2019 Oscar Predictions: October 17th Edition

My weekly Oscar predictions this Thursday brings a whole lot of changes in that I’m  including every category covering feature films! Additionally, there’s now only 15 listed possibilities in Best Picture and ten in all other races.

For this format, my projections show The Irishman garnering the most nominations with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 1917, and Marriage Story not far behind. Besides the cosmetic changes, here’s what else has transpired in the past seven days:

  • Bombshell, the true life of Fox News and the downfall of Roger Ailes, had its first industry screenings. The film immediately vaulted itself into contention in Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Original Screenplay (as well as Makeup & Hairstyling).
  • My inclusion of Bombshell in Best Picture means The Farewell has been taken out with The Two Popes and Joker as other on the bubble entries.
  • Not only does Charlize Theron’s work in Bombshell enter my Best Actress projections, but she comes in at #2. That drops Cynthia Erivo in Harriet out of the top five for the first time.
  • Margot Robbie’s performance in the picture puts her in and she bumps… Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. 
  • In non Bombshell news, South Korean import Parasite had the best per screen average of 2019 in limited release. It’s the best reviewed movie of the year and its numbers game improves in Picture and Director this week.

BEST PICTURE 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

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

3. Parasite (PR: 6)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 3)

5. 1917 (PR: 4)

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 5)

7. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

8. The Two Popes (PR: 9)

9. Bombshell (PR: 18)

10. Joker (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

11. The Farewell (PR: 8)

12. Little Women (PR: 12)

13. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 11)

14. Waves (PR: 13)

15. Richard Jewell (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Pain and Glory 

Judy

Just Mercy 

A Hidden Life 

Rocketman 

The Report 

Booksmart 

The Good Liar 

Dark Waters 

Ad Astra 

BEST DIRECTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 4)

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

4. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 3)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

7. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

8. Lulu Wang, The Farewell (PR: 7)

9. Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory (PR: 13)

10. Jay Roach, Bombshell (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes 

Greta Gerwig, Little Women 

Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 

Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life

Todd Phillips, Joker

Clint Eastwood, Richard Jewell

BEST ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 5)

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

Other Possibilities: 

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

7. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 8)

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

9. Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell (PR: 9)

10. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Michael B. Jordan, Just Mercy 

Ian McKellen, The Good Liar 

Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters 

Brad Pitt, Ad Astra 

Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse 

BEST ACTRESS

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

2. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 7)

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

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

5. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 6)

7. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 3)

8. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 8)

9. Helen Mirren, The Good Liar (PR: 9)

10. Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen and Slim (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Isabelle Huppert, Frankie

Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart 

Felicity Jones, The Aeronauts 

Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell

Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 2)

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

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

5. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 7)

8. Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (PR: 9)

9. John Lithgow, Bombshell (PR: 13)

10. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Sterling K. Brown, Waves

Alan Alda, Marriage Story 

Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy 

Sam Rockwell, Jojo Rabbit 

Zack Gottsagen, The Peanut Butter Falcon 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 12)

4. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 3)

5. Shuzhen Zhou, The Farewell (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PR: 6)

7. Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

8. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 9)

9. Meryl Streep, Little Women (PR: 8)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit 

Jennifer Hudson, Cats

Nicole Kidman, Bombshell 

Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory 

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dolemite Is My Name 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

5. Joker (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Little Women (PR: 6)

7. Just Mercy (PR: 8)

8. Judy (PR: 7)

9. Downton Abbey (PR: 9)

10. Richard Jewell (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

The Good Liar 

Dark Waters 

Hustlers

Toy Story 4

Luce 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

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

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Bombshell (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Waves (PR: 6)

7. 1917 (PR: 8)

8. Pain and Glory (PR: 5)

9. Booksmart (PR: 9)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

The Report

Honey Boy 

Dolemite Is My Name 

Knives Out 

Rocketman

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

Predicted Nominees:

1. Parasite 

2. Pain and Glory 

3. Atlantics 

4. Les Miserables 

5. Monos

Other Possibilities:

6. Those Who Remained 

7. Beanpole

8. And Then We Danced 

9. Papicha

10. The Traitor 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Predicted Nominees:

1. Toy Story 4

2. Frozen II

3. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 

4. Missing Link

5. Weathering with You

Other Possibilities:

6. I Lost My Body

7. Abominable 

8. Klaus

9. Funan 

10. Okko’s Inn 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Predicted Nominees:

1. Apollo 11

2. American Factory 

3. Maiden

4. One Child Nation

5. The Cave

Other Possibilities:

6. The Biggest Little Farm

7. The Edge of Democracy 

8. Aquarela

9. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese 

10. Knock Down the House 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917

2. The Irishman 

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

4. Parasite 

5. The Lighthouse 

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra

7. Ford v Ferrari

8. Marriage Story 

9. Joker

10. Jojo Rabbit 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Downton Abbey 

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

3. Little Women

4. Dolemite Is My Name 

5. Rocketman 

Other Possibilities:

6. Judy

7. The Irishman 

8. Aladdin 

9. 1917

10. Jojo Rabbit 

BEST EDITING

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

3. 1917

4. Ford v Ferrari

5. Marriage Story 

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite 

7. Jojo Rabbit 

8. Joker

9. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

10. Ad Astra 

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman 

2. Bombshell

3. Judy

4. Dolemite Is My Name 

5. Little Women 

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

8. The Aeronauts 

9. Rocketman 

10. Cats

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE 

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

3. Little Women 

4. Marriage Story 

5. Jojo Rabbit 

Other Possibilities:

6. The Aeronauts 

7. Ford v Ferrari 

8. A Hidden Life 

9. Joker

10. Waves 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II

2. “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman 

3. “Stand Up” from Harriet 

4. “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” from Toy Story 4

5. “Speechless” from Aladdin 

Other Possibilities:

6. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4

7. “Spirit” from The Lion King 

8. “One Little Soldier” from Bombshell 

9. “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn 

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

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

2. 1917

3. Jojo Rabbit 

4. The Irishman 

5. Little Women

Other Possibilities:

6. Cats

7. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

8. Ford v Ferrari

9. Aladdin

10. Downton Abbey 

BEST SOUND EDITING 

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917

2. Ford v Ferrari

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

4. Rocketman

5. Avengers: Endgame 

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra

7. The Irishman 

8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

9. Cats

10. The Lion King 

BEST SOUND MIXING 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ford v Ferrari

2. 1917

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

4. Rocketman 

5. Ad Astra 

Other Possibilities:

6. Avengers: Endgame 

7. Cats

8. The Irishman 

9. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

10. The Lion King 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman 

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

3. Avengers: Endgame 

4. The Lion King 

5. Alita: Battle Angel 

Other Possibilities:

6. The Aeronauts 

7. Gemini Man 

8. Ad Astra 

9. 1917

10. Godzilla: King of the Monsters 

So here’s I have the nominations playing out as far as numbers with each film:

10 Nominations 

The Irishman 

9 Nominations 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

8 Nominations 

1917, Marriage Story 

5 Nominations 

Bombshell, Ford v Ferrari, Little Women, Parasite

4 Nominations 

Jojo Rabbit, Rocketman, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Two Popes 

3 Nominations 

The Farewell, Joker

2 Nominations 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Avengers: Endgame, Dolemite Is My Name, Frozen II, Judy, Toy Story 4

1 Nomination

Ad Astra, Aladdin, Alita: Battle Angel, American Factory, Apollo 11, Atlantics, The Cave, Downton Abbey, Harriet, Hustlers, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Les Miserables, The Lighthouse, The Lion King, Maiden, Missing Link, Monos, One Child Nation, Pain and Glory, The Report, Weathering with You

2019 Oscar Predictions: October 10th Edition

The Joker went wild at the box office over the weekend, easily setting the all-time October opening record. Let’s see how the rest of awards season plays out, but the film has now entered back into my predictions for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay. In the big race, that knocks out A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which made its inaugural appearance in the top ten last Thursday. In other developments:

  • In Actress, the five spot continues to change back and forth. For this week, Awkwafina is in with Alfre Woodard just outside.
  • In Supporting Actress, Laura Dern goes back to the #1 slot over Jennifer Lopez.

The other races remain the same with some positions jockeying around. So here’s the big announcement…

Next Thursday, I will be including all categories covering feature length films for the first time. The list of Picture possibilities will dwindle from 25 to 15 with all other races going down to ten. Stay tuned!!

BEST PICTURE 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (Previous Ranking: 1)

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

3. Marriage Story (PR: 3)

4. 1917 (PR: 7)

5. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 4)

6. Parasite (PR: 5

7. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 6)

8. The Farewell (PR: 9)

9. The Two Popes (PR: 8)

10. Joker (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

11. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 10)

12. Little Women (PR: 12)

13. Waves (PR: 13)

14. Pain and Glory (PR: 15)

15. Richard Jewell (PR: 19)

16. Judy (PR: 17)

17. Just Mercy (PR: 14)

18. Bombshell (PR: 20)

19. A Hidden Life (PR: 16)

20. Rocketman (PR: 24)

21. The Report (PR: 21)

22. Booksmart (PR: 18)

23. The Good Liar (PR: Not Ranked)

24. Dark Waters (PR: 22)

25. Ad Astra (PR: 25)

Dropped Out:

Downton Abbey 

BEST DIRECTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 5)

4. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 4)

5. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

7. Lulu Wang, The Farewell (PR: 12)

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

9. Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes (PR: 10)

10. Greta Gerwig, Little Women (PR: 8)

11. Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 13)

12. Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life (PR: 11)

13. Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory (PR: 9)

14. Todd Phillips, Joker (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Clint Eastwood, Richard Jewell (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Trey Edward Shults, Waves

BEST ACTRESS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

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

3. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 3)

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

5. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 5)

7. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 7)

8. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 8)

9. Helen Mirren, The Good Liar (PR: 9)

10. Isabelle Huppert, Frankie (PR: 11)

11. Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen and Slim (PR: 10)

12. Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Felicity Jones, The Aeronauts (PR: 14)

14. Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell (PR: 12)

15. Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Kristin Stewart, Seberg 

BEST ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 4)

4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

5. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

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

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

8. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 8)

9. Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell (PR: 10)

10. Michael B. Jordan, Just Mercy (PR: 11)

11. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 12)

12. Ian McKellen, The Good Liar (PR: 13)

13. Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters (PR: 14)

14. Brad Pitt, Ad Astra (PR: 9)

15. Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Matt Damon, Ford v Ferrari

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 2)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 1)

3. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 3)

4. Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

5. Shuzhen Zhou, The Farewell (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PR: 8)

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

8. Meryl Streep, Little Women (PR: 7)

9. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 9)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 11)

11. Jennifer Hudson, Cats (PR: 12)

12. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 13)

13. Nicole Kidman, Bombshell (PR: 10)

14. Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory (PR: 14)

15. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 3)

3. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 4)

4. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 2)

5. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 8)

7. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 6)

8. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 9)

9. Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (PR: 7)

10. Sterling K. Brown, Waves (PR: 10)

11. Alan Alda, Marriage Story (PR: 11)

12. Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy (PR: 13)

13. John Lithgow, Bombshell (PR: 12)

14. Sam Rockwell, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 14)

15. Zack Gottsagen, The Peanut Butter Falcon (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Sam Rockwell, Richard Jewell

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

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

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 5)

5. Pain and Glory (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Waves (PR: 6)

7. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

8. 1917 (PR: 11)

9. Booksmart (PR: 8)

10. Bombshell (PR: 9)

11. The Report (PR: 10)

12. Honey Boy (PR: 12)

13. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 14)

14. Knives Out (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Rocketman (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ad Astra 

The Lighthouse 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

5. Joker (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Little Women (PR: 5)

7. Judy (PR: 9)

8. Just Mercy (PR: 8)

9. Downton Abbey (PR: 7)

10. Richard Jewell (PR: 10)

11. The Good Liar (PR: 12)

12. Dark Waters (PR: 11)

13. Hustlers (PR: 14)

14. Toy Story 4 (PR: 15)

15. Luce (PR: 13)

2019 Oscar Predictions: October 3rd Edition

Going into this week’s predictions, there was no question that Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman would be the headline. The gangster epic premiered last Friday at the New York Film Festival to overwhelmingly glowing reviews. That reaction has propelled it to the #1 spot in Picture, Director, and kept it there in Adapted Screenplay.

Additionally, the festival greatly increased the chances for Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci to land nominations. De Niro makes an appearance in lead for the first time, pushing out Antonio Banderas. Pacino enters Supporting Actor, displacing Willem Dafoe. And Pesci rises to the #6 slot in that category.

Yet the movement this Thursday extends beyond Irishman. Renee Zellweger’s title performance in Judy is now #1 in Actress. In Supporting Actress, Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers vaults to first position.

In Picture, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood makes its inaugural showing in my top ten projections. That pushes out Little Women, as we await reaction for it.

Finally, it was revealed (fairly unsurprisingly) that Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell will be released in December for awards consideration. I have the film, Clint, Paul Walter Hauser, Kathy Bates, and its Adapted Screenplay mentioned as possibilities.

WINNER OF THE WEEK: The Irishman 

LOSER OF THE WEEK: The Lighthouse 

Let’s get to it!

BEST PICTURE 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (Previous Ranking: 3)

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

3. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

4. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 5)

5. Parasite (PR: 6)

6. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 4)

7. 1917 (PR: 7)

8. The Two Popes (PR: 8)

9. The Farewell (PR: 10)

10. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

11. Joker (PR: 12)

12. Little Women (PR: 9)

13. Waves (PR: 13)

14. Just Mercy (PR: 18)

15. Pain and Glory (PR: 14)

16. A Hidden Life (PR: 15)

17. Judy (PR: 23)

18. Booksmart (PR: 21)

19. Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

20. Bombshell (PR: 16)

21. The Report (PR: 20)

22. Dark Waters (PR: 22)

23. Downton Abbey (PR: Not Ranked)

24. Rocketman (PR: 25)

25. Ad Astra (PR: 17)

Dropped Out:

The Lighthouse 

Knives Out 

BEST DIRECTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman (PR: 2)

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

3. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 4)

4. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 3)

5. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

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

8. Greta Gerwig, Little Women (PR: 8)

9. Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory (PR: 10)

10. Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes (PR: 9)

11. Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life (PR: 11)

12. Lulu Wang, The Farewell (PR: 12)

13. Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 14)

14. Trey Edward Shults, Waves (PR: 13)

15. Clint Eastwood, Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Todd Phillips, Joker 

BEST ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 5)

4. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

5. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (PR: 4)

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

8. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 7)

9. Brad Pitt, Ad Astra (PR: 9)

10. Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Michael B. Jordan, Just Mercy (PR: 11)

12. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 10)

13. Ian McKellen, The Good Liar (PR: 13)

14. Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters (PR: 12)

15. Matt Damon, Ford v Ferrari (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse 

Daniel Kaluuya, Queen and Slim

BEST ACTRESS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 2)

2. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

3. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 3)

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

5. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 5)

7. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 8)

8. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 7)

9. Helen Mirren, The Good Liar (PR: 9)

10. Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen and Slim (PR: 10)

11. Isabelle Huppert, Frankie (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell (PR: 13)

13. Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Felicity Jones, The Aeronauts (PR: 12)

15. Kristen Stewart, Seberg (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Lesley Manville, Ordinary Love 

Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 3)

2. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

3. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 2)

4. Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 5)

5. Shuzhen Zhou, The Farewell (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Meryl Streep, Little Women (PR: 7)

8. Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PR: 11)

9. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 8)

10. Nicole Kidman, Bombshell (PR: 12)

11. Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Jennifer Hudson, Cats (PR: 9)

13. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 13)

14. Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Meryl Streep, The Laundromat 

Anna Paquin, The Irishman 

Octavia Spencer, Luce 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 2)

3. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 6)

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

5. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 10)

7. Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (PR: 7)

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

9. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 9)

10. Sterling K. Brown, Waves (PR: 8)

11. Alan Alda, Marriage Story (PR: 11)

12. John Lithgow, Bombshell (PR: 12)

13. Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy (PR: 14)

14. Sam Rockwell, Jojo Rabbit (PR: Not Ranked)

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

Dropped Out:

Tracy Letts, Ford v Ferrari 

Chris Evans, Knives Out 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

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

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Pain and Glory (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Waves (PR: 5)

7. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

8. Booksmart (PR: 9)

9. Bombshell (PR: 10)

10. The Report (PR: 8)

11. 1917 (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Honey Boy (PR: 15)

13. Ad Astra (PR: 13)

14. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: Not Ranked)

15. The Lighthouse (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Knives Out

Uncut Gems 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. The Two Popes (PR: 3)

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

5. Little Women (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker (PR: 6)

7. Downton Abbey (PR: 9)

8. Just Mercy (PR: 7)

9. Judy (PR: 8)

10. Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Dark Waters (PR: 10)

12. The Good Liar (PR: 11)

13. Luce (PR: 12)

14. Hustlers (PR: 13)

15. Toy Story 4 (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

The Laundromat 

Oscar Watch: The Irishman

The biggest Oscar domino not yet fall screened has been Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, the three and a half hour gangster drama headlined by genre legends Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. That changed today. The epic opened the New York Film Festival exactly two months ahead of its Netflix debut. And – no real surprise here – it appears to be a serious contender.

The Irishman is said to be both a humorous and contemplative piece with De Niro and Pacino providing their best performances in years. Same goes for Pesci as he’s been away from the silver screen for nearly a decade.

While nearly all reviews are positive, they’re not all raves. My early hunch is that this will earn Picture and Director nods. Winning is another story and that is one still left to play out. The Rotten Tomatoes score is at 100%. This will likely mark Scorsese’s ninth nomination (he’s won once for 2006’s The Departed). That’s also his only effort to be named Best Picture. The Adapted Screenplay from Steve Zaillian should also make the final cut.

Down the line recognition presents many chances including Cinematography, Editing, Costume Design, and Visual Effects. For the latter, the de-aging technology that allows its stars to look younger could attract the notice of that branch. The pic would actually be the second Scorsese title to get a Visual Effects nod after 2011’s Hugo (which won).

Now to the thespians. The thinking is that De Niro will be in lead actor with Pacino and Pesci in supporting. It sounds as if they will be the trio in contention. De Niro would gunning for his eighth appearance as a nominee. He won Supporting for 1974’s The Godfather Part II and lead in Scorsese’s 1980 masterwork Raging Bull. I’ve had him listed in spot #6 for some time in my weekly rankings. I could still see him missing the cut as his role is said to be less flashy than his costars, but I think his chances are better today. Numerous critics have stated that Pacino steals the show and he’s going for nomination #9 (his sole win is 1992’s Scent of a Woman). Like De Niro, I’ve had him slotted sixth and I expect him to enter the top five in a supporting actor race that is already jam packed. As for Pesci (who won for 1990’s Scorsese classic GoodFellas), other reviewers are singling him out. That opens the door for two men to be nominated in the supporting race for the second time since 1991 when Harvey Keitel (who’s also in this) and Ben Kingsley were recognized for Bugsy. This occurred again two years ago with Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Pesci is not the near sure thing Pacino is, but it could happen.

Bottom line: The Irishman did what it needed to do in the Big Apple to establish itself as a player in awards chatter. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

A Jewell Enters The Oscar Fray

Clint Eastwood works quickly and it’s become an almost common occurrence that his efforts pop up early in the fall for a late year release. That’s precisely what happened today with Richard Jewell, the filmmaker’s chronicle of the man falsely accused in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

The movie is set for a December 13 release. Anytime Eastwood has something out at this time of year, you can bet awards pundits will take notice. A project long in development, Jewell was originally set to star Jonah Hill as the title character and Leonardo DiCaprio as the lawyer defending him (they still serve as producers). Now it’s Paul Walter Hauser (memorable in supporting roles in I, Tonya and BlacKkKlansman) and Sam Rockwell headlining with Kathy Bates, Olivia Wilde, and Jon Hamm included among the cast.

For now, it’s uncertain which races Hauser and Rockwell will be campaigned for. Both are likely to be included as possibilities in my weekly predictions next week (and probably Bates in Supporting Actress).

Eastwood has a mixed record with these “surprise” Christmastime outings. Fifteen years ago, Million Dollar Baby came out of nowhere to win Picture, Director, Actress (Hilary Swank), and Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman). Yet just last year, The Mule failed to gain any traction with voters. Bottom line: we shall see how it plays out, but Clint and company are at least back in the mix. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Jojo Rabbit Movie Review

Taika Waititi is a tightrope walker when it comes to the execution of Jojo Rabbit, the kind of picture that few directors might be permitted to make. It helps when you’re coming off Thor: Ragnarok, the best received of that sub franchise in the MCU. This is a tale of atrocities and those involved in it. And it’s handled with a primarily light tone that eventually doesn’t shy away from the horrors of Nazi Germany.

The premise, based on a novel from Christine Leunens, sounds high concept in description. A boy with an imaginary friend that happens to be Adolf Hitler. That sentence could provide a visceral reaction for many and it’s up to Waititi to justify it. He does so in large measure.

The boy is Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), a 10-year-old Hitler youth living with his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) in the waning days of World War II. All he really knows is the propaganda of his nation’s leaders and he’s part of the Nazi youth camps. They’re taught by an alcoholic Captain (Sam Rockwell) and a no nonsense Fräulein (Rebel Wilson). Jojo reveres Hitler so much that he acts as his imaginary companion. Waititi pulls double duty as the monstrous Chancellor and plays him as a total nincompoop. Yet like most fictitious companions (even if they’re based on evil real life figures), Jojo’s Hitler serves to reinforce his misguided feelings toward the Jewish people. Also because he’s lonely.

When he discovers that his mom is sheltering young Jewish Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) upstairs, his adolescent worldview is shattered. The witless Hitler doesn’t know what to make of it. Therefore Jojo struggles with how to handle this until his humanity starts to shine through.

To call this movie is a delicate balance is an understatement. There are satirical tones, but there’s a lot more heart. Anyone expecting a Mel Brooks style Producers exercise should look elsewhere. The humor is abundant for the first two acts especially, but always imbued with a level of pathos that comes into sharper focus as it goes on.

Jojo Rabbit is mostly an inventive case study in showing one child learning not to hate. It could fall apart without the casting of Davis. He’s rarely off screen and his performance is fantastic. Not fantastic for a child actor. Fantastic. Not many youngsters could pull off the range of emotions he has to go through and he nails it. McKenzie, in many ways, has an equally challenging role as Elsa navigates teaching Jojo not to fear her. The humanity of her character and the actress playing her convinces us and him. As you might imagine, Waititi has a tricky part as well. He’s got some of the best lines and reactions of all in his campy take. The more recognizable actors are all first-rate. In one of the most powerful scenes not involving Jojo, Johansson has a heart to heart about adulthood with Elsa (on the cusp of entering that status). And speaking of highlights, Jojo’s actual best friend Yorki, played by Archie Yates, is a scene stealer.

So… does this all work? Mostly yes. I also can’t deny that Rabbit never quite reaches the emotional impact that it’s trying to land. The concept doesn’t block that possibility. It’s more that the tonal shifts can be somewhat jarring in a couple of cases. It’s practically unavoidable. I never doubted that Waititi’s heart is in the right place and he’s assembled a superb cast to provide numerous laughs and a lot of warmth. Most importantly, it’s told through a child’s eyes who doesn’t recognize his idols are as false as can be until those eyes are opened.

*** (out of four )

Oscar Watch: Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit is undoubtedly one of Toronto’s most eagerly awaited screenings and it held its unveiling last night. The latest from writer/director Taika Waititi (who hit the big time with 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok), Jojo is a comedy that involves a child with an imaginary friend who happens to be Adolf Hitler. The child is played by newcomer Roman Griffin Davis while the filmmaker himself plays Hitler. Other costars include Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Sam Rockwell, and Scarlett Johansson.

It’s tough to gauge if this odd concoction will work based on the trailer. Early critical reaction is all over the map. Some love it while others seem quite turned off with claims that its unique tone never comes together. The result is shown in the current Rotten Tomatoes rating – 55%.

Most films with that score wouldn’t be in the conversation for a Best Picture nod. This could be an exception as those who like it really like it. I still think it’s probably an on the bubble candidate, but let’s see how it plays out.

The two actors getting the most praise appears to be youngsters Davis and Thomasin McKenzie. Waititi and Johansson were looked at as possibilities for the supporting races. Not so much anymore in my view (Scarlett can take comfort in that she’s appears in for Marriage Story). And Waititi could still land an Adapted Screenplay nod.

Bottom line: Jojo Rabbit looks polarizing enough to keep it away from the big dance, but ardent supporters could change that dynamic. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…