Yesterday was a big day on the awards season calendar, as four of the major guilds (Directors, Writers, Editors, and Producers) announced their nominations. At the same time, nomination voting for the Oscars opened and runs through Tuesday.
So what can the guild nominations tell us about next week’s nominations? Well, Dune is practically a shoo-in for a Best Picture nomination, as it is the only film nominated by every guild, except, oddly, the actors, who bypassed the ensemble for a nod. So, everyone likes Dune, except maybe actors (who likely just thought the visuals were the real star of the show). Licorice Pizza also made out well, scoring nominations from all four of yesterday’s guild announcements. That’s another solid Best Picture contender. The Power of the Dog remains a front runner, too, as it was nominated by the Producers and Directors Guilds, and Jane Campion is now the clear front runner for Best Director.
Even though Dune is clearly going to be a major player at the Oscars—expect a lot of craft and technical nods—other blockbusters find themselves out in the cold. Spider-Man: No Way Home never really stood a chance for anything outside of Best Visual Effects, but the Producers Guild skipped over No Time To Die, pretty much ending Bond’s Oscar hopes outside the Best Original Song category. The PGA also ignored House of Gucci and Nightmare Alley, dinging their prospects. They’ll probably still show up in craft and acting categories, but the Best Picture odds are getting long. This isn’t even an especially competitive year, but with box office pretty much divorced from the Oscars at this point, voters seem to be going by what they’re actually watching, which is, gasp, kind of new for the Oscars. Academy members can’t just read the headlines in the trades and “get a feel” for what’s out there, they’ve actually got to pay attention.
Which is probably why films from streaming services are doing so well in the run up to nominations—they’re easy to watch at home, and COVID continues to curtail the Academy’s in person, members-only screenings. The Academy’s online viewing portal, though, is a nightmare, so you can see how films like The Power of the Dog, Being The Ricardos, Dune, King Richard, Don’t Look Up (UGH), and tick, tick…BOOM! are rising up the ranks. They’re all super easy to watch on already familiar streaming services. This isn’t true across the board, Licorice Pizza is currently only in theaters, and Belfast only just came to PVOD, but expect this to be a BIG year for Netflix, because everyone has Netflix and it is WAY easier to use than the Academy’s viewing platform (which everyone hates, and some voters do their best to avoid altogether).
This year returns us to a list of ten nominees for Best Picture, and right now my ten picks are:
Don’t Look Up (UGH)
The Power of the Dog
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story
In a normal year, with normal box office, Belfast rides a wave of popular momentum and goes into Oscar night the crowd-pleasing favorite. But this year? After the weird years that proceeded it? When it feels like nothing matters? It’s probably Netflix’s time, at last. The Power of the Dog takes it by virtue of being both very good and easily accessible at home.
Live long and gossip,