Tonight, tonight, we’ve received a surprise tonight.
An announcement was made over social media earlier today that during tonight’s Oscar presentation, the trailer for Steven Spielberg’s remake of Robert Wise’s 1961 classic, West Side Story. With Rita Moreno as an Executive Producer, the poster states that they’re keeping just about everything as it was, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s music included.
West Side Story is the tale of two individuals whose families are rival gangs, a musical version of Romeo and Juliet. It’s the kind of film that you normally don’t need to remake or even touch. It was perfect. As bold as it is to remake the film, I’m hoping it’s great.
The film stars Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Corey Stoll (Ant-Man), Brian d’Arcy James (Molly’s Game) and Rita Moreno in a supporting role.
The Oscar nominations for 2020-2021 were finally revealed earlier this month. They weren’t particularly surprising. To be honest, they were kind of boring. But, with those nominations now revealed and the Oscars sets to be awarded at the end of April, that means it’s time to start looking forward to next year!
Of course, it’s hard to say what’s going to happen next year. Most of the films that are scheduled to come out later in 2021 were originally scheduled to come out in 2020. (And they were made in 2018 and 2019, which means the first big releases of 2021 are already dated.) Right now, most of the probable nominees are films that I originally expected to be contenders last year, like Spielberg’s West Side Story and Dune. Needless to say, new contenders will emerge over the next few months. Quite frankly, I’m skeptical of West Side Story because it sounds like the type of project that will bring out all of Spielberg’s worst instincts as a filmmaker. But, until it’s released, it’ll be a contender because he’s Spielberg.
As of right now, we don’t even know what the eligibility window is going to be for the next set of Oscar contenders. Is the Academy going to go back to a December cut-off or are they going to continue to extend the eligibility window. Are we predicting the 2021 Oscars or are we predicting the 2021-2022 Oscars? Again, as of now, we just don’t know. Personally, I’m hoping they return to a December cut-off but I have a feeling that the Academy will disagree.
About the only thing we do know for sure, right now, is that the Academy is going to go back to a set number of nominees. 10 films will be nominated. No more of this maybe 7 or maybe 8 nominees. It’s about time.
Anyway, the list below is based on the assumption that the Academy’s going to go back to the old eligibility window, which means that only films released between the start of March and the end of December will be eligible for Oscar consideration.
It’s also based on the presumption that the Oscars can be predicted this far out. They can’t. But I enjoy making lists and I love the Oscars. Doing these predictions has become a part of my monthly ritual. You know how much I love a good ritual.
So, here are my potentially worthless predictions for what will be nominated next year!
Once again, even trying to predict the Oscars this year seems like a fool’s errand.
Our story so far:
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.
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?
It looked briefly as if theaters might start reopening in July. Tenet awaits!
Oh wait, there’s still a pandemic going on. Keep those theaters closed.
But what about Tenent!? Tenet will open in July, no matter what!
Tenet gets moved back to August. Every other big production gets moved back to August and chances are they’ll get moved back again.
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.
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.
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!
News of the World
On The Rocks
West Side Story
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
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
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.