Predictions Friday: Welcome to the Internet, Have a Look Around – Awardsdaily

In 2021, there isn’t much left of the Oscar race as it once was. We’re putting a good face on it, but really it feels a lot more like fashion week in Milan than it does a ritual to name the year’s best films. Maybe that is true. Maybe it isn’t. What we do know for sure is that nothing stays the same. Not ever. Everything changes. We can roll with it or watch it all pass us by.

What the Oscar race seems to be right now is screenings held for industry, tastemakers, and bloggers — what the general public thinks has been taken out almost completely. It’s partly that we can’t possibly measure box office right now, but it’s also that we don’t have any way of measuring what the public thinks. And honestly, by the end of it, does it even matter now?

High-end fashion is not really made for the public. It exists inside the world of influence.

It used to be that artists believed what stood in their way was film critics. If not for film critics, they could do what they want, as in this scene from Birdman:

But now, filmmakers depend on not just critics but an entire industry that sees itself as “film criticism” to sell their film, and really, their status in the industry. Celebrities can still bring their fandoms and their platforms to their work. That is especially true if they can drive support online, either on Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube. Many of them have chosen activism as their platform, and that instantly alienates them from the other half of the country. But they don’t really mind that since the entire film industry, especially the part of it that isn’t about mainstream blockbusters, is driven by this small cabal of influencers that keeps the Oscar race, such as it is, humming along.

So “Welcome to the internet. Have a look around. Anything that brain of yours can think of can be found. We’ve got mountains of content, some better, some worse. If none of it’s of interest to you, you’d be the first.”

Back in the old days, an Oscar smear could be a whisper campaign. That was a rumor that people talked about to eventually shift the consensus. One that I remember was, “Saving Private Ryan is really just about the first 30 minutes.” These rumors often work because there is some truth to them. If a consensus vote is built on goodwill, knocking out a contender means creating ill will. Perception remains the primary driver for wins — the key is knowing which way the wind is about to blow.

It’s weird to watch movies come and go: they hit, they’re written about — and then poof, they’re gone.

“Could I interest you in everything all of the time? Apathy’s a tragedy and boredom is a crime, anything and everything all of the time.”

That is the nature of the thing, the Oscars on the internet. What movies will hold the attention of the consensus and which ones will evaporate? When they do evaporate, where do they go? They disappear into the ocean of streaming to be uncovered one night while someone is bored-scrolling, looking for something to watch. They might stop on the title and think, “Where do I know that from? Oh yeah, it was supposed to win Oscars.”

What embeds? What lasts? What makes a mark? What lives inside your heart and soul? What can’t you forget? What clings? What can’t you stop thinking about? We’re soon to enter the critics phase and we’ll know what they think.

What will the New York Critics think? They have a pretty solid track record of getting a Best Picture nominee through, at the very least. The National Board of Review will be announced in early December. Not too long after that we’ll be getting the Los Angeles Film Critics, then the Golden Globes.

Let’s do a quick check of the key dates, using AwardsWatch‘s calendar for now:

29th – Gotham Awards
30th – National Board of Review Awards (NBR) — *Changed to December 2, 2021

2nd – Hollywood Critics Association Nominations (HCA)
3rd – Detroit Film Critics Society Nominations (DFCS)
3rd – New York Film Critics Circle Awards (NYFCC)
4th – Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Nominations (WAFCA)
5th – British Independent Film Awards (BIFA)
5th – New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO)
6th – Atlanta Film Critics Circle (AFCC)
6th – Detroit Film Critics Society (DFCS)
6th – Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA)
9th – Screen Actors Guild Nomination Voting Begins (SAG)
10th – Oscar Shortlists Voting Begins 9am PT (AMPAS)
10th – Producers Guild of America Documentary Nominations (PGA)
11th – Boston Online Film Critics Association (BOFCA)
11th – European Film Awards (EFA)
12th – Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA)
12th – Philadelphia Film Critics Circle (PFCS)
13th – Chicago Film Critics Circle Nominations (CFCC)
13th – Critics Choice Awards Nominations (CCA)
13th – Golden Globe Awards Nominations (HFPA)
13th – Phoenix Film Critics Society (PFCS)
13th – Southern Eastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA)
14th – Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations
14th – Indiana Film Journalists Association Nominations (IFJA)
15th – Chicago Film Critics Circle Awards (CFCC)
15th – Oscar Shortlists Voting Ends 5pm PT (AMPAS)
16th – Black Reel Awards Nominations
17th – Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA)
18th – Utah Film Critics Association (UFCA)
20th – Indiana Film Journalists Association Awards (IFJA)
21st – Annie Awards Nominations
21st – Oscar Shortlists Announcement (AMPAS)

When we get through all of these, we still have all of January to get through before Oscar voting starts.

6th – Hollywood Critics Association Awards (HCA)
9th – Critics Choice Awards (CCA)
9th – Golden Globe Awards (HFPA)
9th – Makeup and Hairstyling Guild Awards Nominations (MUAH)
9th – Screen Actors Guild Nomination Voting Ends 5pm PT (SAG)
10th – North Dakota Film Society Nominations (NDFS)
10th – Seattle Film Critics Society Nominations (SFCS)
12th – BAFTA Longlists Announcement (BAFTA)
12th – Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations (SAG)
15th – Governors Awards (AMPAS)
16th – Kansas City Film Critics Circle (KCFCC)
17th – North Dakota Film Society Awards (NDFS)
17th – Seattle Film Critics Society Awards (SFCS)
17th – Visual Effects Society Nominations (VES)
18th – USC Scripter Awards Nominations
18th – Online Film Critics Society Nominations (OFCS)
19th – Screen Actors Guild Winner Voting Begins (SAG)
21st – American Cinema Editors Nominations (ACE)
24th – Art Directors Guild Nominations (ADG)
24th – Online Film Critics Society Awards (OFCS)
24th – Motion Picture Sound Editors Nominations (MPSE)
25th – American Society of Cinematographers Nominations (ASC)
25th – Cinema Audio Society Nominations (CAS)
27th – Costume Designers Guild Nominations (CDG)
27th – Directors Guild of America Nominations (DGA)
27th – Oscar Nomination Voting Begins 9am PT (AMPAS)
27th – Producers Guild of America Nominations (PGA)
27th – Writers Guild of America Nominations (WGA)

As you can see, this is going to be a hell of a ride, eh? And much of it will be churned, discussed, battled over online.

It is an industry unto itself. It is a destroyer of worlds and of movies. We can only hope, when all is said and done, there is still some integrity still standing, and some love of movies. After all, isn’t that what we’re here for? Love of movies?

To my mind, it seems like there are four very hot prospects for Best Picture:

Belfast (Focus)
The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
King Richard (WB)
Being the Ricardos (Amazon)

That’s two for studios, two for streaming. Sort of seems like the best of all worlds, doesn’t it? Then you get a little more complicated in terms of what might land in the race. There are many films left for six open slots. The Producers Guild will get us very close. History says 8/9 out of 10 match. If I had to guess right now, this is how I see it going among those we’ve seen. These are the films that were well received:

The Last Duel
In the Heights

Then, those movies that are driven by key performances that might have a shot:

House of Gucci
Tragedy of Macbeth

Then those movies that have some support but are also mildly divisive:

The Lost Daughter
Don’t Look Up
Licorice Pizza
Tick, Tick… Boom!

Then you have critically acclaimed films:

Parallel Mothers
C’mon C’Mon

And finally, movies that have not yet been seen:

West Side Story
Nightmare Alley

In the past, we might have measured some of these against their box office because that would help us figure out what is actually popular vs. what is niche popular. But we just don’t have that this year, so at this moment in time it’s all still in a vacuum. But films will be seen on streaming and discussed online. We will be measuring engagement. We will be watching for coming shitstorms. We’ll soon know who are heroes and villains are. We’re know what our tribes will be. We’ll know what the critics think. And eventually, we’ll get to our consensus. We will have to pay attention to all of it. Welcome to the internet.

Anyway, let’s get to it, shall we?

Best Picture
1. Belfast
2. The Power of the Dog
3. King Richard
4. Being the Ricardos
5. Dune
6. Nightmare Alley (sight unseen)
7. West Side Story (sight unseen)
8. The Last Duel
10. In the Heights

Best Director
1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
3. Aaron Sorkin, Being the Ricardos
4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley
5. Denis Villeneuve, Dune
Alts: Pedro Almodóvar, Parallel Mothers; Renaldo Marcus Green, King Richard

Best Actress
Kristen Stewart, Spencer
Jennifer Hudson, Respect
Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
Alts: Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Lady Gaga, House of Gucci; Jodie Comer, The Last Duel; Haley Bennett, Cyrano

Best Actor
Will Smith, King Richard
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Peter Dinklage, Cyrano
Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos
Alt. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Supporting Actress
Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
Caitriona Balfe, Belfast
Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Ann Dowd, Mass
Nina Arianda, Being the Ricardos
Alts: Marlee Matlin, CODA; Ariana DeBose, West Side Story; Martha Plimpton, Mass

Supporting Actor
Ciaran Hinds, Belfast
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
Richard Jenkins, The Humans
Jared Leto, House of Gucci
JK Simmons, Being the Ricardos
Alts: Troy Kotsur, CODA; Ben Affleck for The Tender Bar or The Last Duel

Adapted Screenplay
The Power of the Dog
Nightmare Alley
The Last Duel
The Lost Daughter

Original Screenplay
King Richard
Being the Ricardos
Parallel Mothers
Licorice Pizza
Alts: C’mon C’mon, Don’t Look Up

The Power of the Dog
The Tragedy of Macbeth
Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog
Nightmare Alley
Being the Ricardos
Alts: The Last Duel, Dune, House of Gucci

The Power of the Dog
Nightmare Alley
Being the Ricardos

Production Design
The Power of the Dog
Nightmare Alley
The Last Duel
The French Dispatch

West Side Story
No Time to Die
The Last Duel
In the Heights

Visual Effects
Nightmare Alley

Animated Feature
Mitchells vs. the Machines
Spirit Untamed


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