Oscar Predictions: Last Night in Soho

A time travel thriller mixed with horror, Venice fest goers have been highly anticipating Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho. Hitting theaters in late October, this is the auteur’s follow-up to 2017’s Baby Driver. That sleeper hit managed three Oscar nominations in both sound races (when there were two) and Film Editing.

Thomasin McKenzie headlines a cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy (hot off The Queen’s Gambit), Matt Smith, Diana Rigg (in her final role), and Terence Stamp. Though the genre doesn’t lend itself often to awards attention, it seems like Wright could eventually break through with an Academy player.

Based on the early buzz, Soho doesn’t seem to be it. While some reviews are gushing, others are mixed to negative and the Rotten Tomatoes meter is currently 71%. I would say the only races where it could contend are Production Design, Costume Design, and Makeup and Hairstyling. It’s also entirely possible the Academy ignores it altogether. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Venice Film Festival: A Preview

The Venice Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday this week. For this blogger, it means my Oscar speculation will kick into overdrive. You can anticipate a flurry of Oscar Watch posts starting September 1st and continuing throughout the month as the Telluride fest transpires over Labor Day weekend. Toronto is right behind beginning September 9th.

To put it all in perspective, the eventual Best Picture winner has premiered at this trio of festivals more often than not lately. Nomadland (last year’s victor) started off in Venice and won the Golden Lion, which is the equivalent to BP. The same narrative holds true for 2017’s The Shape of Water. 2018’s Green Book debuted at Toronto. 2016’s Moonlight premiered at Telluride. 2015’s Spotlight rolled out at Venice and 2014’s Birdman opened that festival. You get the idea.

So what are the highest profile titles jockeying for position? What are the movies that could become instant hopefuls for the Academy’s attention? I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Power of the Dog

In 1993, director Jane Campion had her last major Oscar contender with The Piano. It won Best Actress for Holly Hunter, Supporting Actress for Anna Paquin, and Original Screenplay for Campion. She became the first female ever to be nominated for Best Director (losing that race and Picture to Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List).

Her latest is The Power of the Dog and it will be a mainstay on the festival circuit before its theatrical release in November that’s followed by an early December Netflix bow. Dog is, on paper, the film that prognosticators like me are looking at as an early favorite.

In my previous weekly rankings, I have Dog listed at #1 in Picture, Director, Actor (Cumberbatch), and Adapted Screenplay. Dunst and Plemons are, respectively, ranked second in Supporting Actress and Actor.

We will know quite soon whether it lives up to the hype.

Parallel Mothers

Pedro Almodovar’s latest will open the proceedings on Tuesday. The Spanish language drama stars Penelope Cruz and she could be a factor in what appears to be a potentially crowded Best Actress derby. Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film could also be races where it contends. Just two years back, the auteur’s previous work Pain and Glory was nominated in the international competition and it nabbed Antonio Banderas a Best Actor nod.

Additionally, Cruz and Banderas star in the comedy Official Competition, which is also premiering here. It may also be one to keep an eye on.

Spencer

Speaking of that Best Actress race which features numerous players, that holds true with Spencer. Pablo Larrain’s biopic about Princess Diana may propel Kristen Stewart to her first nomination. Larrain directed Natalie Portman and she made the final five as Jackie from 2016. Will Stewart break through on the awards front after a series of post Twilight acclaimed roles? The answer is coming.

The Hand of God

Another Netflix property is this Italian drama from Paolo Sorrentino, whose 2013 effort The Great Beauty dominated the foreign language races at the Oscars and Globes. His latest could be another contender and I will be keeping an eye on whether it could branch out to Best Picture (like Roma and Parasite recently did).

The Card Counter

Paul Schrader’s last pic First Reformed received an Original Screenplay nod for its filmmaker. His latest crime drama features Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, and Willem Dafoe. I haven’t had this featured at all in my weekly predictions, but a splashy Venice rollout could alter that.

Dune

The Card Counter cannot claim the title of being Oscar Isaac’s most breathlessly awaited arrival. That would be Dune from Denis Villeneuve as the sci-fi epic is debuting out of competition. Originally slated for 2020, Dune could be a major awards threat in lots of categories (especially the technical ones). Whether it is Best Picture material will soon be established.

The Lost Daughter

Maggie Gyllenhaal directs Olivia Colman in the Netflix drama slated for late December. Colman has been nominated in two out of the three years at the big show. She won in 2018 for The Favourite in Best Actress and got a mention in supporting last year for The Father. 

Last Night in Soho

Edgar Wright psychological horror experience features Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy (coming off her heralded role on The Queen’s Gambit). The genre is not one usually geared to Oscar love, but you never know.

The Last Duel

Ridley Scott has not one, but two competitors seeking awards attention in 2021. The most obvious is House of Gucci. The other is this historical drama with Jodie Comer (another possibility in Actress), Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck. We will soon know whether Scott has two pics in the mix.

And that’s just some of what I’m watching out for, folks! Get ready as the Oscar picture should become clearer in the coming days and I’ll be here to cover it…

2020 Golden Globe Winner Predictions

Awards watching season kicks into (later than usual) gear this Sunday with the 78th Annual Golden Globes hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler! While I have not spent time doing weekly posts on this ceremony like I do with the Oscars, it’s certainly a potential sign of things to come from the Academy (and sometimes not so much).

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a notoriously tricky bunch to predict as they often call up out of nowhere nominees in their major categories. This year is no exception and that will be discussed below. The pandemic uncertainty that was 2020 and some races that truly feel wild open gives us some real drama as to the pictures and actors who will win on Sunday.

Simply put, I’ll feel good if I get half my predictions right and that’s a lower bar than usual. Let’s walk through each category with my estimated victor and runner-up, shall we?

Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Nominees: The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Despite a better than anticipated showing for Promising Young Woman, this is likely a showdown between Nomadland and Trial (as I suspect it will be for the Oscars). Quite frankly, this is a tough call and basically a coin flip. However, I lean ever so slightly with HFPA going with the more traditional pick and that means Trial.

Predicted Winner: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Nomadland

Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Hamilton, Music, Palm Springs, The Prom

The inclusion of Sia’s critically drubbed Music stands as one of the more bizarre nods in recent Globes history and that’s saying a lot. Palm Springs certainly has its fervent fans while The Prom once seemed like a potential winner until its mixed reviews. Meryl Streep’s exclusion in the Actress field for it says something as well. So it’s Borat vs. Hamilton in my view. 14 years ago, the original Borat lost out to Dreamgirls. Certainly the overall pedigree and acclaim for Hamilton makes it a possibility, but the attention garnered by Sacha Baron Cohen’s sequel might be too hard to resist.

Predicted Winner: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Runner-Up: Hamilton

Best Director

Nominees: Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), David Fincher (Mank), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)

Even with my Trial pick in Picture, Chloe Zhao has emerged as a heavy favorite for the duration of awards season and she has the critics trophies already to prove it. Fincher is probably more of a threat to upset than Sorkin here, but Zhao is one of the safer bets of the night.

Predicted Winner: Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Runner-Up: David Fincher, Mank

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

It’s Davis vs. McDormand vs. Mulligan as I see it and there’s a case to be made for all three. That said, I already mentioned that Promising was a major winner on nomination morning as it achieved nods everywhere it really could have been expected to. I feel it’ll win somewhere and this is the most probable. Had Rainey got a Picture nod, I would probably list Davis as the runner-up, but I’ll go with McDormand instead.

Predicted Winner: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Runner-Up: Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank), Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian)

Sunday night could very well be the start of Boseman sweeping his way through the season. I do have a nagging feeling that Hopkins is going to win either here or at SAG. It would not be a shock at all for that to occur yet I’ll stick with Boseman.

Predicted Winner: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Runner-Up: Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Kate Hudson (Music), Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit), Rosamund Pike (I Care a Lot), Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma)

Expect Taylor-Joy to win on Sunday night, but not here. Instead she appears bound to get some hardware on the TV side for the heralded Queen’s Gambit. Like the picture itself, Hudson’s nomination was totally unforeseen. Bakalova was the breakout star of Borat. She’s being campaigned for in Supporting Actress at the Oscars, but the HFPA seems destined to honor her. Pfeiffer and Pike are moderate threats and I’ll give the runner-up edge to the former.

Predicted Winner: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Runner-Up: Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), James Corden (The Prom), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Dev Patel (The Personal History of David Copperfield), Andy Samberg (Palm Springs)

Let’s face it: the Golden Globes this year has an excellent chance at turning into the Sacha Baron Cohen Show. He won this race for the first Borat and he’s the odds-on favorite to make it two for two. Miranda poses the only real threat in my opinion.

Predicted Winner: Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Runner-Up: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton 

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian), Amanda Seyfried (Mank), Helena Zengel (News of the World)

For Foster and Zengel, it’s an honor to be nominated. As for the other three, this feels like a genuine three performer race in which I could easily foresee Close, Colman, or Seyfried’s name being called. I’m calling this (with zero confidence) for Seyfried as I think HFPA could go with the relative newcomer over Close and Colman (who have each won three Globes).

Predicted Winner: Amanda Seyfried, Mank

Runner-Up: Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (just over Colman)

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Jared Leto (The Little Things), Bill Murray (On the Rocks), Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami)

Another really tough one. It would be right up HFPA’s alley to give Leto the surprise win. And Kaluuya and Odom Jr. are strong possibilities. I don’t feel great about saying Sacha will have this big of a night, but I kinda feel that’s the way this goes. Confidence level? Zilch.

Predicted Winner: Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah 

Best Screenplay

Nominees: The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7

This is an additional race where voters could choose to honor Promising Young Woman, but Trial is the frontrunner and I’m not picking against it.

Predicted Winner: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Promising Young Woman

Best Animated Feature Film

Nominees: The Croods: A New Age, Onward, Over the Moon, Soul, Wolfwalkers

Don’t be surprised if this is the same Oscar five with the same result. While Wolfwalkers is a critical darling, it’s risky to bet against Pixar and I won’t do so.

Predicted Winner: Soul

Runner-Up: Wolfwalkers

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Another Round, La Llorona, The Life Ahead, Minari, Two of Us

The smart money is on Minari, which is expected to get a Best Picture nod from the Academy. However, I can’t help but point out that it picked up nominations nowhere else (including Actor, Supporting Actor, and Screenplay where it could have). That opens the door for Another Round which also has ardent supporters. I’m going for the slight upset.

Predicted Winner: Another Round

Runner-Up: Minari

Best Original Score

Nominees: Mank, The Midnight Sky, News of the World, Soul, Tenet

Another category that Oscar could match. And this may come down to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross vs. themselves for Mank and Soul. I’ll give their Pixar work the edge.

Predicted Winner: Soul

Runner-Up: Mank

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Fight for You” (Judas and the Black Messiah), “Hear My Voice” (The Trial of the Chicago 7), “lo si (Seen)” (The Life Ahead), “Speak Now” (One Night in Miami), “Tigress & Tweed” (The United States vs. Billie Holiday)

Anything could happen here, but “Speak Now” is a trendy pick for the Oscar and HFPA could follow suit.

Predicted Winner: “Speak Now” (One Night in Miami)

Runner-Up: “lo si (Seen)” from The Life Ahead

That means I’m predicting the following number of wins for these pictures:

3 Wins

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Trial of the Chicago 7

2 Wins

Soul

1 Win

Another Round, Mank, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, Promising Young Woman

And there you have it! My picks for the Sacha Baron… err, Golden Globes! Let’s see how it shakes out and I’ll have a post up Sunday night with my thoughts about the show and how I performed….