It is fairly common knowledge that I live for the Oscars (I recently added “The Oscars” category to the site if you want to go back and view my previous takes on the Academy Awards). I have always made Oscar predictions on Facebook every year, and it were those posts that convinced my friends to peer-pressure me into making this site. So, in a very sad way, the Oscars are the only thing that has given my life focus over the past few years. *Sigh* Stay in school kids. But I digress…
I hate the idea of elites patting each other on the backs and telling each other how highly they think of themselves, BUT that doesn’t stop me from spending all year thinking about how every single film stacks up in the races for the most prestigious of awards. The Academy Awards might just be fancy people giving themselves trophies, but the awards themselves are essentially the official legacy of films. Major sports leagues have superlative awards that they distribute at the end of each season such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, etc., each one contributing to the permanent legacy of those individuals who manage to take home a win. I love seeing who will be this year’s film version of Patrick Mahomes, Mike Trout, or LeBron James and cement themselves into film royalty.
Now that we are approaching Fall, Oscar season draws near. Oscar season is the time of year when films that debut are more focused on winning awards than they are with box office performance. There are many film festivals, such as Venice and Toronto, where many winners from previous years have had their debuts and early critical receptions have catapulted them right into the center of award discussions. These festivals often have their own awards for their films that act as a sort of indicator for the later award shows, such as the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and of course, The Oscars.
While we will undoubtedly be discussing many of the films that are going to debut in the weeks and months ahead and how they might fair with Oscar buzz, it is important to remember that the films that came out in the earlier months of the year are still eligible and often can be heavy hitters at the Oscars (Just ask “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “Get Out”, and “Mad Max: Fury Road” if they had any troubles getting wins). With that in mind, here are some films that we have already seen this year that could be in play at the Oscars*.
*There are so many films that I can’t give them all spotlights here, but just because they are not here doesn’t mean they do not have a chance.
Potential Nominations: Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Visual Effects
Nothing groundbreaking here, but a big-budget Marvel film that did well with critics and fans is sure to have a presence in the minor technical categories, at least if it is not completely outshined by “Avengers: Endgame”.
Potential Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Lupita Nyong’o), Best Director (Jordan Peele), Best Original Score, Best Costume Design
I feel like we have already forgotten about this one because it came out so early in the year, but it undoubtedly deserves to be in the discussion for many awards. At the moment, it still holds on as my personal frontrunner for Best Original Score, as well as one of the top tiers for Best Actress. While “Us” may be on the back burner of our collective thoughts, our subconscious won’t forget just how memorable and unique the sights and sounds of this film were, and I am sure it’ll all come rushing right back to you if you go back and watch a trailer for it.
Potential Nominations: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Taron Egerton), Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing
In a down year, such as last year, Egerton might be the frontrunner to win it all. Even still, it seems incredibly likely he will be in play for Best Actor, even among a seemingly crowded race this year. And of course, any film with a main motif being a musical career likely will be a factor in the sound categories.
Potential Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Robert Downey Jr.), Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup and Hairstyling
As it stands right now, this is the Best Picture for 2019. Show me anything that has had such a meteoric impact on society like this film has. It is the highest-grossing film of all time and the epic conclusion to a decade-long journey in Hollywood. It is a behemoth that is so unique in its execution and circumstances, that it would be one of humanity’s gravest injustices if a run-of-the-mill drama wins instead. As for RDJ, do I think he will get nominated? No. But I think there may be a case for him (as I made in a previous post) so I included him here. Everything else is par for the course for a production this huge.
“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part”, “Toy Story 4”, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
Potential Nominations: Best Animated Feature
Big Studio animated films usually DOMINATE this category every year. I have a gut feeling that one of them might end up being snubbed in favor of a lesser-known animated feature, but I have no doubt they will all be in the discussion. Maybe “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” can make a push. A kid can dream, right?
Potential Nominations: Best Original Screenplay
This one went over really well with critics for its smart humor. I’m not sure it has the legs to make a Best Picture push but I can see it possibly getting some recognition for its quality writing.
“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”
Potential Nominations: Best Cinematography, Best Production Design
The John Wick franchise seemingly came out of nowhere to reach a truly beloved status but that’s not because the films are complex. They are simply elegant and expertly coordinated and this film looks great. Its aesthetic is part of the reason the series is so memorable.
Potential Nominations: Best Cinematography
Yes, I defecated all over this movie in my review of it. I still think it’s terrible, but the one area I gave it props in was cinematography. The Academy usually has a fetish for landscape shots, brightly lit fields, and that sweet, sweet symmetry, and boy does “Midsommar” have that going for it. Other people seem to think the film is good for some reason, so that might help it out too.
“Spider-Man: Far from Home”
Potential Nominations: Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing
I am not totally convinced that this film is as special as we want it to be, but the sequences with Mysterio’s effects certainly warrant consideration from the academy, perhaps more so than those in fellow Marvel film “Captain Marvel”.
“Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood”
Potential Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Brad Pitt), Best Director (Quentin Tarantino), Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound Mixing
This one is a powerhouse! If there is one thing the Academy values more than WWII dramas or uplifting films about the human spirit during the fight for civil rights, it is movies about Hollywood. There are so many big names tied to this film, and it did incredibly well at the box office and with critics. Maybe the safest pick is Brad Pitt, at least based on what I’ve been reading, but the production design and hair and makeup categories seem like a pretty sure thing to me. In fact, I give them better than a puncher’s chance in pretty much all of the races listed.
Potential Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Awkwafina), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Shuzhen Zhao), Best Director (Lulu Wang), Best Original Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film
“The Farewell” is a pleasant reward for venturing into the world of foreign language dramas. A foreign language film that has a presence in the more mainstream categories is a force to be reckoned with (See “Roma” last year, even though it was robbed for Best Picture). Awkwafina is exceptional in the lead role and her versatility with language skills and emotional vulnerability should give her a nomination. Shuzhen Zhao could be a dark horse as well for a Best supporting Actress nomination, as she totally stole the show with all of her screen time. Lulu Wang made a very personal story based on her own experiences and got phenomenal performances out of everyone in the cast. Not only should she be nominated for writing and directing, but I would argue she is among the current frontrunners.
So these are the films that have already made their cases for Oscar consideration. There may have been a few that I have missed, but the race for Oscar gold is far from over. There will be more discussions in the future and many more movies trying to standout amongst the chaff. It will be exciting to see which of these films has the legs to make it to the end of the marathon and which newcomers make the biggest impact. Leave a comment and let me know which films you’ve seen this year do you think has a chance at this year’s Oscars. And let me know which upcoming films do you think will have play well too!