THB #240: 21 Weeks To Oscar - New Charts
I wish I could tell you that these charts are going to rock your world… but they aren’t. A few changes, here and there. But it’s been a narrow season and a well-disciplined season so far. (Consultant with a whip!)
But what has crystalized lately is that this is the Oscar Season of the Woman™. The only films in the game that are male-lead-driven are The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, The Son, Top Gun Maverick, and The Whale. And only one of those titles is wallowing in machismo. The rest are about, as regards gender, what is behind male bravado. Maybe Maverick is too… especially if you are talking to Tarantino.
(Sidebar: Quentin could do a great favor to the industry by writing up a 5-minute monologue about the subtext of the eventual Best Picture nominees, in the style he has used before. Crass and sexualized, no question it would be a highlight and an instant internet sensation. Let them bleep it on ABC. Tim Roth or Samuel L. Jackson would be the appropriate performer. Here is his 28-year-old take on Top Gun, chatting with, ironically, Todd Field in Rory Kelly’s Sleep With Me.)
Let’s take a drive through the “Top 6” categories.
The Supporting Acting categories are the most challenging this season. It’s not that there are not plenty of great performances out there, but for whatever reasons, there seem to be a lack of the kind of story structures that make slotting in those nominees pretty easy most years.
Nathaniel Rogers is very passionate about “Category Fraud,” but looking back over the last 5 years of Supporting Actress, the only 3 nominations I see that look like Lead performances getting nominations in Supporting Actress slots are, potentially, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in The Favourite and Margot Robbie in Bombshell. But in both cases, there is a cast of multiple stars and slotting had to happen as a matter of reality. In both cases, there was a nomination for Lead Actress as well.
Best Supporting Actor has been less clear. A couple years ago, both “Judas” and “The Black Messiah” were nominated for Supporting Actor. Who were these title characters supporting? Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers? Mahershala Ali is not the lead in Green Book… but is he really “just” a supporting character? When you think of The Florida Project, Willem Dafoe is the first name of whom one thinks.
This season, there are only 3 categories where there is much of a discussion, since there are clear female leads or clear ensembles in which defining who will run where is a thing, but can’t really inspire ire. The exceptions are She Said, with 2 female leads, and weirdly, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, where the question of who the female lead is will be up for discussion.
In Supporting Actor, the only real discussion of this will be around The Banshees of Inisherin. Is Brendan Gleeson really a supporting actor here? No. But he is one of our greatest character actors who should have been Oscar nominated numerous times and never has been. The heat is around Colin Farrell… it is clearly his story first… but I, personally, can’t imagine anyone being more worthy of a nomination than Gleeson. So… not bothering me at all.
Aside from Brendan, Ke Huy Quan is the only potential supporting actor who has not been in the awards game before, if not for Oscar, for Emmy. It wouldn’t be shocking if there were 4 Oscar winners nominated in this category this year.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessie Buckley - Women Talking
Claire Foy - Women Talking
Jamie Lee Curtis - Everything Everywhere All Together/Glass Onion
Margot Robbie - Babylon
Letitia Wright or Michaela Coel - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Also in the running…
Kerry Condon - The Banshees of Inisherin
Laura Dern - The Son
Nina Hoss - TÁR
Judith Ivey - Women Talking
Zoe Kazan - She Said
Vanessa Kirby - The Son
Janelle Monae - Glass Onion
Samantha Morton - The Whale
Jean Smart - Babylon
Emma Thompson - Matilda
Mariana Treviño - A Man Called Otto
Kate Winslet - Avatar: The Way of Water
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Brendan Gleeson - The Banshees of Inisherin
Tom Hanks - Elvis
Judd Hirsch - The Fabelmans
Mark Rylance - Bones and All
Ben Whishaw - Women Talking
Also in the running…
Paul Dano - The Fabelmans
Ethan Hawke - Raymond & Ray/The Black Phone
Anthony Hopkins - The Son
David Lynch - The Fabelmans
Edward Norton - Glass Onion
Brad Pitt - Babylon
Ke Huy Quan - Everything Everywhere All At Once
Jeremy Strong - Armageddon Time
The toughest category of 2022 seems to be Best Actress. Cate Blanchett is going to be hard to beat in Tár, though more people will recognize the depth and weight of the role than will likely love the movie. Far more popular will be Michelle Williams as Steven’s Mom (she’s got it going on) in The Fabelmans. These are pretty much mortal locks for nominations.
And from there, it gets very, very interesting.