Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 8

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).

While there were a handful of precursors in the last week, including the important Directors Guild of America and Producers Guild of America, all of this is overshadowed by the Academy Award nominations from earlier today. While the nominations are normally announced on a Tuesday and thus giving the Monday before over to the prior week’s events, today’s Precursor Winners & Losers will be devoted predominantly to the Oscar nominations with some influence from the DGA, PGA, and others to go along with it.

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

Week 9

Friday, Jan. 17 – Cinema Editors (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 18 – Producers Guild (Awards) (Official)
Saturday, Jan. 18 – Filmfare Awards (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Jan. 19 – Latino Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Jan. 19 – Screen Actors (Awards) (Official)
Sunday, Jan. 19 – Sound Editors (Awards) (Official)
Sunday, Jan. 19 – Filmfare Awards (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Jan. 19 – Online Film & TV Association (Nominations) (Official)

Big Winners

Joker delivered on its box office potential with a Best Picture citation and a leading 11 nominations. Although, it could be the worst reviewed film ever to become top nominee of the year. It stands a good chance now of picking up an Oscar for Joaquin Phoenix as well as potential Oscars for Film Editing and Original Score.
The Irishman did as well as it could possibly have, picking up ten nominations in all of the expected categories except one: Best Actor. It still has the potential to pick up Oscars, but has few path towards them a more-dominant nominee exists in nearly every category.
1917 pulled in double-digit nominations, picking up nominations in categories it wasn’t expected to feature in, but missing out on the crucial Best Film Editing category. That failure might hinder its Best Picture chances, but like Birdman five years ago, the one-shot concept probably hindered its chances in that category. It remains in a strong position to pick up the year’s most Oscars, including the big one.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood missed in a couple of categories, most notably Film Editing, but it still pulled of the expected double-digit nominations. The film’s prospects haven’t exactly dimmed, but its competition is pretty strong and winning more than Original Screenplay at this point (which might still be a tall order) and Supporting Actor seems like a stretch.
Jojo Rabbit only earned 6 nominations, but that’s quite a few since it managed to pull off nominations in Supporting Actress and Film Editing. It was the DGA miss as Taika Waititi was left off the Best Directing slate, but you can ask Green Book how that hindered it last year.
The Two Popes didn’t quite make it into Best Picture, but its three nominations were never thought to be done deal. Anthony Hopkins and the screenplay had the best chances, but Jonathan Pryce wasn’t assured much of anything. That it managed to pull off the three it did is a pretty big win for the film.

Big Losers

The Farewell had the potential of scoring nominations in Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay and missed out on all of them. It’s probably the best reviewed, most honored film this year that didn’t score any Oscar nominations.
Dolemite Is My Name follows The Farewell in the whiff department. It wasn’t sure to show up in any above-the-line categories with stars Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes the most likely, but it also missed out on two categories, it was thought to be a major player in: Costume Design and Makeup & Hairstyling.
Hustlers wasn’t much of a contender outside of Jennifer Lopez’s performance. While I personally didn’t think she was deserving of the accolades she received, she was one of the most nominated and honored actors of the year, so this will be a big sting that will surely reverberate outside of the Academy.
Uncut Gems had similar chances to Hustlers, but could have made surprise appearances in Film Editing and Picture with the right support. That support wasn’t there and the Academy’s bias against comedians-turned-serious-actors continues unabated.
Frozen II was the box office hit successor to the box office hit original. It was expected to earn two nominations and came out with only one: Best Original Song. The perception that the rules changes to voting in Animated Feature would mean more studio blockbusters getting nominated hasn’t panned out as the film that replaced it was an indie production: Klaus.
Us wasn’t as popular with critics as Jordan Peele’s predecessor Get Out, but it was incredibly well reviewed and Lupita Nyong’o was the most honored actor of the year in any category, tying with Adam Driver and followed closely by Brad Pitt. The film was also shafted in the Original Score category where it deserved a nomination over all of the others.


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  1. I didn’t realize he’d shown up in that many places. He just kept seeming to miss the big ones like SAG, Golden Globe, etc.

    1. You’re right, he did. I should have paid more attention to the ones he did get cited for rather than quantity.

      1. It was a tough run of predictions, with the truncated season and nominations all over the place. Heck, I picked Bale for Best Actor and he DID show up in the big places like SAG, GG, and SAT. So it was kind of a crapshoot.

  2. Not sure why you hung on to De Niro as a predicted nominee for so long. He got almost nothing leading up to this.

    1. I knew it wasn’t going to be Adam Sandler or Eddie Murphy and between him and Jonathan Pryce, Taron Egerton, and Christian Bale, he had the most nominations from precursor groups with 13, which put him in 7th for overall nomination lead in Best Actor. Besides, we’ve seen coattail nominations before and this would have been textbook.

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