Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for October


It’s time to take a little break from horror so that I may once against do my list of my monthly Oscar predictions!  I guess some people would consider predicting the Oscars to be a scary thing.  Personally, I have fun doing it, even if my predictions often seem to be for naught.  That said, I did manage to predict that Thomas Vinterberg would be nominated for Best Director last year so take that, haters.

Probably the biggest development this month is that I’ve lost all faith in Spielberg’s West Side Story.  It’s just not getting the type of hype that I would expect from a Spielberg Oscar movie.  In fact, it seems like everyone involved is in kind of a hurry to move on.  So, for now, I’m dropping it from my predictions.  While West Side Story goes, Dune has definitely established itself as a probable nominee.  I think the only problem that Dune will have is the possibility of people saying, “We’ll just nominate the sequel instead.”

I’ve also added C’mon C’mon and Passing to my list of Best Picture nominees.  This is almost totally due to their popularity with the Gothams.  If the other critics groups don’t duplicate the love, they’ll probably get dropped from my predictions come January.

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!

Best Picture

Belfast

C’mon C’mon

CODA

Dune

The Lost Daughter

Nightmare Alley

Passing

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Director

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Lost Daughter

Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

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

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Lives

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Jamie Dornan in Belfast

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Jason Isaacs in Mass

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley in The Lost Daughter

Dame Judi Dench in Belfast

Ann Dowd in Mass

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Marlee Matlin in CODA

What If Oscar Season Started And No One Noticed, Part 2: Here Are The Gotham Award Nominations


As a sign of how wrapped up I am in this year’s Horrorthon, consider this: the 2021 Gotham Nominations — the first precursor of Awards Season! — were announced on Thursday and I totally missed them!  This is actually not the first year that this has happened.  October is a busy month for me and sometimes, the Gotham noms get missed.

The Gothams, of course, only honor independent films and they have pretty strict rules as far as what they consider to be independent.  The budget has to come in at a certain relatively low amount, for one thing.  So, as a result, a lot of Oscar nominees are not Gotham eligible.  But, at the same time, those Gotham rules also allow some films that otherwise might get overlooked a chance to get some precursor love.  Being nominated for a Gotham is hardly a guarantee that the Academy will remember you.  But it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Better late than never, here are the 2021 Gotham Nominations!  As you’ll notice, the Gotham’s performance awards are gender neutral.  This is the first year that the Gothams have done this.  They also added categories for supporting performances and best performance in a series.

Anyway, here are the nominees:

Best Feature
“The Green Knight”
“The Lost Daughter”
“Passing”
“Pig”
“Test Pattern”

Best Documentary Feature
“Ascension”
“Faya Dayi”
“Flee”
“President”
“Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”

Best International Feature
“Azor”
“Drive My Car”
“The Souvenir Part II”
Titane
“What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?”
“The Worst Person In The World”

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Maggie Gyllenhaal for “The Lost Daughter”
Edson Oda for “Nine Days”
Rebecca Hall for “Passing”
Emma Seligman for “Shiva Baby”
Shatara Michelle Ford for “Test Pattern”

Best Screenplay
“The Card Counter,” Paul Schrader
“El Planeta,” Amalia Ulman
“The Green Knight,” David Lowery
“The Lost Daughter,” Maggie Gyllenhaal
“Passing,” Rebecca Hall
“Red Rocket,” Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch

Outstanding Lead Performance
Olivia Colman in “The Lost Daughter”
Frankie Faison in “The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain”
Michael Greyeyes in “Wild Indian”
Brittany S. Hall in “Test Pattern”
Oscar Isaac in “The Card Counter”
Taylour Paige in “Zola”
Joaquin Phoenix in “C’mon C’mon”
Simon Rex in “Red Rocket”
Lili Taylor in “Paper Spiders”
Tessa Thompson in “Passing”

Outstanding Supporting Performance
Reed Birney in “Mass”
Jessie Buckley in “The Lost Daughter”
Colman Domingo in “Zola”
Gaby Hoffmann in “C’mon C’mon”
Troy Kotsur in “CODA”
Marlee Matlin in “CODA”
Ruth Negga in “Passing”

Breakthrough Performer
Emilia Jones in “CODA”
Natalie Morales in “Language Lessons”
Rachel Sennott in Shiva Baby”
Suzanna Son in “Red Rocket”
Amalia Ulman in “El Planeta”

Breakthrough Series – Long Format (over 40 minutes)
“The Good Lord Bird”
“It’s A Sin”
“Small Axe”
“Squid Game”
“The Underground Railroad”
“The White Lotus”

Breakthrough Series – Short Format (under 40 minutes)
“Blindspotting”
“Hacks”
“Reservation Dogs”
“Run the World”
“We Are Lady Parts”

Breakthrough Nonfiction Series
“City So Real”
“Exterminate All the Brutes”
“How To with John Wilson”
“Philly D.A.”
“Pride”

Outstanding Performance in a New Series
Jennifer Coolidge in “The White Lotus”
Michael Greyeyes in “Rutherford Falls”
Ethan Hawke in “The Good Lord Bird”
Devery Jacobs in “Reservation Dogs”
Lee Jung-jae in “Squid Game”
Thuso Mbedu in “The Underground Railroad”
Jean Smart in “Hacks”
Omar Sy in “Lupin”
Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Queen’s Gambit”
Anjana Vasan in “We Are Lady Parts”

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for September


Well, it’s the time of the month again.

No, not that time!  That time ended two days ago.  I’m talking about the fact that it’s time for me to once again share my monthly Oscar predictions.  Thanks to the festival circuit, we’ve finally gotten some advance word on the big Oscar contenders that will be coming out over the next few months.

Belfast, as of right now, sounds like the prohibitive favorite to win it all.  At first, it seemed like the reaction to The Power of the Dog was a bit mixed but later reactions were almost overwhelmingly positive.  It sounds like the type of film that will be nominated even if it won’t necessarily win.  Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter is coming on strong, as is Spencer.  For me, the biggest surprise has been the amount of acclaim that Dune has been getting.  I was a bit dismissive of its Oscar chances earlier this year but now it definitely sounds like it will be in the hunt.

West Side Story has been seen by no one but I continue to list it because it’s a Spielberg film and, with all the musicals that are being released this year and which have subsequently struggled with either critics or audiences or both, it still seems the most likely to pick up a nomination.  I’m a little bit skeptical on whether or not Nightmare Alley is going to be an “Oscar picture” but the trailer was nice to look at so I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.  House of Gucci is three hours long and full of stars so it’s either going to be an Oscar nominee or a complete bomb.

You may notice a lack of predicted nominations for Licorice Pizza. Licorice Pizza is a film that I fully expect to love but the trailer definitely feels a bit more like Inherent Vice than The Phantom Thread.  I still think that the actors could get nominated but the rumor right now is that Bradley Cooper’s role is actually very small.  That’s why I no longer have him listed as a supporting actor nominee.

Again, keep in mind that I’m not 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!

Best Picture

Belfast

CODA

Dune

House of Gucci

The Lost Daughter

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of MacBeth

West Side Story

Best Director

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

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

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Lives

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Jason Isaac in Mass

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley in The Lost Daughter

Dame Judi Dench in Belfast

Ann Dowd in Mass

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for August


It’s time for me to do my monthly Oscar predictions.  Again, as I’ve said in the past, the majority of these predictions are based on a combination of instinct and wishful thinking.  However, the picture may become a bit clearer as early as the end of this week.  With the Venice and Telluride film festivals right around the corner and Toronto also swift approaching, critics are finally going to get a chance to see some of the contenders and, as the early reviews come in, it should be easier to pick the probable nominees from the also-rans.

Personally, I will curious to see how people react to Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog.  Among the other possibilities that we’ll be hearing about: Spencer, King Richard, Dune, The Lost Daughter, The Last Duel, and Belfast.

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

Best Picture

Belfast

Blue Bayou

CODA

House of Gucci

A Journal For Jordan

Mass

The Power of the Dog

Soggy Bottom

The Tragedy of MacBeth

West Side Story

 

Best Director

Pedro Almodovar for Parallel Mothers

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Joel Coen for The Tragedy of MacBeth

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

Udo Kier in Swan Song

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

Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

 

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Bradley Cooper in Soggy Bottom

Andrew Garfield in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Jason Isaacs in Mass

Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog

 

Best Supporting Actress

Ann Dowd in Mass

Kirsten Dunst in Power of the Dog

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Ruth Negga in Passing

Alicia Vikander in Blue Bayou

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

Here Are The Winners of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival


2021_Cannes_Film_Festival

When it comes to Cannes, it’s often a fool’s errand to try to predict what will win.  The critics and the viewers will definitely have their opinions of the films that they see but, in the end, it all comes down to the members of the Jury and the Jury almost always seems to go their own way.  Probably the easiest way to sabotage a film’s chances at Cannes is to announce, early-on, that the film is a lock for Palme.

For all of the acclaim that greeted The French Dispatch, Red Rocket, Flag Day. and a few others, the 2021 Cannes Jury, led by Spike Lee, gave the Palme d’Or to Julia Docournau’s Titane.  I can’t wait to see Titane as I absolutely loved Ducournau’s previous film, RawAnnette, which was kind of the love it or hate it film of the festival picked up the award for Best Director.  As much fun as some of us had imagining a world where Simon Rex was named Best Actor for Red Rocket, the jury went with Caleb Landry Jones for Nitram.  

What does this mean for the Oscars?  Probably not much.  Of course, winning at Cannes can help a film’s Oscar chances.  Most recently, it probably helped out both Tree of Life and Parasite.  I could imagine Caleb Landry Jones maybe getting a boost as far as a possible Best Actor nomination is concerned, depending on how Nitram is received in the States.  But, in the end, Cannes is usually viewed as being a bit too quirky and unpredictable for it to be a dependable precursor.  When it comes to film festival acclaim, the Oscars tend to pay more attention to Telluride and Venice.  In the end, it’ll probably be films like The French Dispatch and Red Rocket that benefit the most from being acclaimed (if not awarded) at Cannes.

With all that in mind, here are the winners!

Official awards

In Competition

The following awards were presented for films shown In Competition:

  • Palme d’Or: Titane by Julia Ducournau
  • Grand Prix:
    • A Hero by Asghar Farhadi
    • Compartment No. 6 by Juho Kuosmanen
  • Jury Prize:
    • Ahed’s Knee by Nadav Lapid
    • Memoria by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
  • Best Director: Leos Carax for Annette
  • Best Actress: Renate Reinsve for The Worst Person in the World
  • Best Actor: Caleb Landry Jones for Nitram
  • Best Screenplay: Ryusuke Hamaguchi & Takamasa Oe for Drive My Car

Un Certain Regard

  • Un Certain Regard Award: Unclenching the Fists by Kira Kovalenko
  • Un Certain Regard Jury Prize: Great Freedom by Sebastian Meise
  • Un Certain Regard Ensemble Prize: Bonne mère by Hafsia Herzi
  • Un Certain Regard Prize of Courage: La Civil by Teodora Mihai
  • Un Certain Regard Prize of Originality: Lamb by Valdimar Jóhannsson
  • Un Certain Regard Special Mention: Prayers for the Stolen by Tatiana Huezo

Golden Camera

  • Caméra d’Or: Murina by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović

Short Films

  • Short Film Palme d’Or: All the Crows in the World by Tang Yi
  • Special Mention: August Sky by Jasmin Tenucci

Cinéfondation

  • First Prize: The Salamander Child by Théo Degen
  • Second Prize: Cicada by Yoon Daewoen
  • Third Prize:
    • Love Stories on the Move by Carina-Gabriela Daşoveanu
    • Cantareira by Rodrigo Ribeyro

Honorary Palme d’Or

  • Honorary Palme d’Or: Jodie Foster and Marco Bellocchio

Independent awards

FIPRESCI Prizes

  • In Competition: Drive My Car by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
  • Un Certain Regard: Playground by Laura Wandel
  • Parallel section: Feathers by Omar El Zohairy (International Critics’ Week)

Ecumenical Prize

  • Prize of the Ecumenical Jury: Drive My Car by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
  • Special Mention: Compartment No. 6 by Juho Kuosmanen

International Critics’ Week

  • Nespresso Grand Prize: Feathers by Omar El Zohairy
  • Leitz Cine Discovery Prize for Short Film: Lili Alone by Zou Jing
  • Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award: Sandra Melissa Torres for Amparo

Directors’ Fortnight

  • Europa Cinemas Label Award for Best European Film: A Chiara by Jonas Carpignano
  • SACD Award for Best French-language Film: Magnetic Beats by Vincent Maël Cardona
  • Carrosse d’Or: Frederick Wiseman

L’Œil d’or

  • L’Œil d’or: A Night of Knowing Nothing by Payal Kapadia

Queer Palm

  • Queer Palm Award: The Divide by Catherine Corsini

Prix François Chalais

  • François Chalais Prize: A Hero by Asghar Farhadi
  • Special Mention: Freda by Gessica Généus

Cannes Soundtrack Award

  • Cannes Soundtrack Award:
    • Ron Mael & Russell Mael for Annette
    • Rone for Paris, 13th District

Palm Dog

  • Palm Dog Award: Rosie, Dora and Snowbear for The Souvenir Part II

Trophée Chopard

  • Chopard Trophy: Jessie Buckley and Kingsley Ben-Adir

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

 

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions For May


It’s that time of the month again! It’s time for me to go out on a limb and attempt to predict what will be nominated for the Oscars. Of course, trying to do this early in the year is a fool’s errand. We all know that. That’s actually part of the fun.

As of right now, the list below is full of familiar names, a few films that were acclaimed at Sundance, and a few random guesses. A lot of the predicted nominees are films that were expected to be Oscar contenders last year but which were delayed due to the pandemic. (Looking at you, West Side Story.) Some of them are contenders that I personally would just like to see nominated, even though it probably won’t happen. (I’m not going to jinx anything by pointing out which nomination about which I’m specifically thinking. You’ll probably be able to guess for yourself.) Over the next few months, the Oscar picture will become a bit clearer. Many of the contenders listed below will be forgotten about. Meanwhile, new contenders will emerge. My point is, take it all with a grain of salt and don’t put down any money just yet.

Two big developments to keep in mind:

First off, the Academy is officially going back to having a set a number of nominees. Next year, ten films will be nominated for best picture. Not seven. Not nine. Ten. Personally, I’m thrilled by this development. Nothing irritated me more than when they used to announce those weird, seven-picture lineups. (As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like odd numbers.)

Secondly, the Academy is going back to the old eligibility dates. Yay! What that means is that only films that are released between March and the end of this year will be eligible to compete for the Oscars. More importantly, it means that the best film of 2021 will not be released in 2022.

Anyway, here are my predictions for this month! Don’t take them too seriously. If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, check out my predictions for March and April.

Best Picture

CODA

The Duke

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

A Journal for Jordan

Nightmare Alley

Passing

Soggy Bottom

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Guillermo Del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Ridley Scott for House of Gucci

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Jim Broadbent in The Duke

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal For Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Ana de Armas in Blonde

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Tessa Thompson in Passing

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Bradley Cooper in Soggy Bottom

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Al Pacino in House of Gucci

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Best Supporting Actress

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Ruth Negga in Passing

Lisa Marie’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For April


Well, now that the latest Oscar ceremony is out of the way, I guess it’s time to focus on predicting what will be nominated next year.

(Well, it’s not really time but if you’re an Oscar-obsessive like I am, you really have no choice. Oscar speculation is an addiction that’s easily shaken off.)

Below, you’ll find my predictions for April. As always, these should be taken with several grains of salt.

First off, I haven’t seen any of these films and some of them might not live up to expectations.

Secondly, I’m not even sure whether the Academy is going to go back to the old rules of using the end of December as their eligibility cut-off or if they’re going to continue with the extended release window that they used last year.

Third, the Oscar picture is never anywhere close clear until November or December rolls around. Right now, I can only predict what I know is going to be released between now and December 31st. Obviously some of the movies below might have their release date changed and several movies will be picked up from the various film festivals. In all probability, next year’s big Oscar winner isn’t even on anyone’s radar right now. (Let’s not forget that, up until February of this year, most people were still predicting that Da 5 Bloods would be a huge Oscar player.)

Also note, the Academy is finally going back to having a set number of best picture nominees so no more of this stupid 7 or 9 nominees nonsense. In theory, that’s good news for film like Dune, which will probably get a lot of technical nominations but which probably would have struggled to make the final best picture lineup under the former rules. Of course, the Academy is also about to institute their inclusion requirements so it will be interesting to see if any of the expected contenders are disqualified from competing for best picture.

If you want to follow how my thinking has developed, be sure to check out my predictions for March!

Best Picture

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

The French Dispatch

A Journal for Jordan

King Richard

The Last Duel

Nightmare Alley

Respect

Soggy Bottom

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Wes Anderson for The French Dispatch

Guillermo Del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper in Nightmare Alley

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal for Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Nightmare Alley

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Rachel Zegler in West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Andrew Garfield in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Bill Murray in The French Dispatch

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Best Supporting Actress

Chante Adams in A Journal for Jordan

Judi Dench in Belfast

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Audra MacDonald in Respect

Marlee Matlin in CODA

A Few Late Thoughts On Last Night’s Oscars


Footage of viewers doing what they had to do to make it through last night’s Oscar ceremony

This morning, I woke up and I thought about the cult of Steven Soderbergh.

Soderbergh is a filmmaker who is fervently adored by some film and cultural critics. They eagerly devour his every thought. They examine his annual list of the things that he watched during the year with the intensity of theological scholars studying an ancient-but-just-discovered religious text. The Cult of Soderbergh reacts with excitement whenever it’s announced that Soderbergh has secretly filmed an improvised comedy on his phone and that he’ll be releasing it on HBOMax. The fact that the movie itself will probably turn out to be a self-indulgent mess never really seems to concern them.

Don’t get me wrong. Steven Soderbergh has directed some very good movies. There are quite a few Soderbergh films — Out of the Past, The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant!, Logan Lucky, Magic Mike — that I really, really like. However, Soderbergh has directed and otherwise been involved with some truly mediocre films as well, films that would probably be totally forgotten if not for the fact of his involvement. Even his worst films tend to get good initial reviews, if just because people tend to assume that anything Soderbergh directs has to be good even when it’s not. But, in retrospect, many of his films are stylish and ultimately empty. Haywire is a mess. The Laundromat was self-indulgent and pretentious. Let Them All Talk was so dull that it felt as if it was specifically made to troll the type of people who proudly proclaim that they will watch Meryl Streep in anything. Contagion may have predicted a pandemic but that doesn’t make it any less of a drag to sit through. When Steven Soderbergh is good, he’s very good. When he’s bad, he’s incredibly bad. He’s one of the most frustratingly inconsistent filmmakers around. That’s something that many film fans and critics have yet to come to terms with.

It’s also why I kind of groaned a little when, last month, I read that Steven Soderbergh would be producing the Oscars this year. Everyone knows that the Oscars are struggling to stay relevant and that the ceremony needed to be jazzed up a little and, if nothing else, that seemed to be something that Soderbergh could deliver. But, even while the Cult of Soderbergh was celebrating, I was thinking about how the Oscars seemed like just the type of event that would draw out Soderbergh’s worst tendencies.

Now, at this point, I should make clear that Soderbergh did not direct last night’s ceremony. He was strictly the producer and, in fact, he was just one of three producers. That said, from the opening scene of Regina King walking through Union Station to the decision to allow the winners to ramble on for as long as they wanted (almost as if they were Meryl Streep and Candice Bergen shooting an improvised film during an ocean cruise), this definitely felt like a Steven Soderbergh production. Even more importantly, it felt like a bad Soderbergh production. This wasn’t Traffic or even Ocean’s 11. This was Solaris. This was Full Frontal. This was one of those terrible movies that he agreed to executive producer as a favor to George Clooney. This was the type of train wreck that could only have been put together by a genius who no one was willing to double guess.

We all knew that last night’s Oscars were going to be a bit different, of course. And I guess we should be glad that they didn’t make the same mistakes that the Golden Globes made. That said, the ceremony was an endurance test. Last night’s ceremony did away with a lot of the things that have been criticized about previous ceremonies but, in doing so, it only made us realize that an awards show actually does need a host. It does need a cheesy montage. It needs spectacle. It needs live performances of the nominated songs. It needs humor, even bad humor. (Glenn Close twerking after her record-setting eighth Oscar loss does not count.) And, perhaps most importantly, it needs a band that’s willing to start playing the exit music whenever a winner goes on for too long. Who didn’t want a full orchestra to drown out the Documentary Feature winners? Do we really need a filibuster from someone who probably had sex with an octopus? That’s what the Senate’s for.

As I watched the ceremony, I thought about something one of my creative writing teachers once told me. Seriously, this is one of the most important lessons that I’ve ever learned and anyone who knows how much I hate learning anything will understand that’s high praise coming for me. If you want your reader to truly feel as if they know your characters, show. Don’t tell. Show. If you want your readers to understand that someone is good at their job, don’t just say, “She was good at her job.” Instead, write a scene that shows she’s good at her job. For the most part, last night’s ceremony eschewed showing clips of the nominated films and instead, we were provided with trivia factoids about the nominees, the type of stuff that you typically find on the imdb or Wikipedia. But hearing that someone worked in a movie theater when they were a teenager doesn’t tell us anything about why they were nominated. Last night, the lack of clips made it seem as if the Academy ashamed of the films they had nominated. They kept telling us the nominees were good but, at the same time, they refused to show us.

At least they avoided this….

Finally, there was the weird choice to move around some of the categories. It’s obvious what the show’s producers — and I won’t lay the blame squarely on Soderbergh because there were two other credited producers on the show — were trying to do. They assumed Chadwick Boseman would win best actor. They assumed it would be a huge emotional moment, the 21st century’s equivalent of Judy Garland introducing herself as “Mrs. Norman Maine” in the 1954 version of A Star is Born. And so, they moved the categories around.

Chloe Zhao, only the second woman in 93 years to win Best Director

As a result, Chloe Zhao won Best Director in the middle of the show. Zhao is only the second woman to win best director and the first woman of color. It should have been a great Oscar moment but instead, it was just randomly tossed in there, with no build-up or anything else. Best Picture, which is traditionally the joyous end of the ceremony, was moved so that the final award could go to Chadwick Boseman. Of course, that didn’t happen. The final award went to Anthony Hopkins for The Father. When presenting the award, Joaquin Phoenix read the name of the winner so quickly that it actually took a few minutes for me to realize that Hopkins had won. Phoenix read the name and the end credits rolled so quickly that you got the feeling someone in the control room panicked. It was an odd moment. Obviously, Hopkins couldn’t come to L.A. for the ceremony but he was also apparently so convinced that Boseman was going to win that he didn’t even bother to stay up for the ceremony. (According to People Magazine, he was asleep when his name was called. Actually, that was true for a lot of people in America as well.)

It was an anti-climatic end to the ceremony but, putting aside the question of who should have won best actor, it was hard not to feel some schadenfreude. The show’s producers basically messed up the show’s entire momentum for a big moment that they assumed was going to happen and then it didn’t. They got a bit too clever for their own good. As more than one person pointed out on twitter, last night was proof that the producers do not know, ahead of time, who is going to win. I know some would say that it’s easy to be critical in hindsight but that if Boseman had won last night, we would be talking about what a moving moment it was. Yes, we would but it would been just as moving if Boseman had won at the end of the ceremony or at the beginning of it or in the middle. Instead, the producers took a risk that only succeeded in making Boseman’s loss the defining moment of the 93rd Academy Awards.

(Incidentally, I watched The Father on Sunday, before the ceremony. Hopkins is amazing in the film and I feel he deserved the award. At the same time, I’m also very aware that Boseman was very good in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and that this was literally the Academy’s last chance to honor both his performance and his legacy. So, when I say that it’s unfortunate Boseman loss, that should not be taken as criticism of Hopkins. Nor should my praise of Hopkins be viewed as criticism of Chadwick Boseman.)

Many of the changes last night felt less like they were the result of seriously considering what would improve the ceremony and more like change for the sake of change. It felt like the people in charge basically said, “This is our show and we have to do something to show that we know better than everyone who has come before us.” There was a lot of hubris involved in last night’s ceremony. There was a definite lack of understanding of why people watch the Oscars in the first place. Watching the ceremony, I was reminded of the experiencing of listening to countless Steven Soderbergh commentary tracks where he got so caught up in discussing dry technical details that he didn’t actually bother to comment much on what it was like to actually make the film and work with the actors. (One gets the feeling that Soderbergh is more comfortable talking about lenses than about human emotions.)

I’m not going to get into an argument about what the Oscars are “supposed” to be. Obviously, there’s no set rule that says the Oscars have to take place in a giant theater or that there has to be a host or a live musical performance. But I will say that, for me, the most memorable Oscar ceremonies have been entertaining to watch, even if they did inspire a bit of snarkiness on the part of many viewers. (The snarkiness, let’s be honest, is a part of what we all look forward to.) The show’s producers were so busy patting themselves on the back for not being tacky that they failed to consider that shameless tackiness is actually one of the things that makes the Oscars the Oscars. Last night’s show was boring. And beyond everything else, that was the main problem. People want to have fun. They want to escape for a few hours. They want a little spectacle. If the Academy and Hollywood at large can’t remember how to deliver that, I don’t know how much longer this yearly tradition of watching the Oscars will continue.