Monday, January 23, 2023

Oscar Nomination Predictions 2023









Best Picture

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

The Banshees of Inisherin

Top Gun: Maverick

TAR

Elvis

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Whale

Triangle of Sadness

Alternates – Women Talking, Babylon

I feel fairly confident in eight of these picks. The biggest question mark for me is Women Talking which has rarely showed up in precursor awards. And hasn't even opened up wide yet (at least not near me). Therefore I'm going with The Whale which is a little film with a Best Actor frontrunner; and an English language epic comedic satire directed by a foreigner, Triangle of Sadness. I still think something like Babylon or Glass Onion could make it in but at this point feels doubtful.



Best Director

Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Todd Field, TAR

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Edward Berger. All Quiet on the Western Front

Alternates: Baz Luhrmann, Elvis; James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water

I think 4 of the 5 DGA noms make it in, with the Academy favoring more artistic or foreign films (sorry Joseph Kosinski) which is why someone like Edward Berger, Park Chan-wook, or the Triangle of Sadness guy feel possible. I'm going with Berger. I’m also not counting out notoriously snubbed Baz Luhrmann. People really seem to like that film.



Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, TAR

Michelle Yeoh. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Danielle Deadwyler, Till

Viola Davis, The Woman King

Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

Alternates: Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie; Ana de Armas, Blonde

I actually do think we're all overthinking this race and Michelle Williams gets in - despite her SAG snub - but I am putting Andrea Riseborough on my Gold Derby predictions because I have her at 100 - 1 odds and that would be awesome if it actually happened.



Best Actor

Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Austin Butler, Elvis

Brendan Fraser, The Whale

Bill Nighy, Living

Paul Mescal, Aftersun

Alternates: I guess Tom Cruise??

Basically every category has 4 practical locks and an open 5th slot. I'd say Paul Mescal in a small film that has a lot of support (especially among foreign voters) feels inevitable. I still don't buy Tom Cruise getting in for basically playing Tom Cruise even though he's great in the film. I feels so unlike the Academy. I honestly don’t even know who makes it in, if not these five. The possibilities of Felix Kammerer, Jeremy Pope, and Hugh Jackman have been tossed around but I don’t seem them coming to fruition.



Best Supporting Actress

Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Hong Chau, The Whale

Alternates: Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness; Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

This race is giving me palpitations. I'm going with the two All At Once girls, Kerry, Angela (who is the frontrunner apparently??) and Hong Chau who gave two great performances (the other is The Menu) and her film is very likely a potential BP nominee. But so is Dolly De Leon. I still think Michelle Williams could show up here throwing this race into complete turmoil.



Best Supporting Actor

Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin

Paul Dano, The Fabelmans

Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin

Eddie Redmayne, The Good Nurse

Alternates: Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans; Ben Whishaw, Women Talking

Judd Hirsch is in like one scene and he's fine I guess? I've never even heard of The Good Nurse but everyone is predicting him. And they obviously love this Best Actor winner who was nominated twice in a row. But maybe The Fabelman guys cross each other out and we get some kind of wild surprise...



Best Adapted Screenplay

Women Talking

The Whale

Glass Onion

All Quiet on the Western Front

She Said

Alternate - Living

It feels weird that She Said - an Oscar friendly flick that feels ripe for a total snub isn't more of a sure thing but if it gets nominated anywhere it's probably here. But that slot could easily go to Living or even Pinocchio.



Best Original Screenplay

The Banshees of Inisherin

Everything Everywhere All at Once

TAR

Triangle of Sadness

The Fabelmans

Alternates- Aftersun; Babylon

For some reason I have some weird feeling that there's going to be a surprising omission here like Stevie getting snubbed. Do the screenwriters really see him as a writer? Of course Tony Kushner is his co-writer so I could just be crazy. I really don’t know what the alternates are if not these five besides Aftersun so there ya go.



Best Cinematography

Top Gun: Maverick

Avatar: The Way of Water

All Quiet on the Western Front

Empire of Light

Elvis

Alternates- The Batman, The Fabelmans

This feels like the only place to really reward Empire of Light and is Roger Deakins after all. For some reason there can only be so many "movies are magical" movies in this category so I'm going with the flashy Elvis over The Fabelmans -though I wouldn’t entirely be surprised to see Avatar snubbed here even though the first film won this category.



Best Costume Design

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Elvis

Babylon

The Woman King

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Alternates: Everything Everywhere All At Once; Corsage

I still think EEAAO has some pretty cool costumes so I'd be bummed if it doesn't make it but I guess Mrs Harris Goes to Paris will be that random movie that gets nominated here and nowhere else.



Best Film Editing

Top Gun: Maverick

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Elvis

All Quiet on the Western Front

Alternates: The Banshees of Inisherin; Avatar: The Way of Water

These feel right to me. Banshees could get in but I have no idea who would miss.



Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Whale

Elvis

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

All Quiet on the Western Front

Alternates: Babylon; Blonde

I guess something like Blonde or Babylon or even Crimes of the Future could get in, which would make sense for a branch that very much likes to do its own thing.



Best Production Design

Babylon

Elvis

Avatar: The Way of Water

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The Fabelmans

Alternates: All Quiet on the Western Front; Glass Onion

The fifth slot is The Fabelmans vs All Quiet on the Western Front. But sometimes we get an out of left field pick here ala Passengers. I could see something like Glass Onion getting in but there aren’t many super wild creative choices this year.



Best Score

The Fabelmans

Women Talking

Babylon

The Banshees of Inisherin

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

Alternates – Nope; All Quiet on the Western Front

Black Panther won this award a few years ago and it's possible it gets in again but I'm betting on these five led by previous winners John Williams, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Justin Hurwitz, Alexandre Desplat and previous nominee Carter Burwell. I'm hoping for a surprise by Nope here but I'm not holding my breath.

Best Song

Top Gun: Maverick, Hold My Hand

RRR, Naatu Naatu

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Lift Me Up

Tell It Like a Woman, Applause

Till, Stand Up

Alternates: Ciao Papa , Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio; Where the Crawdads Sing, Carolina

One of the hardest categories to predict even with a shortlist. RRR, Top Gun, and Black Panther feel like locks but who knows! All I know is I’m not betting against perennial nominee Diane Warren.



Best Sound

Top Gun: Maverick

Avatar: The Way of Water

All Quiet on the Western Front

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Alternates - Babylon, The Batman

This category has gotten way more competitive since the two sound categories merged a couple years ago and is now usually dominated by Best Pic noms.



Best Visual Effects

Avatar: The Way of Water

Top Gun: Maverick

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Alternates – All Quiet on the Western Front; Thirteen Lives

This category could potentially be made up entirely of sequels and franchise films. Which is why it wouldn't be too crazy to see a surprise or two here like Thirteen Lives or Nope which would be my personal pick. Even though I've heard branch members were impressed with JW:D it seems weird they'd start nominating this reboot franchise with the worst entry to date.

Best Animated Feature

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

Turning Red

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Wendell and Wild

My Father’s Dragon

Alternates- Puss in Boots: The Last Wish; Strange World

The animation branch is finicky. There is always a beloved popular movie that gets snubbed here which is why I'm calling a Puss in Boots snub and going with the more artistic My Father's Dragon from the people who gave us the Oscar nominated The Secret of Kells. But I am in no way confident.



Best Documentary Feature

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

All That Breathes

Fire of Love

Navalny

Descendant

Alternate - Moonage Daydream



Best International Film

All Quiet on the Western Front

Decision to Leave

Close

Argentina, 1985

EO

Alternate – The Quiet Girl

I'm going with the one with the donkey for the fifth slot.



Best Animated Short

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

New Moon

My Year of Dicks

Save Ralph

The Flying Sailor



Best Documentary Short

The Flagmakers

The Elephant Whisperers

38 at the Garden

How Do You Measure a Year?

Nuisance Bear



Best Live Action Short

Le Pupille

An Irish Goodbye

The Red Suitcase

Warsha

Nakam


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Oscar Forecast: The Power of the Dog with a Chance of CODA

Another year of covid and another year of no clear frontrunner for several categories. It’s gonna be a squeaker.





BEST PICTURE - The Power of the Dog

So it’s CODA vs The Power of the Dog. CODA has impressed with a surge of industry-backed awards like SAG ensemble and the PGA win for Best Picture. But you know what movie also won those awards and lost the Oscar for Best Picture? Little Miss Sunshine. I just can’t imagine a film with only THREE nominations winning all three. But at the same time, I don’t necessarily see The Power of the Dog running to a win either. It has the nominations on its side and has enough industry support to give it a win. But is it too weird or divisive? Normally I’d say yes, but offbeat films like Parasite and Nomadland have one recently so Power of the Dog doesn’t feel like that far of a stretch for a win. At this point I wouldn’t be particularly surprised if neither of them won and something like Belfast (the early frontrunner) ends up Spotlight-ing the hell outta of it. I’m staying with Power of the Dog because I don’t feel confident splitting up Best Pic and Best director...


DIRECTING - Jane Campion The Power of the Dog

She won the DGA and even a gaffe at the Critics Choice Awards shouldn’t derail a woman from taking home this award for an unprecedented second year in a row.


BEST ACTOR - Will Smith, King Richard

The “it’s his time” narrative is strong with this one. And he’s very good in a well-liked Best Picture nominee.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Troy Kotsur, CODA

If Troy doesn’t win here there’s no way it’s winning Best Picture, end of story. And he’s great!


BEST ACTRESS - Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

There’s apparently been a surge of support for Penelope Cruz so I guess it could happen. But just because so many of those “brutally honest Oscar ballots” claim they’re voting for Cruz doesn’t mean she’s gonna win. Chastain has won the GG, Critics Choice, and SAG and so she’s the frontrunner. But honestly? Anything can happen here.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Ariana DeBose,West Side Story

She’s the heart and soul of Spielberg's new take of West Side Story and there’s a reason Rita Moreno won this award for the same exactly role over 60 years ago. It’s a great character and bother actresses have knocked it outta the park. The one practically guaranteed win for WSS (unfortunately).


ANIMATED FEATURE FILM - Encanto

We don’t talk about Encanto not winning Best Animated Feature.


CINEMATOGRAPHY - The Power of the Dog

A win for The Power of the Dog here would mean the first win for a woman in this category. I think the Academy knows that. And I think it deserves a win here. Though the flashier, effects driven look of Dune may likely prevail.


COSTUME DESIGN - Cruella

This movie was about costume design and it’s the most flashy and deserving nominee.


DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE) - Summer of Soul


DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT) – Audible

It’s Friday Night Lights meets CODA.


FILM EDITING - Dune

This one is driving me crazy. Sound driving movies have won steadily here recently, ie, Whiplash, Sound of Metal, Ford v Ferrari, so since I’m going with Dune for Best Sound I’m also picking it here.


INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM - Drive My Car, Japan

No real contest when a film here is also up for Best Picture. Right Parasite?


MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING - The Eyes of Tammy Faye

I’d honestly be surprised if anything else won, unless Dune practically sweeps of course...


MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE) - The Power of the Dog, Jonny Greenwood

Another category giving me indigestion. Most pundits have Hans Zimmer taking this for Dune. He hasn’t won since 1994’s The Lion King. Which is crazy. But the academy loves awarding fresh talent here so I think Radio Head guitarist Jonny Greenwood could take it.


MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG) - “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die; Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell

A fairly snoozy category this year (like almost every year as of late) I’m sure anything could happen here. A win for Encanto would mean Lin Manuel finally completes his EGOT. But it wouldn’t be for We Don’t Talk About Bruno since it wasn’t even submitted by Disney for consideration.


PRODUCTION DESIGN - Dune

I’d be genuinely surprised if something else won here but something like Nightmare Alley or The Tragedy of MacBeth wouldn't be out of question.


SHORT FILM (ANIMATED) - Robin Robin

It’s apparently the least traumatic of the animated shorts this year.


SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) - The Long Goodbye

A win for The Long Goodbye would make actor Riz Ahmed an Oscar winner! Some are predicting Please Hold


SOUND - Dune

The loudest movie usually wins. Unless of course there is a flashy musical…. But I still think Dune will take this.


VISUAL EFFECTS - Dune

It’s difficult for a non-best picture nominee to triumph here when it’s up against a Best Pic nominee. Which is why I’m going with Dune. The year Ex Machina surprised was a weird fluke because there were 3 Best Pics nominated that year.


WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY) - CODA

If CODA wins here I think it definitely could win Best Picture. But remember, Little Miss Sunshine won for Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor and still lost the big prize. I think a win for The Power of the Dog or even The Lost Daughter isn’t out of question. I’m excited for this one!


WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY) - Belfast, Kenneth Branagh

Easily one of the toughest calls of the night to make. I HAVE NO FRIGGIN IDEA. Months ago I would of said Paul Thomas Anderson would win this in a walk but now I’m not so sure. The fact that he’s getting lots of flack about a particularly racist character certainly isn’t help his case. I also think a lot of Academy members don’t see this as a particularly cohesively written film. Don’t Look Up won at the Writers Guild but they’re writers and the whole Academy votes here. Which is why I’m going with early frontrunner Kenneth Branagh for Belfast because it seems like the easiest place to reward it, otherwise I have no real idea what’s gonna win.



Sunday, March 20, 2022

Jets and Nuns, and Culottes, Oh My! The Best Films of 2021

It’s March. The Oscars are one week away. I think it’s about time I finally revealed my favorite films from 2021. Generally I think because of the pandemic, last year was one of the “weaker” years for movies. But at least there were movies even if they didn’t come as frequently as in years past. There were plenty of really solid and wonderful films you just have to look harder for them. Let’s do this!



1)
West Side Story (dir. Steven Spielberg)

It’s about time the great Steven Spielberg topped my list of the best movies of the year (The last time was way back in 2005 with “Munich”). His updated take on the 1961 musical West Side Story is so utterly brilliant and gorgeous. Every change subtle or big works in the film’s favor and improves upon the classic but problematic 60s version. I can’t stop watching this film and it’s currently on Disney+ and HBO Max where it deserves to be watched over and over. (Technically it deserves to be watched on a big movie theater screen but not many of you showed up).


2) Malignant (dir. James Wan)

Horror master James Wan does it again this time with an utterly ridiculous and original premise about a woman who is haunted by some kind of ghostly apparition that happens to be going around murdering people. You can’t really say much unless you want things spoiled but this thing is just ridiculous and crazy and admire it for the direction that it goes in. Those expecting another classically told, straightforward horror film will be severely disappointed. Malignant is a campy and gory hoot that is not to be missed as long as you know what you’re getting into.



3) CODA (dir. Sian Heder)

CODA is an acronym for “child of deaf adults” and I’m not sure that’s ever actually mentioned in the film. It follows a hearing teenage girl whose mother, father, and older brother are all deaf. She joins the choir and has aspirations to study music in college which causes tension between her and her working class fisherman family. The film will tug at your heartstrings and is a wonderful, authentic look at a deaf family and the complications that come with having their daughter sort of default to being their interpreter. If the ending doesn’t make you smile or cry you’re not a human.



4) Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (dir. Josh Greenbaum)

Oh lord I’m so glad this ridiculous movie exists. Sort of a weird mix of Romy & Michelle, the Muppets, Austin Powers, and SNL, Barb and Star follow two middle aged women who decide to get wild and take a trip to Vista Del Mar, Florida. Bridesmaids writers Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo star as the weirdo, culotte-wearing best friends and are super funny. This is a truly bizarre comedy that is certainly not for everyone but it certainly is for me.




5) Spider-Man: No Way Home (dir. Jon Watts)

The Spider-Man film to end all Spider-Man films. Frankly I’m not sure how they could possible get any better.






6) Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (dir. Destin Daniel Cretton)

Another winning entry in the MCU film. Newcomer Simu Liu and the hilarious Akwafina are simply wonderful together in this superhero origin tale. So many wonderful set pieces; this a kung fu movie for people who don’t really like kung fu movies and I really dug it.





7) The Worst Person in the World (dir. Joachim Trier)

Sort of a Norwegian Annie Hall, this romantic comedy is a wonderful delight. The film follows a young woman over the course of a few years as she navigates life and love and tries to figure out what the hell she wants to do with her life. The film is told in an interesting way and Renate Reinsve gives a charming performance. The film is funny but also goes to some darker places and is ultimately extremely relatable and moving.




8) Candyman (dir. Nia DaCosta)

Not quite a remake, not quote a sequel. Ok actually it is technically a sequel. A wonderfully creepy take on the Candyman legacy that adds a lot to this genre and like the best horror films, it has a lot of say about society.





9) tick tick… BOOM! (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

I’m pretty sure 2021 will go down as the year of the musical that people didn’t see or watch. Tick Tick Boom! premiered on Netflix and is wonderfully inventive and offers lots of fun, catchy music. Andrew Garfield gives a wonderful performance as Jonathan Larson, the guy who would go on to create the musical RENT. This is a very autobiographical musical. As someone who is faily unfamiliar with RENT (I’ve only ever seen the film adaptation, I know I know) I really dug this and found it to be highly entertaining. Lin-Manuel makes an auspicious directorial debut!



10) Benedetta (dir. Paul Verhoeven)

Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven is no stranger to controversy. And he’s probably made his most controversial movie yet! After the critical failure of Hollow Man in 2000 (hey I liked it) he went back to Europe to make movies there. This time he brings us the true story of Benedetta Carlini a novice nun in Tuscany who is able to perform miracles and causes quite a stir in the convent when she beings a relationship with one of the other nuns. It’s Showgirls meets Sister Act meets Stigmata. What else do you need to know? It’s completely bonkers in that perfect Paul Verhoeven way.



11) The Mitchells vs. the Machines (dir. Michael Rianda)

A wonderful animated tale of an ordinary family who has to deal with a sudden robot apocalypse while on vacation. Gorgeous animation, clever humor, terrific voice work, and a fun story and its from the guys who made The LEGO Movie and Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse so there you go.





12) King Richard (dir. Reinaldo Marcus Green)

If you told me that a movie about the father of two tennis stars was one of the best movies of the year I’d think you were crazy. But King Richard is great! A fairly straightforward “based on true events” tale of Richard Williams the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena as he helps coach them and mold them into the amazing athletes they became. It doesn’t really break the mold but Will Smith is really good as is the whole cast and I really found this story somewhat intoxicating.



13) Licorice Pizza (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

I have a love-hate relationship with PT Anderson; I love sprawling ensemble quality of Boogie Nights and Magnolia but then he got really annoyingly pretentious with things like There Will Be Blood and The Master, etc. Licorice Pizza sort of falls somewhere in between but is a fun throwback 70s set dramedy about coming of age in the San Fernando Valley. I enjoyed the sort of vignette like quality to the story and the cast is fairly strong with the scenes with Bradley Cooper being among the best.



14) The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (dir. Ian Samuels)

A sort of angsty teen version of Groundhog Day follows a teen boy and girl as they relive the same day over and over again and fall in love in the process. Not unlike the other romantic Groundhog Day comedy Palm Springs, but I found this to be much more enjoyable.





15) No Time to Die (dir. Cary Joji Fukunaga)

The Daniel Craig James Bond era comes to a smashingly good close with another enjoyable adventure made with ridiculous cinematography and crazy stunt work.





16) In the Heights (dir. John M. Chu)

Yes another musical. This is a real delight. And yes Lin-Manuel is involved yet again. Is there anything this guy can’t do?






17) House of Gucci (dir. Ridley Scott)

Yes I liked it. Yes I think it’s campy and silly. And yes I don’t hate Jared Leto in this. It's also transfixing.






18) The Lost Daughter (dir. Maggie Gyllenhaal)

Oliva Colman gives another wonderful performance as a British woman whose vacationing by herself on a Greek island and the layers slowly begin to peel back showing why she’s so melancholy. Maggie makes a particularly impressive directorial debut in a film that features some truly wonderful performances and somewhat of an intriguing mystery.




19) Don’t Look Up (dir. Adam McKay)

Another movie that Twitter hates. But I laughed a lot. This dark comedy from Adam McKay is easily my favorite of his recent string of “serious awardsy comedies” and follows scientists as they try to warn the world of impeding doom in the form of a comet that is about to strike earth. But no one seems to care. As someone who is a big fan of disaster movies I thought it was a hoot and had something to say. Oh and that cast!




20) Mass (dir. Fran Kranz)

Two couples talking in a room. That is Mass. And it’s fairly riveting. I love movies where you don’t know what is going on until you slowly begin to understand based on the talky dialogue. Nothing remotely flashy here but some searing performances. I’ll probably never watch this again since it’s so heavy but it’s worth a watch if you know what you’re getting into.