72nd Primetime Emmy Awards: Nominations – FINAL PREDICTIONS

DRAMA CATEGORIES

SERIES
Better Call Saul
The Crown
The Handmaid’s tale
The Morning Show
Ozark
Pose
Succession
This is Us
Alt: Westworld / Big Little Lies / Stranger Things

ACTRESS
Jennifer Aniston – The Morning Show
Olivia Colman – The Crown
Jodie Comer – Killing Eve
Viola Davis – How to Get Away with Murder
Laura Linney – Ozark
Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale
Alt: Nicole Kidman – Big Little Lies, Claire Danes – Homeland, Evan Rachel Wood – Westworld

ACTOR
Jason Bateman – Ozark
Sterling K. Brown – This is Us
Brian Cox – Succession
Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
Billy Porter – Pose
Jeremy Strong – Succession
Alt: Tobias Menzies – The Crown, Rami Malek – Mr. Robot, Aaron Paul – Westworld

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Helena Bonham Carter – The Crown
Laura Dern – Big Little Lies
Ann Dowd – The Handmaid’s Tale
Julia Garner – Ozark
Thandie Newton – Westworld
Sarah Snook – Succession
Yvonne Strahovski – The Handmaid’s Tale
Meryl Streep – Big Little Lies
Alt: Janet McTeer – Ozark, Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things, Fiona Shaw – Killing Eve

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul
Billy Crudup – The Morning Show
Kieran Culkin – Succession
David Harbour – Stranger Things
Josh O’Connor – The Crown
Mandy Patinkin – Homeland
Tom Pelphrey – Ozark
Bradley Whitford – The Handmaid’s Tale
Alt: Matthew Macfadyen – Succession, Mark Duplass – The Morning Show, Giancarlo Esposito – Better Call Saul

DIRECTING
The Crown – “Aberfan” – Benjamin Caron
The Handmaid’s Tale – “Mayday” – Mike Barker
Homeland – “Prisoners of War” – Lesli Linka Glatter
The Outsider – “Fish in a Barrel” – Jason Bateman
Ozark – “Fire Pink” – Ali Sakharov
Stranger Things – “Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt” – The Duffer Brothers
Succession – “Hunting” – Andrij Parekh
Succession – “This is Not for Tears” – Mark Mylod

WRITING
Better Call Saul – “Bagman” – Gordon Smith
Black Mirror – “Smithereens” – Charlie Brooker
The Crown – “Aberfan” – Peter Morgan
The Handmaid’s Tale – “Mayday” – Bruce Miller
Ozark – “All In” – Chris Mundy
Ozark – “Fire Pink” – Miki Johnson
Succession – “Hunting” – Jesse Armstrong

GUEST ACTRESS
Alexis Bledel – The Handmaid’s Tale
Laverne Cox – Orange is the New Black
Julie Dretzin – The Handmaid’s Tale
Cherry Jones – Succession
Phylicia Rashad – This is Us
Cicely Tyson – How to Get Away with Murder
Alt: Jane Lapotaire – The Crown

GUEST ACTOR
James Cromwell – Succession
Charles Dance – The Crown
O-T Fagbenle – The Handmaid’s Tale
Ron Cephas Jones – This is Us
Christopher Meloni – The Handmaid’s Tale
Andrew Scott – Black Mirror
Alt: Jason Bateman – The Outsider

 

COMEDY CATEGORIES

SERIES
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dead to Me
The Good Place
Insecure
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Ramy
Schitt’s Creek
Silicon Valley
Alt: Better Things, Modern Family, The Great

ACTRESS
Pamela Adlon – Better Things
Christina Applegate – Dead to Me
Rachel Brosahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Linda Cardellini – Dead to Me
Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek
Issa Rae – Insecure
Alt: Kristen Bell – The Good Place, Lily Tomlin – Grace and Frankie, Elle Fanning – The Great

ACTOR
Don Cheadle – Black Monday
Ted Danson – The Good Place
Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm
Michael Douglas – The Kominsky Method
Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek
Ramy Youssef – Ramy
Alt: Steve Carell – Space Force, Domhnall Gleeson – Run, Zach Galifianakis – Baskets

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
D’Arcy Carden – The Good Place
Betty Gilpin – GLOW
Emily Hampshire – Schitt’s Creek
Marin Hinkle – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Jane Lynch – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live
Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek
Alt: Aidy Bryant – Saturday Night Live, Yvonne Orji – Insecure, Hiam Abbass – Ramy

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali – Ramy
Alan Arkin – The Kominsky Method
Sterling K. Brown – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Nicholas Hoult – The Great
Dan Levy – Schitt’s Creek
James Marsden – Dead to Me
Tony Shalhoub – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kenan Thompson – Saturday Night Live
Alt: Chris Elliott – Schitt’s Creek, Michael Zegen – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Louie Anderson – Baskets

DIRECTING
The Good Place – “Whenever Your’re Ready” – Michael Schur
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “It’s Comedy or Cabbage” – Amy Sherman-Palladino
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “Marvelous Radio” – Daniel Palladino
Ramy – “Miakhalifa.mov” – Ramy Youssef
Schitt’s Creek – “Happy Ending” – Andrew Cividino & Dan Levy
Silicon Valley – “Artificial Lack of Intelligence” – Mike Judge
Will & Grace – “We Love Lucy” – James Burrows

WRITING
Dead to Me – “It’s Not You, It’s Me” – Liz Feldman & Kelly Hutchinson
The Good Place – “Whenever You’re Ready” – Michael Schur
The Great – “The Great” – Tony McNamara
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “It’s Comedy or Cabbage” – Amy Sherman-Palladino
Ramy  -“You are Naked in Front of Your Sheikh” – Ramy Youssef & Rob Ulin
Schitt’s Creek – “Happy Ending” – Dan Levy
Silicon Valley – “Exit Event” – Alec Berg

GUEST ACTRESS
Lisa Kudrow – The Good Place
Judith Light – The Politician
Bette Midler – The Politician
Maya Rudolph – The Good Palce
Wanda Sykes – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Saturday Night Live
Alt: Jane Krakowski – Curb Your Enthusiasm

GUEST ACTOR
Jon Hamm – Curb Your Enthusiasm
Luke Kirby – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Zachary Levi – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
John Mulaney – Saturday Night Live
Eddie Murphy – Saturday Night Live
Fred Willard – Modern Family
Alt: Jason Alexander – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

 

LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE CATEGORIES

SERIES
Defending Jacob
Little Fires Everywhere
Mrs. America
Unbelievable
Watchmen
Alt: Hollywood, Normal People

TV MOVIE
American Son
Bad Education: A Breaking Bad Movie
El Camino
Patsy & Loretta
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend
Alt: The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings

ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett – Mrs. America
Kaitlyn Dever – Unbelievable
Shira Haas – Unorthodox
Regina King – Watchmen
Merritt Wever – Unbelievable
Alt: Kerry Washington – Little Fires Everywhere, Reese Witherspoon – Little Fires Everywhere, Michelle Dockery – Defending Jacob

ACTOR
Russell Crowe – The Loudest Voice
Jeremy Irons – Watchmen
Hugh Jackman – Bad Education
Paul Mescal – Normal People
Mark Ruffalo – I Know This Much is True
Alt: Aaron Paul – El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, Chris Evans – Defending Jacob, Jeremy Pope – Hollywood

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Uzo Aduba – Mrs. America
Rose Byrne – Mrs. America
Toni Collette – Unbeleivable
Margo Martindale – Mrs. America
Sarah Paulson – Mrs. America
Jean Smart – Watchmen
Alt: Tracey Ullman – Mrs. America, Patti LuPone – Hollywood, Allison Janney – Bad Education

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Yahya Abdul-Mateem II – Watchmen
Darren Criss – Hollywood
Joe Mantello – Hollywood
Tim Blake Nelson – Watchmen
Jim Parsons – Hollywood
John Slattery – Mrs. America
Alt:  Louis Gossett Jr. – Watchmen, John Turturro – The Plot Against America, Ray Romano – Bad Education

DIRECTING
Mrs. America – “Reagan” ‘ Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Normal People – “Episode 5” – Lenny Abrahamson
Unbelievable – “Episode 1” – Lisa Cholodenko
Watchmen – “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” – Nicole Kassell
Watchmen – “See How They Fly” – Frederick E.O. Toye
Watchmen – “This Extraordinary Being” – Stephen Williams

WRITING
Mrs. America – “Shirley” – Tanya Barfield
Normal People – “Episode 3” – Sally Rooney and Alice Birch
Unbelievable – “Episode 1” – Susannah Grand and Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman
Unorthodox – “Part 1” – Anna WInger
Watchmen – “This Extraordinary Being – Damon Lindelof & Cord Jefferson

 

OTHER CATEGORIES

COMPETITION PROGRAM
The Masked Singer
Nailed It
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Top Chef
The Voice

VARIETY TALK SERIES
Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj

VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
At Home with Amy Sedaris
A Black Lady Sketch Show
Drunk History
Saturday Night Live

REALITY HOST
Jane Lynch – Hollywood Game Night
Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman – Making It
Nicole Byer – Nailed It
Queer Eye Hosts – Queer Eye
RuPaul Charles – RuPaul’s Drag Race
Jimmy Kimmel – Who Wants to Be Millionaire

What Ever Happened to the Drama Series Contenders?

Killing Eve' Season 3 Finale both broke and saved fans' lives and ...
BBC America

Seriously, what happened?

Since the Emmy nominations are coming close, it is fascinating to look at the contenders, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted a lot of thing about the lead-up to the Emmys: productions postponed, shows moving release dates, and moving the entire FYC experience to the virtual world.

The number contenders for the Comedy categories have been pretty thin, save the inevitable Schitt’s Creek vs. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel showdown. Meanwhile, the Limited Series categories are intensely stacked with intense competition between timely releases like Unbelievable, Watchmen, and Mrs. America. Even the TV Movie category has some formidable contenders with HBO hit Bad Education and Netflix film El Camino.

For this article, we are going to focus on what is normally the most prestigious category of the Emmys: the Drama Series. For the longest time, Game Thrones have held on to this award, even for its widely panned final season. With that out of the way, a successor is naturally in order.

However, this season’s Drama Series contenders have mostly been disappointing outings, whether in comparison to previous seasons or just lacking seasons over-all.

Here’s my take on each of the contenders.

(NOTE: I have not seen Better Call Saul S5, Homeland S8, Euphoria S1, and The Outsider S1.)

 

Perhaps the most disappointing contender is Killing Eve (Season 3). Originally scheduled to debut on April 26, it moved its premiere up by two weeks. Its second season got nominated for Drama Series last year, boosting the confidence for this series’ chances to repeat this achievement. This hope proves futile. Despite a few strong episodes, the season suffered from a directionless narrative. Even Villanelle has become significantly less threatening this time. With a lackluster outing like this, it would be difficult to see this as among the top contenders. The only thing going for it is it is the last Drama Series contender out, rendering it fresh in the voters’ minds.

The only new series that has received strong buzz coming in this race is The Morning Show (Season 1). As Apple TV+’s most prestigious offering, this drama about sexual harassment in the broadcast industry received considerable hype leading up to its premiere, especially due to Jennifer Aniston’s comeback to television and Reese Witherspoon’s streak of producing/starring in prestige television. The end result is less than satisfying: while the cast mostly remained unscathed (save Steve Carell), the series is guilty of being preachy, broad, or soapy at times. One could easily imagine this as the new blood in the lineup. One could also see a lineup excluding this and solely focusing on past contenders.

Positioned as HBO’s epic fantasy successor to Game of Thrones, Westworld (Season 3) was coming off of a season that was marred by complaints about its overly cryptic plot. With Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul entering the season with a new character, the series was potentially on the cusp of a quality revamp. While this season was easier to follow, it was also confronted with even more mixed reception from critics and fans. Its season finale is a proof to the drop in enthusiasm for this series. Just like Killing Eve, it is yet to be seen if airing later than the other contenders would benefit this show or not. What would surely strengthen its chances is its proven support from the technical branches.

Embracing diversity unlike any other show in this race, Pose (Season 2) remains to be a cultural force and a milestone in media representation. Its last season was met with pure passion, catapulting its lead actor Billy Porter to an Emmy win. This season was met with the same warm response as the first. However, there are several factors working against this show. Premiering June of last year surely benefited its Emmy run last year. That is not the case for this season since it is already a year since it premiered. On a personal note, I think this season suffered from weak writing and questionable characters and choices. With the show not making a splash at the guilds for its second season, it would be interesting to see how FX will reignite the passion for this beloved show.

Making its shift from limited series to drama series, Big Little Lies (Season 2) were met with very high expectations. Hyped as Meryl Streep’s big comeback to television, her inclusion to the already high-wattage cast signaled that this will be a huge television event. Once it premiered, the show still received positive reception, but was already showing weakness. As complaints grew about the season not living up to its predecessor, the behind-the-scenes mishap revealed while the show was airing probably justified this less than satisfying outing. It does not help that the season also aired June of last year. The result is a still-good season of television, but clearly inferior to its previous season.

Another series that debuted that June is the Netflix hit Stranger Things (Season 3). As its cast of child actors literally grew up on-screen, so does the monster that they face. The series is obviously stuck on a loop of band-of-teens-versus-monster. The big difference this season is its incorporation of Cold War elements that unfortunately situates this story to a simplistic political milieu. While this season is still positively received, it no longer is the prestigious show that it probably once was (save a SAG Ensemble nomination).

Being the only torchbearer of network television, This is Us (Season 4) maintains its position as one of the most emotional dramas airing. Its second season, perhaps the most powerful of this season, was expected to blow up at the Emmys, but actually dropped in nominations. It only got a small resurgence for its third season because of the absence of many major contenders, possibly to avoid Game of Thrones. While the first half of its fourth season does a lot of narrative set-ups for future storylines, sometimes to its detriment, the second half leaves an impact with the looming rift between Randall and Kevin that really raises the stakes. The show also ends on a pretty hopeful note. While SAG dropped this in Drama Ensemble after two consecutive years of winning, the acing branch will probably take this to the finish line.

After winning Directing and Actress during its previous season, The Crown (Season 3) was poised to be a major contender. Add the casting of recent Oscar winner Olivia Colman in the lead role and there is even more buzz. The resulting season is still a great one, with acclaimed performances from Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, and Josh O’Connor. However, the buzz faded easily when it failed to make a major splash during the televised awards around December-January. While Colman snagged the Golden Globe, she lost SAG to The Morning Show‘s Jennifer Aniston. Also, the reception to the season in general is still less enthusiastic compared to its preceding season. Dissenting opinions about Colman’s performance, its music, and writing have become more visible. Nevertheless, expect this to be a major contender come Emmy nominations.

Being the only show that has previously won Drama Series, The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 3) came close to challenging Game of Thrones when they clashed in 2018. Last year, it was the second most nominated drama, next to Game of Thrones, for its three orphaned episodes from season two, winning three. That demonstrates the impact of the show on the voters. With the promise of revolution, season three started with high hopes. What preceded is still the same slow-moving drama that puts intense focus on its stunning imagery and performances. This frustrated more viewers than before and is now accepted as the show’s weakest season, with uneven storytelling and shaky racial politics. Another June premiere, the buzz had relatively died down at this point. However, it still had a decent showing at the guilds as well as the highly positive response to its season finale. This show has amassed 44 Emmy nominations for its first two seasons. 14 of those are acting nominations, proving that the acting branch support is present. This is also a favorite in the technical categories. Underestimate this show at your own risk.

What’s remaining are actually two shows that had better critical reception than their previous seasons. They also happen to be the frontrunners of this race.

Succession (Season 2) is HBO’s prestige drama about a family controlling a media empire. While the first season was well-received and rewarded with corresponding Emmy nominations last year, its second season exploded with more energy, sharp wit, stronger empathy to its rather unsympathetic characters, and a jaw-dropping season finale. Having an August premiere does not seem to hurt this show. It did well at the guilds, save a glaring omission at SAG. While I am more tempered with his predictions for this show, Succession is expected to do much better than its previous season that received a measly five Emmy nominations.

Another show nominated last year was Ozark (Season 3), Netfilix’s crime drama about money laundering. While the first two seasons were received with lukewarm-to-positive critical reception, they have fared pretty well at the Emmys. Getting two random Emmy nominations for Directing in its first season was one thing. To win a Directing Emmy against showier contenders was another. And with a third season that injects the show with much-needed life and energy, the show received its series-best reviews. Premiering right before the extensive lockdown in March seemed like a perfect timing for the show. With gripping performances by Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Janet McTeer, and especially Tom Pelphrey, this show is a strong contender for the win.

 

For transparency’s sake, here is my ranking based on personal preference:

1) Ozark S3
2) The Handmaid’s Tale S3
3) Succession
S2
4) The Crown S3
5)
Pose S2
6) This is Us S4
7) Big Little Lies
S2
8) Stranger Things S3
9) Westworld S3
10) The Morning Show S1
11) Killing Eve S3

 

Meanwhile, here are my predictions for Drama Series:

THE PREDICTED EIGHT
1) Succession S2
2) Ozark S3
3) The Crown S3
4) The Handmaid’s Tale S3
5) Better Call Saul S5
6) This is Us S4
7) Westworld S3
8) Big Little Lies S2

ALTERNATES
9) The Morning Show S1
10) Stranger Things S3
11) Pose S2
12) Homeland S8
13) Killing Eve S3
14) The Outsider S1
15) Euphoria S1

 

What are your predictions for Drama Series? Which shows are your favorites?

Extended Eligibility Period: Marginalizing Early Releases, Favoring Traditional Oscar Fare

MATT PETIT / A.M.P.A.S. / HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

In another rule change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMPAS has instituted several rule changes for the following Academy Awards yesterday.

One of the major changes included in these is about the eligibility period. Instead of the usual period of January 1 to December 31 as per Academy rules, the recently released amendment states that the eligibility period for this year is now from January 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021.

While not a big surprise in itself, this is a disappointing move on the Academy’s part.

This article will discuss why I think this is bad not just for the Academy, but also for the films released this year.

*****

Academy rules state that for a film to be eligible for the Academy Awards, it must have had a minimum of seven consecutive days of run in a theater in Los Angeles County. However, theaters in LA have all been mandated to close because of the pandemic as early as March.

Due to this health measure, many of the big studio releases were forced to delay their supposed theatrical run. Meanwhile, other films opted the path of streaming/VOD release instead of waiting for the uncertain return of the theatrical experience.

In a rule change announced in April 28, the Academy said that films released via streaming or VOD will be eligible for Oscar consideration, provided that the film had a previously planned theatrical release. This move already assuaged musings about this year not having enough films in consideration.

In my opinion, this actually levels the playing field, especially for some smaller films that find it difficult to penetrate the increasingly homogenized landscape of the theater chains. This rule change gives the chance for Academy members to actually get the chance to watch the films since most, if not all, are staying at home.

But that was not enough.

With the extension of the eligibility period, the Academy highlights their longstanding but unsaid bias: they prioritize films that would fall under the traditional Oscar fare category so they do not think this year in film could not stand on its own as worthy of Oscar attention.

Let’s see how this impacts the Oscar race.

Warner Bros.

Major studios are on a standstill with regards to their releases. Given the pace of how the medical community is handling the pandemic (and we’re not yet getting into the ineffectiveness of some governments), there are already films that whose releases were postponed. Other “upcoming” releases, some even poised to have considerable Oscar buzz, are sure to be affected by this. They include:

TITLE STUDIO ORDA NRDB
A Quiet Place Part II Paramount March 20 September 20
No Time to Die Universal April 2 November 20
Promising Young Woman Focus April 17 TBA
Black Widow Disney/Marvel May 1 November 6
The Personal History of David Copperfield Searchlight May 8 August 14
The Woman in the Window Disney/Fox 2000 May 15 TBA
The Green Knight A24 May 29 TBA
Wonder Woman 1984 Warner Bros. June 5 October 20
In the Heights Warner Bros. June 18 June 18, 2021
Tenet Warner Bros. July 17 July 31
The French Dispatch Searchlight July 24 October 16
The Eternals Disney/Marvel November 6 February 12, 2021

A ORD – original release date
B NRD – new release date

Other films expected to be Oscar contenders have not yet changed their release dates. These include:

TITLE STUDIO ORD
The Nest IFC September 18
The Trial of the Chicago 7 Paramount September 25
The Father SPC November 20
Dune Warner Bros. December 18
West Side Story 20th Century December 18
The Last Duel 20th Century December 25
News of the World Universal/Sony December 25
Respect Universal December 25

Meanwhile, films like Nomadland (Searchlight), Ammonite (Neon), and Minari (A24) have still not announced any release dates, tentative or otherwise.

In summary, these are the reasons why the Academy decided to extend the eligibility period. Whether because films have stalled in post-productions, filming have not yet completed, or some studios and filmmakers simply refuse to release in a non-theatrical setting.

In a joint statement by Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, they said:

“Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control.”

In an article from Variety, an Academy member is quoted saying:

“This is a much needed boost for those films who may have been stalled in post-production.”

While the intentions are probably noble, this also puts into question the Academy’s priorities.

Why wait for these films – majority of those from major studios – to be released?

Films continue to premiere during the pandemic through different platforms. Hence, the rule change to allow them to be eligible despite not premiering in the theaters.

It would be remiss to not mention the landscape change in reference to the Oscars: films premiering in film festivals, especially in Europe (Cannes, Berlin, Venice) and North America (Telluride, Toronto), get the chance to be picked up for distribution and could become formidable Oscar contenders.

But aside from that, studios already have their films ready at this point. We already have a general who’s who of the Oscar contenders at this point.

What is stopping them from abiding from the earlier released change of allowing streaming? And does the studios’ insistence on a theatrical run have cowed the Academy into submission, resulting into this additional two months for the eligibility?

Because we all know who will benefit from this – the major studios.

You know who are put at a disadvantage at this? The films that were released earlier this year.

Universal

By doing the extension, the Academy marginalizes the films that were already released earlier this year. They are already facing an uphill climb in making sure they are still in the voters’ minds come awards season. Additional two months of more films premiering will definitely not help them.

Sure, not all of the films that were already released fall into what we call traditional Oscar fare. But by doing this, the Academy is discounting the achievements of these films just because they did not fit the mold of films they usually prefer. (I mean, they do, but they didn’t have to be this obvious.)

To give a fair diagnosis of what do we already have this year, let’s see some of the films already released in theaters:

RD TITLE STUDIO RT MT
January 31 The Assistant Bleecker 91 79
February 7 Birds of Prey Warner Bros. 78 60
February 7 The Lodge Neon 74 64
February 14 Ordinary Love Focus 93 73
February 21 Emma. Focus 86 71
February 21 Premature IFC 94 81
February 28 The Invisible Man Universal 91 72
March 6 First Cow A24 96 90
March 6 Sorry We Missed You Kino Lorber 88 82
March 6 Swallow IFC 90 67
March 6 The Way Back Warner Bros. 84 68
March 13 Never Rarely Sometimes Always Focus 99 91

Those are practically the films that one might see having Oscar potential that were actually released in cinemas. Most of them are genre films (superhero, horror, sports) that did well at the box-office that were also well-received. The others are smaller independent films that got considerable critical acclaim.

After that, almost, if not all films, went to streaming/VOD for their releases. Some releases include:

RD TITLE STUDIO RT MT
April 24 True History of the Kelly Gang IFC 78 75
May 5 Blue Story Paramount 91 69
May 7 Driveways FilmRise 100 83
May 8 Hope Gap Curzon 61 58
May 22 Military Wives Bleecker 75 55
May 29 End of Sentence Gravitas 93 75
May 29 The High Note Focus 70 58
June 5 Shirley Neon 88 77
June 12 The King of Staten Island Universal 71 68

Just this month of June, upcoming VOD releases include Babyteeth, Miss Juneteenth, Mr. Jones, Viena and the Fantomes, and Irresistible.

Netflix

Serving as the go-to source of entertainment now more than ever, streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu continued to release films during the pandemic. Some releases include:

RD TITLE STUDIO RT MT
January 16 Jezebel Netflix 89 80
January 27 Horse Girl Netflix 72 61
March 13 Lost Girls Netflix 72 69
March 27 Uncorked Netflix 93 63
April 10 Tigertail Netflix 79 65
May 1 The Half of It Netflix 96 75
May 29 The Vast of Night Amazon 92 84
June 12 Da 5 Bloods Netflix 92 81
July 10 Palm Springs Hulu 100 93

Netflix still has upcoming releases this year for potential awards contenders including Mank, The Prom, Hillbilly Elegy, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Rebecca, The Boys in the Band, and The Devil All the Time.

Amazon also has films waiting to be released this year including Radioactive, Sound of Metal, Chemical Hearts, Herself, I’m Your Woman, Sylvie’s Time, and Uncle Frank.

Coming off of the historic Best Picture win of Parasite, non-English language films released in the United States during the first half of the year also garnered critical acclaim. As a personal advocate of non-English language films myself (as proven by my podcast The One-Inch Barrier), I would love to see more international features recognized at the Oscars. This year, some releases include:

RELEASE DATE TITLE STUDIO RT MT
January 24 Zombi Child Film Movement 85 75
January 29 Beanpole * Kino Lorber 91 84
February 7 And Then We Danced * Music Box 92 68
February 21 Those Who Remained * Menemsha 100
February 28 The Whistlers * Magnolia 83 76
March 6 Bacurau Kino Lorber 91 82
March 13 The Wild Goose Lake Film Movement 92 76
March 20 The Platform Netflix 83 73
April 17 A White, White Day * Film Movement 95 80
May 2 Ema Music Box/MUBI 91 71
May 27 I’m No Longer Here Netflix 100 68

* submitted for Best International Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards

We are living in the golden age of documentary filmmaking. There are countless documentaries being produced, financed, and released. Documentaries has never been this accessible or connected to audiences due to the proliferation of platforms to release them. To date, the Academy has not yet nominated a documentary film in the Best Picture category (and if anyone’s asking, documentaries are indeed eligible in Best Picture).

This year, we do not have a shortage of critically-acclaimed documentaries. Some releases include:

RELEASE DATE TITLE STUDIO RT MT
March 25 Crip Camp Netflix 100 86
April 3 Beastie Boys Story AppleTV+ 95 75
April 22 Circus of Books Netflix 98 74
April 29 A Secret Love Netflix 100 77
May 6 Becoming Netflix 93 65
May 8 Rewind FilmRise 100 87
May 8 Spaceship Earth Neon 88 73
May 22 The Painter and the Thief Neon 96 78
May 27 On the Record HBO Max 100 85
June 2 The Infiltrators Oscillope 87 74
June 3 Spelling the Dream Netflix 94 64

Animated films have only been represented in Best Picture thrice in history: Beauty in the Beast (1991), Up (2009), and Toy Story 3 (2010). With the recent expansion of the Best Picture lineup to a solid 10 nominees, it is at least more promising for these films to have a shot in Best Picture contention and not just sidelined in their own categories.

With animated imports yet to be considered, here are some of the animated feature this year (already released and upcoming releases included):

RELEASE DATE TITLE STUDIO RT MT
March 6 Onward Disney/Pixar 88 61
April 22 The Willoughbys Netflix 90 68
June 18 A Whisker Away Netflix
October 23 Connected Sony
November 20 Soul Disney/Pixar
December Robin Robin Netflix
TBA Over the Moon Netflix
TBA Wish Dragon Sony
TBA Wolfwalkers Apple TV+
Netflix

And I just need to mention, a lot of these films already released have some things in common.

Directed by women. Directed by minorities.
Stories about women. Stories about minorities.

Now, looking at all of the films I have listed (and heaven knows this isn’t complete), you tell me: do we really have a lacking field of contenders as it stands?

Are these stories not worth the Oscar attention?

This is not about scraping the barrel. This is about getting the actual temperature of the year in film. This is about actually seeing what is available, even if it means outside the Academy’s wheelhouse.

If the best of the year in film includes documentaries, small indies, genre fare, and subtitled films, wouldn’t these films actually deserve to be rewarded as they stand?

*****

Before the rule change on eligibility period, the Academy also announced another addition: starting next year, they will have quarterly screenings for Academy members. This is to make sure that voting members get to see films all over the year and not just concentrate on what’s released at the end of the year.

If the Academy really committed to this goal, then the eligibility period change puts that into question. Why is the Academy adamant to adding two months of eligibility if films are still being released, albeit in the alternative platforms that they have validated as enough to make films eligible (i.e. streaming, VOD)?

This move is definitely sending mixed messages to filmmakers and film audiences alike.

If studios cannot release their films in time for the eligibility period, then they should release your films next year and qualify for the Oscars for 2021. They do not own 2020 in film and they should definitely not control how the Oscars work. Not in this manner, anyway.

Instead of chasing the preordained Oscar contenders whose release dates might be delayed, shouldn’t the Academy just focus on what this year has actually offered?

Granted, we lose some films. But that’s how it works, right? The Academy should proceed with what 2020 in film has. If they think the field has narrowed, so be it.

This kind of thinking also invalidates the work that have already been released. Instead of embracing the idiosyncrasy of this year, the Academy has leaned towards finding ways to ensure that they still get their traditional picks.

Are genre films, small independent films, documentaries, non-English language films, and other non-traditional Oscar fares not enough for the Academy to proceed with honoring what’s the best of 2020?

 

To the Academy:

Let the 2020 Oscars deal with 2020 in film.

No extensions, no excuses.

92nd Academy Awards (FINAL PREDICTIONS)

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting
Picture: Parasite (alt. 1917)
Directing: Sam Mendes – 1917 (alt. Bong Joon-ho)
Original Screenplay: Parasite (alt. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Adapted Screenplay: Jojo Rabbit (alt. Little Women)
 
Actress: Renée Zellweger – Judy (alt. Scarlett Johansson)
Actor: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (alt. Adam Driver)
Supporting Actress: Laura Dern – Marriage Story (alt. Scarlett Johansson)
Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (alt. Joe Pesci)
 
Animated Feature: Klaus (alt.Toy Story 4)
Animated Short: Hair Love (alt. Kitbull)
Documentary Feature: American Factory (alt. Honeyland)
Documentary Short: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) (alt. In the Absence)
International Feature: South Korea – Parasite (alt. Spain – Pain and Glory)
Live Action Short: Nefta Football Club (alt. Brotherhood)
 
Cinematography: 1917 (alt. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Film Editing: Ford v Ferrari (alt. Parasite)
Production Design: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (alt. Parasite)
Costume Design: Little Women (alt. Jojo Rabbit)
Visual Effects: The Irishman (alt. 1917)
Makeup and Hairstyling: Bombshell (alt. Joker)
 
Sound Mixing: 1917 (alt. Ford v Ferrari)
Sound Editing: 1917 (alt. Ford v Ferrari)
Original Score: Joker (alt. 1917)
Original Song: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” – Rocketman (alt. “Stand Up” – Harriet)

FINAL PREDICTIONS: 92nd Academy Awards – Nominations

Image result for oscars

This is another tough year to predict. Not because there is a bad film that I so want to avoid predicting like last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody, but because all of the major contenders are very good to great films. I have my own personal favorites; they don’t factor in here, but precursors + on-ground buzz + gut feeling. Whatever, it’s always fun to play this game. Have done this since 2009, the first year of the expanded ballot.

BEST PICTURE

  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Parasite
    if 6, add Marriage Story
    if 7, add Joker
    if 8, add Little Women
    if 9, add The Two Popes
    ———
    if 10, add Ford v Ferrari
    Alt: The Farewell, Bombshell, Knives Out

I feel safe with the top eight. Logic dictates Ford v Ferrari because of technical support, but I have a gut feeling that The Two Popes will have a very passionate fanbase that would be enough to push it to the finish line.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

  • Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
  • Greta Gerwig – Little Women
  • San Mendes – 1917
  • Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Bong Joon-ho – Parasite
    Alt: Taika Waititi, Pedro Almodóvar, Noah Baumbach

Bong and Mendes are locks. Tarantino and Scorsese feel safe, but wouldn’t surprise me if they are snubbed. Fifth slot is tough; I’m going with Gerwig making a historic second nomination for a female director.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
  • Lupita Nyong’o – Us
  • Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
  • Charlize Theron – Bombshell
  • Renée Zellweger – Judy
    Alt: Awkwafina, Cynthia Erivo, Alfre Woodard

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory
  • Adam Driver – Marriage Story
  • Taron Egerton – Rocketman
  • Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
  • Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes
    Alt: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Eddie Murphy

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Laura Dern – Marriage Story
  • Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
  • Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
  • Florence Pugh – Little Women
  • Margot Robbie – Bombshell
    Alt: Zhao Shuzhen, Cho Yeo-jeong, Kathy Bates

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
  • Al Pacino – The Irishman
  • Joe Pesci – The Irishman
  • Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Song Kang-ho – Parasite
    Alt: Tom Hanks, Alan Alda, Taika Waititi

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • The Farewell
  • Knives Out
  • Marriage Story
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Parasite
    Alt: Booksmart, 1917, Uncut Gems, Pain and Glory

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Little Women
  • The Two Popes
    Alt: Joker, Hustlers

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • Frozen II
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  • I Lost My Body
  • Missing Link
  • Toy Story 4
    Alt: Klaus, Abominable

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • American Factory
  • The Cave
  • For Sama
  • Honeyland
  • One Child Nation
    Alt: The Edge of Democracy, Knock Down the House, Apollo 11

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

  • Senegal – Atlantics
  • Russia – Beanpole
  • France – Les Misérables
  • Spain – Pain and Glory
  • South Korea – Parasite
    Alt: Corpus Christi, The Painted Bird, Honeyland

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Joker
  • The Lighthouse
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
    Alt: The Irishman, Parasite, Little Women

BEST FILM EDITING

  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Parasite
    Alt: Joker, Marriage Story

BEST SOUND MIXING

  • The Irishman
  • Joker
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
    Alt: Ford v Ferrari, Parasite, Jojo Rabbit, Ad Astra, Midway

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
    Alt: Joker, Parasite, Jojo Rabbit, Ad Astra, 6 Underground

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
  • 1917
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
    Alt: Jojo Rabbit, Pain and Glory, The King, Us, Ford v Ferrari

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Glasgow” – Wild Rose
  • “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” – Rocketman
  • “I’m Standing with You” – Breakthrough
  • “Into the Unknown” – Frozen II
  • “Stand Up” – Harriet
    Alt: “A Glass of Soju” – Parasite, “Spirit” – The Lion King, “Letter to My Godfather” – The Black Godfather

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • The Irishman
  • Joker
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Alt: Parasite, Little Women, Ad Astra

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Dolemite is My Name
  • The Irishman
  • Little Women
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Rocketman
    Alt: Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • The Irishman
  • The Lion King
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
    Alt: 1917, Gemini Man, Transformers: Dark Fate

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

  • Bombshell
  • Dolemite is My Name
  • Judy
  • 1917
  • Rocketman
    Alt: Joker, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Downton Abbey

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

  • Hair Love
  • He Can’t Live Without Cosmos
  • Kitbull
  • The Physics of Sorrow
  • Sister
    Alt: Memorable, Mind My Mind, Hors Piste

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

  • Fire in Paradise
  • Ghosts of Sugar Land
  • In the Absence
  • Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
  • The Nightcrawlers
    Alt: Life Overtakes Me, Stay Close

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

  • Brotherhood
  • Little Hands
  • Miller & Son
  • The Neighbor’s Window
  • Refuge
    Alt: Nefta Football Club

OSCARS 2019: Best Picture Contenders

It’s already October and this is one of the most exciting parts of the Oscar race: with most of the contenders seen, after the major festivals have ended, and before the precursor awards. The narratives of the contenders are starting to be formed while most of the major backlashes are still yet to explode.

Here’s the Best Picture contenders, class of 2019 (according to their position right now, do comment if you disagree):

Image result for the irishman

TIER A – FRONTRUNNERS
These films are not just strong bets for the Best Picture nomination, but whose buzz are already positioning it for the win this early.

  • 1917 (Universal)
  • The Irishman (Netflix)
  • Marriage Story (Netflix)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)

Image result for parasite 2019

TIER B – STRONG CONTENDERS
These films have quite significant hurdles for the win, but the Best Picture nomination feels more confident.

  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Tri-Star)
  • Ford v Ferrari (Disney/20th Century Fox)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Disney/Fox Searchlight)
  • Joker (Warner Bros.)
  • Little Women (Sony/Columbia)
  • Parasite (Neon)

Image result for us 2019

TIER C – MAJOR SPOILERS
These films are still waiting for bigger buzz or for actual support from the precursor awards. But make no mistake: these can easily make the jump to the upper tiers.

  • Ad Astra (Disney/20th Century Fox)
  • The Farewell (A24)
  • A Hidden Life (Disney/Fox Searchlight)
  • Hustlers (STXfilms)
  • Just Mercy (Warner Bros.)
  • Richard Jewell (Warner Bros.)
  • The Two Popes (Netflix)
  • Us (Universal)
  • Waves (A24)

Image result for portrait of a lady on fire

TIER D – IN THE MIX
These films are not yet within the best Picture conversation, but the remaining months has the possibility to tip the scale in these films’ favor. Be watchful of these films because they can make it if their campaigns, box-office performance, and reviews are on their side.

  • The Aeronauts (Amazon)
  • Avengers: Endgame (Disney/marvel)
  • Bombshell (Lionsgate)
  • Dolemite is My Name (Netflix)
  • Judy (Roadside)
  • The King (Netflix)
  • Knives Out (Lionsgate)
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco (A24)
  • Pain and Glory (Sony/Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Neon)
  • Queen & Slim (Universal)
  • The Report (Amazon)
  • Rocketman (Paramount)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney/Lucasfilm)
  • Uncut Gems (A24)

Image result for downton abbey 2019

TIER E – LONG SHOTS
These films have massive hurdles to overcome if they ever come near the Best Picture conversation, but I’m already calling the possibility of them getting in.

  • The Banker (Bleecker/Apple+)
  • Cats (Universal)
  • Dark Waters (Focus)
  • Downton Abbey (Focus)
  • The Good Liar (Warner Bros.)
  • Harriet (Focus)
  • The Laundromat (Netflix)
  • The Lighthouse (A24)
  • Luce (Neon)

Image result for booksmart 2019

TIER F – THE REST OF THE FIELD
These films probably have very slim to no chance of getting nominated in Best Picture, but it’s just too early to count anything out. We’ll never know.

  • Booksmart (Annapurna/United Artists)
  • Clemency (Neon)
  • Honey Boy (Amazon)
  • The Lion King (Disney)
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon (Roadside)
  • Peterloo (Amazon)

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So far, those are our Best Picture contenders. Now, let’s view them per studio/distribution company:

DISNEY (including 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight) – 7
After buying Fox in its entirety, this media behemoth has a full plate this awards season, with at least seven films in the Best Picture conversation. They are also coming off of a Best Picture nomination for Black Panther (Marvel), Bohemian Rhapsody (20th Century Fox), and The Favourite (Fox Searchlight).  They also have animated contenders like Frozen II and Toy Story 4.

  • Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
  • Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
  • Ad Astra (20th Century Fox)
  • A Hidden Life (Fox Searchlight)
  • Avengers: Endgame (Marvel)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Lucasfilm)
  • The Lion King

UNIVERSAL (including Focus Features) – 7
This studio has some solid contenders. However, its subsidiary Focus is not doing very well with awards prospect with most of its bets in the long shot position. Focus nabbed a Best Picture nomination last year with BlacKkKlansman and the actual best Picture win with Green Book.

  • 1917
  • Us
  • Queen & Slim
  • Cats
  • Downton Abbey (Focus)
  • Harriet (Focus)
  • Dark Waters (Focus)

NETFLIX – 6
Hollywood’s enfant terrible studio is showing off its prowess this awards season with six strong contenders. Perhaps one of its bets has fallen off a bit after its festival run, but never count a Meryl Streep vehicle out of the race.

  • The Irishman
  • Marriage Story
  • The Two Popes
  • Dolemite is My Name
  • The King
  • The Laundromat

A24 – 5
This independent distributor has flexed its muscles in its 2015-17 run with Room, Moonlight, and Lady Bird. Its hold kind of cooled down last year, but this year might be its comeback with a dynamic roster of contenders.

  • The Farewell
  • Waves
  • The Last Black in San Francisco
  • Uncut Gems
  • The Lighthouse

SONY (including Sony Picture Classics) – 4
Another dominant media force, Sony only has four compared to Disney’s seven or Netflix’s 6, but its four bets are solid.

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Little Women
  • A Beautiful Day in Neighborhood
  • Pain and Glory (Sony Pictures Classics)

WARNER BROS. – 4
After missing last year’s top prize with early frontrunner A Star is Born, this Hollywood all-timer comes back with four contenders.

  • Joker
  • Richarrd Jewell
  • Just Mercy
  • The Good Liar

NEON – 4
This independent distributor came close to a nomination with I, Tonya in 2017. This year, this studio continues to diversify its contenders. This year, it also has documentary contender Apollo 11, international feature contender Monos, and Honeyland, a contender in both categories.

  • Parasite
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Luce
  • Clemency

AMAZON – 4
While Cold War did well last year, Amazon also missed on its other contender Beautiful Boy.

  • The Report
  • The Aeronauts
  • Peterloo
  • Honey Boy

LIONSGATE – 2

  • Bombshell
  • Knives Out

ROADSIDE – 2

  • Judy
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon

ANNAPURNA (with United Artists) – 1

  • Booksmart

BLEECKER STREET (with Apple+) – 1

  • The Banker

PARAMOUNT – 1

  • Rocketman

STXfilms – 1

  • Hustlers

BEYOND THE BALLOT: Best Actress 1987 – The Nominated Five

I wasn’t planning on doing this year, but they I was able to rewatch Moonstruck. After that, I was inspired to watch Broadcast News and Anna.

So here we are, discussing the five performances nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress of 1987. And what a year this is! Not only there is variety in this lineup in the films and performances, but the quality of this line-up is off-the-charts.

We have:

Cher, from the romantic comedy Moonstruck.
Glenn Close, from the erotic thriller Fatal Attraction.
Holly Hunter, from the satire Broadcast News.
Sally Kirkland, from the independent drama Anna.
And Meryl Streep, from the period drama Ironweed.

Here is my personal ranking of the five performances:

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1 – Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction (as Alex Forrest)

Take away the iconic status of this performance and what we have is a surprisingly vulnerable take on a character that the film so insistently tries to villainize. The film may have aged a bit in terms of its representation of infidelity, but Glenn Close’s work remains to be a potent examination of emotional fragility and instability. She manages to escape all shortcuts and broad strokes of this character. Career-best work for sure.

2 – Meryl Streep in Ironweed (as Helen Archer)

An unfairly underrated performance from her revered repertoire, Meryl Streep surprised me with a performance that is both haunting and devastating. It’s a performance that distills despair and hopelessness in such an effective way. Streep plays not a whole human being, but the remains of a once-alive person that is slowly disintegrating. She comes in late and leaves early, but the power of this performance stays.

3 – Holly Hunter in Broadcast News (as Jane Craig)

I’m on the side that thinks Broadcast News is more of a satire than a romantic comedy. Either way, Holly Hunter nails the steely, determined nature of this character that must have been and IS a powerful image of career woman. She benefits from strong writing and wonderful dynamic with her fellow actors. And when the film turns dark, she expertly navigates the grey areas of the story. She is in command and commanding in every scene effortlessly.

4 – Sally Kirkland in Anna (as Anna)Unlike the rest of the nominees, she does not benefit from her film AT ALL. It’s a confused film that made one perplexing choice after the other. So there is Sally Kirkland, giving it all in a freaking tour-de-force that doesn’t necessarily try to salvage the film that’s around her but defies all odds and creates an unforgettable portrayal of defeat and loss.

5 – Cher in Moonstruck (as Loretta Castorini)

Cher just radiates in a performance that is vanity-free and lived in. She benefits from witty writing that possesses a very specific tone of humor, and Cher gets the spirit of the material. It is deceptively low-key, but it is a performance that never coasts merely on charm. There is delicate maneuvering here, and Cher is the reliable core of this film.

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And here are the probable runners-up of this race:

Lillian Gish – The Whales of August
Faye Dunaway – Barfly
Barbra Streisand – Nuts
Bette Davis – The Whales of August
Rachel Levin – Gaby: A True Story
Diane Keaton – Baby Boom

And here is the rest of the field (please tell me if I missed anyone):

Anne Bancroft – 84 Charing Cross Road
Ellen Barkin – The Big Easy
Cher – The Witches of Eastwick
Cher – Suspect
Lindsay Crouse – House of Games
Jennifer Grey – Dirty Dancing
Daryl Hannah – Roxanne
Barbara Hershey – Shy People
Holly Hunter – Raising Arizona
Anjelica Huston – The Dead
Christine Lahti – Housekeeping
Emily Lloyd – Wish You Were Here
Carmen Maura – Law of Desire
Sheila McCarthy – I’ve Heard the Mermaids Sing
Bette Midler – Outrageous Fortune
Sarah Miles – Hope and Glory
Vanessa Redgrave – Prick up Your Ears
Theresa Russell – Black Widow
Debra Sandlund – Tough Guys Don’t Dance
Louise Smith – Working Girls
Maggie Smith – The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
Julie Walters – Personal Services
Debra Winger – Black Widow
Joanne Woodward – The Glass Menagerie
Robin Wright – The Princess Bride

71st Primetime Emmy Awards: Nominations – FINAL PREDICTIONS

DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
Killing Eve
Ozark
Pose
Succession
This is Us
alt. Homecoming / Bodyguard

ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jason Bateman – Ozark
Sterling K. Brown – This is Us
Kit Harrington – Game of Thrones
Richard Madden – Bodyguard
Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
Billy Porter – Pose
alt. Milo Ventimiglia – This is Us / Brian Cox – Succession

ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones
Jodie Comer – Killing Eve
Laura Linney – Ozark
Sandra Oh – Killing Eve
Julia Roberts – Homecoming
Roin Wright – House of Cards
alt. Christine Baranski – The Good Fight

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul
Bobby Cannavale – Homecoming
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly – House of Cards
Peter Mullan – Ozark
alt. Kieran Culkin – Succession / Justin Hartley – This is Us

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Julia Garner – Ozark
Lena Headey – Game of Thrones
Susan Kelechi Watson – This is Us
Chrissy Metz – This is Us
Sophie Turner – Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams – Game of Thrones
alt. Rhea Seehorn – Better Call Saul / Gwendoline Christie – Game of Thrones / Keeley Hawes – Bodyguard

DIRECTING IN A DRAMA SERIES
Game of Thrones – “The Iron Throne” – David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Game of Thrones – “The Last of the Starks” – David Nutter
Game of Thrones – “The Long Night” – Miguel Sapochnik
The Handmaid’s Tale – “Holly” – Daina Reid
Homecoming – “Protocol” – Sam Esmail
Pose – “Pilot” – Ryan Murphy
Succession – “Celebration” – Adam McKay
alt. Ozark – “Reparations” – Jason Bateman / The Handmaid’s Tale – “The Word” – Mike Barker

WRITING IN A DRAMA SERIES
Game of Thrones – “The Iron Throne”
The Handmaid’s Tale – “Holly”
Homecoming – “Stop”
Killing Eve – “Nce and Neat”
Pose – “Pilot”
Succession – “Nothing is Ever Missing”
alt. Ozark – “The Gold Coast” / Bodyguard – “Episode 01” / This is Us – “The Waiting Room”

GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Michael Angarano – This is Us
James Cromwell – Succession
Griffin Dunne – This is Us
Ron Cephas Jones – This is Us
Christopher Meloni – Pose
Bradley Whitford – The Handmaid’s Tale
alt. Alan Alda – The Good Fight / Andrew Lincoln – The Walking Dead

GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Hong Chau – Homecoming
Cherry Jones – The Handmaid’s Tale
Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Apocalypse
Phylicia Rashad – This is Us
Cicely Tyson – How to Get Away with Murder
Carice van Houten – Game of Thrones
alt. Laverne Cox – Orange is the New Black

 

COMEDY SERIES
Barry
GLOW
The Good Place
The Kominsky Method
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Veep
Russian Doll
….. if 8, add Fleabag
alt. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, black-ish

ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Anthony Anderson – black-ish
Sacha Baron Cohen – Who is America?
Ted Danson – The Good Place
Michael Douglas – The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader – Barry
William H. Macy – Shameless
alt. Don Cheadle – Black Monday

ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Pamela Adlon – Better Things
Kristen Bell – The Good Place
Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Allison Janney – Mom
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
Lily Tomlin – Grace and Frankie
….. if 7, add Natasha Lyonne – Russian Doll
alt. Alison Brie – GLOW / Tracee Ellis Ross – black-ish / Christina Applegate – Dead to Me

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alan Arkin – The Kominsky Method
Tituss Burgess – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale – Veep
Timothy Simons – Veep
Tony Shalhoub – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Henry Winkler – Barry
….. if 7, add Matt Walsh – Veep
alt. Kenan Thompson – Saturday Night Live / Marc Maron – GLOW / Stephen Root – Barry

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Aidy Bryant – Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky – Veep
Olivia Colman – Fleabag
Betty Gilpin – GLOW
Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live
….. if 7, add Leslie Jones – Saturday Night Live
….. if 8, add Cecily Strong – Saturday Night Live
alt. Marin Hinkle – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

DIRECTING IN A COMEDY SERIES
Barry – “The Audition” – Alec Berg
Barry – “ronny/lily” – Bill Hader
The Big Bang Theory – “The Stockholm Syndrome” – Mark Cendrowski
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “All Alone” – Amy Sherman-Palladino
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “We’re Going to the Catskills!” – Daniel Palladino
Veep – “Discovery Weekend” – Dale Stern
Veep – “Veep”
alt. GLOW – “Mother of All Matches” – Mark A. Burley & John Cameron Mitchell / Russian Doll – “Ariadne” – Natasha Lyonne

WRITING IN A COMEDY SERIES
Barry – “ronny/lily”
Fleabag – “Episode 01”
GLOW – “Nothing Shattered”
The Kominsky Method – “Chapter One: An Actor Avoids”
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy”
Veep – “Veep”
alt. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “Night at the Concorde” / The Good Place – “Pandemonium” / Russian Doll – “Nothing in This World is Easy”

GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Danny DeVito – The Kominsky Method
Luke Kirby – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Peter MacNicol – Veep
John Mulaney – Saturday Night Live
Paul Rudd – Saturday Night Live
Adam Sandler – Saturday Night Live
alt. Matt Damon – Saturday Night Live / Adam Driver – Saturday Night Live / Adam Scott – The Good Place

GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Jane Lynch – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Sandra Oh – Saturday Night Live
Maya Rudolph – The Good Place
Molly Shannon – Will & Grace
Wanda Sykes – black-ish
Emma Thompson – Saturday Night Live
alt. Christine Baranski – The Big Bang Theory / Sally Phillips – Veep / Regina King – The Big Bang Theory / Cate Blanchett – Documentary Now!

 

LIMITED SERIES
Chernobyl
Escape at Dannemora
Fosse/Verdon
Sharp Objects
When They See Us
….. if 6, add The Hot Zone
alt. The Act

TV MOVIE
Bandersnatch (Black Mirror)
Brexit
Deadwood
King Lear
Native Son
alt. My Dinner with Hervé / Icebox / O.G.

ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Mahershala Ali – True Detective
Benedict Cumberbatch – Brexit
Benicio del Toro – Escape at Dannemora
Hugh Grant – A Very English Scandal
Jared Harris – Chernobyl
Sam Rockwell – Fosse/Verdon
….. if 7, add Ian McShane – Deadwood
alt. Jharrel Jerome – When They See Us / Anthony Hopkins – King Lear
ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Amy Adams – Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette – Escape at Dannemora
Connie Britton – Dirty John
Julianna Margulies – The Hot Zone
Emma Stone – Maniac
Michelle Williams – Fosse/Verdon
….. if 7, add Joey King – The Act
alt. Niecy Nash – When They See Us

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Paul Dano – Escape at Dannemora
Gerald McRaney – Deadwood
Chris Messina – Sharp Objects
Stellan Skarsgård – Chernobyl
Ben Whishaw – A Very English Scandal
Michael K. Williams – When They See Us
alt. Kyle Chandler – Catch-22 / Calum Worthy – The Act / Justin Theroux – Maniac

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Patricia Arquette – The Act
Patricia Clarkson – Sharp Objects
Vera Farmiga – When They See Us
Anna Gunn – Deadwood
Eliza Scanlan – Sharp Objects
Emily Watson – Chernobyl
alt. Emma Thompson – King Lear / Elizabeth Reaser – The Haunting of Hill House

DIRECTING IN A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE, OR DRAMA SPECIAL
The Act – “Free” – Steven Piet
Chernobyl – Johan Renck
Deadwood – Daniel Minahan
Escape at Dannemora – Ben Stiller
Sharp Objects – Jean-Marc Vallée
When They See Us – Ava DuVernay
….. if 7, add Fosse/Verdon – “Glory” – Jessica Yu
alt. The Haunting of Hill House – Mike Flanagan / Maniac – Cary Joji Fukunaga

WRITING IN A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE, OR DRAMA SPECIAL
The Act – “Free”
Chernobyl
Deadwood
Escape at Dannemora – “Episode 7”
Sharp Objects – “Milk”
When They See Us – “Part Four”
alt. Fosse/Verdon – “Providence” / Bandersnatch (Black Mirror) / A Very English Scandal

Baby Driver (2017) / Christopher Robin (2018) / You Were Never Really Here (2018)

BABY DRIVER [2017, A-/B+] – Ace humor; of course, it’s E. Wright. Really reaches peaks when it goes dark and stakes become palpable. Cast lives up to more brutal sides of narrative, characters. Slick style makes it edgy and lean. Wish it dwelt more on the romance, but we’re cool.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN [2018, B/B-] – Was it practicing restraint in movie magic or was it simply dull? Either way, it effectively imbues necessary charm for emotional investment in an otherwise predictable, low-risk narrative. Impeccable visual effects; it’s seamless and delightful.

YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE [2018, A-] – Intense and cutting. Unafraid to immerse in the darkness of human experience. Ramsey exemplifies masterful eye; every stylistic choice aligned. Phoenix continues to reach unpredictable heights, holding it in until his terrifying implosion.

Beauty and the Beast (2017) / Deepwater Horizon (2016) / Lady Macbeth (2017)

DEEPWATER HORIZON [2016, A-/B+] – Ignore icky foreshadowing devices (there were a lot). Setup becomes more effective in dialogue. Terrific build-up. Once it hits its centerpiece, it’s exhilarating. Top-notch sound design, visuals. Surprisingly moving. A thrilling experience.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST [2017, C/C+] – Exquisite visual panache can’t really make up for the fact that the first 2/3 is emotionally empty, with no real stakes. Forgettable music too. But something happens with the ballroom scene onwards. At least it had an engaging denouement.

LADY MACBETH [2017, B+] – Deliciously opaque and distilled. Moves in a calculated pace, carefully inching in details with alarming precision. Pugh is a true force of nature. In her threatening quietness, her piercing eyes, voice, and posture suggest menace. Astonishing work.