Let’s travel to the future together. It’s March 28, 2022. The ratings for the Oscars come out, and the show managed to increase from 2021’s career-low 10 million viewers. However, the number of viewers was less than 2020’s ceremony, which accumulated 23.6 million. There will be multiple “how-to” posts all over Twitter, providing solutions on various ways to fix the telecast.
I’m beating those writers to the punch. I can’t fix the Academy, nor is it my place to do so. I’m interested in the telecast itself. For the second time, I came up with a few ideas to implement into future ceremonies.
Improving The Telecast
The Oscars need to remember that it’s a television show first and foremost. Rewarding incredible achievements and spotlighting the Hollywood elite, though important, is secondary to running an informative and entertaining broadcast. The days of 30 million viewers are behind us. Cinephiles like myself who love movies will always watch. The key is to figure out how to bring back the casual fan.
Move The Nominations To Primetime
Announcing the Oscar nominees on a Tuesday at 8:15 am ET/515 am PT is malpractice. Why haven’t entertainment journalists rallied together and protested against the morning announcements? Being nominated for an Oscar is life-changing, but it’s hard to generate excitement before most people drink a cup of coffee.
The nominations should be a one-hour primetime special on ABC. One or two hosts can announce the nominations throughout the hour. Create a panel of movie experts and entertainment journalists to live-react to the surprises and snubs. Conduct virtual interviews with nominees to generate excitement for one of the highest honors of their lives. Stream the special on Twitter so those without cable can take part in the action. Selfishly, it will be easier for writers (like myself) to blog about the nominations at a normal hour instead of the wee hours of the morning.
Cut The Check For A Host
Hosting the Oscars used to be one of the most prestigious gigs in Hollywood. Icons like Bob Hope, David Letterman, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Chris Rock all hosted the Oscars. After the Kevin Hart controversy in 2019, there has been no host, and the show has suffered from three straight shows with an average of 20 million viewers, the lowest three years in 35 years.
Besides the Internet dragging a host through the mud for every little mistake in their past, the financial compensation to host is extremely low. Jimmy Kimmel said he was paid $15,000 to host. For a high-risk, high reward project that requires a lot of time and attention to detail, the Academy should compensate the host financially at a fair number. Maybe it’s not enough money to captivate an A+ list star, but it could attract an A-/B+ host to take on the challenge.
I would just like to put it on the record that I want to host the Oscars. If any member of the Academy reads this article and wants my services, please hit me up.
Best Picture Eliminator
Best Picture is the biggest award of the night that’s usually the last award announced*. Presenters will spotlight each Best Picture nominee throughout the ceremony with a short speech and clips. The clips can stay. However, I want to drum up even more anticipation for the greatest award. What if a few nominees were eliminated from the race at the end of each hour?
*Do NOT even get me started on last year’s decision to put Best Picture second-to-last and end the show with a picture of Anthony Hopkins because he wasn’t there to accept his award for Best Actor.
I call it “The Eliminator.” At the end of the first hour, a presenter announces the elimination of three to four films from the Best Picture race. At the end of the second hour, three more films are eliminated from contention. The plan is to have the final three going into the last hour. Halfway through the last hour, eliminate one more film so it gets down to two. Then, announce the winner from the remaining two films at the end of the night.
Don’t tell me this wouldn’t garner attention from those watching at home and those following along on Twitter. Tense eliminations work! Just ask American Idol, Survivor, The Challenge, The Bachelor, etc. Some might argue that eliminating films throughout the night will diminish their value. Who wants to come in tenth place in any competition? To avoid this, don’t announce the number of votes placed for spots four through ten. Don’t publicly rank the films from ninth place, eighth place, seventh place, and so on and so forth. Randomly determine which ones to eliminate for those first two hours. Only the order of the final three should matter. The crowd’s reactions to these eliminations will generate loud, viral reactions. Think of the memes!
Award Stunt Ensembles
Looking back, the most popular award was ahead of its time. #FilmTwitter begs and complains about the Oscars 24/7. I mean I’m literally writing an article about changing the telecast! You know what would bring in high ratings? Tom Holland and Zendaya accepting an award for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The show needs popular movies featured in the telecast. If we can’t agree on the popular Oscar, then the next best thing is an award for stunt ensembles, similar to the award given at the SAGs. Rewarding stunt ensembles is long overdue. These daredevils deserve to be rewarded on the same stage where the actors they portray collect Oscars. Plus, it’s a good way to incorporate more action blockbusters into the ceremony.
Fan Voting For Non-Awards
The Oscars should be a celebration of the year in film for the fans. Without these fans, movies would never be made. It’s time to make their voices heard throughout the broadcast. The Academy will never let fans vote on the awards, which is fine by me. However, there needs to be a fan element to the broadcast. Fans should be able to vote on who they think will win each category. A ticker can run at the bottom of the screen to reveal the fan vote before the announcement for each category is made.
I’d also consider adding fun categories for fans to vote on like best dressed, best speech, the best performance of the year, the best film of the year, etc. Hold a prediction contest to see who can predict the most winners of the night and announce their name on the broadcast. There needs to be more social interaction between the host and the viewers. Make the audience at home feel like their opinion matters.
Start It Earlier
The Super Bowl is the most-watched event in the country and it starts at 6:30 PM EST. The Oscars are not the Super Bowl, but the ceremony should not air from 8 PM – 11 PM. Casual viewers are not staying up that late to watch. Either do it from 6:30 PM – 10 PM or 7 PM – 10 PM. Then, run a post-game interview show from 10 PM – 11 PM.
I’m writing this article as someone who adores this ceremony. I only want this show to thrive, not struggle, in the future. Here’s to an open mind.
The BAFTA Awards announced their nominations this past Thursday morning. There were a lot of surprises, both good and bad, which will directly impact how predictions for the 2022 Oscars. Shall we travel across the pond?
If you love Dune, then you were jumping for joy as Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic led the field with 11 nominations as the film will be the frontrunner to pick up hardware in many technical categories. Oscar favorites The Power of the Dog and Belfast followed behind with eight and six nominations, respectfully. Click here to see all of the categories. Right now, I want to focus on the major categories especially the acting nominations.
Don’t Look Up in Best Film and Leonardo DiCaprio in Best Actor in a Leading Role
Everyone in the Best Directing category besides Paul Thomas Anderson and Jane Campion
Will Smith for King Richard in Best Actor in a Leading Role
Alana Haim for Licorice Pizza and Renate Reinsve for The Worst Person in the World in Best Actress in a Leading Role
Mike Faist for West Side Story in Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Jessie Buckley for The Lost Daughter and Ann Dowd for Mass in Best Actor in a Supporting Role
No West Side Story in Best Film
No Steven Spielberg for West Side Story, Denis Villeneuve for Dune, or Kenneth Branagh for Belfast in Best Director
No Denzel Washington (!!!) once again or Andrew Garfield for tick, tick… Boom! in Best Actor in a Leading Role
No Oliva Colman for The Lost Daughter, Nicole Kidman for Being the Riccardos, or Kristen Stewart for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Keep in mind that Oscar voting ended on Feb. 1 so voters turned in their ballots before these nominations were revealed. However, the BAFTA results can have a direct impact on Oscar winners. Just ask Olivia Colman in 2019 or Anthony Hopkins last year, who both benefited from BAFTA victories in Best Actor and Actress on their way to upset wins at the Oscars in the same categories.
The Top 2 In Acting Categories
If you were on #FilmTwitter today, then the phrase “top 2” was being thrown around left and right. This is in regards to voting for two lead acting and two supporting acting categories. These are the rules straight from the BAFTA website.
The BAFTAs released longlists of 15 actors and actresses in each category back in January. From the pool of 15, the top 2 are nominated. Then, the jury will determine the final four nominations from spots 3-15 with a vote.
In simpler terms, think of this voting process like it’s American Idol during the deliberations. The top vote-getters automatically move on to the live shows. For the remaining spots, the judges would choose the wild cards from the rest of the pool, and they too would also advance to the Finals.
Why is this important? Although the BAFTAs won’t reveal the top 2, correctly guessing these two positions will help predict the Oscars as the top 2 selections will typically receive a nomination in their respective category. By some process of elimination, we can narrow down the answer as to who made the top 2 and make educated guesses.
As Matt Neglia and many other critics pointed out on Twitter, there are a select group of individuals who received nominations by four major guilds: Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and the BAFTAs.
Let’s start with the easy decisions. Troy Kotsur, Kodi Smith-Mcphee, Caitríona Balfe, and Ariana DeBose have racked up nominations all over so it’s safe to say those four made the top 2 in the supporting categories.
In Best Actor, Benedict Cumberbatch is in all likelihood in the top 2 because of the eight nominations for The Power of the Dog including Best Film. It gets trickier with Will Smith. Smith might be the frontrunner for the Oscar, but he was probably saved by the jury while Leonardo DiCaprio made the top 2. DiCaprio’s biggest nomination to date occurred at the Golden Globes. That’s his only real nomination throughout awards season. If that’s the case, why would the jury save him? It makes more sense for DiCaprio to be in the top 2. Regardless, the voters loved his outburst on The Daily Rip, as did I.
Then there’s Lady Gaga, who definitely made the top 2 thanks to her nomination dominance these past few months. Who also made the top 2? Time for the process of elimination. Emilia Jones has received a lot of best new actress or rising star nominations, but rarely cracked the lead actress category so cross her off. Renate Reinsve is the lead in one of the best films of the year, but the film just opened in the U.S. so without big nominations in North America, cross her off. Joanna Scanlan is in a British film and the BAFTAs typically like to reward performances like hers despite little awards recognition so cross her off. Tessa Thompson is a nice surprise in this category, but her co-star, Ruth Negga, has gotten the bulk of the nominations in supporting so cross Tessa off.
This leads us to my best guess for the other member of the top 2, Alana Haim. First of all, fuck yes! I love HAIM, the band, so I almost fainted when I read she would be the lead in a PTA film. Haim is phenomenal in her debut film performance, and the voting body agreed as well. This gives me hope that Haim will sneak her way into Best Actress at the Oscars. You’ll never hear me shut up about it if Haim makes it to the final five.
All of these debates will end when the Oscar nominations are announced on February 8, 2022. Until then, predict away!
In my first column for the 2022 Oscars, I talked about how Belfast and The Power of the Dog were 1 and 1A in the Best Picture race with a lot of unknowns trailing behind. Two of those unknowns arrived this past week and became legit contenders. Buckle up.
Licorice Pizza And West Side Story Have Arrived
Never count out the power of well-respected directors. Coming into the Fall, very little was known about Licorice Pizza and West Side Story besides the two powerhouses behind the camera, Paul Thomas Anderson and Steven Spielberg. Projects from two of the best directors of their respective generations will garner a lot of attention.
In both cases, the hype was real.
Licorice Pizza landed the best debut at the independent box office during the pandemic with $335,000. PTA’s coming-of-age story set in the 1970s San Fernando Valley received overwhelmingly positive reviews, with RogerEbert.com calling it the “best movie of the year.”
Fittingly, another organization called it the best film of the year. The National Board of Review named Licorice Pizza the Best Film of 2021. In addition to the top prize, PTA won Best Director, and Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman won breakthrough performance.
The win at the NBR foreshadows an Oscar nomination. Since 2010, only two films* that won Best Film did not go on to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. With a Best Picture nomination all but guaranteed, PTA should receive at least one more nomination for screenplay or direction with the former being his best chance to win.
*2014’s A Most Violent Year and 2020’s Da 5 Bloods
While PTA searches for his first Oscar, Spielberg is trying to win his fourth Oscar with West Side Story. When Spielberg first announced he would remake one of the greatest musicals of all time, many questioned why take on this legendary work of art.
Not this guy!
We should know better than to question a 17-time Oscar nominee.
According to the first reactions, West Side Storyis a “true Spielberg classic.”
West Side Story quickly inserted itself into the Best Picture race with its inclusion on NBR’s 10 Best Films of the Year. The film is a lock for nominations in Best Picture and Best Director. Expect newcomer Rachel Zegler (Best Actress), who won Best Actress at NBR, Ariana DeBose (Supporting), and Rita Moreno (Supporting) to be major players in their respective races.
Gotham Awards And National Board of Review Results
This past week, the Gotham Awards gave out some hardware. The biggest winner was Netflix’s The Lost Daughter, which won four awards: Best Feature, Breakthrough Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress. Will it translate to Oscar nominations? It will be difficult for Maggie Gyllenhaal to crack the directing category, but she’s a shoo-in for an Adapted Screenplay nomination. Olivia Colman is a guarantee for a Best Actress nomination while the film still has some work to do for Best Picture.
As for the rest of the NBR winners, Will Smith began his “I’m going to win every award in site” campaign with a victory for King Richard.
Until next time, my friends.
After strong premieres, Licorice Pizza and West Side Story are now contenders in the race for Best Picture at the 2022 Oscars.
Gentlemen, start your engines. We’re on a one-way trip to the 2022 Oscars.
Right now, we’re about five months away from the 2022 Oscars, which airs on March 27, 2022. That may seem like a long time away, but the races are starting to take off in each major category. “Oscar movies” will be released every single week until the end of the year. which means it’s time to start up the “2022 Oscars Discussion” column.
The first and (probably) last column in this discussion will cover the ceremony’s top prize, Best Picture. Will this year’s winner be the next Parasite or The Artist?
Early Breakdown Of The Race For Best Picture
As of November 5, there is no clear-cut Best Picture frontrunner, which is a change from last year after many experts predicted Nomadland would win the top prize after its victory at the Venice Film Festival in Sept. 2021. Having no true frontrunner isn’t a bad thing. I’m all for a competitive race with a variety of films trading wins at major guilds and festivals throughout awards season. Those tight races lead to wonderful surprises like Parasite‘s win back in 2019.
As of Nov. 5, the favorites to win Best Picture are Belfast and The Power of the Dog. Belfast is a black-and-white period piece from Kenneth Branagh about a working-class family from Northern Ireland in the 1960s. I haven’t seen the film yet, but it’s giving me major “Roma in Northern Ireland” vibes.
Some critics have cited the film as Branagh’s most personal film ever, a personal love letter to his childhood. Belfast features performances from Caitríona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds, and great child performance from Jude Hill, the latter campaigning for Best Actor. It’s currently tied with The Power of the Dog for the best odds (15/2) to win Best Picture via Goldderby.
Belfast has history on its side thanks to its People’s Choice Award win at TIFF. Since 2012, every film that won this award received a Best Picture nomination and three of those films went on to win at the Oscars. In other words, Belfast is guaranteed to be in contention for Best Picture.
Belfast premieres in the U.S on November 17.
Speaking of The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion’s western starring Benedict Cumberbatch is the other frontrunner for Best Picture. Without giving too much away, Cumberbatch plays a domineering rancher who torments his brother’s new wife and son, until a secret may tear him apart.
Campion has a good history with the Academy as she was the second woman ever to be nominated for Best Director for 1993’s The Piano. She’ll probably become the first two-time female nominee at this year’s ceremony. Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst are shoe-ins for nominations in Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Plus, The Power of the Dog was second-runner up at TIFF.
Just like Belfast, The Power of the Dog will be a Best Picture nominee come March.
The Power of the Dog streams on Netflix starting Dec. 1.
After those two films, there’s a bit of a drop-off. Some of that has to do with the fact that no one has seen the film yet. I haven’t seen one word from a critic about Licorice Pizza, West Side Story, Nightmare Alley, House of Gucci, and Don’t Look Up. Seriously, not one single word about five films from Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning directors.
King Richard and Dune should make the final list of Best Picture nominees. The Tragedy of Macbeth from Oscar-winner Joel Coen has six Academy Awards between the two stars, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, so expect the film to be in the mix. Other than that, a few smaller films like The Lost Daughter and CODA will try to claw their way into the contention.
My prediction for Best Picture nominees as of 11/5.
The Power of the Dog
House of Gucci
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story
Don’t Look Up
Let the games begin.
Tell us your predictions for Best Picture in the comments below or tweet us, @danny_giro.
To quote Alan Garner from The Hangover, “How ’bout that ride in?” Before we move on to the 2022 Oscars, we must address the 2021 Oscars. Due to that thing they call “the pandemic,” the Oscars looked a lot different in 2021. With a new date and venue, change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
After the 2021 ceremony, I found myself wanting a show from years prior. I appreciated some of the risks the producers (Steven Soderbergh was one of the producers) took including the decision to allow winners as much time for as long as they wanted. Without that decision, we don’t get Thomas Vinterberg’s beautiful speech or Daniel Kaluuya’s sex joke. Then again, some people did need to be played off, but that’s the risk.
However, the show desperately needs a host to hold things together. In a year where the films were barely seen by the general public, not including clips for all of the categories was bizarre. Finally, moving Best Picture ahead of Best Actress and Best Actor was a risk that didn’t pay off. The show awkwardly ended with Joaquin Phoenix accepting the award for Anthony Hopkins*, who wasn’t in attendance for his Best Actor win. The producers clearly believed Chadwick Boseman would win and the show would end with a beautiful tribute to a wonderful actor who died too soon. That didn’t happen, and the ending fell flat.
*I was shocked that Boseman didn’t win. However, saying Hopkins didn’t deserve to win is outrageous. Hopkins gave a career-defining performance in The Father. I wanted Boseman to win, and Hopkins gave an incredible, award-winning performance. Both can be true!
With the 2021 Oscars in the rearview, it’s time to look ahead to the 2022 Oscars. I admit that I’m crazy for looking so far ahead, but I love this shit. To all of the studio heads, please release your movies this year. Stop delaying!
2022 Oscars: Initial Thoughts
Steven Spielberg Controls The Board
Mr. Spielberg, the ball is in your court. Type in “most-anticipated movies of 2021” into a search engine and 98% of the articles will include Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, which arrives in theaters this December. Adapting West Side Story, which won 10 Oscars in 1962 including Best Picture, will be Spielberg’s most ambitious task since 1993’s Schindler’s List. I have no idea what to expect from Spielberg’s musical. It could mirror the sucess of 1961’s adaptation or be a dud like Cats. Actually, I can guarantee it won’t be like Cats so expect West Side Story to receive multiple Oscar nominations. With good reviews and a strong box office performance, West Side Story might be the favorite to win Best Picture next awards season.
Will PTA Finally Win Some Gold?
One of the most acclaimed and well-respected filmmakers of his generation is Paul Thomas Anderson (PTA). If you called PTA a master of his craft, you won’t hear any argument from me. PTA is the only person to win the top directing prizes at the film festivals in Venice, Berlin, and Cannes. However, PTA has zero individual wins at Oscars despite eight nominations over 20-plus years.
PTA will have another chance at Oscar glory with Soggy Bottom, a film about a high school student’s attempt to become an actor in 1970s Los Angeles. If PTA is going to win his first Oscar, odds are it’s in the screenplay category. A showdown between Wes Anderson and PTA in the screenplay category is imminent. Sign me up for that battle!
Will Dune be a hit with the Academy?
West Side Story might be at the top of many lists for anticipated films of 2021, but my pick is Dune, the sci-fi epic from Denis Villeneuve. Sci-fi rarely gets rewarded in the top categories at the Oscars, but Villeneuve did just that with a Best Picture and Best Director nomination for 2016’s Arrival. With a star-studded cast headlined by Timothée Chalamet, Dune has all the makings of an Oscar hit.
Dune‘s success will predicate on its release strategy. As of now, Dune will have a simultaneous release in theaters and on HBO Max. Villeneuve is clearly opposed and upset with this decision as evidenced in his open letter to Warner Bros. Dune debuting on HBO Max would be a huge win for the streaming service, but it would piss of its director. I think there’s a compromise on the horizon similar to what Paramount+ will do with its new 45-day release window.
Leonardo DiCaprio will have two high-profile releases in Killers of the Flower Moon and Don’t Look Up. It looks like he’ll run supporting for Flower Moon and lead for Don’t Look Up. A double nominee is not out of the question.
Speaking of Scorsese, he’s taking his talents to a new streaming service, Apple TV+, for the aforementioned Killers of the Flower Moon. Up to this point, this is Apple’s best chance to win Oscars.
Every year, Netflix has one golden goose to push during awards season. Last year, it was Mank. In 2021, it will be Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, with a cast that’s more stacked than the 2020-2021 Nets.
Will Frances McDormand tie the record for most acting Oscar wins with four? It’s possible, but after her win for Nomadland, she has to be included with Meryl Streep for the best living actress.
In my defense, most of these films were pushed to 2021. However, I will pat myself on the back for Nomadland, Trial of the Chicago 7, and Mank. We don’t have to talk about my Hillbilly Elegy prediction.
The long wait is over. We’ve reached the finish line. The 2021 Oscars are finally upon us.
It still hasn’t hit me that the 93rd Academy Awards are in late-April this year as opposed to February. The ghost of 2020 is still haunting the world as the film community is rewarding films that came out well over one year ago. Blame COVID, not the industry.
As someone who adores the Oscars, it’s tough for me to get excited about this year’s ceremony because of what’s going on in the world. I’m going to watch every minute of the ceremony, but my excitement won’t be nearly as high as years prior. I also didn’t see any of the nominated films in a theater. Boy does that suck.
Enough of the pity party though. I love making predictions and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Let’s end the film year with an 80% success rate on my picks. Here we go.
As someone who loves and appreciates everything about the film industry, I have to be honest about this year’s Best Picture race. A lot of these films are good, but not great. It pains me to type that, but it’s the truth. I’m going to blame the pandemic for thwarting the entire 2020 movie release schedule. Many of these films would have been better off being seen in a theater, which would have increased my positivity.
Compared to last year, this year’s crop of nominees is significantly weaker. That was bound to happen considering last year’s ceremony had a stacked lineup of films from extraordinary filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho, and Greta Gerwig.
When the best movie I saw in 2020 isn’t eligible for a nomination (Mangrove from Steve McQueen), you’re going to run into some problems. Out of the eight nominees, Judas and the Black Messiah captivated my attention the most. It would get my first-place vote. However, Nomadland, which I enjoyed, will cap off a dominate awards season with the ceremony’s top prize.
Who Should Win:Judas and the Black Messiah Who Will Win: Nomadland
I would argue that the 93rd Oscars features good films with great directors. All five of these directors are great in their own way. I would love nothing more than to award David Fincher with the Oscar he deserves, but it won’t happen this year. Chloé Zhao will become the second female to ever win Best Director. A well-deserved victory for a thoughtful and compassionate filmmaker.
Who Should Win: Chloé Zhao – Nomadland Who Will Win: Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
Don’t let the BAFTA win for Anthony Hopkins throw off your predictions. Chadwick Boseman should win this award. Chadwick Boseman deserves to win this award. Most importantly, Chadwick Boseman will win this award. We miss you, King.
Who Should Win: Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green Who Will Win: Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Ma Rainey
Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday as Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman as Martha Weiss
Frances McDormand – Nomadland as Fern
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman as Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas
Out of all the acting categories, Best Actress is the hardest to predict. All of the nominees besides Kirby won Best Actress at key ceremonies. Day won the Golden Globe, Davis won the SAG, Mulligan won the Critics’ Choice, and McDormand won the BAFTA. In other words, it’s as close to a toss-up as you can get. My personal pick would be Mulligan, but if I’m guessing who the voters will choose, it’s between Davis and McDormand. Since Nomadland is due for a big night, I’ll take McDormand for the win.
Who Should Win: Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman as Cassandra Thomas Who Will Win: Frances McDormand – Nomadland as Fern
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 as Abbie Hoffman
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah as Fred Hampton
Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night in Miami… as Sam Cooke
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal as Joe
Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah as William “Bill” O’Neal
Daniel Kaluuya should and will win at the Oscars. He’s a stud that consistently turns in captivating performances. I’m a big Kaluuya fan. However, this has to be category fraud, right? I would say that Kaluuya and Stanfield are co-leads, but I understand why he’s in supporting because no one is beating Chadwick nor should anyone beat Chadwick. Paul Raci is the only guy in this category who’s truly a supporting actor so by default, he should win. How can you not love Raci? The guy is so damn cool. (Raci receiving a nomination was one of my favorite moments this season.)
Who Should Win: Paul Raci – Sound of Metal as Joe Who Will Win: Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah as Fred Hampton
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm as Tutar Sagdiyev
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy as Bonnie “Mamaw” Vance
Olivia Colman – The Father as Anne
Amanda Seyfried – Mank as Marion Davies
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari as Soon-ja
I love Youn Yuh-jung. She’s been such a delight to watch on the awards circuit. Watching her call British people “snobs” was one of the best laughs I’ve had in months. She’s going to win at Oscars, but I wish it went to Maria Bakalova. Her performance in Borat 2 was out-of-this-world good. To steal the show from Sacha Baron Cohen seemed downright impossible, but Bakalova easily won the movie.
Who Should Win: Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm as Tutar Sagdiyev Who Will Win: Youn Yuh-jung – Minari as Soon-ja
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Judas and the Black Messiah – Screenplay by Will Berson and Shaka King; Story by Berson, King, Keith Lucas and Kenny Lucas
Minari – Lee Isaac Chung
Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
Sound of Metal – Screenplay by Abraham Marder and Darius Marder; Story by Derek Cianfrance and D. Marder
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin
Since 2019, Emerald Fennell created Killing Eve Season 2, acted in The Crown, and wrote/directed Promising Young Woman. That’s a hell of a two-year stretch. Fennell’s picked up major wins at the BAFTAs and WGAs so I don’t see her losing this category. Promising Young Woman also had one of the best plot twists of the last five years.
Who Should Win:Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell Who Will Win: Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee Kern, Dan Mazer, Erica Rivinoja and Dan Swimer; Story by Baron Cohen, Hines, Nina Pedrad and Swimer; Based on the character by Baron Cohen
The Father – Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, based on the play by Zeller
One Night in Miami… – Kemp Powers, based on his play
The White Tiger – Ramin Bahrani, based on the novel by Aravind Adiga
It’s Chloé Zhao’s night.
Who Should Win:Nomadland – Chloé Zhao Who Will Win: Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Onward – Kori Rae and Dan Scanlon
Over the Moon – Peilin Chou, Glen Keane and Gennie Rin
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon – Will Becher, Paul Kewley and Richard Phelan
Soul – Pete Docter and Dana Murray
Wolfwalkers – Tomm Moore, Stéphan Roelants, Ross Stewart and Paul Young
I said this last year and I’ll say it again,. When in doubt, choose Pixar. Soul in a landslide.
Who Should Win:Soul – Pete Docter and Dana Murray Who Will Win: Soul – Pete Docter and Dana Murray
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Another Round (Denmark)
Better Days (Hong Kong)
The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia)
Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Mads, let’s get drunk.
Who Should Win:Another Round (Denmark) Who Will Win: Another Round (Denmark)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
I didn’t see My Octopus Teacher, but it won the BAFTA and the PGA. It’s the leader in the clubhouse. However, I’m going with the upset and picking Time.
Who Should Win:Time Who Will Win: Time
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Da 5 Bloods – Terence Blanchard
Mank – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Minari – Emile Mosseri
News of the World – James Newton Howard
Soul – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste
TENET WAS ROBBED! JUSTICE FOR LUDWIG!
If Ludwig can’t win, I have no problems with Trent and Atticus winning more Oscars with the help of Mr. Jon Batiste.
Who Should Win:Tenet – Ludwig Göransson (not nominated) Who Will Win: Soul – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah – Music by D’Mile and H.E.R.; lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas
“Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Music by Daniel Pemberton; lyric by Celeste and Pemberton
“Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – Music and lyric by Rickard Göransson, Fat Max Gsus and Savan Kotecha
“Io sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead – Music by Diane Warren; lyric by Laura Pausini and Warren
“Speak Now” from One Night in Miami… – Music and lyric by Sam Ashworth and Leslie Odom Jr.
Can’t say I’ve revisited these songs like I did with “Shallow.” A Eurovision win would be fun and in a COVID year, maybe a fun song is exactly what we need. I’ll go with the safer pick and choose Leslie Odom Jr. If Odom wants to perform “The Room Where It Happens” from Hamilton, I wouldn’t be opposed.
Who Should Win: “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – Music and lyric by Rickard Göransson, Fat Max Gsus and Savan Kotecha Who Will Win: “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami… – Music and lyric by Sam Ashworth and Leslie Odom Jr.
Judas and the Black Messiah – Sean Bobbitt
Mank – Erik Messerschmidt
News of the World – Dariusz Wolski
Nomadland – Joshua James Richards
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Phedon Papamichael
Mank received 10 nominations. They have to win some Oscars, right? The technical categories is where Mank can do some damage. Nomadland is the favorite after it’s BAFTA win, but I’m going with Mank, who won the ASC, in a slight upset.
Who Should Win:Nomadland – Joshua James Richards Who Will Win: Mank – Erik Messerschmidt
Greyhound – Beau Borders, Michael Minkler, Warren Shaw and David Wyman
Mank – Ren Klyce, Drew Kunin, Jeremy Molod, Nathan Nance and David Parker
News of the World – William Miller, John Pritchett, Mike Prestwood Smith and Oliver Tarney
Soul – Coya Elliot, Ren Klyce and David Parker
Sound of Metal – Jaime Baksht, Nicolas Becker, Philip Bladh, Carlos Cortés and Michelle Couttolenc
There’s a movie with the word “sound” in its title. Enough said.
Who Should Win:Soul – Coya Elliot, Ren Klyce and David Parker Who Will Win: Sound of Metal – Jaime Baksht, Nicolas Becker, Philip Bladh, Carlos Cortés and Michelle Couttolenc
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Father – Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Sroughton
Mank – Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
News of the World – Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan
Tenet – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas
Mank is pulling a Mad Max: Fury Road at the Oscars with these technical wins.
Who Should Win:Tenet – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas Who Will Win: Mank – Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Emma. – Laura Allen, Marese Langan and Claudia Stolze
Hillbilly Elegy – Patricia Dehaney, Eryn Krueger Mekash and Matthew W. Mungle
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson
Mank – Colleen LaBaff, Kimberley Spiteri and Gigi Williams
Pinocchio – Dalia Colli, Mark Coulier and Francesco Pegoretti
Emma winning here would be a delight. Watch out for Hillbilly Elegy. I’ll go with the 1920s drama that made me want to crush a Coke.
Who Should Win:Emma. – Laura Allen, Marese Langan and Claudia Stolze Who Will Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Emma. – Alexandra Byrne
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ann Roth
Mank – Trish Summerville
Mulan – Bina Daigeler
Pinocchio – Massimo Cantini Parrini
The last film to win in both the makeup and costume categories was Mad Max: Fury Road. Can Ma Rainey do the same at this year’s Oscars? I don’t think so. I’m riding the Mank train for the technical categories and going with the upset.
Who Should Win:Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ann Roth Who Will Win: Mank – Trish Summerville
BEST FILM EDITING
The Father – Yorgos Lamprinos
Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
Promising Young Woman – Frédéric Thoraval
Sound of Metal – Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Alan Baumgarten
Three of last five winners of the ACE Eddie Award for editing went on to win Oscars in the same category. The Trial of the Chicago 7 won the ACE Eddie. That’s the pick here.
Who Should Win:Sound of Metal – Mikkel E.G. Nielsen Who Will Win: The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Alan Baumgarten
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Love and Monsters – Genevieve Camailleri, Brian Cox, Matt Everitt and Matt Sloan
The Midnight Sky – Matthew Kasmir, Chris Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
Mulan – Sean Andrew Faden, Steve Ingram, Anders Langlands and Seth Maury
The One and Only Ivan – Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez
Tenet – Scott R. Fisher, Andrew Jackson, David Lee and Andrew Lockley
The best movie on this list is Tenet. The Academy loves Nolan films from a technical side. That trend will continue Sunday night.
Who Should Win:Tenet – Scott R. Fisher, Andrew Jackson, David Lee and Andrew Lockley Who Will Win: Tenet – Scott R. Fisher, Andrew Jackson, David Lee and Andrew Lockley
For the final three categories, I’m not going to pretend I know anything about them. I haven’t seen any of the shorts. I wish they were more accessible throughout the year instead of making them available in one virtual theater before the ceremony. Since I didn’t see any of these films, I’ll only pick “who will win.”
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Colette – Alice Doyard and Anthony Giacchino
A Concerto Is a Conversation – Kris Bowers and Ben Proudfoot
Do Not Split – Charlotte Cook and Anders Hammer
Hunger Ward – Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Shueuerman
A Love Song for Latasha – Sophia Nahali Allison and Janice Duncan
Who Will Win: A Love Song for Latasha – Sophia Nahali Allison and Janice Duncan
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Feeling Through – Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski
The Letter Room – Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan
The Present – Ossama Bawardi and Farah Nabulsi
Two Distant Strangers – Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe
White Eye – Shira Hochman and Tomer Shushan
Oscar Isaac was in The Letter Room. Let’s do that.
Who Will Win: The Letter Room – Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Burrow – Michael Capbarat and Madeline Sharafian
Genius Loci – Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise
If Anything Happens I Love You – Michael Govier and Will McCormack
Opera – Erick Oh
Yes-People – Arnar Gunnarsson and Gísli Darri Halldórsson
Who Will Win: If Anything Happens I Love You – Michael Govier and Will McCormack
Thank you for reading my discussions about the Oscars all year. I really appreciate it. Follow me on Twitter, @danny_giro.
What is “The Big Three?” It’s not LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The trio I’m referring to is the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Oscars. These are the three biggest mainstream awards for films. If a film or actor does well at the Globes and SAGs, then it’s probably going to win an Oscar.
On Sunday, the SAG Awards will hand out some hardware. After Sunday night, will the Oscar races heat up or cool down?
Will The SAG Awards Alter The Oscar Race?
Do the SAG Awards affect the Oscar race?
The short answer is yes. The SAG Awards matter. Just look at last year’s results.
Every winner in the five major categories went on to win the Oscar in their corresponding category. I doubt that this trend will happen two years in a row. Why is that? Look at the Outstanding Performance by a Cast category for 2020 below. What notable film is missing?
The answer is Nomadland, which is the heavy favorite at -400 to win Best Picture according to Vegasinsider. Since 2010, five winners of Outstanding Cast went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. During that same time frame, 2017 (The Shape of Water) and 2018 (Green Book) where the Best Picture winner didn’t receive an Outstanding Cast nomination.
Despite the lack of a SAG nom, Nomadland won the top prize at the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild Awards. The latter is noteworthy because the PGA winner won the Oscar for Best Picture 10 of the last 13 years. I’m expecting Nomadland to make it 11 out of 14. If I had to pick one film to play spoiler, it would be Minari. If Minari wins the SAG for Outstanding Cast, it could ride that momentum to the Oscars just like Parasite did last year.
In the acting categories, the male races seem all but over. The SAG Awards are voted on by actors and the acting community’s reaction to Chadwick Boseman’s campaign has been universally positive. He may receive every single first-place vote for Outstanding Lead Actor. The same could be said for Daniel Kaluuya, whose captivating performance in Judas and the Black Messiah should result in SAG and Oscar gold.
On the female side, it’s a bit cloudier. Frances McDormand, who has won two SAG Awards for Leading Actress in a Film and two Oscars for Best Actress, is the favorite, and rightfully so. She’s awesome in everything she does including Nomadland. However, watch out for Carey Mulligan. Her performance in Promising Young Woman garnered excellent reviews, which led to important wins at Critics Choice Awards and National Board of Review. Whoever wins the SAG will be the favorite to win the Oscar.
In the supporting actress category, your guess is good as mine. You might be better off closing your eyes and pointing at a name. Maria Bakalova, my personal pick to win, and Youn Yuh-jung are the two names to watch. The two women have gone back and forth all season, alternating wins in every critic’s circle beside the Golden Globes. Bakalova recently won the Critics Choice Award so I give her the slight edge going into the SAG.
It’s 2021, which means the eligibility window for the 2021 Oscars closes in less than two months. Both Apple TV+ and Netflix are making late additions to their Oscars’ slate with Cherry and Malcolm & Marie.
Cherry And Malcolm & Marie Look To Crash The Party
Here come the streaming services. Just when the Oscar races were starting to form contenders, Apple and Netflix hit the film community with a “not so fast my friend.” Apple and Netflix are banking on star power to win over voters with Cherry and Malcolm & Marie.
Cherry stars Tom Holland as the titular character, a US soldier suffering from PTSD. To pay for his opioid addiction, Cherry starts to rob banks. Directed by The Russo Brothers, Cherry is based on the acclaimed semi-autobiographical novel from author Nico Walker.
Both Holland and The Russo Brothers are set to prove they can play outside of the Marvel sandbox. Spider-Man made Holland a superstar, but this young talent doesn’t need spandex to prove he can light up the screen. Holland’s track record outside of Marvel speaks for itself with good performances in The Impossible and The Lost City of Z. With a difficult subject matter and long runtime (150 minutes), it’s going to be hard for Cherry to break into the Oscar field. However, Holland will get some votes for Best Actor so a nomination could be in his future within the next five years.
Cherry will premiere in theaters on Feb. 26 before streaming on Apple TV+ on Mar. 12.
While Cherry could struggle to gain traction with voters, it’s quite the opposite with Malcolm & Marie. I don’t see a world where Malcolm & Marie receive zero nominations for the 2021 Oscars. Directed and written by Sam Levinson (Euphoria), John David Washington and Zendaya star as Malcolm, a filmmaker, and Marie, his girlfriend. After a successful movie premiere, the couple returns home and begins to question their relationship as Malcolm’s celebrity status will soon rise.
What do the Oscars love? Stars and films about Hollywood. Malcolm & Marie checks both boxes. John David Washington and Zendaya are both charismatic, attractive, and well-liked actors. Both are coming off star-making performances in Tenet and Euphoria, respectively. Levinson, son of Oscar-winner Barry Levinson, is starting to hit his stride as a writer/director. Malcolm & Marie will compete for nominations in Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Orginal Screenplay, Best Production Design, and perhaps Best Picture.
With that being said, if you had to cash your chips in on one category, go all-in on a Best Actress nomination for Zendaya. The gifted actress has all the momentum in the world after her Emmywin for Euphoria. An Oscar nomination would catapult her to elite status.
Malcolm & Marie premieres Feb 5 on Netflix.
Other News And Notes
– Judas and the Black Messiah looks fantastic. Lakeith Stanfield is one of the most eclectic actors in Hollywood. Does anyone have better taste than Daniel Kaluuya? Since 2015, Kaluuya has done Sicaro, Get Out, Black Panther, Widows, and Queen & Slim. The man doesn’t miss and he’s inserted himself right into the Best Supporting Actor race.
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before, but Frances McDormand stars in a film that will garner many Oscar nominations. The aforementioned film is Nomadland.
Nomadland To Open In February 2021, Eligible For 2021 Oscars
Mark your calendars down. Nomadland has been rescheduled to open in theaters on Feb. 19, 2021. The film’s original release date was Dec. 2020, but Disney moved it to after the start of the new year due to the pandemic. More importantly, Nomadland will be eligible for the 2021 Oscars as the eligibility window ends Feb. 28, 2021.
Nomadland stars McDormand as Fern, a woman in her sixties who decides to pack up her things and live as a modern-day nomad after the Great Recession. The film features real nomads Linda May, Bob Wells, and Charlene Swankie as well as David Strathairn. Nomadland is directed by Chloé Zhao, who is best known for 2017’s The Rider and the upcoming Marvel movie, The Eternals.
Nomadland will turn its sights towards the 2021 Oscars. On Gold Derby, Nomadland occupies the top spot for Best Picture winner by the majority of experts and critics. Nomadland became the first film to ever won top prizes at both the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. McDormand is a lock to pick up a nomination for Best Actress, and Zhao will most certainly become the sixth female to receive a Best Director nomination.
Nomadland may be a small drama, but it’s no underdog.
Riz Ahmed Shines In Sound Of Metal
Over the weekend, I watched Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime. The film stars Riz Ahmed as Ruben Stone, a recovering heroin addict and metal drummer who experiences hearing loss. When his condition worsens, he puts his music career on hold, leaves his girlfriend and bandmate (Olivia Cooke), and checks into a sober house for the deaf. It’s here where Ruben must learn to live with, not fix, his disability.
Ahmed’s been on my radar ever since 2014’s Nightcrawler. He showed his true potential in 2016’s The Night Of, which led to his Emmy win for Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. Ahmed’s performance in Sound of Metal is right up there with The Night Of. Ahmed’s passion and struggle are on full display especially during the first two acts, when he struggles to accept his deafness. He’s a believable deaf person and recovering addict and encapsulates the film’s message that being deaf is a culture, not a disability. It’s a powerful performance that will go down as one of the year’s best.
Other News And Notes
– Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom premieres on Dec. 18. It will be an emotional time since it’s the first film to feature Chadwick Boseman since his tragic death this past summer. Boseman, along with his costar Viola Davis, will both be major contenders in the acting categories.
– I’m finally going to see Tenet since it hits VOD on Dec. 15. In a shitty year, to quote Kevin Malone…
One word is about to stir up the 2021 Oscars. Say it with me: Mank.
Mank Set To Be An Oscars Juggernaut
With the Oscar eligibility window pushed back to February 28, 2021, it’s safe to say we’re in the middle rounds in this fight for Academy Awards. If this is Round 5 or 6, then Mank just scored a knockdown.
The first round of reviews arrived this afternoon for Mank and to say they were anything but positive would be an understatement. I’m struggling to find a negative word, let alone an entirely negative review. Type “Mank Review” in your search engine and it will flood with adjectives for “great.”
Mank revolves around Herman J. Mankiewicz, played by Gary Oldman, and his battle with Orson Welles over the screenwriting credit for Citizen Kane. Mank was directed by David Fincher, who directs his first feature film since 2014’s Gone Girl, from a script written by Fincher’s father, the late Jack Fincher. Oldman stars alongside Amanda Seyfried, Charles Dance, Lily Collins, Arliss Howard, and Tom Burke.
Mank hits all the right notes in terms of films that are typically rewarded by the Academy. It’s a black and white movie about the film industry in Old Hollywood from a well-respected director and accomplished cast. If the Academy Awards were a game of Texas Hold’Em and Mank came to the table, Mank would be sitting on a pair of Kings. Frankly, all you had to tell me was “David Fincher’s first movie since Gone Girl” and I was in.
Without guessing winners, the best bet you can make for the 2021 Oscars is that Mank will lead the field with the most nominations. I’m counting at least eight automatic nominations and honestly, that’s on the low side.
Mank Nomination Predictions
Best Director (Fincher)
Best Actor (Oldman)
Best Supporting Actress (Seyfried)
Best Supporting Actor (Dance)
Best Orginal Screenplay
Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing
Best Original Score
Best Production Design
If you can’t count, that’s 12 nominations, which would easily make it the nomination leader. Thankfully, consumers won’t have to wait much longer as Mank will stream on Netflix on December 4.
One Night In Miami Oscar Campaign
Mank may have made a statement in the middle rounds, but One Night In Miami will look to come on strong in the 11th round. Regina King’s directorial debut portrays the fictionalized meeting between Malcom X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), and Leslie Odom Jr. (Sam Cooke). One Night In Miami premiered to strong reviews at TIFF and King will be in the running for a Best Directing nomination.
With four actors positioning for acting nominations, Amazon Studios confirmed where they will campaign all four men. Kingsley Ben-Adir and Eli Goree will be entered as lead actors while Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr. will run in supporting. Out of the four actors, Odom should have the best chance for a nomination thanks to his previous accomplishments in the Emmys, Grammys, and Tonys.
One Night In Miami opens in theaters on Christmas and streams on Amazon Prime Video on January 15, 2021.
Other News And Notes
– I still haven’t seen Tenet. However, there is good news on the horizon.