Film Review: The Woman In The Window (dir by Joe Wright)


Joe Wright’s The Woman In The Window is a film that was kicked around a bit before it was eventually released.

Based on the best-selling novel by A.J. Finn, The Woman In The Window was filmed in 2018 and was originally set to be released in October of 2019.  At the time, there were many who predicted that this would be the film for which Amy Adams would finally win an Oscar.  However, after a few poor test screenings, the release of Woman In The Window was pushed back.  The film’s producer, the now-infamous Scott Rudin, reportedly brought in Tony Gilory to re-shoot a few scenes.  The film was finally set to be released in May of 2020 and, needless to say, it was no longer expected to be an Oscar contender.  Then, the pandemic hit and, like so many movies, The Woman In The Window was left in limbo.  With its theatrical release canceled, the film was eventually purchased by Netflix.  Netflix finally released it in May of this year.  With all of the delays and the bad buzz, the critics had plenty of time to sharpen their knives and I don’t think anyone was surprised when the film got scathing reviews.

Though the film was completed long before the lockdowns, The Woman In The Window does feel like a COVID thriller.  Anna Fox (played by Amy Adams) is a child psychologist who is afraid to leave her Manhattan brownstone.  She has agoraphobia, the result of a personal trauma.  She’s not only scared to leave the safety of her apartment but she’s also terrified of anyone else getting inside.  She spends her days spying on the neighbors, drinking wine, and watching old movies.  Of course, that’s also what many people in the real world spent most of the past year doing.  As I watched Anna freak out over some trick or treaters throwing eggs at her door, I was reminded of my neighbor who, a few months ago, nearly had a panic attack because she saw someone walking past her house without a mask.  One could argue that the world itself has become agoraphobic.

Despite her housebound status, Anna does still have a few contacts with the outside world.  For instance, a psychiatrist (played by Tracy Letts, who also wrote the script) comes by every weekend.  She has a tenant named David (Wyatt Russell) who lives in her basement.  She regularly has conversations with her husband and her daughter, who she says are both living in another state.  And eventually, she meets Ethan (Fred Hechinger), the 15 year-old who has just moved in across the street.  When Anna thinks that she’s witnessed Ethan’s father (Gary Oldman) murdering his mother (Julianne Moore), Anna calls the cops.  However, when a totally different woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) shows up and claims to be Ethan’s mother, Anna is forced to try to solve the mystery herself.

The Woman In The Window is a disjointed and rather messy film but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy it.  The novel (which I also greatly enjoyed) was told entirely from Anna’s point of view, which means that we saw everything through the eyes of a sometimes unreliable narrator.  The novel did such a good job of putting us inside of Anna’s head that it didn’t matter that the story itself was full of improbable coincidences.  Director Joe Wright tries to recreate the novel’s uneasiness through garish lighting, crooked camera angles, and abrupt jump cuts.  Sometimes, it’s effective (as when Anna tries to leave her apartment in the rain, just to pass out after having a panic attack) and other times, the technique feels a bit too obvious.  And then there’s other scenes — like when Anna suddenly sees an overturned car in the middle of her living room — where it becomes brilliantly bizarre.  It’s in those scenes, in which the film carefully balances on the line between the surreal and the silly, that Wright seems to be most comfortable as a director.  Much as he did with Anna Karenina, Wright fills The Woman In The Window with scenes that suggest that, on some level, the characters are aware that they’re just characters in a B-melodrama.

Indeed, despite being directed by a great filmmaker and featuring a cast of award-winning actors, The Woman In The Window is a B-movie and, when taken on those terms, it’s an entertaining melodrama.  Interestingly enough, it actually helps that almost everyone in the film has either been miscast or is too obvious a choice for their role.  Gary Oldman is such an on-the-nose choice to play a tyrannical authority figure that it actually makes sense that a film buff like Anna would automatically assume the worst about him.  Julianne Moore has even less screen time than Oldman but she makes the most of it, playing yet another one of her talkative characters who doesn’t appear to have the ability to filter her thoughts.  It’s the type of role that Moore specializes in and one that she could probably play in her sleep but she and Adams establish a good rapport and the scene that they share is one of the best in the film.  Speaking of which, Amy Adams is so incredibly miscast as Anna that you actually find yourself rooting for her to somehow bring the character to life.  Amy Adams is one of the few performers who can make being cheerful compelling so it seems like a bit of a waste to cast her as a self-destructive agoraphobe who can’t leave her apartment  And yet, much as in Hillbilly Elegy where she was similarly miscast, Adams seems to be trying so hard to make her casting work that you appreciate the effort, even if she doesn’t quite succeed.  She’s just so likable that you sympathize with her, even if she isn’t quite right for the role.

(Myself, I pictured Naomi Watts in the role when I read the book.)

As a film, The Woman In The Window shares the book’s flaws.  The plot is a bit too heavy on coincidences and we’re asked to believe that Anna, who can’t leave her house without having a panic attack and who is terrified of someone getting into her house without her knowledge, would also invite Ethan to visit her and allow David to live in her basement.  As well, it’s hard to watch the movie without wondering which scenes were reshot by Tony Gilroy.  (The final scene especially feels out-of-place with what came before it, leading me to suspect that it may have been added in response to those negative test screenings.)  But, while the film’s defects are obvious, I still enjoyed it.  It may be flawed but it’s hardly the disaster that some have made it out to be.

The Woman in the Window

Here Are The SAG Nominations!


Here are the SAG nominations!  I’ll be post my thoughts under the noms because — let’s be honest, the noms are what you’re here for:

BEST ENSEMBLE
Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari
One Night In Miami
The Trial Of The Chicago 7

BEST LEAD ACTOR (FEMALE)
Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces Of A Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

BEST LEAD ACTOR (MALE)
Riz Ahmed – Sound Of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Gary Oldman – Mank
Steven Yeun – Minari

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (FEMALE)
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman – The Father
Youn Yuh-Jung – Minari
Helena Zengel – News Of The World

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (MALE)
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial Of The Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas And The Black Messiah
Jared Leto – The Little Things
Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night In Miami

BEST STUNT ENSEMBLE
Da 5 Bloods
Mulan
News of the World
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Wonder Woman 1984

BEST ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul
Bridgerton
The Crown
Lovecraft Country
Ozark

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Gillian Anderson – The Crown
Olivia Colman – The Crown
Emma Corrin – The Crown
Julia Garner – Ozark
Laura Linney – Ozark

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jason Bateman – Ozark
Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us
Josh O’Connor – The Crown
Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
Regé-Jean Page – Bridgerton

BEST ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES
Dead To Me
The Flight Attendant
The Great
Schitt’s Creek
Ted Lasso

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nicholas Hoult – The Great
Daniel Levy – Schitt’s Creek
Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek
Jason Sudekis – Ted Lasso
Ramy Youseff – Ramy

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Christina Applegate – Dead To Me
Linda Cardellini – Dead To Me
Kaley Cuoco – The Flight Attendant
Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek
Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek

BEST ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE/LIMITED SERIES
Bill Camp – The Queen’s Gambit
​Daveed Diggs – Hamilton
Hugh Grant – The Undoing
Ethan Hawke – The Good Lord Bird
Mark Ruffalo – I Know This Much Is True

BEST ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE/LIMITED SERIES
Cate Blanchett – Mrs. America
Cole – I May Destroy You
Nicole Kidman – The Undoing
Anya Taylor-Joy – The Queen’s Gambit
Kerry Washington – Little Fires Everywhere

Okay, my thoughts:

I guess the big news is that the SAG appreciated Hillbilly Elegy a bit more than the critics.  Glenn Close picking up a supporting actress nom isn’t a huge shock but I do think a few people were a bit surprised to see Amy Adams nominated.  Personally, I think Amy Adams was okay in Hillbilly Elegy but I’ll be kind of disappointed if — after all the great performance she’s given — this is the one that she picks up an Oscar for.

We all kind of laughed off Jared Leto picking up that supporting nomination from the Golden Globes but the SAG nominated him as well!  Is this a sign of momentum or just a crazy coincidence?  Either way, this doesn’t bode well for the Oscar hopes of Sound of Metal‘s Paul Raci.  Raci’s picked up a lot of critical support but getting snubbed by both the Globes and SAG doesn’t seem like a good sign.

Speaking of signs, I’m going to assume that Sidney Flanigan’s Oscar hopes are pretty much gone.  Like Raci, she seems like she would have needed either a GG or a SAG nomination to really break through.

Amanda Seyfried was not nominated.  That took me by surprise but it didn’t upset me as much as Raci getting snubbed, largely because I like Sound of Metal considerably more than Mank.

I think Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods is the overrated film of 2020 but you still have to wonder how the film could pick up a Best Ensemble nomination without also getting best actor nomination for Delroy Lindo.  Lindo was also snubbed by the Globes so again, the prospect of him getting nominated for an Oscar no longer seems like a sure thing.

Good news for Steven Yeun!  Some people were writing him off after he didn’t get a Golden Globe nomination but the SAG nomination puts him right back into the hunt.

Finally, the SAG is one of the best precursors regarding what films and performances will actually receive Oscar nominations.  So, whether or not I or anyone else agrees with all of the nominations, the nominees have to be feeling very happy right now.  Best of luck to them all!

The Films of 2020: Hillbilly Elegy (dir by Ron Howard)


Oh, Hillbilly Elegy.

This is a film that I think a lot of people expected to be an Oscar contender because it was directed by industry favorite Ron Howard, it was based on a genuinely moving best seller, and the cast included Amy Adams and Glenn Close, two actresses who are more than overdue for their first Academy Award.  I don’t think anyone expected it to win much, largely because Ron Howard isn’t exactly the most groundbreaking director working in Hollywood, but it was still expected to be contender.

Even before it was released, there were a few signs that Hillbilly Elegy might not be the award-winning film that some were expecting.  The first images from the film featured Glenn Close and Amy Adams looking like characters from some sort of ill-conceived SNL sketch.  Then the trailer came out and it was so obviously Oscar bait-y and heavy handed that it was hard not to suspect that the film was trying just a bit too hard.  By the time the film itself finally premiered in November, I think a lot of people were specifically waiting for their chance to skewer it.

Make no mistake about it, Hillbilly Elegy deserves a certain amount of skewering.  Its a bit of a tonal mess and, far too often, it feels as if Ron Howard is inviting us to gawk at the film’s characters as opposed to showing them any sort of real empathy.  Those critics who have claimed that the film occasionally feels like “poverty porn” have a point.

And yet, despite all of those legitimate complaints, I would argue that the film is partially redeemed by the performance of Glenn Close.  Close plays Meemaw, who always seems to be carrying a lit cigarette and who has no hesitation about threating to beat the Hell out of her children and her grandchildren.  Meemaw lives in a cluttered house that probably reeks of smoke.  The TV is almost always on.  Meemaw is a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  If you’ve ever wanted to hear Glenn Close say, “Hasta la vista, baby,” this is the film for you.  Meemaw is a somewhat frightening character (during one flashback, she sets her drunk husband on fire) but she’s also the most caring character in the film.  When it becomes obvious that her drug addict daughter, Bev (Amy Adams), is incapable of taking care of J.D. (played by Owen Aszatlos as a teen and Gabriel Basso as an adult), Meemaw essentially kidnaps J.D. and take him home with her.  Close’s performance is undeniably theatrical but it works.  She communicates that underneath all the bluster and the profanity and the anger and the cigarette smoke, Meemaw truly does love her family.  Glenn Close transcends the film’s flaws and brings some real heart to the story.

Hillbilly Elegy opens with J.D. as a student at Yale Law School, hoping to get accepted for a prestigious summer internship.  Meanwhile, all the other Ivy Leaguers treat J.D. like some sort of alien on display because he’s originally from Kentucky, he served in the army, and he went to a state school.  Though ambitious and intelligent, J.D. still feels likes an outsider.  When he goes to a banquet and discovers that he’ll be required to use different forks throughout the meal, he calls his girlfriend (Frieda Pinto) and gets a quick lesson on which fork to use when.

Unfortunately, before the meal even starts, J.D. gets a call from his sister, Lindsay (Haley Bennett), telling him that Bev has overdosed on heroin and is at the hospital.  J.D. has to drive all the way to Ohio so that he can try to get his mother into a drug rehab.  Because Bev doesn’t have medical insurance and would rather just stay with her good-for-nothing boyfriend, that turns out to be a bit more difficult than J.D. was anticipating.  The film becomes a race against time to see if J.D. can get his mom taken care of and still make it back to Connecticut so that he can interview for a prestigious internship.  Along the way, there are frequent flashbacks to Meemaw telling the young J.D. that he can be something better than just a hillbilly.  All he has to do is try and not give up.

By structuring his film as a series of flashbacks, Ron Howard ensures that there’s really not any suspense about whether or not J.D. is going to be able to escape from Appalachia.  Since we’ve already seen that the adult J.D. is going to be end up going to Yale, it’s hard to get worried when we see the teen J.D. smoking weed and hanging out with a bunch of losers.  We know that J.D. is going to get over his adolescent rebellion and get his life straightened out.  The film tries to create some tension about whether or not J.D. is going to be able to make his internship interview but, again, J.D. is going to Yale and living with Frieda Pinto.  From the minute we see J.D., we know that he’s going to be just fine regardless of whether he gets that internship or not.  In fact, his constant worrying about missing his interview starts to feel a bit icky.  While Bev is dealing with her heroin addiction, Ron Howard is focusing on J.D. driving back to Connecticut as if the audience is supposed to be saying, “Oh my God, has he at least reached New Jersey yet!?”  This is the type of storytelling choice that could only have been made by a very wealthy and very comfortable director.  It reminded me a bit of The Post and Steve Spielberg’s conviction that, when it came to the decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, audiences would naturally be more interested in the owner of the newspaper than the people who actually did the work breaking the story.  Here, Howard seems to be saying, “Yes, Bev might overdose and die having never reconciled with her son but the real tragedy is that J.D. might have to settle for his second choice as far as prestigious summer internships are concerned.”

Along with the story’s structural issues, the film also suffers because the usually wonderful Amy Adams is miscast as Bev.  Adams acts up a storm as Bev but the performance itself a bit too obvious and on-the-surface.  While Glenn Close disappears into the role of Meemaw, you never forget that you’re watching Amy Adams playing a character who is a bit more troubled than the usual Amy Adams role.  You don’t think to yourself, “Oh my God, Bev is losing it.”  Instead, you think, “Amy Adams sure is yelling a lot in this movie.”  Somehow, Hillbilly Elegy makes Amy Adams feel inauthentic, which is something that, before I watched this film, I wouldn’t have believed to be be possible.

Aside from Glenn Close’s performance, Hillbilly Elegy doesn’t quite work and that’s a shame because I do think that a good film could have been made from Vance’s book.  Unfortunately, Ron Howard doesn’t bring any sort of grittiness to the film’s depiction of what it’s like to be poor and forgotten in America.  Instead, the film feels just a bit too slick.  It attempts to be both a film about poverty and a crowd pleaser.  When the movie should be showing empathy for its characters, it puts them on display.  When it should be challenging the audience, it pats us on the back as if we should feel proud of ourselves merely because we spent two hours watching J.D. and his family.  The film just doesn’t work.  No wonder Meemaw prefers watching The Terminator.

The Sunset Film Circle Honors Promising Young Woman


So, as we all know, December is typically the start of Awards Season but this year, things are up in the air.  With the Academy extending the eligibility window (don’t even get me started on how annoyed I am about that), a lot of critics groups have also pushed back their selection date.  For instance, the National Board of Review will not be announcing their picks until January.  The Golden Globe nominations will not be announced until February.  Things are going to be a bit messed up.

At the same time, some critics groups are still going to be announcing their picks for the best of the year in December, which is the way it should be.  (When it comes time for me to make my annual “best of” list, I will only be considering films that were actually released in 2020.)  With that in mind, the Sunset Film Circle is a new group that, earlier today, announced their picks for the best of 2020!

And here they are (winners in bold):

BEST FILM

Promising Young Woman 

(Runner-up: Mank)

 

TOP FILMS

The Father

The King of Staten Island

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mank

Minari

Nine Days

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Saint Maud

Sound of Metal

 

BEST DIRECTOR

Lee Isaac Chung – Minari

David Fincher – Mank

Darius Marder – Sound of Metal

Florian Zeller – The Father

Chloe Zhao – Nomadland (Runner-up)

 

BEST ACTOR

Ben Affleck – The Way Back

Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Winston Duke – Nine Days

Anthony Hopkins – The Father (runner-up)

 

BEST ACTRESS

Morfydd Clark – Saint Maud

Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy (runner up)

Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman

Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Bill Burr – The King of Staten Island (runner up)

Bill Murray – On The Rocks

Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night in Miami

Paul Raci – Sound of Metal

Stanley Tucci – Supernova

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy (runner-up)

Zazie Beetz – Nine Days

Olivia Colman – The Father

Amanda Seyfried – Mank

Youn Yuh-jung – Minari 

 

BEST ENSEMBLE

Hillbilly Elegy (runner-up)

The King of Staten Island

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Minari

The Prom

 

BEST SCREENPLAY

The Father – Christopher Hampton & Florian Zeller

Minari – Lee Isaac Chung

Nine Days – Edson Oda

Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell (runner-up)

Sound of Metal – Derek Cianfrance & Darius Marder

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Gretel & Hansel – Galo Olivares

Mank – Erik Messerschmidt

Nomadland – Joshua James Richards (runner up)

Sound of Metal – Daniël Bouquet

Tenet – Hoyte Van Hoytema

 

BEST SCORE

First Cow – William Tyler

Gretel & Hansel – Robin Coudert

Minari – Emile Mosseri (runner-up)

Soul – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Tenet – Ludwig Göransson

 

BEST BREAKTHROUGH

Kiera Allen – Run (runner-up)

Nicole Beharie – Miss Juneteenth

Joe Kerry – Spree

Orion Lee – First Cow

Jo Ellen Pellman – The Prom

 

SCENE STEALER

Michael Keaton – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (runner-up)

Gabourey Sidibe – Antebellum

Toby Wallace – Babyteeth

Wil Wheaton – Rent-A-Pal

 

DIRECTORS TO WATCH

Radha Blank – The 40-Year-Old Version

Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman

Rose Glass – Saint Maud (runner-up)

Edson Oda – Nine Days

Jon Stevenson – Rent-A-Pal

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For October


The big news this month is that Respect will no longer be getting released in January.  It’s been moved back so drop it from your Oscar predictions.

Here are my current predictions.  Take them with grain of salt and all the rest.  The more and more I think about it, the more annoyed I am with the Academy extending the eligibility window.  With all of the biggest contenders delaying their opening for a year, that extension seems more and more silly.

To be honest, I’m starting to have my doubts whether the film industry, as we know it, will even exist in another year or so.  I think eventually, we’ll just have a propaganda industry with the government subsidizing Hollywood on the condition that Hollywood only make certain types of films.  It’s going to suck.  The worst part is that most of the people who should speak out against that sort of thing won’t.  So many critics have down the partisan rabbit hole that they’re now more concerned with keeping the politicians happy than with actually writing about movies.

After looking at these, please check out my predictions for JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune, July, August, and September!

Best Picture

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

On the Rocks

The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Director

David Fincher for Mank

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Regina King for One Night in Miami

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

 

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Gary Oldman in Mank

Steven Yeun in Minari

 

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

 

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Bill Murray in On The Rocks

Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night In Miami

David Strathairn in Nomandland

 

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman in The Father

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Amanda Seyfried in Mank

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Here’s The Trailer For Hillybilly Elegy!


Here’s the trailer for Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy!

This film has been getting some Oscar buzz, which I guess you would expect from a film directed by Ron Howard and starring Glenn Close and Amy Adams.  It’ll be released, by Netflix, on November 24th.  I’m actually looking forward to it, just because I’ve got relatives who live a similar life to the people in this movie.  To be honest, though, the trailer looks almost too Oscar bait-y.  Sometimes, when it’s way too obvious that you’re going for the awards, it can backfire.

We’ll see.  Amy Adams is one of my favorite actresses.  I can’t believe she hasn’t already won an Oscar.

Here’s the trailer:

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for August


As this very strange year enters into the home stretch, it does seem like, almost despite itself, the Oscar picture is becoming a little bit clearer.  The Venice and Toronto film festivals have announced their lineups.  Theaters are tentatively reopening and, assuming that there isn’t a spike in moviegoers contracting the Coronavirus as a result, the majority of them could be reopen by December.  For all the talk about how this year was going to be the Streaming Oscars, it’s totally possible that, with the eligibility window being extended to February and assuming theaters don’t have to close again, the Oscars could, once again, be dominating by traditional theatrical releases.

Anyway, here are my predictions for this month.  Though the picture may have cleared a little, the year is still pretty uncertain so take these with a grain of salt.  I imagine, over the next month, we’ll see a lot of movies scheduled for that January/February window of eligibility.

Be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, and July!

Best Picture

Ammonite

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

Respect

Soul

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Gary Oldman in Mank

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillybilly Elegy

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Natasha Lyonne in The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Meryl Streep in The Prom

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for July


At this point, who knows anything?

I’m making my monthly predictions on the assumption that most of these movies are even going to be released this year (and during the first two months of 2021).  I may be making an even bigger assumption when I predict that they’ll even give out Oscars for 2020.  Right now, it’s hard to know what’s going to happen.

But I am going to keep making these predictions because their fun to make and I believe that you do have to have some sort of normalcy in life.  You can’t just say, “OH MY GOD, EVERYTHING’S SO NEGATIVE!  I’M JUST GOING TO SIT IN FRONT OF TWITTER AND DRINK FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!”  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  A lot of people are, in fact, saying and doing just that.  It’s kind of sad to think about the number of people who I once liked but who I have still, over the past few months, muted because I’m just sick of all the drama.  I suppose I could list them all here just to see if any of them are actually bothering to read my posts but …. no, no.  This post is about the movies and the performers and the Oscars who make every year a special year.

Be sure to check out my previous predictions for January, February, March, April, May, and June!

Best Picture

Ammonite

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

Kajillionaire

News of the World

Nomadland

Respect

Soul

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Bill Murray in On The Rocks

Gary Oldman in Mank

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillybill Elegy

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Tom Burke in Mank

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking about Jamie

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman in The Father

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Debra Winger in Kajillionaire

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions For June


Once again, even trying to predict the Oscars this year seems like a fool’s errand.

Our story so far:

  1. COVID-19 shut everything down, including both theaters and production on many of the films that were expected to be contenders for the 2020 Oscars.
  2. The Academy announced that, for this year only, VOD and streaming-only films would be considered eligible for the Oscars.  That’s good news for all of the films premiering on Netflix and Prime right now, right?
  3. It looked briefly as if theaters might start reopening in July.  Tenet awaits!
  4. Oh wait, there’s still a pandemic going on.  Keep those theaters closed.
  5. But what about Tenent!?  Tenet will open in July, no matter what!
  6. Tenet gets moved back to August.  Every other big production gets moved back to August and chances are they’ll get moved back again.
  7. The Academy, meanwhile, throws everything into even more disarray by announcing that they will be extending the eligibility window to the end of February of 2021.
  8. And now, we’re all waiting to see which films will be moved either back or forward to a January or February 2021 opening in order to qualify for the Oscars.

In other words, who knows what’s going to be eligible once the Academy finally gets around to selecting their nominees.  Personally, I wish they hadn’t moved the eligibility window.  It feels like a bunch of studios complained about the having to release all of their big movies via VOD so the Academy said, “Okay, we’ll give you an extra two months.”  With the way things are going, though, it’s totally possible that theaters could still be closed in January and February so joke’s on them.  ENJOY YOUR VOD OSCARS, YA BASTARDS!

Anyway, here are my monthly Oscar predictions.  I did the best I could with what little information is actually out there.  Normally, I would say that the Da 5 Bloods came out too early to be remembered at Oscar time but this is not a typical year.  Despite the best picture victories of 12 Years A Slave and Moonlight, no black director has ever won best director.  If there’s ever a year when the Academy is going to be motivated to rectify that, it will be this year.

Anyway, be sure to check out my equally useless predictions for January, February, March, April, and May!

Best Picture

Ammonite

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

News of the World

Nomadland

On The Rocks

Respect

Soul

West Side Story

Best Director

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Courier

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Sir Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Bill Murray in On the Rocks

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Angelina Jolie in Those Who Wish Me Dead

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Tom Burke in Mank

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Best Supporting Actress

Abigail Breslin in Stillwater

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Lisa Marie’s Possibly Pointless and Totally Random Oscar Predictions for April


To do Oscar predictions during a pandemic or not?

That’s the question.

Erik Anderson at Awards Watch announced on twitter that he’s not doing his monthly Oscar predictions for April and May.  (He is, however, focusing on the Emmys so be sure to visit the site and check out his thoughts!)  Over at Clayton Davis’s Awards Circuit, the Oscar predictions have been taken down and replaced by an ominous (though definitely needed) counter of how many people are currently infected with the Coranavirus.  As of right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty.  Are theaters even going to reopen before the year ends and if they do reopen, will people be willing to run the risk of going outside to see a movie?  So many of the big films of 2020 have been moved back to 2021 that one could legitimately wonder whether any of the big “Oscar” films are even going to come out this year. Most ominously, for me, is that we could get hit by a second wave of the Coronavirus.  It’s easy to imagine a situation where theaters reopen in the summer and, regardless of how business goes, are forced to close again in December.

The Academy is aware that the future is uncertain.  Earlier this week, they loosened the eligibility rules.  Films that premiere on VOD or a streaming service are now eligible for Oscar consideration as long as it can been proven that the film would have also gotten a theatrical release if not for the pandemic.  I’m not sure how exactly that could be proven but it does show that the Academy is, as of now, planning to give out some Oscars next February.

(Of course, just because the rules have been temporarily loosened, that doesn’t mean that every studio and director is going to want to put their huge blockbusters out on Prime or Netflix or VOD.  I doubt Spielberg wants to premiere West Side Story in your living room.)

So, for that reason, I’m going to continue to do my monthly Oscar predictions.  Needless to say, these are even more random than usual. The predictions below are also being made on the assumption that theaters will be open in November, December, and January.  Again, there are no guarantees, other than perhaps Netflix.

So, without further ado, here are my predictions.  Also, be sure to check out my predictions from January, February, and March!

Best Picture

Ammonite

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

On The Rocks

Respect

West Side Story

Best Director

Sofia Coppola for On The Rocks

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Francis Lee for Ammonite

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Best Actor

Ben Affleck in The Way Back

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Bill Murray in On The Rocks

Gary Oldman in Mank

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Sofia Loren in The Life Ahead

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Tom Burke in Mank

Bo Hopkins in Hillybilly Elegy

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steve Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Glen Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Amanda Seyfried in Mank

Helena Zengel in News of the World

We’ll see what happens.  Right now, your guess is as good as mine.  In fact, your guess is probably better.