Oscars 2022: The B+ Nominations Ballot

It’s that time again, folks.

This year is fully weird for me. The past two years were partially weird because of the pandemic, but this one went even further. Right as prime movie season/awards season was starting, I was in the middle of moving and starting a new job and all of that, so I paid no attention to anything. Even as I caught up with all the precursors, none of it really sank in. The first time I really sat down to look at the totality of this awards season was as I started putting together this article… four days ago. So I’m in tip-top shape, clearly. Which I guess is good. I say every year how I don’t look at anything else and purely go by what I can see and my instinct. What better way to do that than by fully going in cold (and still not even having finished writing up a Top Ten list yet)?

Anyway, here’s me trying to guess all the Oscar nominees that are going to be announced tomorrow morning.

We start, as always, with Best Picture.

Since 2011, only 3 films have been nominated without a precursor (all films widely in the mix elsewhere) and the PGA alone has matched 85/96 nominees. And when you go back to 2009-2010 and those set lists of 10, only The Blind Side got nominated without precursors there. So it’s usually obvious what the contenders are. It’s usually just a matter of which ones near the ‘bottom’ of the list get swapped around.

Precursors:

  • The Banshees of Inisherin — PGA, BAFTA, SAG Ensemble, BFCA, Globes
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once — PGA, BAFTA, SAG Ensemble, BFCA, Globes
  • Elvis — PGA, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Tár — PGA, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • The Fabelmans — PGA, SAG Ensemble, BFCA, Globes
  • Avatar: The Way of Water — PGA, BFCA, Globes
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story — PGA, BFCA, Globes
  • Top Gun: Maverick — PGA, BFCA, Globes
  • Babylon — SAG Ensemble, BFCA, Globes
  • Women Talking — SAG Ensemble, BFCA
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — PGA
  • The Whale — PGA
  • All Quiet on the Western Front — BAFTA
  • RRR — BFCA
  • Triangle of Sadness — Globes

That’s our basis for nominees. Other films without a precursor factoring into potentially multiple categories: Aftersun (which I’d have wanted to see get a major BAFTA nomination to take seriously, even though you could go there), The Woman King (which feels like it’ll just be Viola and then 1, maybe 2 other nominations at best), Living (which feels like a real stretch given how all the talk has exclusively been about Bill Nighy), She Said (which has no real traction and, as sad as it is to say, Women Talking is ‘that’ film for them this year and apparently there isn’t room for two), Empire of Light (which no one particularly loved), Bardo (too divisive to take seriously), Blonde (same, though I’d consider this the most likely potential sneak-in, along with Aftersun), Decision to Leave (you’d probably know by now if it had a shot), Pinocchio (which would be huge for an animated film, and Guillermo did sneak on Picture last year with Nightmare Alley. So it’s not wholly out of the question, though it would be very unlike them to do it. They tend to leave animation for Animated Feature unless it’s something clearly transcendent, which this really isn’t) and The Batman (which seems relegated to tech categories only).

It’s a fairly thin field, so I’d stick largely to the precursors. You’re really only gonna have trouble with the bottom two choices, which you’re bound to have trouble with most years anyway.

Banshees and Everything Everywhere hit all the precursors, so you want to include them. Tár and The Fabelmans have DGA nominations as well, so those are also must-haves. Elvis is the next film with the majority of precursors, so right there, you’ve got five. Cool. Easy. Now, looking at which films have the most precursors past that — Avatar, Glass Onion and Top Gun all have PGA, BFCA, Globes. Not the most helpful list, but also kind of helpful. You have to figure Top Gun makes it on, just based on the talk and feeling around it, and I think we’d all be surprised if Avatar couldn’t muscle its way onto a set list of 10. So that’s two more. Glass Onion — I say leave that for the end, because it could go either way (the first movie didn’t get nominated, and that was way more universally liked than this one is). But you’ve got 7 without much effort, and that’s always a good place to start.

The next film we should deal with is the obvious other one — All Quiet on the Western Front. Yes, it only has a BAFTA nomination. But consider this — it has a BAFTA nomination. In a cave, with a bunch of scraps. For Best Film. As a foreign film. It’s been nominated everywhere and looks to get a bunch of nominations. I don’t know why you wouldn’t guess it. So make that #8. Now we’re down to two.

This is the point where you look at what’s left and can make cases for and against everything. Here are mine:

  • Black Panther — first one got nominated, it has a PGA nomination, there’s a positive air about it because of how they handled Chadwick and it’ll clearly get some tech nominations and Angela Bassett will be nominated in Supporting Actress. However… are you feeling the clamoring for this like you did the first time? I’m not. I’m not sure the Oscar people particularly cared for this. I feel like it’s just as likely to get left off a bunch of these categories as it is put on. Maybe I’m wrong. I would call seeing this included a minor surprise for me, but maybe you feel differently.
  • RRR — Might as well get the other elephant in the room (somewhat literally, in this case) out of the way next. It only has a BFCA nomination, and while there is a huge clamoring for this from the hardcore fans of this…. how far has that reach actually spread? I’m not even fully convinced they’re gonna nominate this in Song. And that should be a slam dunk. So I don’t see this as a must-guess. I think, if they’re gonna go two foreign films, this isn’t the one they’re gonna nominate. But maybe I’m wrong.
  • Triangle of Sadness — I think this is more likely than RRR to get nominated. I still am not convinced it’ll happen, but this certainly fits the profile of something that would. I’ve got this earmarked for probably a Screenplay nomination and an outside shot at Director, too, if the branch is feeling saucy this year. I don’t know if I would guess it, per se, but I can see it happening and would give this a higher chance at making it on than most of the films on this list.
  • Glass Onion — I know it has the precursors to put it on… but the first one didn’t get nominated and this wasn’t received as well as that was immediately. Are they really gonna nominate a sequel without the first one getting nominated? That’s never happened. Not so soon, at least. There was Fury Road, but that’s more of a Top Gun situation. Knives Out came out three years ago. It’s different. So I think this would be a minor surprise if it made it on, but the set list of 10 makes it easier for it to do so. I’m still not convinced enough people will have this rated highly enough to make it. I just can’t imagine that truly happening.
  • Women Talking — SAG Ensemble is a big precursor for this, and BFCA on top of that is nothing to sneeze at. Plus it’s got the air of an ‘important’ film, and will almost certainly manage a Screenplay nomination. I could see this getting shut out, but I can also see this getting on as an empty nominee as well. There’s always a Best Picture nominee that ends up with two nominations that nobody’s thrilled about that they get on there because it feels like it should be there. This feels like that film. But I also realize that, to another person, there’s no way this makes it on and Black Panther will for sure take its spot instead. That’s why I write this all up the way I do. I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just talking through it in the hopes we all guess as much as we can correctly.
  • The Whale — On paper, this makes the most sense of everything to get one of the final spots. PGA nomination, Best Actor frontrunner, likely Supporting Actress nomination, more than decent chance at a Screenplay nomination, Makeup & Hairstyling nomination on lock. That’s the profile of a Best Picture nominee. 3-5 nominations overall, general acclaim, one other big nomination. So then why am I hesitating? I think it’s because the Academy has never fully warmed up to Darren Aronofsky. Past Black Swan, most of his films have been either divisive or just missed out on big awards. The Wrestler is the closest he’s come (and most people agree that if the Picture list had been bigger that year it for sure would’ve made it), and this arguably is in that vein. But I don’t know. It feels like one of those movies that not everyone is about. The smart bet is to for sure have this on your list, but I’m still hesitating and I think I’m gonna leave it off just to see what happens.
  • Babylon — I deliberately saved this one for last. I still don’t know how anyone feels about this. General consensus seems to be that it’s a mess, but there are some people who think it’s brilliant. If that pocket of people is big enough (and there are enough friends and people willing to throw a few votes its way like you’ve seen countless times in years past with other things a lot of people might not consider ‘Best Picture nomination worthy’), I can see this getting on. Plus, SAG Ensemble, Globes, BFCA… it’s got enough precursors and stature to think it can make it. It’s 50/50, though. But, just asking me in the abstract, would I say this were more likely to make it or The Whale? I’d say this, ten times out of ten. On a sliding scale list I wouldn’t hesitate to guess this over everything else on this list. Here, though… it’s tough. I could easily see this getting left off. But, call it what you want… a love for Damien Chazelle or the ‘old’ Academy still showing up… it just feels like this is the most likely film to come out of this pool with a nomination.

Long story short — you have to pick two from here. RRR feels like a pipe dream. Triangle of Sadness is a savvy play if you’re going in on it surprising with more nominations than expected (after Cold War and Another Round and Drive My Car, the Directors branch is the in there). Glass Onion, past the precursors, is exactly the kind of film you’d say most years wasn’t gonna make it (sequel, populist, divisive, etc), and picking it feels like something you do only if you’re looking at things in a vacuum rather than in reality. Black Panther doesn’t feel like it has the fire underneath it like the previous one did. But how do you weigh cultural significance against Marvel indifference? It’ll be close, and the scale will tip one way. It all comes down to which side you see it tipping on. To me, the three strongest bets are Women Talking, Babylon and The Whale. Pick two of those three and I think you should be okay getting at least one of them. I’m taking Babylon and Women Talking, but The Whale honestly feels like the overall ‘safest’ choice of that bunch.

So I’ll take Babylon and Women Talking, put The Whale as my alternate and then put Triangle of Sadness as my Dark Horse, because that’s the one I can see most making a move. The others are pretty much ‘guess or don’t guess’ situations. That’s where I’m at. We’ll see what happens.

Best Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

Babylon

The Banshees of Inisherin

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Tár

Top Gun: Maverick

Women Talking

First Alternate: The Whale

Dark Horse: Triangle of Sadness

Surprise: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Shocker: Aftersun, RRR The Woman King

Don’t Guess: Bardo, Empire of Light, Living, She Said

Would love to see: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. But also Babylon get nominated.

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Director.

The DGA has only ever matched 5/5 eight times. Since 2000, they’ve matched 4/5 sixteen times. 5 directors this past decade got nominated without precursors (4 of their films had Picture nominations).

Precursors:

  • Daniels — DGA, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • McDonagh — DGA, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Field — DGA, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Spielberg — DGA, BFCA, Globes
  • Prince-Bythewood — BAFTA, BFCA
  • Cameron — BFCA, Globes
  • Luhrmann — BFCA, Globes
  • Kosinski — DGA
  • Berger — BAFTA
  • Park — BAFTA
  • Chazelle — BFCA
  • Polley — BFCA
  • Rajamouli — BFCA

The Daniels and Martin McDonagh hit everything. I know they left McDonagh off last time with a major Picture nominee, but I’m not sure I see that happening again. So I’ll put them both on. Spielberg is basically a gimme, so he’s three. Todd Field… lest we forget In the Bedroom and Little Children… they adore him. He’s on. That’s four. The question is, and always has been, that fifth spot. The DGA only ever matches 4/5, and Joseph Kosinski is not gonna get that fifth spot. And typically when you see someone like him nominated at the DGA, oer people like Baz Luhrmann and James Cameron… usually that means a foreign nominee is gonna get on. Especially when you consider we’ve had a foreign nominee in Director every year since 2018.

Look at the precursors — Gina Prince-Bythewood got BAFTA and BFCA nominations, but does she feel like someone who’s gonna get nominated? I don’t think so. Cameron and Luhrmann have BFCA and the Globes, but none of those are guilds. And I feel like, if two people of their stature were gonna get nominated, you’d know about it by now. And again…. for a branch that has been nominating foreign nominees, does it feel like they’re gonna go with obvious alternates like them? Sarah Polley feels extremely unlike them, especially without a precursor past BFCA. Chazelle doesn’t seem like he’ll get nominated, even if Babylon gets a Picture nomination. And S.S. Rajamouli… I don’t see it. Same for Chan-wook Park. But Edward Berger? That feels likely. War movie. They like those. Foreign nominee. That’s been happening lately. Maybe you can go Ruben Östlund. He fits the profile. But with All Quiet likely to get 5-6 nominations, Berger just makes the most sense. So I’m gonna take him and see what they do. I can’t overthink this.

Best Director

Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front

Todd Field, Tár

Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

First Alternate: Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness

Dark Horse: Baz Luhrmann, Elvis

Surprise: James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water; Chan-wook Park, Decision to Leave

Shocker: Damien Chazelle, Babylon; Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Woman King; Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick

Don’t Guess: S.S. Rajamouli, RRR; Sarah Polley, Women Talking

Would love to see: 

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Best Actor.

Since 2001, only 3 actors have been nominated without precursors (all of whom you saw coming, and none since 2014). SAG alone has never matched less than 3/5 and went 4/5 or 5/5 eight times this past decade.

Precursors:

  • Butler — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Farrell — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Fraser — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Nighy — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Mescal — BAFTA, BFCA
  • Sandler — SAG
  • McCormack — BAFTA
  • Cruise — BFCA
  • Calva — Globes
  • Craig — Globes
  • Driver — Globes
  • Fiennes — Globes
  • Jackman — Globes
  • Pope — Globes

This one’s been pretty straightforward throughout the season. Look at those precursors — Butler, Farrell, Fraser and Nighy have hit everything. You’re guaranteed 4/5 here.

The only question is who the fifth spot is going to. Paul Mescal has BAFTA and BFCA and feels like the most likely contender there, even if I don’t fully buy him as the choice. But, unlike other years, where there was an Antonio Banderas I could point to and take a shot with… there’s no one this year. I don’t see any of those Globe nominees making it. Cruise clearly isn’t the choice. None of the other people with precursors are the choice. Which means if it’s not Mescal, it’s someone foreign and without precursors. And in that situation, the only person I can think of is Felix Kammerer from All Quiet on the Western Front. And while he does seem possible, I’m not sure I want to guess him over Mescal. So I’m just gonna take Mescal and see who they come up with. I’m sure it’ll be someone fully out of nowhere, but I can’t guess who it’s gonna be, so I’m not gonna try.

Best Actor

Austin Butler, Elvis

Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Fraser, The Whale

Bill Nighy, Living

Paul Mescal, Aftersun

First Alternate: Felix Kammerer, All Quiet on the Western Front

Dark Horse: Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick

Surprise: Hugh Jackman, The Son; Gabrielle LaBelle, The Fabelmans

Shocker: Diego Calva, Babylon; Daniel Craig, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Don’t Guess: Adam Sandler, Hustle; Jeremy Pope, The Inspection; Adam Driver, White Noise

Would love to see: As long as they get Fraser and Farrell, I’m fine.

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Actress.

Since 2001, only 4 actresses were nominated without precursors (just one this past decade). SAG has never been below 3/5 and were 4/5 or 5/5 six times this past decade.

Precursors:

  • Blanchett — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Davis — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Yeoh — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • de Armas — SAG, BAFTA, Globes
  • Deadwyler — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Thompson — BAFTA, Globes
  • Robbie — BFCA, Globes
  • Williams — BFCA, Globes
  • Colman — Globes
  • Manville — Globes
  • Taylor-Joy — Globes

Whereas Actor had four and we were searching for a fifth, Actress has six and we need to figure out which five it’s going to be.

Blanchett and Davis hit everything, so take them. Yeoh hit everything too, but I’m so worried she’s gonna be left off. But I think, given the strength of the film, you have to guess her (though let us not forget Amy Adams and Arrival, so don’t say I didn’t mention it as a possibility). Ana de Armas hit SAG and BAFTA, and she’s playing Marilyn Monroe, so you almost have to put her on too.

Now, that leaves the two other ones. Before we get into them — Colman, Manville, Taylor-Joy and Emma Thompson aren’t happening. Margot Robbie is seventh choice and, while she could happen, I think we all figure she likely won’t. I’d say leave her as a dark horse. The two likely final spots are Danielle Deadwyler and Michelle Williams. And, based on precursors — Deadwyler has SAG and BAFTA and BFCA. That’s what you want to see. BUT… Michelle Williams is a multi-time nominee (4) and is in a Spielberg movie. Do you really think a Spielberg movie is not gonna get acting nominations? I think it’s foolish to not guess Michelle Williams. I’m taking her and letting them nominate Deadwyler over her. (Though again, I can see Deadwyler making it and Michelle Yeoh or Ana de Armas not making it instead, but that’s just me.)

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Tár

Viola Davis, The Woman King

Ana de Armas, Blonde

Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

First Alternate: Danielle Deadwyler, Till

Dark Horse: Margot Robbie, Babylon

Surprise: Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You Leo Grande; Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie

Shocker: Olivia Colman, Empire of Light; Vicky Krieps, Corsage; Frankie Corio, Aftersun

Don’t Guess: Mia Goth, Pearl; Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody; Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway

Would love to see: Margot Robbie, Babylon (Frankie Corio, Aftersun, would be cool too)

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Supporting Actor.

Since 2001, 6 actors have been nominated without precursors (only 2 this decade, both of whom came along with another nominee/film). SAG has been largely dependable this past decade (though they do have two 2/5s).

Precursors:

  • Gleeson — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Keoghan — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Quan — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Redmayne — SAG, BAFTA, Globes
  • Dano — SAG, BFCA
  • Schuch — BAFTA
  • Ward — BAFTA
  • Henry — BFCA
  • Hirsch — BFCA
  • Pitt — Globes

Gleeson, Keoghan and Quan hit everything, so they’re automatic. Eddie Redmayne (weirdly) hit SAG and BAFTA, so you almost have to guess him, especially since… look at who’s left. Nobody hit anything. Pitt I thought for sure could easily sneak on this category, but he missed everything but the Globes and seems like an afterthought at this point. So I can’t imagine guessing him, even though he almost has to be an alternate based on how weak this has been. It won’t be Brian Tyree Henry, and Albrecht Schuch feels like a real long shot. One foreign nominee from a film is tough. Two is unheard of. Roma managed it, but that was Roma. All Quiet is not Roma. So that leaves The Fabelmans. Paul Dano is the obvious choice, with SAG (and a nice body of work previously and another great supporting performance in The Batman this year as well), but I’m not fully counting out Judd Hirsch on one of those Judi Dench ‘screw it, let’s nominate the veteran with limited screen time’ jags they have sometimes. To me, those feel like the best options. So I’ll take Dano and see what happens.

Again, though, I feel like some shit is liable to go down here. I’m not sold on Redmayne as a guaranteed nominee, but I don’t know who else to guess. So screw it. Let’s see what they do.

Best Supporting Actor

Paul Dano, The Fabelmans

Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin

Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin

Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Eddie Redmayne, The Good Nurse

First Alternate: Brad Pitt, Babylon

Dark Horse: Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans

Surprise: Albrecht Schuch, All Quiet on the Western Front; Colin Farrell, The Batman

Shocker: Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness; Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time; Steven Yuen, Nope

Don’t Guess: Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway; Micheal Ward, Empire of Light; Ben Whishaw, Women Talking

Would love to see: Mark Rylance, Bones and All (and also Pitt)

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Supporting Actress.

Since 2001, 6 actresses have been nominated without precursors (4 this decade), all of whom came along with another nominee or their film. SAG has only gone below 3/5 once since 2001 (last year).

Precursors:

  • Bassett — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Condon — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Curtis — SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • De Leon — BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Chau — SAG, BAFTA
  • Mulligan — BAFTA, Globes
  • Hsu — SAG
  • Monáe — BFCA
  • Buckley — BFCA

Bassett, Condon and Curtis hit everything. That’s three. Chau has the two things you want to see and is likely coming along with Fraser, so she makes an obvious fourth. So now who’s left? Buckley? Doubtful (though if they’re serious about the film they’ll toss on a supporting performance). Janelle Monáe? No momentum past that one nomination. Stephanie Hsu? I’d love it, but SAG being a popularity contest lately and her being a relative unknown? That’s not a recipe for a nomination. They don’t do young people like that. So I don’t buy it (as much as she should be nominated). Carey Mulligan? Maybe. BAFTA is big. But nobody seems to care about that movie. It feels unlikely. And meanwhile Doly De Leon got BAFTA, BFCA and the Globes, which is nuts, given her status as an unknown to American audiences. How can I not guess her? She feels like the safest bet here (and a good indicator that Triangle of Sadness could do better than one might think).

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Hong Chau, The Whale

Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness

First Alternate: Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Dark Horse: Nina Hoss, Tár

Surprise: Janelle Monáe, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery; Jessie Buckley, Women Talking

Shocker: Sadie Sink The Whale; Claire Foy, Women Talking; Aimee Lou Wood, Living

Don’t Guess: Probably anyone else if they’re not coming along with a high profile film or another nominated performance.

Would love to see: Hsu, Chau and Condon all get on.

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Original Screenplay.

This past decade, only 2 scripts were nominated without precursors (and only one of them was WGA-eligible and wasn’t nominated there). Unfortunately, the WGA won’t announce until tomorrow, so we can’t use them as a guidepost. So instead, we’ll use the other precursors and look at the films broadly in contention along with respected writers. I think we can get pretty close.

Precursors:

  • Banshees of Inisherin — BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once — BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • The Fabelmans — BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Tár — BFCA, Globes
  • Triangle of Sadness — BAFTA
  • Aftersun — BFCA

I think, based solely on this, we should all have 4/5 cold. Banshees, Everything Everywhere, Fabelmans and Tár. The only question is the fifth choice. And honestly, I say, given the bend toward foreign films lately, take Triangle of Sadness and then hope for the best. You don’t have the WGA. What more can you do? It’s not a year that lends itself to strong alternatives. No one expects Elvis or Babylon t make it on. Aftersun doesn’t feel likely. So your real options here are Babylon, The Woman King, Nope, Decision to Leave and Triangle of Sadness. And at least Triangle of Sadness has BAFTA and an air of a film that would sneak on a category like this. I say take that. And if you’re not feeling it, take Aftersun.

Best Original Screenplay

The Banshees of Inisherin

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Tár

Triangle of Sadness

First Alternate: Aftersun

Dark Horse: Decision to Leave

Surprise: Babylon, Nope

Shocker: Elvis, The Menu, The Woman King

Don’t Guess: RRR, Till, Turning Red

Would love to see: Babylon

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Adapted Screenplay.

In the past decade, 1 script was nominated without precursors, and it was a Coen brothers script. So, without the WGA (where only 3 scripts got nominated despite being WGA-eligible but not nominated there)… again, just wing it.

Precursors:

  • Living — BAFTA, BFCA
  • She Said — BAFTA, BFCA
  • The Whale — BAFTA, BFCA
  • Women Talking — BFCA, Globes
  • All Quiet on the Western Front — BAFTA
  • The Quiet Girl — BAFTA
  • Glass Onion — BFCA

It’s been an extremely limited field this year. And, if I’m just glancing at this, I’m assuming they’re gonna nominate All Quiet on the Western Front for sure, and probably Women Talking as well. Living was written by Kazuhiro Ishiguro, so why would they not nominate him too? And She Said also seems like an easy inclusion. So that’s 4. I’m not overthinking this.

The question becomes what they do for that fifth spot. I don’t believe The Quiet Girl will get nominated, and none of the other foreign films are adapted, so I don’t see that avenue being viable. And without a precursor, Top Gun or Avatar would shock me. Same for Black Panther. Blonde and White Noise… maybe, but without knowing the WGA, that’s a hell of a pull. The two major contenders here are Glass Onion and The Whale. And I think Glass Onion, with Johnson having recently been nominated, is probably the more likely choice. But The Whale has an outside shot at a Picture nomination, and Fraser’s all over the place. So that’s probably the safer bet. I say the choice is one of those two and five of those top six. Do what you want there. I’ll leave The Whale off for now and see what happens.

Best Adapted Screenplay

All Quiet on the Western Front

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story

Living

She Said

Women Talking

First Alternate: The Whale

Dark Horse: The Quiet Girl

Surprise: Top Gun: Maverick, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Shocker: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Blonde, White Noise

Don’t Guess: Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Bones and All, The Son

Would love to see: Blonde

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Editing.

ACE isn’t nominating until 2/1, so we’ve only got BAFTA and BFCA to go by.

HOWEVER, while we don’t have ACE, we do have this statistic: Only 4 non-Best Picture nominees were nominated for Editing in the past decade. All were ACE-nominated and all but one got 3-5 overall nominations (the outlier was Tick Tick Boom last year). Also, only 2 films since 2009 were nominated without a single precursor, and both were Picture nominees. So stick to the precursors and Picture nominees and hope for the best. ACE is usually great at this, but we don’t have them, so just go for what seems obvious and hope for the best.

  • Elvis — BAFTA, BFCA
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once — BAFTA, BFCA
  • Top Gun — BAFTA, BFCA
  • All Quiet on the Western Front — BAFTA
  • Banshees of Inisherin — BAFTA
  • Avatar — BFCA
  • Babylon — BFCA
  • Tár — BFCA

While we don’t have the guild, you know Everything Everywhere, Top Gun and All Quiet are basically assured. Past that, Elvis seems like a likely choice, so make that 4. The fifth choice, you’re gonna have to guess where you think they’re leaning on Picture. I don’t know what’s gonna be the film for them this year. Banshees? Fabelmans? Tár? Avatar? I’m thinking Banshees gets on, just because of the overall profile, but Tár certainly feels like something else they’ll sneak on. I’m not betting against the obvious three, so let’s just see what they decide to do.

Best Editing

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Banshees of Inisherin

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Top Gun: Maverick

First Alternate: Tár

Dark Horse: The Fabelmans

Surprise: Babylon, Avatar: The Way of Water

Shocker: RRR, The Woman King, Women Talking

Don’t Guess: The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Would love to see: Babylon

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Cinematography.

Only 3 films since 2009 have been nominated without precursors and ASC alone is 4/5 or 5/5 every year since 2006. Usually this category’s pretty obvious.

Precursors:

  • Empire of Light — ASC, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Top Gun — ASC, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Batman — ASC, BAFTA
  • Elvis — ASC, BAFTA
  • Bardo — ASC
  • All Quiet — BAFTA
  • Avatar — BFCA
  • Babylon — BFCA
  • Fabelmans — BFCA
  • Tár — BFCA

This year also seems obvious. ASC and BAFTA agree four times. Put those four on. The fifth spot is open for debate.

Bardo is Darius Khondji. Very respected, but not nominated since 1996. All Quiet is James Friend, never nominated. Avatar is Russell Carpenter, who previously won for Titanic. Babylon is Linus Sandgren, previous winner for La La Land. The Fabelmans is, of course, Janusz, a master. Last year was his first nomination since 2012. They’ve had a habit of leaving him off in recent years. And Tár is Florian Hoffmeister, never nominated.

Point is, if I’m looking at that fifth spot, I’m looking at Bardo, Babylon, The Fabelmans and All Quiet on the Western Front. I’m thinking Babylon is least likely and that the likeliest candidates for the spot are All Quiet and Janusz. Maybe Darius can get on (I think he should), but the ambivalence toward the film makes me think it’s less likely. They don’t typically tend to vote for stuff they were iffy on unless the effort is too big to ignore or it was shot by someone like Deakins. I guess I’ll take All Quiet and see what happens. Why not.

Best Cinematography

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Batman

Elvis

Empire of Light

Top Gun: Maverick

First Alternate: The Fabelmans

Dark Horse: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

Surprise: Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon

Shocker: The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Tár

Don’t Guess: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Nope, RRR

Would love to see: Babylon, Bardo, Blonde

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Score.

Shortlist:

All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
Babylon
The Banshees of Inisherin
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Devotion
Don’t Worry Darling
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Nope
S
he Said
The Woman King
Women Talking

Since 2010, 5 scores have been nominated without precursors. Since the shortlists began, only one score (Da 5 Bloods) was nominated without a precursor.

Precursors:

  • Babylon — BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Pinocchio — BAFTA, BFCA, Globes
  • Banshees — BAFTA, Globes
  • Fabelmans — BFCA, Globes
  • Women Talking — BFCA, Globes
  • All Quiet — BAFTA
  • Everything Everywhere — BAFTA

That sure makes this easy, doesn’t it? Especially when you’ve got John Williams (always nominated), Justin Hurwitz (Academy darling) and Alexandre Desplat (perennial nominee) with precursors. And then there’s Carter Burwell, who was nominated for his previous Martin McDonagh collaboration, and Hildur Guonadottir. The list basically makes itself. The only real question is whether or not you want to sneak on All Quiet on the Western Front over one of those (which is very possible).

I’ll also tell you, to cover the rest of the bases — Avatar, while it may seem like an obvious choice, is by a composer (Simon Franglen) who’s never been nominated and has no precursors. Nope and Devotion both feel like scores that will never get nominated (and were only shortlisted for diversity purposes, I’m sad to say) and are impossible to guess without precursors. I don’t trust them to nominate Glass Onion at all, and I think the shortlist is them welcoming Nathan Johnson into the fold more than anything else. Don’t Worry Darling is John Powell, who’s only been nominated once, 12 years ago. That would truly surprise me. That’s not the type of score that sneaks on. She Said is Nicholas Britell, a darling, but without a precursor and the film not really having a profile, that’s a tough call. That’s not something this branch tends to do. And Everything Everywhere — while it has BAFTA, I think most people understand that’s not something very likely to make it on at all. I’d tell you to just let them nominate it.

If I’m looking to add anything on without precursors, I’d look to Black Panther (they rushed to get the first one a win and they like Ludwig Goransson) or The Woman King (Terence Blanchard. He’s been nominated twice in the past four years). I don’t really see either happening, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see either make it on. Personally, I’m gonna take the obvious five and leave All Quiet as an alternate, since I’d rather have Justin Hurwitz, Carter Burwell, John Williams, Hildur Guonadottir and Alexandre Desplat over Hauschka. (Also, if I’m guessing anyone to be left off of the five I chose for All Quiet, it’s probably Burwell.)

Best Original Score

Babylon

The Banshees of Inisherin

The Fabelmans

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Women Talking

First Alternate: All Quiet on the Western Front

Dark Horse: The Woman King

Surprise: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Shocker: Avatar: The Way of Water, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, She Said

Don’t Guess: Devotion, Don’t Worry Darling, Nope

Would love to see: Honestly I think they’re gonna have a good category no matter what they do.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Song.

Your shortlist:

“Time,” from Amsterdam
“Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength),” from Avatar: The Way of Water
“Lift Me Up,” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
“This Is a Life,” from Everything Everywhere All at Once
“Ciao Papa,” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
“Til You’re Home,” from A Man Called Otto
“Naatu Naatu,” from RRR
“My Mind and Me,” from Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me
“Good Afternoon,” from Spirited
“Applause,” from Tell It Like a Woman
“Stand Up,” from Till
“Hold My Hand,” from Top Gun: Maverick
“Dust & Ash,” from The Voice of Dust and Ash
“Carolina,” from Where the Crawdads Sing
“New Body Rhumba,” from White Noise

The precursors, in four previous shortlists, are 4/5, 4/5, 5/5, 4/5. Between precursors, logic and Diane Warren always getting nominated, you’ll be fine. This year, five songs were nominated by both precursors. So that makes it even easier.

Precursors:

  • “Carolina” — BFCA, Globes
  • “Ciao Papa — BFCA, Globes
  • “Hold My Hand” — BFCA, Globes
  • “Lift Me Up” — BFCA, Globes
  • “Naatu Naatu” — BFCA, Globes
  • “New Body Rhumba” — BFCA

Let’s look at this reasonably — you know Selena Gomez isn’t gonna get nominated, and you know Taylor Swift almost certainly isn’t either. Not for a movie nobody saw. You know Amsterdam’s not gonna get anything either. Already you’re down to 12.

Now, from the other end — regardless of what actually happens, I think anyone picking this is smart enough to know not to leave “Hold My Hand,” “Lift Me Up” and “Naatu Naatu” off their lists. So that’s 3/5 taken care of without any thought.

That leaves 2 spots and 9 songs. However, again, if you look reasonably — “Ciao Papa” got nominated by both places. Plus, they will nominate Diane Warren for a sneeze. Also, J. Ralph is here, and he was nominated three times out of nowhere last decade. Right there, you’ve got more than enough spots to fill a list.

As for the rest — “Nothing Is Lost” feels like a long shot. The first Avatar song couldn’t get nominated, so why this? “This Is a Life” might feel like something that could get nominated, but Minari also got a song shortlisted. The overall strength of the film often is a red herring. I say let them do it if they’re gonna. “Til You’re Home” — I think anyone who’s done this for any length of time knows not to guess that without a precursor. “Good Afternoon” you know immediately is not their speed whatsoever. “Stand Up” — maybe they reflexively vote for it like they have all the other songs with exact same titles they’ve nominated in the past, but I don’t buy it. And then “New Body Rhumba” — while I’d love it, I don’t see them going there.

I say take five of the obvious six and try to guess what’s gonna be left off. The truly safe bet is to put both J. Ralph and Diane Warren on and then figure which big song gets left off. Which, to me, means Gaga or Rihanna. And I know that sounds insane, but… watch them do it. That’s precisely the kind of shit the Academy pulls on the regular. Or, if they’re in a mood, they might leave off “Naatu Naatu.” That’s a very them move too. They’re not the Documentary branch, but they’re not that far removed from them. We all remember 2011.

If you made me pick, I’d say they’d leave Rihanna off first, then “Naatu Naatu,” then Gaga. (Somehow I think “Ciao Papa” is safe during all of this and I can’t explain why.) I’m not going that far, but my gut tells me they’re gonna pull some shit like that here. I’m just gonna leave J. Ralph off and see what they do.

Best Original Song

“Applause,” from Tell It Like a Woman

“Ciao Papa,” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

“Hold My Hand,” from Top Gun: Maverick

“Lift Me Up,” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“Naatu Naatu,” from RRR

First Alternate: “Dust & Ash,” from The Voice of Dust and Ash

Dark Horse: “Carolina,” from Where the Crawdads Sing

Surprise: “Stand Up,” from Till; “New Body Rhumba,” from White Noise

Shocker: “This Is a Life,” from Everything Everywhere All at Once; “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength),” from Avatar: The Way of Water; “Good Afternoon,” from Spirited

Don’t Guess: “My Mind and Me,” from Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me; “Til You’re Home,” from A Man Called Otto; “Time,” from Amsterdam

Would love to see: Diane Warren finally not get nominated. And also “New Body Rhumba” make it on.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Production Design.

Only 2 films since 2009 were nominated without precursors. None since 2011. ADG by itself has only missed 5 nominees since 2010 (BAFTA had 3 of those). Now the Set Decorators have awards too, and the one film that missed ADG and BAFTA last year (Power of the Dog) not only was picked up by SDSA, it was also a top tier Picture contender. So this category is typically easy enough to reason through.

Precursors:

  • Babylon — ADG, BAFTA, BFCA, SDSA
  • Elvis — ADG, BAFTA, BFCA, SDSA
  • Batman — ADG, BAFTA, SDSA
  • Avatar — ADG, BFCA, SDSA
  • Black Panther — ADG, BFCA, SDSA
  • Everything Everywhere — ADG, BFCA, SDSA
  • Fabelmans — ADG, BFCA, SDSA
  • All Quiet on the Western Front — ADG, BAFTA
  • White Noise — ADG, SDSA
  • Nope — ADG
  • Pinocchio — CDG (Animation), BAFTA
  • Amsterdam — SDSA
  • Don’t Worry Darling — SDSA

Babylon and Elvis got nominated everywhere and of course they’re gonna get nominated. So start there. Then you’ve got Batman, Avatar, Black Panther, Everything Everywhere and The Fabelmans all hitting three of the four precursors, plus All Quiet hitting ADG and BAFTA. I’d say Pinocchio is a player too, since Guillermo is synonymous with Production Design, but if Kubo couldn’t get it, I’m not sure that will. Everything else feels extremely unlikely.

So that leaves three spots and six choices. I think Avatar just feels unlikely. No BAFTA, and in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi section at the two guilds… I don’t know. I can’t see it. I’ll just let them go for it. So now it’s five for three.

Going alphabetically: All Quiet hit the guild, hit BAFTA, is a war film and is gonna get major nominations. Feels weird not to guess it, right? So I think that’s one. Batman — ADG, BAFTA, SDSA. Everything you want to see. However… in a way the lowest ‘prestige’ of everything left. I mean, Black Panther, sure, but that, given the previous one, kind of elevated itself. So that concerns me slightly about Batman’s chances. Black Panther, meanwhile… no BAFTA, but I’m not surprised there. The previous film won this category. Is this one enough to vote for? Dunno. Again, could go either way. I’ve been leaning away from it, so I think I may do the same. But based on everything, it easily could get on. Everything Everywhere, meanwhile… it fits, but it also doesn’t. It’s fantasy, yes, but it’s also contemporary, and you know how they don’t like to do contemporary here if they can help it. But it should have enough nominations that I think it can muscle on here. And then The Fabelmans. Spielberg reigns in this category. He always manages to get nominated. Plus we all remember Lincoln winning out of nowhere. I don’t necessarily think this film should get nominated. But I also don’t wanna be the person who doesn’t guess it either and feels like an idiot when it gets nominated.

Personally, I think the category should be (and will most likely be) All Quiet, Babylon, Batman, Elvis and Everything Everywhere. But I’m gonna put The Fabelmans on instead of Everything Everywhere because I just don’t want that disappointment and would rather be pleasantly surprised. Could Black Panther or Avatar get on instead? Sure. But I’m not going there. (I also think Batman is extremely vulnerable here as well, so that’s one you can easily take off, should you want to.)

Best Production Design

All Quiet on the Western Front

Babylon

The Batman

Elvis

The Fabelmans

First Alternate: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Dark Horse: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Surprise: Avatar: The Way of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Shocker: The Banshees of Inisherin, Don’t Worry Darling, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Don’t Guess: Amsterdam, Nope, White Noise

Would love to see: Banshees of Inisherin

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Costume Design.

This one always feels like it might be difficult, but only 6 films since 2009 were nominated without a precursor (and no more than 1 in a year), and CDG has predicted at least 4/5 nominees all but twice since 2005 (and those two were 3/5). So, precursors, look at who gets nominated all the time and find the frills.

Precursors:

  • Babylon — CDG, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Elvis — CDG, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris — CDG, BAFTA
  • Black Panther — CDG, BFCA
  • Everything Everywhere — CDG, BFCA
  • Glass Onion — CDG, BFCA
  • Woman King — CDG, BFCA
  • Avatar — CDG
  • Don’t Worry Darling — CDG
  • Hocus Pocus — CDG
  • Thor — CDG
  • All Quiet — BAFTA
  • Amsterdam — BAFTA

Also worth noting — I looked up the most nominated designers and what films they had this year: Mark Bridges did The Fabelmans, Ann Roth did White Noise, Jacqueline Durran did Batman, Sandy Powell did Living, and Colleen Atwood did Secrets of Dumbledore (and remember she won for the first one). I don’t necessarily think any of those will get nominated without a precursor, but it’s always worth mentioning, just in case.

Now, Elvis and Babylon hit everything. They’re automatic. And Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is exactly their speed. Could that get left off? Sure. But it hit the guild and BAFTA, so guess it. Black Panther won this category the last time, so why not guess that too? That’s 4/5 right there and 4 you can feel really strongly about at that.

Again, it’s that last spot. I’m gonna eliminate Avatar, Hocus Pocus and Thor. Those are category fillers and no one truly expects those. Don’t Worry Darling would come truly out of nowhere, and I can’t see it. I say let them do it. Glass Onion is contemporary, and you know they don’t do contemporary here, of all categories. So just let them if they’re gonna. Which leaves Everything Everywhere, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Woman King and Amsterdam.

All Quiet has BAFTA, but it’s a war film and the costumes are kinda samesies. Feels unlikely they’d do that. I say let them. Woman King — makes a lot of sense and arguably is the best choice left. Everything Everywhere feels like too easy an inclusion and this, while having memorable costumes, is still contemporary, even if it is fantasy/sci-fi, and just feels like something they’re gonna leave off. I can’t explain it except to say… I feel it. So I’m not going there personally. Amsterdam, meanwhile — one of the costume designers is the guy who did All That Jazz. It’s a 1920s period piece and feels exactly like the random kind of movie the’d nominate here. Granted, they haven’t really done this in a while and this is probably a dumb decision, but I say screw it and I’m going for it. I should probably have The Woman King in that fifth spot, but screw it. I’ll take Amsterdam on the ‘where did that come from’ ticket. (P.S. Corsage also feels like something that should have more traction here than it does, because frills. So don’t be shocked if that somehow happens if enough people actually manage to see it.)

Best Costume Design

Amsterdam

Babylon

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Elvis

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

First Alternate: The Woman King

Dark Horse: All Quiet on the Western Front

Surprise: Everything Everywhere All at Once, Corsage

Shocker: The Batman, Don’t Worry Darling, The Fabelmans

Don’t Guess: Avatar: The Way of Water, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Living

Would love to see: The Banshees of Inisherin

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Makeup & Hairstyling.

Shortlist:

All Quiet on the Western Front
Amsterdam
Babylon
The Batman
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Blonde
Crimes of the Future
Elvis
Emancipation
The Whale

Three rules for this category: 1) no precursors and not foreign? No chance, 2) acting transformations = nomination, 3) precursors, logic… you’ll be fine.

Precursors:

  • The Batman — MU+HS x3, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Elvis — MU+HS x3, BAFTA, BFCA
  • The Whale — MU+HS x1, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Babylon — MU+HS x2, BFCA
  • Black Panther — MU+HS x2, BFCA
  • Amsterdam — MU+HS x2
  • Blonde — MU+HS x2
  • All Quiet — BAFTA

Emancipation, Crimes of the Future — no nominations. Throw them out. The Batman, The Whale, Elvis — transformations and/or hit every precursor. They’re on. Right there, you’re mostly done. Amsterdam, I think you instinctively know that has no shot.

That leaves four films for two spots. Black Panther was left off last time, so I wonder if that might happen again. Babylon has a lot of hair going on, but missed BAFTA. So that could go either way. Blonde has an acting transformation, but that, again, could go either way. And then All Quiet got BAFTA and could also easily make it. I think this could easily be one where you miss out on two if they go a certain way. Personally, I’ll put All Quiet on there, just to lean into the war thing (1917 got nominated here, so why not) and the fact that it’s likely to get a Picture nomination. For the last spot… Black Panther, without the previous nomination, feels super unlikely to me. I don’t see them jumping all over that movie at all past a couple of nominal tech categories. So it’s really Blonde or Babylon. And Babylon just feels like what it’s gonna be, even though Blonde makes more sense coming along with Ana de Armas. It’s close. I’ll take Babylon and hope for the best.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

All Quiet on the Western Front

Babylon

The Batman

Elvis

The Whale

First Alternate: Blonde

Dark Horse: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Surprise: Amsterdam, Crimes of the Future

Shocker: Emancipation

Would love to see: Blonde get on in place of Black Panther.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Visual Effects.

Shortlist:

All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Batman
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Jurassic World: Dominion
Nope
Thirteen Lives
Top Gun: Maverick

This past decade, only 3 films got nominated without a top VES nomination or a BAFTA nomination. One was Kubo, which was its own deal, and the other two were Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) and Love and Monsters (2020). So, between VES and BAFTA, it’s not difficult.

  • Avatar — VES (14)*, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Batman — VES (3)*, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Top Gun — VES (3)*, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Black Panther — VES, BFCA
  • All Quiet — BAFTA
  • Fantastic Beasts — VES (2)*
  • Jurassic World — VES (2)*
  • Thirteen Lives — VES*

It’s pretty clear Avatar and Top Gun are gonna get nominated. And given that The Batman hit all the precursors, you probably want to guess that too. And All Quiet hit BAFTA and is gonna get a Picture nomination. So that’s an easy fourth. Past that — dealer’s choice. Jurassic World and Fantastic Beasts haven’t been nominated for the duration of their franchises, so I don’t see why you’d guess them. Nope could make it on as a surprise, but without a precursor, that feels very unlikely. I was surprised Doctor Strange managed nothing. They must really be rebelling against Marvel. Which leaves two options — Thirteen Lives and Black Panther. The first Black Panther wasn’t nominated, and it missed the two big precursors this year.

So really the question is — do you think its stature will muscle it onto this category or do you think they’re over Marvel? I’m gonna play the hunch and say they’re over Marvel, but probably the ‘safe’ bet is to just throw Black Panther on that fifth spot.

Best Visual Effects

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Batman

Thirteen Lives

Top Gun: Maverick

First Alternate: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Dark Horse: Nope

Surprise: Jurassic World: Dominion, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Shocker: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Would love to see: Marvel not get nominated.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Sound.

Shortlist:

All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
Babylon
The Batman
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Elvis
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Moonage Daydream
Top Gun: Maverick

Since 2000, only 1 movie has been nominated for Sound without a precursor, and it was a Hobbit movie. And that was before both shortlists and a singular category. It’s gotten real easy, folks.

Precursors:

  • Elvis — CAS, BAFTA, MPSE x2
  • Top Gun — CAS, BAFTA, MPSE x2
  • Avatar — CAS, BAFTA, MPSE x1
  • All Quiet on the Western Front — CAS, BAFTA, MPSE (Foreign)
  • The Batman — CAS, MPSE x2
  • Pinocchio — CAS (Animation), MPSE x2
  • Everything Everywhere — MPSE x3
  • Moonage Daydream — CAS (Doc)

Babylon and Black Panther have zero precursors. Don’t guess them. Moonage Daydream is a doc. That never happens. So automatically, you’re down to 7 choices for 5 spots. Two of them are Avatar and Top Gun. Guess those. Elvis also hit every precursor. So that’s three. One of the remaining choices is a war movie fixing to get nominated for Best Picture. That’s four. And we haven’t even really considered everything yet.

It’s really that last spot you need to put any thought into. You have The Batman, Pinocchio and Everything Everywhere. Animated films in Sound are very rare, so I’m not feeling Pinocchio without a BAFTA nomination. The other two fully fit this category though. I say, given the CAS nomination, I’m giving the slight edge over The Batman, but it could just as easily be Everything Everywhere.

Best Sound

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Batman

Elvis

Top Gun: Maverick

First Alternate: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Dark Horse: Babylon

Surprise: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Shocker: Moonage Daydream

Would love to see: It would be really difficult for them to screw this up.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Animated Feature.

Here’s the full list of eligibles:

Apollo 10½ : A Space Age Childhood
The Bad Guys
The Bob’s Burgers Movie
Charlotte
DC League of Super-Pets
Drifting Home
Eternal Spring
Goodbye, Don Glees!
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Inu-Oh
Lamya’s Poem
Lightyear
Little Nicholas, Happy as Can Be
Luck
Mad God
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Minions: The Rise of Gru
My Father’s Dragon
New Gods: Yang Jian
Oink
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Run, Tiger Run!
The Sea Beast
Strange World
Turning Red
Wendell & Wild

Only 4 films have ever been nominated (and only 1 since 2004) that scored below 70% on Rotten Tomatoes (and one was at 69%). Only 2 films have ever been nominated without a significant precursor, both happening before the PGA. Only 1 nominee ever (Ferdinand) has only been nominated by the PGA.

This year the Rotten Tomatoes score doesn’t apply, as the only three major films below 70% are Luck, Drifting Home and Paws of Fury. And looking at this year, I think we have a pretty good handle at what the choices are gonna be.

Precursors:

  • Pinocchio — PGA, BAFTA, Annie (9)*, BFCA, Globes
  • Turning Red — PGA, BAFTA, Annie (7)*, BFCA, Globes
  • Puss in Boots — PGA, BAFTA, Annie (6)*, BFCA, Globes
  • Marcel the Shell — PGA, BAFTA, Annie (4)*, BFCA, Globes
  • Minions: The Rise of Gru — PGA, Annie (3)
  • Wendell & Wild — Annie (3)*, BFCA
  • Inu-Oh — Annie (2)*, Globes
  • The Sea Beast — Annie (6)*
  • The Bad Guys — Annie (5)
  • My Father’s Dragon — Annie (2)*
  • Lightyear — Annie (2)
  • Mad God — Annie (2)
  • Strange World — Annie (2)
  • Charlotte — Annie*
  • Little Nicholas, Happy as Can Be — Annie*
  • Eternal Spring — Annie
  • Luck — Annie

It’s pretty clear that Pinocchio, Turning Red, Marcel the Shell and Puss in Boots are gonna get nominated. That’s 4 right there. It’s really just figuring out what #5 will be. Minions has the PGA nomination, but I think we all know, based on that franchise’s history, that won’t happen. Wendell & Wild, being stop-motion and from Henry Selick, a respected animation director, makes the most sense. But The Sea Beast fared really well at the Annies, and you can’t ever fully rule out Disney, even though most people don’t even know Strange World exists and are pretty meh on Lightyear. My Father’s Dragon fits the bill as well, with Nora Twomey being nominated before solo for The Breadwinner and for co-directing The Secret of Kells. Inu-Oh and The Bad Guys theoretically could work, as could Mad God, but I don’t think any of those feel like smart choices. I think you just take Wendell & Wild and see where the chips fall.

Best Animated Feature

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Turning Red

Wendell & Wild

First Alternate: The Sea Beast

Dark Horse: My Father’s Dragon

Surprise: Lightyear, Strange World

Shocker: The Bad Guys, Inu-Oh, Mad God

Don’t Guess: Charlotte, Little Nicholas Happy as Can Be, Eternal Spring, Luck, Minions: The Rise of Gru (and everything else)

Would love to see: Mad God get nominated

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

International Feature.

Your shortlist:

Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)
Corsage (Austria)
Close (Belgium)
Return to Seoul (Cambodia)
Holy Spider (Denmark)
Saint Omer (France)
All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)
Last Film Show (India)
The Quiet Girl (Ireland)
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Mexico)
The Blue Caftan (Morocco)
Joyland (Pakistan)
EO (Poland)
Decision to Leave (South Korea)
Cairo Conspiracy (Sweden)

Here’s how each of these countries have fared in getting nominated, both historically and recently:

  • Argentina — 7/49, 2 wins (1985, 2008). Every time they’ve been shortlisted since 2006, they’ve been nominated
  • Austria — 4/46, 2 wins (2007, 2012). 3/4 on shortlists (2007, 2008, 2012).
  • Belgium — 7/47. 2/4 on shortlists (2011, 2013).
  • Cambodia — 1/11. They’ve only been shortlisted once (2013) and were nominated.
  • Denmark — 14/60, 4 wins (1987, 1988, 2010, 2020). 8/10 on shortlists. 7 nominations since 2010.
  • France — 41/70, 12 wins. 4/7 on shortlists (2008, 2009, 2015, 2019). Haven’t won since 1992.
  • Germany — 20/66, 3 wins (1979, 2002, 2006). 5/10 on shortlists (2006, 2008, 2009, 2016, 2018).
  • India — 3/55 (1957, 1988, 2001). This is their first shortlist.
  • Ireland — 0/9. Only one previous shortlist (2015).
  • Mexico — 9/55, 1 win (Roma, 2018). 3/6 on shortlists (one Guillermo, one Cuaron, one Iñarritu).
  • Morocco — 0/18. 0/1 on shortlists (2011).
  • Pakistan — 0/11. This is their first shortlist.
  • Poland — 12/54, 1 win (2013). 5/5 on shortlists.
  • South Korea — 1/34, 1 win (Parasite). 1 other shortlist (2018).
  • Sweden — 16/62, 3 wins (all Bergman). 2/5 on shortlists (2016, 2017).

Precursors:

  • All Quiet — BAFTA, BFCA, NBR, Globes
  • Argentina — BAFTA, BFCA, NBR, Globes*
  • Decision to Leave — BAFTA, BFCA, NBR, Globes
  • Close — BFCA, NBR*, Globes
  • Corsage — BAFTA, Indie Spirit
  • Saint Omer — NBR, Indie Spirit
  • Quiet Girl — BAFTA (2)
  • Bardo — BFCA
  • EO — NBR
  • Joyland — Indie Spirit
  • Return to Seoul — Indie Spirit

Like in recent years, the category is top-heavy. If you know All Quiet is probably gonna get a Picture nomination, you put it on. Decision to Leave is so high profile it feels weird to not guess it. Argentina 1985 already won the Globe, so why wouldn’t you guess that? That’s 3/5 right there. And The Quiet Girl just got two BAFTA nominations. I feel like that’s gotta go on too. That’s 4/5. And then, logic would say, from there, guess Bardo, because it’s Iñarritu, but that movie seems to be divisive. Plus, this is International Feature, and there’s almost always a random nominee from a smaller country you wouldn’t expect to make it on (Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, The Man Who Sold His Skin, etc). So personally I’d probably look elsewhere for that last spot. And it’s gotta be something you just feel.

I know there are high profile choices to put there, like Close and Corsage, or even EO, but the true mark of this category is something that seems truly random. So I’m looking at three films — Joyland, Return to Seoul and The Blue Caftan. And, since I haven’t even been able to watch the majority of these as of now (and by that I mean, I’ve only seen two films on the shortlist and only have copies of like six of them, so I am fully uneducated this year), based solely on nothing, I’ll guess The Blue Caftan. Literally based on nothing.

Best International Feature

All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)

Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)

The Blue Caftan (Morocco)

Decision to Leave (South Korea)

The Quiet Girl (Ireland)

First Alternate: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Mexico)

Dark Horse: Joyland (Pakistan)

Surprise: Close (Belgium), Return to Seoul (Cambodia)

Shocker: EO (Poland), Saint Omer (France), Corsage (Austria)

Don’t Guess: Cairo Conspiracy (Sweden), Holy Spider (Denmark), Last Film Show (India)

Would love to see: Can’t answer that right now. But maybe in a week or two.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Documentary Feature.

Shortlist:

All That Breathes
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Bad Axe
Children of the Mist
Descendant
Fire of Love
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song
Hidden Letters
A House Made of Splinters
The Janes
Last Flight Home
Moonage Daydream
Navalny
Retrograde
The Territory

There is no method to this category. Look at the precursors, look at what’s been nominated in recent years/what they usually go for and hope for the best.

Precursors:

  • All the Beauty and the Bloodshed — PGA, BAFTA, BFCA (2), IDA (2)*, NBR, Indie Spirit
  • All That Breathes — BAFTA, BFCA (2), IDA (3), NBR, Indie Spirit
  • Fire of Love — PGA, BAFTA, BFCA (7)*, IDA (5)*
  • Navalny — PGA, BAFTA, BFCA (5)*, IDA*
  • Descendant — PGA, BFCA (3)*, NBR
  • Moonage Daydream — BAFTA, BFCA (5)*, IDA
  • Retrograde — PGA, BFCA (1)
  • The Territory — PGA, BFCA (1)
  • A House Made of Splinters — IDA (3)*, Indie Spirit
  • The Janes — BFCA (4)*
  • Bad Axe — BFCA (1)
  • Hallelujah — BFCA (1)
  • Last Flight Home — IDA
  • Hidden Letters — N/A
  • Children of the Mist — N/A

I managed to watch the majority of this shortlist (I still haven’t seen All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, All That Breathes, Hidden Letters and Children of the Mist), so at least I have a decent idea of what we’re dealing with.

Based on what I’ve seen… I think I’d toss off the two music docs, since those are rare for them unless it’s obvious. And these don’t feel super obvious. The Janes just feels like it won’t happen (as much as it should). Retrograde feels like it’s here more for its filmmaker than anything else, so I’ll just let them nominate it. The Territory could go either way. Bad Axe I quite liked, but I’m not sure how they’re gonna react to it.  I also can’t guess the two docs with no precursors, nor the one with just a singular precursor nomination across all those places.

I think I have to go with those five with the most nominations. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, All That Breathes and Fire of Love feel like three automatics for me. Navalny could go either way, but I feel like I’d rather have it than not have it, based on what I’ve seen from everything else. And Descendant… sure. I don’t necessarily feel like it will make it on, but I truly don’t know what their tastes are gonna be this year.

Best Documentary Feature

All That Breathes

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Descendant

Fire of Love

Navalny

First Alternate: Bad Axe

Dark Horse: The Territory

Surprise: Moonage Daydream, Retrograde

Shocker: Children of the Mist, A House Made of Splinters, The Janes

Don’t Guess: Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen a Journey a Song, Hidden Letters, Last Flight Home

Would love to see: Moonage Daydream, just to have something to rally around

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Documentary Short.

Shortlist:

American Justice on Trial: People vs. Newton
Anastasia
Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison
As Far as They Can Run
The Elephant Whisperers
The Flagmakers
Happiness Is £4 Million
Haulout
Holding Moses
How Do You Measure a Year?
The Martha Mitchell Effect
Nuisance Bear
Shut Up and Paint
Stranger at the Gate
38 at the Garden

There really aren’t precursors for this, but here’s a list of places I’ve seen a few shorts pop up:

  • Nuisance Bear — BFCA (3), IDA
  • 38 at the Garden — BFCA
  • Andola Do You Hear Us — BFCA
  • Flagmakers — BFCA
  • Stranger at the Gate — BFCA
  • Halout — IDA

I’ll be honest — it’s late Monday night, nominations are gonna be announced in a few hours and I’m tired as hell. So rather than write up what all of these are about… google them. You know how to use it. You can find this stuff easily. Plus, nobody gives a shit about this category and really wants to hear me parse these.

Based on what all of these are about and how I usually see them vote (since again… haven’t been able to watch any of these yet), these are my guesses:

Best Documentary Short

As Far as They Can Run

The Elephant Whisperers

Haulout

Holding Moses

Nuisance Bear

First Alternate: Happiness Is £4 Million

Dark Horse: The Flagmakers

Surprise: Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison, How Do You Measure a Year?

Shocker: Anastasia, Shut Up and Paint, Stranger at the Gate

Don’t Guess: 38 at the Garden, American Justice on Trial: People vs. Newton, The Martha Mitchell Effect

Would love to see: Me randomly pull a 4/5 or 5/5 out of a category where I’ve watched 0/15 nominees beforehand.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Live Action Short.

Shortlist:

All in Favor
Almost Home
An Irish Goodbye
Ivalu
Le Pupille
The Lone Wolf
Nakam
Night Ride
Plastic Killer
The Red Suitcase
The Right Words
Sideral
The Treatment
Tula
Warsha

There’s nothing you can do here except watch as many as you can and guess based on how they usually vote.

Problem is, I haven’t had the time to watch anything and am purely guessing based on loglines.

So, once more, here are some random ass guesses:

Best Live Action Short

An Irish Goodbye

Nakam

Le Pupille

The Red Suitcase

Warsha

First Alternate: Sideral

Dark Horse: Ivalu

Surprise: The Lone Wolf, The Treatment

Shocker: Almost Home, Night Ride, Plastic Killer

Don’t Guess: All in Favor, Tula, The Right Words

Would love to see: Me somehow do well here. This is where I’m at this year, guys.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Animated Short.

Shortlist:

Black Slide
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
The Debutante
T
he Flying Sailor
The Garbage Man
Ice Merchants
It’s Nice in Here
More Than I Want to Remember
My Year of Dicks
New Moon
An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It
Passenger
Save Ralph
Sierra
Steakhouse

There’s no real system to picking this, past probably guessing Disney/Pixar when they’re here. But they aren’t. The closest we have is The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, which is the big BBC short this year, in the vein of all those other ones that’ve been nominated in recent years. So guess that one and past that, just see as many as you can and go by what they typically tend to like. The Shorts categories will always give you something weird. I’ll think for sure something will never get nominated and then that’s the one they go for. You can only do so much.

I’ve seen all 15 of these, though. So that’s something.

I think you have to take The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, and I think the most fun and artistic short this year is An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It, so I’m putting that on my list. Ice Merchants also fits what they like, so I’ll guess that too. Passenger also fits their vibe so that’s three for me. My Year of Dicks just seems like it’ll get on based solely on the title (and is really fun), so that’s fifth.

I think Steakhouse is entirely also their vibe and is worth guessing. Save Ralph is a sort of celebrity short, big voices, lot of money, for a social cause. It feels hollow to guess it and for them to nominate it, but… it’s the Academy. So that might be something you guess based solely on that. Personally I don’t think they should nominate it. But that means absolutely nothing. So whatever.

I loved The Debutante, but that’s the kind of short they typically leave off. Sierra is the short I feel like they would never nominate and didn’t love (which means they almost certainly will nominate it, so do with that information what you will). Black Slide was nice, but feels more slight than most of the other options. The Flying Sailor is nice, but again… kinda slight. I almost hope they aren’t swayed by it over the other choices. More Than I Want to Remember is stunning to look at, but also sadly feels like something they’re gonna ignore. New Moon has the benefit of being based on Colman Domingo’s play and has him narrating it, but I feel like that might hurt its chances as well as help them. I’m saying no and seeing if they put it on. It’s Nice in Here is solid, and feels like one that could easily be left off the list as much as it feels like something that might even win. I’ve got no clue. I’m guessing no, but being about police violence might strike a chord with some people. And The Garbage Man — 50/50, I can’t tell. I feel decent with my list. I think I should get at least 3/5 here (which means 2/5 and an utter disaster).

Best Animated Short

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Ice Merchants

An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It

My Year of Dicks

Passenger

First Alternate: Steakhouse

Dark Horse: The Garbage Man

Surprise: It’s Nice in Here, New Moon, Save Ralph

Shocker: The Flying Sailor, More Than I Want to Remember

Don’t Guess: Black Slide, The Debutante, Sierra

Would love to see: 

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

So those are my guesses. You can tell I’m really behind this year, because I barely got to the bottom four or five categories, didn’t have the time to watch most of them before nominations and didn’t even bother to hide it or try to do the work. I’m just guessing. Because honestly I could care less how I do this year. I think I’ve done this enough to do pretty well. And if I can somehow do really well based off nothing but instinct and experience, then I feel like that says a lot about how easy this stuff really is to guess.

But, as always, I’m hoping for 80% one of these years. I’m happy around 75%. And if I’m 70% or below, then it was a ‘bad’ year. But I’m expecting a bad year and would be perfectly fine with a bad year. Because I truly didn’t have the time to watch all the stuff beforehand. So I’m just not gonna stress about it and watch it all at my leisure. I’m all about the long game now.

Anyway, good luck to everyone guessing nominations. I truly don’t have the time to do this right now, so you probably won’t get my analysis of the nominees until later tomorrow night at the earliest.

– – – – – – – – –

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