| November 11, 2021
In the six weeks since my last Oscar column, here is what has happened
Okay… I’m exaggerating a little. We have now had it confirmed that The Last Duel isn’t going anywhere. And Soggy Bottom turned into Licorice Pizza. And oh yes… The Tragedy of Macbeth landed at New York Film Festival and is still Macbeth, so…
Here is what has changed. It’s six weeks later, late October is here, and it’s time to start getting serious, even though Oscar is more than 5 months away.
The yahoos at HFPA are making a point of showing their tasteless arrogance by announcing nominations in January, directly up against Broadcast Film Critics Association, now known as The CCA… a group named after its uninterestingly named award. I don’t disgree with anything Joey Berlin said about the HFPA’s asshole move, but I wish he hadn’t said it. That is not the kind of power posture someone about to become the #2 award show of the year shows. It’s how a guy in a potential bar fight acts when they don’t ever intend to take a swing.
National Bored of Review will announce November 30. New York Film Critics Circle will announce December 3. CCA will announce nominations December 6. Presumably, LAFCA will meet and announce on December 10.
But we are still in a very small field.
From the festivals… likely in the 10 Best Picture Oscar nominees.
1. King Richard
3. The Power of the Dog
And chasing… Spencer, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Cyrano, and Dune.
And still to be shown… in the next 5 weeks…
Best Chances… West Side Story, House of Gucci, Don’t Look Up, Licorice Pizza
And also could still surprise… Being The Ricardos, Nightmare Alley, Tick, Tick… Boom!
There is, of course, a long list of films with contenders in many categories other than Best Picture that are not likely BP nominees.
And there is a long list of excellent movies that are just not likely to be playing this game in a serious way.
Right now, there is an obsession with Kristen Stewart as Best Actress because there is no one else serious in the running. Francis McDormand will probably go Lead, but Lady Macbeth is traditionally a supporting role. Jennifer Hudson could be nominated, but can’t win for Respect.
If you look at what came out of the festivals, all the other leads are male. Five of the unseen, upcoming movies have female leads. So calm down, kids.
Likewise, big bets on Caitriona Balfe for Supporting Actress are wildly premature. She is lovely in the film. But again… a wave of films that have strong female supporting roles are coming.
In Best Actor, there still aren’t enough male leads of power to fill a list of 5, much less discard anyone. So, Will, Denzel, Peter, and Benedict… congratulations… and don’t get too comfy.
Finally, Best Supporting Actor… good luck with that! Guessers are really grasping at straws here.
The thing is, there is the very real chance that the overall field of contenders is very small indeed… in which case, truly, almost anything could happen. The second tier of contenders this season seems much bigger than the first tier. And if voters are dipping into that second pool for nominees, films and performances that people would laugh off suddenly become legit. No one’s obit ever starts, “Oscar nominee in a kinda crappy season…”
| November 11, 2021
| October 26, 2021
| October 20, 2021
"With Toronto, Telluride, Venice, New York and other key fests opening amid an overcrowded field that includes films postponed from 2020, the acclaim, buzz and distinction festivals bestow on award contenders is more important than ever — especially for spectacles such as Dune, which lose impact on the small screen in hybrid streaming/theatrical releases. Yet the surging Delta variant now threatens to derail premieres, star appearances, in-person screenings and the press, the public’s and Oscar voters’ willingness to attend them.
"On August 27, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences postponed all screenings and in-person events for 2021. And on August 30, despite the U.S. having around 60 times as many COVID-19 cases as Canada and a much lower vaccination rate over the previous four weeks, per Johns Hopkins University data, the U.S. State Dept. advised Americans to “reconsider travel to Canada due to [a high level of] COVID-19” there.
“There’s nothing conclusive right now, and everyone is not quite sure how to proceed because of the nature of the COVID pandemic,” says Sony Pictures Classics co-president Tom Bernard. “Telluride and Toronto have changed what they are going to do dramatically in the last few weeks, putting in a lot more protocols. The New York Film Festival is to be determined—what are they and AFI Fest going to do? Running a festival is like trying to [control] an oil tanker. You can’t just stop it, [and most events] don’t have festival insurance where you can say, ‘COVID shut us down, we gotta get paid.’ It brings up a lot of questions that are really difficult to answer.”
| September 9, 2021
| August 3, 2021
| February 15, 2021
| December 13, 2019
| December 4, 2019
| December 4, 2019