Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.
Ah, Springtime. The sun is coming out of its long winter’s nap, the temperature is rising but not too much, and the movies that are released have no hopes of being considered for Oscars come the fall. While films from the entire year will qualify for the Oscars, movies in the fall tend to be more championed due to the typical recency bias. There is always the occasional exception of a film getting nominated that stood out earlier in the year. There are two particular films this April that could have that lasting effect.
In order for a movie’s popularity to last for an entire year all the way until Oscar season, it needs to not only be of high quality, but it needs to impact the culture in a particular fashion. The most recent example was Get Out which was released in February of 2017 and was a tremendous cultural impact that lasted all the way until nomination time earning several including Best Picture and Best Actor with an Original Screenplay win. Another movie that impacted the culture but with a lack of quality was Crash which was released in May and was fascinating enough to hold on to a Best Picture win. However this had several other factors including a homophobia against Brokeback Mountain.
Everything Everywhere All at Once was technically released at the end of March but has grown more and more in popularity throughout the month of April. This movie has been a surprise hit with critics and audiences alike full of both emotion and joy.
This movie is so intricately constructed that it is a visual dream and therefore it deserves to get some technical nominations, specifically Editing, Costume Design, and Production Design, all of which were new and inventive and deserve a nomination. However, those three nominations and many other technical awards are difficult to receive for a film with an early release date.
In the past few years, the Best Actress field has been packed full of great talent and that will make things tough for Michelle Yeoh to receive a much deserved nomination. Yeoh has been an established actor with a very long illustrious career. She deserved nominations for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and most recently Crazy Rich Asians, for which she came pretty close to a nomination. Therefore, she would be a nomination both due and deserved.
The one thing holding back this film, besides the early release date, is that it might be too weird for the Academy but sometimes voters loosen up and choose something unorthodox. With a movie that is this creative and yet still has a beautiful and emotional story, a Screenplay nomination and possible win is the most likely.
So can Everything, Everywhere, All at Once be nominated for Best Picture? The chances are slim. But with the requirement of ten Best Picture nominations there is still a chance. The beloved film studio A24 was able to deliver a Best Picture win to Moonlight in 2016, but that was with an October release date, much closer to the Oscars. Room, The Florida Project, Lady Bird, Minari, and The Tragedy of Macbeth are many titles from A24 that have either received Best Picture nominations or other above the line nominations and yet these films were also all released in the fall, prime for Oscar season. However, A24 also was able to score nominations and wins for Ex Machina and First Reformed which were films released toward the beginning of the year
The other film released in April is probably not going to get as far in this fall’s Oscar season but truly should earn at least some recognition and that is The Northman. Robert Eggers is loved by the community of cinephiles and this film also feels more accessible than his previous works, a compromise could leave potential Oscar wins and yet this might not have the staying power.
The best chance for this film getting a nomination for Oscars are in the technical categories. Eggers is extremely well researched and meticulous in his history and that is shown through the Costume and Production Design where great detail is provided to show a great atmosphere. Meanwhile, the film’s Cinematography and sound also deserves praise.
The long shot for an Oscar nomination is Nicole Kidman for Best Supporting Actress who was the surprise standout from an already outstanding cast. A performance nomination this early in the year is very difficult to achieve but Nicole Kidman has just recently come off an Oscar nomination and was very close to a win for Being the Riccardo’s and could continue to ride that momentum.
The Northman is being distributed by Focus Features which is a studio that had success getting spring movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Emma, and Beginners nominations. However, all of these films are quirky enough to fly under the radar and then sprout up during Oscar season, unlike the much more serious and intense film, The Northman.
It’s unfortunate that the likelihood of either of these films is quite low. It’s an unfortunate trait of the Oscars that the majority of the films nominated are from the more recent part of the year. However there is always the potential of something unpredictable happening every Oscar season and maybe these films earlier in the year can get their deserved accolades.