2022 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 2: Licorice Pizza And West Side Story Arrive In Style

Licorice Pizza

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 Story is 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.

Previous Discussions:

Tweet me, @danny_giro, with your best Oscar predictions!

2022 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 1: The Race For Best Picture

Belfast / Focus Features

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.

The Contenders

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.

  • Belfast
  • The Power of the Dog
  • Nightmare Alley
  • House of Gucci
  • King Richard
  • Dune
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Licorice Pizza
  • 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.

2022 Oscars: Way-Too-Early Predictions

Steven Spielberg's West Side Story

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.

Quick Hits

  • 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.

I wrote a way-too-early article for the 2021 Oscars in Feb. 2020. In Best Picture, these were my predictions.

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.

Without further ado, my way-too-early predictions for the 2022 Oscars. Keep in mind that Best Picture will be set at 10 nominees as part of the Academy’s diversity and inclusivity initiative.

2022 Oscars: Predictions

Best Picture

  • Don’t Look Up
  • Dune
  • The French Dispatch
  • House of Gucci
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Nightmare Alley
  • Passing
  • Soggy Bottom
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • West Side Story

Best Actor

  • Adam Driver – House of Gucci
  • Oscar Isaac – The Card Counter
  • Richard Jenkins – The Humans
  • Jesse Plemons – Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Actress

  • Lady Gaga – House of Gucci
  • Jennifer Hudson – Respect
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Don’t Look Up
  • Frances McDormand – The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Tessa Thompson – Passing

Best Supporting Actor

  • Bradley Cooper – Soggy Bottom
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Bryan Tyree Henry – Red, White and Water
  • Jared Leto – House of Gucci
  • Jesse Plemons – Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jodie Comer – The Last Duel
  • Ariana DeBose – West Side Story
  • Regina King – The Harder They Fall
  • Rooney Mara – Nightmare Alley
  • Ruth Negga – Passing

Best Director

  • Paul Thomas Anderson – Soggy Bottom
  • Jane Campion – Power of the Dog
  • Adam McKay – Don’t Look Up
  • Martin Scorsese – Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Steven Spielberg – West Side Story

Leave your predictions in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

2021 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 8: Who Should Win And Who Will Win?

Nomadland Oscars

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.

BEST PICTURE

  • The Father
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Mank 
  • Minari
  • Nomadland
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Sound of Metal 
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

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

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round
  • David Fincher – Mank
  • Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
  • Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
  • Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman

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

BEST ACTOR

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 BosemanIndicates a posthumous nomination – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green
Who Will Win: Chadwick BosemanIndicates a posthumous nomination – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green

BEST ACTRESS

  • 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
https://twitter.com/unsleepingcity/status/1381330428867588102?s=20

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
  • Nomadland – Chloé Zhao, based on the book by Jessica Bruder
  • 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)
  • Collective (Romania)
  • 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

  • Collective
  • Crip Camp 
  • The Mole Agent
  • My Octopus Teacher
  • Time 

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.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • 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

BEST SOUND

  • 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.

2021 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 7: Will SAG Awards Alter Oscar Race?

Promising Young Woman

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.

Previous Discussions:

Out of all the winners at the Golden Globes, who will win an Oscar? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 5: The Party Crashers

Malcolm and Marie / Netflix

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 Emmy win 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.

– I finally saw Tenet. It ruled!

Previous Discussions:

Can Cherry and Malcolm & Marie crash the Oscar party? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 4: Nomadland Eyes Best Picture

Nomadland Oscars

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…

Previous Discussions:

Will Nomadland win Best Picture? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 3: Man(k) On A Mission

Mank / Netflix

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 Picture
  • Best Director (Fincher)
  • Best Actor (Oldman)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Seyfried)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Dance)
  • Best Orginal Screenplay
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Sound

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.

Previous Discussions:

Are you excited for Mank? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 2: Chadwick Boseman, Glenn Close Emerge As Early Frontrunners

Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

It’s early in the race, but two frontrunners have already emerged in Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress for the 2021 Oscars.

Chadwick Boseman And Glenn Close Jump Out To Early Leads

Here is my first of many predictions about the 2021 Oscars.

Both Chadwick Boseman and Glenn Close will win Oscars at the 2021 ceremony.

First, there’s the late Boseman, who tragically passed away this past August after a long battle with colon cancer. The actor was a king, both on and off the screen. Imagine working long and excruciating days on films like Black Panther, The Avenger sequels, and Da 5 Bloods while undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. How many of us would give up? Frankly, a lot of us would including myself, but not Boseman. He was a special breed and truly a selfless individual. May he rest in power.

For the 2021 Oscars, Boseman was drawing major buzz for Best Supporting Actor in Netflix’s upcoming film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which premieres on Dec. 18. After his death, the buzz skyrocketed as Boseman went straight to the top of the list in the supporting actor category. That all changed this week when Netflix announced their campaign to run Boseman for lead actor.

The strategist in me said, “Why would Netflix push Boseman in a tough best acting field instead of dominating the supporting category?” It took me less than a minute before the light bulb went off.

Two words: double nominee.

Boseman gave another performance in a Netflix movie that has gained awards buzz. I’m talking about Da 5 Bloods, where he played the undeniable “Stormin'” Norman. With the decision to run Boseman for Best Actor in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the door has opened for a supporting nomination for Da 5 Bloods.

It’s definitely an ambitious plan from Netflix and at the very least, Boseman will receive a nomination for one of his performances. Those who have seen Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom have raved over Boseman’s final outing.

I agree. Chadwick is going to win an Oscar.

Speaking of Oscar victories, you know who hasn’t won an Oscar yet? Glenn Close. Unfortunately, Close’s relationship with the Oscars can be explained with one phrase, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” 7 nominations, 0 wins.

It’s not like Close lost to scrubs every year. Jessica Lange, Jodie Foster, and Meryl Streep are three of the most accomplished actresses ever. However, if I had to switch up one result, it would be 1988 when Close should’ve won for Fatal Attraction. Before Cher and her fans hurt me, I will say that Cher should’ve been nominated and won for Mask.

It’s a shame Close is Oscar-less, but I believe she’s finally going to win gold in the supporting category for Hillbilly Elegy, a film about the American dream and societal problems through the eyes of an Appalachian family. Close will play Mamaw Vance, the grandmother of J.D. Vance, who wrote the memoir that served as the film’s inspiration. The Oscars typically honor films that are based on real-life events and reward actors who make complete physical transformations. Hillbilly Elegy and Close check off both boxes.

Glenn Close and Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy / Netflix

It’s ironic that the actress who beat Close in 2019, Olivia Colman, is also her toughest competition in 2021 as Colman will run in the supporting category for her role in The Father. Expect another close (I couldn’t help myself with this pun) race.

I really like both actresses, but I’d venture to say that Colman would be ok with Close winning this time around. I would be happy with this result, too.

Other News And Notes

-From what I’ve seen and read, the Best Picture frontrunner as of October 23 is Nomadland.

Mank is coming. I don’t see a world where the Academy hates Mank. Nominations in Best Picture, Best Director for David Fincher, Best Actor for Gary Oldman seem inevitable.

-Netflix, Netflix, and more Netflix. This will be the year the streaming service receives the most nominations in their company’s history. Now, the pressure is on to win in the major categories.

-I still haven’t seen Tenet.

Which Chadwick Boseman and Glenn Close win Oscars? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 1: The Year Of Netflix

The Trial of the Chicago 7 / Netflix

Say goodbye to the Emmys and say hello to the Oscars! Even though the Oscars won’t air until April 2021, the last quarter of 2020 signals the start of the Oscar season. Even in a year full of delays, postponements, and a pandemic, studios are still looking to acquire films at major festivals to bolster their awards’ chances. There’s one major studio that has stood above the rest and we all know who it is. Is This The Year Netflix Wins Best Picture?

Is This The Year Netflix Wins Best Picture?

2020 has been the year from hell for most major studios. Giant tentople franchises like Wonder Woman and James Bond have moved their release dates to the end of the year. Marvel and The Fast and Furious punted in 2020 and moved their major releases to 2021. If there’s one major studio that could survive a pandemic, it’s Netflix. Not only has Netflix survived, but it’s thrived beyond belief.

This past week, two major dominoes fell in the Best Picture race. First, West Side Story, one of the most anticipated films of 2020, was pushed back an entire year from Dec. 2020 to Dec. 2021. The iconic musical from Steven Spielberg, which was set to be a frontrunner for Best Picture, now moves to the 2022 Oscars.

When one door closes, another door opens, and in comes Aaron Sorkin. The second major domino revolves around Sorkin’s new film, The Trial of the Chicago 7, which released its first trailer this past week. Originally scheduled for a theatrical release from Paramount, the Chicago 7 was sold to Netflix for over $50 million and now, will be released in select theaters on September 25 before debuting on the streaming service on October 16. The film centers around the famous Chicago Seven, who led protests during the 1968 Democratic Convention. The cast is stacked and includes Oscar-winners Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance as well as recent Emmy-winners Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jeremy Strong.

All you have to say is “Aaron Sorkin wrote a courtroom drama” and this film would be up for awards. From A Few Good Men to The West Wing, the film and television academies love Sorkin in the courtroom. Critics agree as the first wave of reviews has been overwhelmingly positive with Richard Roeper calling it an “instant classic.” In terms of 2021 Oscars, nominations in Best Picture and Best Orginal Screenplay are automatic. Best Director for Sorkin also seems likely. In the acting categories, depending on how Netflix possessions each actor, Sacha Baron Cohen, Redmayne, Rylance, Abdul-Mateen II, and Strong will be considered in either Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor.

The Trial of the Chicago Seven is only one of the Oscar-hopeful films that Netflix has at its disposal. There is a world where Netflix could receive five Best Picture nominations with five established and well-respected directors behind each film. Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloodswill be in the mix due to its critical acclaim. Later this year, Netflix will release Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom from George C. Wolfe, Hillbilly Elegy from Ron Howard, and Mank from David Fincher, who hasn’t made a feature film since 2014’s Gone Girl. If there’s ever a time for Netlfix to win Best Picture, it’s this year.

Other News And Notes

-There have only been five female directors to receive a nomination for Best Director and only one, Kathryn Bigelow, has won the award. At the 2021 Oscars, there could be not one, but two women nominated for Best Director. They are Chloe Zhao for Nomadland and Regina King for One Night in Miami. Nomadland, based on the novel about a woman traveling as a modern-day nomad starring Frances McDormand, recently won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The last three films to win that prize were Joker, Roma, and The Shape of Water. All three films were nominated for Best Picture and Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro won Best Director for Roma and The Shape of Water, respectively) so history is on Zhao’s side.

The other film, Regina King’s One Night in Miami, revolves around a fictional meeting between Jim Brown, Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, and Sam Cooke in a Miami hotel room in 1964. The film premiered to positive reviews, praising King’s directorial debut. King, an Oscar and Emmy winner, would be the first black female to be nominated for Best Director.

-Speaking of Netflix, the streaming service acquired Pieces of a Woman, a drama about a couple who must face their midwife after she loses their baby and faces criminal negligence. The performance that drew the most buzz was from Vanessa Kirby, who plays the grieving mother that must navigate fractured relationships with her husband, mother, and midwife. Kirby’s performances have been hailed the “performance of her career” by Variety. Expect a huge campaign from Netflix to elevate Kirby into the Best Actress category.

-Will I ever see Tenet?

Which film from Netflix has the best chance of winning Best Picture? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.