THB #224: 24 Weeks To Oscar
I was going to do a Happy 5783 (aka Jewish New Year) themed column today. It seems to be the Year of the Spielberg. But The Hot Button’s 1st anniversary is next week, so I’ll hold off on too many landmarks. After a little think, I realized that I haven’t really wandered too far past Best Picture yet… and since the Oscar half-year mark is here…
14 Films. That is the entire Best Picture race right now.
There is a reason why Apple is suddenly floating the idea of releasing Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, which went into post-production in May. Scott’s last film, House of Gucci, pushed this kind of short post schedule, which isn’t Scott’s best timetable, and I think the film suffered for it. He often works against a release date, but his films are better when he has time to show it a bit, think about it, and make adjustments. Maybe he can do it and it will all be grand in this case. Maybe he (and Apple) would regret it. I’m not going to include it in these projections. But it could happen.
1. The Fabelmans.
Already the prohibitive favorite to win. But we have seen the early frontrunner killed many times in recent years. So don’t assume anything. That said, the only film we have seen so far that has a real shot at overtaking Spielberg to win is Everything Everywhere All At Once, which is a really, really long shot. It would take blowback on Fabelmans as well as a surge of excitement in a wider group of Academy members than are currently big fans.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
I expect at least 4 of these next 5 to be nominated:
The Summer Hits
Top Gun Maverick
Everything Everywhere All At Once
From The Festivals
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story
The New York Film Festival launches on Friday, with 8 screenings of White Noise. My sense from Venice is that the film is the walking dead in terms of Best Picture. The most interesting title, which I don’t think is going to be a player, but could certainly surprise me, is She Said.
Also in serious play from The Festivals are (in alphabetical order):
Empire of Light
The Father was nominated for Best Picture, so The Son has a window there. Mixed blessing.
Barring some big mess, Brendan Fraser is going to front-run Best Actor all season, so that gives The Whale, which has not been as praised as The Wrestler, a shot.
Todd Field and Sam Mendes each have directed 2 movies with Best Picture nominations, Sam getting the 1 win with American Beauty. (1917, Little Children, and In The Bedroom all failed to win). Darren Aronofsky got a Best Picture nod for Black Swan, but not for The Wrestler, which only got the 2 acting nods.
James Gray has been a critics darling for the 28 years of his career. Armageddon Time is his most personal work and seems likely to be the most popular with audiences (not likely to top the Ad Astra box office… but a better liked film more broadly, I suspect).
Still Coming: Commercial & Beloved
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Avatar: The Way of Water
Super Duper Long Shot
Triangle of Sadness
Still Coming: Oscar Bait
14 titles. This does not include The Banshees of Inisherin, She Said, Till or The Woman King… because I don’t think any of them are really in the race (which does not mean I don’t like them). Others I am not mentioning, even less so. These 4 could find a way into the season if the 3 unseen films crap out and a few more of the seen films get shoved aside for whatever reasons.
And now… the other Top 6 Categories…
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