Oscar Re-Do: 2012

You know the drill: Winners in bold, then we break it down.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Should have won: Zero Dark Thirty
Not even nominated: Cloud Atlas

One of the best line-ups the Oscars have put forth since expanding from five, there are any number of great picks here. At the time, Argo‘s win felt a bit self-congratulatory. (Look at how important the movies are!) But in the last decade, as dramas – historical or otherwise – have been shunted to streaming services, it holds up as top-notch Hollywood filmmaking. Personal favorite Silver Linings Playbook would have been the rare comedy to win, and a radically empathetic one at that. Even Lincoln, which I dismissed at the time as something for history teachers to pop in after finals, is much more daring and complicated than it seems. But for me, it comes down to the two most controversial films: Michael Haneke’s Amour, which manages to be both bleak without wallowing and romantic without sentimentality. That’s a rare feat. And then there’s Zero Dark Thirty, which stirred things up before it was ever seen by anyone. Kathryn Bigelow’s docudrama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden was accused of factual inaccuracies, promoting torture, and even violating national security laws. But none of that really matters when you watch it. This is an utterly captivating revenge thriller that, whether it realizes it or not, questions whether everything the mission cost was worth it. (Short answer: No.) This is a gorgeous film about one of the ugliest periods in American history. That’s why it will stand the test of time.

But you know what’s even better, despite having more flaws? Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas, which adapts David Mitchell’s sci-fi novel as big as possible. Does it all work? Goodness, no. But when it’s at its best (which is often), it’s nothing short of breathtaking. It got zero attention from most awards groups, but it also deserved nominations for directing, writing, make-up, costume design, production design, visual effects and original score.

Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Should have won: Michael Haneke
Not even nominated: Leos Carax, Holy Motors

An extremely weird category. Ben Affleck won the DGA Award, despite not being nominated here. That was only the second time that happened, after Ron Howard’s Apollo 13. Ang Lee picked up his second directing Oscar, but Life of Pi feels more like the technology-driven films he’d pursue after and less like the human dramas he made his name on. That’s why I’m choosing to give it to Haneke, who spent decades as one of Europe’s most daring filmmakers before crossing over with this relationship drama.

But I’d happily swap out Zeitlin for Leos Carax, whose inexplicable, unclassifiable Holy Motors is the work of a mad genius.

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Should have won: Joaquin Phoenix
Not even nominated: Jack Black, Bernie

With a third Best Actor Oscar, Daniel Day-Lewis solidified his place as one of the greatest actors of all time. His portrayal of the 16th President as deeply conflicted, grieving, conniving and quick-witted blows all other takes on Abe out of the water. Yet this is one of the strongest line-ups this category has ever had. I honestly would have been happy with any of these gentlemen winning. But I have to go with Joaquin Phoenix, who’s just astonishing here as the lost, out-of-control Freddie. It’s his best performance.

But oh how I wish there had been at least one more spot. Jack Black, who will probably never be nominated for an Oscar, deserved consideration for his turn as Bernie Tiede, the put-upon murderer. He’s always been a joyous performer, but in this turn, he pushed himself further than he ever had.

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Should have won: No complaints here
Not even nominated: Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz

Went back and forth on this, but ultimately I’m still very satisfied with Lawrence’s win here. She’s the soul and fire of a complicated movie with an extremely tricky part.

I’d flip Naomi Watts for Michelle Williams. Granted, Williams has been nominated quite a bit, and specializes in playing miserable wives. She’s at it again in Sarah Polley’s romantic dramedy, but it’s more layered and understated than some of her other, more heralded performances.

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My Dream Oscar Ballot 2023

Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Decision to Leave
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
Women Talking

James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water
Damien Chazelle, Babylon
Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave
Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once
S.S. Rajamouli, RRR

Diego Calva, Babylon
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser, The Whale
Tom Hanks, A Man Called Otto
Bill Nighy, Living

Cate Blanchett, Tár
Margot Robbie, Babylon
Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
Tang Wei, Decision to Leave
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Paul Dano, The Fabelmans
Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Justin Long, Barbarian
Brad Pitt, Babylon

Hong Chau, The Whale
Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness
Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Janelle Monáe, Glass Onion

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Oscar Guide 2023

If you asked me this time last year if a movie starring a mostly Asian/Asian-American cast, directed by the guys who made the (admittedly awesome) farting corpse movie, would be sweeping the Oscars, I’d have laughed in your face. But by my count, Everything Everywhere All at Once looks poised to dominate, with six Oscars (and possibly more). That would be the highest total for a single film since La La Land, which famously did not take home Best Picture, despite being announced as the winner.

As always, take my predictions with a grain of salt.

All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
Top Gun: Maverick
Triangle of Sadness
Women Talking

Will and should win: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Could win: All Quiet on the Western Front
Should have been nominated: RRR

The skinny: A truly daring, original film is going to win Best Picture and dominate the whole show. So why am I not more excited? Part of it is fatigue. The movie came out more than a year ago, and also it’s basically won every single major prize, so there’s a feeling of inevitability here. But that shouldn’t take away from the massive achievement of my second-favorite movie of 2022. Only RRR was better.

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
Todd Field, Tár
Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness 

Will and should win: Daniels
Could win: Steven Spielberg
Should have been nominated: Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave 

The skinny: Four (well, five) first-time nominees plus Grandpa Steven. An excellent line-up, though I would have swapped Östlund for Park. Spielberg will one day win a third Directing Oscar, but it won’t be this year.

Austin Butler, Elvis
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser, The Whale
Paul Mescal, Aftersun
Bill Nighy, Living 

Will win: Austin Butler
Could win: Brendan Fraser
Should win: Colin Farrell
Should have been nominated: Tom Hanks, A Man Called Otto 

The skinny: Ever since that first photo of Brendan Fraser in all his prosthetics was released, it seemed like destiny that he’d win the Oscar on a wave of goodwill. But until SAG, he hadn’t won a single major award. While that carried major weight (no pun intended), it seems like voters will once again pick an actor playing a real person. This is certainly one of the better versions of that thing, though it’s probably my fifth-favorite performance here. Tops is Colin Farrell as the wounded party in an abruptly ended friendship.

Cate Blanchett, Tár
Ana de Armas, Blonde
Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once 

Will win: Michelle Yeoh
Could and should win: Cate Blanchett 
Should have been nominated: Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande 

The skinny: It’s really a toss-up here. Blanchett is no doubt giving the best performance – of any gender in any category – this year. But she already has two Oscars to her name. Yeoh has been kicking ass for decades but only acknowledged for the first time this year. There will be a lot of hand-wringing if Blanchett does win, but it’s not as if Yeoh winning is any sort of tokenism. She’s magnificent as the time-jumping reluctant heroine of her own story. But voters should probably take a long look at themselves that they had three more spots but didn’t find room for another legend giving a stellar performance.

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TV Recap: Feb. 26-Mar. 4, 2023

Party Down – “Kyle Bradway Is Nitromancer” (A) / season premiere
Comedy reboots don’t have the strongest track record as of late. But this premiere is an encouraging sign, with the show’s trademark blend of cringe and empathy in fine form. Ron finally getting enough money to own Party Down and then declaring: “2020 is going to be my year” elicited my biggest laugh of the year so far.

Animaniacs – Season 3 (A- average)
This final Hulu season went out with a bang, relegating its non-Warner siblings, non-mouse segments even further and delivering some big laughs. Its Christmas episode is an all-timer.

Cunk on Earth (A- average)
Pending the return of The Rehearsal, I doubt I’ll laugh harder this year than this mockumentary series about the history of the world, as observed through the Technotronic-loving, malapropism-spouting globetrotter Philomena Funk.

Mad Men – Season 7 (A- average)
I actually finished this a few weeks ago, but technically difficulties kept me from publishing. Like Matthew Weiner’s former employer The Sopranos, this two-part final season saw its protagonist lose important people to him one by one, then end with a polarizing final shot. I loved it.

Happy Endings – Season 3 (A- average)
It’s one of TV’s great tragedies that this show didn’t get at least one more season to properly wrap things up. Still, this final season was consistently hilarious, providing something resembling emotional stakes for most of its characters.

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Streaming Picks: March 2023

Top Picks
Triangle of Sadness – Hulu 3/3 
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed – HBO Max 3/19 
These two Oscar nominees won't have any chance in their respective categories despite critical acclaim, but they're two of the most impressive achievements of the year. The former – another sharp satire from Ruben Östlund – is darkly funny, while the latter – a documentary about the opioid epidemic from Laura Poitras – is truly devastating. 

Other Recommendations
10 Cloverfield Lane – Paramount+ 3/1 
12 Angry Men – Prime Video 3/1 
12 Monkeys – Peacock 3/1 
Air Force One – Paramount+ 3/1 
American Gangster – Prime Video 3/1 
Animal House – Netflix 3/1 
The Apartment – Prime Video 3/1 
Apollo 13 – Peacock 3/1 
As Good as It Gets – Hulu 3/1 
Back to the Future – Peacock 3/1 
Being John Malkovich – Prime Video 3/1 
Bend It Like Beckham – Peacock 3/1 
The Big Lebowski – Peacock 3/1 
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Paramount+ 3/1 
The Brothers Bloom – HBO Max 3/1 
Carrie (1976) – Prime Video 3/1 
Crimson Tide – Paramount+ 3/1 
Dazed and Confused – Prime Video 3/1 
The Dead Zone – Paramount+ and Prime Video 3/1 
The Defiant Ones – Prime Video 3/1 
The Departed – Hulu 3/1 
Duck Soup – Prime Video 3/1 
Easy A – Netflix 3/1 
eXistenZ – Paramount+ 3/1 
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Paramount+ 3/1 
A Fish Called Wanda – Hulu 3/1 
Forgetting Sarah Marshall – Peacock 3/1 
Galaxy Quest – Paramount+ 3/1 
Glory – Hulu 3/1
Good Will Hunting – Hulu 3/1 
Groundhog Day – Hulu 3/1
The Hangover – Netflix 3/1 
Hanna – Peacock 3/1 
Hot Fuzz – Peacock 3/1 
How to Train Your Dragon – Peacock 3/1 
In the Cut – Hulu 3/1 
Jackass Number Two – Paramount+ 3/1 
L.A. Confidential – Hulu 3/1
The Last of the Mohicans – Paramount+ 3/1 
The Last Temptation of Christ – Prime Video 3/1 
A League of Their Own – Peacock 3/1 
Life of Pi – Paramount+ 3/1 
Long Shot – HBO Max 3/1 
Lost in Translation – Prime Video 3/1 
Love & Basketball – Hulu 3/1 
Marie Antoinette – Paramount+ 3/1 
The Master – Paramount+ 3/1 
Milk – HBO Max 3/1 
Minority Report – Peacock 3/1 
The Naked Gun – Paramount+ 3/1 
Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear – Paramount+ 3/1  
Paths of Glory – Prime Video 3/1 
The Piano – Paramount+ 3/1 
Point Break (1991) – Peacock 3/1 
Pulp Fiction – Prime Video 3/1
Rango – Netflix 3/1  
Red River – Prime Video 3/1 
The River Wild – Peacock 3/1 
The Rock – Paramount+ 3/1 
Rocky – Prime Video 3/1 
Selena – HBO Max 3/1 
Selma – Paramount+ 3/1 
The Shape of Water – Hulu 3/1 
Shaun of the Dead – Peacock 3/1 
Sixteen Candles – Hulu 3/1 
The Sixth Sense – Paramount+ and Peacock 3/1 
Sleepless in Seattle – Netflix 3/1 
Speed Racer – HBO Max 3/1 
Steel Magnolias – Paramount+ 3/1 
Sunset Boulevard – Paramount+ 3/1 
Super 8 – Prime Video 3/1 
That Thing You Do! – Hulu 3/1
The Town – Hulu 3/1 
Traffic (2000) – Peacock 3/1 
The Usual Suspects – Paramount+ 3/1 
Vanilla Sky – Prime Video 3/1 
The Virgin Suicides – Prime Video 3/1 
Zoolander – Paramount+ 3/1 
Jurassic Park – Peacock 3/1 
The Visitor (2008) – Paramount+ 3/6 
Jackass Forever – Prime Video 3/10 
Carol – Netflix 3/20 
Nope – Prime Video 3/21 
Philomena – Hulu 3/24 
Top Gun: Maverick – Prime Video 3/24 

Top Picks
Chris Rock: Selective Outrage – Netflix 3/4 
Succession (Season 4) – HBO Max 3/26 
Netflix gets into the live events game, starting with their first live comedy special. Chris Rock will almost certainly talk about "The Slap," but expect him to hit on other, more important topics.

HBO recently announced this upcoming season of Succession will be its last. Based on how the show has continued to improve season over season, I trust Jesse Armstrong will land the plane in sly satisfying fashion. 

Other Recommendations
The Mandalorian (Season 3) – Disney+ 3/1
History of the World, Part II – Hulu 3/6  
Perry Mason (Season 2) – HBO Max 3/6 
Bono & the Edge: A Sort of Homecoming – Disney+ 3/17 

Def Comedy Jam (Seasons 1-7) – Prime Video 3/1 
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TV Recap: Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 2022

Nate Bargatze: Hello World (B+)
As delightful (and clean) as ever. He’s just out to tell funny stories, and that’s enough.

Mad Men – Season 6 (A- average)
This season occasionally felt as distracted as Don, but it snapped into focus in the back half, ending with everyone unhappy and stuck. Only Ted gets away scot-free, but not without inflicting some damage.

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Streaming Picks: February 2023

Top Pick
Cinema Paradiso – Paramount+ 2/1
Anyone who loves movies simply must see Giuseppe Tornatore’s magnificent ode to post-WWII Italy and the movies that served as the background for the protagonist’s life. If you’re not a weepy mess by the end, you may not love movies or life.

Other Recommendations
50/50 – Hulu 2/1
Adventureland – Paramount+ 2/1
A.I. Artificial Intelligence – Prime Video 2/1
Almost Famous – Prime Video and Paramount+ 2/1
American Gangster – Peacock 2/1
The Bank Job – Peacock 2/1
Birdman – HBO Max 2/1
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Disney+ 2/1
Brazil – Peacock 2/1
Bringing Out the Dead – Paramount+ 2/1
Bull Durham – HBO Max 2/1
Call Me by Your Name – Netflix 2/1
Casino – Peacock 2/1
Casino Royale (2006) – HBO Max 2/1
Catch Me If You Can – HBO Max 2/1
City of God – Paramount+ 2/1
Clockers – Peacock 2/1
Crooklyn – Peacock 2/1
The Conversation – Paramount+ 2/1
Days of Heaven – Paramount+ 2/1
The Deer Hunter – Peacock 2/1
Devil in a Blue Dress – Prime Video 2/1
Doubt – Paramount+ 2/1
Drive Angry – Peacock 2/1
Edward Scissorhands – Paramount+ 2/1
Eighth Grade – HBO Max 2/1
Flight – Paramount+ 2/1
GoldenEye – HBO Max 2/1
Goldfinger – Paramount+ 2/1
The Grifters – Paramount+ 2/1
The Green Mile – Hulu 2/1
Hamlet (2000) – Paramount+ 2/1
The Hours – Paramount+ 2/1
How Do You Know – Hulu 2/1
How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Hulu 2/1
If Beale Street Could Talk – Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock 2/1
In the Bedroom – Paramount+ 2/1
Inside Man (2006) – Prime Video 2/1
John Wick trilogy – Peacock 2/1
King Kong (2005) – Paramount+ and Prime Video 2/1
La La Land – Netflix 2/1
The Lookout – Paramount+ 2/1
The Lord of the Rings trilogy – Netflix 2/1
Luce – HBO Max 2/1
Mean Girls – Paramount+ 2/1
Men in Black – Peacock 2/1
Mo’ Better Blues – Peacock 2/1
Muriel’s Wedding – Paramount+ 2/1
The Music Man (1962) – HBO Max 2/1
The Odd Couple (1968) – Paramount+ 2/1
Out of Sight – Peacock 2/1
The Parallax View – Paramount+ 2/1
Philadelphia – Peacock 2/1
Platoon – HBO Max 2/1
The Portrait of a Lady – Paramount+ 2/1
Pride and Prejudice (2005) – Peacock 2/1
Psycho (1960) – Peacock 2/1
Sabrina (1954) – Paramount+ 2/1
Scream (1996) – Paramount+ 2/1
Scream 2 – Paramount+ 2/1
Shadow of a Doubt – Peacock 2/1
The Silence of the Lambs – HBO Max 2/1
Silverado – Paramount+ 2/1
Sleepy Hollow – HBO Max 2/1
Some Like It Hot – Paramount+ 2/1
Spanglish – Netflix 2/1
Speed – Peacock 2/1
The Station Agent – Paramount+ 2/1
Sugar – Prime Video 2/1
Superbad – HBO Max and Hulu 2/1
Swiss Army Man – HBO Max 2/1
The Talented Mr. Ripley – Paramount+ and Prime Video 2/1
Taxi Driver – HBO Max 2/1
The Terminator – HBO Max 2/1
Thank You for Smoking – Hulu 2/1
There Will Be Blood – Paramount+ 2/1
Throw Momma from the Train – HBO Max 2/1
Tootsie – Paramount+ 2/1
Trainspotting – Paramount+ 2/1
Wayne’s World – HBO Max 2/1
Wayne’s World 2 – HBO Max 2/1
Wonder Boys – Paramount+ 2/1
Zero Dark Thirty – Peacock 2/1
The Peanut Butter Falcon – Paramount+ 2/5
Edge of Tomorrow – HBO Max 2/7
Cloverfield – Paramount+ 2/18
A Simple Favor – Prime Video 2/19
Gravity – HBO Max 2/23

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Reactions to the 2023 Oscar Nominations

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the 95th Oscars on Tuesday. There wasn’t a whole lot to get too mad about. Seven of the 10 Best Picture nominees made my own top 10 list, a first. I still don’t understand voters’ obsession with Elvis, but at least they didn’t nominate Tom Hanks for his baffling turn in it. And before you come for me on Twitter, I haven’t seen Till or The Woman King, so I can’t speak to how much of a travesty it is that neither leading lady was nominated. I also don’t know if To Leslie‘s shocking nomination for Best Actress is honoring a hidden gem or merely succumbing to peer pressure.

Biggest Snubs (in order from most to least egregious)

Decision to Leave – Picture, Directing, Actress, Original Screenplay, International Feature, Cinematography
Park Chan-wook’s thriller was one of the best movies from any country in any language last year. While it faced an uphill battle to break through in the major categories (and Cinematography), I’m absolutely baffled as to how it was shortlisted for International Feature but didn’t make the final five. It’s better than every movie in that category!

Triangle of Sadness – Supporting Actress
Ruben Östlund’s class satire got three deserving nominations. While many voters have clearly seen it and loved it enough to put it in Best Picture, they didn’t nominate Dolly de Leon, easily the best part of the movie.

Nope – Picture, Directing, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Visual Effects
Jordan Peele struck gold right out the gate with Get Out, picking up nods for Picture and Directing and a win for Best Original Screenplay. But his last two movies have blanked, despite no-brainer nominations like Best Actress for Us and those here for Nope. The lack of technical consideration, when this was one of the most expertly crafted movies of the year, especially hurts.

RRR – Picture, Directing, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound
We already knew it wasn’t going to get into the International Feature category, since India submitted Last Film Show instead. But the groundswell of support the film had throughout 2022 only resulted in one (well-deserved) nomination for Original Song.

Top Gun: Maverick – Cinematography
Easily the most head-scratching category of the day. Bardo and Empire of Light picked up their lone nods here. Both are from respected international DPs. I don’t think anyone was predicting Tár, either. But Maverick has shots I’ve been thinking about for years (since those first trailers dropped back in 2020), which is more than I can say for any of these nominees.

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TV Recap: Jan. 15-21, 2022

The Last of Us – “When You’re Lost in the Darkness” (A) / series premiere
As a non-gamer, I didn’t know what to expect. Though as a fan of Chernobyl, my expectations were pretty high. This 90-minute pilot is about as good as scripted TV gets: thrilling, emotional and executed at a high level. I can’t wait to take this journey each week.

Mad Men – Season 5 (A- average)
The show’s best season yet, as some characters burn it all down (Lane) and others rise from the ashes of their broken dreams (Joan). This is one of the most devastating, incredible seasons of TV of any show.

Happy Endings – Season 1 (A- average)
I tend to skip Season 1 when I watch Happy Endings, but it took a lot less time to find its footing than I remembered. Watching the show in its intended order helped.

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Final Oscar Picks 2023

All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
Top Gun: Maverick
Women Talking

Dark Horse: Triangle of Sadness
Long Shot: The Whale
Total Shock: RRR

The skinny: It’s a little funny to me after all the late surges (All Quiet on the Western Front), bad reviews (Babylon) and a weak awards showing (Women Talking), it’s the autobiographical film by a master director that’s still leading after all this time. There’s still time for any of those three to be replaced by Triangle of Sadness, which still has the Palme d’Or, strong support from international voters and a recent induction into the Criterion Collection on its side. But it could also be The Whale that sneaks in. It’s the one legitimate arthouse hit of awards season and assured nominations in Actor, Supporting Actress and Adapted Screenplay could push it into the top category. That still leaves RRR on the outside, despite a recent wave of support and strategic screenings for Academy voters.

Damien Chazelle, Babylon
Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
Todd Field, TÁR

Dark Horse: Sarah Polley, Women Talking
Long Shot: Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick
Total Shock: Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave

The skinny: Everyone but Chazelle is a DGA nominee this year, and I think his biggest effort to date will still be rewarded. But he’s easily the most vulnerable. So who could get that last spot? Sarah Polley would be a welcome addition, especially since she’s never been nominated and would add to the still far-too-small number of female nominees in this category. It could be DGA nominee Kosinski, though that still seems like a surprise. And Park is overdue and just delivered his best movie yet. But the directors of All Quiet on the Western Front (Edward Berger) and Triangle of Sadness (Ruben Östlund) seem poised to overtake him.

Austin Butler, Elvis
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser, The Whale
Paul Mescal, Aftersun
Bill Nighy, Living

Dark Horse: Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick
Long Shot: Adam Sandler, Hustle
Total Shock: Tom Hanks, A Man Called Otto

The skinny: While it felt like Fraser had this locked up all season long, he only has a handful of critics’ awards to show for it. He could still pull it off, but maybe the wave of goodwill – and the chance for bigger parts – will be award enough. It really feels like Colin’s in front with Butler nipping at his heels. But I swear to god, I’m sick of this award going to someone playing a real-life historical figure. (It’s happened eight times here since 2010. Eight!)

Cate Blanchett, TÁR
Ana de Armas, Blonde
Danielle Deadwyler, Till
Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Dark Horse: Viola Davis, The Woman King
Long Shot: Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
Total Shock: Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

The skinny: Blanchett’s either going to win her third Oscar, or Yeoh will win her first. It could go either way, but I’m expecting the former. The tricky part here is figuring out if Williams will end up here, in Supporting, or shut out altogether. I still think The Fabelmans has enough momentum for her to pick up her fifth nod, but it could be Viola Davis picking up her fifth instead. I don’t think the “grassroots” campaign for Andrea Riseborough will gain enough traction, though she seems more likely to pick up an Independent Spirit Award now.

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