Is it too early for Oscar predictions?
Look toward awards season as superhero films dominate box office
After the weekend in which Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever absolutely killed, racking up $330 million worldwide over its first three days of release, we’re going to attempt to do a way-too-early list of Oscar predictions (major categories only).
This time of year is usually all about Oscar-bait films, but not so much right now, as two comic book films (Wakanda and Black Adam) and a slew of horror films dominate the box.
It’ll be interesting to see, in this “post-ish-COVID” environment, if people will still go to the theater to see artsy, high-brow films. We’ll know the answer in a few weeks, but for now, here are my guesses:
By November, there’s usually a handful of favorites for this category, but not this year. Maybe it’s a weak year for the category, or maybe they just aren’t really making widely distributed films fronted by male performances right now.
Some of the people in the conversation include Brendan Fraser in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, a movie that might fall to cancel culture; Daniel Kaluuya in Nope; Austin Butler in Elvis; Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin; Hugh Jackman in The Son; and maybe, just maybe, Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick.
This year’s crop of nominees is almost certainly going to be one of the weakest of Best Actor nominees in Oscars’ history. This because no one wants to fund major films for male actors right now. I get it. So we end up with all of our best male actors wearing superhero suits or doing television shows. A bummer if you ask me. Hard to pick, but I’ll go with Fraser.
It seems to me that Cate Blanchett’s performance in Todd Field’s wonderful Tár is the one to beat this year. And If I were a betting man, I’d bet on her winning. Her competition is very good this year, so maybe I’m wrong.
Here are some of the actresses in the conversation: Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans, Viola Davis in The Woman King, Olivia Colman in Empire of Light, Francoise Lebrun in Vortex, and Rooney Mara in Women Talking.
If it were up to me, I’d have Juliette Binoche for Both Sides of the Blade and Ana de Armas for Blonde among the nominees.
Blanchett is expected to win, but Yeoh takes it.
Best Supporting Actress
Now here’s a fun category, thanks mostly to Sarah Polley’s Women Talking.
Angela Bassett might get a nom for Wakanda, while Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and Kerry Condon (Banshees) will almost certainly get nominations.
Women Talking is supposedly full of great supporting performances by women, so there’s a fear that two or three will get nominated and cancel each other out.
My hope is that the extraordinary Jessie Buckley, who I think should have won Best Actress last year for her performance in The Lost Daughter, is the only one nominated. And wins. Yeah, I’m gonna go with that: this is the year everyone learns Buckley’s name.
Best Supporting Actor
Another weak category this year.
I love Judd Hirsch and hope he gets a nom for his role in Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans.
More than likely it will be Paul Dano who gets a nod for that movie, and perhaps even wins. I met Dano a few years ago, and whoa boy was he a snob. Good actor, though.
Look for Brendan Gleeson to get a nom for The Banshees of Inisherin, and maybe even compete to win. Others in the conversation include Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Colin Farrell (The Batman), Tom Hanks (Elvis), Anthony Hopkins (Armageddon Time), Ben Whishaw (Women Talking), and Eddie Redmayne (The Good Nurse).
Barry Keoghan’s performance in Banshees is excellent, but I don’t think the world is quite ready for him yet. He’ll be stacking up the noms on a yearly basis soon enough, I’d bet.
I have no clue who will win this one, but I’ll go with the great Gleeson.
Steven Spielberg will absolutely get a nomination for The Fabelmans, as will Sarah Polley for Women Talking and Todd Field for Tár. Three excellent nominees no matter the year.
I think The Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) might sneak a nom for Everything Everywhere All at Once, and Ryan Coogler might finally get his first Best Director nom for Wakanda Forever. That’s five, and I’m not sure who else might sneak in. Perhaps Jordan Peele for Nope or Baz Luhrmann for Elvis? There’s a narrative in which Elvis sneaks in and steals the night, though I hope that doesn’t happen.
If I had to put money down on anyone, I’d love it to be Polley. That said, I think Spielberg wins this one and gives an incredible acceptance speech. And maybe his win ultimately marks the end of an era in Hollywood.
The Fabelmans is the frontrunner at the moment, but you never know how these Oscar seasons will play out.
Top Gun: Maverick and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will almost certainly get nominations, and Maverick might even win. Or Wakanda. Weird year.
Other films that will likely get noms include Women Talking, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Elvis, Emancipation, The Woman King, and possibly even Avatar: The Way of Water.
I think Fabelmans has this one locked down, but, again, it’s a weird year. Don’t be surprised if Elvis, Maverick,Wakanda, or even Women Talking steal the night.
I’m pretty excited about how unpredictable this year is shaping up to be.
One last thing
You likely noticed that I didn’t mention James Cameron’s new Avatar film a whole lot. While I do really love a lot of his films, I hated, hated, hated, Avatar, and am very much rooting against this second film. That’s right: against. I hated that first film, and this one looks even worse. So here’s hoping Avatar bombs and doesn’t interrupt the Oscar season.