Awards Watch With Math Teacher Movies – December 6th, 2021: HCA Nominations

Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.

There are many different critics awards that will be releasing their nominations and awards. However, the nominations for the Hollywood Critics Association feel like the most solid prediction with what we may see for the Oscars. This is perhaps because they are the closest to the beating heart of the Oscars, but there could be a few things that still rearrange. Therefore here are the nominations for the HCA awards and how they will relate to the upcoming Oscars. 

Best Picture

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

CODA

Dune

King Richard

Last Night in Soho

Licorice Pizza

Spencer

The Power of The Dog

tick, tick…Boom!

The most surprising narrative of all of these nominations is to be Last Night in SoHo’s prominence, which is a film loved by audiences but coldly received by some critics. Another film that seems like a bit of a long shot in this category is CODA which was in danger of getting lost in the shuffle of other movies but does feel like it’s gaining momentum. Spencer is another film that feels like it would just be on the outside of the nomination list but could ride in on Kristen Stewart’s popularity. 

One notable absence from the list is the late breaking West Side Story which is being received well by critics and will probably be received well by audiences by the end of this week. Nightmare Alley is also getting great press and Don’t Look Up is getting quite a bit of hype as well. 

Best Actor

Andrew Garfield, tick, tick…BOOM!

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of The Dog

Nicolas Cage, Pig

Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Will Smith, King Richard

The locks for the Oscars in this category are Smith, Cumberbatch, and Garfield. Dinklage has a great chance to pick up his first nomination, but Cyrano does not look like a movie that anyone wants to see and that may hinder his chances. Cage is the ultimate wildcard and will be a public favorite who deserves this nomination for a fairly unique movie. 

This category has quite a few people on the outside looking in that could easily be nominated in many of these actor’s stead. Bradley Cooper from Nightmare Alley has risen the rankings quietly. Denzel Washington from The Tragedy of MacBeth seems to be a likely nomination but his popularity keeps descending based on popular opinion believing it to not be his best. Leonard DiCaprio has been getting rave reviews in Don’t Look Up and Joaquin Phoenix in C’mon C’mon is garnering a similar amount of praise. This category closes because while there are several locks things might just change in an instant. 

Best Actress

Emilia Jones, CODA

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Like Best Actor there are three potential locks in this category, Stewart, Kidman, and Chastain. However, the unpopularity of The Eyes of Tammy Faye could still hurt her chances. Lady Gaga is most likely in there for her interesting and popular performance whether bad or good. Emilia Jones for CODA would be the biggest surprise but with the film’s momentum garnering speed it does not sound impossible.

Notable absences from here that may end up on the Oscar nominations list are Olivia Colman for The Lost Daughter because you never ever bet against an Olivia Colman nomination. Penelope Cruz is in Parallel Mothers directed by Pedro Almadovar which is 

 absolute catnip for the Oscars. 

Best Supporting Actor

Ciarán Hinds, Belfast

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Jason Isaacs, Mass

Robin de Jesús, tick, tick…BOOM!

Troy Kotsur, CODA

This list of Supporting Actors shows just how wildly unpredictable it’s going to be and because of that two people from Belfast seem unlikely to make it to the final round and Hinds is the more established character actor making the most with the least in this role. Jason Isaacs and Robin de Jesus are very unlikely to get on the list of worthy nominations but literally anything is possible. Like CODA, Troy Kutser is having a resurgence at the perfect time and is starting to make it more and more likely that he grabs a nomination.

At this point, literally anyone can get nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Seriously, submit your name. Everyone has a shot. Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog seems like a lock who has been receiving buzz all season. Bradley Cooper is also getting buzz for Licorice Pizza but his role seems to be far too small. Richard Jenkins is getting solid praise for his role in The Humans and yet the film is about twelve people. Finally, there is Jared Leto who has lately seemed to haunt the corners of this category. It seems insane to even think of his performance in House of Gucci getting nominated but there is a portion of the Academy that loves seeing a performance that’s the “most” even if that was the least. 

Best Supporting Actress

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Marlee Matlin, CODA

Ruth Negga, Passing

Unlike Best Supporting Actor, this category seems much cleaner with all of these nominees for the HCA very likely to see Oscar nominations. However, Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog still seems very likely to be nominated as well. Mass may not be the most popular film but Ann Dowd has been drawing in the most prominent amount of attention and is showing that a nomination for herself is likely. 

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

Jane Campion, The Power of The Dog

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Lin-Manuel Miranda, tick, tick…BOOM!

Pablo Larraín, Spencer

Rebecca Hall, Passing

Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard

Siân Heder, CODA

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Ten nominations for Best Director from the HCA make it easier to narrow down which five will be Oscar nominations and yet it can still go through a few different directions. Branagh and Campion are the most obvious locks as they are one and two in both Picture and Director. Even though Part II is coming, Villeneuve still made quite the achievement that will no doubt be recognized by the Academy in many nominations including this one. Spielberg can’t get away from the Oscars and he won’t do such a thing here, most likely scoring a nomination. The fifth spot feels like it will go to Guillermo del Toro but could also go to Director Julia Ducournau, the unique but highly praised Titane. It would satisfy the pattern of a foreign film director being nominated each year. 

Best Original Screenplay

Aaron Sorkin, Being the Ricardos

Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Last Night in Soho

Fran Kranz, Mass

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Zach Baylin, King Richard

Besides it being a late release, Licorice Pizza’s absence does not make sense as it will no doubt be the presumptive winner. Last Night in Soho was loved by audiences but given average reception by critics. Meanwhile, Mass is the other way around and therefore neither of those have much of a shot. The other nominations make sense and yet Don’t Look Up from Adam McKay will definitely be a threat for a nomination. 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jane Campion, The Power of The Dog

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter

Rebecca Hall, Passing

Siân Heder, CODA

Steven Levenson, tick, tick…BOOM!

Passing and tick, tick… BOOM! would be nominations that deserve to be there but they are right on the edge. Meanwhile, The Power of the Dog, The Lost Daughter, and CODA are locks in this category. It’s no surprises that Nightmare Alley is strongly being considered for a nomination. Meanwhile, The Tragedy of MacBeth is getting a lot of consideration and yet its drawing negative attention for not being too different of an adaptation. Finally, West Side Story has the chance of being a lock considering that Tony Kushner made some amazing updates. 

The HCA has many more categories but this launched me into quite a frenzy so just the main categories are going to be covered at this time. The lower categories will be covered more in the future. It’s going to be a great Oscar season and it is officially in full swing. 

Follow Sean on Instagram at @MathTeacherMovies

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