94th Oscar Nominations: Some Major Takeaways
I apologize for my long absence. But I figured I’d take the time to go back to my blog to muse about the Oscar nominations that were announced earlier today. Particularly, some of the big takeaways. Without further ado, here are some major takeaways:
The Power of Jane Campion:
With twelve bids, the new Jane Campion Western The Power of the Dog was the nomination leader and is our potential Best Picture front runner. Another reason besides its nomination tally is that it’s the only film out of all ten movies up for Best Picture that has every key component needed to win Best Picture: A nomination in directing, writing, acting, and editing. Additionally, it received nominations for all four of its principal actors. Not just Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Kodi Smit-McPhee but Jesse Plemons who, in a somewhat shock, cracked the competitive Best Supporting Actor five along with co-star Smit-McPhee.
The Power of the Dog is clearly living up to the power part of its title.
Denis Villeneuve Gets Deserted
Every other film up for Best Picture has at least one missing component. One of them is Dune which came close behind with ten nominations, yet not one of them was for Denis Villeneuve. Either they’re holding off for Part II or we all just had a dream or vision that the movie even had a director. No matter what the reason, it’s still crazy that he would be omitted and his snub is a big Achilles heel for Dune’s chances at claiming Best Picture. That being said, it might still pull a Mad Max: Fury Road or Gravity and dominate the tech categories.
Chaos Reigns in Best Actress
My prediction as to who will now win Best Actress could vary hour by hour because I have no clue. I mean, nobody in the BAFTA six, including Lady Gaga who was the only one to make every precursor for House of Gucci, is nominated here. As a result, this’ll be the first time since Sandra Bullock won for The Blind Side back in 2009 where we’ll have a winner with at least one missing precursor.
It could be Nicole Kidman for Being the Ricardos yet the movie was such an under performer, only getting nominations for its actors while writer/director Aaron Sorkin was shut out. I guess Olivia Colman could also go for #2 since The Lost Daughter performed as well as expected by getting in Actress and Adapted Screenplay plus a surprise Best Supporting Actress nomination for Jessie Buckley. Then again, you have people seeking their first win like Jessica Chastain and Kristen Stewart in biopic mode. Hard to say who’s in front, but game on.
Best Actor Might Be a Two-Person Battle for the Crown
As I’ve been saying for quite a while now, Best Actor remains Will Smith’s to lose. He won the Golden Globe for Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama, he’s hit every precursor, he’s playing a real-life person, and is a superstar who’s also the center of a Best Picture nominee. The stars seem to be aligning for him to take the crown for King Richard.
That being said, Benedict Cumberbatch is one to watch out for. He’s the main lead of the ceremony’s nomination leader and is the only other name besides Smith to hit every precursor (Critics Choice, Globe, SAG, and BAFTA). Because he’ll have home field advantage at the BAFTAs, if Cumberbatch loses every other precursor but wins there, he could be an Anthony Hopkins/Olivia Colman-style spoiler. I would say Andrew Garfield for Tick, Tick..Boom! could be another dark horse, but that movie was a serious under performer, only getting a nomination in both Best Actor and Film Editing. Again, the award remains Smith’s to lose with Cumberbatch as a serious potential spoiler.
Only A Few Slices of Licorice Pizza
Arguably Paul Thomas Anderson’s most accessible to date, it seemed like Licorice Pizza could be the auteur’s chance at finally getting a “slice” of that golden Oscar glory. But the movie showed a clear lack of broad support as it missed some key nominations. No acting nomination for Cooper Hoffman, Alana Haim, or even Bradley Cooper in Supporting Actor for his brief, scene-stealing turn as Jon Peters. Also, no Film Editing nomination. Besides Picture, all it received was nominations in both Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Clearly, when voters looked at Licorice Pizza, they simply preferred to “order” pizzas with different toppings.
Nominees Get Quite International
According to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, this year had the “highest voter participation during voting at any time in the Academy’s history.” Hudson says there are roughly 9,500 active voting members from 82 countries and the globally diverse membership seems to be reflected in this year’s nominees. For starters, the Japanese arthouse film Drive My Car earned a solid four nominations: Best International Feature, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director for Ryusuke Hamaguchi, and Best Picture.
Meanwhile, Penelope Cruz overcame both missing the BAFTA longlist and Parallel Mothers not being the Spanish submission for Best International Feature to surprise her way in the Best Actress five. Also, there’s a rather delightful surprise: Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt in Original Screenplay for The Worst Person in the World. Sadly, even with their respective categories up in the air, there was no Renate Reinsve in Actress or Anders Danielsen Lie in Supporting Actor. But the script at least getting in remains satisfying enough.
Lastly, the animated doc Flee managed to make history with its three nominations in Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, and Best International Feature.
For the full list of nominees, be sure to click on this link.
What do you think? What are some major takeaways from this year’s crop of nominees? Please share you thoughts!