rabbit, Rocketman

2 Nominations

Avengers: Endgame, Dolemite Is My Name, The Farewell, Frozen II, Judy, The Lion King, Pain and Glory

1 Nomination

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Ad Astra, The Aeronauts, American Factory, Apollo 11, Cats, Downton Abbey, For Sama, Harriet, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Hustlers, I Lost My Body, Invisible Life, Knives Out, Les Miserables, The Lighthouse, Missing Link, Monos, One Child Nation, The Report, Sea of Shadows, Toy Story 4

2019 Golden Globe Nominations Reaction

Perhaps the most preeminent Oscar precursor announced their nominations this morning and that means it’s both time for my analysis and a report on how yours truly did with the predictions!

Some quick takes before breaking down each race… Joker and The Two Popes had good mornings and did better than anticipated. Marriage Story led the way with 6 nominations followed by The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with five apiece. As for Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic, it did miss in one key category.

Let’s take it race by race, shall we?

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Nominees: 1917, The Irishman, Joker, Marriage Story, The Two Popes

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: As mentioned, it was indeed a solid morning for Joker and Popes. Those were the two entries I didn’t predict and they got in over Ford v Ferrari and Little Women (which had a rather subpar day). They were my two picks for alternates at least. This appears to be a race between the pictures with the most nods – Irishman and Marriage Story with the former having the edge (see Director).

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Dolemite Is My Name, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Rocketman

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: It was my first alternate Dolemite getting in over Cats, which did screen for Hollywood Foreign Press voters even though its review embargo hasn’t yet lapsed. This is Hollywood‘s category to lose and it’s the strong front-runner.

Best Director

Nominees: Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Todd Phillips (Joker), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: The surprise here is certainly Phillips, who I didn’t have listed as an alternate. He gets in over Noah Baumbach, which could mean a Best Drama victory for the film itself got tougher. I’m thinking Scorsese vs. Tarantino here with Joon-Ho as a very serious spoiler.

Best Actor – Drama

Nominees: Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: That key category that The Irishman missed is here with Robert De Niro not getting in the mix in favor of my first alternate Christian Bale. Another miss here is Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems as he’s won some precursors from the critical community. Just like the Oscars could be, this may come down to Driver or Phoenix.

Best Actress – Drama

Nominees: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: No surprises here! It is worth mentioning that, despite some early critical precursor love, the work of Lupita Nyong’o in Us didn’t factor in. Zellweger may have the edge here, followed by Johansson or Theron. This could also match what the Academy does.

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Daniel Craig (Knives Out), Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: Another sweep here as this list was as anticipated. DiCaprio is the favorite, but don’t sleep on Murphy or Egerton as spoilers.

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Awkwafina (The Farewell), Cate Blanchett (Where’d You Go Bernadette), Ana de Armas (Knives Out), Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Emma Thompson (Late Night)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: It’s first alternate Blanchett in for over Constance Wu from Hustlers. As I do believe Awkwafina is the only actress here with Oscar viability, look for her to win here.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: Today could have given a boost to Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse or other outliers such as Wesley Snipes (Dolemite) or Song Kang-Ho (Parasite), but it wasn’t to be as this very star studded list materialized as predicted. With Pacino and Pesci potentially splitting votes, Pitt is in the driver’s seat.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell), Annette Bening (The Report), Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: I was a little shakier here as my first alternate Bening and unlisted Bates get in over Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit) and Florence Pugh (Little Women). Expect Dern vs. Lopez in this one.

Best Screenplay

Nominees: The Irishman, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite, The Two Popes

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Another feather in the cap for Popes, which could in over Jojo (which had a rather subpar morning). Hollywood could have a very slight edge over Marriage. 

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Nominees: The Farewell, Les Miserables, Pain and Glory, Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Nothing unexpected as Les Miserables (my first alternate) was named over Atlantics. No doubt that Parasite is the massive favorite.

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Nominees: Frozen II, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, The Lion King, Missing Link, Toy Story 4

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Perhaps the shocker of the day is The Lion King nabbing a nod here. I said I Lost My Body instead. With Disney holding now three of the five slots, they’ve got 60% chance to win. Dragon could upset, but Toy Story is the probable recipient.

Best Original Score

Nominees: 1917, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, Motherless Brooklyn

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Brooklyn got a surprise nod. I had Ford v Ferrari instead. 1917 looks to take the trophy.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman, “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II, “Spirit” from The Lion King, “Stand Up” from Harriet

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Second alternate “Stand Up” is in over my “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn. The Globe voters could be tempted to go with Elton John here, though Frozen II is probably a soft favorite.

So, al in all, I went 54 for 70 on my overall estimates. The Golden Globes airs January 5th on NBC with Ricky Gervais hosting.

Marriage Story Movie Review

If there’s one message that’s abundantly clear throughout Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, it’s that divorce is awful. Not only due to the wrenching emotions involved (though they’re clearly on display here), but for the process itself. The separating parties here play Monopoly on a regular basis with their son. And the lawyers involved here often treat the dissolution of Charlie and Nicole’s union as a similar game of take and take. It’s so personal, but it’s also business.

Adam Driver’s Charlie is an acclaimed NYC playwright married to Scarlett Johansson’s Nicole, a former teen actress who turned feature player in his theater productions. We meet them as they’ve already decided to divorce. They talk as if they want the procedure to go as smoothly as possible, but soon discover that’s impossible. The problems include custody disputes with their boy Henry (Azhy Robertson), a bicoastal disagreement as Nicole moves back to L.A. to go into TV, and their attorneys always trying to get an edge. Laura Dern’s high-priced Nora represents Nicole while Alan Alda’s weary Bert and Ray Liotta’s unrelenting Jay take turns with Charlie.

Apparently based somewhat on Baumbach’s own experiences, the writer and director is careful not to take sides. Marriage Story doesn’t have heroes or villains and even the counselors are doing their job. It’s the system that’s created them and Baumbach spares no witty anger in condemning it.

This subject matter is nothing new to big screen and it was 40 years ago that Kramer vs. Kramer also took on the divorce industry and won Best Picture for it. We are fortunate that Baumbach spends the time developing Charlie and Nicole into fully formed beings. You’ll root for them and against them. You may hope for a reconciliation, but with a knowing that this incompatibility is legitimate. Lesser films might attempt to find the easy way out.

Marriage Story has a stagey feel to it. There’s long monologues and lengthy scenes of actors discussing their game plan. We even have a couple unexpected musical interludes from the divorcees. Driver and Johansson are certainly up to the task with particularly solid supporting turns from Dern and Alda. The former may have the flashier part, but Alda’s character is equally intergral. When Charlie points out that these proceedings are unnecessarily complex and often contradictory, Bert can’t even muster the energy to counter these points. And while the auteur’s latest doesn’t exactly break new ground, it is often absorbing and exceedingly well performed.

*** (out of four)

L.A. Digs Parasite

You might think the Los Angeles Film Critics Association would bestow some love to Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in a neighborly gesture. However, you would be incorrect as this West Coast branch went with a decidedly foreign flavor for several of today’s selections.

The Association clearly were huge fans of Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite, which took home Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actor (Song Kang-Ho). The L.A. Critics also name runners up. In each of these races, it was The Irishman, its maker Martin Scorsese, and Joe Pesci placing second.

In Best Actor, Antonio Banderas picked up another precursor for Best Actor with Adam Driver (Marriage Story) coming in behind.

There was an outside the box pick for Actress with Mary Kay Place winning for Diane and Lupita Nyong’o in Us as runner-up. This branch isn’t shy about naming unexpected recipients for lead female performers. Two recent examples are Kim Hye-Ja for 2010’s Mother and Yoon Jeong-hee for 2011’s Poetry.

Jennifer Lopez scored a victory here in Supporting Actress for Hustlers, followed by Zhao Shuzhen in The Farewell. 

Finally, in Screenplay (they don’t differentiate between adapted and original), it was Noah Baumbach’s script for Marriage Story taking honors over Parasite. 

This was clearly a big day for Parasite in Southern California and my precursor posts will continue tomorrow with the Golden Globe announcements and updated Oscar predictions!

The Critics Make Their Choices

One day ahead of the more highly publicized Golden Globe nominations, this Sunday saw the unveiling of the nods for the Critics Choice Movie Awards. And in looking over their selections in recent history, they serve as quite a harbinger for the choices that Oscar voters might make.

After a strong showing in early precursors, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman led the way with 14 nominations. This is followed by 12 nods for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 9 for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, 8 for 1917 from Sam Mendes and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, and 7 for Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, Joker from Todd Phillips and Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite. 

This particular branch of voters utilizes an unpredictable scale for numbers of nominees in each category. For Best Picture, it’s always ten. Yet it fluctuates when it comes to director, the acting and screenplay races, and so forth.

Today I’ll break down the major categories and discuss each one and what it could mean come Oscar time. The ceremony airs on the CW this January 12th.

Best Picture

Nominees: 1917, Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite, Uncut Gems

Reaction here is that the precursor love continues for Uncut Gems from Ben and Josh Safdie. This is probably the least expected feature to make the cut and the Adam Sandler led crime drama appears to be peaking at the right time. While this certainly doesn’t guarantee an Oscar nod, it’s now undoubtedly part of the conversation.

Some notable titles to miss the list: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Bombshell, The Farewell, Richard Jewell, and The Two Popes. It will be interesting tomorrow to see if the Globes finds room for Popes as part of its nominations, as it seems to be fading fast. It doesn’t help that Netflix could be primarily concerned with Irishman and Marriage Story. 

Over the last five years, there’s been four of them when eight of the Critics Choice list nabbed Best Picture attention at the Oscars. In 2017, it was nine of them. In other words, pay attention to this list.

Best Director

Nominees: Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Bong Joon-Ho  (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Ben and Josh Safdie (Uncut Gems), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

And another notch in the Uncut Gems arsenal. Most recent years have seen six nominees, but there’s seven nominees in 2019. In 2016, five of the Choice directors made up the Oscar list. In 2014 and 2015, it was three and for the past two years it’s been four.

Looking over this list, it’s very feasible that there’s a five match. Who could sneak in that’s not on here? One name that comes to mind is James Mangold for Ford v Ferrari. 

Best Actor

Nominees: Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Robert De Niro (The Irishman), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)

In a category that typically has six nominees, it should be no shocker that there’s seven this time around as Best Actor is packed. From 2015-2018, we have seen 5 nominees for two of the years (2015, 2018) make the Academy derby and two with 4 (2016, 2017). 2014 was a bit of an outlier with three.

As has been discussed on this blog, I believe there are 11 legitimate performers vying for 5 slots at the Oscars. The four that didn’t make the cut here are Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell), and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes). Here’s yet another example of Popes falling short.

Today’s announcements, in particular, could serve as a boost for Murphy and Sandler.

Best Actress

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

There’s a serious correlation between these nominees and Oscar. In four of the past five years, we’ve seen five of the women getting Academy love. In 2016, it was four. That seems destined to repeat itself here as the only potential outlier in my mind is Alfre Woodard in Clemency. I would bank on five of these seven nominees being the Oscar list.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

These nominees are further proof of an Irishman double nod for Pacino and Pesci coming our way. We’ve seen five for five matchups in two of the past five years with this race. This also makes me think Hopkins has a much better chance for Popes attention than his lead costar Pryce.

If there’s one name not here that could factor into the Oscar mix – Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy. All in all, no big surprises here.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Florence Pugh (Little Women), Margot Robbie (Bombshell), Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell)

This is indeed what I’d call the top 6 for Oscar viability. However, I wouldn’t sleep on Kathy Bates for Richard Jewell (a film these voters totally ignored). In the past half decade, we’ve never seen less than four of the nominees here getting Academy nods.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Farewell, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite

The noticeable item here is the inclusion of Knives Out. All the rest were basically foregone conclusions. It gets in instead of Bombshell, 1917, Pain and Glory, or Ford v Ferrari. Could Oscar follow suit? Definitely possible as the last two years have seen 5 for 5 matches.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, The Two Popes

We haven’t seen a total match with the Academy from 2014 to present. I suspect that will change this time around as I believe 5 of these 6 contenders will make the Oscar cut. What gets left out? Beautiful Day, Joker, and Popes are the likely contenders.

My precursor posts will roll along in rapid succession as my take on the Los Angeles critics is up next…

2019 Golden Globe Predictions

On Monday, one of the most significant Oscar precursors announces their nominations. Yes, we have the Golden Globe nods coming out with the SAG Awards following on Wednesday (except my predictions on them early this week).

While I’ve been updating my Oscar projections on a near weekly basis, I don’t do the same with the Globes. This will serve as my first and last batch of predictions for the ceremony airing in January with Ricky Gervais hosting.

As you’re likely aware, this show does it a bit different than the Oscars by splitting their film and lead actor categories into separate Drama and Musical/Comedy categories. For each race, I’m making my five predicted features or performers that I believe will make the cut as well as a first and second alternate.

Let’s get to it!

Best Motion Picture – Drama

1917

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Little Women

Marriage Story

1st Alternate – Joker

2nd Alternate – The Two Popes

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Cats

Jojo Rabbit

Knives Out

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rocketman

1st Alternate – Dolemite Is My Name

2nd Alternate – Hustlers

Best Director

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story

Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite

Sam Mendes, 1917

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

1st Alternate – Greta Gerwig, Little Women

2nd Alternate – James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari

Best Actress – Drama

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Renee Zellweger, Judy

1st Alternate – Lupita Nyong’o, Us

2nd Alternate – Alfre Woodard, Clemency

Best Actor – Drama

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Robert De Niro, The Irishman

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

1st Alternate – Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari

2nd Alternate – Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

Best Actress – Comedy or Musical

Awkwafina, The Farewell

Ana de Armas, Knives Out

Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart

Emma Thompson, Late Night

Constance Wu, Hustlers

1st Alternate – Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette

2nd Alternate – Kaitlyn Dever, Booksmart

Best Actor – Comedy or Musical

Daniel Craig, Knives Out

Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Taron Egerton, Rocketman

Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

1st Alternate – Shia LaBeouf, The Peanut Butter Falcon

2nd Alternate – Himesh Patel, Yesterday 

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

Florence Pugh, Little Women

Margot Robbie, Bombshell

1st Alternate – Annette Bening, The Report

2nd Alternate – Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

1st Alternate – Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

2nd Alternate – Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Best Screenplay

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

1st Alternate – The Two Popes

2nd Alternate – Knives Out

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Frozen II

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Missing Link

Toy Story 4

1st Alternate – Weathering with You

2nd Alternate – Abominable

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Atlantics

The Farewell

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

1st Alternate – Les Miserables

2nd Alternate – Monos

Best Original Score

1917

Ford v Ferrari

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

1st Alternate – The Aeronauts

2nd Alternate – Us

Best Original Song

“Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats

“Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn

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

“Into the Unknown” from Frozen II

“Spirit” from The Lion King

1st Alternate – “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4

2nd Alternate – “Stand Up” from Harriet

And that equates to the following features nabbing these numbers when it comes to nominations:

7 Nominations

Marriage Story

6 Nominations

The Irishman

5 Nominations

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

4 Nominations

Jojo Rabbit, Little Women

3 Nominations

1917, Knives Out, Parasite, Rocketman

2 Nominations

Bombshell, Cats, The Farewell, Ford v Ferrari, Frozen II, Hustlers, Joker, Pain and Glory, The Two Popes

1 Nomination

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Atlantics, Booksmart, Dolemite Is My Name, Harriet, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, I Lost My Body, Judy, Late Night, The Lion King, Missing Link, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Toy Story 4

Rest assured that I will have a post up with reaction to the Monday announcements with a recap on how I did! Until then…

Marriage Is The Gotham Story

The first significant awards show of 2019 happened this evening with the Gotham Independent Film Awards. And while it’s not as much of a reliable precursor as SAG or the Globes, there’s always something to extrapolate… eh?

I say unreliable because last year’s Best Feature Winner – The Rider – didn’t measure a blip on the radar screen of Oscar voters. On the other hand, the category’s winners from 2014-2016 (Birdman, Spotlight, Moonlight) won the big prize with the Academy.

Tonight was a very good night for Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, which premieres on Netflix this Friday. The divorce drama took the top prize in addition to Baumbach’s screenplay, the audience award, and Driver’s work for Best Actor. He appears to be a near lock for a nomination in an extremely competitive and crowded Best Actor race.

Curiously, Driver’s costar Scarlett Johansson did not get an Actress nod here for her work. And it was Awkwafina who took that award for The Farewell. This could assist in getting her Oscar attention. I’ve got her as an on the bubble contender. Her victory here over Alfre Woodard in Clemency and Elisabeth Moss for Her Smell could be a sign that she has an edge.

Unlike The Rider last year, no one will be surprised if Marriage Story gets a Best Picture nomination and it could even contend to win along with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Irishman, Parasite, 1917, and Jojo Rabbit. One thing is for sure – this first ceremony in early December is a solid notch in its belt.