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.

Lisa Marie’s Possibly Pointless Oscar Predictions For March


I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should even bother to continue my monthly Oscar predictions.  With the current Coronavirus pandemic, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if there will even be an Oscar ceremony next year.  Many completed films have been taken off the schedule so that they can be released at a time when people aren’t scared to leave their house.  Meanwhile, production on several other films — some of them expected to be Oscar contenders — has been suspended.  New films are continuing to premiere on the streaming services but the Academy has always insisted that films also play in a theater if they want to contend for an Oscar.  That’s going to be difficult with the majority of the country’s theaters currently being closed.

Unlike a lot of people, I’m not necessarily apocalyptic or even that pessimistic in my outlook.  I think that, one way or another, we will eventually be able to leave our homes again and that at least some of the movie theaters will reopen.  So, I think that we will be able to have some sort of Oscar ceremony.  For that reason, I’m going to make my predictions for March but, needless to say, take all of these with an even bigger grain of salt than usual.

If you’re curious to see what my Oscar thinking was in the months before the world went crazy, check out my predictions for January and February!

(I’ve tried to take the fact that the Coronavirus led to the suspension of many ongoing productions while making out my list below.  As far as I know, filming wrapped on all of the films listed below before the outbreak.)

Best Picture

Ammonite

Annette

Hillbilly Elegy

The Father

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

On the Rocks

Tenet

West Side Story

Best Director

Isaac Lee Chung for Minari

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Christopher Nolan for Tenet

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Florian Zeller for The Father

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Bill Murray in On the Rocks

Gary Oldman in Mank

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Clare Dunne in Herself

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

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

Steve Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Abigail Breslin in Stillwater

Glenn Close in Hillybilly Elegy

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Helena Zengel in News of the World

 

Love On The Shattered Lens: The Souvenir (dir by Joanna Hogg)


Well, here we are.  It’s the end of February and tomorrow, March begins.  That also means that it’s time to end Love on the Shattered Lens, our series of reviews of films about the wonders of love.  Tomorrow, it’ll be time to start reviewing films about Spring Break and paranoia, two topics that go together like Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson.  Perhaps Love on the Shattered Lens will return next February.  It’s always hard to say what the future will hold but, by this time, our regular readers should know how much I love tradition.

With all that in mind, our final entry in Love on the Shattered Lens is a film that I personally considered to be the best film to be released last year, The Souvenir.

Taking place in the early 1980s, this independent British film tells the story of Julie (Honor Swinton Byne, the daughter of Tilda Swinton) and Anthony (Tom Burke).  Julie is a film student who hopes to make a documentary about a family living in a slum.  She’s very idealistic and very much concerned about the state of the world.  Though it’s not obvious at first, she’s also extremely naive and rather innocent about the world that she wants to document.  For all of her desire to capture reality on film, there’s much that she had yet to experience.

Anthony is older than Julie, though not too much older.  He’s a handsome, charming man who is always well-dressed and who has what would appear to be an exciting and interesting job with the Foreign Office.  It’s not long after first meeting that Julie and Anthony become lovers.  After her roommates abandon her, Anthony even moves into Julie’s flat.  He seems like he’s perfect, even though observant viewers will automatically have some questions about him.  For instance, if he’s so successful, why is he so quick to move into Julie’s flat?  Why is he always so vague about the details of his job?  He disappears, for one week, to Paris and when he returns, he brings the gift of lingerie.  He claims to have purchased it for her in Paris but was that really where he was?  Later, when Julie notices some strange marks on his arms, Anthony is intentionally vague about what they are.  (Of course, most people people watching the movie will immediately realize that they’re a sign that Anthony is a heroin addict.)  When the flat is broken into and Julie’s jewelry is stolen, we know what’s actually happened even if Julie doesn’t.

Just reading the paragraph above, you’re probably imagining that it’s very easy to hate Anthony but that’s not the case.  Every sign tells Julie that she should get him out her life and yet, it’s not as easy as it seems.  Even after Julie learns the truth about him, she still finds it difficult to just push him aside.  For all of Anthony’s flaws, he’s got the addict’s gift for manipulation and, at times, his love for her does seem to be real, even if it will always be second to his addiction and his need to get a fix.  Much like Julie, the viewer find themselves occasionally falling into the trap of thinking, “If only Anthony wasn’t a drug addict, he would be the perfect for her.”  Of course, the point of the matter is that Anthony is a drug addict and no amount of wishful thinking or fantasizing is going to change that.

The Souvenir is a rather low-key film.  Whenever you expect the film to go for easy drama or a showy shouting match, The Souvenir surprises you by going the opposite direction.  Instead of being a traditional “drugs-are-bad” type of film, it’s a character study of two people dealing with their addictions.  Anthony is addicted to heroin and lying while Julie finds herself addicted not so much to Anthony but instead to the fantasy that Anthony sans drugs represents.  By the end of the film, Julie is sadder but she’s wiser and, if nothing else, she’s a better artist than she was at the start of things.  If nothing else, she’s been forced to start dealing with reality.  The film’s title comes from a painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard.  Julie thinks that the girl in the painting looks sad while Anthony says that she looks determined.  By the end of the film, Julie is both sad and determined, just like the subject of The Souvenir.

Director Joanna Hogg has described The Souvenir as being semi-autobiographical.  That said, you don’t have to be an aspiring filmmaker to relate to Julie.  Everyone has had the equivalent of an Anthony in their life, that one thing that you seemingly can’t give up even though you know that you should.  Tom Burke is both charming and heart-breaking as Anthony while Honor Swinton Byrne (in only her second film and her first starring role) gives a fearless performance as Julie.  At times, it seems like it’s impossible not to want Julie and Anthony to find some sort of happiness.  At other times, it seems like it’s just as impossible to forgive them for their flaws.  You get angry at Anthony when he falls back into his addictions and you also get angry at Julie for her inability to accept who Anthony truly is.  But, at the same time, you always feel empathy for them.  You always hope the best for them.  You always wish that they could have met under different circumstances, that things could have been different.

Though the film may be too low-key for some, the quietly powerful The Souvenir is my favorite film of 2019.

Trailer: Only God Forgives (Red Band)


OnlyGodForgives

It looks like we the makings of a new Scorsese/DeNiro combination with Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling partnering up once again for another film after their critically-acclaimed neo-noir crime thriller with Drive.

Only God Forgives transplants Refn and Gosling away from the smog and seedy glamour of Los Angeles to the anything-goes locales of Thailand. Refn has described this follow-up to Drive as a modern Western set fully in the Far East with Gosling in the role of the cowboy antihero. The red band trailer once again shows that Refn will not be skimping on the beautifully shot violence and ramps up on the film’s look of heightened reality that made his previous film such a unique viewing experience.

There’s still no announced release date for Only God Forgives, but we will surely be on the look out for when it does finally come out.