by Nathaniel R
I've been rubbing my crystal ball vigorously backstage to bring you the new Oscar charts. Everything is up but the acting now Let's discuss our way too early April guesswork in these categories: PICTURE and DIRECTOR and SCREENPLAYS. Thoughts? Objections? Applause?
Perfect on paper
Looks right on paper for major Oscar love doesn't always translate to the real thing but I've fallen for the chances of this year's World War II dramas from Chris Nolan (Dunkirk) and Joe Wright (Darkest Hour). Curiously, though both men have helmed Best Picture nominees in the past, neither have been nominated for Best Director yet. So strange but I'm predicting both of them to get in. I'm also predicting Get Out to score a Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Film Editing nods. That might sound crazy but I don't think it is. As I've often said genre pictures need time with awards bodies to cement their worth. Jump in your time machine and I'll bet you people are still talking in glowing terms about Get Out in December and everyone starts rooting for its Oscar nomination because they've accepted that it's special...
The Wildcard Risk
Let's imagine that Yorgos Lanthimos, who has steadily been building a devout fanbase and has already been nominated in the foreign film category (Dogtooth) and for screenplay (The Lobster), breaks through to regular old Oscar love with his newest, The Killing of a Sacred Deer. This is probably an insane call but it's fun to play with such possibilities... and if they come to pass you get brownie points since most pundits will only ever pick prestige safe subjects this early.
You'll see I'm slightly hesistant on Mudbound (though I'm predicting it in a few categories) and Call Me By Your Name (predicting it in one), arguably the two biggest titles from Sundance. In Mudbound's case I'm worried about how Netflix will handle it. Color us surprised that they went with Netflix in the bidding war since Oscar play was reportedly very much on their agenda. Netflix hasn't shown any skill, or rather any true desire to play the theatrical game that's necessary for Oscar love. In Call Me By Your Name's case, I think Moonlight may have confused people as to Oscar's tolerance for gay pictures. Moonlight, for its considerable brilliance, was not overtly sexual which was surely a factor in how well it did with Oscar voters who are known to be a bit antsy around gay content.
I'm also unconvinced that we'll see Spielberg's The Post this year despite its fast-tracking and my hunch is that Paul Thomas Anderson's untitled drama, George Clooney's Suburbicon, Alexander Payne's Downsizing, and Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled aren't big Oscar deals despite all of those filmmakers being big deals in general ... do not mistake this for assuming that they're bad. I am not. But you can't be nominated every time out unless your name is Meryl Streep. On all counts I could be very very wrong but that's the fun of the punditry game this far in advance. You have to make bold calls because there are only 5 nominees (*shut up Best Picture*) in each category!