2021 Critics Choice Awards Predictions

As if the Golden Globe nominations coming tomorrow morning weren’t confusing enough to figure out, we also have the nods on the same day for the Critics Choice Awards. They’re frequently a reliable indicator of which way the Academy could go. However, there’s a caveat. While both branches choose ten pictures, the other races can fluctuate between 5-7 nominees. Generally Director and the lead acting races are seven while supporting and the screenplay derbies are six. The rest are a rather (needlessly unpredictable) mix. This show also contains some categories not seen in others like Best Ensemble, action, comedy, and sci-fi/horror pics, and Young Performer.

Here’s my best shot at projecting what the critics will do. The ceremony itself hits January 9th… the same day as the Globes. And as I did with the Globes, I’ll name runners-up and second alternates…

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Tick Tick… Boom!

Second Alternate: The Last Duel

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Runner-Up: Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Second Alternate: Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Nicolas Cage, Pig

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Ann Dowd, Mass

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Runner-Up: Marlee Matlin, CODA

Second Alternate: Rita Moreno, West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Jon Bernthal, King Richard

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Jason Isaacs, Mass

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Second Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Best Ensemble

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: King Richard

Second Alternate: Mass

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

C’Mon C’Mon

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Mass

Runner-Up: Being the Ricardos

Second Alternate: The Worst Person in the World

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

CODA

The Last Duel

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Dune

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

Belle

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Runner-Up: Raya and the Last Dragon

Second Alternate: The Summit of the Gods

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

The Hand of God

A Hero

Titane

The Worst Person in the World

Runner-Up: Parallel Mothers

Second Alternate: I’m Your Man

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Spencer

Second Alternate: The French Dispatch

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Spencer

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Editing

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Tick Tick… Boom!

Second Alternate: Licorice Pizza

Best Makeup

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Spencer

Runner-Up: The Last Duel

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cyrano

Dune

The Last Duel

Nightmare Alley

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: The French Dispatch

Second Alternate: Belfast

Best Score

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Cyrano

Best Song

Predicted Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Beyond the Shore” from CODA

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Runner-Up: “Every Letter” from Cyrano

Second Alternate: “Here I Am” from Respect

Best Visual Effects (note that it is unlikely that The Matrix Resurrections or Spider-Man: No Way Home screened in time for inclusion)

Predicted Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Eternals

Finch

Free Guy

Godzilla vs. Kong

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Runner-Up: The Green Knight

Second Alternate: The Suicide Squad

Best Action Movie

Predicted Nominees:

Black Widow

Dune

The Harder They Fall

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The Suicide Squad

Runner-Up: Nobody

Second Alternate: Eternals

Best Comedy

Predicted Nominees:

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Don’t Look Up

Free Guy

The French Dispatch

Licorice Pizza

Red Rocket

Runner-Up: Cruella

Second Alternate: Zola

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Predicted Nominees:

Candyman

Dune

Finch

Free Guy

A Quiet Place Part II

Runner-Up: The Suicide Squad

Second Alternate: Titane

Best Young Performer

Predicted Nominees:

Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

Jude Hill, Belfast

Emilia Jones, CODA

Woody Norman, C’Mon C’Mon

Saniyya Sidney, King Richard

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Millicent Simmonds, A Quiet Place Part II 

Second Alternate: Demi Singleton, King Richard

This list means I’m projecting the following number of nominations for these movies:

12 Nominations

Dune

11 Nominations

Belfast, West Side Story

10 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

8 Nominations

King Richard

7 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth

6 Nominations

CODA

5 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley

3 Nominations

C’Mon C’Mon, Cyrano, Free Guy, The French Dispatch, House of Gucci, The Last Duel, Mass, Spencer

2 Nominations

Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

1 Nomination

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Being the Ricardos, Belle, Black Widow, Candyman, Drive My Car, Eternals, Finch, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, The Harder They Fall, A Hero, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Passing, Pig, A Quiet Place Part II, Red Rocket, The Suicide Squad, Tick Tick… Boom!, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

Reaction (along with that for the Globes) up tomorrow!

Nobody Review

Bob Odenkirk is one of the all-time great yellers. Go back and watch his marvelous comedy sketch series Mr. Show from 25 years ago if you don’t believe it. When Gene Hackman hollers, it can be terrifying. With Odenkirk, it’s unexpected and hilarious. The idea of casting him in a John Wick type of role (from the writer of the franchise no less) screams for more than what’s presented onscreen in the very brief runtime of Nobody. Post watch, I couldn’t escape the idea that a lot of cool stuff might happen following the events of what I’d just witnessed. What’s presented is effective in spurts and  occasionally dull and repetitive in chunks.

Dull and repetitive aptly describes Hutch’s existence as the opening montage shows. He works a boring job. His marriage to Becca (Connie Nielsen) is devoid of any spark. Like clockwork, he forgets to take out the garbage. The middle class tedium is disrupted by a home burglary where Hutch catches the intruders redhanded but decides against using his golf clubs to take them down. From the police to his spouse to his kids, he’s seen as a weakling. However, when he discovers his little girl’s kitty cat bracelet was lifted, his true identity surfaces.

Hutch was once an “auditor” for the government. Not the numbers crunching kind. More of the bone crunching variety. He’s a former assassin that comes from a line of them including dad (Christopher Lloyd). RZA is also part of the clan (he’s heard more than seen because he’s in hiding). No longer content to hide his own particular set of skills after the bracelet heist, Hutch sets out to find the thieves and rough up anyone else who stands in the way.

One of the audited victims turns out to be the brother of a Russian mobster (Aleksei Serebryakov) who moonlights as an aspiring nightclub singer. With Hutch on his wanted list, the Wick-ish violence commences. If this all sounds like a tremendous amount of strange fun, it should. Doc Brown as an octogenarian renegade? Check. Our Breaking Bad standout breaking skulls? Check.

Sometimes it is. When Hutch first lets down his guard on a bus, it’s a violent delight. It never really tops that sequence that arrives early. Derek Kolstad (who wrote all three Wick flicks) is behind this (along with Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller). The screenplay hints at our lead’s backstory. It gives us reason to believe Odenkirk and Lloyd and RZA have been on some wild adventures. The world building that’s become such an integral part of Keanu Reeves and his headshots isn’t present in Nobody. This is far more contained and that applies to Odenkirk’s performance. He’s a terrific comedic presence and, as mentioned, a glorious wailer. Those skills aren’t at the forefront in this though he commendably looks comfortable offing Euro baddies. I just didn’t find the concept sizzling enough to sustain itself before it kinda burnt out.

**1/2 (out of four)

Nobody Box Office Prediction

After experiencing the typical COVID-19 related delays that have greeted nearly all movies in the past year, Universal Pictures releases the revenge thriller Nobody next weekend. It comes from Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller with a screenplay by Derek Kolstad (behind the scripts of the John Wick franchise). Bob Odenkirk of Better Call Saul fame stars as a mild mannered family man who decides to let his Death Wish freak flag fly. The supporting cast includes Connie Nielsen, RZA, and Christopher Lloyd.

Originally scheduled for a late summer 2020 premiere, Nobody has experienced four date changes since before settling on its late March bow. Planned for a rollout on 2400 screens, the pic could appeal to fans of Odenkirk’s popular series and action fans in general. There are still obvious challenges with theaters being at various capacity levels, but this could manage a haul between $6-9 million in my view. I’ll go in the middle of that range.

Nobody opening weekend prediction: $7.3 million