Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.
Much like lifeboats on the Titanic in the 1997 Best Picture film… Titanic, there is always one last nominee that ends up on the list, this year especially. There are nine nominees set for Best Picture and four nominees set for Best Director. So which in both categories will be the last on the lifeboat? There are a few options in both situations.
When it comes to Best Picture, Belfast is the crowd pleasing front runner, The Power of the Dog is the critical darling, CODA is the little indie that could, King Richard is the heartwarming movie that tugs at nostalgia, Don’t Look Up is the political satire, Dune is the big budget sci fi action, West Side Story is the well crafted musical, finally Nightmare Alley and Licorice Pizza are driven by beloved directors and so these are all the top of necessary movies needed in a nomination list.
This leaves five leading options to fill that tenth spot. Tick, tick… Boom! is the most likely to receive the final nomination due to its glorious reception and likeability. However, cynically, it seems unlikely that two musicals get on the best picture list due to the stigmatization of the genre.
The Tragedy of Macbeth has been given quite a bit of respect but Shakespeare does not often have the popularity it used to have with the Academy. In addition, Apple TV+ is putting in all of their chips on CODA in terms of campaigning and everyone is thankfully buying it.
Being the Ricardos is an Aaron Sorkin film and Sorkin is adored by the Academy justifiably so but this movie hasn’t built up enough momentum due to its later release, which could actually help it take the spot from another that loses momentum.
Spencer could have the chance to surprise with a Best Picture nomination, riding on the coattails of a Kristen Stewart’s nomination and a few technicals but it’s quite unlikely. This will be the same for The Lost Daughter which is a festival darling and garnering some nominations in the higher categories, but will probably be left behind when the Guild awards launch their nominations.
Best Director has their tight four that will most likely be nominated with several candidates that seem more than likely. Jane Campion made a beautiful film in The Power of the Dog, Kenneth Branagh is riding the creation of The Best Picture frontrunner Belfast, Steven Spielberg did the impossible with making a huge well crafted musical of West Side Story, and Denis Villeneuve also made a massive achievement in Dune that was nearly impossible.
At this point Guillermo del Toro and Paul Thomas Anderson are battling for the final spot for Nightmare Alley and Licorice Pizza respectively. Guillermo del Toro made an artful film and will be securing a Best Picture spot. As will Licorice Pizza with Anderson most likely winning Best Screenplay which can probably get him on the list.
However, the chaos vote goes to Julia Ducournau for her absolute wild direction of Titane. This covers the bases of another female nominee and the director of an International film which have become nominations that are more and more frequent as the years have gone by.
It’s always silly to say that something is a lock, especially with nominations still not being announced until February. Yet trends are starting to form with many surprises still in store.