Did you happen to watch the Oscars? Well if you didn’t, they gave out some awards, edited some speeches, and oh yeah, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock across the face.
Like anyone who has been on the Internet for over a decade, I thought this was fake.
I was wrong.
This was as real as it gets.
This moment is heading full-speed into the Take Cycle. I’m expecting think pieces with the following themes to dominate the Internet:
Will Smith is going through a mental breakdown.
Chris Rock needs to be canceled.
It was just a joke.
Talk shit, get hit.
You never know the battles someone is going through.
It was a cheap shot joke.
You can’t hit someone like that.
Whatever your take might be, tonight is why I “lace ’em up.” This is why I spend hundreds of hours watching movies, writing about the Oscars, and reading every piece of journalism I can get my hands on about actors and actresses. I will NEVER forget this moment.
I’m going to be a dweeb here, but I want to celebrate CODA running a fantastic campaign, capping it off with a win for Best Picture. I’ll let Twitter settle the Smith/Rock debate for me.
After the long and winding road, awards season has reached the end of its journey with the 2022 Oscars.
Remember when Belfast was the frontrunner for Best Picture and House of Gucci was going to dominate the acting categories? That was Fall 2021, which feels like 10 years ago.
Things have drastically changed the last few weeks as new contenders have emerged. I won’t waste anymore more time. Below are my predictions for every category.
P.S. Please move the Oscars back to February 2023.
Belfast CODA Don’t Look Up Drive My Car Dune King Richard Licorice Pizza Nightmare Alley The Power of the Dog West Side Story
This is a two-horse race between The Power of the Dog and CODA. The Power of the Dog dominated critics’ circles and picked up huge wins at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Critics’ Choice Awards. On the other hand, CODA is the sentimental favorite and surged to wins at the SAGs and PGAs.
Best Picture is a preferential ballot, which means voters rank the nominees from most favorite to least favorite (1-10). If a film gets 50% of the first-place votes on the first try, it’s over. That’s not going to happen. The film that receives the least number of votes is eliminated. For the ballots that were eliminated, the Academy then takes their number two selections and applies those votes to ballots with that film at number one. This process happens with selections three and four until one film receives 50% of the vote. Here’s a quick diagram to explain.
Voter A: 1) The Power of the Dog 2) CODA 3) Don’t Look Up Voter B: 1) Nightmare Alley 2) CODA 3) The Power of the Dog Voter C: 1) CODA 2) West Side Story 3) Dune
Let’s say Nightmare Alley comes in at 10th place after round one so it’s eliminated. Go to Voter B’s number two selection, which is CODA. Essentially, CODA becomes Voter B’s new number one so it’s redistributed to ballots with CODA at one (like Voter C) and adds to CODA‘s first-place tally. The elimination process will occur until a film receives 50% of the vote.
Because of this balloting system, Best Picture is an award given to the film that voters liked the most, or close to it. Don’t think about which film is number one on ballots, but think about which film will fall at numbers two and three. This is why CODA has a legit shot at winning because it will probably fall within the top 3 on many ballots. Can the same be said for The Power of the Dog?
My heart says Coda, and after thinking it over, so does my head. From Sundance to the Oscars, what a run for this heartwarming film.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win: CODA
Kenneth Branagh, Belfast Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog Stephen Spielberg, West Side Story
This is Jane Campion’s award to lose. The Power of the Dog is not my favorite movie, but I can’t deny Campion’s expertise and execution. Plus, she’s virtually won every directing award on the circuit. My vote would be for Denis Villeneuve and Dune… oh wait, he was completely snubbed. You deserve better, Denis.
Who Should Win: Denis Villeneuve, Dune (not nominated) Who Will Win: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! Will Smith, King Richard Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
The kid from West Philadelphia should give the speech of the night. I can’t wait.
Who Should Win: Will Smith, King Richard Who Will Win: Will Smith, King Richard
Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos Kristen Stewart, Spencer
Do you want chaos? Then this is the category for you! Jessica Chastain is the favorite, and as much as I love Chastain, Olivia Colman is tied with Frances McDormand as the best working actress in Hollywood. Colman is a master of her craft. I like all of these actresses so I won’t be upset with whoever wins. I’ll go with Colman in a slight upset because the Academy loves her.
Who Should Win: Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter Who Will Win: Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ciarán Hinds, Belfast Troy Kostur, CODA Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
Troy’s Oscar moment.
Who Should Win: Troy Kostur, CODA Who Will Win: Troy Kostur, CODA
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter Ariana DeBose, West Side Story Judi Dench, Belfast Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Ariana is the lock of the century.
Who Should Win: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story Who Will Win: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Belfast, Kenneth Branagh Don’t Look Up, Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay & David Sirota King Richard, Zach Baylin Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson The Worst Person in the World, Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier
The screenplay categories are the hardest of the night. Is this the spot where the Academy rewards Belfast? Does Don’t Look Up have enough momentum following its win at the WGAs? I’m predicting the Academy rewards the man who has been knocking at the door for over two decades, looking for his first Oscar win. That man is Mr. Paul Thomas Anderson.
Who Should Win:Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson Who Will Win: Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
CODA, Sian Heder Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe Dune, Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth The Lost Daughter, Maggie Gyllenhaal The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion
If Coda or The Power of the Dog wins this category, then they become the favorite for Best Picture. CODA picked up a huge win at the WGAs, but The Power of the Dog was ineligible. Campion previously won an Oscar for screenplay, and she’s a lock for Best Director. Does the Academy spread the wealth and reward Sian Heder of Maggie Gyllenhaal? I think they share the love so my pick is Heder.
Who Should Win:Dune, Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth Who Will Win: CODA, Sian Heder
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Encanto Flee Luca The Mitchells vs. The Machines Raya and the Last Dragon
The Encanto momentum is real.
Who Should Win:The Mitchells vs. The Machines Who Will Win: Encanto
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Drive My Car, Japan Flee, Denmark The Hand of God, Italy Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Bhutan The Worst Person in the World, Norway
Had Drive My Car not been nominated for Best Picture, this would go to The Worst Person in the World. Both films are worthy of this win.
Who Should Win:Drive My Car, Japan and The Worst Person in the World, Norway (tie) Who Will Win: Drive My Car, Japan
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Ascension Attica Flee Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) Writing with Fire
Will Questlove be drumming on Fallon the next night after his win? That is the million-dollar question.
Who Should Win:Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) Who Will Win: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Don’t Look Up, Nicholas Britell Dune, Hans Zimmer Encanto, Germaine Franco Parallel Mothers, Alberto Iglesias The Power of the Dog, Jonny Greenwood
Who Should Win:Dune, Hans Zimmer Who Will Win: Dune, Hans Zimmer
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Be Alive, King Richard, Music and Lyric by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter Dos Oruguitas, Encanto, Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda Down To Joy, Belfast, Music and Lyric by Van Morrison No Time To Die, No Time To Die, Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell Somehow You Do, Four Good Days, Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
Why Encanto submitted this song over “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is something I’ll never understand. This comes down to who the Academy wants to give an Oscar to, Lin-Manuel or Billie & Finneas? I think not submitting“Bruno” will come back to haunt Encanto. James Bond wins the Oscar.
Who Should Win: No Time To Die, No Time To Die, Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell Who Will Win: No Time To Die, No Time To Die, Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell
Dune, Greig Fraser Nightmare Alley, Dan Laustsen The Power of the Dog, Ari Wegner The Tragedy of Macbeth, Ari Wegner West Side Story, Janusz Kaminski
Let me just say that all five of these films look spectacular. But Dune is on another level, and its dominance in the technical categories continues.
Who Should Win:Dune, Greig Fraser Who Will Win: Dune, Greig Fraser
Belfast Dune No Time To Die The Power of the Dog West Side Story
I’m running out of ways to explain how Dune is a stunning technical achievement.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win: Dune
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Dune Nightmare Alley The Power of the Dog The Tragedy of Macbeth West Side Story
One word: Arrakis.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win:Dune
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Coming 2 America Cruella Dune The Eyes of Tammy Faye House of Gucci
With Jessica Chastain the favorite to win Best Actress because of her big transformation,it makes sense to reward the people behind her makeup and hairstyling.
Who Should Win:Cruella Who Will Win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Cruella Cyrano Dune Nightmare Alley West Side Story
Who Should Win:West Side Story Who Will Win: Cruella
BEST FILM EDITING
Don’t Look Up Dune King Richard The Power of the Dog Tick, Tick… Boom!
King Richard picked up a surprising victory at the ACE Eddies. However, Dune avenges its loss and wins yet another Oscar.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win: Dune
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Dune Free Guy No Time To Die Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Spider-Man: No Way Home
In 10 years, we are going to look back and question why Dune won so many technical awards, but not Best Director nor Best Picture.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win: Dune
***Full disclosure – I haven’t seen any nominees in the final three categories. I’m using my best judgment as well as gambling odds to determine winners.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Audible Lead Me Home The Queen of Basketball Three Songs for Benazir When We Were Bullies
Who Should Win:The Queen of Basketball Who Will Win: The Queen of Basketball
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Ala Kachuu – Take and Run The Dress The Long Goodbye On My Mind Please Hold
Who Should Win:The Long Goodbye Who Will Win: The Long Goodbye
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Aairs of the Art Bestia Boxballet Robin Robin The Windshield Wiper
Who Should Win:Robin Robin Who Will Win: Robin Robin
Thank you for reading my discussions about the Oscars all year. I really appreciate it. Follow me on Twitter, @danny_giro.
We’re almost there, everyone. The Oscars are just over two weeks away, but there’s still work left to be done with the BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards. In a strange move, both the BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice will air on Sunday, Mar. 13, which means we’ll have twice the amount of answers to apply to our Oscar predcitions.
The Double Up
As an avid fan of sports gambling, my friends and I have a term where you bet on one team – spread and moneyline – in the same game and win both. We call it “The Double Fuck.” For the kids reading at home, let’s call it “The Double Up.”
The BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards are the two biggest remaining barometers for predicting the Oscars. Final voting does not even begin until March 17 so these results have the potential to sway voters. If a film or actor can pull off the Double Up on Sunday, then it will be a lock to win the Oscar.
In the major categories, these are the films and entertainers with the best chances of winning twice on Sunday.
Best Film/Picture – The Power of the Dog
Best Director – Jane Campion
Actor – Will Smith
Supporting Actress – Ariana DeBose
Supporting Actor – Troy Kotsur/Kodi Smit-McPhee
Original Screenplay – Paul Thomas Anderson
If The Power of the Dog wins both the BAFTA and Critics’ Choice, it’s pretty much a wrap on Best Picture. Belfast at the BAFTAs and CODA at the Critics’ Choice are the biggest threats to the Dog’s Double Up potential. Selfishly, I would love for CODA, a movie I thoroughly enjoyed more than The Power of the Dog, to win the Critics’ Choice to make the Oscar race more interesting. Before Nomadland in 2021, the last film to win Best Picture at the Critics’ Choice, BAFTAs, and Oscars was 12 Years a Slave.
The acting categories can get a little weirder. The only true locks at both ceremonies are Ariana DeBose and Jane Campion, who will use both ceremonies to practice their acceptance speeches. The Kotsur/Smit-McPhee matchup is mirroring the Slyvester Stallone/Mark Rylance battle for supporting actor in 2015. Kostsur/Stallone is the acclaimed, feel-good performance while Smit-McPhee/Rylance seems to be the critics’ guild choice.
Every critical pundit and their mother are using the Chadwick Boseman/Anthony Hopkins analogy from last year to compare this year’s Best Actor race between Will Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch. To refresh your memory, Boseman was the heavy favorite throughout the awards season. However, Hopkins’ win at the BAFTAs propelled him to pull off the upset at the Oscars over Boseman. If Cumberbatch can win the BAFTA, then the analogy will gain even more traction. Plus, the BAFTAs like to take care of their own and Cumberbatch is an English man so you do the math.
I don’t care what happens to PTA this weekend as long as he wins the Oscar. To quote Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight, “It’s time.”
The First Streamer To Win Best Picture Will Be…
Though the winner is still up in the air, I can confidently say that Best Picture will go to a streaming service for the first time ever. Barring a last minute surge for West Side Story or Belfast, Best Picture will most likely come down to Netflix’s The Power of Dog and Apple TV+’s CODA. Netflix has been at the door the past few years, trying to get into the Best Picture club. Roma was the favorite going into the 2019 Oscars, but the Academy had other plans in Green Book. This year, The Power of the Dog is the clear favorite to win, and if it doesn’t take home the top prize, I’ll be shocked. If Netflix can’t win Best Picture this year, I truthfully don’t know if it will ever happen.
On the flip side, Apple TV+ started just over two years ago, and they’ve cracked the Best Picture category with CODA. The service has been steamrolling the competition at other awards’ shows thanks to Ted Lasso. If CODA does the unthinkable and wins Best Picture, expect a lot of changes to occur at Netflix in regards to their handling of prestige dramas.
One of the most important checkpoints on the road to the Oscars is the SAG Awards, which aired on Feb. 27. Before the ceremony, I tweeted out one prediction.
As The Office’s Kevin Malone once said, “It’s just nice to win one.”
Can Coda Win Best Picture?
The movie that best represents the “little engine that could” this awards season is Apple TV+’s Coda, the story of Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones), a teenage CODA (child of deaf adults) who grapples between pursuing her musical dreams or staying at home to support her family’s business. After winning the top prize at Sundance and finding itself on many “top 10” lists, the feel-good story added another chapter to its Cinderella run with a triumphant victory for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards.
Coda seemingly checks off a new “first” with every nomination and win. Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin, and Daniel Durant, who play Ruby’s father, mother, and brother respectively, became the first deaf/non-hearing actors to be nominated and win a SAG. Kotsur also won Outstanding Supporting Actor earlier in the night. For the Oscars, not only is it the first film to be nominated with the majority of the starring roles played by deaf actors, but Coda will be Apple’s first film in Best Picture.
According to Goldderby, both the cast of Coda and Kotsur had the second-best odds of winning in their respective categories behind Belfast and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog. With the huge win at the SAGs, can Coda pull off the unthinkable and win Best Picture at the Oscars?
Coda‘s win at the SAGs completely shook up the race for Best Picture. While The Power of the Dog remains the favorite due to its 12 Oscar nominations, Coda now slides itself into second place ahead of Belfast, which lost a ton of momentum with its SAG loss.
There are a couple of things in Coda‘s favor. SAG winners for Outstanding Performance by a Cast went on to win Best Picture in three of the last seven Oscars. Two of those winners – Parasite and Spotlight – were considered upsets, and many cite the SAG win as the springboard it needed to win over voters. Kotsur’s Oscar nomination for supporting acting helps its cause because only three films (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Slumdog Millionaire, and Parasite) in the 21st century won Best Picture without an acting nominee.
From a worldly perspective, things aren’t so great in the world. Between a pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many are looking for signs of hope and happiness. Coda is a delightful, feel-good story that should play well with the Academy’s preferential ballot.
Two important ceremonies to circle: The Critics’ Choice Awards on March 13 and the Producers Guild of America Awards on March 19. Three of the last six best picture winners at the Critic’s Choice and Producers Guild went on to win Best Picture. If Coda can win the top prize at least one of these awards, it has a legitimate shot to pull off the upset at the Oscars.
Unpredictable Best Actress Race
Good luck predicting who wins Best Actress.
In things I did not expect to see, Jessica Chastain winning the SAG for Outstanding Leading Actress ranks at the top of the list. Chastain won for her role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye as the titular character. I will admit that I have not seen this film nor do I know anyone who saw it. However, Chastain is a well-respected actress who transformed into an unrecognizable person due to makeup and prosthetics, which is something that major guilds like SAG and the Oscars typically reward.
If you asked me three months ago who will win Best Actress, my pick would have been Kristen Stewart. Two months ago and I would have said Olivia Colman. One week ago and Nicole Kidman would be the selection. Now, is it Chastain? At this point, don’t count out Penelope Cruz as well.
With none of these films competing for Best Picture, this category is on an island. Your guess is as good as mine. As of March 1, my guess is Colman.
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.
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.