Movie theaters are open once again with more and more movies premiering. That means the seasons are changing and it’s time for the AWARD SEASON! Award season is constantly criticized for everything from lack of diversity to the long run time. Most critiques have completely valid points, but time and time again movie buffs watch the shows hoping their top picks win. For casual movie watchers, a lot of the movies that get nominated are largely unfamiliar. Have no fear, I’ve done my best to objectively pick the top movies, actors and directors likely to succeed this coming award season.
Things that are surprising: 1) There might be a best picture nomination for a film that came out during the summer. 2) it’s December and there are still so many movies yet to be released that are definitely best picture contenders. The frontrunner for best picture is … “Belfast.” It’s black and white, takes place in Ireland during The Troubles and centers on a family trying to stay together. It has some of the same qualities as “Roma” but in English, giving it a better chance among audiences (still not over “Roma” losing #JusticeForRoma).
Other best picture contenders include “King Richard” and “Spencer”; let’s go, semi-biopics! “Dune” should get the nomination just because of Oscar Isaac.
Still to see: “The Power of the Dog” (Benedict Cumberbatch stars and has been getting lots of buzz), “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, enough said) and “West Side Story” (award shows love musicals, especially the pretty ones).
I think it’s pretty safe to assume that most of the directors who will receive a best director nomination will also have a best picture nom. So perhaps we’ll see Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”) and Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”). Of course, we can’t forget the award season vets like Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”), Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”), Adam McKay (“Don’t Look Up”), Guillermo del Toro (“Nightmare Alley”) and Joel Coen (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”).
It’s the Denzel Washington and Will Smith show. They’ve faced off before, when Smith was nominated for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali and Washington for crooked cop Alonzo Harris in “Training Day.” Washington won a much-deserved Oscar, but could it change this time around? Other possible nominees include Benedict Cumberbatch, Leonardo DiCaprio (“Don’t Look Up”), Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick… Boom!”). The possibilities are endless.
The moment you’ve all been waiting for… Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”). Has House of Gucci been released yet? Yes, and we’ve all seen the press she’s been doing with the rest of the cast and it very much seems like an award season campaign to me. Maybe it is the year of the biopic and we’ll see Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”), Jennifer Hudson (“Respect”) and Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”) nominated. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to see previous Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence (“Don’t Look Up”), Frances McDormand and Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”). Similar to Best Actor, this category is completely stacked with heavy hitters. No role is the same, but they do share one commonality: I’m going to spend my time watching them on my laptop come award season.
Best Supporting Actor
Surprisingly, there isn’t any big performance to stand out for supporting actors. Maybe Jamie Dornan in “Belfast”? The return of Ben Affleck for “The Last Duel”? Both Bradley Cooper and Sean Penn have roles in “Licorice Pizza,” so there’s that possibility there. Jon Berthanal gives a solid performance in “King Richard,” playing tennis coach Rick Macci, which is definitely worthy of a nomination. This is the pin the tail on the donkey of supporting actors. Just close your eyes and pick one.
Best Supporting Actress
Unlike Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress has plenty of options that all make so much sense. Meryl Streep plays the president of the United States in McKay’s “Don’t Look Up.” That would be her 1,000th nomination or close to that, I think. We also have Ruth Negga in “Passing,” a movie about a Black woman passing as white. She was nominated for her role in “Loving” a few years back, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see her nominated again. Hopefully, we’ll see a long-overdue nomination for Kirsten Dunst in “The Power of the Dog.” She’ll be up against Aunjanue Ellis as Oracene Price in “King Richard” and perhaps the witchy Kathryn Hunter in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” This is actually one of the categories I’m most excited about because of all the potential winners.
Onward toward award season. Awards that don’t really affect us or how we look at movies. Unless that movie is Green Book. #JusticeForRoma