It is true that there were some notable distractions at last year’s ceremony, so you may have missed them: The old Oscars rules have gone out the window.
A movie, streamed on Apple TV+, it won Hollywood’s top award without a penny at the box office. But this year, plot twist! – there is no streaming title in the search for the main prizes of the Academy Awards. When the nominations are announced Tuesday, popcorn will be on the menu. “Top Gun: Maverick”, “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Elvis” they seem certain of best picture nominations.
But after a rocky movie year in which every pronouncement about the future of motion pictures was plausible at different times, the audience is back! No they are not! – the movie that Hollywood will crown the best of 2022 may ultimately not be a streaming title or a blockbuster.
Recent nominations from the industry’s major guilds have strongly suggested that there are only three movies with a realistic shot at best picture.
The independent science fiction film “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, Irish dark comedy “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Steven Spielberg’s fictional memoir “The Fabelmans” were the only films nominated for top awards from the Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild and Directors Guild. As much as some would like to see “Top Gun: Maverick” buzz in the Oscar tower, fighting with the actors’ guild has almost always been a death sentence for best picture opportunities.
But it’s a long way to go 95th Academy Awards on March 12. Here’s a rundown of what we can expect when the nominations are announced Tuesday morning.
WHAT ARE THE FAVORITES?
The strongest support appears to be for Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Along with nominations for directing, screenplay and best picture, both films could score up to four acting nominations on Tuesday.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” star Michelle Yeoh is the frontrunner in the formidable best actress category, while her co-star Ke Huy Quan, the former child star, seems to be running away with the best actor award for distribution.
“Banshees” star Colin Farrell is arguably the toughest competition for Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) and Austin Butler (“Elvis”) for best actor, while Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan can get supporting nominations. .
WHAT IS ‘THE FABELMANS’?
That was the answer without the “Jeopardy!” contestant might think of a recent episode, a punishing moment in a much-celebrated run for Spielberg’s Golden Globe-winning coming-of-age drama.
“The Fabelmans” has been a favorite since its award-winning premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, but there are some cracks in its campaign beyond the unanswered game show clues.
Michelle Williams Surprisingly, she missed out on a SAG nomination, but she’s hoping the academy (which has nominated Williams four times before) fixes that. More challenging is that unlike “Everything Everywhere All at Once” or “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “The Fabelmans” ($14.4 million domestically) underperformed at the box office. Ironically, the filmmaker who helped create the modern blockbuster will have to win despite the faint whiff of theatrical disappointment.
Spielberg, however, appears to be headed for his ninth best director nomination and, quite likely, his third win in the category.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE SUCCESSFUL?
With $1.5 billion in ticket sales, “Top Gun: Maverick” helped attract moviegoers, especially older and more hesitant moviegoers, back to theaters after more than two years of pandemic. It was expected to be rewarded with a best picture nomination, as well as many nominations in technical categories.
Placing six IMAX cameras in the cockpit of a fighter jet, as cinematographer Claudio Miranda accomplished, is the kind of cinematic feat that’s hard to ignore. James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” (which is approaching $2 billion) will also be in the mix in many of the same categories.
And for the first time, a Marvel movie is about to get an acting nomination: Angela Bassett, for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” It is likely that she will also win.
Some would say that the Oscars could use those blockbusters. Ratings have tended to be higher in years when the most watched movies compete for best picture.
In recent years, Oscar producers have tried to no avail to add “best popular film” awards and winners voted on Twitter, mostly getting only mocked for their efforts. At the same time, the more modest films—“CODA,” “Nomadland,” “Parasite,” “The Shape of Water,” “Moonlight”—have generally been successful.
WHAT COMPLETES THE BEST PICTURE?
Ten films will be nominated for best picture, and seven of those slots feel like locks: “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Tár,” “Avatar: The Waterway” and “Elvis.” I would expect to see Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale” and, perhaps, Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” which earned a SAG Best Ensemble nomination. That would leave movies like “Triangle of Sadness”, “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” looking for last place.
WHAT ABOUT THE ‘BASE’ CAMPAIGN FOR ANDREA RISEBOROUGH?
With Yeoh, Blanchett, Williams, Viola Davis (“The Woman King”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) and Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”), the best actress category is already ultra-competitive. But a last-minute celebrity-backed campaign has spurred Andrea Riseborough to go ahead with her portrayal of an alcoholic West Texas mother in the little-seen October release, “To Leslie.”
Riseborough was not seen in the awards mix, but earned an Independent Spirit Awards nomination. Instead, it’s been a host of celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Aniston, whose Riseborough promo suddenly put her on the Oscars map.
WHAT ELSE TO LOOK FOR?
Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) could get her first Oscar nomination. So could Adam Sandler (“Hustle”), who was nominated by SAG for his Netflix basketball drama.
The favorite international film may not be the Indian sensation “RRR” (which was not selected by India but is competing in other categories, including best song).
German entry “All Quiet on the Western Front,” coming off its strong showing in the BAFTA nominations and pushed aggressively by Netflix, may be the foreign film to rack up multiple nominations on Tuesday.
WHO IS NOT IN BUT SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED?
The academy’s policy of having international films shipped by the governments of their home countries has had a chilling effect on filmmakers working within oppressive regimes. Jafar Panahi’s lauded “No Bears” will be absent only because Iran, which jailed Panahi earlier this year, predictably decided not to feature it.
Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun, my pick for best picture of the year, may find some deserved academy love for Paul Mescal, but it sure could compete in many categories, especially if it were to win the Oscars for “Best Needle Drop.”
You could also have voted for Tilda Swinton in “The Eternal Daughter”, Keke Palmer for “Nope”, Steven Soderbergh’s “Kimi” for best picture and “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” for best screenplay.
Also, how can we not reward Daniel Craig for one of the funniest performances of the year in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”? He deserves it, even if it’s for the bathing suit.