2022 Oscar Predictions: July 31st Edition

As July comes to a close, Oscar prognosticators received several bits of fascinating news this past week. The first was the lineup of the Venice Film Festival as well as the bulk of titles that will play in Toronto. That wild season (which also includes Telluride) is a mere month away. We will see a huge number of awards hopefuls being screened with long awaited buzz finally becoming clear.

Yet the biggest news is the (as yet unconfirmed) rumor that Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon will not come out until 2023. Variety and Deadline essentially reported it as fact. I struggled all day with whether to include Killers in my updated predictions (I faced the same choices a couple of weeks ago with Rustin). My final decision was to drop it. If Killers ends up back on the 2022 calendar, Variety and Deadline have some explaining to do…

Another development is that Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives was released. While reviews were certainly decent, I don’t think they’re strong enough that it will be a true BP contender. It’s at #25 on my list.

The Killers announcement obviously means major changes in most of my lineups. Cannes fest winner Triangle of Sadness replaces it in my 10 BP picks while Sarah Polley (Women Talking) is in for Scorsese in Director. Adam Driver in the Venice opener White Noise replaces Leonardo DiCaprio in Actor. Hong Chau (The Whale) is now in Supporting Actress with Lily Gladstone out. And with Jesse Plemons dropping in Supporting Actor, that leaves room for Triangle‘s Woody Harrelson. Finally, She Said rises in Adapted Screenplay.

That’s not all, folks! There’s a new #1 in Best Picture! I’ve had Damien Chazelle’s Babylon ranked #1 from the beginning… until now. In order to find a BP winner that didn’t play at either Venice or Telluride or Toronto or Sundance or Cannes, you have to go all the way back to (ironically) Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. That was 16 years ago. Babylon could still sneak into Telluride. Yet I’m skeptical it will. This factoid alone is enough for me to vault Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans (premiering at Toronto) to the top spot.

I’m not finished yet with the #1 changes. The Son is now first in Adapted Screenplay since Killers has moved. And Ke Huy Quan rises to the pole position in Supporting Actor over Paul Dano from The Fabelmans. 

Another alteration – Empire of Light falls out of Original Screenplay with The Banshees of Inisherin in as my likely lone screenplay nominee.

That’s a lot of movement in one week and you can peruse it all below!

Best Picture 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 2) (+1)

2. Babylon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Bardo (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

6. The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Whale (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 15) (+5)

Other Possibilities:

11. She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. White Noise (PR: 12) (E)

13. Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 14) (E)

15. Elvis (PR: 16) (+1)

16. Decision to Leave (PR: 19) (+3)

17. Broker (PR: 18) (+1)

18. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 20) (+2)

19. Till (PR: 17) (-2)

20. Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

21. Amsterdam (PR: 23) (+2)

22. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 24) (+2)

23. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 25) (+2)

24. The Woman King (PR: 21) (-3)

25. Thirteen Lives (PR: 22) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Killers of the Flower Moon 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 11) (+4)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 8) (E)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon

Chinoye Chukwu, Till

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 3) (E)

4. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

11. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (E)

15. Emma Corrin, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Frances McDormand, Women Talking 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 12) (E)

13. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye (PR: 14) (E)

15. Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 13) (+5)

9. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 9) (E)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Patricia Clarkson, She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 12) (E)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon

Whoopi Goldberg, Till 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 12) (+4)

9. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 13) (+4)

10. Michael Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Don Cheadle, White Noise (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon

Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon

Colin Farrell, Thirteen Lives 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Empire of Light (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Bardo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Tar (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (E)

10. Broker (PR: 10) (E)

11. The Menu (PR: 11) (E)

12. Amsterdam (PR: 12) (E)

13. Bros (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 15) (E)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Whale (PR: 4) (+1)

4. White Noise (PR: 5) (+1)

5. She Said (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bones and All (PR: 13) (+7)

7. Till (PR: 7) (E)

8 .The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 11) (+3)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Thirteen Lives (PR: 9) (-2)

12. The Good Nurse (PR: 14) (+2)

13. The Woman King (PR: 8) (-5)

14. Living (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Blonde (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Killers of the Flower Moon

Elvis 

Oscar Predictions: Father Stu

If you prefer Mel Gibson playing Mark Wahlberg’s dad in a drama involving religion and inflammatory muscle diseases and not comedy sequels like Daddy’s Home 2, then Father Stu might be your jam. The biopic is out today and the faith-based experience (a rare one that’s rated R) hopes to cash in during Easter weekend.

A passion project for its star, the role for Wahlberg seems like the type of material meant to garner awards chatter. Yet an underwhelming 44% on Rotten Tomatoes tells a different tale. The artist formerly known as Marky has one Oscar nomination to his credit in Supporting Actor for 2006’s The Departed. Even though three of his cast members were up for The Fighter in 2010 (with Christian Bale and Melissa Leo winning), he failed to punch in.

Bottom line: Father Stu would need divine intervention to score a nod for Wahlberg or anything else. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

PGA: The Rise of CODA

When it comes to the Producers Guild of America awards, there’s a 14/21 match between their best picture and the Academy’s in the 21st century. The two-thirds ratio is 3/5 in the past five years. In 2016, La La Land took PGA over the Oscar selection of Moonlight. For 2019, PGA went with 1917 while the big show went with Parasite. Other 21st century examples: The Big Short won PGA in 2015 (Oscar: Spotlight). For 2006, Little Miss Sunshine got the PGA prize while The Departed took Oscar.

The PGA’s for 2021 occurred last night and it’s another feather in the cap for CODA. Sian Heder’s coming-of-age drama built upon its recent SAG ensemble victory  to triumph here. If there was any doubt before, CODA has unquestionably positioned itself as the alternate to The Power of the Dog winning Best Picture at the Oscars. Not Belfast. Not King Richard or Dune. This is a two-horse race between Dog and CODA and they both have important precursor hardware. No matter which one grabs the gold, it will be the first BP win for a streamer (Netflix for Dog and Apple TV for CODA).

Jane Campion’s direction of Dog won the Director Guild of America (DGA) prize this week and that’s a reliable Academy precursor. She’s almost certain to be the Oscar winner (CODA‘s Sian Heder isn’t nominated). In fact, CODA only has three nominations overall: Picture, Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur), and Adapted Screenplay. It didn’t seem feasible until recently, but it could legitimately go 3 for 3.

Having said that, I wouldn’t dream of counting Dog out. It’s the Globe and BAFTA recipient. The precursor bonafides for it are just as impressive as CODA‘s. Even a week ago, however, I would’ve said Dog had about a 90% chance to be the Oscar BP. Now… well, it’s considerably less and we’ll see what I predict when I make my final picks on Wednesday.

In the Animated Feature and Documentary races at PGA, the respective winners were Encanto and Summer of Soul and they maintain their status as Academy favorites.

Oscar Predictions: The Tender Bar

George Clooney’s The Tender Bar opens in limited release this December before its premiere on Amazon Prime in early January. The coming-of-age drama set in the 1970s and 80s screened at the London Film Festival over the weekend. Early reviews indicate a warm hearted tale that is unlikely to play in the highest profile races like Picture and Director.

Its famous director wooed Oscar voters 16 years ago with his second effort Good Night, and Good Luck. Scoring six nods (including Picture and Director) and winning none, it’s been slim pickings for Clooney’s behind the camera efforts ever since. 2011’s The Ides of March nabbed a sole Adapted Screenplay mention while last year’s The Midnight Sky made the cut in Visual Effects.

As I see it, The Tender Bar could play in two categories. The first is the screenplay adapted by William Monahan. He’s no stranger to Academy attention as he won in 2006 for his penmanship of Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Inclusion there is less likely than for one of its performers.

That would be Ben Affleck. Another leading man turned writer/director, Affleck has a deep history with Oscar voters that has nothing to do with his acting. In 1997, his Good Will Hunting script with Matt Damon won. Fifteen years later, he directed and produced (hence a second trophy) Best Picture winner Argo. Surprisingly, he didn’t get a spot for his direction.

With a cast featuring Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe, and Christopher Lloyd, the initial critical praise is being heaped upon Affleck. That’s in addition to some kudos for his supporting work in The Last Duel (out this weekend). Mr. Affleck has been on the radar screen before for his performances – think Hollywoodland, Argo, and last year’s The Way Back. Yet he’s never made the dance. As of now, the Supporting Actor derby for 2021 looks wide open. I’d go as far to say there’s no guaranteed nominees (though Jamie Dornan in Belfast and Richard Jenkins in The Humans look probable). I’ve had Bradley Cooper (Licorice Pizza) listed at #1 for two months, but we still don’t know if his role is meaty enough to truly contend.

This could all contribute to Affleck finally getting some Academy TLC. That said, he’s been in the mix before and come up shy. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

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

Oscar Watch: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Sacha Baron Cohen’s most famous and profitable alter ego returns this Friday via Amazon Prime with the release of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Or more specifically… Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (you can see why I abbreviated). The sequel to the surprise 2006 blockbuster was a surprise in itself as it was shot secretly this year.

If you’re asking whether the pic warrants an Oscar Watch post, I’ll remind you what happened 14 years ago. The original Borat scored a nod at the Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay (losing to The Departed). At the Golden Globes, the film itself made final cut in Best Musical/Comedy (losing to Dreamgirls) and Baron Cohen was victorious in Best Actor in that Musical/Comedy race.

The review embargo ended today and the results are mostly, well, very nice. With a current ranking of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, the general consensus is that it doesn’t quite the match the original but that it’s quite funny and often shocking and unexpectedly sweet. The latter description probably won’t be shared by Rudy Giuliani as headlines are suggesting he won’t like what ends up onscreen.

So could the sequel generate awards buzz? I have a hard time seeing part 2 contending in Adapted Screenplay. Yet the Globes could be a different story. Depending on how competitive the Musical/Comedy field is for Actor, Baron Cohen could find himself among the possibilities. It’s also worth mentioning that his costar Maria Bakalova (as the title character’s daughter) is getting some raves. Unfortunately for her, the Globes do not separate Drama and Musical/Comedy in the supporting races. I do think there’s an outside chance she gets some Oscar attention, but I wouldn’t count on it.

While the second Borat pic… or movie… or Moviefilm… may not garner Oscar love, its star still could. He is expected to be in the mix for Supporting Actor in The Trial of the Chicago 7 alongside his costars Mark Rylance and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (how many get in remains to be seen). My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Good Joe Bell

Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Good Joe Bell has screened at the Toronto Film Festival and the drama is eliciting markedly different reactions from critics. It comes from co-writers Larry McMurtry and Dianna Ossana, who penned the Oscar winning adapted screenplay 15 years ago for Brokeback Mountain. Mark Wahlberg stars in the title role in this true story of a man walking the country following a tragedy involving his gay son.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating is currently 75%, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Some reaction is quite positive with Wahlberg’s performance being praised. Same goes for Reid Miller, who is said to be a breakout in the part of his child. Variety, on the other hand, deems the whole film “terrible”.

This seems to preview what could be wildly divergent opinions of the feature and that could spell trouble come awards time. Wahlberg has a limited history at the Oscars as he’s only been nominated once. That was a rather surprising nod for 2006’s The Departed. He was the only performer in the top 4 quartet of 2010’s The Fighter not to receive a nomination. Costars Christian Bale and Melissa Leo were victorious in the supporting fields.

I doubt that Wahlberg will make the final five in Best Actor a few months from now, but he might creep into the top 15 in my weekly Thursday nominations. The distributor’s best hope could be Miller if they mount a strong campaign in Supporting Actor. It’s just as possible that Bell is ignored completely in the races to come. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscars 2019: The Case of Martin Scorsese

My Case of posts for Oscar nominees now focuses on the fourth director profiled – Martin Scorsese for The Irishman:

The Case for Martin Scorsese

One of the most acclaimed filmmakers in cinematic history, Scorsese’s epic Netflix gangster drama marks his ninth nomination for Best Director. Previous nods were for Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, GoodFellas, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Hugo, and The Wolf of Wall Street. If you’re wondering why Taxi Driver isn’t among the pictures included, so am I. His only victory came for The Departed and there’s  a feeling that Oscar voters have snubbed him in the past. The Irishman pulled in 10 nominations, which is tied for second with 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. 

The Case Against Martin Scorsese

The Irishman has gone from a Best Picture front runner to a serious long shot. This is thanks mostly to 1917 and Parasite. Therefore the Best Director derby is now seen as a battle between Sam Mendes and Bong Joon-Ho.

The Verdict

Scorsese’s win total will almost certainly be 1/9 after Sunday night as his movie’s hopes have faded in this and other categories.

My Case of posts will continue with Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood!

Oscars 2019: The Case of The Irishman

Continuing with my Oscar series outlining the cases for and against nominees in the top six categories, we arrive at Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. This is my second of (gulp) 34 posts for films and individuals picked in the Picture, Director, and the acting races. If you missed yesterday’s writeup about Ford v Ferrari, you can find it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/01/14/oscars-2019-the-case-of-ford-v-ferrari/

Let’s get to it!

The Case for The Irishman

Scorsese’s latest is an epic unification of screen legends Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci in the genre they’re known best for… the gangster tale. The three and a half hour opus certainly has awards gravitas. It was pegged as a likely nominee from the moment it was announced. Both Pacino and Pesci were named in Supporting Actor and the pic sports 10 nominations, which is tied for second along with 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Scorsese is obviously a legendary figure and this is his ninth effort to get a Picture nod (the only winner being 2006’s The Departed).

The critics have been on its side and it has a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score. Several critics group named it as the year’s best.

The Case Against The Irishman

That attention has not translated to the big awards shows yet. The Golden Globes surprised most when they picked 1917 over this in Best Drama. The Critics Choice Awards chose Hollywood. Some have griped about its length. De Niro, unlike Pacino and Pesci, couldn’t manage a nod with the Globes, SAG, or the Academy. And then there’s the still unsettled notion that the Academy could have a Netflix problem, despite the streamer leading this year’s studios in total number of nominations. In 2018, Roma appeared to be the front runner until that Netflix property lost to Green Book. 

The Verdict

There was little doubt that The Irishman would garner plenty of attention in various categories, including here. Yet viability as a winner is much in question. Scorsese’s latest could still take the top prize, but it appears to be a bit of a long shot at the moment.

Up next in my Case of posts… Jojo Rabbit!

The Irishman Takes The NBR

The National Board of Review announced its victors this afternoon for their best of 2019. For the pictures and performers who were named as winners, you could say that it’s a double edged sword.

Allow me to explain. In this 2010’s, only one of their Best Film recipients took home Best Picture at the Oscars. That was last year with Green Book. This year, the award goes to Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. So from an odds perspective, that could mean it faces an uphill battle for the big gold statue. On the other hand, all of the NBR Film winners from this decade, with the exception of 2014’s A Most Violent Year, have scored an Academy nod. This isn’t really in doubt for The Irishman so expect that trend to continue.

The Board always goes on to name their additional favorite 10 motion pictures and this year they are: 1917, Dolemite Is My Name, Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Richard Jewell, Uncut Gems, and Waves. In 2018, only three of the ten additional NBR selections got Picture noms: Black Panther, Roma and A Star Is Born. Some notable titles that didn’t make the NBR cut for 2019: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Bombshell, The Farewell, Joker, Little Women, Parasite, and The Two Popes. 

When it comes to Best Director, the news is even worse for the NBR recipient. No movie this decade has seen that winner match with Oscar. In fact, the last direct match was in 2006 for… Irishman maker Scorsese for The Departed. The NBR named Quentin Tarantino today for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He’s got history against his side for a walk up the Academy steps.

In Best Actor, it’s the same story as only Casey Affleck for 2016’s Manchester by the Sea won NBR and Oscar in the 2010s. Adam Sandler is the winner for Uncut Gems. He’s part of a packed Best Actor race where there’s about a dozen viable candidates looking for five spots. This victory could at least help him get in as only Oscar Isaac (Violent Year in 2014) and Tom Hanks (2017’s The Post) didn’t land nods.

The numbers improve only slightly for Best Actress with two matches: Julianne Moore for 2014’s Still Alice and Brie Larson for 2015’s Room. The NBR bestowed the award this year to Renee Zellweger for Judy, who could be considered a soft front-runner for Oscar.

This brings us to Brad Pitt, winner today for Supporting Actor in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He also holds the status of apparent favorite to win the Academy’s love. Yet there’s just two matches this decade between them and NBR: Christian Bale in 2010’s The Fighter and Christopher Plummer from 2011’s Beginners. 

Last year was the only match of the decade for Supporting Actress: Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk. Kathy Bates took the NBR for Richard Jewell. I don’t see her winning the Oscar, but it could help her nomination odds.

In Original Screenplay, it’s interesting to note that 7 of the past nine NBR winners didn’t even get an Oscar nomination. Could that be a sign of trouble for honoree Uncut Gems? Time will tell…

And for Adapted Screenplay, the NBR went with The Irishman. Par for the course, just two matches here: 2010’s The Social Network and 2011’s The Descendants. 

Bottom line: the NBR announcements might help with fleshing out who certain nominees will be. As far as winners, that’s a whole different story…