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Awards Season / Oscar Predictions Update: Precursors Galore…What Do We Make Of It All?

We live in a very different cinematic reality today than we did early yesterday morning. Not only have nearly all of the precursors chimed in with their nominations…Oscar voting has begun. Yes, the Academy has started to have their membership put virtual pen to virtual paper, selecting their top films and performances. I spent a lot of the day yesterday pretty quiet on social media, just taking it all in. Now, however, I’m ready to let loose with some sorts. Of course, I’ve also got new Academy Award predictions to share, which is a pretty obvious scenario. What do we make of this whole week? Read on to find out…

Two weeks ago, I wrote here that the Screen Actors Guild nominations left us with more questions than answers. That isn’t quite the case anymore. We don’t have all of the information, and there’s major question marks still, but a lot of the possibilities have been narrowed down. The Directors Guild, the Producers Guild, the Writers Guild, and more have joined with SAG to paint the precursor picture. It’s up to us to find meaning in it all.

The big guilds to chime in were DGA and PGA. WGA did as well, but their ineligibility situation tends to negate their influence. The Directors opted for the presumed safe five in Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), and Denis Villeneuve (Dune). Will they be the Oscar five? Or will one miss for a surprise pick? Recent Academy history suggests the latter, but guessing which one is still very much a work in progress. As for the Producers, they eschewed the potential for blockbusters like No Time to Die and Spider-Man: No Way Home to crash the Best Picture party. Instead, they went with Being the Ricardos, Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog, tick, tick…Boom!, and West Side Story. Eight of those (or nine if you add Being the Ricardos) appear safe for the Academy Awards. So, we just have to decide if tick, tick…Boom! makes it in, or misses for another Netflix title like The Lost Daughter, or something even smaller like Drive My Car. My predictions have a hunch, as you’ll see below.

Of course, below the line precursors were of note this week as well. The main takeaway from these, as well as ASC perhaps showing us our Best Cinematography five, is how much it shows potential for overreaction. Something like Nightmare Alley had good showings to make up for an early phase disappointment. Then, both Belfast and West Side Story missed in places that seemed ominous, before landing the big ones. So, deep breaths are needed. Then again, for things like Spencer, the week just hammered home how much it’s in lined to be snubbed. Alas.

It all still leaves Best Picture up in the air. Hell, a ton of winners still are to be determined. There’s a sense that Will Smith has Best Actor in the bag for King Richard, but who else appears locked in? Probably Jane Campion in Best Director for The Power of the Dog. After that? It gets hazy. That’s what makes this all so fascinating. We have a bunch of information, but the year feels like it’s as hard to predict as any we’ve ever had.

So, we continue to press on. BAFTA will be the period at the end of the sentence for this first part of the season, and then it’ll just be on us to wait for the Academy Award nominations. Who and what Oscar cites will help with predictions, of course. Hell, at least one potential frontrunner could even end up being snubbed. This all means we have another small calm before another storm, which just is more of a sign to stand by for something big…

Below, you can see not just my Academy Award picks, or my SAG ones (here), but my DGA (here), PGA (here), and WGA (here) ones too. As a reminder, here is where all predictions can be found, including the Film Independent Spirit Awards (here). With BAFTA the only major one left, the precursors are bringing us a major inflection point in the season!

Here now are my most up to date Oscar predictions. As always, sit tight for plenty more to come, obviously. Not just predictions, either, but analysis of where we stand in the season. We’re at the point now where big changes are coming, with some of them being permanent ones. So, strap in for the rest of the ride…

Stay tuned for another update very soon!

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Written by Joey Magidson

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