Category: Oscar Preview

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 24-26, 2022

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Elvis

Baz Luhrmann has only made six films to date. His first film, Strictly Ballroom, is the only film not to earn a single Oscar nomination even though it did win three BAFTA awards out of eight nominations, which is pretty exceptional, especially since it wasn’t a Best Picture nominee with them. His subsequent four films all earned varying degrees of Oscar nominations. His second film was the reimagining of Romeo + Juliet, which only managed a single nomination for Production Design with his wife Catherine Martin one of the two nominees in the category. His follow up, Moulin Rouge!, is his biggest success to date. That film pulled in an outstanding eight nominations, including one for Best Picture. It won two for Production Design and Costume Design with his wife once again the recipient of a nomination, two in fact, for both of the categories the film won in.

His fourth film was a bit of a dud, though Australia was well liked enough to pick up 6 competitive nominations and 3 awards from the Australian Academy. With the Americans, it was a single nomination for Costume Design, once again with Martin the beneficiary. You’ll never guess who again scored nominations for his fifth film, The Great Gatsby. You guessed it, Martin. The Great Gatsby was cited twice for Production Design and Costume Design, both including Martin and both being honored by the Academy. That’s four Oscars and six nominations for Martin and one for Luhrmann himself in Best Picture for Moulin Rouge! for which he wasn’t nominated in directing.

How does that help or hurt Elvis? Firstly, it seems like Martin is sure to be nominated once or twice for the film in Production Design and Costume Design. Wins are unlikely. As for the film itself beyond those categories? The issue is of course critics who gave them film positive, but not exceptional reviews. Audiences, however, seemed to love it. The film opened to a solid $30 million, an A- from Cinema Score polling opening weekend audiences, a 7.9 from IMDb and MetaCritic readers and a impressive 94% from Rotten Tomatoes readers. That popularity could bolster it with the Academy and a number of other categories could be in play. Best Directing is unlikely. That branch is a bit stuffy. Best Picture is a weaker prospect, but not out of the question. Best Actor for Austin Butler also a possibility. Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, and Cinematography are possible as well. Production Design seems the iffiest of Martin’s chances with Costume Design seems like a lock for a nomination at this point. Sound is also a strong possibility with Makeup & Hairstyling rounding out the potential category placements.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 17-19, 2022

We had one films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Lightyear

The latest Disney/Pixar animated release came out this weekend and it was a box office weakling. Further, its IMDb rating is currently a dismal 5.3. That’s the lowest a Pixar film has ever scored. Even The Good Dinosaur and Cars 2 did better with audiences. That number may increase over time as more people see the film, but it’s clearly not the best result Disney could have asked for, especially on a tentpole film like this. The film scored a decent, though not outstanding 7.3 on Rotten Tomatoes and a 61 at MetaCritic. On Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score is a more robust 86%. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film is ranked higher than all the Cars films, but is tied with The Good Dinosaur. On MetaCritic, the audience results are anemic with only a 4.4 rating. They don’t have an easy way to search for all Pixar films, though.

Having said all that, it seems very much that this is one of Pixar’s weakest films in several years. And while it seems original in terms of its style, it’s undoubtedly a prequel, which will inhibit its chances at the Oscars. While new and inventive Pixar titles almost always get nominated at the Oscars, The Good Dinosaur being a major exception, they are not so gracious to prequels and sequels. Matter of fact, non-Pixar/Disney prequels/sequels do better with the Academy than do actual Pixar/Disney ones. That hasn’t hindered the Toy Story sequels, which have always been nominated, but it looks like this film’s weakness could end that streak. Even if it is not an Animated Feature nominee, it could have a chance in Original Score, Adapted Screenplay, and Sound as those are the few categories where animated films have secured nominations before. Since the film is doing poorly with audiences and is satisfactory only with critics, Adapted Screenplay will be out. Sound is not Sound Effects, which is the category Pixar had done well in before and Original Score remains the film’s best pick-up opportunity, but that seems unlikely at this juncture.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 10-12, 2022

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Jurassic World: Dominion

With the revolutionary effects of Jurassic Park in 1993, a film that nearly made the Best Picture slate and still went home with three out of its three Oscar nominations for Sound, Sound Effects, and Visual Effects, it’s rather surprising that the rest of the franchise hasn’t been more exemplary. The first follow up, 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the only other film based on a novel by Michael Crichton (the hastily written-for-cinematic-adaptation The Lost World), picked up a Visual Effects nomination. It was left out of the other two categories. The third film, 2001’s lazily-titled Jurassic Park III, didn’t make any of the lists either.

It took fourteen years for Universal to decide to return to Steven Spielberg’s dino-fantasia, but without any of the original cast in tow. Although the effects were well regarded, it utterly failed to score Oscar nominations, which, in hindsight, shouldn’t have been surprising. Like the follow-ups to other revolutionary effects films like The Matrix and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, there is a law of diminishing returns and unless you’re able to improve upon the work in the prior film such as with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and recent Planet of the Apes trilogy, Oscar isn’t going to look your way. That’s what happened with Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and it’s what will happen with Jurassic World: Dominion.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 3-5, 2022

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 27-29, 2022

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Top Gun: Maverick

Much has changed since the original Top Gun came out in theaters 36 years ago. At that time, director Tony Scott’s film tapped into the burgeoning celebrity of Tom Cruise to cruise to a $180 million box office tally. That would be equivalent to over $464 million in today’s box office dollars. Then, the film opened to $8.2 million ($21.1 million today) and spent more than 35 weeks in release. Its success led to four Oscar nominations (Original Song, Film Editing, Sound, and Sound Effects Editing). It took the prize for Original Song.

Today, box office tallies are heavily frontloaded. Top Gun: Maverick topped $124 million for the weekend and will probably play for roughly 20 weeks at the box office. Cruise also has three decades under his belt. The big question is whether or not the Oscars have changed enough since the 1980s to change the calculus for nominations. Powered by an original song from Lady Gaga, the film seems sure to compete in three of the four original categories it was nominated in (the fourth, sound effects editing, is now defunct).

Where it could possibly differ is the Best Picture race. In the 1980s, popular films weren’t exempt from the top category, but they were expected to be a lot more thematically hefty than films like Top Gun. Nowadays, some of that reticence has faded and blockbusters that aren’t critical successes can still make through, but not terribly often. It’s probably good then that Top Gun: Maverick is one of the best reviewed films of the year so far. That will definitely enhance its Best Picture potential. That said, the Academy isn’t a huge fan of sequels and franchises and that alone might destroy its chances. We’ll just have to see if the buzz can hold up through the end of the year.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 20-22, 2022

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 13-15, 2022

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 6-8, 2022

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

To say that the summer blockbuster season has gotten off to a mega start could be an understatement, but to say that the year’s visual effects race is heating up would be accurate. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film to release to theaters and it’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s second “solo” film, as much as it could be considered a solo film. Other characters get plenty of play as well, which makes it something of a collaborative effort, as most of these movies are likely to be in the near future.

In terms of Oscar, a big box office won’t help it earn much outside of the craft categories, but like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Best Visual Effects is a category he knows well. Having whiffed the first time, his second film picked up the prize Best Visual Effects while the third got no nominations at all. With the previous nomination for Spider-Man: No Way Home as a predecessor, it’s clear the voters in this branch love the multiverse and based on previews, this is more likely to be astounding than No Way Home was. Can it win? At this point, it’s not certain, though it will certainly be a major player for the award.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Apr. 29-May 1, 2022

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 22-24, 2022

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The Northman

After The Witch, it was likely only a matter of time before Robert Eggers competed at the Oscars. His unique vision has been complimented and we saw a bit of his potential Oscar capability with his second film, The Lighthouse, which saw an Oscar nomination for cinematography and probably came close to a nomination for supporting actor Willem Dafoe. This time out, he’s managed to put together an even more impressive cast with the likes of Nicole Kidman and Ethan Hawke joining Dafoe and Alexander Skarsgard, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Claes Bang in Eggers’ Viking revenge drama.

The ultra-violent film earned extensive praise from critics (89% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes and 83 on Meta Critic), which certainly boosts its profile. The problem is that audiences weren’t nearly as impressed. Many of them were confused by the narrative and with TV shows like Vikings skewing more popular, not having audiences on your side is a challenge since Oscar voters tend to make decisions based on feelings rather than aesthetic quality as many recent Best Picture winners can attest. Does this entirely knock it out of competition? No. Its biggest stumbling block will be hanging on for 7 or 8 months to stay in the Oscar conversation.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Apr. 15-17, 2022

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

The Harry Potter franchise has been a winner for Warner Bros. That’s not especially true with the Oscars, but the films have done decently well. Other than the 2nd and 5th films, the rest of the films received anywhere from 1 to 3 nominations. With the Fantastic Beasts series of films, the prospects became a little brighter thanks to the period setting. This was borne out with the first film, which not only scored two Oscar nominations, but became the first in the franchise to win. The award went to Colleen Atwood for Costume Design, something that wasn’t guaranteed for the film.

Luck wasn’t on the series’ side, though, as the second film, The Crimes of Grindelwald didn’t score any. That said, like the 2nd and 5th Harry Potter films, the second Fantastic Beasts feature did pick up some BAFTA nominations. With the mediocre box office performance of the third film, the same situation faces it. The series has been very vibrant and one can never count it out of the Production Design or Costume Design categories and its always possible in Sound or Visual Effects. However, there’s bound to be far too much competition for the film this year, which will probably result in some BAFTA citations, but nothing from the Oscars.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Apr. 8-10, 2022

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekends of Jan. 7-9, 2022 through Apr. 1-3, 2022

We had six films release this past 13 weeks with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Uncharted

One of the year’s earliest successes, Uncharted brings together Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg in a video game adaptation following the adventures of Nathan Drake, the lead character of the game series. Holland takes that lead role with Wahlberg playing a seasoned treasure hunter. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the film is closing in on a box office take of $140 million. That kind of success and the excessive amounts of visual effects and sound design might position it as an early contender.

That early aspect is its biggest downside. Films that release this early in the year tend to fade from memory by the time the Academy makes its nomination selections. That said, there are plenty of other factors that could get in the way. The first is the Academy’s recent trend towards recognizing prestige pictures in Best Sound, a category that was once dominated by effects-heavy pictures. That’s less a trend nowadays and with the sheer number of such productions out there, that makes recognition even more difficult. The second issue is that Fleischer’s films haven’t been Oscar catnip the way some of his contemporaries’ films have. Combine all of these factors together and the likelihood of a nomination isn’t entirely non-existent, but it’s relatively light.

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94th Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 17 (FINAL)

Now that Oscar season has come to an end, let’s look back at the winners and losers of this year’s precursor races.

Big Winners

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94th Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 16

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (and in some cases other outside influences).

We’re down to the final awards of the year. Oscar voting ends on Tuesday, so what’s happened to that point will matter, not like the awards that come this week before the Oscars will change that.

But, before we get into this week’s winners and losers, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this week:

Final Week 17 (TUE-MON)

Tuesday, Mar. 22 – Academy Awards Voting Ends (Official)
Wednesday, Mar. 23 – Casting Society (Awards) (Official)
Friday, Mar. 25 – Publicists (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Mar. 26 – Razzies (Awards) (Official)
Sunday, Mar. 27 – Academy Awards (94th) (Official)

Big Winners

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