Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 1

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).

With the Spirit Award nominations announced, Precursor Season for the 92nd Academy Awards is in full swing with a deluge of precursors in the coming weeks. With the truncated Oscar season, it will be fast and furious these few weeks, so let’s get prepared and start things off with a bang. This week, we’re looking at all of the precursors that have come before this week even though we’re calling it a single week.

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

Week 2

Thursday, Nov. 28 – New York Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Thursday, Nov. 28 – Satellites (Nominations) (Official)
Friday, Nov. 29 – Detroit Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Dec. 1 – Australian Academy of Cinema and Televisions Arts (Awards) (Official)
Monday, Dec. 2 – Atlanta Critics (Awards) (Official)
Monday, Dec. 2 – Detroit Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Monday, Dec. 2 – Annie Awards (Nominations) (Official)
Monday, Dec. 2 – Gotham Awards (Awards) (Official)

Big Winners

Marriage Story made an appearance at both the Gotham Awards and the Spirit Awards. While it wasn’t the top nominee at the Spirits, its citation for the Robert Altman ensemble award meant that it wouldn’t get the three acting nominations its in competition for and would have put it above the other films in competition in terms of nominations.
Uncut Gems did surprisingly well in the run-up to and included in week 1 of precursor season. With strong performances at both the Gotham Awards and the Spirit Awards, it has become a bigger contender than it was previously. Then again, the Safdie Brothers have always had a strong following in indie circles and have yet to break into the Oscar race. This could change things with at least Adam Sandler looking to capture his first nomination.
Hustlers got attention from both the Spirit Awards and the Gotham Awards, though its performance in both were a bit weaker than Marriage Story. While it’s certainly in the competition, it’s one of the weaker contenders.
Bombshell is the only winner or loser this week that wasn’t eligible for either the Gotham Awards or the Spirit Awards. Unlike the others, it’s a studio film that is pushing heavily for Oscar consideration elsewhere. Its boost came from the lone guild announcing its non-documentary nominations this early, the Hollywood Make-Up & Hair-Stylists Guild, which had to push its nominations much earlier because of the Oscars. Bombshell did rather well with them pulling in three nominations, a rarity for a film competing in the contemporary categories.
The Farewell was nominated well at the Gotham Awards, but the Spirit Awards largely ignored it. While chalk it up as a winner because it was at least nominated in the feature category at the Spirits even if it was one of only two nominations.

Big Losers

Waves on the other hand didn’t have as good a week. Although it was a major player at the Gotham Awards, it only got one Spirit Award nominations and not in the illustrious top feature category. This is why it’s being classed as a loser.

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