Oscar Predictions: Broker

Had it not been for Roma in 2018, Hirokazu Kore’eda’s Shoplifters might have been the winner for the international competition at the Oscars. His latest is Broker and it has debuted at Cannes. Said to be a crowdpleaser, the drama focused on abandoned babies stars Song Kang-Ho of Parasite fame.

Early critical write-ups put this at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some of the reviews say it isn’t quite  in Shoplifters territory. That said, if South Korea selects this as the hopeful in International Feature Film, it would stand an excellent shot at making the cut. However, that is a big if because the nation also has Park Chan-wook’s acclaimed Decision to Leave (also a Cannes player) in the mix.

At the moment, I’m giving Broker the slight edge to be the pick. If so, it’s one to remember come picking time (and perhaps in Original Screenplay too). My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Decision to Leave

South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook is highly acclaimed for features including Oldboy and The Handmaiden. His latest is the romantic thriller Decision to Leave, which has premiered at Cannes.

Starring Tang Wei and Park Hae-il, critics are praising Chan-wook’s effort with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%. As is often the case with the director, the cinematography by Kim Ji-yong is drawing particular raves. Oscar voters have yet to honor its maker’s filmography. Despite the positive buzz, Leave could face an uphill battle for the Academy’s attention.

The primary reason is the country of origin. I have a feeling South Korea may select another pic from one of its best known directors – Hirokazu Kore’ada’s Broker – as their contestant for International Feature Film. It also premiered in France and its kudos are arguably louder. That would leave Decision out of the running. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Elvis

Will Elvis be in the building when the Oscars air next year? The eagerly anticipated Baz Luhrmann biopic has debuted at Cannes prior to its June 24th stateside bow. The splashy musical casts Austin Butler as The King with Tom Hanks (in some apparently memorable makeup) as Colonel Parker. Costars include Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Olivia DeJonge, and Kelvin Harrison, Jr.

Luhrmann’s movies can attract wildly divergent opinions. Elvis is currently at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet it’s worth noting that the negative reviews are quite negative and the positive ones point out plenty of flaws. It’s not often you’ll read this, but Hanks’s work is drawing mixed buzz. He’ll need some coattail action to be a factor in Supporting Actor.

On the flip side, Luhrmann’s pictures also generate Academy mentions. His last four have done so. 1996’s Romeo + Juliet was nominated for Art Direction. 2001’s Moulin Rouge! was his most acclaimed title with 8 nods including Picture (though not Director). It was victorious in Art Direction and Costume Design. His less regarded 2008 follow-up Australia received a Costume Design nod while 2013’s The Great Gatsby landed wins for Costume Design and Production Design.

We are talking about Elvis so you have to assume Costume Design is easily in play. So are Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Sound. And, yes, Best Picture is a possibility. Whether or not it hits at the box office could move the needle one way or the other on the big race. If he couldn’t do so for Rouge!, I doubt Luhrmann gets his first behind the camera recognition.

One consistent thread in most of the reaction thus far compliments the performance of Butler. He is absolutely in the mix for Best Actor. Butler’s best hope is to follow in the footsteps of Rami Malek, who took home the gold stature for 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody as rock legend Freddie Mercury. Or he could end up like Taron Egerton, who surprisingly was left off the final five in 2019 as Elton John in Rocketman. 

Bottom line: despite some grumbling, Elvis has at least established itself as a mover and shaker for the awards season. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Aftersun

Irish thespian Paul Mescal has received an Emmy nod and plenty of critical praise for his role on Hulu’s Normal People and he recently made his cinematic debut in Netflix’s The Lost Daughter. 

More kudos are coming his way via Cannes for Aftersun, a family drama currently holding at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The first feature from Charlotte Wells and produced by Moonlight auteur Barry Jenkins, the A24 acquisition is potentially the type of project that could generate awards chatter with the right campaign.

The issue could be that A24 will have other pics to focus on and there’s only so much promotion to go around. Time will tell, but there’s no doubt Mescal is an actor on the upswing. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Top Gun: Maverick isn’t the only Memorial Day weekend release currently holding at an impressive 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The other is The Bob’s Burgers Movie, the cinematic version of the long running animated series. The Emmy winning series hopes that the big screen rendering serves up meaty box office numbers over the holiday.

Will Oscar voters take notice? Even with the impressive score, most reviews indicate it’s a generally pleasing Burgers episode with a longer runtime. If 2007’s The Simpsons Movie (which was a massive hit) couldn’t manage a Best Animated Feature nod, I doubt this will. However, if future animated titles for 2022 don’t meet expectations, that narrative could shift. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Crimes of the Future

David Cronenberg came to prominence over four decades ago with his wild mix of gore and sci-fi that resulted in such notable pics as Scanners, Videodrome, and The Fly. In the 20th century, his crime thrillers A History of Violence and Eastern Promises were met with acclaim and acting nominations for William Hurt in Supporting Actor and Viggo Mortensen in lead, respectively.

At the Cannes Film Festival, the 79-year-old auteur returns to the body horror genre that made him known with Crimes of the Future. Like his earlier fare, critics indicate this may not be for everyone (including those with weak stomachs). Yet the Rotten Tomatoes score is currently a sturdy 90%.

Starring frequent collaborator Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart (fresh off her Spencer nomination), I don’t see this staying fresh in awards voters brains after its stateside debut on June 3rd even as it may satisfy admirers of Cronenberg’s early work. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions – Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind

Baz Luhrmann’s eagerly awaited Elvis isn’t the only feature about a 60s rock icon premiering at Cannes this week. We also have Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind, a documentary that marks the solo directorial debut of Ethan Coen. Just last year, his brother Joel’s first filmmaking foray without his brother The Tragedy of Macbeth nabbed three Oscar nods.

Trouble faces a more troubled path to awards attention. Early critical reaction puts it at 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. The story is apparently told almost entirely through archival interviews and it may appeal only to diehard fans of the troubled and dynamic singer.

Way back in 1989, Mr. Lewis got the biopic treatment with Dennis Quaid portraying the piano man in Great Balls of Fire! It received mixed reaction as well and didn’t resonate with the Academy. This probably won’t either. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Corsage

In 2017, Vicky Krieps drew critical praise for her work opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread, but she did not gather any Oscar attention. Recently seen in M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, the actress headlines the historical revisionist biopic Corsage. Krieps plays Empress Elisabeth of Austria circa the late 1870s. From director Marie Kreutzer, the pic is receiving pleasing notices from its Cannes screening. The result is  a 100% current Rotten Tomatoes score.

IFC Films has already picked distribution rights and I assume they’ll mount a campaign. The reviews are strong enough that Krieps could be at least on the radar screen for Best Actress. Production Design and Costume Design are possibilities as well.

The real question is whether this generates enough buzz to be in the mix a few months from now. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Three Thousand Years of Longing

When legendary filmmaker George Miller was last behind the camera, 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road garnered 10 nominations and a ceremony high 6 victories in tech categories. Before he moves to Fury‘s prequel Furiosa, his in-between picture is Three Thousand Years of Longing and it’s premiered at Cannes before its late summer bow.

The fantastical romance casts Tilda Swinton as an academic whose life is turned upside down when she encounters a genie in the form of Idris Elba. If the movie is wishing for Oscar attention, the answer is cloudy as to whether that is granted. Early reviews have resulted in a 78% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Some critical reaction is gushing while some is decidedly more mixed.

Miller is, of course, known for visual skills and Longing could be in play for its Cinematography (by the great John Seale), Production Design, and Visual Effects. As for the leads, Swinton is (rather shockingly) just a one-time nominee when she won for 2007’s Michael Clayton. Elba is no time nominee having notably been snubbed for 2015’s Beasts of No Nation (for which he took home the SAG).

My feeling is that this would have to vault into serious Best Picture discussion (and for Miller’s direction) for Swinton and Elba to be viable. This will certainly have its vocal supporters based on Cannes chatter, but I’m not confident it will be enough. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: God’s Creatures

Emily Watson scored a pair of Oscar nominations back in the 90s – one for her debut performance in 1996’s Breaking the Waves and another for Hilary and Jackie (1998). It’s been a long break since then though she recently received an Emmy nod for Chernobyl. 

God’s Creatures is an Irish psychological drama from directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer and it’s premiered at Cannes. Early critical reaction indicates this is Watson’s most impressive big screen role in some time and there’s additional praise for costar Paul Mescal.

With an 88% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the small sample of reviews indicates only Watson could realistically be championed come awards time. Distributor A24 would really need to mount an aggressive campaign for that to occur. I question whether that’s doable considering the amount of competition likely to come. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…