Best Picture 2017: The Final Five

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

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

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

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

Call Me by Your Name

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Darkest Hour

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Dunkirk

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Get Out

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Lady Bird

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Phantom Thread

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

The Post

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

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

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’ll have my thoughts on 2018 up soon!

Previous Posts:

Bones and All Box Office Prediction

MGM/UA hopes younger viewers are hungry for some cannibal love when Bones and All opens wide on Wednesday, November 23rd. Based on a 2015 novel by Camille DeAngelis, Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet headline the road flick from director Luca Guadagnino. Costars include Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Andre Holland, Chloe Sevigny, David Gordon Green, and Jessica Harper.

The subject matter could be a challenging one for holiday crowds though Chalamet has a rabid fanbase that could turn up. The Thanksgiving release (it’s out five screens November 18 before the expansion) is also the only holiday newbie geared toward teens and young adults. Strange World is for the kids while Devotion and The Fabelmans skew older. Reviews are pretty appetizing with an 89% Rotten Tomatoes score following its September debut at the Venice Film Festival.

With a reported count of around 2500 venues, I’ll say Bones gets to mid single digits for the three-day and for the five.

Bones and All opening weekend prediction: $3.5 million (Friday to Sunday); $5.3 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Strange World prediction, click here:

For my Devotion prediction, click here:

For my The Fabelmans prediction, click here:

Dune Review

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune arrives nearly three decades after David Lynch’s oft criticized version of Frank Herbert’s mid 60s sci-fi novel. It is source material that I’m frankly not familiar with so take that for what it’s worth. With the director of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 at the controls, this is a technically masterful and consistently stunning looking experience. I also must admit that I didn’t get swept up in it no matter how amazing the desert landscapes appear (and do they ever).

Set 10,000 years in the future, the dense plot (as in often hard to follow) introduces us to the royal family of Caladan. Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) is the leader of House Atreides, a land with a plentiful supply of water and bagpipes. His concubine is Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) who possesses the powers of Bene Gesserit, a sisterhood of mystical beings thought to bear children with God-like abilities. Their offspring is Paul (Timothee Chalamet). One problem: the Lady was supposed to have a girl who eventually delivers this story’s version of The One, but she skipped a step.

The Atreides are ordered by Empirical decree to take over Arrakis, a planet with hardly any water (I’m uncertain about bagpipes). However, it is the only land with spice and that substances serves many purposes. First, it gets you high and gives one visions that might play into the plot later. Most importantly, it fuels interstellar travel and is therefore an extraordinarily valuable commodity. It’s what Gollum would be droning on endlessly about if this were another epic adventure. House Harkonnen and their rotund ruler (Stellan Skarsgard), the current Arrakis deed holders, are not going to give up those property rights without a fight.

We sense where all this is heading due to Paul’s visions of Chani (Zendaya). She’s a native of Arrakis and their citizens called the Fremen have learned to use their planet’s sandy and almost unlivable terrain to their advantage. They will need to accept Paul as their captain and that development… will or won’t happen in part two. Yes, part one is a subtitle here. Like some Marvel products that preceded this, you may find yourself realizing that not a lot really happens in this origin tale by the time two and a half hours has lapsed.

I recognize this may sound like sacrilege to the book’s devotees. There is plenty to praise in this immensely gifted director’s adaptation. The cast is uniformly top notch from Chalamet on down (FYI – Zendaya is a part II kinda thing because her participation is limited). Ferguson is perhaps the standout in a sprawling ensemble that includes Josh Brolin (as a trusted Atreides warrior), Javier Bardem (as a Fremen warrior), and Charlotte Rampling as a Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit.

Dune worshipers forgive me. While I spent time marveling at the look and anticipating the unearthing of giant sandworms, I would put this behind Arrival and the Blade Runner follow-up without hesitation. Saying it feels like half a movie is easy criticism. That doesn’t mean it’s not true. It is tempting to recommend Dune based on spectacular work of composer Hans Zimmer and cinematographer Greig Fraser and the sound and visual effects artists. Yet I often found myself a bit shocked by my lack of awe in the story itself.

**1/2 (out of four)

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 16th Edition

As the Toronto Film Festival draws to a close, we have some significant updates since I did my last predictions 11 days ago!

And you may notice that, for the first time, I’m including all categories covering feature films. It’s the initial peek at what pics I believe will lead the nominations. The answer is Babylon (11) followed closely by The Fabelmans (10) followed closely by Everything Everywhere All at Once (9).

I’ve also made the shift of whittling 25 BP picks down to 15 possibilities and the other big races from 15 to 10.

I will point out that some categories (particularly Original Song) are in their infancy as far as knowing the contenders.

One year ago, my projections in mid-September yielded eight of the eventual 10 BP nominees and 3 of the 5 Directing hopefuls. For Best Actress – it was 4 of 5 and 3 of 5 for Actor. For Supporting Actress – 2/5, but Supporting Actor (somehow) was 0 for 5.

Let’s talk changes:

    • In Best Picture, I’m putting Empire of Light back in and removing The Son. You’ll send a trend there as The Son drew divided reactions in Venice and Toronto. It could still contend in more races than just Hugh Jackman in Actor, but for now, I’ve got it nabbing that sole nod.
    • Todd Field (Tar) is in the directing quintet over Ruben Ostlund for Triangle of Sadness.
    • Surprisingly enough, Actress and Actor remain the same.
    • Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin) crashes the Supporting Actress party with Vanessa Kirby (The Son) dropping.
    • I’ve put Micheal Ward back in Supporting Actor (I elevated him to lead recently). He’s in the final five along with a bit of an upset selection in Barry Keoghan for The Banshees of Inisherin. Zen McGrath (The Son) and Woody Harrelson (Triangle of Sadness) fall out.
    • Original Screenplay remains the same but Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is in Adapted Screenplay over (you guessed it) The Son.

You can peruse all the movement below and my inaugural take on the other derbies!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

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

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Whale (PR: 7) (+2)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Tar (PR: 8) (E)

9. Empire of Light (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (+1)

12. She Said (PR: 13) (+1)

13. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 20) (+6)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Son

Avatar: The Way of Water

White Noise

Bones and All

Armageddon Time

Till

Broker

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Living

Bardo

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Florian Zeller, The Son

James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water

Sam Mendes, Empire of Light

Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick

Noah Baumbach, White Noise

Baz Luhrmann, Elvis 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 12) (+5)

8. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 8) (E)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Carey Mulligan, She Said 

Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Taylor Russell, Bones and All

Tang Wei, Decision to Leave

Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Song King-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (moved to Supporting)

Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All

Paul Mescal, Aftersun

Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans

Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier

Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+5)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 3) (-4)

8. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 15) (+5)

Dropped Out:

Laura Dern, The Son

Jean Smart, Babylon

Samantha Morton, She Said

Zoe Kazan, She Said

Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth

Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Best Actor)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Zen McGrath, The Son

Tom Hanks, Elvis

Anthony Hopkins, The Son

Mark Strong, Tar

Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans

Ralph Fiennes, The Menu

Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Babylon (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Armageddon Time (PR: 9) (E)

10. Bros (PR: 11) (+1)

Dropped Out:

Broker

Aftersun

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Bardo

The Menu

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Whale (PR: 3) (+1)

3. She Said (PR: 4) (+1)

4. White Noise (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Son (PR: 1) (-5)

7. Living (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Bones and All (PR: 7) (-2)

10. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Till

The Lost King

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

The Wonder

Elvis

The Good Nurse 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

2. Turning Red

3. Strange World

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

5. The Sea Beast

Other Possibilities:

6. Wendell and Wild

7. The Bad Guys

8. Lightyear

9. My Father’s Dragon

10. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Decision to Leave

2. All Quiet on the Western Front

3. Close

4. Saint Omer

5. Holy Spider

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo

7. RMN

8. RRR

9. Plan 75

10. Argentina, 1985

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

2. Descendant

3. Navalny

4. Fire of Love

5. Last Flight Home

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory

7. Moonage Daydream

8. Riotsville, U.S.A.

9. Good Night Oppy

10. All That Breathes

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. Empire of Light

3. The Fabelmans

4. All Quiet on the Western Front

5. Top Gun: Maverick

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo

7. Avatar: The Way of Water

8. The Banshees of Inisherin

9. The Whale

10. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. Elvis

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

4. The Fabelmans

5. The Woman King

Other Possibilities:

6. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once

8. Three Thousand Years of Longing

9. The Northman

10. Corsage

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

2. Babylon

3. Top Gun: Maverick

4. The Fabelmans

5. Women Talking

Other Possibilities:

6. Elvis

7. Tar

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

9. Triangle of Sadness

10. Decision to Leave

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale

2. Babylon

3. Elvis

4. The Batman

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. Blonde

8. The Woman King

9. The Fabelmans

10. All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. The Fabelmans

3. Empire of Light

4. Women Talking

5. Tar

Other Possibilities:

6. The Banshees of Inisherin

7. Top Gun: Maverick

8. Avatar: The Way of Water

9. The Batman

10. All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Song

1. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

2. “Nobody Like U” from Turning Red

3. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

4. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing

5. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman

Other Possibilities:

6. “On My Way” from Marry Me

7. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

8. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise

9. “Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys

10. “Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. The Fabelmans

3. Elvis

4. Avatar: The Way of Water

5. Empire of Light

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once

8. Bardo

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

10. The Batman

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

2. Avatar: The Way of Water

3. Babylon

4. Elvis

5. The Batman

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once

9. Nope

10. The Fabelmans

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

2. Top Gun: Maverick

3. The Batman

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Other Possibilities: 

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. RRR

8. All Quiet on the Western Front

9. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

10. Nope 

And that equates to this very first rundown of how many nominations I am projecting for each picture:

11 Nominations

Babylon

10 Nominations

The Fabelmans’

9 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

7 Nominations

Women Talking

6 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Empire of Light, Top Gun: Maverick

5 Nominations

Elvis, The Whale

4 Nominations

Tar

3 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman

2 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, Triangle of Sadness, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Close, Decision to Leave, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Holy Spider, Last Flight Home, Living, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Navalny, Saint Omer, The Sea Beast, She Said, The Son, Strange World, Tell It Like a Woman, Till, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King

All the Beauty and the Banshees: A Venice Report

Before 2017, the Golden Lion winner (the Venice Film Festival’s top prize) rarely lined up with movies that received Best Picture nominations at the Oscars. In fact, you would have had to go back to 2005 and Brokeback Mountain. Then from 2017-2020 – every nominee did (The Shape of Water, Roma, Joker, Nomadland). Last year’s Happening did not. So it stands to reason that the eyes of prognosticators were heavily trained on today’s ceremony.

The jury’s selection was a bit of a surprise with the documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. Not because it wasn’t acclaimed… it absolutely was. It’s unexpected because this is the only the second doc to take Venice’s biggest award. And that dates back to 1946. My guess is that this won’t translate to an Academy BP nod, but there’s no question it helps Beauty look good in the eyes of Oscar’s documentary branch.

France’s Saint Omer took the Grand Jury Prize (essentially second place). It will hope to follow in the footsteps of last year’s victor The Hand of God, which made the final cut in International Feature Film. Like Bloodshed, it’s also playing in Toronto where it hopes to grow the buzz.

The Silver Lion (the equivalent of Best Director) was bestowed upon Luca Guadagnino for Bones and All. The horror romance garnered loud cheers from the Italian faithful. Taylor Russell, who co-stars with Timothee Chalamet, picked up the Marcello Mastroianni Award, which is for an emerging performer. Though the genre doesn’t lend itself well to Academy attention, I wouldn’t sleep on this picture.

Best Screenplay went to Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, which made a splash with its premiere and established itself as a firm candidate for possibilities throughout the coming season. The Banshees appreciation also included Colin Farrell as Best Actor. This is significant considering he beat out heavy hitters like Brendan Fraser (The Whale) and Hugh Jackman (The Son).

Finally, Cate Blanchett rather predictably took Best Actress for TAR. Get used to seeing her name at every awards show from now until the early months of 2023.

And there you have it! As a side note, I’m deep into screenings at Toronto. I’m trying to post as much as possible with any breaks I have, but that’s quite a challenge (anyone who’s attended a film festival will get it). Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. This is my first TIFF and I’m continuously pinching myself. It’s not everyday you see Daniel Craig, Jennifer Lawrence, Billy Eichner, Judd Apatow, Paul Raci, Finn Wolfhard, and Sterling K. Brown within a 24 hour period. I’ll report back soon on all the happenings of awards season!

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 5th Edition

As I always say at the beginning of September on this blog – what a difference a few days makes as Venice is at its midpoint and Telluride occurred over the holiday weekend. The Toronto Film Festival begins Thursday. For the first time, I am thrilled to announce that I will be in attendance and have screenings scheduled for several potential heavy hitters! They include The Fabelmans, The Son, The Whale, Women Talking, The Banshees of Inisherin, Triangle of Sadness, Empire of Light, The Menu, The Wonder, Bros, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, and The Good Nurse. 

The fall festivals always cause the fortunes of certain pictures to rise and fall. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Bardo received mixed reviews out of Lido and it has dropped out of my predictions in Picture, Director, Actor (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), and Supporting Actress (Griselda Sicillani). On the other hand, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking looks to have solidified its position as a BP hopeful while Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley appear to be the two likeliest nominees from its ensemble. Cate Blanchett (Tar) and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) have positioned themselves as surefire nominees and potential winners in the lead acting derbies. Tar itself improved its standing in Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay. Empire of Light is no slam dunk for BP, but it’s in the mix and Olivia Colman seems solid in Actress. The Banshees of Inisherin may be Fox Searchlight’s better hope over Empire. It drew a rapturous Venice reaction today and has vaulted into Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Original Screenplay on my chart. Bones and All, despite some gushing reviews, could face challenges to fit into the BP race. Don’t Worry Darling, due to some middling write-ups, is probably toast.

Of course, we know that festivals are not the end all and be all for final verdicts. For example, Armageddon Time from James Gray seemed DOA after a so-so Cannes bow in the summer. Yet when it played Telluride over the weekend, the buzz was stronger. It’s awards heart is beating again – even if faintly.

This will probably be my last update for two weeks as I’ll be a Canadian for a few days. You can bet you’ll see lots of other individual Oscar prediction posts as well as reviews of the aforementioned pictures. When I update in a couple of weeks, I’m anticipating branching out to all races covering feature films. Until then, you can peruse all the movement (and there is definitely a lot of it) below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

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

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Son (PR: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+4)

7. The Whale (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Tar (PR: 11) (+3)

9. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 18) (+9)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (E)

13. She Said (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 16) (+2)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

16. White Noise (PR: 13) (-3)

17. Bones and All (PR: 22) (+5)

18. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

19. Till (PR: 20) (+1)

20. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 23) (+3)

21. Broker (PR: 17) (-4)

22. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 19) (-3)

23. Living (PR: 25) (+2)

24. Bardo (PR: 4) (-20)

25. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 24) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Menu

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 11) (+5)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 9) (+1)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo

Maria Schrader, She Said 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (E)

7. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (+1)

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

9. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 12) (+3)

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

11. Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Taylor Russell, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Regina King, Shirley (moved to 2023)

Frances McDormand, Women Talking (role not large enough)

Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 10) (+6)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (E)

8. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

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

11. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+2)

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

14. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 14) (+10)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (-3)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (-3)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (-4)

15. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Griselda Sicillani, Bardo

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR 2) (E)

3. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 3) (E)

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

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

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

9. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 9) (E)

10. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Mark Strong, Tar (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (E)

14. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 14) (E)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Colin Firth, Empire of Light

Toby Jones, Empire of Light

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Babylon (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Broker (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Bros (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Bardo (PR: 5) (-9)

15. The Menu (PR: 10) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Worry Darling

Chevalier

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. She Said (PR: 4) (E)

5. White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Bones and All (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Living (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (E)

10. Till (PR: 10) (E)

11. The Lost King (PR: 11) (E)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 12) (E)

13. The Wonder (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Elvis (PR: 13) (-1)

15. The Good Nurse (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King 

Oscar Predictions: Bones and All

Love and cannibalism collide in Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All, which has premiered at Venice before its November 23rd stateside theatrical release. The mix of gore and romance reunites the filmmaker with his Call Me by Your Name star Timothee Chalamet (I will refrain from making any Armie Hammer references from now on). Taylor Russell, who drew raves for the little seen Waves, is co-lead with a supporting cast including Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Andre Holland, Chloe Sevigny, and Jessica Harper.

The road movie, based on a 2015 YA novel from Camille DeAngelis, is drawing mostly positive early reaction in Italy. The Rotten Tomatoes meter is a strong 92%. Praise is plentiful for Chalamet (he scored an Oscar nod for Name), but Russell is being called the highlight.

Despite the encouraging buzz, I’m not sure voters will bite for this late 80s set horror tale. Five years ago, Guadagnino’s Name called up four Academy nods including Picture and winning Adapted Screenplay. His 2018 follow-up Suspiria didn’t make a dent with the awards crowd.

MGM/UA would need to mount a major campaign for Russell or Chalamet for them to be viable in my view. I would say Bones‘s best shot could be Adapted Screenplay or perhaps the score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Venice Film Festival Preview

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

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

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

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed 

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

The Banshees of Inisherin 

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

Bardo

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

Blonde

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

Bones & All

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

Don’t Worry Darling

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

The Son

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

Tar

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

The Whale

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

White Noise

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

2022 Oscar Predictions: August 26th Edition

My final Oscar predictions for the month of August could rightfully be called the calm before the storm. That’s because Venice, Telluride, and Toronto are about to blow in screenings for several legitimate contenders. And there’s no doubt it will change the forecasts below.

My plan is to do the next update on Labor Day (ten days from now). By that point, there should be reviews and awards buzz out for Venice pics like White Noise, Tar, Bardo, Bones and All, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Don’t Worry Darling, among others. There’s also anything that plays Telluride over the holiday weekend (expect that to potentially include The Son and Women Talking). My next update should be about a week later.

Those next updates will incorporate the lengthy list of Toronto screenings and late Venice leftovers. That list includes Blonde, The Fabelmans, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, Empire of Light, The Good Nurse, The Menu, The Lost King, The Woman King, Bros, Chevalier, and more. In other words… buckle up because the Oscar picture is going to be in much sharper focus over the next three weeks!

My Best Picture ten remains the same, but I’ve made a change in Director with Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness) in over Sarah Polley for Women Talking. 

In Best Actress, there’s a new #1 as I’ve vaulted Cate Blanchett (Tar) to the top spot over Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once). Yeoh spent only a week in first after she replaced Babylon‘s Margot Robbie, who’s now in third position. We will know in a matter of days whether Blanchett’s promotion is warranted courtesy of Venice.

I’ve switched Micheal Ward’s performance in Empire of Light from supporting to lead. Toronto’s fest should shed light on whether that’s the right call. Due to this, Bill Nighy (Living) falls out of my actor quintet. In Supporting Actor, Babylon‘s Brad Pitt is back in the mix since I’ve taken Ward out. In Original Screenplay, I’m switching in Bardo with The Banshees of Inisherin out.

You can read all the movement below and keep an eye out for lots of individualized prediction posts for the pictures playing in Italy, Colorado, and Canada in the coming weeks!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

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

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Son (PR: 6) (+1)

6. Women Talking (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Whale (PR: 8) (E)

9. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Tar (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 14) (+2)

13. White Noise (PR: 12) (-1)

14. She Said (PR: 11) (-3)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

16. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 16) (E)

17. Broker (PR: 20) (+3)

18. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 17) (-1)

19. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 21) (+2)

20. Till (PR: 18) (-2)

21. The Menu (PR: 22) (+1)

22. Bones and All (PR: 19) (-3)

23. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

24. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 25) (+1)

25. Living (PR: 24) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (E)

9. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 9) (E)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 13) (+2)

12. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 11) (-1)

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

14. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 14) (E)

15. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: 15) (E)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (E)

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

9. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 6) (-3)

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

11. Frances McDormand, Women Talking (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Helen Mirren, Golda (moved to 2023)

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: 3) (E)

4. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Supporting

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-3)

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

12. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye

Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All

Harry Styles, My Policeman 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (E)

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

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

5. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 14) (-1)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+5)

10. Toby Jones, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (-3)

14. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (moved to Best Actor)

Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Bardo (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Menu (PR: 10) (E)

11. Broker (PR: 11) (E)

12. Bros (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (E)

15. Chevalier (PR: 15) (E)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. She Said (PR: 5) (+1)

5. White Noise (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Living (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Bones and All (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Till (PR: 9) (-1)

11. The Lost King (PR: 14) (+3)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 12) (E)

13. Elvis (PR: 15) (+2)

14. The Good Nurse (PR: Not Ranked)

15. The Woman King (PR: 11) (-4)

Dropped Out:

Blonde 

2022 Oscar Predictions: August 19th Edition

With the Venice Film Festival less than two weeks away and Toronto and Telluride on its heels, the Oscar races are poised to become clearer quite soon. We are mostly in speculation mode at this juncture, but there’s change afoot in the Actor and Supporting Actor with this latest update.

I have vaulted Bill Nighy (Living) into the top 5 for Best Actor and that removes Adam Driver in White Noise. I’ve struggled with Brad Pitt’s placement in Supporting Actor for Babylon. At this point, it’s not certain whether he’ll be campaigned for in lead or supporting. Therefore I have Pitt on the outside looking in for Supporting Actor and that allows The Son‘s Zen McGrath to enter the projected quintet.

While no changes were made in the Picture, Director, the Actress derbies, or screenplay – there’s a new #1 for Best Actress. Since I started my estimates back in April, I’ve had Margot Robbie (Babylon) perched atop the charts. I’m now switching that to Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once. 

Finally, I’ve dropped David O. Russell’s Amsterdam from contention in all races. The studio’s decision to move it up a month from November to October is something I look at as a bad sign. That’s in addition to it getting no festival screenings, a trailer that didn’t impress, and lingering personal issues and bad press for Mr. Russell.

A final note: at this pre-festival juncture in mid-August of 2021, my predictions yielded seven of the eventual 10 BP contenders.

You can read all the movement below and I’ll likely have one more update prior to August 30th before the festival season is upon us!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

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

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

6. The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Whale (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. She Said (PR: 12) (+1)

12. White Noise (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Decision to Leave (PR: 16) (+2)

15. Elvis (PR: 14) (-1)

16. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 15) (-1)

17. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 17) (E)

18. Till (PR: 19) (+1)

19. Bones and All (PR: 18) (-1)

20. Broker (PR: 20) (E)

21. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 21) (E)

22. The Menu (PR: 23) (+1)

23. The Woman King (PR: 24) (+1)

24. Living (PR: Not Ranked)

25. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 22) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Amsterdam

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 6) (E)

7. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 8) (-1)

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

11. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 11) (E)

12. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 12) (E)

13. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Maris Schrader, She Said (PR: 14) (-1)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (E)

8. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (E)

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

11. Frances McDormand, Women Talking (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 15) (+3)

13. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: 11) (-2)

14. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 12) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway 

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: 3) (E)

4. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (E)

11. Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All (PR: 12) (E)

13. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 11) (-2)

14. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Harry Styles, My Policeman (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Paul Mescal, Aftersun 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (E)

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

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

5. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (E)

7. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 7) (E)

8. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 8) (-2)

11. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 11) (-3)

15. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michael Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 7) (+3)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (E)

11. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 13) (E)

14. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Don Cheadle, White Noise

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: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (E)

7. Bardo (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Tar (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Menu (PR: 10) (E)

11. Broker (PR: 11) (E)

12. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 12) (E)

13. Bros (PR: 13) (E)

14. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Chevalier (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Amsterdam

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. White Noise (PR: 4) (E)

5. She Said (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bones and All (PR: 6) (E)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Living (PR: 11) (+3)

9. Till (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 8) (-2)

11. The Woman King (PR: 13) (+2)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Blonde (PR: 14) (+1)

14. The Lost King (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Good Nurse