If not for the pandemic, Oscar nominations would be announced around now. Everything has been pushed back, as we know, but the races are starting to shape up. The big question is how different voting will be now that award season campaigning isn’t happening the way we’re used to seeing it and what the impact will be now that Academy voters will be watching films from home. There is certainly a different focus when a film is enjoyed in a theatre, it can be a transportive experience. For example, lately I’ve been wondering whether or not I’d appreciate Sound of Metal more if I could see it, with all its sound distortion, and so many moments of silence, in a theatre. Not that the performances weren’t amazing in my basement – Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci are outstanding – but it would have probably been that much more immersive had I been in a theatre, without having to pause at least twice during the film because my punk ass dogs can’t go more than an hour without making it about them.
Let’s not pretend that in years past, all Academy members watched all the films. There may actually be a better chance of them watching more films this year since there’s not much to do for a lot of them with the lockdowns etc but to consume content.
Anyway, the New York Film Critics Circle made their picks this weekend and First Cow was named Best Film, which is interesting because very few Oscar experts have Kelly Reichardt’s film in the first cut of predictions for Best Picture at the Oscars. I wonder if that changes the game. Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods) won Best Actor, which further strengthens his spot in the Best Actor Oscar category and Chadwick Boseman was named Best Supporting Actor (Da 5 Bloods) so it’s looking more and more like Chadwick could receive two posthumous Oscar nominations, the second in the lead actor category for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Interesting what’s happening in the actress categories though. Sidney Flanigan is the New York choice for Best Actress for Never Rarely Sometimes Always (which is currently available On Demand and I highly recommend – also it’s only 100 minutes) and she hasn’t really been a factor in Oscar prognosticating so far so it’ll be interesting if she starts making some moves. And then there’s Maria Bakalova who played “Tutar” in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, now the New York Film Critics Circle’s Best Supporting Actress and that’s looking like a wide-open category at the Oscars right now so she could actually be the frontrunner by a slight margin. (Usually the supporting categories are pretty defined by this point in the season – at this time last year, Laura Dern basically had this thing locked up.) So they’re definitely putting a lot into her campaign; right now she looks to be a really good bet for a nomination.
If there is a clear frontrunner in any category, it’s Chloe Zhao for Best Director for Nomadland which is… wild, considering that there has never been a woman of colour nominated for Best Director at the Oscars and this year, there not only could be two (Chloe and Regina King for One Night in Miami, my favourite film of the year so far) but one of them just might take it. Chloe was named Best Director by the NYFCC and talked about what it means to her to have won in New York since New York shaped her directorial vision. One of the amazing angles of this year’s Oscars is that both Chloe and Spike Lee could be nominated for Best Director and she studied under him at NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts. Spike only just won his first Oscar (for writing) a couple of years ago for BlacKkKlansman and that was also his first-ever directing Oscar nomination. It’s a really interesting storyline as we inch our way to the Oscars, now exactly three months away today, on April 25.
Yours in gossip,