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
Belfast
CODA
Don’t Look Up
Dune
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

Film Review: Being the Ricardos (dir by Aaron Sorkin)


Has Aaron Sorkin ever met anyone who doesn’t sound like Aaron Sorkin?

That was the question that I found myself considering as I watched Sorkin’s latest film, Being the RIcardos.  The film may present itself as being a film about Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) but neither Lucy nor Desi ever come across as being actual human beings or even celebrities trying to be human.  Instead, they both come across as Sorkin stock characters.  Lucy is the socially maladjusted genius who demands a lot from the people working for her and who struggles with apologizing.  Desi is irresponsible but a hard worker, a man who makes a lot of mistakes but who should never be underestimated.  They speak in quips and they instinctively understand what the people in their audience want to see.  Who can keep up with Lucy and Desi?  Certainly not the suits from the network!  Trial of the Chicago 7 had Tom Hayden and Abbie Hoffman taking on the military industrical complex.  Being the Ricardos has Lucy and Desi taking on both the entertainment industry and the McCarthy era.

The film claims to tell the story of the week that Lucy and Desi’s show, I Love Lucy, was nearly destroyed.  The week started with columnist Walter Winchell revealing that, when she was in her 20s, Lucy was briefly registered as a member of the Communist Party.  (Lucy explains that she did it as a favor for her grandfather, who “cared about the working man.”)  The day after learning that her subversive past has been exposed, Lucy and Desi tell the show’s writing staff that Lucy is pregnant and they expect the writers to write her pregnancy into the show regardless of what the uptight studio execs declare.  Meanwhile, Lucy has to deal with rumors of Desi’s infidelity while Desi struggles with being overshadowed by his wife.  Lucy’s co-star, Vivian Vance (Nina Arianda), resents having to play a frumpy character while her other co-star, William Frawley (J.K. Simmons), spends most of the movie drunk off his ass.  If anything Frawley and Vance come across as being more interesting than either Lucy or Desi but, just as in real life, this is the Lucy show.  Frawley makes a few drunken comments about a seven year-old communist.  Vance sits in her dressing room and fumes.  In real life, when she learned Lucy was pregnant, she reportedly yelled, “I’d tell you to go fuck yourself but apparently Desi already did that!”  That line isn’t in the film, which is a shame.

The film skips around in time.  There’s an odd framing device, taking place in what I presume is meant to be the 80s and featuring the surviving members of the production staff are being interviewed for a documentary.  Why Sorkin decided to use this documentary device is odd.  It seems like he could have just used real archival footage if he wanted to go for a documentary approach as opposed to staging a fake documentary where older actors playing real people still sound like relentlessly quippy supporting characters in a Sorkin film.  We also get the occasional flashback to the early days of Lucy and Desi’s relationship, none of which are particularly interesting.  One of the people being interviewed for the documentary tells us that, before she met Desi, Lucy was being groomed to become a serious dramatic actress.  “She could have starred in All About Eve and blown the doors off!” we’re told and that’s great but is that the opinion on the fictionalized person being interviewed for the documentary or is that something that Aaron Sorkin came up with to try to create some dramatic tension?  I mean, saying that Lucy would have been the equal of Bette Davis is quite a statement but the film doesn’t show us any scenes of Lucy being a particularly skilled dramatic actress so it just comes across as being kind of overly dramatic thing to say.

We do get several scenes of Lucy explaining why jokes are funny.  Nicole Kidman gets a very serious look on her face while Sorkin shows us what’s happening inside her mind.  Lucy pictures herself, in black-and-white, stepping on grapes in Italy.  Dramatic music swells as we snap back to Lucy declaring what the scene needs to truly be funny.  (“I lose an earring,” she says, as if she’s just figured out how to resolve Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy.)  It’s the sort of thing that makes you wonder if Aaron Sorkin has ever actually told a joke that he didn’t spend a few hours thinking about ahead of time.  The film’s portrayal of what went on behind-the-scenes of I Love Lucy is so portentous and overdramatic that it really only makes sense if you accept the idea of creating television being some sort of religious ritual, with showrunners and producers taking the place of God.  God needed 6 days to create the world but Lucy only needs 5 to create classic television comedy.  Take that, God!

Aaron Sorkin is a writer who desperately needs a cynical collaborator.  With The Social Network and Moneyball, Sorkin was fortunate to be paired with David Fincher and Bennett Miller, two directors with notably dark views of humanity and who served to temper Sorkin’s sanguine excesses.  When Sorkin directs his own material, the audience ends up with scenes like Joseph Gordon-Levitt standing in protest at the end of The Trial of the Chicago 7 or Desi Arnaz calling J. Edgar Hoover from the set of I Love Lucy in Being The Ricardos.  These are deeply silly scenes that did not happen in real life and which, even more importantly, should never have gotten past a first draft.  Sorkin’s need to end everything with a “big hero” moment is his most glaring flaw as both a writer and a director.

For the record, Lucille Ball did register as a communist when she was younger.  And, indeed, it is true that she did it as a favor for her grandfather.  It was briefly a news story but Lucy was quickly cleared.  Before shooting that week’s episode, Desi told the audience that “The only thing red about Lucy is her hair and even that is not legitimate.”  That was a good line and no, Desi didn’t need the help of J. Edgar Hoover to sell it.

Alex Skarsgard seeks vengeance in Robert Eggers’ The Northman Trailer!


Robert Eggers is back with another film, and I couldn’t be more excited for it. I’m a little surprised that The Northman isn’t under A24 like his other films. This time, Eggers is working with Focus Features and Universal.

Look at this cast: Alexander Skarsgârd (Godzilla vs. Kong), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos), Claes Bang (Netflix’s Dracula), Willem Dafoe (Eggers’ The Lighthouse), Anya Taylor-Joy (Eggers’ The Witch), Ethan Hawke (The Black Phone) and Bjork (Dancer in the Dark). Much like Conan, The Northman follows a man hellbent on avenging his father’s death.

The Northman releases in theatres April 22.

Here Are the 2021 Nominations of the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics!


The Washington D.C. Area Film Critics have announced their nominees for the best of 2021!  The winners will be announced tomorrow so that means you have exactly one day to see all the nominees.  GET TO IT!

Best Film
Belfast
The Green Knight
The Power of the Dog
tick, tick…BOOM!
West Side Story

Best Director
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
David Lowery – The Green Knight
Steven Spielberg – West Side Story
Denis Villeneuve – Dune

Best Actor
Nicolas Cage – Pig
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield – tick, tick…BOOM!
Will Smith – King Richard
Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Actress
Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter
Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
Lady Gaga – House of Gucci
Kristen Stewart – Spencer
Tessa Thompson – Passing

Best Supporting Actor
Jamie Dornan – Belfast
Ciarán Hinds – Belfast
Troy Kotsur – CODA
Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog
Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress
Caitríona Balfe – Belfast
Ariana DeBose – West Side Story
Ann Dowd – Mass
Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog
Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard

Best Acting Ensemble
Belfast
The French Dispatch
The Harder They Fall
Mass
The Power of the Dog

Best Youth Performance
Jude Hill – Belfast
Emilia Jones – CODA
Woody Norman – C’mon, C’mon
Saniyya Sidney – King Richard
Rachel Zegler – West Side Story

Best Voice Performance
Awkwafina – Raya and the Last Dragon
Stephanie Beatriz – Encanto
Abbi Jacobson – The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Kelly Marie Tran – Raya and the Last Dragon
Jacob Tremblay – Luca

Best Original Screenplay
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Mike Mills – C’mon, C’mon
Zach Baylin – King Richard
Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
Fran Kranz – Mass

Best Adapted Screenplay
Siân Heder – CODA
Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth – Dune
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
Steven Levenson – tick, tick…BOOM!
Tony Kushner – West Side Story

Best Animated Feature
Encanto
Flee
Luca
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon

Best Documentary
The First Wave
Flee
The Rescue
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Val

Best International/Foreign Language Film
Drive My Car
A Hero
Lamb
Titane
The Worst Person in the World

Best Production Design
Jim Clay, Production Designer; Claire Nia Richards, Set Decorator – Belfast
Patrice Vermette, Production Designer; Richard Roberts and Zsuzsanna Sipos, Set Decorators – Dune
Adam Stockhausen, Production Designer; Rena DeAngelo, Set Decorator – The French Dispatch
Tamara Deverell, Production Designer; Shane Vieau, Set Decorator – Nightmare Alley
Adam Stockhausen, Production Designer; Rena DeAngelo, Set Decorator – West Side Story

Best Cinematography
Haris Zambarloukos – Belfast
Greig Fraser – Dune
Andrew Droz Palermo – The Green Knight
Ari Wegner – The Power of the Dog
Bruno Delbonnel – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Editing
Úna Ní Dhonghaíle – Belfast
Joe Walker – Dune
Andrew Weisblum – The French Dispatch
Peter Sciberras – The Power of the Dog
Myron Kerstein & Andrew Weisblum – tick, tick…BOOM!

Best Original Score
Bryce Dessner & Aaron Dessner – Cyrano
Hans Zimmer – Dune
Alexandre Desplat – The French Dispatch
Jonny Greenwood – The Power of the Dog
Jonny Greenwood – Spencer

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:

BEST PICTURE
Belfast
CODA
Cyrano
Don’t Look Up
King Richard

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

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

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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
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

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

BREAKTHROUGH
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

BEST USE OF MUSIC/SOUND
Cyrano
In The Heights
Last Night In Soho
Tick, Tick…Boom!
West Side Story

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

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
CODA
The Green Knight
In The Heights
The Power Of The Dog
Tick, Tick…Boom!

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Belle
Cryptozoo
Encanto
Flee
Luca
The Mitchells vs. The Machines

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

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for November


It’s time for my monthly Oscar predictions!  Awards Season is going to begin in just another two days and the Oscar picture has become a lot more clearer.  

Last month, I was ready to write off West Side Story as a contender.  However, following both the film’s recent screening and the death of Stephen Sondheim, it’s now once again very much a contender.  If nothing else, Rita Moreno seems like the clear front runner for Supporting Actress.  This would be her first nomination since she won an Oscar for appearing in the original West Side Story.  Who can resist that narrative?

I’ve also added Licorice Pizza back to my list of nominees.  At first, I thought it sounded too slight to be a contender but the enthusiasm that I’m seeing for the film would seem to indicate that I was incorrect.

As always, keep in mind that I don’t claim to be an expert.  The picture is a bit clearer but I don’t claim to have any inside information or anything like that.  These are just my guesses, for better or worse.  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!

Best Picture

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

Dune

House of Gucci

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Lost Daughter

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Jude Hill in Belfast

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Rachel Zegler in West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

Ben Affleck in The Tender Bar

Bradley Cooper in Licorice Pizza

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Jared Leto in House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Ann Dowd in Mass

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Rita Moreno in West Side Story

 

Here’s The Trailer for Being The Ricardos


Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman play Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in a film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin …. well, I was excited until I typed that last part. I love Javier and Nicole but this seems like the type of story that will just bring out all of Sorkin’s worst instincts. Sorkin desperatey needs a director like David Fincher to help him reign in his more earnest and preachy tendencies.

But, you know what? Let’s give it a chance! Enough with a negativity, Bowman! I hope this is a good movie. Oscars for everyone!

Here’s the trailer:

Insomnia File #48: Malice (dir by Harold Becker)


What’s an Insomnia File? You know how some times you just can’t get any sleep and, at about three in the morning, you’ll find yourself watching whatever you can find on cable or Netflix? This feature is all about those insomnia-inspired discoveries!

If you were having trouble getting to sleep last night around 12 midnight, you could have turned over to the Cinemax and watched the 1993 thriller, Malice.  And then you could have spent the next few hours trying to figure out what you just watched.

Seriously, there’s a lot going on in Malice.  The screenplay is credited to Aaron Sorkin and Scott Frank and while it has enough overly arch dialogue and untrustworthy women to plainly identify it as being a product of Sorkin’s imagination, it’s also filled with a mini-series worth of incidents and subplots and random characters.  This is also one of those films where no one can simply answer a question with a “yes” or a “no.”  Instead, it’s one of those movies where everyone gets a monologue, giving the proceedings a rather theatrical feel.  It’s the type of thing that David Mamet could have pulled off.  (Check out The Spanish Prisoner for proof.)  Harold Becker, however, was a far more conventionally-minded director and he often seems to be at a loss with what to do with all of the film’s Sorkinisms (and, to be fair, Frankisms as well).

The film starts out as a thriller, with a serial rapist stalking a college campus and Prof. Andy Safian (Bill Pullman) becoming an unlikely suspect.  Then it turns into a domestic drama as Andy and his wife, Tracy (Nicole Kidman), talk about starting a family.  Then Andy meets a brilliant surgeon named Jed Hill (Alec Baldwin) and the film turns into a roommate from Hell story after Jed moves in with them.  Then it becomes a medical drama after a mistake by Dr. Hill leaves Tracy unable to have children.  Then it returns briefly to the campus rapist story before then turning into a modern-day noir as Andy discovers that Tracy has secrets of her own.  (Whenever one watches a film written by Aaron Sorkin, you can practically hear him whispering, “Women are not to be trusted….” in the background.)  Even as you try to keep up with the plot, you find yourself distracted by all of the cameos.   George C. Scott glowers as Jed’s mentor.  Anne Bancroft acts the Hell out of her role as a drunken con artist.  Peter Gallagher is the lawyer you distrust because he’s Peter Gallagher.  Tobin Bell shows up as a handyman.  Gwynneth Paltrow, in one of her first roles, plays dead convincingly

It’s a big and busy and messy film and it too often mistakes being complicated for being clever.  Bill Pullman is a likable hero but you have to be willing to overlook that the script requires him to do some truly stupid things.  Nicole Kidman is always well-cast as a femme fatale but again, the script often lets her down.

Surprisingly enough, it’s Alec Baldwin who comes out of the film unscathed.  Watching Baldwin in this film, it’s hard to believe that he’s the same actor who has since become something of a bloated self-parody.  Yes, he’s playing an arrogant character (which is pretty much his trademark) but, in Malice, he actually brings a hint of subtlety and wit to his performance.  Baldwin does very little bellowing in the film, despite playing a role that one would think would naturally appeal to all of his bellowing instincts.  Malice is a mess but it’s nice to see the type of actor that Alec Baldwin once was.

Previous Insomnia Files:

  1. Story of Mankind
  2. Stag
  3. Love Is A Gun
  4. Nina Takes A Lover
  5. Black Ice
  6. Frogs For Snakes
  7. Fair Game
  8. From The Hip
  9. Born Killers
  10. Eye For An Eye
  11. Summer Catch
  12. Beyond the Law
  13. Spring Broke
  14. Promise
  15. George Wallace
  16. Kill The Messenger
  17. The Suburbans
  18. Only The Strong
  19. Great Expectations
  20. Casual Sex?
  21. Truth
  22. Insomina
  23. Death Do Us Part
  24. A Star is Born
  25. The Winning Season
  26. Rabbit Run
  27. Remember My Name
  28. The Arrangement
  29. Day of the Animals
  30. Still of The Night
  31. Arsenal
  32. Smooth Talk
  33. The Comedian
  34. The Minus Man
  35. Donnie Brasco
  36. Punchline
  37. Evita
  38. Six: The Mark Unleashed
  39. Disclosure
  40. The Spanish Prisoner
  41. Elektra
  42. Revenge
  43. Legend
  44. Cat Run
  45. The Pyramid
  46. Enter the Ninja
  47. Downhill

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions For July


It’s that time of the month again!  It’s time for me to make my early Oscar predictions.

This year, the Cannes Film Festival really didn’t clear much up.  The French Dispatch was acclaimed but, in every review, there was an admission that, for everyone who absolutely loved it, there would probably be someone else who would absolutely hate it.  I did decided to include Red Rocket on my list of predictions, based on the Cannes reaction.  I’m still not a 100% convinced that it’s going to be a contender, of course.  But the idea of a Simon Rex movie being nominated for best picture was just too wonderfully strange for me to ignore.  That’s the same logic that led to me including Pig as a best picture nominee, by the way.

On the Ridely Scott front, the overacting in the trailer for House of Gucci really turned me off so I dropped it from all of my predictions.  The Last Duel looks like it might have a chance, however.

Anyway, the main thing to remember when looking at these predictions is that the majority of them are just random guesses, based on hunches and past Academy behavior.  So, as always, take them with several grains of salt.

If you’re curious to see how my thinking has developed, check out my predictions for March and April and May and June!

Best Picture

Belfast

A Journal For Jordan

The Last Duel

Nightmare Alley

Pig

The Power of the Dog

Red Rocket

Soggy Bottom

The Tragedy of MacBeth

West Side Story

 

Best Director

Pedro Almodovar for Parallel Mothers

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Guillermo Del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage in Pig

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal For Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Mothers

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being The Ricardos

Tessa Thomspon in Passing

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Bradley Cooper in Soggy Bottom

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Simon Helberg in Annette

Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Chante Adams in A Journal For Jordan

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Ann Dowd in Mass

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Ruth Negga in Passing

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions for June


2013 oscars

It’s the end of the month and that means that it’s time for me to post my monthly predictions!

What has chanced since I last made my predictions in May?  Though it was acclaimed by critics, the box office failure of In The Heights has probably ended that film’s time as an Oscar contender.  For all the musicals that are coming out this year, only Spielberg’s West Side Story really seems like a good bet to emerge as a major contender.  Dear Evan Hansen was pretty much eliminated from consideration as soon as its trailer dropped.  Tick, Tick …. Boom seems to be destined to be loved by theater kids while being dismissed by everyone else.  I’d love to see Joe Wright and Peter Dinklage nominated but my instincts are telling me that Cyrano will probably not be a huge contender.  In the end, West Side Story seems like the most likely musical nominee.

I’ve been reading up on Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which is set to premiere at Venice and then be released via Netflix.  Based on a novel by Thomas Savage, this sounds like the type of film that could potentially be a strong contender, depending on what approach Campion takes the story.  The main character of Phil Burbank is the type of bigger-than-life role that could lead to Oscar glory.  (The closest recent equivalent to Phil would probably be Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.)  Phil is a sharply intelligent but cruelly manipulative Montana rancher, the type who brags about castrating cattle while quoting Ovid and who goes out of his way to bully anyone who he considers to be effeminate.  Of course, there’s a secret behind all of Phil’s cruelty and how the film handles that secret will have a lot to do with how strongly the film comes on during awards season.  Phil is being played by Benedict Cumberbatch, which is …. interesting casting.  (Personally, I probably would have begged Michael Fassbender to take the role.)  Still, it seems like Phil could be the type of change-of-pace role that, should Cumberbatch’s casting pay off, could lead to Oscar glory.

Coming up in July, we’ve got Cannes and we’ll be getting our first look at contenders like Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch.  Though Cannes is hardly a reliable precursor, the Oscar race should start to become a bit clearer as the festival start up and the contenders — many of which we’ve been waiting to see for over two years — will finally start to be released.  Until then, take all predictions with a grain of salt!

If you’re curious to see how my thinking has developed, check out my predictions for March and April and May.

Best Picture

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

A Journal for Jordan

Nightmare Alley

Parallel Mothers

Passing

The Power of the Dog

Soggy Bottom

The Tragedy of MacBeth

West Side Story

Best Director

Pedro Almodovar for Parallel Mothers

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Ridley Scott for House of Gucci

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal for Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Mothers

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Tessa Thompson in Passing

Best Supporting Actor

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Bradley Cooper in Soggy Bottom

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Bill Murray in The French Dispatch

Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Ruth Negga in Passing