Oscar Updates: Precursor Madness

The Oscar nominations will be announced in less than three weeks! So much has changed since the last time we checked in. Let’s get an update on where we stand.

The Haves and Have-Nots

The expected precursor champs have been no surprise. Everything Everywhere All At Once has been showing up practically everywhere, with multiple big organizations finding that film among its nominees. And it’s not just in the acting and picture categories, the directing pair of Daniels have squeezed their way firmly in the conversation for Best Director. It would be the first time since 2010 that a pair of directors was nominated for the same film (The Coen brothers were both nominated for True Grit). It’s only happened three times since 1978.

Other emerging frontrunners include Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Top Gun: Maverick. Other films getting significant boosts from critics groups include Avatar: The Way of Water, TAR, and surprisingly Elvis.

Other films have not been in such favor. Damien Chazelle’s Babylon has received a mixed reaction (to put it lightly) while still receiving some notices across the board. Meanwhile, Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale is barely hanging on anywhere outside of the lead performance of Brendan Fraser.

Commercial Success?

At this point, it is foolish to dismiss the staggering money made by The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick. Movies like that don’t make this type of money all the time, so it’s reasonable to expect people to have positive responses to it. It would be a borderline shock to assume either film misses a Best Picture nomination at this point.

It’s also tough to measure the success of streaming films. How many people actually saw Causeway, or All Quiet on the Western Front, or specifically Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery? Glass Onion in particular could be a big winner on nomination morning, but we don’t have much gauge for how people have responded to it. Lots of people sure have seen it, but it could miss completely or get five or so nominations.

Out of Nowhere

In a few cases, the precursors have shed some attention on performances that otherwise were relatively dead in the water. If anyone has benefited the most, it would be Brian Tyree Henry in Causeway. The actor was highly praised following the film’s release on AppleTV+, but he has truly stolen all the thunder away from co-star Jennifer Lawrence. Currently, I’m predicting him to be a Supporting Actor nominee.

Speaking of stealing thunder from co-stars, Jamie Lee Curtis has been finding plenty of notices over co-star Stephanie Hsu from Everything Everywhere All At Once. Curtis has never been anywhere close to a nomination before, and it looks like she is heading towards her first. It would be a shame if Hsu misses because of her co-star, but that is the unfortunate price of fame (as in, famous people usually get nominated over not-famous people).

Updated Oscar Charts
Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress

2022 Film Reviews
Review: Babylon

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