Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for January

Well, here we are. Another awards season is wrapping up. Almost all of the regional critic groups have announced their picks for the best of 2021. The Guilds have spoken. The front runners have emerged. Both Don’t Look Up and Being the Ricardos have weathered bad reviews and become probable Oscar nominees. If nothing else, I’ll have something to complain about for the next three or four months. At the same time, Power of the Dog has emerged as the critical favorite. Belfast seems to be the populist favorite. West Side Story is the big production that has to be nominated, even though no one seems to feel particularly strongly about it one way or the other. Dune is the blockbuster that the Academy is hoping will cause people to tune into the ceremony, especially now that it appears that the Spider-Man Oscar campaign has fizzled. Don’t Look Up is the “Let’s piss off the cons” nominee. Being the Ricardos is this year’s “Wow, our industry really is the best” nominee. Personally, I’m going to view tick, tick….Boom! as being the most likely dark horse to pull off an upset.

So, with all that in mind, here’s my last set of 2021 Oscar predictions.

Looking at the list below, I have to say that we certainly have a good race this year. It’s interesting that, this year, only films that were released between March and the end of December were eligible for the Oscars. 2021 was a very good year for movies! Not only do we have the nominees below but we also had films like The Father and Judas and the Black Messiah, both of which are 2021 films as far as I’m concerned.

(Consider this. If the Oscars had kept the eligibility window the same last year instead of extending it to accommodate films delayed by the pandemic, Anthony Hopkins would probably be the Best Actor front runner right now and the Academy probably would have given Chadwick Boseman a posthumous Best Actor award last April. I also imagine that Jesse Plemons would have a better chance of picking up a supporting actor nomination if the members of the Academy were currently screening both The Power of the Dog and Judas and the Black Messiah at the same time.)

To see how my thinking has evolved,  check out my predictions for March and April and May and June and July and August and September and October and November and December!

The Oscar nominations will be announced on February 8th. Below are my predictions!

Best Picture

Being The Ricardos
Don’t Look Up
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
The Power Of The Dog
Tick, Tick….Boom!
West Side Story

Best Director

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Adam McKay for Don’t Look Up

Lin-Manuel Miranda for tick, tick …. Boom!

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage in Pig

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield in tick, tick….Boom!

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Riacardos

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Bradley Cooper in Licorice Pizzia

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Troy Kostur in CODA

Jared Leto in House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Caitriona Balfe in Belfast

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard

Ruth Negga in Passing

The Films of 2021: Don’t Look Up (dir by Adam McKay)

Our story so far:

In 2010, after making audiences laugh with films like Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers, director Adam McKay released The Other Guys.  A spoof of buddy cop films, The Other Guys featured Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell as two lovably incompetent but well-intentioned cops who took down a corrupt investor played by Steve Coogan.  It was a funny movie and, along with Anchorman and Talladega Nights, it revealed that McKay was one of the few directors who understood how to best capture Ferrell’s style of comedy.  And yet, the film ended on a bit of an odd note as the end credits were accompanied with statistics on how much money Wall Street executives were getting paid while the average American struggled to keep up with their bills.  It suggested that McKay meant for Coogan’s somewhat cartoonish villain to be taken seriously.

McKay followed up The Other Guys with Anchorman 2, which had some funny moments but which was also overlong, spent a good deal of time railing against corporate sponsorship of the news, and took a jarringly serious approach to a subplot in which Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy was rendered blind.  In retrospect, it’s easy to see how The Other Guys and Anchorman 2 both lay the foundation for what would become McKay’s signature style.  The end credits for The Other Guys revealed that McKay felt he could change the world through comedy and, at the time, there was actually something charmingly naïve about his belief that he could use the end credits to turn the audience into activists.  Anchorman 2‘s excessive length and its strained attempts at being meaningful (particularly when compared to the pure fun of the first film) revealed a somewhat less charming side to McKay’s activist vision.

This all led to 2015’s The Big Short, a film in which McKay mixed broad comedy with strained drama and attempted to tell the story of the 2007 financial crisis.  It was a mess of a film, featuring Ryan Gosling introducing famous people to explain complex financial concepts.  It was also a film that occasionally attempted to be a serious tear-jerker, featuring poor old Steve Carell as an investor who still hadn’t gotten over the suicide of his brother.  At the time, The Big Short was acclaimed by some and hated by others.  Interestingly enough, some of the most liberal film critics out there dismissed the film as being smug and preachy.  There were other critics who thought the film was brilliant.  The Academy appreciated the film, nominating it for Best Picture and giving McKay an Oscar for his screenplay.  McKay, for his part, encouraged everyone watching the Oscars to vote for Bernie Sanders.

In retrospect, of course, The Big Short wasn’t very good.  A lot of the film’s so-called revolutionary style was lifted from a British film called 24-Hour People (which, make of it what you will, starred The Other Guys‘s Steve Coogan) and the film’s mocking use of celebrities was nothing that hadn’t already been done before.  Worst of all were McKay’s attempts at drama.  I’ll always remember the random scene in which Steve Carell is seen crying to Marisa Tomei about his dead brother.  “He said he was feeling sad and I tried to give him money!” Carell says.  The McKay of old would have understood that this was the point where the scene needed Tomei to deadpan, “That’s probably why he killed himself.”  However, The Big Short was directed by the new, serious McKay.

Why was The Big Short such a success with the Oscars?  In a pattern that would repeat itself, it was a film that preached to an appreciative audience of the already-converted.  No one decided to vote for Bernie Sanders as a result of watching The Big Short.  However, those who were already planning on voting for him left the film even more determined to do so.  As well, by taking place in 2007 and 2008, The Big Short allowed viewers to blame the sluggish economy on the former president as opposed to the one who was currently sitting in the White House.

In 2018, McKay returned with Vice, in which he brought his new signature style to the life of Dick Cheney.  Vice received even worse reviews than The Big Short as it attempted to get audiences to care about someone who hadn’t exactly been relevant for the last ten years.  Again, though, Vice was appreciated by a vocal group of critics and it was the second McKay film to receive a best picture nomination.  2018, of course, was a notably weak film as far as Oscar contenders were concerned.  Also, undoubtedly, there were many people who felt that nominating Vice would “own the cons.”  Of course, if those people (or McKay, for that matter) understood how deeply unpopular Cheney was with most right-wingers, they might have thought twice.  If anything, Vice’s portrayal of Cheney being a heartless insider who sacrificed American lives for his own personal and financial gain could have been written by Donald Trump.  As well, quite a few audiences members walked out of the theater thinking that Cheney had a point when he said that whatever he did, he did it to keep Americans safe.  One need only compare Oliver Stone’s Nixon biopic to Adam McKay’s Cheney biopic to see the difference between a filmmaker who makes movies about politics and an activist who allows his politics to make his movies.

Vice featured a mid-credits scene in which a focus group, having watched the film, got into a fight over whether or not Cheney was a hero.  During the fight, two girls were seen looking at their phone and talking about how they can’t wait to see the new Fast and Furious film.  That scene pretty summed up McKay’s view of the American public.  He may want to save you but that doesn’t mean that he thinks much of you.

That attitude leads us directly to McKay’s latest film, Don’t Look Up.  I fully understand that you may be wondering whether it was truly necessary to devote 1,000 words to Adam McKay’s pre-Don’t Look Up career to review his latest film.  I would argue that it was because it’s impossible to really understand Don’t Look Up unless you understand how Adam McKay has gone from directing broad but enjoyably silly comedies to being one of the most self-important filmmakers working today.  Don’t Look Up is not a film that could have been made without the undeserved accolades that were given to The Big Short and ViceDon’t Look Up is the ultimate Adam McKay film, a towering testament to McKay’s misplaced belief that the best way to convert audiences is to hit them over the head with a sledgehammer.  The flaws are obvious but they’re the same flaws that many chose to overlook in The Big Short and ViceDon’t Look Up is not very good but, as with his previous two Oscar-nominated films, that probably won’t matter when the Academy Award nominations are announced on February 8th.

The time is the near future.  Kate Dibiansky (Jennifer Lawrence) and Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) are two low-level astronomers who discover that a comet is heading straight towards the Earth.  “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!” as Kate puts it.  “I’M SO SCARED!” as Dr. Minty puts it.  They go to the White House but the President (Meryl Streep) is more concerned with her approval ratings and her son, the chief of staff (Jonah Hill), is a weirdo who keeps talking about how hot his mother is.  Kate and Randall go on a morning show but the hosts. Brie (Cate Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry), are only interested in repeating positive news.  (We all know how much news stations go out of their way to avoid panicking people.)  When Kate has a breakdown, she becomes a meme.  Randall, on the other hand, briefly becomes a celebrity and has an affair Brie.  While a strange tech billionaire (Mark Rylance) plots to harvest the comet for its minerals, Kate gets a job at a grocery store and has a weird romance with a religious skater named Yule (Timothee Chalamet).  As it slowly becomes impossible to ignore the sight of the comet approaching Earth, the President orders her supporters to “DON’T LOOK UP!”  Some insist on looking up.  Some look down.  Fights break out as people argue online.  Ariana Grande sings a song to encourage people to look up.  Meanwhile, those who always knew what was happening prepare for the world to end because you can do anything in a montage.

Don’t Look Up was envisioned as a commentary on America’s response to the climate crisis.  It was originally meant to be released during the 2020 presidential election, hence Meryl Streep playing a president who was obviously meant to be a combination of Donald and Ivanka Trump.  When DiCaprio shouts that “this administration” doesn’t care about protecting the Earth from the comet, it’s obvious which administration he was actually supposed to be referring to.  However, because of the pandemic, Don’t Look Up wasn’t released until 2021 and, as such, its portrayal of the White House being occupied by an amoral former television star doesn’t carry quite the same bite that it would have in 2020.  Because of the delay in the film’s release, many have reinterpreted Don’t Look Up as being a commentary on the COVID pandemic.

Well, regardless, of how you interpret the film, it doesn’t work.  It takes all of the flaws of The Big Short and Vice and it multiplies them several hundred times.  It’s a big, messy, and rather smug film.  The editing is self-consciously flashy, the 138-minute running time feels excessive, and McKay’s attempts to generate dramatic tension reveal that he hasn’t learned much since that scene with Carell and Tomei in The Big Short.  It’s been a while since Leonardo DiCaprio has been this bad (and this shrill) in a film while Meryl Streep acts up a storm without really making much of an impression beyond, “Hey, there’s Meryl overacting.”  On the plus side, I did like the scenes between Jennifer Lawrence and Timothee Chalamet but there aren’t many of them and one gets the idea that the only reason why Yule was included in the script was so Chalamet could join the cast.

Politically, this is a film that preaches to the converted.  Now, if you’re one of the converted, that may not matter to you.  You can watch the film and say, “That’s exactly the way it is!”  You can even say, as many have, the it’s impossible to change the minds of climate deniers so why should anyone even waste their time trying to come up with a persuasive film.  That’s a legitimate argument but it goes against the stated aims of the filmmakers.  Both McKay and screenwriter David Sirota have said that the goal of the film is to try to convert climate agnostics.  McKay recently gave an interview in which he said that his hope was that Joe Manchin would watch the film because he or a family member liked someone in the cast and that Manchin would later wake up, sweating in fear.  However, the film is so heavy-handed and so contemptuous of just about everyone on the planet (even those who look up) that it’s hard to imagine it changing anyone’s mind.  The possibility of Manchin or any other politician turning against coal power after watching Don’t Look Up is probably about as likely as an atheist converting to Christianity after watching God’s Not Dead.  If anything Don’t Look Up is the secular version of the type of films that people watch in church basements.

“I’M SO SCARED!” multiple characters are heard to shout in scenes that are obviously meant to pay homage to Network‘s cry of “I’M AS MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!”  Indeed, the film owes an obvious debt to both Network and Dr. Strangelove but McKay doesn’t seem to have learned the most important lessons that those films have to offer.  Dr. Strangelove may have featured a bunch of dumb people in Washington and it may have been full of characters with silly names but, as a director, Stanley Kubrick wisely took a straight-forward approach to his material.  Kubrick directed in an almost semi-documentary manner, giving the film a realistic feel regardless of how crazy things got onscreen.  The fact that the film played out in such a matter-of-fact, non-flashy style is why it was so effective.  If the action had stopped so Peter Sellers could deliver a 9-minute speech about the evils of nuclear war, it’s doubtful the film would be remembered today.   (Famously, Kubrick removed a custard pie fight from the finale because he realized it would take away from the film’s realism.  One doubts that McKay would have been capable of such restraint.)

As for Network, Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet both understood why it was important that Howard Beale be the made prophet of the airwaves but they also understood that there could only be one Howard Beale.  Only one man could rant and rave and be killed for low ratings.  If every character had been Howard Beale, Network would have been unwatchable.  With Don’t Look Up, McKay fills the movie with Howard Beales and it gets tedious.  The constant screams of “I’M SO SCARED!” become a sort of panic porn as opposed to being the calls for action that McKay seems to mean for them to be.

And yet, despite not being a very good movie, I have a feeling that Don’t Look Up will be nominated for Best Picture and it will be nominated for the same reason as The Big Short and Vice.  Politically, it has the right message for a very select audience.  It’s a film that will resonate with people who have a very specific way of viewing existence.  It may be a film that preaches to the converted but the converted love it.  It’s a film that appeals to those who are convinced that the world is going to end at any moment.  It’s a film for everyone who is pissed off that some people were more concerned about the next Fast and Furious film than they were with watching the latest political melodrama.

All of that said, perhaps the most interesting thing about Adam McKay’s politically-charged films is how ineffective they are.  The Big Short won an Oscar for McKay’s screenplay but Bernie Sanders twice lost the Democartic presidential nomination to candidates who were backed by Wall Street.  Indeed, much like Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, The Big Short today seems to be more likely to inspire someone to play the stock market than to rally against it.  As for Vice, Dick Cheney’s daughter is currently the media’s favorite Republican and Cheney himself was recently given a hero’s welcome when he returned to D.C.  Watching Don’t Look Up, you have to wonder how many people sympathized with the “I’M SO SCARED” crowd and how many people instead watched the rich and powerful boarding a spaceship and thought to themselves, “That’s who I want to be.”

Personally, I refuse to give up hope for Anchorman 3….

Here Are The Nominations From The Detroit Film Critics Society

The Detroit Film Critics Society announced their nominations for the best of 2021 earlier today.  It’s an interesting group of nomination, though I would point out that Detroit is usually one of the quirkier of the critics groups.  Every awards season, they nominate something or someone unexpected, there’s a brief flurry of excitement, and then everyone moves on.

I guess that’s one reason why I love them.

Anyway, here’s their nominations:

Don’t Look Up
King Richard

Sean Baker – Red Rocket
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
David Lowery – The Green Knight
Adam McKay – Don’t Look Up
Lan-Manuel Miranda – Tick, Tick…Boom!

Nicolas Cage – Pig
Peter Dinklage – Cyrano
Andrew Garfield – Tick, Tick…Boom!
Oscar Isaac – The Card Counter
Will Smith – King Richard

Jessica Chastain – The Eyes Of Tammy Faye
Alana Haim – Licorice Pizza
Jennifer Hudson – Respect
Nicole Kidman – Being The Ricardos
​Kristen Stewart – Spencer

Jon Bernthal – King Richard
Troy Kotsur – CODA
Jared Leto – House Of Gucci
Ray Liotta – The Many Saints Of Newark
Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power Of The Dog

Ariana DeBose – West Side Story
Kirsten Dunst – The Power Of The Dog
Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard
Rita Moreno – West Side Story
Diana Rigg – Last Night In Soho

Don’t Look Up
The French Dispatch
The Harder They Fall
House Of Gucci

Alana Haim – Actress – Licorice Pizza
Emilia Jones – Actress – CODA
Woody Norman – Actor – C’mon C’mon
Agathe Rousselle – Actress – Titane
Emma Seligman – Writer/Director – Shiva Baby

In The Heights
Last Night In Soho
Tick, Tick…Boom!
West Side Story

Don’t Look Up
The French Dispatch
The Harder They Fall
Licorice Pizza
Parallel Mothers

The Green Knight
In The Heights
The Power Of The Dog
Tick, Tick…Boom!

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
The Sparks Brothers
Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street
Summer Of Soul

*Sigh* Here’s The Trailer for Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up

Adam McKay has a new movie coming out.  It’s called Don’t Look Up and the cast is packed with stars.  It’s apparently a comedy about two astronomers who discover that a comet is about to collide with Earth, potentially ending all life as we know it.

Here’s the teaser:

I’m not really a big Adam McKay fan.  In fact, I think the last Adam McKay film that I really liked was AnchormanThe Big Short was overrated and smug.  Vice was an attempt to destroy Dick Cheney that, instead, rehabilitated the former vice president’s image in the eyes of many.  (I mean, seriously, it takes a certain amount of effort to screw up a film that’s only reason for existing was to portray Dick Cheney as being a sinister figure.)  Both Vice and The Big Short were victims of McKay’s tendency to try too hard to prove that he’s capable of more than just Anchorman.  (Let’s be honest, though.  If you had to pick between Anchorman and either of McKay’s Oscar-nominated films, which one are you going for?)

McKay is not a particularly good or clever political satirist but there are people who love his work, largely because they already agree with him.  His films are like the progressive, secular version of God’s Not Dead, heavy-handed, predictable, and beloved by people who exist in a very specific social and cultural bubble.  Of course, both The Big Short and Vice received several Oscar nominations but that due more to Hollywood agreeing with the film’s politics than the films themselves.

Anyway, the teaser features Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Meryl Streep, and Jennifer Lawrence, all acting up a storm.  (These are four talented actors, all of whom really need a director who is willing to say, “Okay, let’s dial it back a little.”  Subtlety, of course, is not really a McKay specialty.)  I’m not looking forward to this film but I’ll still watch it when it shows up on Netflix.  Who knows?  Maybe it’ll feel more like Anchorman than Vice.  One can only hope!

Lisa Marie’s 10 Worst Films of 2021

Also be sure to check out my picks for 2020, 201920182017201620152014201320122011, and 2010!

10. Paradise Cove (dir by Martin Guigi)
9. Eternals (dir by Chloe Zhao)
8. Spiral: From the Book of Saw (dir by Darren Lynn Bousman)
7. Space Jam: A New Legacy (dir by Malcolm D. Lee)
6. Falling (dir by Viggo Mortensen)
5. Deadly Illusions (dir by Anna Eizabeth James)
4. Being the Ricardos (dir by Aaron Sorkin)
3. Don’t Look Up (dir by Adam McKay)
2. After We Fell (dir by Castille Landon)
1. Malcolm & Marie (dir by Visionary Sam Levinson)

Triple Frontier, Review By Case Wright


The heist movie or treasure hunt movie is always the same and always pretty fun.  It’s not supposed to be Shakespeare; it’s supposed to pull you in and be a thrill ride.  This iteration is all about the down and out Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who decide to seek their fortune the old fashioned way: ripping off a drug kingpin!  In true heist genre fashion, everything works out great!

The characters came across as real Veterans to me.  After some research, the writer- Mark Boal was embedded with a platoon in Iraq and he also wrote The Hurt Locker.  The characters in Triple Frontier were like the men I knew: strong, divorced, and liked to joke.  Ben Affleck’s character Tom struck me as especially realistic.  He loved his daughter, but there was a distance because he was just not suited for civilian life.  She wanted him home, but he always wanted to be away.  You could see on her face that she knew the moment his buddies came calling that he was already gone.

Oscar Isaac plays Pope who has a gig doing private security/law enforcement in South America.  He is in pursuit of Lorea, a drug boss, who is causing all kinds of problems. Yada Yada Yada.  Pope finds the location of Lorea’s hideout which has hundreds of millions of dollars stashed inside, but he needs a team to kill Lorea, Lorea’s men, get the cash, and get out of the country.  He turns to his former squad to pull off the heist.  They need a little cajoling, but they come around. There isn’t a lot of dialogue after they agree to the heist, which makes sense.  They committed and now transitioned to soldier-mode.  The heist starts off with success in sight, but it’s not long before everything goes wrong and they are in a fight for their lives.

The film is shot really beautifully and has some high-priced songs for a Netflix program. Everything seemed very real.  Even the way the characters carried themselves and flowed through Lorea’s hideout was seamless.   They moved the way we are trained to move through rooms.  I am always looking for that in action films.  Are they not having muzzle-awareness (pointing there weapon accidentally at a friendly)?  Are they holding the rifle close to their face? Are they aiming right?  The answers to those questions were yes.   J.C. Chandor should be really proud of himself for the realism.

What kept pulling me into the story wasn’t the action (which was excellent BTW); it was that these men were like the ones I knew.  The team itself was representative of who does our killing for us: salt of the earth…men.   I like seeing women in action films and I am already excited about Black Widow, but the infantry in real life is male.  They are regular guys who are asked to do terrible terrible things.  When those terrible things are done, we cast the men aside.  The story concludes a lot like the war itself did with a lot of loss and not a lot to show for it.  This film has a political statement between the explosions and it’s worth listening to it. 

* I included Mary Pop Poppins by the True Loves in my review.  The song embodies the heist genre like no other.  Also, they are Seattleites!!!!

Here are the DGA Nominations!

The Director’s Guild announced their nominations for 2018 earlier today.

Typically, getting a DGA nomination tends to translate into a film also getting a Best Picture nomination from the Academy.  There’s been some exceptions, of course.  David Fincher somehow received a DGA nom for his work on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but the Academy was not quite as enamored.  Personally, I’m hoping that, this year, Adam McKay will get the David Fincher treatment.  McKay may have picked up a DGA nom for Vice but that doesn’t mean that the film’s actually any good.  In fact, I’d say that Vice is one of smuggest, most self-congratulatory films that I’ve ever seen but I’ll save all that for my review.

Anyway, here are the DGA nominations!  For Best Director of a Feature Film:

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Spike Lee, BlackKklansman

Adam McKay, Vice

Can you believe that, until today, Spike Lee has never received a nomination for the DGA?  Interestingly, BlackKklansman is one of his weaker films but it’s also definitely more of a mainstream crowd pleaser than some of his previous work, which I imagine is why he received a nomination for it and not Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.

This is also the first nomination for both Cooper and Peter Farrelly.  With Cooper, that makes sense because this is the first film that he’s ever directed.  But how did the Guild fail to nominate Peter Farrelly for that movie where Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are conjoined twins?

This was Cuaron’s second nomination.  It was also McKay’s second nomination, despite the fact Adam McKay hasn’t made a good film since The Other Guys.

Here are the nominations for Best First Time Director:

Bo Burhnam, Eighth Grade

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born

Carlos Lopez Estrada, Blindspotting

Matthew Heineman, A Private War

Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You

For everyone who is hoping to see Black Panther become the first comic book movie to receive a best picture nomination, it’s hard not to be disappointed by the snubbing of Ryan Coogler.  A DGA nomination would have really Black Panther with the members of the Academy who might still be hesitant about the idea of honoring a Marvel film.

Personally, I would have replaced Adam McKay with Ryan Coogler.  For that matter, I would have replaced Adam McKay with just about anyone else who had a film released last year.  Lynne Ramsay.  Debra Granik.  Yorgos Lanthimos.  The Russo Brothers.  Peyton Reed.  Who directed The Equalizer 2?  I’m not sure but I’d nominate him before I nominated Adam McKay.  Hell, I’d even build a time machine and bring Ed Wood and Phil Tucker into the present and have them collaborate on a movie about a haunted laundromat before I gave that fifth slot to Adam McKay.

Anyway, should I try to make a prediction?  Okay: Alfonso Cuaron wins Best Director for Roma while Bradley Cooper is named Best First-Time Director for A Star is Born.

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for December

Well, it’s that time of the month!

It’s time for me to post my Oscar predictions.  With precursor season in full swing, the Oscar picture has become a lot clearer.

If you want to see how my thinking has evolved over the year, be sure to check out my predictions of January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November!

Also, keep in mind — these are not necessarily my picks for the best of the year.  I’ll be posting those during the second week of January.  Instead, these predictions are based on the precursor awards and just my own guesses based on the Academy’s past picks.

Best Picture


Black Panther

The Favourite

Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk


A Star is Born


Best Director

Ryan Coogler for Black Panther

Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born

Alfonso Cuaron for Roma

Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite

Adam McKay for Vice

Best Actor

Christian Bale in Vice

Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born

Ethan Hawke in First Reformed

Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen in Green Book

Best Actress

Yalitza Aparicio in Roma

Glenn Close in The Wife

Olivia Colman in The Favourite

Lady Gaga in A Star is Born

Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali in Green Book

Timothee Chalamet in Beautiful Boy

Sam Elliott in A Star is Born

Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams in Vice

Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk

Thomasin McKenzie in Leave No Trace

Emma Stone in The Favourite

Rachel Weisz in The Favourite


Here Are The 2018 Houston Film Critics Society Nominations!

Finally, the only state that matters is starting to make it’s voice heard in this year’s Oscar race!

On Sunday, the Houston Film Critics Society announced their nominations for the best of 2018.  Houston really, really liked both The Favourite and If Beale Street Could Talk.  The winners will be announced on January 3rd.

Here are the nominees!

Best Picture
A Star is Born
Black Panther
Eighth Grade
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Favourite
First Reformed
Green Book

Best Director
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Adam McKay, Vice

Best Actor
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Best Actress
Glenn Close, The Wife
Toni Collette, Hereditary
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Vice
Claire Foy, First Man
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Best Screenplay
Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Paul Schrader, First Reformed
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Adam McKay, Vice

Best Cinematography
Rachel Morrison, Black Panther
Linus Sandgren, First Man
Robbie Ryan, The Favourite
James Laxton, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Best Animated Film
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Original Score
Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther
Justin Hurwitz, First Man
Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs
Thom Yorke, Suspiria

Best Original Song
“All the Stars,” Black Panther
“Ashes,” Deadpool 2
“Hearts Beat Loud,” Hearts Beat Loud
“Revelation,” Boy Erased
“Shallow,” A Star is Born

Best Foreign Language Film
Cold War

Best Documentary Feature
Free Solo
Minding the Gap
Three Identical Strangers
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Texas Independent Film Award
An American in Texas
The Standoff at Sparrow Creek
Support the Girls

Visual Effects
Black Panther
First Man
Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Best Poster
BlacKkKlansman (two)
Suspiria (two)

Best Worst Film of the Year
The 15:17 to Paris
The Happytime Murders
Life Itself

The St. Louis Film Critics Association Names A Star Is Born The Best Of 2018

On Sunday, the St. Louis Film Critics Association announced their picks for the best of 2018!  While A Star is Born hasn’t quite dominated the precursor season in the way that many expected that it would, it still managed to win over St. Louis.

For a full list of nominees, click here.  And check out the winners below:

A Star Is Born
Runner-up: BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
Runner-up: Alfonso Cuarón – Roma

Ethan Hawke – First Reformed
Runner-up: Christian Bale – Vice

Toni Collette – Hereditary
Runner-up: Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Runner-up: Mahershala Ali – Green Book

Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Runner-up: Emma Stone – The Favourite

Vice – Adam McKay
Runner-up: The Favourite – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara

BlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee (Screenplay); Ron Stallworth (Book)
Runner-up: Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Screenplay); Lee Israel (Book)

Vice – Hank Corwin
Runner-up: First Man – Tom Cross

Roma – Alfonso Cuarón
Runner-up: If Beale Street Could Talk – James Laxton

Black Panther – Hannah Beachler
Runner-up: The Favourite – Fiona Crombie

The Avengers: Infinity War
Runner-up: Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman – Terence Blanchard
Runner-up: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Carter Burwell

Bohemian Rhapsody
Runner-up: BlacKkKlansman

Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Runner-up: Avengers: Infinity War

The Favourite
Runner-up: Paddington 2

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
Runner-up: Isle of Dogs

Won’t You Be Me Neighbor?
Runner-up: Three Identical Strangers

Runner-up (tie): Capernaum, The Captain, The Guilty

Roma – Beach rescue
Runner-up: Bohemian Rhapsody – Live Aid