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Awards Season / Oscar Predictions Update: Where We Stand Before Telluride, TIFF, and Venice

Can hear that? Off in the distance. Yes, it’s the sound of festival buzz brewing. We’re just a few days out from the start of the Venice Film Festival. Then, it’ll be time for the Telluride Film Festival, as well as the Toronto International Film Festival. Not long after that, it’ll be the New York Film Festival, but this run of Telluride, Toronto, and Venice is a big one. These spots will establish the first wave of awards season buzz. Especially as a lot of colleagues are preparing for TIFF in particular, it’s a good time to check in on the state of the race with some updated Oscar predictions!

These festivals will likely establish the prime Academy Award contenders. Before that, however, it’s still a time without any frontrunners. Sure, I did recently make the case that CODA could easily be a big deal this year, but aside from perhaps Jennifer Hudson in Best Actress for Respect, there’s not a ton out there. The Oscar bait looms just over the horizon, ready to really shake things up, as it always does…

Something interesting at this time of year is that, at least in my case, embargoes can affect things. Sometimes, I’ve seen a film but can’t talk about it, so my predictions speak for me. Other times, I hold back there too, wondering what others in this business will think. There’s at least one (at least) prominent movie that I can’t even say that I’ve seen, so I’ve avoided tinkering too much with it, lest I give it away. That embargo lives next week, so sit tight there. Other things I can’t talk about, quality-wise, include The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which will have its embargo lift during TIFF. Essentially, the next two to three weeks will see a ton of the Oscar hopefuls this year wither screen or reveal their first un-embargoed reviews. Exciting, right?


One thing you’ll see below is that I backed off on Darren Aronofsky‘s The Whale a bit. While I’m not fully convinced it won’t come out later on this year, since it’s likely fully in the can, the lack of it playing at any festivals gives me pause. A24 may just be biding their time, but 2022 could just as easily be where it ultimately resides. That’s something to stay tuned on.

Prior updates hereherehere, and here have continually suggested a wide open race across the board. You know what? That’s still the case today, but that will change a bit before long. With my flight to Toronto about ten days away, I’ll be eager to see what TIFF does to change my predictions. Then, I’ll be awaiting NYFF, as well as a trip down to North Carolina for Film Fest 919. Those will be the spots where I’ll have my boots on the ground. Could we be in store for a major shake-up, or at least a differing sense of where things stand? We just might…

You can once again see my Oscar predictions (no longer quite year in advance picks, obviously) here at Awards Radar. Take a gander and be sure to watch out for the next update. They’re going to start coming in hot and heavy before long, especially as festival season looms. Enjoy!

Let us know what you think of my predictions and stay tuned for another update soon!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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