Oscar Predictions: Eyes on Jessica Chastain

When I wrote my Oscar Predictions post for The Eyes of Tammy Faye back in September and talked about Jessica Chastain’s viability in Best Actress, I penned the following passage:

Bottom line: a couple of weeks back, I boldly declared that you could write Kristen Stewart’s Best Actress inclusion in pen. Here we go again for the second pronouncement… I think you can do the same with Chastain.

Two months later, I still feel the same about Kristen Stewart in Spencer. She remains the frontrunner for a nomination and a potential victory. And a solid argument can still be made that Chastain’s performance as Tammy Faye Bakker sits in the runner-up position for inclusion for the five actresses who will be up for consideration. That said, I’m not as declarative as I once was. Given a redo, I might say a sharpened pencil over a pen.

Why? The Best Actress race is stacked in 2021 and more realistic competitors continue to pop up. Just this week, there were three pictures screened that increased or helped solidify the chances for their leading ladies: Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos), and Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza). That’s in addition to Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers), and Frances McDormand (The Tragedy of Macbeth). They’ve been in the mix since festival season early this autumn.

That’s eight performances thus far. We can add others to the already released fold: Jodie Comer (The Last Duel), Jennifer Hudson (Respect), Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World), and Tessa Thompson (Passing). 12. I can think of four more from the unscreened column: Sandra Bullock (The Unforgivable), Jennifer Lawrence (Don’t Look Up), Rooney Mara (Nightmare Alley) and Rachel Zegler (West Side Story). 16. I’m not really feeling a Bullock nod, but any of the others could bubble up.

Add to that the off chance that a surprise nominee could materialize of those I’ve basically written off: Halle Berry (Bruised), Marion Cotillard (Annette), Emilia Jones (CODA), or Charlotte Rampling (Benedetta).

20 possibilities (though some admittedly are far fetched). Still – there’s several realistic hopefuls and that’s reason enough to doubt anyone but Stewart making the eventual quintet.

Chastain faces other challenges for her third nomination (the previous two were supporting for 2011’s The Help and lead the following year in Zero Dark Thirty). Despite widespread acclaim for her acting, audiences completely tuned out to Tammy. It earned a tiny $2.4 million at the box office. Reviews for the pic itself were just so-so (66% on Rotten Tomatoes). I’ve heard comparisons made to Renee Zellweger’s victory in 2019 for Judy as far as poor box office and critical reaction. It’s not a totally unfair comp but Zellweger’s winning work garnered 82% on RT and made $24 million domestically.

When Tammy screened up north, the idea of Chastain and her costar Andrew Garfield (in Supporting Actor) both being up seemed feasible. I don’t feel Garfield has much of a shot now (though he definitely does in lead for Tick, Tick… Boom!).

Bottom line: I still have Chastain in my five, but with considerably less assuredness than before.

Passing Review

Much of the drama in Rebecca Hall’s debut feature, based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, is elevated by passing glances and comments overheard at gatherings. The term Passing refers to light skinned African-Americans who are deemed white to unsuspecting individuals. It’s a disguise that Clare Bellew (Ruth Negga) is living in and during the early moments of the picture, she has a chance encounter with Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson). They are childhood friends who’ve lost touch and their reconnection leaves Irene bewildered. She’s never left Harlem and has married successful but weary doctor Brian (Andre Holland). Irene fills her days with civic duties and some nights entertaining an author (Bill Camp) who’s endeared himself to the black community (though perhaps not for purely endearing reasons).

While Irene seems to have a nice upper class life going in a 1920s era filled with despair, a closer look is warranted. Her marriage is bordering on loveless. The couple struggle with proper child rearing to their two boys in a subplot that’s barely there (it should have been either explored in greater detail or dropped altogether).

Clare’s sudden presence reminds Irene of some chinks in the armor of her perceived blissful existence. That goes both ways. Clare is married to a vocal racist (Alexander Skarsgard) who has no clue what lies beneath. She’s a free spirit whose wings appear to grow when placed back in familiar territory. One of the strengths with this screenplay is that Clare’s reaction to her bonds rekindling is unexpected. Instead of substantiating her choice to pass as Caucasian, it fills her with a longing to return to her roots. In doing so, a strange and often unclear romantic dynamic emerges between Clare, Irene, and Brian. Jealousies and frailties come to the forefront. And those passing glances and comments take on deeper meaning as time goes by. Irene’s perception of Clare soon turns as cold as the wintry night air while Brian’s has blown in a warmer and cozier direction.

This is a picture that sneaks up on you with how powerful it ultimately becomes. Hall, a fine actress recently seen in The Night House, has her own complicated and for years unknown racial history that surely influenced her delicate handling of the subject matter. The performances are terrific across the board. This is not a story that over explains character motivation and it’s sometimes up to Thompson and Negga in particular to convey what’s really cooking in this tinderbox of a stew. They achieve that mission and Hall’s filmmaking prowess (shot in black and white with an aspect ratio of its era) accentuates that. By the climax, we are presented potential outcomes that occur in a flash and you may find yourself pondering them far longer. It all passes for a richly rewarding experience.

***1/2 (out of four)

2021 Oscar Predictions: November 11th Edition

My Oscar predictions in all feature film categories are updated and there’s movement to discuss! There’s been a change in my ten Best Picture nominees for the first time in several weeks as House of Gucci has fallen and I’m putting Don’t Look Up in. The social media reaction to Gucci has resulted in it dropping for multiple categories. I still have Lady Gaga garnering an Actress nod (though she drops from 2nd to 4th) as well as Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling.

In other developments:

    • Andrew Garfield vaults from 6th to 3rd in Best Actor for Tick, Tick… Boom! That’s to the detriment of Joaquin Phoenix for C’Mon C’Mon
    • Two changes in the ever evolving Supporting Actor derby with Jason Isaacs (Mass) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) making the cut and displacing Jared Leto (Gucci) and Ciaran Hinds (Belfast)
    • Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) is on the outside looking in for Supporting Actress with Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) rising
    • Don’t Look Up also enters Original Screenplay with Mass falling out of the top five

You can read all the updates right here!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Dune (PR: 4) (-1)

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+4)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Spencer (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Flee (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 14) (+2)

13. House of Gucci (PR: 8) (-5)

14. CODA (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Mass (PR: 13) (-2)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6) (E)

7. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (E)

8. Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Tessa Thompson, Passing 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 6) (+3)

4. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (E)

8. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 8) (E)

9. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Jude Hill, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Adam Driver, House of Gucci 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 3) (E)

4. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 7) (E)

8. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 8) (E)

9. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Al Pacino, House of Gucci

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 4) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (+3)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mass (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Spencer (PR: 6) (-1)

8. A Hero (PR: 10) (+2)

9. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Parallel Mothers (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Humans (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Passing (PR: 9) (+3)

7. West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Dune (PR: 7) (-1)

9. CODA (PR: Not Ranked)

10. House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-4)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Encanto (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 3) (E)

4. Luca (PR: 4) (E)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Summit of the Gods (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Who Is Anne Frank (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Charlotte (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Vivo

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 2) (E)

3. Flee (PR: 3) (E)

4. Drive My Car (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Titane (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hand of God (PR: 4) (-2)

7. I’m Your Man (PR: 7) (E)

8. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 8) (E)

9. Great Freedom (PR: 9) (E)

10. Memoria (PR: 10) (E)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 3) (E)

4. Attica (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The First Wave (PR: 9) (+3)

7. President (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ailey (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Procession (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Ascension

The Velvet Underground 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Belfast (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The French Dispatch (PR: 8) (-1)

10. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cruella (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Spencer (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Dune (PR: 4) (+1)

4. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Cyrano (PR: 8) (E)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (E)

5. West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. King Richard (PR: 8) (E)

9. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

10. House of Gucci (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Cruella (PR: 4) (E)

5. Spencer (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (E)

8. Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Green Knight (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+3)

4. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (-2)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Cyrano (PR: 10) (+2)

9. King Richard (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Belfast (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Licorice Pizza

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto (PR: Not Ranked)

3. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (-1)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. “Every Letter” from Cyrano (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 6) (E)

7. “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

8. “Believe” from The Rescue (PR: 7) (-1)

9. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 5) (-4)

10. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: 10) (E)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Dune (PR: 1) (-1)

3. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (+1)

4. West Side Story (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Spencer (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Cyrano (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Belfast (PR: 7) (-1)

9. House of Gucci (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Power of the Dog

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (E)

5. No Time to Die (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

7. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Last Duel (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Cyrano (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Matrix Resurrections

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 2) (E)

3. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 3) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Free Guy (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Eternals (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Finch (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Spider-Man: Far From Home (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Suicide Squad (PR: 10) (E)

And that equates to the following pictures nabbing these numbers in terms of nominations:

10 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast

8 Nominations

Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

Spencer

5 Nominations

King Richard, Licorice Pizza

4 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

3 Nominations

Flee, House of Gucci

2 Nominations

Cruella, Cyrano, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Humans, The Lost Daughter, Mass, No Time to Die

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, C’Mon C’Mon, Drive My Car, Godzilla vs. Kong, A Hero, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Passing, The Rescue, Respect, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Summer of Soul, Tick, Tick… Boom!, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actress Race

The Oscar race for Best Actress takes center stage in my latest rundown of where the major competitions stand in early November. If you missed my posts covering lead actor and the supporting categories, they can accessed right here:

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actor Race

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actress Race

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actor Race

As I have with the others, let’s start with my track record during the same time period from 2019 and 2020. Two years ago, I somehow had all five nominated actresses forecasted correctly with two months to go: winner Renee Zellweger as Judy in addition to Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), and Charlize Theron (Bombshell). For 2020, it was three: gold recipient Frances McDormand for Nomadland and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman). Both Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) were listed in Other Possibilities.

In 2021, we already have a strong frontrunner and that’s Kristin Stewart in Spencer. Playing the high profile role of Princess Diana, Ms. Stewart is practically guaranteed to nab her first nod after plenty of critically appreciated post Twilight turns. She’s a serious threat to win and Stewart has been atop my chart ever since the picture screened back in September at the Venice Film Festival.

Her biggest competition could come from an as yet unseen performance – Lady Gaga in House of Gucci. Judging from the trailers alone, her part seems like the kind of bait that would cause Academy voters to bite. If so, the pop superstar would receive her second nomination three years after her breakout cinematic role with A Star Is Born. 

After that, there’s a lengthy list of hopefuls for the three remaining slots. When The Eyes of Tammy Faye premiered on the festival circuit, it was a given that Jessica Chastain would make the cut. I still think she will, but the pic’s barely existent box office numbers are reason for some uncertainty.

Screenings were also kind to Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter and that momentum could result in her third inclusion in the last four years after a 2018 Actress victory for The Favourite and a supporting nod for last year’s The Father. 

Colman isn’t the only actress from a Netflix offering eyeing the prize. There’s Tessa Thompson in Passing, Jennifer Lawrence in Don’t Look Up, Sandra Bullock for The Unforgivable, and Halle Berry with Bruised. All could factor in. Other than Thompson (her costar Ruth Negga stands a greater chance in supporting), the three others have yet to be unveiled. The streamer may have to pick and choose whose campaigns they go all in with.

There’s other possibilities in the unseen column where the buzz will shortly materialize: Cate Blanchett for Nightmare Alley, Alana Haim in Licorice Pizza, Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball with Being the Ricardos, and Rachel Zegler (West Side Story). At press time, I only have Kidman in the top ten but that could change as soon as reviews start posting.

As for pictures that have been available for awhile, I feel Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur’s supporting parts in CODA are more likely to be recognized than lead Emilia Jones. Renate Reinsve will have her share of supporters for The Worst Person in the World, but its best chance lies with an International Feature Film nomination. Bad financial returns could negatively impact Jodie Comer for The Last Duel, though I will note that a number of prognosticators have her in.

For the fifth spot, I currently see three performances with roughly equal chances. Frances McDormand took the prize last year and that might make the Academy think twice about putting her up again for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Penelope Cruz is just on the outside looking in for Parallel Mothers. That leaves me with Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in Respect. Even though the film received mixed reviews and so-so box office, praise for the Supporting Actress winner in 2006’s Dreamgirls was universal. Voters may have to think all the way back to summer to include her but I do believe it’s feasible.

And with that, here’s my standings:

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 3)

3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 7)

7. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6)

8. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 8)

9. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10)

10. Tessa Thompson, Passing (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Now that the acting derbies are wrapped, I’ll have Best Director up next!

2021 Oscar Predictions: September 26th Edition

My weekly Oscar predictions has at last expanded to all categories covering feature films! That means we have counts on how each picture will fare and I have Dune and Nightmare Alley leading the way to 10 nods apiece.

There are changes to ponder as Don’t Look Up takes the biggest fall. I have been toying with removing the Netflix disaster drama from Best Picture contention for a couple of weeks. A clip from the pic circulated yesterday and drew some criticism, but I wouldn’t judge it from that brief glimpse. This is more of a hunch that Up might not going for a BP vibe. So it’s out with Up and in with Spencer. Additionally, C’Mon C’Mon rises in Original Screenplay over Adam McKay’s latest.

In other developments:

    • The Tragedy of Macbeth premiered at the New York Film Festival Friday and solidified its BP viability. Same goes for Denzel Washington. There’s still a question mark as to whether Frances McDormand will be placed in lead or supporting (sounds like a case could be made for both). For now, I’m putting her back in Best Actress and saying she gets in. Same goes for Jennifer Hudson in Respect. Their inclusion knocks out Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) and Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter).
    • I’m back to projecting Bradley Cooper as a double nominee. His placement in Actor for Nightmare Alley removes Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon).
    • The Supporting Actress derby seems to be getting a new #1 each week. This time it’s Caitriona Balfe for Belfast. 

Lots more to peruse in the inaugural expanded listings below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 6) (-1)

8. West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. King Richard (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Spencer (PR: 12) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

11. Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (-2)

12. Flee (PR: 16) (+4)

13. CODA (PR: 13) (E)

14. Mass (PR: 14) (E)

15. The Humans (PR: 11) (-4)

Dropped Out:

The Hand of God

The French Dispatch

Tick, Tick… Boom!

A Hero

The Lost Daughter

C’Mon C’Mon

Being the Ricardos

Cyrano

Passing 

Parallel Mothers

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 12)

10. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

Paolo Sorrentino, The Hand of God

Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard

Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

Stephen Karam, The Humans

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from supporting

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 8)

9. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 13) (+4)

10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up

Emilia Jones, CODA

Halle Berry, Bruised

Tessa Thompson, Passing

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)

5. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 7) (E)

8. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 11( (+3)

9. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!

Ben Foster, The Survivor

Jude Hill, Belfast

Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

Amir Jadidi, A Hero

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 1) (-2)

4. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 11) (+4)

8. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 14) (+6)

9. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley (PR: 9) (E)

10. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+2)

Dropped Out:

Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth – moved to lead

Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley

Judi Dench, Belfast

Martha Plimpton, Mass

Dakota Johnson, The Lost Daughter

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 14) (+4)

Dropped Out:

Mark Rylance, Don’t Look Up

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley

David Alvarez, West Side Story

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Reed Birney, Mass

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. Mass (PR: 4) (+1))

4. King Richard (PR: 5) (+1)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. A Hero (PR: 10) (+2)

9. The Hand of God (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 12) (+2)

Dropped Out:

The French Dispatch

Parallel Mothers

Being the Ricardos

Last Night in Soho

Annette

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The Humans (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Dune (PR: 7) (E)

8. CODA (PR: 8) (E)

9. West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. Passing (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Cyrano

Tick, Tick… Boom!

The Last Duel

The Green Knight

In the Heights

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee 

2. Luca

3. Encanto

4. The Mitchells vs. the Machines

5. Belle

Other Possibilities:

6. Vivo

7. Raya and the Last Dragon

8. Charlotte

9. Ron’s Gone Wrong

10. Where Is Anne Frank 

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero

2. Flee

3. The Hand of God

4. Petite Maman

5. The Worst Person in the World

Other Possibilities:

6. Parallel Mothers

7. Drive My Car

8. Compartment No. 6

9. 7 Prisoners

10. I’m Your Man

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue 

2. Flee

3. Attica

4. President

5. The Lost Leonardo

Other Possibilities:

6. Summer of Soul

7. Julia

8. The Sparks Brothers

9. The First Wave

10. Becoming Cousteau 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth

3. Nightmare Alley

4. Belfast

5. The Power of the Dog

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story

7. Spencer

8. Licorice Pizza

9. The French Dispatch

10. The Hand of God

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Spencer

2. House of Gucci

3. Dune

4. Cruella

5. Nightmare Alley

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth

7. West Side Story

8. Licorice Pizza

9. The French Dispatch

10. Cyrano

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. Belfast

3. Nightmare Alley

4. Licorice Pizza

5. West Side Story

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog

7. Don’t Look Up

8. House of Gucci

9. King Richard

10. Spencer

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. Dune

3. Spencer

4. The Eyes of Tammy Faye

5. Nightmare Alley

Other Possibilities:

6. Cruella

7. Cyrano

8. West Side Story

9. Licorice Pizza

10. The French Dispatch

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. Spencer

3. The Power of the Dog

4. The Tragedy of Macbeth

5. The French Dispatch

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley

7. Licorice Pizza

8. Cyrano

9. Don’t Look Up

10. King Richard

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard

2. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

3. “Down to Joy” from Belfast

4. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” from Encanto

5. “Here I Am” from Respect

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette

7. “Every Letter” from Cyrano

8. “Believe” from The Rescue

9. “Don’t Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

10. “At the Automat” from The Automat

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nightmare Alley

2. Dune

3. West Side Story

4. The French Dispatch

5. Spencer

Other Possibilities:

6. House of Gucci

7. Belfast

8. Licorice Pizza

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth

10. Cyrano

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. West Side Story

3. The Matrix Resurrections

4. Nightmare Alley

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth

Other Possibilities:

6. Belfast

7. Don’t Look Up

8. No Time to Die

9. A Quiet Place Part II

10. King Richard

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. The Matrix Resurrections

3. Eternals

4. Godzilla vs. Kong

5. Don’t Look Up

Other Possibilities:

6. Spider-Man: No Way Home

7. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

8. The Suicide Squad

9. Free Guy

10. Jungle Cruise

And that gives us the first take on how many nominations the various pictures will receive:

10 Nominations

Dune, Nightmare Alley

8 Nominations

Belfast

7 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

House of Gucci, Spencer, The Tragedy of Macbeth

5 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, West Side Story

4 Nominations

King Richard

3 Nominations

Flee, The Humans, Mass

2 Nominations

Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Matrix Resurrections, Respect

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, C’Mon C’Mon, Cruella, Cyrano, Don’t Look Up, Eternals, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, A Hero, The Lost Daughter, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, No Time to Die, Petite Maman, President, The Rescue, The Worst Person in the World

2021 Oscar Predictions: September 19th Edition

Thanks to the Toronto Film Festival, we have a new #1 atop the charts in Best Picture and it’s Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. 

The coming-of-age drama won the festival’s People’s Choice Award and that is no minor development. 12 of the past 13 victors have received a BP nod. Five of them have won. And that’s enough to allow Belfast the designation of soft frontrunner (with lots of time to go and lots yet to be seen). However, the fact of the matter is, you have to go back to 2006’s The Departed to find a BP winner that didn’t screen at one of the higher profile festivals.

The Power of the Dog was a runner-up for the People’s Choice prize and it slides just one spot. Director Jane Campion  maintains top billing in her category.

There are further developments to point out:

    • King Richard is back in my top 10 BP projections edging out The Humans. The Will Smith sports drama also enters Original Screenplay over C’Mon C’Mon.
    • Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza) is in for Best Director over Ridley Scott for House of Gucci.
    • The praise for Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye is enough to put her at #2 in Actress. It’s not enough to dislodge Kristen Stewart (Spencer) from her ruling perch. I will admit that the subpar box office grosses for Faye this weekend doesn’t help, but I’m relatively confident at this juncture that she’s in.
    • The revolving door that is slot #5 in Best Actor lands on Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon) over Bradley Cooper (Nightmare Alley).
    • Big changes in Supporting Actor as Jamie Dornan (Belfast) and Jared Leto (House of Gucci) are in. Dropping are Dornan’s costar Ciaran Hinds and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog).
    • While the Supporting Actress five stays intact, I’ve vaulted Ann Dowd (Mass) back to the top spot.

By this time next Sunday, we will know the buzz for Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth as it opens the New York Film Festival this Friday. Stay tuned for my Oscar Predictions post on that next weekend.

You can peruse all the action below and the forecasts will be updated next Sunday!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 4) (+3)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Dune (PR: 5) (+1)

5. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (-2)

6. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (+1)

7. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (-1)

8. West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (E)

10. King Richard (PR: 12) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

11. The Humans (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Spencer (PR: 15) (+3)

13. CODA (PR: 11) (-2)

14. Mass (PR: 14) (E)

15. The Hand of God (PR: 13) (-2)

16. Flee (PR: 17) (+1)

17. The French Dispatch (PR: 16) (-1)

18. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 19) (+1)

19. A Hero (PR: 18) (-1)

20. The Lost Daughter (PR: 20) (E)

21. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 24) (+3)

22. Being the Ricardos (PR: 22) (E)

23. Cyrano (PR: 23) (E)

24. Passing (PR: 21) (-3)

25. Parallel Mothers (PR: 25) (E)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (E)

8. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (E)

10. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Paolo Sorrentino, The Hand of God (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero (PR: 14) (E)

15. Stephen Karam, The Humans (PR: 12) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 4) (E)

5. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 6) (E)

7. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (E)

8. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World (PR: 13) (+3)

11. Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Emilia Jones, CODA (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 11) (-2)

14. Halle Berry, Bruised (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Tessa Thompson, Passing (PR: 14) (-1)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)

5. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 7) (E)

8. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (E)

9. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 11) (E)

12. Ben Foster, The Survivor (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Jude Hill, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Amir Jadidi, A Hero (PR: 12) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Adam Driver, Annette

Filippo Scott, The Hand of God

Simon Rex, Red Rocket

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (-2)

4. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley (PR: 9) (E)

10. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (E)

13. Martha Plimpton, Mass (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Dakota Johnson, The Lost Daughter (PR: 15) (E)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 3) (-5)

9. Mark Rylance, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley (PR: 12) (+1)

12. David Alvarez, West Side Story (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 11) (-2)

14. Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Reed Birney, Mass (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Timothy Spall, Spencer

Benny Safdie, Licorice Pizza

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3) (E)

4. Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. King Richard (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Hand of God (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The French Dispatch (PR: 8) (-1)

10. A Hero (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Parallel Mothers (PR: 10) (-1)

12. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Being the Ricardos (PR: 11) (-2)

14. Last Night in Soho (PR: 14) (E)

15. Annette (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Blue Bayou

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Humans (PR: 3) (E)

4. House of Gucci (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Dune (PR: 7) (E)

8. CODA (PR: 8) (E)

9. West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. Passing (PR: 10) (E)

11. Cyrano (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 12) (E)

13. The Last Duel (PR: 13) (E)

14. The Green Knight (PR: 15) (+1)

15. In the Heights (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

2021 Oscar Predictions: September 12th Edition

With the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals having just wrapped and Toronto going strong, there are fresh updates to my Oscar predictions in every category but Director!

Of course, the big question from the past week might be: Will a movie with the word “pizza” in it finally get a Best Picture nomination? That’s more possible than ever since Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest (which had the working title Soggy Bottom) is now apparently called Licorice Pizza. It makes perfect sense if you research the setting.

It’ll be a while before we know how much of a contender that one actually is.   There is some movement based on actual buzz and it starts with Stephen Karam’s The Humans, which has screened at Toronto. I believe it could make the BP cut and I’ve got it in. I’m also returning West Side Story to the top ten. Dropping out are CODA and King Richard, though either could certainly find themselves back in the mix.

In other developments:

    • Penelope Cruz’s Venice win for Best Actress gets her back in the top five. Falling out is Jennifer Hudson for Respect.
    • I now have Bradley Cooper as a double nominee. In addition to him maintaining the top spot in Supporting Actor for Pizza (that’s gonna take some getting used to), he’s listed in Actor for Nightmare Alley. He takes the place of Adam Driver in House of Gucci. 
    • With category placement still in flux for certain pics, I’ve chosen to put the ensemble for Belfast all in supporting. That means Caitriona Balfe is in for Supporting Actress over her costar Judi Dench. I’m also elevating Jayne Houdyshell (The Humans) and dropping Marlee Matlin (CODA). Furthermore, I have Frances McDormand moved to supporting from lead and she sits just on the outside at #6. Kirsten Dunst takes over the #1 position over Ann Dowd in Mass.
    • Jamie Dornan (Belfast) also enters the competition in supporting instead of lead, but he’s not in my five. There is one change: Jason Isaacs (Mass) over Jared Leto (House of Gucci).
    • C’Mon C’Mon gets the 5th slot in Original Screenplay over Spencer. And Belfast is now listed first instead of Pizza. 
    • In Adapted Screenplay, The Humans and The Lost Daughter make the cut over The Tragedy of Macbeth and CODA. The latter did not have a good week as you can see (dropping out of Picture, Supporting Actress, and here).

We are mere hours away from knowing whether Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) deserves her #3 placement in Actress. Those developments and more will be available when I update next Sunday. Until then, you can peruse all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 2)

4. Belfast (PR: 4)

5. Dune (PR: 6)

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) – formerly Soggy Bottom

8. West Side Story (PR: 11)

9. Don’t Look Up (PR: 8)

10. The Humans (PR: 14)

Other Possibilities:

11. CODA (PR: 10)

12. King Richard (PR: 9)

13. The Hand of God (PR: 17)

14. Mass (PR: 12)

15. Spencer (PR: 13)

16. The French Dispatch (PR: 19)

17. Flee (PR: 16)

18. A Hero (PR: 15)

19. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 20)

20. The Lost Daughter (PR: Not Ranked)

21. Passing (PR: 24)

22. Being the Ricardos (PR: 22)

23. Cyrano (PR: 18)

24. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 25)

25. Parallel Mothers (PR: 23)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1)

2. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 2)

3. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 3)

4. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 5)

5. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 6)

7. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7)

8. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 10)

9. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: 8)

10. Paolo Sorrentino, The Hand of God (PR: 15)

11. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 9)

12. Stephen Karam, The Humans (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 13)

14. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero (PR: 11)

15. Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard

Sian Heder, CODA

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristin Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1)

2. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 2)

3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3)

4. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6)

5. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5)

7. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 11)

8. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 15)

10. Emilia Jones, CODA (PR: 13)

11. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 8)

12. Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up (PR: 12)

13. Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World (PR: 14)

14. Tessa Thompson, Passing (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Halle Berry, Bruised (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (moved to Supporting Actress)

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (moved to Supporting Actress)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 5)

5. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 7)

7. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 4)

8. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 6)

9. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 9)

10. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 10)

11. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 12)

12. Amir Jadidi, A Hero (PR: 13)

13. Filippo Scott, The Hand of God (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Simon Rex, Red Rocket (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Adam Driver, Annette (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Jamie Dornan, Belfast (moved to Supporting)

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

2. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 1)

3. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked – moved from lead)

4. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 6)

5. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: Not Ranked – moved from lead)

7. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 4)

8. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 7)

9. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley (PR: 8)

10. Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley (PR: 12)

11. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 3)

12. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10)

13. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 9)

14. Martha Plimpton, Mass (PR: 11)

15. Dakota Johnson, The Lost Daughter (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Nina Arianda, Being the Ricardos

Olga Merediz, In the Heights

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1)

2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 4)

3. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 3)

4. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

5. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5)

7. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked – moved from lead)

8. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7)

9. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 8)

10. Mark Rylance, Don’t Look Up (PR: 9)

11. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 13)

12. Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley (PR: 10)

13. David Alvarez, West Side Story (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Timothy Spall, Spencer (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Benny Safdie, Licorice Pizza (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Reed Birney, Mass

Simon Helberg, Annette

J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos

Adam Driver, The Last Duel

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 2)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 1)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3)

4. Mass (PR: 4)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. King Richard (PR: 6)

7. Spencer (PR: 5)

8. The French Dispatch (PR: 9)

9. The Hand of God (PR: 11)

10. Parallel Mothers (PR: 7)

11. Being the Ricardos (PR: 12)

12. A Hero (PR: 8)

13. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 13)

14. Last Night in Soho (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Blue Bayou (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Annette

Best Adapted Screenplay 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2)

3. The Humans (PR: 6)

4. House of Gucci (PR: 3)

5. The Lost Daughter (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4)

7. Dune (PR: 8)

8. CODA (PR: 5)

9. West Side Story (PR: 12)

10. Passing (PR: 11)

11. Cyrano (PR: 10)

12. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 13)

13. The Last Duel (PR: 9)

14. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 14)

15. The Green Knight (PR: 15)

2021 Oscars: A Mid-Year Report

We have somehow reached the midpoint of 2021 and that means it is time to take stock in the Oscar contenders that have been released or screened so far. In short, we are talking about fairly slim pickings.

That is not rare. The bulk of the Best Picture nominees are typically unveiled between September-December of a given year (or in the case of 2020 – January or February of 2021 as well). For the previous Academy Awards, not one of the 8 BP contenders were distributed in the first half of the year. However, 3 of them (The Father, Sound of Metal, Promising Young Woman) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020. Another (Sound of Metal) was screened all the way back in September 2019 during Toronto’s festival.

As a reminder, Oscar rules were altered moving forward starting with next year’s ceremony. There will be a fixed number of 10 BP nominees (thank goodness). As I see it, the 2021 Sundance Fest gave us three potential hopefuls in the big race: Sian Heder’s Coda, Rebecca Hall’s Passing, and Fran Kranz’s Mass. 

Coda and Mass, in particular, seem like real possibilities. The former, in addition to a Picture nod, could see itself as a contender for Emilia Jones in Actress and Marlee Matlin in Supporting Actress. The latter sports a quarter of performers (Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton, Ann Dowd, Reed Birney) that could find themselves in the mix. Passing, while more of a long shot for BP, features Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga and they will likely be campaigning.

How about movies that didn’t go the Sundance route? The obvious one is In the Heights from Jon M. Chu. The musical garnered glowing reviews when it premiered in theaters and on HBO Max last month. However, its surprisingly lackluster box office grosses may hinder its chances. Time will tell.

There are already three released animated features that could make the final five: The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Luca, and Raya and the Last Dragon. I think the first two have strong chances while Raya is more of a question mark. Flee, which screened at Sundance, was critically hailed and it could find itself competing here and in Documentary Feature.

As for other docs, keep an eye out for Summer of Saul (which actually releases tomorrow) and Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

And when we look at below the line categories, there’s Cruella. Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling are two derbies where it could not only be nominated, but prevail. I also wouldn’t completely count out Coming 2 America for the same categories. The Sound race is open for A Quiet Place Part II. Godzilla vs. Kong is a hopeful in Visual Effects.

Bottom line: expect nearly all of 2021’s Best Picture players to see their release dates in the next six months. At least two could come from Sundance with Heights hoping its box office fall doesn’t sink its chances.

Oscar Watch: Passing

Rebecca Hall is known for her many performances including Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Town, Iron Man 3, and The Gift, among others. At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, she’s made her directorial debut with Passing. Based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, the drama pairs Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga as mixed race friends navigating the tensions of the times. Costars include Andre Holland, Alexander Skarsgard, and Bill Camp.

Early critical reaction includes some raves with particular attention to the work of its leads. The Rotten Tomatoes score currently sits at 79%. Based on the buzz, there’s little question that Passing will score a streaming or studio pickup in short order. It’s also likely that whoever distributes this will mount an awards campaign.

What that will look like is in question. Some reviews have singled out Negga’s performance, who nabbed a Best Actress nomination in 2016 for Loving. It is feasible that both Thompson and Negga could both be campaigned for in the lead race, but a shift to Negga in Supporting Actress could increase the chance for exposure.

The current reviews indicate this could be a long shot for Best Picture or Director consideration. However, a well constructed push by its distributor may change that dynamic. Bottom line: Passing is worth keeping an eye on in 2021 and especially with Negga. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

 

Daily Streaming Guide: March 29th Edition

The Streaming Guide today starts with a bold picture that defies genre explanation from 2018 and it’s currently available on Hulu:

Sorry to Bother You is one of the most audacious directorial debuts in recent memory from  Boots Riley, most known for his contributions to the world of hip hop. It is a daring race relations comedy and drama with an unmistakable point of view on capitalism. Sorry is also a romance, a tale of unions, and it manages to somehow incorporate science fiction elements with human and horse hybrids. That’s right… if you’re looking for something wholly original to view, this fits the bill. The cast includes Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, and Danny Glover.

For my second pic (also via Hulu), I turn to 2017’s I, Tonya. From Craig Gillespie, it recounts the sordid saga of the 1994 Winter Olympics attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. Margot Robbie earned an Oscar nod for her portrayal of rival Tonya Harding and Allison Janney took Supporting Actress gold as her wildly eccentric mother. Seek out ESPN’s 30 for 30 doc about the subject and watch I, Tonya as an added bonus.

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