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. 6: Making Sense Of The Golden Globes

Judas and the black messiah

The first stop on the road to the Oscars happened last Sunday night at the Golden Globes. Which actors and films picked up crucial victories on the road to the Oscars?

How Do The Golden Globes Affect The Oscars?

The Golden Globes are so unpredictable that they’ve actually become predictable. What do I mean? Viewers now expect the Globes to do something so against the grain every year that it’s no surprise when it happens. Sometimes, it’s a good surprise like rewarding Andra Day for Best Actress in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Other times, a film like Music*, which was universally panned by critics, receives a nomination for Best Musical or Comedy.

*Kate Hudson, you were robbed of Oscars for your performances in Almost Famous and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

Before we can determine if the Golden Globes might affect the Oscars, let’s go over the winners in each category.

  • Best Motion Picture – Drama: Nomadland
  • Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Best Actor – Drama: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Best Actress – Drama: Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday 
  • Best Actor – Musical or Comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Best Actress – Musical or Comedy: Rosamund Pike, I Care a Lot 
  • Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah 
  • Best Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian
  • Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
  • Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Best Original Score: Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross, Soul
  • Best Original Song: “Io sì (Seen)” by Niccolò Agliardi, Laura Pausini, and Diane Warren, The Life Ahead
  • Best Foreign Film: Minari
  • Best Animated Feature: Soul

Take a long look at this list. Some of the winners should start practicing their acceptance speeches for the Oscars. Others should just enjoy this moment right now because it will take a miracle to win in late April. Joe Reid of Vulture wrote a great piece about the Globes and if it translates to Oscar success. Since 1991, out of the 404 winners in the film categories, only 201 went on to win the Oscar, which is just under 50%.

Some of these categories are easier to predict than others. Based on Sunday night’s winners, a few of these races seem over.

My Stone Cold Locks To Win Oscars

  • Best Actor – Drama: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah 
  • Best Animated Feature: Soul

If you put a gun to my head and asked for the three Golden Globe winners to win Oscars, I’d pick Boseman, Kaluuya, and Soul. Boseman is not going to lose, and rightfully so. Pixar rarely loses Best Animated Film at the Oscars (10 wins in 13 tries) so Soul is going to win. You could argue Kaluuya is more of a wildcard, but the public’s reception to Judas and the Black Messiah has been strong so I see him riding this wave to the Oscars.

Safe Bets To Win

  • Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
  • Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Best Original Score For Either Mank or Soul: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

A step below locks are the safe bets, which are the ones you would feel good about predicting. Zhao became the second woman ever to win the Golden Globe for Best Director and will most likely become the second female ever to win the directing Oscar. Nomadland has a lot of support, which bodes well for her chances in this category. At the Oscars, screenplay is divided into Best Adapted and Best Original. Sorkin will compete in Best Orginal Screenplay and will be a big favorite to win his second Oscar. Finally, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are competing against themselves as either Soul or Mank will win for Best Score.

On The Right Track

  • Best Picture: Nomadland

Nomadland ascended to the top of the Best Picture race with a win in Best Motion Picture – Drama. However, it’s no guarantee it will win Best Picture. Since 2010, the Best Motion Picture – Drama winner has gone on to win Best Picture only three times. I’m interested to see if The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Minari can gain ground on Nomadland with wins at either the Critics’ Choice Awards or SAG Awards.

Your Guess Is As Good As Mine

  • Best Actress – Drama: Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday 
  • Best Actress – Musical or Comedy: Rosamund Pike, I Care a Lot 
  • Best Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian
  • Best Original Song: “Io sì (Seen)” by Niccolò Agliardi, Laura Pausini, and Diane Warren, The Life Ahead
  • Best Foreign Film: Minari

Out of these five winners, the easiest category to predict is Best International Film. Minari will not be eligible in this category at the Oscars. I just don’t know what film that will win. Then, there’s Best Original Song. Diane Warren has been nominated in this category 11 (!!!!) times and will most likely receive her 12th nomination for “Io sì (Seen).” Will she finally be rewarded with an Oscar? Maybe?

If you like upsets, the Golden Globes provided them in every female acting category, Day, Pike, and Foster were underdogs in their respective categories and all left Sunday night with some hardware. These wins throw a wrench in the plans of every Oscar prognosticator.

Forget the winner, predicting the nominees will be a tall task for both best actress and best supporting actress. In Best Actress, Frances McDormand, Viola Davis, and Carey Mulligan should receive the first three nominations. Before the Globes, Vanessa Kirby appeared to be on the fast track to a nomination. Now, I’m not so confident anymore. Between Day and Pike, I lean towards Day receiving the nomination, but Pike is well-respected in the film community. Could she also be nominated and take Kirby’s spot? My prediction: Kirby and Day receive nominations to round out the category.

Frankly, Best Supporting Actress is a clusterfuck. Foster’s win was way out of left field. This category is so competitive that I don’t think Foster will even be nominated for an Oscar. Only two women were nominated in this category at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, and SAG Awards. Those women are Olivia Colman and Glenn Close.

Let’s assume Colman and Close are two of the five nominees. That leaves five women for three spots: Foster, Amanda Seyfried, Youn Yuh-jung, Helena Zengel, and Maria Bakalova. This category depends on Bakalova. Will the Academy take her performance in Borat 2 seriously? Hopefully, will because Bakalova stole the show from Cohen, which was no easy task. If I had a vote, Bakalova would be my winner. So if Bakalova gets nominated, that means there are two more spots. Mank received the most nominations at both the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards so Seyfried will probably receive a nomination for the best performance of her career. That leaves Zengel, Youn Yuh-jung, and Foster for the fifth and final spot. Because of her nomination at both the Globes and SAGs, Zengel is my pick for the fifth and final nomination.

TL;DR: To determine if a winner at the Golden Globes will also win at the Oscars, flip a coin.

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.

‘You Set Me Up’: How The Social Network Crafted A Perfect Scene

The Social Network / Sony Pictures

To call The Social Network a perfect movie may be an understatement, or an overstatement, depending on your admiration for David Fincher’s 2010 iconic film about Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook. The Social Network is arguably the best film from the year 2010, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences disagreed with this sentiment when it awarded Best Picture to The King’s Speech.

Regardless of your personal opinion, there’s one scene that’s as close to perfect as you can get and it includes lines like “Sorry, my Prada’s at the cleaners along with my hoodie and my fuck-you flip-flops, you pretentious douchebag,” and “You better lawyer up, asshole, ‘cause I’m not comin’ back, for my 30 percent, I’m comin’ back for everything!” The scene is known as the “You set me up” scene, where Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) confronts Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) about having his share of Facebook diluted from 34% to 0.03%.

Watching this scene again is like watching a football team flawlessly execute a 12-play, 90-yard scoring drive. Minute by minute, line by line, the scene builds in suspense and anticipation as Eduardo and Mark go back and forth at each other at both the deposition and party. Eduardo and Mark are the Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan of the scene, but Justin Timberlake, Aaron Sorkin, and David Fincher play the roles of Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley to round out the Dream Team starting lineup. All five guys are in complete control of the scene.

First, there’s David Fincher, who’s as intricate as it comes behind the camera. Fincher is a perfectionist in every sense of the word. In the opening scene of the movie, where Erica Albright dumps Mark, Fincher had Eisenberg and Rooney Mara do 99 takes of this six-minute scene. Try doing something 99 times over the course of two days for your job and see if you still love it after. Just ask Jake Gyllenhall about his time on Zodiac. But if you trust Fincher’s process, he’ll push you to great heights, which usually leads to terrific performances.

Fincher may be the perfectionist behind the camera, but Aaron Sorkin is the maestro behind the script. Sorkin is known for his fast, rhythmic, and over-lapping dialogue that makes the scene play like a musical. It’s why Sorkin is one of the most unique and successful screenwriters of the last 30 years. One would think a director as precise as Fincher and a writer as detailed as Sorkin would clash like oil and water. It turns out that Fincher and Sorkin perfectly balanced each other out, and Sorkin’s script won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars.

As previously stated, if you trust Fincher’s process, he can bring the best out of you. In Justin Timberlake’s case, his turn as Sean Parker is the actor’s best performance. Everything about Parker screams snake-oil salesman. In the film, Sean is the cool senior who’s showing off to the freshman so he can eventually get the younger kid to do his homework in exchange for popularity. Timberlake is so cool in this movie, and yet you want to punch him in the face throughout the entire exchange between Eduardo and Mark.

Finally, the heart of this scene is the friendship and betrayal between Eduardo and Mark. As Eduardo tells Mark in the deposition, “I was your only friend.” Eduardo’s teary-eyed and emphatic plea is so raw and full of emotion that the audience has to side with the former CFO of Facebook. In turn, Mark starts off as his usual cocky self, blaming Eduardo for his mistake, but Eduardo’s passionate speech eventually shakes Mark to his core. Behind the billionaire-genius is still a guy who wants to be liked. Eisenberg received a well-deserved nomination for Best Actor, but the fact that Garfield did not find himself in the supporting category is still a mistake 10 years later.

If you’ve never seen The Social Network, watch this one scene because it tells you everything you need to know about each character. Sean is manipulative and arrogant, but at the other end of his Facebook mug is an insecure coward. Eduardo is a deer in headlights whose pride gets the best of him, but he’s the film’s most sympathetic character. Then, there’s Mark, who was best described by Marylin Delpy, played by Rashida Jones. At the end of the deposition, Marylin said, “You’re not an asshole Mark. You’re just trying so hard to be.”

It’s up for debate as to whether Mark is a good guy or not, but what’s not up for discussion is the perfection of this scene.

What is your favorite scene from The Social Network? Leave your thoughts in the comments below 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.

Oscars 2021: Predictions For Da 5 Bloods And The King of Staten Island

Da 5 Bloods and The King of Staten Island

It’s never too early to start thinking about the Oscars even if the ceremony’s date was pushed back to the Spring. Last week, the Academy decided to push back the Oscar ceremony to April 25, 2021. More importantly, the eligibility requirements moved from Dec. 31, 2020, to the end Feb. 28, 2021. Due to COVID-19, delaying the ceremony was expected, but still surprising. This change will likely set off a domino effect for the dates of other awards shows like the Golden Globes, which usually convenes at the beginning of January.

Despite being 10 months away, there are two films from the last week that should Oscar aspirations with one being a serious contender for multiple awards. The two movies are Da 5 Bloods and The King of Staten Island. Da 5 Bloods jumps off the page as an Oscar contender because of its subject matter, stellar performances, and direction from Spike Lee. In turn, The King of Staten Island is the type of film that’s typically not represented at the Oscars, but in a perfect world, there should be Oscars’ consideration for one performance in particular.

Da 5 Bloods

It’s June 18 and Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods is the leader in the clubhouse for Best Picture. In Da 5 Bloods, four African American veterans (Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr.) return to Vietnam to find the remains of their heroic squad leader, Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman) and collect a treasure they buried during the war. Da 5 Bloods is half war drama/half crime thriller that frames the Vietnam War entirely through the eyes of black veterans, which is a first for films about that specific war. Like many of Lee’s films, it’s equally compelling as it is informational as the film references historical moments such as the assassination of Martin Luther King, the resignation of President Richard Nixon, and the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s. It’s a film that presents a war on two fronts: the war in Vietnam and the fight against oppression in the United States. At its core, Da 5 Bloods depicts how the traumas of our past stay with us today.

Lee’s passionate storytelling and careful direction are on full display in Da 5 Bloods, but will it lead to Oscar nominations? It’s hard to believe that up until 2019, Lee received only two individual nominations*: a screenplay nomination for the iconic, Do the Right Thing, and a documentary nomination for 4 Little Girls. It wasn’t until 2018’s BlacKkKlansman when Lee finally received his long-awaited competitive Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

*Lee received an honorary Oscar in 2016.

With what’s going on in this country, from the Black Lives Matters movement to protests over police brutality, it will be hard to find a more culturally relevant film in 2020 than Da 5 Bloods. Now that Lee won an Oscar, momentum is on his side with the Academy. It’s clearly at the top of the shortlist for best film of the year up to this point. Plus, the fact that it’s on Netflix could help the film remain on the public’s radar for the rest of the year. All of these components could make up the perfect storm for Lee to win Best Director, which has never been won by a black man or black woman. In addition to Lee, don’t sleep on Lindo, who gives an emotional tour-de-force of performance that’s so raw and moving. It’s still early, but Da 5 Bloods could be in for a historic night next April.

Oscars 2021: Nomination Predictions For Da 5 Bloods

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director, Spike Lee
  • Best Actor, Delroy Lindo
  • Best Supporting Actor, Clarke Peters
  • Best Orginal Screenplay, Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Spike Lee, and Kevin Willmott
  • Best Cinematography, Newton Thomas Sigel
  • Best Score, Terence Oliver Blanchard

The King of Staten Island

Time and time again, Judd Apatow finds a rising talent and turns them into a superstar. Add with Pete Davidson to the long list of Apatow’s muses thanks to The King of Staten Island, Apatow’s first non-documentary since 2015’s Trainwreck. In The King of Staten Island, Davidson stars as Scott, an unmotivated stoner that failed to move on from his firefighter father’s passing as a child. When his mother (Marisa Tomei) begins to date another fireman (Bill Burr), Scott must get his life together and figure out his future before it’s too late.

Like many of Apatow’s previous films, The King of Staten Island‘s strength is a well-balanced combination of hilarity with sincerity. It’s an unofficial autobiography of Davidson’s life, from his Staten Island roots to the passing of his real firefighter father on 9/11. Davidson’s heartfelt, nuanced, and somewhat dark performance is the complete opposite of the comedian he plays on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. Frankly, Davidson, the actor, is my favorite version of the 26-year-old. I rarely tune into SNL and standup specials from comedians not named Dave Chappelle so my opinions on Davidson before 2020 were limited. After his performances in Big Time Adolescence and The King of Staten Island, I hope that Davidson continues to go down this road of complicated, comedic characters. If he teams with the right directors, there’s no reason why Davidson can’t be the next Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill.

The King of Staten Island benefits from its supporting cast with standout performances from Bel Powley, Marisa Tomei, and most notably, Bill Burr. All three characters call Scott out on his bullshit not because they don’t love him. In fact, all three challenge Scott to start a new life because they do care. Powley and Tomei are more tender with their approach while Burr shows Scott tough love in the firehouse and forces Scott to face the demons that have haunted him since his father’s passing. Burr’s Ray Bishop is hard-nosed, caring, and the perfect counterpoint to Davidson’s Scott. The interactions between those two characters are the strongest points in the film with Burr stealing most of those scenes.

When it comes to the Oscars, why are comedies rarely recognized? It’s an age-old question with no clear answer. Comedies are one of the most popular genres in film, and yet, they barely breakthrough in the Best Picture category. Birdman in 2014 and The Artist in 2011 both have comedic moments, but both films are a far cry from a typical comedy. Before that, 1977’s Annie Hall is the last true comedy to win Best Picture. With acting, comedic wins happen more often, but like Best Picture, it’s a performance with comedic moments in a drama. Brad Pitt, Olivia Colman, and Frances McDormand played characters with humorous moments and all won acting Oscars within the last three years. However, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, The Favourite, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri do not have the same comedic undertones as The King of Staten Island.

The King of Staten Island may not have your typical Oscar performances, but Tomei and Burr should each receive consideration in the supporting categories. If there’s anyone who can win a surprise Oscar for a comedy, it’s Tomei, who won Best Supporting Actress for My Cousin Vinny. With all due respect, as good as Tomei is, it’s Burr’s performance that stood above the rest. Selfishly, I hope more studios hire Burr to star in more films because his raw, comedic persona is refreshing to see onscreen.

With all that being said, I can’t sit here with a straight face and predict any Oscar nominations for The King of Staten Island. Believe me, I’d love to be wrong about this! If there’s any consolation, Davidson could nab a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.

What are your thoughts on Da 5 Bloods and The King of Staten Island? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 Oscars: Way-Too-Early Predictions

2021 Oscars

2021 Oscars? It’s never too early! Going into the 2020 Oscars, I expected all of the favorites to win. 1917 and Sam Mendes would win Best Picture and Best Director, respectively. Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Brad Pitt, and Laura Dern would win in their respective acting categories. I would have been fine with all of those decisions.

Then, the unthinkable happened.

Hearing “Parasite” still gives me goosebumps. Parasite not only won Best Picture, Best Orginal Screenplay, and Best International Feature, but Bong Joon-ho shocked the world when he won Best Director. I’m here to firmly state that Parasite is the real deal. It was my favorite movie of 2019 and it deserved every major award and then some.

That being said, it’s time to look ahead to the 2021 Oscars. It may be considered “downtime” for award season movies, but I’m always looking towards what’s on the horizon. I did this same article last year and my predictions were rocky, to say the least. It’s bad, but I’ve definitely seen worse. Here were my predictions in Feb. 2019.

*Did not pick supporting categories

After I clean my mouth of vomit from those predictions, I’ll move on. So what’s on tap for 2020 that we could see at the 2021 Oscars? Three heavy hitters come right to mind: Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck reunite as writers for the first time since Good Will Hunting in The Last Duel. Guillermo del Toro should be releasing his followup to the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water. Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, Spike Lee, David Fincher, and Aaron Sorkin all have films coming out in 2021. A lot can change from now until next February. However, here are my way-too-early (and reckless) predictions for the 2021 Oscars.

Best Picture

  • Dune
  • The French Dispatch
  • Hillbilly Elegy
  • Mank
  • Nightmare Alley
  • Nomadland
  • Tenet
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Untitled David O. Russell film
  • West Side Story

Best Actor

  • Adam Driver, The Last Duel
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Father
  • Christian Bale, Untitled David O. Russell film
  • Denzel Washington, Macbeth
  • Gary Oldman, Mank

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy
  • Ana de Armas, Blonde
  • Cate Blanchet, Nightmare Alley
  • Frances McDormand, Macbeth
  • Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Best Supporting Actor

  • Bill Murray, On the Rocks
  • Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods
  • David Strathairn, Nomadland
  • Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley

Best Supporting Actress

  • Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (If this movie gets positive reviews, expect a HUGE campaign for Close for Best Supporting Actress. Once again, if the movie is well-received by critics, Close will finally win an Oscar.)
  • Jodie Comer, The Last Duel
  • Octavia Spencer, The Witches
  • Rita Moreno, West Side Story
  • Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite

Best Director

  • Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
  • David Fincher, Mank
  • David O. Russell, Untitled film
  • Steven Spielberg, West Side Story
  • Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch

If I get more than 5 of these predictions right, I’ll be happy. See you next February.

Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @danny_giro.

Betting The 2020 Oscars: Best Bets To Make

Ready for the 2020 Oscars? First, I gave you my picks. Now, I want to make you some money. Betting the Oscars is not a typical bet. It’s not like a sports bet where the result is determined live. Oscar bets are voted on by the Academy so essentially, we’re betting on how a group of people voted. It’s not easy, but there are some keys to look for while betting the 2020 Oscars.

  • Use Results From Other Award Shows As Guide – It’s very rare for an award winner to come out of nowhere. Usually, each category has one to three contenders. In most cases, these contenders won awards at major shows like the Golden Globes, SAGs, or BAFTAs. Furthermore, for technical awards, there are guild awards given out for crafts like writing, editing, and cinematography. The more awards won at the guilds, the better the chances of winning an Oscar.
  • Favorites Win A Lot – This doesn’t help when it comes to making money, but it does pay off to pick favorites if you are doing an Oscars pool where you have to pick winners without odds.
  • Look For Bets With The Best Value – The bets I’m suggesting to make are not “locks.” Most of them are underdogs and long shots. They may not win, but it’s your best chance of making money. Try to avoid categories where the favorite is significantly out of reach.
  • Bet At Your Own Risk – I’m not legally obligated to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway. Have fun, but be smart!

*Odds taken from Draftkings at 5:30 PM EST. Subject to change.

My picks do NOT reflect who I believe will win. They reflect the best bet you can make to win the most money.

Best Picture

DK Best Picture 2020

Great value here for the top three spots. 1917 is the favorite because of Best Picture wins at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and PGAs. Right on its tail is Parasite, which won the Best Ensemble Award at the SAGs and will win Best International Feature Film. My pick is 1917 because the PGA winner has won 8 of the last 10 Best Pictures at the Oscars. Plus, it has great odds for a frontrunner. I’d bet on both 1917 and Parasite. If you have extra money to blow, sprinkle a little cash on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The Academy loves Tarantino and they love movies about Hollywood. 10 to 1 odds make for a great payout.

Bets To Make: 1917 in Best Picture -125 and/or Parasite in Best Picture +150

Every Acting Category

Do you like lighting your money on fire? If so, then you’ll love betting on the acting categories. I’m trying to make a case for any actor not named Renée Zellweger, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, and Laura Dern, but I can’t do it with a straight face. All four actors are heavy favorites and have few losses on their resumes this season. Even though I don’t believe this will happen, if I had to pick one upset, it would be Scarlett Johansson in Best Actress. I can’t advise anyone to place a bet on an underdog in any of these categories, but Scar Jo in Marriage Story would be my play.

Bet To Make: Scarlett Johansson in Best Actress +1000

Best Original Screenplay And Best Adapted Screenplay

Two categories, two underdogs that have legitimate shots at winning. Let’s start with original screenplay. Parasite is the favorite because of wins at the WGAs and BAFTAs. However, right on Director Bong’s heels is Mr. Quentin Tarantino. You can never count out Tarantino in the original screenplay category because of his two previous wins for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained. I would never blame someone for betting on Tarantino. In adapted screenplay, Jojo Rabbit also picked up wins at the WGA and BAFTAs. However, Greta Gerwig wrote the best adaptation of Little Women to date. Do not count her out, but Taika Waititi and Jojo is the best bet to make.

Bets To Make: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in Best Orginal Screenplay +150 // Jojo Rabbit in Best Adapted Screenplay -177

Best Sound Editing And Best Sound Mixing

DK sound editing mixing Oscars 2020

The 1917 domino starts in the technical categories. If it wins in both sound editing and sound mixing, then 1917 is due for a huge night. That’s a possibility that may end up happening. However, for betting, Ford v Ferrari as a slight underdog in both categories is juicy. Ford v Ferrari is a very loud and effective film. If I had to choose which category Ford v Ferrari will win, I’m going with sound mixing.

Bet To Make: Ford v Ferrari in Best Sound Mixing +125

What are your best bets for the 2020 Oscars? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.