Here are your Oscar nominations. I’ll be back later with full analysis:
Judas and the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Last year I remember feeling like Oscar season was rushed upon us. This article went up January 12th. And here we are after March 12th. What a difference a year makes.
After the strangest season ever, tomorrow the nominees will be announced. As I always do, I’m gonna guess what I think will be nominated. This is one of my two opportunities a year to really go nuts and talk about this stuff in depth. Most years I overdo it. Last year’s article was 42,150 words. This year I’ve decided to try to be as concise as possible while still providing all the essential information and the thought process (or idiocy) that goes into all the picks. Let’s see how that goes.
We’ll have anywhere from 115-120 nominees announced tomorrow. I generally try to hit 75%. A turbulent year like this will either make things easier because people are gonna default to the same handful of nominees or harder because it’s just gonna be chaos. I’m excited for either version. (more…)
You know what this article means — Oscar nominations are around the corner. I started writing up this particular article because I’ve always felt when people write up Oscar predictions, there’s always at least 20% of ‘I want this to happen, so I’m guessing it’ in there. And I hate that. Plus, at the beginning, when I’d post my guesses, I kept feeling the need to try to qualify each guess with, “But I would rather see this other thing happen.” And I like to keep my feelings as separate as I can from guessing, so I just decided to make them two articles. One day of just, “This is purely what I’d do” and one day of “this is what I think is going to happen.” It’s kinda like all the endings to the movie Clue.
So today is just me saying, in a magical dream scenario where I am somehow able to vote in every category (and differently than voting actually goes in some situations, specifically Best Picture), this is what I’d nominate. Not saying this is what should be nominated. Not saying if I could force them all to be nominated I’d do that. Simply saying, if I somehow could vote amongst the other several thousand voters across the entire ballot, this is what I’d nominate in every category.
The one change I’m gonna make this year in relation to other years is — other years I’d name my category and then justify the picks. I don’t really care so much about the justification so much as I am trying to explain my thought process and figure out what I would put on a ballot as I fill out this imaginary one and talk through all the stuff I liked for it, even if I ultimately wouldn’t nominate it. Since, as anyone who’s followed the evolution of this place, these days I’m really more about trying to talk up the things I think are cool and get people to see more movies.
So on that note, here’s what my Oscar ballot would look like: (more…)
And here’s our final precursor. The last piece of help we’re going to get before Oscar nominations come Monday morning. Meaning after this, I’ve got to spend today, tomorrow and Saturday figuring out what I think is gonna happen before posting my predictions on Sunday night (and then SAG is Sunday night, which could just waylay the whole thing).
But anyway, this is the Editors Guild and they have two categories, Dramatic and Comedy. And if memory serves, they’re usually pretty good at getting most of their nominees on. But Editing as a category heavily leans into Best Picture nominees. And this year, the only non-Best Picture nominee that feels like it has any sort of a shot at a nomination is Tenet. And given the tepid response to that movie, I’m fully expecting the Editing list to be five Best Picture nominees and the only question is which ones. So this list should illuminate a lot of that.
Here’s what ACE nominated: (more…)
ASC announced their nominations today, and we just got a bunch of help for the Cinematography category. Based on what I’ve seen from BAFTA and BFCA, there’s probably only about seven real contenders for this category, but the guild is the foremost expert on it, so I’m curious to see what they went for.
News of the World
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Cherry. Interesting. That’s been largely absent from things this year, which makes me leery about the odds it has of making the final category. It was shot by Newton Thomas Sigel, who’s shot some great films like The Usual Suspects and Three Kings. Most recently he’s done Drive and Bohemian Rhapsody. And he also shot Da 5 Bloods and Extraction this year. This is his first ASC nomination too. Good for him.
Otherwise, Mank, News of the World and Nomadland have been mainstays. I’ve been waiting to see if Chicago 7 would get on. That’s Phedon Papamichael, who hit the guild last year too for Ford v Ferrari (though his only Oscar nomination is for Nebraska).
They also nominated for the Spotlight award: Swallow (which was immaculately shot), Two of Us and Dear Comrades. In case any of that sways people to guess them for the category. Which, honestly… it might. Also, Truffle Hunters, Gunda and Notturno were nominated in their Documentary category (which… if I was gonna tell you three docs on the shortlist that had great cinematography, those would be the ones I picked.
This is gonna be an interesting one in that you only really have three locks, and anything past that is gonna be intriguing. You might get a sneaky foreign film on this year like we did with Never Look Away in 2018. I’m gonna have to think on this one before Sunday.
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BAFTA woke up today and chose violence.
Well, okay. They sent out a very diverse slate of nominees that would be admirable if we weren’t in a period where that sort of thing is met with suspicion given how much awards shows seem to be about covering their asses lately so as not to get ‘Golden Globe’d’ rather than actually finding a way to counteract the problem. Apparently we’re now forced to live into this endless cycle of ‘performative diversity until no one’s looking, then settling back into our old ways until they get mad again’ rather than just doing the obvious thing and making it so the entire voting body is diverse enough that it’s not built around the usual same set of boring old white people films that are only the films because that’s all the boring old white people who make up the majority of voters watch.
Those issues aside (since I think everyone knows my feelings about all of this — if you make it a point to watch everything and then just pick what you liked best, the only thing you can be accused of is bad taste. The voting problem is a systemic issue at the root and any deck chair rearranging is arguably just as bad as the status quo), if you’re someone who, as I do, makes it a point to try to guess nominees and winners, you can’t help but see these nominees as just pure chaos (or perhaps the most specific through line you could ever get). And I kinda love it. I’ll discuss all that it means from category to category, but just know — this just got real fun.
Here are your BAFTA nominees: (more…)
This is basically gonna be your Best Director category. Only, what you need to know is — historically, the DGA only matches 4/5 and not 5/5. So as much as this looks like the most likely scenario for who the five Director nominees are gonna be, at least one of these (if not two) are probably gonna be switched out. It’s only happened something like seven times in the past 50 years. So don’t assume these five are gonna be the five.
But anyway, here are your DGA nominees: (more…)
The Critics Choice Awards were handed out last night.
The theme of this show is going to be ‘market correction’. That’s my guess. After what the Globes did, I’m expecting the expected winners to come through here in a big way. I don’t expect there to be anything that makes me reconfigure my expectations for the category. And in the case of most of the tech categories, I don’t even have expectations because a lot of the guilds are announcing nominees this week and BAFTA only nominates tomorrow. But for the high-end stuff like acting and what not, I expect this to be more in line with how I’ve been expecting these to play out all along.
I would also like to point out how happy I am that I no longer have to deal with six bullshit categories like “Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Comedy/All Other Genres We Don’t Take Seriously Enough to Let Into the Best Picture Race Plus One Best Picture Nominee You Know Is Gonna Dominate This Subsection of Awards Anyway Picture.”
Here’s what happened and BFCA: (more…)
The PGA nominations were announced today. And finally, we get clarity on the Best Picture race. Which we pretty much already had, but the PGA is the authority. They’ve gotten a minimum of seven nominees right every year since the sliding scale Best Picture system began, and most years they’re only one off at most. And usually you can tell what the one or two off are gonna be, because there’s always a populist nominee or two that gets on (previous examples: Quiet Place, Wonder Woman, Deadpool, Skyfall). But basically, your Best Picture race is about to get a whole lot more set than it already was, and then BAFTA should basically lock everything into place for us tomorrow.
So here’s what the PGA has for us this year: (more…)
Today the Costume Designers Guild announced their nominations, and this is one of the bigger pieces of the Oscar nominations puzzle I’ve been waiting for. Most people probably wouldn’t care, but Costume Design is always one of those categories that feels like it’s always a 3/5 and there’s always something random. This year, perhaps, with the limited field, things might be easier. But it’s definitely one of those categories I’m always on my heels for. Plus, like ADG, they give us three categories, which is just a wealth of stuff to talk about.
Here are your CDG nominees: (more…)
The Annie Award nominations were announced this morning. Somehow I knew they’d be out early. Something about a medium whose films are largely designed for children, it just feels like they’d be releasing earlier in the day than most other guilds.
But anyway, this is all kind of meaningless, since I think, list most years, we’re all pretty sure Pixar is just gonna win with Soul and there will be no drama whatsoever in the category (and I know there are gonna be some people who make the ‘I don’t know… Wolfwalkers’ argument. But I’ve been around this category way too many years than to try to delude myself with that. So really all we’re gonna get out of this is help in figuring out what the other four (or, I guess, three) nominees are gonna be outside of the obvious two in Soul and Wolfwalkers. Animated Feature is one of those categories that sets up obviously, but most of the time the branch will throw a curveball or two by going with more ‘artistic’ films over the obvious mainstream studio films. So I’m interested in seeing what the branch has for us this year.
Here are your Annie nominations: (more…)
Here are your Visual Effects Society nominees. As a reminder, this is your shortlist for the category:
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
The One and Only Ivan
Welcome to Chechnya
VES has a bunch of different categories, so we’re just gonna take them as they come and then try to piece some thoughts together at the end. (more…)
Continuing with yesterday’s MPSE nominations, today we have the CAS nominations. So yesterday was the sound editors and today is the sound mixers. Both of which, along with BAFTA, will tell us what’s most likely to get nominated in the now-singular Best Sound category.
Not much else to add there, so let’s see what they nominated: (more…)
Okay. Golden Globes were last night, and we got… something. I’m not exactly sure what. But we got something.
My only notes are — hilarious that in response to claims of racism, they rushed up the two Black winners to the top of the show as if that was always their plan. (I’m also totally convinced that Boyega vote was altered to make him win. Kaluuya I can buy without assuming impropriety. Boyega, not a chance that was the original vote.) And strange that every commercial is now for a streaming service instead of upcoming movies and shows.
That’s all I have. Let’s go over it.
Okay, Sound time.
They combined the Sound categories into a single one this year, which makes today’s MPSE nominees and tomorrow’s CAS nominees hugely important. And then we’ll get BAFTA next week.
What you need to know here is that there are three main MPSE categories: Sound Effects and Foley, Dialogue and ADR and Music. So basically the three major components of sound design — effects, dialogue, music. There’s also other categories for musicals and animation and this year there’s one for non-theatrical features that also is kinda relevant (mostly to show what they don’t consider a feature even though everything was non-theatrical this year). All of this, with CAS and BAFTA, will go toward us figuring out what the eventual Sound nominees are gonna be.
With that said, here are your MPSE nominees this year: (more…)
I guess I don’t really need to do this article anymore, but what the hell. I’m here.
I put zero effort into Globes predictions, because they really don’t matter outside of being a potential harbinger of what’s to come and just a small piece of what’s gonna go into Oscar predictions. But, if anything, this helps me set my own expectations for what I expect them to do so I can either feel like what I think is gonna happen will happen or realign my expectations based on the new information.
So here are my completely uninformed and specious guesses as to what I think the Hollywood Foreign Press is gonna do this year: (more…)
The Art Directors Guild announced nominations today. If it feels like we’ve barely gotten any guild precursors to this point, it’s because we haven’t. But starting next week, they’re gonna start coming fast and furious. Next week I think is like three out of five days and then after that it’s almost a full week straight of something new every day.
But, at the moment, we have this. This is gonna help us out in Production Design, and I’m keen to see what they’ve nominated, given the fact that this feels like a pretty ho-hum kinda year with only about six or seven major contenders out there. So I’m curious to see what they give us and if there are some films that I’m not expecting that can make this a race.
As a reminder, the BFCA list for Production Design was Emma, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, News of the World, The Personal History of David Copperfield and Tenet, and your BAFTA longlist includes Ammonite, The Dig, Emma, The Father, Ma Rainey, Mank, Midnight Sky, News of the World, Promising Young Woman, Radioactive, Rebecca, Secret Garden, Tenet, Trial of the Chicago 7 and Wonder Woman 1984.
And here’s what the Art Directors Guild has for us: (more…)
Okay. So a little bit of a reverse of how this normally goes, but I wasn’t aware of the existence of this list beforehand. You already know the shortlist of ten, but here’s the full list of 96 eligibles for Animated Short.
I’m gonna go through and watch all the ones I can and then look at trailers for the rest and see which ones look great. All I’m really trying to do here is expose myself (and others) to some great animated shorts, which I feel are one of those things that we grow up with and then just sort of abandon along the way because we become less exposed to them. And we forget just how amazing they are to watch.
So, use this as a springboard to remind yourself of how great animated short films are. (more…)
And now Best Animated Feature. And you might be saying to yourself, “Mike, there’s only ten films on this shortlist and they’re all shorts. You probably could have done this one before some of the others.” And that’s true. Probably could’ve done it on day three or four if I wanted. But, I have a story to tell you…
On the day the shortlists came out, I was sitting around waiting for them to be released. I figured they’d put them out around 11/12 o’clock LA time. But they didn’t. They ended up putting them out at 3. And in those four hours in between as I was waiting I thought, “Let me see which ones people think might be nominated so I can try to get a hold of them preemptively.” Since the minute stuff gets shortlisted, they pull them down offline. Happens every year. So I start looking. Then, I find a list of all the eligible shorts for this year, which is a list I didn’t even know they released. But someone did. A list of all 96 eligible shorts.
Long story short, I decided to try to find all 96, ended up finding half of them and later on today I’m gonna post a full article going over all 96 eligible shorts (95% of which I either have seen fully or have seen a trailer for). Because I can and because it’s fun and because animated shorts are lost treasures among the filmgoing experience and I want to try to help bring them back. But before that, we’ll go over the shortlist. This is the dinner, that’ll be the dessert.
Here’s your animated feature shortlist:
If Anything Happens I Love You
The Snail and the Whale
And we end with the Documentary Feature shortlist, because that was the one I decided was the one I was gonna focus on for this article. Because, back around Thanksgiving, I decided to start compiling everything I thought could potentially get nominated in the category so that when they eventually did release this shortlist, I’d already have a bunch covered and not have to worry about then finding them. It worked out, since I already had ten of the fifteen docs on hand and ready to go and then immediately found two more that day. And, even better, I knew the final three were ones I could see fairly easily.
So, long story short, I’ve watched all 15 of these in the past two weeks and am gonna give a full breakdown in this article, which will make my life easier in future articles and discussions about this category.
Here’s your Documentary Feature shortlist:
All In: The Fight for Democracy
Dick Johnson Is Dead
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
The Painter and the Thief
The Truffle Hunters
Welcome to Chechnya (more…)
Today is Best International Feature. Because I kidded myself that I was gonna be able to find and see all 15 of these by the time this article went up. And honestly, I had other categories I was more focused on and I really only need to see as many as I can for nominations and not for this. So I’m just gonna do what I did with Live Action Short and Doc Short and just guess my way through it and see everything later.
Here’s your International Feature shortlist:
Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Mole Agent (Chile)
Charlatan (Czech Republic)
Another Round (Denmark)
Two of Us (France)
La Llorona (Guatemala)
Better Days (Hong Kong)
Sun Children (Iran)
Night of the Kings (Ivory Coast)
I’m No Longer Here (Mexico)
Dear Comrades! (Russia)
A Sun (Taiwan)
The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia) (more…)
Today we’re going over Live Action Shrot because, as much as I want to wait to see if I can find most of these, not only have I been unable thus far to do that, there’s also no chance I’d actually have done it by the time this article went up. So we’re just gonna go over it now, because the other categories actually do have stuff I’m watching. Plus, let’s not pretend like 98% of people give any fucks about this category (even though there’s usually some good stuff on it).
Here’s your Live Action Short shortlist:
The Human Voice
The Kicksled Choir
The Letter Room
Two Distant Strangers
White Eye (more…)
And now Documentary Short, a category that’s usually immensely easy to guess because it’s all about what the issues are. The two almost guaranteed types of winners in this category are: people with mental or physical illnesses overcoming them to create art or people in third-world countries overcoming their surroundings to do something inspiring. Then you have the occasional Holocaust or hot-button issue thrown in. But by and large, you can tell which ones feel like what they normally go for.
So let’s see what they’ve given us this year. Here’s your Documentary Short shortlist:
Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa
Call Center Blues
A Concerto Is a Conversation
Do Not Split
A Love Song for Latasha
The Speed Cubers
What Would Sophia Loren Do? (more…)
The WGA nominations were announced today. And this is our main help in the Screenplay categories, with only BAFTA still to come (and the other primary help in the category).
Of note for the WGA, before I even look at what got nominated — they’re the one guild that routinely has major contenders (and even winners) not nominated because they require nominees to be guild members. So a lot of stuff is rendered ineligible this year. Which, for our purposes, includes: Ammonite, The Assistant, Emma, The Father, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Onward, Pieces of a Woman and Soul.
So, just from that alone, I see five potential (and even probable) nominees not eligible here, which means you’re gonna get a lot of extra nominees that may not actually have a chance in the end, which is why stuff like BAFTA and BFCA is so important. Because usually the Screenplay categories only have about six or seven major contenders (maybe you get to eight in a strong year) and you can usually reason your way through most of it fairly easily. So it’ll be interesting to see what the WGA used to fill in those gaps and how any red herrings get thrown into the mix that people will get baited on.
So, knowing all that, here are your WGA nominations for this year: (more…)