Best Picture 2018: The Final Five


We have reached 2018 in my posts speculating on a specific piece of Oscar history. As awards followers are aware, 2009 saw the Academy expand the Best Picture category from five movies to ten. That lasted for two years and in 2011, it switched to anywhere from 5-10 with 8 or 9 as the magic numbers for several years. In 2021, the number reverted back to a set ten.

What if that hadn’t happened? What if the BP derby had stayed at a quintet? What pictures would have made the cut? If you missed my write-ups centered on 2009-17, they are linked at the bottom of the post.

2018 is a tricky year to winnow down. In fact, all 8 nominees have strong cases to make the final five. Only one thing is for sure. Peter Farrelly’s Green Book is one of the five considering it won Best Picture. It stands as one of the more surprising (and derided) victors in recent years. The race relations drama went an impressive 3/5 on its nominations – taking Picture, Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), and Original Screenplay and missing Actor (Viggo Mortensen) and Film Editing.

So what of the other seven hopefuls? Here’s my speculation:

Black Panther

The only MCU flick (and for that matter comic book adaptation) to score a BP nom was Ryan Coogler’s phenomenon with Chadwick Boseman as the title character. Its seven nominations included three wins for Score, Production Design, and Costume Design.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Besides BP, the other six mentions were all technical. It missed directing, any acting inclusions, screenplay, and even editing. It’s hard to leave this out though that’s the case with everything here.

BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee received his first and only Oscar for his adapted screenplay. That’s the only victory of the night among its six total nods as Lee did make the quintet for direction. The others were Supporting Actor (Adam Driver), Score, and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Had this not taken Adapted Screenplay, I’d leave this off. Yet that win has me (somewhat reluctantly) leaving it in.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek was crowned Best Actor for his performance as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the biopic. Despite mixed reviews, Rhapsody was successful in four of its five noms. Picture is the only race it didn’t win as it took Actor, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. That 80% ratio solidifies it even without attention for the direction or screenplay.

The Favourite

The period piece from Yorgos Lanthimos tied all nominees with 10. The lone victory was an unexpected one as Olivia Colman took Best Actress over the favored Glenn Close (The Wife).

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Despite the 10% ratio, it still led all contenders with key placements in Director, two Supporting Actress bids (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz), Original Screenplay, and Editing.

Roma

Alfonso Cuaron was your Best Director in the Mexican drama that was the other picture with 10 nods. It also won Foreign Language Film and Cinematography while contending in Actress (Yalitza Aparicio), Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira), Original Screenplay, both Sound competitions, and Production Design.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes and easily. The Netflix property was supposed to be the streamer’s first BP (they’re still waiting) and was favored before that Book upset.

A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper’s version of the frequently remade melodrama achieved 8 nominations and one win for the director’s duet with costar Lady Gaga “Shallow” in Original Song. Both Cooper and Gaga were up for their acting as was Sam Elliot in Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Sound Mixing, and Cinematography.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No, but another tough call. Star‘s shine with voters seemed to dim as the season wore on. This is evidenced by it missing directing and editing.

Vice

This is a good time to point out that all 8 BP hopefuls won at least one statue. Adam McKay’s biopic of former Vice President Cheney (played by Christian Bale) took home the Makeup and Hairstyling award. Other noms were for the direction, Bale, Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell), Supporting Actress (Amy Adams), Original Screenplay, and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No and I really struggled here. Vice landed mentions everywhere it needed to. The so-so critical reaction made it a tad easier to leave it out. Simply put, this could’ve been in over BlacKkKlansman or Bohemian, but I had to make the judgment call.

So that means my 2018 final five is:

BlacKkKlansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

I’ll have my post for 2019 up soon! The 2009-17 write-ups are here:

Best Picture 2017: The Final Five

We have reached 2017 in my posts speculating on a specific piece of Oscar history. As awards followers are aware, 2009 saw the Academy expand the Best Picture category from five movies to ten. That lasted for two years and in 2011, it switched to anywhere from 5-10 with 8 or 9 as the magic numbers for several years. In 2021, the number reverted back to a set ten.

What if that hadn’t happened? What if the BP derby had stayed at a quintet? What pictures would have made the cut? If you missed my write-ups centered on 2009-16, they are linked at the bottom of the post.

There were nine nominees for 2017’s competition. If there were 5, we know Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water would have made the quintet. It won BP along with Director, Original Score, and Production Design and received 13 nods total (easily the most of all).

Of the 8 remaining movies, here’s my thoughts on which half is in and which half and is out.

Call Me by Your Name

Luca Guadagnino’s coming-of-age romance was a critical darling that won Adapted Screenplay. It was also up for Actor (Timothee Chalamet) and Original Song. The Academy likely almost nominated Armie Hammer for Supporting Actor and are probably glad they snubbed him.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No, but I struggled with this call. An argument could be made with the Adapted Screenplay victory. However, none of the other four nominees in this category were BP nominees (extraordinarily rare). Call could’ve heard its name up, but I have it sixth or seventh.

Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill was a recipe for a Best Actor win and it was up for Production Design, Cinematography, Makeup and Hairstyling (another victory), and Costume Design.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Despite its admirable turn in the tech derbies, this was all about Oldman. The lack of directing, screenplay, and editing noms leave this out. This is the rare occurrence where I’m saying the Best Actor winner’s movie doesn’t get in the BP race.

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s epic WWII tale earned 8 mentions (2nd behind Shape) and won 3 – both Sound races and Film Editing. Nolan also scored his first and only directing nod.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. I don’t think it’s 100% considering other contenders, but this probably had enough support and was generally considered Nolan’s strongest awards pic in his filmography.

Get Out

Jordan Peele’s heralded horror flick was a box office smash. Its other three nominations were Director, Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), and Original Screenplay where it beat out Shape of Water.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Like Dunkirk, not a guarantee but that screenplay statue (over the BP recipient and two other contenders) make me think so.

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age dramedy nabbed 5 inclusions with Director, Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf), and Original Screenplay.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Broken record… not a slam dunk considering it went 0 for 5. Yet it took the Golden Globe for Musical/Comedy (over Get Out) and was highly acclaimed.

Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson’s sartorial drama was an overachiever on nomination morning with six including Director, Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville), Score, and Costume Design (the sole win).

Does It Make the Final Five?

No, but I was tempted. It really did perform better than anticipated. I could also see it just missing considering the competition. It might have been sixth.

The Post

Steven Spielberg’s Watergate era drama received only one other nom for Meryl Streep in Actress.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No and this is by far the easiest projection. Spielberg’s magic probably got it in the mix, but I suspect it was ninth.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A player in 7 categories, Martin McDonagh’s pic took home Actress (Frances McDormand) and Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell). Woody Harrelson was also up for Supporting Actor in addition to Original Screenplay, Score, and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes, even with McDonagh missing Director. If for no other reason, I can’t imagine the four acting winners having none of their movies up. That would be the case if you left this off considering Oldman’s Darkest Hour and I, Tonya (where Allison Janney took Supporting Actress) not being in the nine.

If you weren’t keeping score, here’s my projected 2017 five:

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’ll have my thoughts on 2018 up soon!

Previous Posts:

See How They Run Review

You know a genre has made a real comeback when the passably forgettable entries pop up. That’s an apt description for Tom George’s See How They Run which features lovely production design, a few humorous bits, and a murder mystery that’s hard to get invested in. The 2017 remake of Murder on the Orient Express and 2019’s Knives Out made whodunits a valuable commodity again as Run catches up with the trend.

This one is a little meta (very much of the times) as the killing occurs in London’s West End circa 1953. The Mousetrap, a play written by Agatha Christie, is celebrating its 100th performance. Side note: for some fun research, look up how long the actual play ran. American film director Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody), a drunken louse, is slated to make the film adaptation. His inappropriate behavior puts him at odds with the stage performance’s lead Dickie Attenborough (Harris Dickinson), producers John Woolf (Reece Shearsmith) and Petula Spencer (Ruth Wilson), and screenwriter Mervyn Cocker-Norris (David Oyelowo). Another side note as my 90s kid upbringing only left me slightly distracted that Dickie Attenborough would become a famed director who also happens to be John Hammond from Jurassic Park.

Moving on, Leo’s early narration correctly surmises that the most contemptible character in these stories usually gets offed. Therefore his time is short-lived and everyone onscreen seems to have a motive. Another drunken louse is in charge of the crime solving when Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) is assigned the case. Shadowing him is the eager but inexperienced Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan).

The chemistry between the two investigators is meant to carry the load for most of the snappy runtime (98 minutes). This is where the screenplay from Mark Chappell isn’t quite up to snuff. Rockwell speaks his lines in a woozy register that recalls Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow. Lady Bird‘s Ronan (like the rookie she’s portraying) gives it her all. Unfortunately the material is pretty thin. It might be considered a lesser tome from Christie, who factors into the plot in numerous ways. To put it simply, the case that Stoppard and his trusty Stalker are looking into isn’t that compelling.

See How They Run goes by quickly and there are a handful of inspired bits. When the action reaches a snowed in mansion in the third act, I wished the whole picture could’ve been set there. Much of it is as disposable as the victim.

**1/2 (out of four)

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actor Race

With two months to go for 2022 releases to make their mark with awards voters, it’s a opportune time to assess the six major Oscar races. That would be Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies.

It begins with Supporting Actor. Over the past couple of years, this has been the category that’s confounded me the most during this juncture in the calendar.

That was a different story three years ago. In late October of 2019, I correctly identified 4 out of the eventual 5 nominees. This included winner Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as well as Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), and Al Pacino (The Irishman). The other nominee – Joe Pesci for The Irishman – was in my #6 spot.

For the unpredictable year that was 2020 (due to constantly shifting release dates because of COVID), I only named 2 of the 5 hopefuls two months out – Sacha Baron Cohen for The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Leslie Odom Jr. for One Night in Miami. I still had eventual victor Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) projected for lead actor until the studio announced him for supporting.

In 2021, I made a point to say that the Supporting Actor derby was wide open in late October. And that was evidenced in my only identifying 1 of the eventual Supporting Actor quintet in the Halloween time frame – Ciaran Hinds in Belfast. I had Troy Kotsur (CODA), who would take the gold statue, in 10th place. Bradley Cooper (Licorice Pizza) was in first place and he missed out. Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog), who made the cut, was in 8th place. His costar Jesse Plemons and J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos) weren’t listed at all.

Which brings us to 2022 and at this spooky time of year, I would say this competition is up in the air with no obvious frontrunner. 12 months ago, however, I couldn’t have imagined I’d kick off the speculation with this sentence…

The Supporting Actor discussion starts with Ke Huy Quan.

The 51-year-old actor belongs in the mid 80s cinematic Hall of Fame with his turns as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data in The Goonies. His return to acting in Everything Everywhere All at Once has been met with raves. It’s also undeniable that his win would be a heckuva Academy narrative nearly 40 years after his iconic child performances. I’ve had him listed in first place for weeks and that remains.

In four of the last five years, we’ve witnessed double nominees in Supporting Actor. Last year it was the aforementioned Smit-McPhee and Plemons for The Power of the Dog. In 2020, we had the winner Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah and his costar Lakeith Stanfield. 2019’s Irishman double duo was Pacino and Pesci. Five years ago, it was Sam Rockwell (who won) and Woody Harrelson for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Martin McDonagh directed Billboards and his follow-up is The Banshees of Inisherin. Brendan Gleeson has sat in the #2 position for several prediction posts in a row. He’s a threat to take the prize. I believe his costar Barry Keoghan may also get in.

Banshees is not the only viable option for double nominees. Ke Huy Quan’s Doom maker Steven Spielberg has The Fabelmans. Before it screened at the Toronto Film Festival, we wondered whether Paul Dano or Seth Rogen (or both) would be the likely nominee(s). Post screening, scene (just one scene) stealer Judd Hirsch bubbled up while Rogen’s viability dwindled. Dano’s work is understated and certainly not as flashy as Hirsch’s brief turn. That leads me to put Hirsch in with Dano on the outside looking in. I’ll admit it’s a coin flip.

Damien Chazelle’s Babylon screens for critics in two weeks. There’s a trio of possibilities with Brad Pitt, Jovan Adepo, and Tobey Maguire. I’ve had Pitt in my 5 previously. It’s fair to speculate whether his recent tabloid headlines could hinder him. We’ll know more once reviews roll in.

Ben Whishaw in Women Talking is a trendy selection and for good reason. I’m not completely sold as voters could opt to focus only on his female cast members Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley (and maybe others) in Supporting Actress. Yet it feels wrong to keep him out right now.

You have to go back to 2013 to find the last time the five contenders all came from Best Picture nominees. I’m not wild about the fact that my projections currently do. There’s a few names that could get in from movies I’m not putting in BP list. We have Eddie Redmayne in The Good Nurse, Brian Tyree Henry for Causeway, Jeremy Strong or Anthony Hopkins in Armageddon Time, Mark Rylance in Bones and All, Micheal Ward in Empire of Light, Don Cheadle in White Noise, and Tom Hanks in Elvis. Of that group, I’m starting to flirt with the idea of Rylance being the guy. He scored an upset win here with Bridge of Spies in 2015 over Sylvester Stallone in Creed and Bones has its ardent admirers. I wouldn’t discount the Redmayne pick as he’s a Best Actor winner in 2014 for The Theory of Everything who was nominated again the following year with The Danish Girl. If Elvis manages a BP nod (not out of the question), this would increase the inclusion of Hanks. I do have Triangle of Sadness in my BP ten and that could mean a third nomination for Woody Harrelson.

Bottom line: I feel pretty confident about Ke Huy Quan and Brendan Gleeson. Everything everywhere else is up in the air.

With that said, here’s my state of the race:

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 7) (E)

8. Mark Rylance, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Eddie Redmayne, The Good Nurse (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway

Tom Hanks, Elvis

My deep dive with the Supporting Actress field is next!

September 23-25 Box Office Predictions

Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles will test the “all publicity is good publicity” theory when it opens this weekend. We also have the re-release of James Cameron’s 2009 phenomenon Avatar ahead of the December debut of sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both here:

Don’t Worry Darling Box Office Prediction

Avatar Box Office Prediction

Darling, with my projected high teens start, should manage a first place showing. Yet it may need to worry a little about the sophomore hold of The Woman King (more on its opening below). I still think the former should edge the latter fairly easily.

Avatar is a little tricky to project (the reported 1800 screen count is lower than I would’ve thought). $10 million could be a reach and my estimate is in higher single digits. Either way, it’s looking at 3rd place.

As for the rest of the top 5, it should be filled with horror holdovers Barbarian and Pearl. 

Here’s how I see it:

1. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $18.9 million

2. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $12.4 million

3. Avatar

Predicted Gross: $8.5 million

4. Barbarian

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million

5. Pearl

Predicted Gross: $1.9 million

Box Office Results (September 16-18)

Viola Davis and company were crowned box office champions as The Woman King made $19 million. That’s better than my $14.7 million prediction as the historical action tale opened on the north end of its anticipated range. There’s better news still as it’s only the second 2022 release to nab an A+ Cinemascore grade (the other is Top Gun: Maverick). That should mean minimal drops in coming weekends and I only have it falling about 15% in weekend #2.

Barbarian held up well in its follow-up frame (especially for a horror pic) with $6.5 million (I was lower at $5 million). The critically heralded scary movie has made $21 million in ten days.

The fright fest competition may have hurt Pearl, which opened in third with $3.1 million (in line with my $3.4 million take). That’s more than a million under what its spring predecessor did out of the gate.

Audiences weren’t into solving the mystery of See How They Run as the Saoirse Ronan/Sam Rockwell caper posted a fourth place debut with $3 million (I was close with $3.2 million).

Finally, Bullet Train rounded out the top five with $2.5 million. This is on track with my $2.3 million estimate and the total is $96 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

September 16-18 Box Office Predictions

**Blogger’s Update (09/14): Two changes to discuss as I’ve revised my See How They Run estimate down from $4.8M to $3.2M and my Pearl estimate up from $2.4M to $3.4M. That changes the dynamic of the top five from what I discussed below.

The Viola Davis led historical action epic The Woman King, Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell in the comedic murder mystery See How They Run, and Ti West’s horror prequel Pearl are the new offerings coming our way this weekend. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

The Woman King Box Office Prediction

See How They Run Box Office Prediction

Pearl Box Office Prediction

The Woman King should have no trouble debuting in first place as it’s the only pic that should top double digits. Reviews are solid and this could manage a gross close to $20 million, but I’m hedging and projecting a low teens start.

I’m not anticipating much of the other newcomers. Run has been flying under the radar. Assuming Barbarian has a typically hefty horror sophomore dip (more on its opening below), the crime caper should still manage a second place showing thought it could be awfully close.

As for Pearl, its predecessor made $4.3 million in its March premiere. I’m thinking the prequel won’t match that. However, even if it snatches $2-3 million, that should be enough to make top five.

Here’s how I see this rather ho-hum mid-September frame playing out:

1. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $14.7 million

2. Barbarian

Predicted Gross: $5 million

3. Pearl

Predicted Gross: $3.4 million

4. See How They Run

Predicted Gross: $3.2 million

5. Bullet Train

Predicted Gross: $2.3 million

Box Office Results (September 9-11)

Critics enjoyed Barbarian more than audiences though the scary movie landed on the higher end of its range. It opened in first with $10.5 million and that’s ahead of my $7.1 million prediction. The C+ Cinemascore grade doesn’t approach that 92% RT score. Note that its opening weekend matches it reported budget. This’ll be a profitable little venture for 20th Century Studios.

The Indian adventure Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva had a second place opening with $4.5 million, managing to top my $3.2 million estimate. I would expect the debut to be front loaded and for it to drop out of the top five this weekend.

Bullet Train was third with $3.3 million (I said $3.4 million) as it inches closer to nine figures with $92 million.

Top Gun: Maverick (after rising back to first place over Labor Day) was fourth with $3.1 million, under my $4.2 million take. The gargantuan gross is $705 million.

The Invitation rounded out the top five and I incorrectly didn’t have it there. With $2.6 million, it’s up to $18 million after three weeks.

DC League of Super-Pets was sixth with $2.6 million (I went with $3 million) to bring its tally to $85 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

See How They Run Box Office Prediction

**Blogger’s Note (09/14): I am revising down estimate down from $4.8 million to $3.2 million.

Shades of Agatha Christie are said to inspire See How They Run, a whodunit slated to hit approximately 2200 venues on September 16th. Marking the directorial debut of Tom George, the cast includes Saoirse Ronan, Sam Rockwell, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Harris Dickinson, and David Oyelowo.

The Searchlight production has generated mostly positive reactions thus far (it opens in UK cinemas a week prior to the North American start). The Rotten Tomatoes score is 75%. Run‘s existence is likely due to the success of recent genre fare like Murder on the Orient Express and especially Knives Out. 

Without significant star power and with buzz muted, I do believe this could struggle to find an audience. Murder mystery aficionados may wait to get their fix with the forthcoming Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. An opening in double digits would be surprising. I think the range is more $4-6 million and my estimate  is at the middle of it.

See How They Run opening weekend prediction: $3.2 million

For my The Woman King prediction, click here:

The Woman King Box Office Prediction

For my Pearl prediction, click here:

Pearl Box Office Prediction

Oscar Predictions: See How They Run

With plenty of critics citing inspiration from Agatha Christie, the humorous murder mystery See How They Run arrives in UK theaters Friday and in the US on September 16th. Marking the directorial debut of Tom George, four-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan and one-time winner Sam Rockwell lead a cast that includes Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Harris Dickinson, and David Oyelowo.

Run forewent the fall festival circuit which surprised me a bit. Some reviews are appreciative of its charms while others aren’t nearly as impressed. The 76% Rotten Tomatoes indicates that most write-ups don’t have their knives out for it.

Speaking of, we’ll know whether Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is an awards player when it premieres in Toronto this weekend. I don’t believe this genre predecessor will be. Perhaps something like Production Design or Costume Design but that’s likely the extent of it. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Banshees of Inisherin

Officially, The Banshees of Inisherin is Martin McDonagh’s follow-up to 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Five years ago, that pic nabbed 6 Oscar nods including Picture and the playwright/filmmaker’s original screenplay while winning acting trophies for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. Yet Banshees, thematically and personnel wise, may feel more like a follow-up to 2008’s In Bruges. That pitch black comedy earned critical raves and a Golden Globe for Colin Farrell in the Musical/Comedy Best Actor race. Mr. Farrell reunites with Brudges costar Brendan Gleeson in this 1920s set tale of Irish feuding friends. Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon are among the supporting cast.

Early reviews are quite encouraging with some critics already claiming it’s McDonagh’s finest work to date. If that narrative holds, Banshees could be a bigger Oscar player than I had been assuming. It could even be Fox Searchlight’s strongest contender over Empire of Light, which has its ardent admirers but also drew some mixed Venice reaction. I certainly believe Farrell and Gleeson could be in line for their first nominations (I would think in Actor and Supporting Actor respectively). Condon is generating solid ink and could factor into Supporting Actress (though that category is looking increasingly stuffed). Original Screenplay seems a given while the Carter Burwell score could also make the cut.

If much of the above pans out, we could have another legit BP hopeful in Banshees. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Venice Film Festival Preview

How important is the Venice Film Festival when it comes to premiering Oscar hopefuls? In the past decade, nearly half of the Best Picture winners got their rollout in Italy. That would be Birdman, Spotlight, The Shape of Water, and Nomadland. It’s tough to find a recent Venice fest where there’s not at least 2 eventual nominees for the Academy’s biggest race.

This year’s competition kicks off tomorrow and you can anticipate plenty of individualized Oscar prediction posts coming your way. Telluride follows this weekend (with the lineup announcement on Thursday) and Toronto starts next Thursday (I’ll be there!).

Let’s take a look at ten Venice entries looking to create their Oscar buzz over the next few days…

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed 

Laura Poitras, who won an Academy Award for her 2014 Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, turns her eye to activist Nan Goldin and her fight against the opioid epidemic. This could certainly be a player in the Doc competition.

The Banshees of Inisherin 

The last time filmmaker Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, and Brendan Gleeson collaborated, the result was the acclaimed 2008 black comedy In Bruges. They’re playing in the same genre here with McDonagh’s follow-up to 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which earned acting Oscars for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.

Bardo

3 out of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s last four films were nominated for Best Picture. Birdman took gold with Babel and The Revenant contending. Expectations are that his latest drama (available on Netflix in December) could be the streamer’s most serious contender and it could immediately become a frontrunner for International Feature Film.

Blonde

Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas (another Netflix offering) comes with an NC-17 rating and lots of prognosticators wondering if it’s too risqué to get awards attention. We’ll know soon.

Bones & All

Luca Guadagnino had a pic in the BP derby five years ago with Call Me by Your Name and then followed with the confounding Suspiria remake. This horror romance with cannibalistic themes stars Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell. I have’t really had this as much of a threat for the Oscar race so let’s see if that narrative shifts.

Don’t Worry Darling

Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to Booksmart is a tale of marital and suburban strife headlined by Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. The thriller  has been generating headlines for some wrong reasons lately, but great reviews could turn that buzz around.

The Son

Florian Zeller took home a Screenplay Oscar for 2020’s The Father while Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor. The Father is next and Hugh Jackman is seeking his first statue. The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, and Hopkins. Any and all could be in the mix for acting honors.

Tar

Cate Blanchett could be lined up for a third Oscar win in Todd Field’s latest in which the acclaimed actress plays a composer. It’s the director’s first feature in over 15 years after both In the Bedroom and Little Children received Academy nods.

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Natalie Portman to the podium in 2010’s Black Swan. There’s chatter he could do the same and assist in mounting a significant career comeback for Brendan Fraser (something he did for Mickey Rourke with 2008’s The Wrestler). The Mummy star plays a 600 pound man reconnecting with his daughter (Sadie Sink).

White Noise

Noah Baumbach’s last Netflix film was the BP contending Marriage Story from 2019. His Marriage star Adam Driver is back in this adaptation of a 1980s sci-fi dark comedy. It will open Venice tomorrow and it will be my first Oscar Predictions post. Stay tuned!