The Race, 2021, first issue.

#TheRace2021 #TheRace

Disclaimer: temptative – might be updating, reshaping, before issue 2. Limiting it, so far to 20 in Picture and 10 in Director and each Acting categories, as 10 in Screenplays. Also, BOLDED, quite confident on them.

Best Picture

  1. “In the Heights”, by John M. Chu (Warner Bros / HBO) Jimmy Smits (Supporting) SAG Ensemble Alert
  2. “The French Dispatch” by Wes Anderson (Fox/Disney) SAG Ensemble alert.
  3. “Three Thousand Years of Longing”, by George Miller (UA/MGM) – Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton
  4. “West Side Story”, by Steven Spielberg (Disney as 20th Century) – Rita Moreno (Supporting) SAG Ensemble Alert
  5. “The Tragedy of Macbeth” by Joel Coen (A24) – Frances McDormand, Denzel Washington, Brendan Gleesom (Supporting) SAG Ensemble alert
  6. “Dune” by Dennis Villeneuve (WB/HBO)
  7. “House of Gucci”, by Ridley Scott (UA/MGM) – Adam Driver, Lady Gaga
  8. “Stillwater”, by Tom McCarthy (Focus) – Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin
  9. “Nightmare Alley”, by Guillermo del Toro (Searchlight)
  10. “Next Goal Wins”, by Taika Waititi (Fox/Disney) – Michael Fassbender, Elisabeth Moss – against: Arnie Hammer scandal
  11. “Blonde”, by Andre Dominik (Netflix) – Ana de Armas
  12. “Luca” by Enrico Casarosa (Disney/Pixar)
  13. “Marvel’s The Eternals”, by Chloe Zhao (Disney/Marvel)
  14. “The Woman on the Window”, by Joe Wright (Netflix) – Amy Adams
  15. “Don’t Look Up”, by Adam McKay (Netflix)
  16. “Last Night in Soho”, by Edgar Wright (Focus)
  17. “The Last Duel”, by Ridley Scott (Fox/Disney)
  18. “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”, by Michael Showalter (Fox/Disney) – Jessica Chastain
  19. “Respect”, by Liesl Tommy (MGM/UA) – Jennifer Hudson
  20. “King Richard”, by Reinaldo Marcus Green (WB/HBO) – Will Smith

Commentary: this is the year of the battle of the musicals, beforehand and both of them seem almost locked already for both the Golden Globe and the SAG Ensemble nominations. I think that In the Heights won’t be facing the shadow of an original hanging, and given the trailer, it seems completely cinematic and full of color and imagination, plus it features a cast including some familiar names that may seem due for some recognition, even if more famous on another mediums (i.e. Stephanie Beatriz and Jimmy Smits are both extremely likeable and I could see both of them making award-worthy performances). I think WSS will also be nominated as well, and there’s an overload of genre films competing for the attention, from Swan Song to Three Thousand Years of Longing, with Dune, Nightmare Alley, The Eternals or Last Night in Soho being well positioned, and also Pixar’s Luca looks it could have the extra punch to break through into Best Picture… it’s odd that Ridley Scott will be competing against himself with two baity films, but House of Gucci looks like a slam dunk while The Last Duel seems a bit more shaky, to me. Blonde, I think it may overperform the expectations, given Dominik’s previous career and style, and attention on Waititi, del Toro, Miller, McKay among others is warranted. If I had to mention a film as frontrunner – sorry, Steven – it would be “In the Heights”, with Lin-Manuel Miranda coming fresh from “Hamilton”, which was not ellegible for 2020 (despite the Globe nominations)

Best Director

  1. Steven Spielberg, “West Side Story”
  2. Ridley Scott, “House of Gucci”
  3. Wes Anderson, “The French Dispatch”
  4. John M. Chu, “In the Heights”
  5. George Miller, “Three Thousand Years of Longing”
  6. Joel Coen, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”
  7. Tom McCarthy, “Stillwater”
  8. Denis Villeneuve, “Dune”
  9. Andrew Dominik, “Blonde”
  10. Guillermo del Toro, “Nightmare Alley”

Commentary: Spielberg really wants his third Oscar, and I am not going to be the one doubting that he might end winning it, as the film itself is a challenge, a suicidal one, that he can technically pull off… but given Scott’s strong year with two baity offerings, and how overdue he is, in Hollywood’s eyes, it’s really, really difficult to consider Spielberg the far away frontrunner… personally, I would rather see Anderson, Miller or Waititi taking Best Director, but talking about dueness, out of the three, Miller probably has the edge after Mad Max Fury Road, and closely followed by Anderson, after Grand Budapest Hotel. Chu seems like a no brainer to me, judging from the trailer and his creative choices, for a nomination, but I have doubts in front of so many big names (and egos)

Best Actor

  1. Will Smith, “King Richard”
  2. Denzel Washington, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”
  3. Matt Damon, “Stillwater”
  4. Adam Driver, “House of Gucci”
  5. Michael Fassbender, “Next Goal Wins”
  6. Anthony Ramos, “In the Heights”
  7. Idris Elba, “Three Thousand Years of Longing”
  8. Ansel Elgot, “West Side Story”
  9. Johnny Depp, “Minamata” (7.8 IMDB User rating)
  10. Mahershala Ali, “Swan Song”

Commentary: Candy role for Smith, who is due, anyways, so I think that he may be in the lead already. Washington in Macbeth? You can bet he may be in when dust settles. Damon seems to have a candy role as well, and he’s due at this point for an acting Oscar… Driver is hot and those four make a solid cuartet already… the problem comes with the 5th spot and I’d go with Fassbender doing comedy for Waititi… unless the Hammer scandal damage the whole film’s chances, but at this point I would say that they will just ignore Hammer in the race and salute the film, which has a lot of potential, specially as a crowdpleaser. Watch out for Johnny Depp, “Minimata” is a baity role and the film seems to be liked by audiences already, so this may be saluted as a return to form.

Best Actress

  1. Jennifer Hudson, “Respect”
  2. Ana de Armas, “Blonde”
  3. Lady Gaga, “House of Gucci”
  4. Akwafina, “Swan Song”
  5. Abigail Breslin, “Stillwater”
  6. Tilda Swinton, “Three thousand years of longing”
  7. Frances McDormand, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”
  8. Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”
  9. Elisabeth Moss, “Next Goal Wins”
  10. Amy Adams, “The Woman in the Window”

Commentary: if Day or Davis had won this year, I wouldn’t put Hudson as #1 but their defeat makes the AMPAS avoid the sense that they just awarded a similar performance, the year before… Hudson may take her 2nd with her 2nd nominations, but de Armas and specially Gaga are also extremely likely chances with candy roles. Despite being a sci-fi drama, Swan Song features a really strong cast, and Akwafina was buzzed twice already for Crazy Rich Asians and The Farewell (plenty say, that she was completely snubbed, so she’s on the verge of bigger awards attention, and this film may help her chances, despite being a possibly unconventional Oscar pick). At this point, I would say that this is a completely open race and I lowered McDormand to 7th because she just won her 3rd leading Oscar, but that may change. Moss is on the verge of an Oscar nom, and Chastain has a candy role that she could make hers, easily.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Brendan Gleesom, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”
  2. Jimmy Smits, “In the Heights”
  3. Rhys Darby, “Next Goal Wins”
  4. Bill Murray, “The French Dispatch”
  5. Adrien Brody, “Blonde”
  6. Lin-Manuel Miranda, “In the Heights”
  7. Pedro Pascal, “The Bubble”
  8. Timothée Chalamet, “The French Dispatch”
  9. Anthony McKie, “The Woman in the Window”
  10. Bradley Cooper, “Nightmare Alley”

Commentary: Gleesom is overdue, and I doubt the AMPAS will waste the chance to nominate him for a possible Best Picture contender. Smits and Miranda look likely/possible and I have a hunch that Rhys Darby may steal scene after scene in Next Goal Wins (and with Hammer probably apart from awards-consideration, they will have to focus on him, probably). On Pascal, I have the feeling that “The Bubble” may be a SAG Ensemble contender and it looks really good in advance, and he’s a hot name in Hollywood right now, thanks to The Mandalorian (and despite Wonder Woman 1984). Brody and Murray and Chalamet and Cooper I’d say that are usual suspects, and McKie might benefit from all his buzz as the new Captain America, in one of the year’s series, that is making him a big star.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Rita Moreno, “West Side Story”
  2. Stephanie Beatriz, “In the Heights”
  3. Karen Gillian, “The Bubble”
  4. Cate Blanchett, “Nightmare Alley”
  5. Glenn Close, “Swam Song”
  6. Frances McDormand, “The French Dispatch”
  7. Salma Hayek, “House of Gucci”
  8. Maria Bakalova, “The Bubble”
  9. Thomasin McKenzie, “Last Night in Soho”
  10. Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard”

Commentary: the nostalgia factor will help Moreno inmensely, and I think that she’ll be one of the selling points (Awards-wise) of Steven Spielberg’s film. Beatriz shines continuously in Brooklyn-Nine-Nine and watching her playing against type might do wonders for her chances. Gillian and Bakalova in “The Bubble” may be having good chances, and both are hot names for different reasons… Bakalova is lower just because she was nominated this year (but she lost!) and Gillian has been increasing thanks to the MCU, where she nails the Nebula character. Then we have the Blanchett-Close-McDormand set that could easily sneak in, just on pure prestige alone… and Hayek, who hasn’t been nominated since Frida (almost 20 years ago!) may be the film’s bet for Supporting Actress… McKenzie was snubbed twice already recently, despite being so young, and Ellis plays opposite to the likely Lead Actor frontrunner, so I have to include her, as it’s a role that seems guaranteed to have plenty of baity moments.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Tragedy of Macbeth
  2. House of Gucci
  3. In the Heights
  4. Dune
  5. The Woman on the Window
  6. Blonde
  7. Nightmare Alley
  8. The Power of the Dog
  9. Marvel’s The Eternals
  10. West Side Story

Commentary: a Coen brother adapting Shakespeare? Inmediate frontrunner status. House of Gucci also seems like a no brainer, a year in advance. If I am giving In the Heights the frontrunner status, certainly it should score a nom here as well, and Dune is a similar case to Lord of the Rings (if the film is great, it will be nominated here). Aside for that, what you read here… I have some faith in The Eternals, as it seems a really challenging screenplay for Zhao, who just lost this category. I throw also Jane Campion’s next film because, it’s been SO LONG since her The Piano win.

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Three Thousand Years of Longing
  2. The French Dispatch
  3. Stillwater
  4. Next Goal Wins
  5. Luca
  6. The Bubble
  7. Last Night in Soho
  8. Don’t Look Up
  9. The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  10. King Richard

Commentary: Key point, George Miller writes the Screenplay (and he only has one Oscar: Animated Feature for Happy Feet) and it looks exactly what the AMPAS may go for. The rest of the suspects… well, they all look possibilities, and I am going to give Luca the edge to be nominated due to the audacious subtext (if made obvious, of course).

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