Sunday, March 19, 2023


So, I didn't watch the Oscars live this year.

I mentioned that I wouldn't, and I have good reasons. Admittedly, this wasn't a year that I found myself particularly enthralled to watch them, but that's not the reason I skipped it. I just had other things happening that I had to get to. I figured it would be a fine show and from all accounts, it seems like it was, fine. Maybe better than fine. I mean, Jimmy Kimmel's always gonna be solid, and watching the replay on Hulu, he was solid. Not his best, actually this probably was his,- well, I don't want to say his worst, 'cause that implies bad, but it was his least. 

He kept it low-key, and didn't do too much to get in the way of the show, and it was nice. Comfortable, nice, entertaining. Eh, probably, shouldn't have dwelled on Malala as much as he did, and I don't know,- he wasn't at his top form, with some of his jokes, but he was consistent and he was solid. Although he went back to the Matt Damon gag, and somehow, there wasn't a reveal at the end that Matt Damon was in the Cocaine Bear suit, feels like a giant missed opportunity, but I kinda get it wanting to go light and simple.  Stick to the classics. Besides, last year's show has become so thoroughly overshadowed, it feels like everybody now thinks Chris Rock hosted the show. Which, eh, he did not. He did not. He just presented Best Documentary to Questlove. 

You're trying to remember who actually hosted the show last year, aren't you? (It was Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall and Amy Schumer, there, call yourselves down)

I also liked that the show did the clever thing of showing how every category matters and just give a glimpse of how important they are to the finished product in each category. Like when they showed an example of Gregg Toland's famous under-the-floor high hat shot with the Cinematography award, why the sound of a door matters as much as the sound of fighter jet, how bad "Cocaine Bear" would've looked without special effects, all this stuff was really good. It kept me interested and I think it engaged the viewers. It's not new, but I like it when they do that. It shows how each award is important and matters. 

And I thought some of the performances were good. I liked the "RRR" performance, as well as Lady Gaga's in particular. I was a little perturbed at Sofia Carlson announcing Diane Warren during their performance; I mean, girl, I don't know who the hell you are, and you're gonna introduce Diane Warren?! That one was boring to me. David Byrne sparking hot dog finger hands was definitely a site to see though. 

Yeah, overall, it's a good back-to-basics return to what the Oscars can and should be. If it's underwhelming, and I do think it was, it's mainly due to this year's crop of films, just also being very underwhelming. Don't confuse that for being disappointed in any of the winners, although I don't know why everybody loves that damn 'The Elephant Whisperers" documentary short subject so much. People must like elephants more than I do, 'cause I was just bored. Maybe I just don't like animals;  I didn't think too much of that, "The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse" short either that won for Animated Short either. (Yeah, this is a year, where winners-wise I'm mostly angry at the short awards. I mean, it's not as bad as when "Dear Basketball" won, which, I still can't believe won a few years ago, but eh...)

Anyway, while it didn't feel like it for much of the show, what we got was a huge sweep for "Everything Everywhere All at Once". The final count was seven, the most a single film has won since "Gravity" in 2013, and the most a Best Picture winner has won since "Slumdog Millionaire"'s eight in 2008, and they tied a record with three Oscars for acting. Only "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Network" had previously won that many, and neither of those film won Best Picture. (Wait, I know "Network" lost to "Rocky", what did "Streetcar..." lost too. [Google search] oh yeah, "An American in Paris"; people really thought that was good once upon a time, didn't they...) Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis both gave very emotional and wonderful speeches to start off this show. Ke's win was basically was ordained for months, which makes him the second person of Asian descent to win the Supporting Actor Oscar, after Dr. Haing S. Ngor's win in '84 for "The Killing Fields", but Jamie Lee's win was a bit of a surprise. Not just because Angela Bassett was considered the favorite, but also because she won against a co-star, as Stephanie Hsu was also nominated, and I thought she had a better shot at winning originally, but I guess if there's anybody who really deserves a career-Oscar, it's probably her. It is the first time someone's beaten a castmate in this category since Olivia Spencer's win in "The Help" where she beat Jessica Chastain. 

Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian actress to win Best Actress, and her speech was a highlight for me. I always thought the presumptiveness of Cate Blanchett's win was way too ordained, and besides Michelle Yeoh's career is arguably more important and influential and it's about time she got her recognition. I love "Tar", but when Cate Blanchett starts dancing her way through a barrage of deadly martial artists, then maybe we'll talk.  

If there was an Oscar nominee in Best Actor, I'm sure "Everything Everywhere All at Once" would've probably won that too, but instead, Brendan Fraser, got the heartfelt win for his work in "The Whale". First time in a long time that the Best Actor winner didn't come from a Best Picture nominee; you gotta go back to Jeff Bridges's win for "Crazy Heart" in '09 to see that. The movie also won for Makeup, which made it one of the rare films to win multiple Oscars this year. The only other one was "All Quiet on the Western Front" which did shockingly well in the craft categories. On top of winning International Feature, the film won arguably surprise wins for Cinematography, Score and Production Design, the latter being the biggest so-called upset of the night if you check Gold Derby's rankings before the show. 

Guillermo Del Toro increased his career Oscar total as his "Pinocchio" won Animated Feature, this marks his third win in three different categories. Sarah Polley won the Adapted Screenplay Oscar for "Women Talking", which to a degree, feels a bit like the arbitrary win for the Best Picture nominee that probably had the most frustration from people for getting snubbed. (and along with films like "Everything Everywhere...." and "The Banshees of Inisherin" make great arguments for why the Oscars should adopt an Ensemble category, as well as a Casting category, hint, hint...) The only other nomination that film got was in Best Picture, and thank goodness that streak continues. The last time a film won this category without a BP nomination was 1998's "Gods and Monsters" but winning this category with only two nominations, total, the first time that's happened since Billy Bob Thornton won for "Sling Blade" in '96. Huh, both times, they're actors who win it in writing. That's weird. 

"Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water" won their arbitrary awards for being big Hollywood blockbusters the Academy feels required to honor every year, winning in Sound and Visual Effects respectively. The Visual Effects crew were the only ones for whom their mike got cut off this year, despite earlier threats from Kimmel that "Naatu Naatu" dancers would dance them off if they ran long. That's not good; if you know the history, you get why that stings 

Speaking of, "RRR"'s popular "Naatu Naatu" song win, not only marks Diane Warren's fifteen loss in the category, but it also marks the first time an Indian film has ever won at the Oscars, which, is, on one hand, is one of those facts that's mind-blowing at first, but then you think about it, and it kinda makes sense. I'm told "RRR" is a, Tollywood movie, which..., okay, man, India's cinema is weak,- Google help me out here....

(Google search)

Okay, so Tollywood or Tulugu Cinema- okay, actually I might already be wrong on that, 'cause apparently those are two completely different streams of Indian cinema that work in two different languages altogether. Except maybe it's not, I'm seeing it both ways...- Oh man, why is Indian cinema so freaking complicated to sort though...? (Don't answer that in the comments!!!! I'm just annoyed at it, and annoyed at it and venting frustration; I know enough of the history to get why [aka, I'm sure it's like 90% England's fault] and I'm too tired for the anthropology lessons to learn the rest right now),- basically, Tollywood is the West Bengali of Indian Cinema, so, northeastern part of the country, near Bangladesh, and it's the subset of Indian cinema that gave us Satyajit Ray. So, there. 

A loaded Documentary Feature category ended with "Navalny" winning this year's top honor, a documentary about the Russian opposition and protest leader Alexei Navalny, who Putin has reportedly tried to poison, so this was our reminder about how bad it is there. The Ukrainian President didn't make an appearance, which, honestly is probably for the best. I did catch a couple of the headlines of Zelensky trying/wanting to be on the show, um- I get where he's coming from; he wants to do anything and everything to remind people that the war is still going on and that it matters, blah, blah, blah, America can have a short attention span.... I don't know, I got be honest, that felt a little, weird. I'm glad we didn't go through with that. Maybe it wouldn't have felt so awkward if Zelensky wasn't originally a performer as well. I assume that he's trying to get involved with anything and everywhere and we're just not hearing about it, because y'know, his country's getting invaded, but it does seem a little too weird to keep hearing about him trying to show up at the Oscars. 

Ruth Carter won her second Oscar for Costume Design for the "Black Panther" films, which, on top of her being a legendary costume designer, the first and now, second African-American to win the Oscar, that's the first time somebody's won for the same franchise of films, twice, in this category. Yeah,- it's not the first sequel to win, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" won this category years ago, but the original film didn't win, and if you want to count the first "Fantastic Beasts..." film as apart of the Harry Potter universe, then,- yeah, that's the first time that's happened, but no "Harry Potter" movie won a Costume Design, or for that matter, any Oscars. 

The Daniels, as expected, pulled off the triple wins for Picture, Writing and Directing, the latest in what once was an Oscars rarity that's quickly turning into a regular norm, and they're only the third duo to win Best Director, the first since the Coen Brothers for "No Country for Old Men", they were fun and ecstatic every time. I do like, that for a duo directing team, you can tell the differences between them, and their movies make sense when you see their vastly different influences and how they constantly collide in their work. Also, "Everything Everywhere..."  won for Editing, the first time in a long time you can argue that a comedy won this category. 

Overall, I think the only people who really found the show ecstatic were those who were just super in the "Everything Everywhere..." camp, which, stop, it's a movie. Like, a good movie, but eh,-  IDK, you know my thoughts on fans by now, I'm against them. That said there is a long list of firsts with this Picture win. First sci-fi film to technically win, that one shocked me a bit, first film with a predominantly Asian-American cast to win Best Picture, as well as an Asian-American creator. I saw a lot of people happy about the film's win, and a lot of people upset about it as well. Honestly, to those upset, I kinda want to know what you wanted to happen, or who you hoped would win, 'cause like I said, I've been underwhelmed by most of the nominees, including "Everything Everywhere..." to an extent, but like, it's also the only film I get the passion for, so, yeah. IDK, I know I had a very difficult time cheering for Spielberg's childhood story, or an Aussie's biopic about Elvis, or sequels/remakes to movies I didn't like to begin with, (Okay, that's not entirely fair, I do like the original "All Quiet on the Western Front", but it's not like a favorite or anything.) I know I had a very hard time finding inspiration out of this year's batch of Oscar films, and perhaps there's other films out there that the Academy and others missed; when I eventually sort through all the films of the year, I'll let you guys know, but yeah, mostly this was an award show that had worthy winners that all felt like worthy winners and this was a worthy award show representing that. 

Okay, the "In Memoriam", was ehhh.... I get why opinions are split on Kimmel's Robert Blake joke, but I'm just happy that somebody did finally recognize the show actually recognized the controversies with this segment. As for me, um, I thought the actual Memoriam...-, eh, again, I hate the guest performers for these, but it wasn't overdone and I could read and see all the names, so if you're gonna do it, this wasn't terrible, and Lenny Kravitz was fine, although it's weird for me to think of him playing a piano. (Also, is he, like, still a thing? Like, last year with H.E.R. I remember thinking of how modern a name they got, but has Kravitz had a hit song in a while; I don't even know. Like, did they get him to do it, 'cause he's kinda mostly an actor now, knows how to sing and basically is a Hollywood nepo baby?) Also, the editing of the montage itself was very blah, especially compared to say SAG's In Memoriam. It was very disappointing in general; they could've done more there.

Also, disappointing, how they instructed me here, and all over the show to download a QR code! I hope this isn't a continuing Oscar trend. I like the fact that there's a webpage with a more elaborate list of people who've past, as well as some very elaborate backstories on their lives and careers, that is a nice touch, and about the only website that they advertised and promoted that I would remotely ever go back to. But, just say the website; I'm not a QR code guy in general; I'm terrible at taking photos on my phones to begin with, and even if I wasn't I would still hate QR codes taking me to websites on my phone, and as much as I appreciate the Sound nominees or whomever, I don't need to be advertised about them through a QR code. IDK, maybe I'll give the benefit of the doubt that they're promoting to younger views and whatnot, future filmmakers who may potential find material like that interesting but, eh.... I think I'd rather just see the donkey one more time. Or just give me the website next time. Or maybe give me the website, on the donkey, there we go. 

Oh well, is their anything else to really add here? 


I guess not. It was back to basics, and not a lot memorable moments outside of the awards. No pizza getting ordered, no group selfies, no bringing in a touring crowd of random people. They did everything you want, when you just want a safe entertaining Oscars and honestly, that's fine. Maybe in another year, I would criticize it more for being bland, but you know what, this was a bland year at the movies, so I'm okay with a bland Oscars, or at least one, where the show is in the background and the foreground is the celebration of the movies that they do celebrate, especially with most of the main results were so predestined that I don't think their were any serious prognosticators out their even trying to indicate that some other movie might win. It felt right for the show to just stay out of it's own way and let go of everything, everywhere, and all-, all at the same time. 

Oh, I don't see any of the Red Carpet stuff either, I heard about a little of it, and frankly, most of what I saw shows that, eh, the Red Carpet has also too much of it's luster for me to care about it much anymore. Maybe if Joan Rivers was still here, but frankly I've found myself far less intrigued by Red Carpet coverage over the years. Also, the interviewers, they seem to be constantly getting worst. I know who I'd bring in and how I'd have them approach and question celebs, but my objective would be very different from some of the networks, but eh, I wise their were more interviewers who were more intriguing by the technical aspects of the filmmaking crafts, and not-so-much the "glamour" aspects, of award shows, which, ehh,... or have more people who can do both. I don't mind caring a little about who's wearing who, but eh, if an interviewer can't go further than that, what are they doing there? 

Anyway, hope you all enjoy this year's Oscars. Can't wait for next year's, in the meantime, I'm gonna to get ready to be heavily disappointed by the Emmys later this year. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

2023 OSCAR NOMINATIONS ANALYSES AND PREDICTIONS! (Yeah, sorry, for all the delays.)


Well, I really did intend to push out a real Oscar nominations blog before the nominations came out. I think I knew it was in vain, but I did try for awhile. I had everything against me, I was behind on the other awards and struggling to keep up, I hadn't seen most of the films, (As per usual) my schedule had given me less time than ever to work on such projects, etc. etc. I'll admit a little apathy towards these awards in particular since nothing looked particularly inspiring to me on the film side. A lot of sequels to films I didn't like the first time, that now I have to revisit, directors who's works I haven't always been a fan of, subject matters that raise a lot of skeptical eye brows and red flags to me.... Mostly, I've just been sick as a dog doing this and couldn't keep focused enough when I did have the time and energy to work on the blogpost to actually do it. 

So, yeah, no Oscar nominations blog this year. I did end up posting my Gold Derby ballot on Facebook, like twenty minutes or so before the announcements started. I wasn't going to refer to it when doing my analyses of the actual nominees, I mean I didn't even get in the Top 50% this year, and frankly I wasn't trying that hard anyway, not that I ever do great when I do, but enough people cared that I was noticeably absent this Oscar season until now, so as I go through the nominees this year, I'm going to refer to my predictions anyway. I'll let you guys know what I got in and what I didn't, I'll use a star to denote a correct prediction and discuss the ones I'm proud of, and once I get those two out of the way, I'll talk about where I screwed up and a look at the category and nominees, like I always do. And try to- make sense of what the hell these nominees mean, and whatever other controversies or notes come up regarding the nominees. 

Okay, so all that, was written shortly after the original Oscar nominees came out, and I'm obviously even more behind than normal. I didn't get this, or a lot finished in the last couple months in fact. I don't want to dwell on any excuses I have, and yes, I do in fact have a lot of good ones, and a few stupid ones, but basically, this blog that was originally going to be a very belated analysis of the Oscar nominations, eventually became so belated that it eventually has evolved into an analyses and now, a predictions blog. I've gone from what normally would've been two,- no, three separate blogs, that I would've normally had planned out better, is now getting combined into this one giant blog. 

So, in order to separate timelines a bit here, I'm going to be writing my Predictions and everything written later, in this italicized Helvetica font, that frankly I don't care much for, but I think it'll work here, and everything else unless I note otherwise will be the stuff written in my more typical Times New Roman font. So, prediction thoughts in italicized Helvetica, original thoughts on the nominees, in Times New Roman. Hopefully next year, I'll start being more timely again, but... well, we'll see.... Anyway, let's get to predictions, analyses and all that other jazz.  

*All Quiet on the Western Front
*The Banshees of Inisherin
*Everything Everywhere All at Once
*The Fabelmans
*Top Gun: Maverick
Triangle of Sadness
*Women Talking

At the last second I put in, "All Quiet on the Western Front"; it way overperformed at the BAFTAs, and my initial instinct was to dismiss it as a Europe thing, there's always like one film that might do really well at BAFTA but not translate at all in America, I call it the "Burn After Reading" spot, but "All Quiet..." showed up on a lot of the Oscar shortlists, and that was kinda my clue to put it in here, eventually. I left in "The Whale", and I didn't want to, I just couldn't figure out what else to put in. "Triangle of Sadness" had mostly underperformed everywhere else, even where it should've done well, and I had intended to have it miss everything, until for some reason I threw it into Supporting Actress in my prediction, the one category it didn't get. Normally, I'd pick the Aronofsky film to miss out too, but it was overperforming. I also had "RRR" in, mainly just out of passion, I thought it could get the Top Ten; I didn't realize "Triangle of Sadness" was going to be big, I left it in cause I couldn't figure out the last film. This is just an odd group. Like, "Elvis" is one of those clear frontrunners that would miss out; I feel like it's got "Dreamgirls" vibes all over it, but it seems to be more "Bohemian Rhapsody" this year. I also tried leaving out "Top Gun..." for a while, but it kept popping up, it's DGA nod really threw me. "Knives Out" didn't get into Picture last time, even though it should've, and the sequel isn't as beloved, meanwhile "Top Gun" seems to be overly beloved. "The Woman King" underperformed and missed everything.... This is a weird year, that's basically all that needs to be mentioned. 

Right now, it seems like the only group of people that seemed to not be falling head over heels for "Everything Everywhere All at Once", is curiously BAFTA. They seemed to be much more in love with "All Quiet on the Western Front". I'm honestly not sure what to make of that, but that said I'm not putting too weight into them. BAFTAs, while always interesting, have had less and less influence on the Oscars in recent years and every other award that matters has firmly and convincingly gone towards "Everything Everywhere All at Once", that, I don't think there's much choice than to look at that win as an anomaly. It took PGA, DGA, and SAG, and overperformed at the latter. Something weird would have to really happen right now for it not to win. 

PREDICTION: "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

*Todd Field-"TAR"
*Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert-"Everything Everywhere All at Once"
*Martin McDonagh-"The Banshees of Inisherin"
Ruben Ostlund-"Triangle of Sadness"
*Steven Spielberg-"The Fabelmans"

I had Sarah Polley in at the last spot, I switched her and Edward Berger for "All Quiet..." a couple times; doesn't matter I got it wrong anyway, but  I got it wrong either way. Yeah, "Triangle of Sadness' getting in suddenly just threw me completely. The rest of the nominees were consistent with DGA, the only one they went with instead was Joseph Kosinski for "Top Gun: Maverick", which, yeah, definitely felt like the one that was going to miss. Nothing shocking here, I think it's between Spielberg and the Daniels, depending on whether or not Spielberg's overdue for another one or not.... (Shrugs) I also had S.S. Rajamouli in for awhile before I got off the "RRR" bandwagon.

Only twice has the directing award gone to a pair of filmmakers. 1st in 1961 when Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise won for "West Side Story", and then in the mid-2000s when the Coen Brothers won it. It sure looks like the up-and-coming directing duo, of The Daniels are going to take it this year. They won DGA and Critics Choice, and there's no real number two option that's popped up. BAFTA went with Edward Berger for "All Quiet..." and he didn't get in. I knew a few people were holding out hope for this being another Spielberg year; I honestly didn't buy much into that, mainly just that I had a hard time believing "The Fabelmans" would capture the public at large and it really hasn't. McDonagh I think is looked at more as a writer than a director, Ostlund was lucky to get the fifth slot, Todd Field, I think if "TAR" was bigger might've had a shot, but other than Cate Blanchett nobody's talking about that film, and I'm not sure she's winning.... Yeah,....

PREDICTION: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert-"Everything Everywhere All at Once". 

*Austin Butler-"Elvis"
*Colin Farrell-"The Banshees of Inisherin"
*Brendan Fraser-"The Whale"
*Paul Mescal-"Aftersun"
*Bill Nighy-"Living"

Well, I got that one right. Eh, I know there was a couple other names out there, Adam Sandler got into SAG, I know there's was a little bit of push in the Academy for that, but it seemed far-fetched even with some annoyed he missed for "Uncut Gems". Tom Cruise had a little bit of a push, I think we all knew that wasn't gonna happen. We knew Farrell, Butler, Fraser, and Nighy once he got in for SAG and BAFTA, was a sure thing. After that, Mescal made the most sense even if nobody had seen it. Fraser seems to be the favorite here, I-, I 'm a little surprised by that honestly; I think Colin Farrell is the early favorite myself. The actor who's never been honored or even recalled for the first time in decades suddenly winning the Actor Oscar, for a feature that wasn't up for Picture..., yeah, I've heard this one before.

I've seen Farrell's and Mescal's performance so far, so I can judge them. Personally I preferred Colin Farrell's but I don't think either of them are really in the running. BAFTA here went to Austin Butler for "Elvis", but SAG went to Brendan Fraser. I would've thought that would've pushed Gold Derby odds in Fraser's favor, but at the moment, Butler is the slight favorite. Honestly, I'm leaning more towards Butler as well. Nighy and Mescal couldn't win at BAFTA, so I think they're out for sure. Farrell did win the Golden Globe, but so did Butler, and I would've thought Farrell's best shot was winning BAFTA. Also, "The Whale" didn't get into Best Picture, which is really rare in this category. You gotta go back to Jeff Bridges winning for "Crazy Heart" in '09 to find a performance that won in this category, that wasn't from a BP nominee, and was competing against two other BP nominees, and wasn't a part where the actor played a real person. IDK, Brendan Fraser playing a whale, but Austin Butler is playing Elvis, and Elvis is pretty damn beloved. Also, "The Whale" is an Aronofsky film, I can't help but think about Mickey Rourke's work in "The Wrestler" getting similarly passed over for Sean Penn's work for "Milk" in '08. But Rourke didn't win SAG, Fraser did.... Man this is one of the harder to predict categories this year; I might be going back-and-forth on this one a few times.

PREDICTION: Austin Butler-"Elvis"

*Cate Blanchett-"TAR"
*Ana de Armas-"Blonde"
Andrea Riseborough-"To Leslie"
*Michelle Williams-"The Fabelmans"
*Michelle YEOH-"Everything Everywhere All at Once"

A couple big snubs here in Danielle Deadwyler, who I had in for "Till" as well as Viola Davis for "The Woman King", which means no African-American in either Lead acting categories. Although for a second it looked like they might still be in the running. Andrea Riseborough's nomination for "To Leslie" has suddenly become the most controversial acting nomination in years, and only recently has the Academy stated that they will not rescind it. If you're wondering why, here's a link to one of the articles, on it, to go over the details. It's really a campaign technicality thing, that, itself, is a whole can or worms that I would rather not get into, thank you very much. I will say that, the nomination, it could win. It's been tainted, outside of the Academy, and with some of the bigger names in the Academy who seemed to be the ones pushing the nomination, I-,  I wouldn't underestimate it quite yet. Even Cate Blanchett, the presumed favorite, apparently pushed for it. There is some progressiveness in the category, Michelle YEOH, did become the first Asian woman nominated in the Lead Actress category, and right now I have it a three-way race between YEOH, Riseborough and Blanchett, with de Armas sneaking in despite nobody liking her movie, but she's playing Marilyn Monroe, and Michelle Williams, becoming more of the bridesmaids as she succeeded in getting into Lead, (There were some awards and talk of putting her into Supporting Actress) but yeah, is probably a longshot here.

We're getting more splits between the awards this year. SAG went with Michelle Yeoh, BAFTA and Critics Choice went with Cate Blanchett, which would give her her third Oscar for acting, which is a lot, that's puts her in very rare company. The wild card is Andrea Riseborough, who's nomination is by far the most controversial of this award season. I'm not gonna say the nomination's undeserved but, if you went better and sometimes a more frustrating look at how she snuck into the nomination field, I'd highly recommend Be Kind Rewind's video essay, it shows how she managed to get this nomination, through word-of-mouth, that was itself kinda astroturfed by certain prominent members of the Actors Branch of the Academy, and other prominent figures in the acting community in ways that, reflect, criticize and undermined the modern Oscar Campaign industry. I think most of that is now gone, and Riseborough is, at most running a distant third in this race. To me, the SAG wins for "Everything Everywhere All at Once" were very daunting, and the thing is Cate Blanchett has already been honored several times already, and I think the Academy might be well aware of just how much Michelle Yeoh's been overlooked over the years. There's also historical precedent, there's never been an Asian actress in the Lead Actress category before.... I'm going with the momentum.

PREDICTION: Michelle Yeoh-"Everything Everywhere All at Once".

*Brendan Gleeson-"The Banshees of Inisherin"
Brian Tyree Henry-"Causeway"
*Judd Hirsch-"The Fabelmans"
*Barry Keoghan-"The Banshees of Inisherin"
*Ke Huy QUAN-"Everything Everywhere All at Once"

I was gonna put in Brian Tyree Henry, in, but I saw that Eddie Redmayne got the SAG nomination instead, and up until now when they seem to like Redmayne, it seems they really like Redmayne, so I through him in for "The Good Nurse", instead, but nice to see I was wrong on that one. I did call, Judd Hirsch in and not his co-star Paul Dano. I know Dano got nominated at SAG, but he had been overlooked before, plus...- look I respect the guy, great actor, but nobody likes Paul Dano. Good guy, weird actor, talented as Hell, but yeah, I totally get why he was overlooked for Alex Reiger. He's just one of those actors who gives off those weird vibes that make you just not like him, whether that's deserved or not, and it's not, I'm sure it's not, but he's got like, anti-Adam Driver energy, so.... BTW, Hirsch, at age 87, is now the second oldest Oscar nominee in the category ever, right behind Christopher Plummer who was 88 when he got his last nomination for "All the Money in the World". This is most likely going to Ke Huy QUAN.

Ke Hey QUAN has so far won most of the precursors, including SAG. The only real exception so far was BAFTA who went with Barry Keoghan, which kinda shocked me, I would've thought Brendan Gleeson gave the better performance in "The Banshees of Inisherin" but still that's pretty much his only loss, to a British film at the British Oscars. Can anybody believe that QUAN played Shortround in "...Temple of Doom"? I know, I'm taken aback by that fact. Anyway, this is probably the easiest of the acting wins to predict; Hirsch and Henry's nominations are their awards, and even with Keoghan leading over Gleeson, combining vote-splitting and all other signs leaning towards "Everything....". Quan would become the second Asian-born actor to win this category, and the first Dr. Haing S. Ngor won for "The Killing Fields" in '84. 

PREDICTION: Ke Huy QUAN-"Everything Everywhere All at Once". 

*Angela Bassett-"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"
Hong CHAU-"The Whale"
*Kerry Condon-"The Banshees of Inisherin"
*Jamie Lee Curtis-"Everything Everywhere All at Once"
*Stephanie Hsu-"Everything Everywhere All at Once"

Eh, this one's my fault for just not trusting SAG, as this was the category they went paint on. I'm also not sure why I thought Dolly De Leon would get in here, and "Triangle of Sadness" not getting anything else. I-eh-, I don't what I was thinking...- I think I just didn't trust Hong Chau in the category, especially with at least one other Asian-American actress almost guaranteed to be in it. This is the acting category the most up-in-the-air, right now, I'd say Angela Bassett is the slight favorite, partially as a veteran make-good for her having not won before, although she is the only one here who was ever nominated before this year, and yes, that includes Jamie Lee Curtis. I could see Condon or Hsu winning too though.

This category has been playing out fascinatingly. For awhile, Angela Bassett seemed to be ordained for the category, taking some early precursors like the Golden Globe and Critics Choice, but after that,.... BAFTA went with Kerry Condon, which makes sense, that's for the one British film in the group. SAG in a big upset went with Jamie Lee Curtis, which really through me a bit, 'cause I would've thought that if somebody from "Everything Everywhere All at Once" was gonna win, it would've been Stephanie Hsu. Gold Derby still lists Bassett as the favorite but, hmmm, I'm feeling iffy on that right now. That SAG lost scares me, but I could justify it though. One of the quirks of SAG is just how they're much more of a general populace group than the Academy, so perhaps all those sentimental older voters who spent decades doing radio voiceovers and whatnot, probably see Jamie Lee Curtis as the sentimental pick. She basically does have the same argument for a career win as Bassett does, and she's in the movie with the most nominations and has been overperforming everywhere but BAFTA. It also would be rare for the same movie to win so many acting prizes though. If Quan and Yeoh's both win as well, that would put "Everything Everywhere..." in a tie with "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Network" as the only films to win three acting Oscars. Alright, "Network" was a bit of a fluke, Peter Finch won posthumously and Beatrice Straight won for like, a four minute performance, which I think is still the record for shortest on-screen time for a nomination, but still..... I don't know, if they really saw "Everything Everywhere...", than I gotta think Stephanie Hsu would get as many, if not more votes than Jamie Lee, and if that's the case, then when the nominees are split within the same film, go with the alternative.

PREDICTION: Angela Bassett-"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"

*All Quiet on the Western Front-Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell
*Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery-Rian Johnson
*Living-Kazuo Ishiguro
*Top Gun: Maverick-Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks
*Women Talking-Sarah Polley

WGA was more annoying this year than normal in that they didn't put out their nominees until after the Oscars did, but this was a pretty weak year in the category, and also the WGA awards aren't the most reliable predictor anyway. They didn't have "All Quiet..." or "Living" and I'm presuming most likely because they weren't eligible for WGA. (They had "Black Panther..." and "She Said" in instead) Kazuo Ishiguro makes a rare list here by being one of only six people who's been both an Oscar nominee and a Nobel Laureate. It's not looking great for him, only two have ever won an Oscar, George Bernard Shaw in 1939 for adapting his own play "Pygmalion", and the other is-eh, Bob Dylan, for the song "Things Have Changed" from "Wonder Boys". (Yeah, I totally forgot he has a Nobel Prize in Literature as well.) Anyway, the movie only got two nominations, and the second one is in Best Actor, and no film has won this category without a BP nomination since 1999's "Gods and Monsters". It is weird how we have two movie sequels and a story that's been remade in film many times before in the mix. My gut tells me it's between "All Quiet..." or "Women Talking", and I'm giving a slight edge to "Women Talking" for the moment. By the way, I think "Glass Onion" is only the second time a sequel to a film got nominated for Adapted Screenplay, after the original feature film got nominated for Original Screenplay, after the writing nomination for "Toy Story 3", so kudos on that. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong on that btw) 

A strange year in this category. Yeah, there's three Best Picture nominees, but none of them seem particularly like they're in the running for winning, except for maybe "All Quiet on the Western Front", which did win the BAFTA, but it wasn't up against "Women Talking", which is currently the odds-on favorite at Gold Derby. In turn, "All Quiet..." isn't up for WGA due to it not being eligible, so "Women Talking" has to win there. I think the only real competition between these three is "Top Gun: Maverick" possibly pulling off a surprise upset. Everybody's had a little difficulty trying to figure out exactly how strong is "Top Gun..." and where it's strong this Oscar cycle. It's the movie everyone's praising for (finger quotes) "Saving the Industry" 'cause it was a big theatrical hit, but I have a really hard time buying it being good enough to run through the Awards. If it wins WGA, then I think "All Quiet..." will take it easily, but if "Women Talking" wins it, then it's a race. I'm a little weary though. Sarah Polley is an actor-turned director, so she's got that advantage, plus she's an industry life who's been around for decades now. But, I can't help but remember how Greta Gerwig's "Little Women" script got overlooked under similar circumstance and had more awards buzz. It's up against two much more masculine films. It's also been a long time since a film has won Writing, especially Adapted Screenplay, with so few nominations, you gotta go back to Billy Bob Thornton winning for "Sling Blade". It's happened in Original Screenplay a little more recently, Pedro Almodovar winning in 2002 for "Talk to Her". Feels unlikely, but I don't think it's impossible.... I might switching back and forth on this one for a bit.

PREDICTION: "Women Talking"-Sarah Polley

*The Banshees of Inisherin-Martin McDonagh
*Everything Everywhere All at Once-Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
*The Fabelmans-Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner
*Tar-Todd Field
Triangle of Sadness-Ruben Ostlund

I didn't see "Triangle of Sadness" coming, so I put in "Aftersun", but actually this category is stranger than normal, 'cause not only did this category, for the first time in, a long time, match up with all of them being Best Picture nominee, but they all also match up exactly, with the Best Director nominees! In fact, all five of the Best Director nominees are also nominated for Best Screenplay at the same Oscars for their film! And not just the films, the actual directors are all also writers of their films. This have never happened, definitely not in the same category at least, but I'm fairly certain this has never happened, even with two writing categories. This is honestly something that I have been keeping an eye on for awhile. For years, when I was young, one of the big Oscar stats was that only one person, Billy Wilder for "The Apartment" won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, (And that wasn't even right, James L. Brooks for "Terms of Endearment" did it as well, as did Francis Ford Coppola for "The Godfather Part II) but it was an exceptionally rare feat at the time, but now, it's become so common that I've lost track of the people who've pulled off this triple crown. I know Inarritu did it for "Birdman...", the Coens did it for "No Country for Old Men", Peter Jackson, I keep forgetting did it for "...The Return of the King", BONG Joon-ho did it for "Parasite" most recently. For those curious, the Daniels, Spielberg, McDonagh and Field could pull off the triple win here, only Ruben Ostlund is not listed as a producer for their film, but either way I've always thought that this was a very underrated trend, in that, perhaps while in the populace the big studio mega-production still rules the most, (Although, even those films that got nominated, are clearly the vision of a select amount of people and many of them have multiple credits and not just producer on their films), but within the industry, the huge distrust of quality of the big budget productions has led to more belief and interest in the smaller, more personal projects that an artist would partake in, even if that artist, may be named Spielberg and literally runs the entire town. BTW, this is Spielberg's first ever Writing nomination, and the first time he's had a real proper film writing credit, not counting that "Poltergeist" remake nobody remembers existed, since "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" and not I'm even that one seems slightly debatable since he was adapting Stanley Kubrick's original work. Wow, he wasn't even nominated for writing "Close Encounters....", how weird.

I'm probably gonna just defer to WGA for this one. Gold Derby has "The Banshees of Inisherin" as the favorite, which is kinda weird to me. It did win BAFTA and the Golden Globe, but it's also up against four other writer/directors, all of which are up for Picture, and Director, and- I just kinda think it's gonna be weird or odd that any of these categories are gonna split. I've been damned more than a few times predicting a split between Writing, Directing and Picture, and frankly, especially with Writing, it just doesn't happen nearly as often. If "Banshees..." win at WGA then perhaps I'll buy it. 

PREDICTION: "Everything Everywhere All at Once"-Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

*Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio
*Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
*Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
The Sea Beast
*Turning Red

Kind of a tricky category to get a real read on. I had "Wendell & Wild" instead of "The Sea Beast"; it was one or the other; they both were nominated for Annies for Best Picture, and I knew "Marcel the Shell..." was getting in, which the Annies had separated as an Independent Feature, so it was a matter of which one they would pick. None of the animated features got in anywhere else though, although "Pinocchio" made a few of the shortlists, and honestly, none of these films really feel like they have winner buzz around them. "...Pinocchio" I think is in the lead, mainly because of Del Toro as well as the film being the most publicized and ambitious of the choices. It was a weird year for Pinocchio; it wasn't even the only animated Pinocchio film this year, but that Robert Zemeckis one, didn't exactly get the acclaim. (Boy Robert Zemeckis, there's a filmmaker who's decline probably needs more analysis they people want to admit.) Only one sequel, thankfully and that's for the "Puss in Boots" movie. So, we got Pinocchio, Shrek, eh, "The Sea Beast" is a Netflix film, so good for them, Disney's selection this year was "Turning Red", is another one of their transformation movies, which is starting to feel like a little ridiculous with animated films btw. Starting to feel like every other animated film is just a discarded Gilbert & Sullivan plot, where someone takes a magic lozenge or something and turns into something. "Marcel..." is A24's entry, which is interesting in of itself, and it's stop-motion, along with "Pinocchio" which is interesting, I don't remember the last stop-motion animated film to win this category. Not since "Wallace & Gromit: in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit", and those two could potentially be the favorites; I wouldn't discard "Turning Red" either, but it's an overall uninspiring year in the category, which does make this difficult to predict.

I don't have much to add to this category at the moment. Nothing seems to be sticking out too much, "...PInocchio" won the most Annies, only "Marcel the Shell..." really has any other chance, and I just don't think it's got "Spirited Away"-like dominance to pull off the upset win here. I don't really see anything else winning. This is one of the least interesting years in the categories history, at least in terms of the actual awards. I guess it also kinda feels right that Guillermo Del Toro get an animated award as well. (Shrugs) 

PREDICTION: Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio

*All That Breathes
*All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
*Fire of Love
A House Made of Splinters

This category's been a bit all over the map awards-wise. I had "Moonage Daydream" in, which was on other shortlists, so a bit of an upset not popping up here, but there was about ten films that had a shot at showing up and the Documentary Branch will do whatever the hell they want anyway half the time anyway. Even still, this is kind of a loaded category, there's not an obvious weak one in the bunch and all the films are fairly different. I think "All the Beauty..." is the slight favorite at the moment, because it has the biggest names behind it, that's Laura Poitras's film, they she filmmaker behind "Citizenfour" that won the category a few years ago, but I think this can go any way. 

Gold Derby has "Navalny" in the lead at the moment but the entire category is close. "Navalny" is about the Russian opposition leader who survived an assassination attack. There's "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed" which is about the fight to hold Purdue-Pharma responsible for the Opioid epidemic, "Fire of Love" is about volcanologist couple who died while researching Mr. Unzen when it imploded in 1991. "A House Made of Splinters" is about Ukranian teachers trying to teach during the Russian Invasion. "All That Breathes" is about brothers in India who start a bird sanctuary. Okay, I kinda think it'd be weird if that one won, but other than that, this can go a lot of places. "All the Beauty..." is the big name in documentary filmmaking; that might give it a slight advantage, but the two movies about Russia and Ukraine, make it really difficult to predict it for me. This is the most difficult category to predict this, I really don't think there's an obvious favorite and there's a plausible argument for all of these. Documentary Branch is weird too to begin with.... I can easily see "Eenie Meanie Miney Mo" being as good of a prognosticator strategy as anyone/anything else this year.


*All Quiet on the Western Front [Germany]
*Argentina, 1985 [Argentina]
*Close [Belgium]
Eo [Poland]
The Quiet Girl [Ireland]

A rare nomination for Ireland in the category with "The Quiet Girl", which was a bit of a surprise nomination. This marks four films from Europe and only "Argentina, 1985" representing another continent. "All Quiet..." obviously getting into several other categories, including Best Picture makes it the heavy favorite. I missed "Eo" which I had like, 7th, and put in "Decision to Leave" from South Korea, which a lot of people had as a spoiler for other categories as well, but eh, except for "Parasite" it seems the Academy is still slightly anti-South Korea despite them being in a golden age of cinema and being the movie that broke through the BP stranglehold on English language films winning. I also through in "Bardo..." which I probably should've knocked out for something else, but I didn't want to be caught offguard by the Inarritu film again, 'cause I remember not predicting "Biutiful" when that movie got a couple nominations. Um, I can't imagine a scenario where "All Quiet..." doesn't win here, even in a perceived loaded field. When a foreign film pops up this much elsewhere and nothing else does....?

At some point there's going to be a big foreign language Best Picture nominee that will somehow get a bunch of other nominations and then lost International Feature, and it's gonna be incredibly controversial when it does happen, but this isn't the year. 

PREDICTION: "All Quiet on the Western Front"

All Quiet on the Western Front-James Friend
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths-Darius Khondji
*Elvis-Mandy Walker
*Empire of Light-Roger Deakins
Tar-Florian Hoffmeister

You know, we don't talk as much about how the Cinematographer's Guild will tend to occasionally go completely off the board and have a rebellious streak, but y'know, we really should, 'cause it does happen more often than we realize. First off, only three of the nominees this year matched the ASC Awards, "Bardo..." "Elvis" and "Empire of Light". BTW, Mandy Walker, becomes only the second female ever nominated in the category, congrats to her for that. However, the presumed favorite, Claudio Miranda for "Top Gun: Maverick", didn't even get nominated. Honestly, I myself kinda thought something like this would happen, since I had "Avatar", and "The Fabelmans" which weren't on the ASC's list either in, but yeah, weird list here. "Bardo..." missed out on International Feature but does pop up hear, and it's the film's only nomination, and "Empire of Light" also got it's singular nomination. Honestly, I think "Empire of Light" is the favorite, if for no other reason than Roger Deakins, but we'll see what the Guild eventually picks, but weird category this year. Not the first time recently that the category has multiple foreign language nominees in recent years too. 

I don't like to spoil my reviews before I post them, but I didn't like "Top Gun: Maverick," like, at all, but the cinematography by Claudio Miranda was top notch, so yeah, I get why everybody was stunned when he wasn't nominated. But what does win now? Well, "All Quiet on the Western Front" is the Gold Derby favorite, and that has a shot. It's the one outlier of the nominees that didn't get into ASC, along with "Tar", but eh.... well, I guess this makes sense, but I'm skeptical. Honestly, the big problem here is that there isn't a real obvious winner here than in recent years; I can't remember the last year where there wasn't a very obvious winner. Maybe in 2015, with "The Revenant"  and "Mad Max: Fury Road" being neck-in-neck, at least in my mind, but I might even be stretching it with that; I think "The Revenant" won a far majority of the precursors. Maybe "Hugo" upsetting "The Tree of Life" is probably the last time, and maybe that year was a clue. "The Tree of Life" only got a few nominations while "Hugo" ended up winning multiple awards. "All Quiet..." got nine total nominations, almost all of them in technical categories, while "Tar"'s only two below-the-line nominations are here and for Editing. "Elvis" got almost as many though, and they played the big spoiler winning at ASC Awards, even over "Top Gun" and Mandy Walker, if she wins, would be the first female to win this category, and that is something that the Academy is looking into. I think some might throw "Empire of Light" into the mix but this is the only nomination this film, and "Bardo..." received, and you gotta go a long time before you last see somebody win this category with Cinematography being that film's only nomination. The last time it happened, they were still separation between color and black & white cinematography. (1950's "She World a Yellow Ribbon", for those curious) I think it's between "All Quiet..." and "Elvis". I think this'll be close, but I'm gonna give the slight edge to the war movie. 

PREDICTION: "All Quiet on the Western Front"-James Friend

*Babylon-Mary Zophres
*Black Panther: Wakanda Forever-Ruth Carter
*Elvis-Catherine Martin
Everything Everywhere All at Once-Shirley Kurata
*Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris-Jenny Beavan

Boy they just won't nominated any of the "Knives Out" films for anything technical will they? I had that in there, longshot-at-best, but I took a shot, but, instead, they put in "Everything Everywhere All at Once" which is the first really big clue that it's Best Picture. It was a Costume Designers Guild nominee, but the CDG separates their awards by genre, and it got into Sci-Fi/Fantasy category along with "Black Panther", but like, boy if you've seen the movie, that's a technicality distinction if I've ever seen one. I don't think it's a bad nomination, in fact, I like a lot of the costumes in that film, and there's a good mixture of varied costumes, but still, kind of a curious pick, expect for the fact that it's the presumptive Best Picture favorite, and it overperformed. They like that film. Meanwhile, only "Elvis" is the other BP nominee and that's probably only because of Catherine Martin who almost always wins this category when she's nominated. She's Baz Luhrmann's wife and she's often the person responsible for the looks of all his films, 'cause she also does the film's production designs as well. She's also listed as a producer this time, and deservedly so, she's talented-as-hell. This is actually a tough category, Ruth Carter won for the last "Black Panther", Jenny Beavan also usually wins when she gets in, including last year for "Cruella", Mary Zophres is one of my favorite and one of the most underrated costume designers, most notably for working with the Coen Brothers, but her work with Damian Chazelle is great too. Loaded category, don't underestimated Jenny Beavan winning again, "Mrs. Harris..." is a film about fashion, those films do well in these categories in recent years. 

Just to be clear, the CDG Awards did give "Glass Onion...", their Contemporary Film award, so I wasn't that far out here. (Also, the Costume Designers Branch of the Oscars should be honoring more Contemporary films anyway....) That said, they did give us the two major winners, with "Everything Everywhere All at Once" winning in Fantasy/Science Fiction feature, and "Elvis" winning in Period feature. So, unless the Academy goes way off the rails this year, it's between one of them. The costumes in "Everything Everywhere..." are more complex and varied than it seems at first, and I do like how their are good contemporary costumes, mixed with a lot of the fantastical costumes.... Eh, I think it's still just hard to go against Catherine Martin working on a Baz Luhrmann film. I'd think she also had more difficult costumes, in terms of quantity, to create as well. 

PREDICTION: "Elvis"-Catherine Martin 

The Banshees of Inisherin-Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
*Elvis-Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond
*Everything Everywhere All at Once-Paul Rogers
Tar-Monika Willi
*Top Gun: Maverick-Eddie Hamilton

The A.C.E. Eddie Awards, for some reason chose to conspicuously not put their Guild's nominations out before the Oscars either, just like the WGA this year, so this category became a little trickier to predict than normal. That said, there wasn't anything particularly unexpected here, although the nomination for "The Banshees of Inisherin" was a shock, and I must say, the lack of "All Quiet on the Western Front" here gives me some pause. Once I figured that was a serious BP contender, and it being a war movie, I naturally thought it would easily pop up here. Instead, "The Banshees of Inisherin" and "Tar" took over the spots. "All Quiet..." also missing Director, is a bad sign, these two categories have historically been the most accurate BP prognosticators. It's very difficult to win Best Picture without getting nominated in at least one of these categories, and it's especially hard to win without getting into either of them. Probably bad news for "Elvis" and "Top Gun..." but they got in because they note two exceptions to those rules, musicals, and especially, action movies. Action movies especially are huge wild cards, ask any editor and they will tell you, the most difficult thing to edit by far are chase scenes. (Oh, for those curious, what else I missed in this category, I had "The Fabelmans", mainly 'cause it's a contender, Spielberg and because it's a Walter Murch film, which sometimes gets John Williams-willed into nominations as well, but I guess who wrote the book on editing has enough accomplishments)

The A.C.E. Eddie Awards didn't have too many surprises, with "Top Gun: Maverick" taking Dramatic film and "Everything Everywhere All at Once" taking Comedy or Musical feature. I'm trying to talk myself into "Everything Everywhere...", but it's hard to win that Comedy/Musical Eddie Award and then win Best Editing. The last time it happened was "Chicago" back in 2002, and that was a musical. There's musical elements to "Everything Everywhere", but that's not musical. Although, "comedy" is also a weird designation for it too. It's also one of those movies where I definitely think about the film's editing. "Top Gun: Maverick" admittedly also lives and dies by it's editing as well, both in not only trying to tell it's own story, but also in trying to emulate the editing style of it's original film. But man, "Everything Everywhere..." is just one of those movies that you think about the editing after you watch it. 

PREDICTION: "Everything Everywhere All at Once"-Paul Rogers

*All Quiet on the Western Front-Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerova
The Batman-Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine
*Black Panther: Wakanda Forever-Camille Friend and Joel Harlow
*Elvis-Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti
*The Whale-Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Annemarie Bradley

Unusually for the category, there wasn't anything too out there on the shortlist, so there's no real, "Norbit" nomination in the category like usual. I took a shot on "Crimes of the Future" being the closest to that, but they instead went with "The Batman" which kinda underperformed overall, only popping up here as well as Sound and Visual Effect, the favorite action movie categories. Other than that, the only movie that really obviously sticks out is "The Whale", as it's basically nominated in the same way that say Steve Carell for "Foxcatcher" was up for the makeup as well as the performance. Just for that, I kinda want to think of them as the early favorite, but eh, as much as they might nominate one memorable makeup performance, they might more often than not go for more complete and elaborate makeup and hair performances over the years, so I'm thinking they might be the longshot in reality among the group.

The MUAHs, the Make-Up and Hairstylists Guild Awards, were a bit all over the place and generally aren't the best judges of this category anyway. I haven't seen any of the movies here yet, so I'm mostly just gonna go off the film's trailers. "All Quiet..." had a lot of makeup which was good in that I didn't notice much of it. It wasn't nominated for any of the Makeup awards, but that's not an indicator; like I said, the MUAHs are a bit iffy as a prognosticator. "Elvis" did win two of the awards, and it won in both makeup and hairstyling, and there's definitely a lot there. Although, I think if they're going more towards hairstyling, "Black Panther..." probably has a bigger edge. Then there's "The Whale", which, I don't know, it's one very impressive makeup job, I don't know if that's enough. It's usually enough to get nominated, but not usually enough to win. "The Batman" didn't win any of their nominations at the HUAHs, and the movie's been underperforming all award season and frankly the makeup in the trailer looks, decent enough, but it didn't look special. I guess there's an upset possibility or two here, but I lean towards the more overall makeup as opposed to most elaborate project. 

PREDICTION: "Elvis"-Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti

All Quiet on the Western Front-Volker Bertlelmann
*Babylon-Justin Hurwitz
*The Banshees of Inisherin-Carter Burwell
*Everything Everywhere All at Once-Son Lux
*The Fabelmans-John Williams

This puts John Williams's nomination count to 53, now! There's not too much to add to his Oscar legacy, but I'll say this, with only 5 wins, so far, this technically makes him, the Academy's all-time biggest Oscar loser. He's lost 48 times, only Walt Disney, who lost 38 Oscars in his life, is the only one who's close. (And Disney lost to himself a few times, so it's actually a lot shorter.) Alexandre Desplat got snubbed again for "...Pinocchio", which is what I had instead of "All Quiet...".  Something kinda interesting here is that Ryan Lott is nominated as his band Son Lux. I've seen it both ways in the predecessors to the awards. Part of me is perplexed, but part of me is somewhat surprised that this hasn't happened earlier. Artists do have the options to be nominated either individually or as a group, it's happened in the Original Song category, but not in the Original Score category, at least not since The Beatles won for Original Song Score for "Let It Be". That's technically a different category, but that's about the closest that's happened in this category 'til now. That said, I don't really know who the favorite is right now. Carter Burwell hasn't won yet, I'd think he'd have a slight edge, but I could easily see this being "The Fabelmans" only real win as well. 

The SCL Awards, were so off on the nominations that I'm not even sure it's worth comparing here, although "Everything Everywhere All at Once" did win for Independent film, but "The Banshees of Inisherin", with no other Oscar nominees in the category, lost to "Nope". That's weird, 'cause I would've thought that film, might've had a slight edge considering how music plays, a little bit into the story. It shows how little they matter in that Gold Derby lists "Babylon" as the favorite and "Everything Everywhere..." and "Banshees..." tied for fourth in their odds. I'm not a good judge of musical scores myself, but Justin Hurwitz has won quite a lot already in his short career, if "Babylon" still a favorite, it's either still really good, or they're just giving it to him arbitrarily. I can see either one. Eh, I'm just gonna take a shot and go with the odds here. 

PREDICTION: "Babylon"-Justin Hurwitz

"Lift Me Up"-Black Panther: Wakanda Forever-Music/Lyrics: Tems and Ryan Coogler; Music: Rihanna and Ludwig Goransson
"This is a Life"-Everything Everywhere All at Once-Music/Lyric: Ryan Lott and David Byrne; Music: Mitski
*"Applause"-Tell It Like a Woman-Music/Lyrics: Diane Warren
*"Naatu Naatu"-RRR-Music: M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric: Chandrabose
"Hold My Hand"-Top Gun: Maverick-Music/Lyrics: Lady Gaga and Bloodpop

So, I actually did listen to all the shortlisted Best Songs, which, btw, is still bullshit, they should put out full lists of all the eligible songs and scores every year like they used to, and without too many really important predecessors, and because of the general unpredictability of the category, I just went with the five songs I liked the best, even though I probably knew that "My Mind and Me" from that Selena Gomez documentary and the even more obscure J. Ralph & Norah Jones track "Dust and Ash" from "The Voice of Dust and Ash" weren't getting in. Little surprised "Carolina" didn't get in, but y'know, the Oscars haven't been particularly kind to Taylor Swift. They have been ridiculously kind though to Diane Warren, who despite getting an Honorary Oscar earlier this year, once again gets nominated, and again for a movie that basically nobody has seen. That said, it's not one of her best songs, but it's not one or her worst either. And honestly, that was kind of the jist of most of the shortlist, There's not a bad song here either, but the only two that really stood out as memorable from this group for me, which was "Naatu Naatu" from "RRR", which is the only place the film showed up here and Lady Gaga's song from "Top Gun", which, eh,- I mean, it's Gaga, so like, even her on a bad day is like a B+, and eh, "Hold My Hand", is an A-, maybe an A if I'm feeling generous, but it's no "Shallow" or even a "Till It Happens to You". Nice to see David Byrne and Mitski sneak nominations in as well here; it's the first time he's been nominated since he won for co-writing the score to "The Last Emperor", that's 35 years ago, that's a long wait between nominations. Other than that, I think "Naatu Naatu" is the presumed favorite, I wouldn't be shocked by a "Top Gun" upset here. I actually do like Gaga's song better than the overrated "Take My Breath Away" that "Top Gun" originally won for. (Come at me, that song sucks!) Although "Lift Me Up" is nowhere near as good as "All the Stars" that "Black Panther" got nominated in this category before for. It's weird that I'm talking about so many sequel movies in this category and none of them are animated. 

The SCL Awards did have three of the nominees in the Song category compete with each other in one of their awards and the winner of that was..., "Applause" from "Tell It Like  A Woman". Diane Warren. Huh. Really, over the Lady Gaga song even? Again, I don't trust this Guild, but could this be her "Monsters, Inc." year? That's the movie that finally earned Randy Newman his Oscar after fifteen nominations for "If I Didn't Have You". You know, the one thing I do remember from that year was that, he was not the favorite going in. Not even close; that was actually a pretty loaded field, that included Diane Warren, who was up for her song from "Pearl Harbor" that Faith Hill performed. Yeah, I don't think anybody liked that song even at the time, but the other nominees were Enya for her "The Lord of the Rings..." song, frickin' Sting, who I thought was gonna win for a beautiful song called "Until..." from "Kate & Leopold" and friggin' Paul McCartney for the title track from "Vanilla Sky". Yeah, he was the longest of longshot that year. But let's look at Warren's competition. She's up against one Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, David Byrne, but he's won before, although Mitski's pretty popular and she hasn't and that's for a bigger film. Lady Gaga's won before, in fact she's in third to Rihanna's song from "Black Panther" in the Gold Derby odds, that's two of the biggest pop star names in the last couple decades, and Rihanna just did that Halftime show, which I thought sucked but I'm in the minority. (Okay, you're pregnant, but you could still do one costume change? You're red and everything and everyone around you is in white, why was everything so monochromatic?! God, a purple scarf would've done wonders....- Sorry, I really hated that Halftime show.) Then there's the favorite, "RRR", which only got this nomination. The thing is that her film, also only got the one nominations but was seen by a lot fewer people. "Monsters, Inc." was a big popular film that had other nominations, so besides the story behind Randy Newman's losing streak, it had other momentum coming in. There's no momentum to "Tell It Like a Woman", this was the only shot it had at a nomination and it probably astroturfed it's way to that. Also, "Naatu Naatu" is so different that it stands out, something that Diane Warren's songs rarely do, and that's something that Randy Newman's song did. It is the Music Branch, so who the hell knows, they are among the most corrupt of the Branches, (Yeah, those complaining that Andrea Riseborough's nomination was Actors Branch corruption, which it was, at least that's a nomination that made sense and seems like it was legitimately deserving, the fact that "Alone Yet Not Alone"'s nomination got in here that time, before it's disqualifying is much more stunning, far less deserving, and was such a haphazard a corruption scandal I'm still stunned that the Branch was so easily corruptible that it somehow still actually worked!) Still though, eh, it's possible but I just can't see this song pulling it off for her, and I'm not sure there's passion for anything else. 

PREDICTION: "Naatu Naatu"-"RRR"-Music: M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric: Chandrabose

All Quiet on the Western Front-Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck; Set Decoration: Ernestine Hipper
*Avatar: The Way of Water-Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole
*Babylon-Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino
*Elvis-Production Design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; Set Decoration: Bev Dunn
The Fabelmans-Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara

Really stunned that this is the category that "Everything Everywhere All at Once" got left out of. I had them in, and I had "Pinocchio" in there too.... I really should've known better than to jump on the "Pinocchio" bandwagon, but yeah, that one was weird. Nothing else unusual though. Competitive category though, I could see this being a spot "Elvis" could win, I could see "Avatar..." winning this category for a second time. It could be a spot where "The Fabelmans" pull it off. Weird spot here, it's like the category for all the secondary Best Picture nominees that don't really have a shot at Picture, but could get a conciliation prize here. Oh and "Babylon", which, Damien Chazelle movies do have really amazing and elaborate production design.... (Shrugs) 

The Guilds are split here. The ADG Awards, the Art Directors Guild, took "Babylon", while the SDSA Awards, the Set Decorators, they took "Elvis". All the other nominees lost to "Everything Everywhere All at Once" or one of these two, so it's likely between these two. "Babylon" has a win at BAFTA over "Elvis", and for lack of a better tiebreaker that's what I'm leaning towards now. I'm not feeling great about it. This is the one weird category where "Everything Everywhere All at Once" kinda got screwed somehow; I think they might've won this easily if they got nominated. Looking at the full Academy, ugh, I don't know,- I'm trying to convince myself into "Elvis", but, eh, every time I can think of a slight edge, the more I think "Babylon" has a slightly bigger one to counteract it. Also, I think when pressed, the category is "Production Design" and that means the designs of the sets, moreso than the gathering/making/collecting of the props/objects in the room, at least to most people's idea..., fair or not.

PREDICTION: "Babylon"-Pro.: Florencia Martin; Set: Anthony Carlino

*All Quiet on the Western Front-Viktor Prasil, Franke Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte
*Avatar: The Way of Water-Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Michael Hedges
The Batman-Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray and Andy Nelson
*Elvis-David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson and Michael Keller
*Top Gun: Maverick-Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor

Another category that seems like it's the secondary BP Oscar. Only "The Batman" is not in Best Picture here, but none of these are favorites in that category. And again, another category where "Everything Everywhere All at Once" missed. I might've been the only one who actually thought it would over-perform apparently. Another tricky one though. "Avatar" actually lost both sound categories to "The Hurt Locker", so it's not impossible to look at a war movie like "All Quiet..." as the favorite, war movies tend to do great here. "Top Gun" is also a repeat nominee in the category, but it lost to "Aliens", so I can see that losing again to a sci-fi film, like "Avatar". However "Elvis" is a music film, and so far, the music nominees in the category, since they combined the Sound categories back to one category, are 1-1 with "Sound of Metal" winning in 2020, and "West Side Story" losing to "Dune" last year. But "Sound of Metal" was much more Mixing and Editing than just one of those skills. Just a reminder,  sound editing is the recording and collecting of sounds to make, the sound mixing is taking those sounds and arranges them onto the film track, and that makes "Elvis" interesting, because Baz Luhrmann's films are highly edited, so it's probably a little more than the music, and yet, I don't know if the sound editing is gonna push those sounds over here. If they think the mixing is more important and impressive than "Elvis" could take it, if not, I'm leaning more towards "All Quiet...". This might be both film's best shots at winning. 

Well, first things first, I'm happy that for once, both Sound Guilds actually got their awards done well before the Oscars. That's actually rare, usually at least one of these groups will wait 'til literally the last day before giving out their awards. Anyway, of the nominees, "Top Gun..." and "All Quiet on the Western Front" each took a Golden Reel Award from the MPSE. "Top Gun..." also took the big prize at the CASs, the Cinema Audio Society Awards and that does include beating "All Quiet on the Western Front". Eh, I guess "Top Gun: Maverick" has to take something for supposedly (finger quotes) "saving the movie theater industry." (Eye roll)

PREDICTION: "Top Gun: Maverick"-Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor

All Quiet on the Western Front-Frank Petzold, Viktor Muller, Markus Frank and Kamil Jafar
*Avatar: The Way of Water-Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Caindon and Daniel Barrett
*The Batman-Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands and Dominic Tuohy
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever-Geoffrey Baumann, Craig hammack, R. Christopher White and Dan Sudick
*Top Gun: Maverick-Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson and Scott R. Fisher

A rare year where three BP nominees got into the category, along with the two superhero contingents, "The Batman" and "Black Panther". I was way off on this category, I threw in the "Jurassic Park" and the "Fantastic Beasts" sequels, mainly following the Visual Effects Society Awards. Curiously, "Black Panther" actually missed getting nominated in this category a few years ago, and so did "Top Gun" originally as well. Again, I missed on "All Quiet...", which I probably should've picked, 'cause they will usually put something in the category that shows up nowhere at the VESs, because it's either foreign or peaks too late, or whatever. I am a little surprised that they did go with the full reasonable list of the presumptive best movies they probably could've nominated. That said, eh, yeah, this is the category "Avatar" wins. I think even it's detractors will just automatically vote for it here. Anything else winning would be the most stunning upset in the category since "Ex Machina" won. 

I'll humor this by quickly looking through the VES Awards, the Visual Effects Society, but-eh, yeah, um, there's no chance in Hell this goes to anything other than "Avatar...". 

PREDICTION: "Avatar: The Way of Water"-Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Caindon and Daniel Barrett

*The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse-Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud
The Flying Sailor-Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby
Ice Merchants-Joao Gonzalez and Bruno Caetano
My Year of Dicks-Sara Gunnarsdottir and Pamela Ribon
*An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe It-Lachlan Pendragon

And, this is what killed any shot I had remaining of doing good in my predictions. I didn't have the time to really investigate the shorts like I should've. I probably should've just taken "The Flying Sailor" and "My Year of Dicks", just based on the flying and the dicks, but I just didn't have time. I did get around to "Save Ralph", which I predicted, and I think really should've gotten in, but, eh.... Again, I just didn't have time for the shorts. Now that I do, I've caught up on the nominees and eh, in my mind, the only two really interesting nominees are "My Year of Dicks" and "An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I think I Believe It", and not just because they're the best titles of the group, they're easily the best of the films. The two New Yorker nominees, "The Flying Sailor" and "Ice Merchants", I found really boring and kinda macabre; they both happen to have their main characters flying/falling through the air remembering their lives as they head possibly towards their deaths. Their animation was good, but the New Yorker showcased better shorts, even among the shortlist. "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse" was okay, just way too long.

I actually managed to watch all five of these nominees. The only one I genuinely didn't care for was "The Flying Sailor" which, I really hope doesn't win. Animation's pretty, but I found it pointless. "Ice Merchants" is the only silent one and it is quite beautiful and it's a touching tale of a father and son who live on the side of a snow-covered mountain who sell ice to the locals down in the town below. Right now, "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse" is the favorite. It's an adaptation of a children's book and it's shown on Apple+ so it might be the easiest for the layman to see, and it's also got the biggest stars connected, but I thought it was okay, and not really something I'd consider special. It's well made though. The other two shorts were by far my favorites, and if they're basing the votes on the best in both quality of animation and of the shorts, then this is a tough vote between them. "An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I think I Believe It", which just barely is a better title than "My Year of Dicks" is a brilliantly sardonic philosophical short about the fragility of existence and becomes fully fourth-fifth and sixth breaking the more aware the film's protagonist realized that he's a stop-motion animated character, he potentially thinks, anyway. "My Year of Dicks" would just slightly get my votes as it details it's writer/director autobiographical tale of struggling to lose her virginity in high school, and it's above all, the funniest of the shorts, and arguably film of any of the nominees, in any of the categories, plus the animation is spectacular using several forms and styles of animation depending on the part of the story she's telling, so depending on the literal dick, I guess, and it all works really well. I've been disappointed in this category several times before though, so I'm a little iffy of picking what is genuinely the best of the nominees..., personally I'm still baffled and somewhat angry that "Dear Basketball" won a couple years ago, (I know, I shouldn't say that with Kobe Bryant's passing, blah, blah, blah, like, he was great, RIP but all he did was wrote a poem, and someone else animated it; it wasn't special, I stand by it.) but eh, I can't imagine they're gonna ignore good titles though, that's usually the default, and I think I'll give the slight edge to the one that I think will be just a little more popular to the people who actually see all the shorts.

PREDICTION: "My Year of Dicks"-Sara Gunnarsdottir and Pamela Ribon

An Irish Goodbye-Tom Berkeley and Ross White
Ivalu-Anders Walter and Rebecca Pruzan
*Le Pupille-Alice Rohrwacher and Alfonso Cuaron
Night Ride-Eirik Tveiten and Gaute Lid Larssen
*The Red Suitcase-Cyrus Neshvad

(Blows raspberries) 

Yeah, I couldn't even tell you why I picked the ones I picked over the ones I didn't here. I imagine "Le Pupille" got in because of name recognition, although it's not like Alfonso Cuaron needed to win an Oscar in another category.... Seriously, he's got two for directing, one for editing, one for cinematography, he's won in three categories, and he's been nominated in seven categories, 'cause he's got Picture and Writing nominations for Original and Adapted.... that's seven. That ties him with Kenneth Branagh who has also been nominated in seven different categories. (BTW, that short, "La Pupille" is actually on Disney+, I mention that mainly because it's weird that the Disney entry is in Live-Action short and not animated short this year.) Anyway, I was able to watch "Le Pupille" which I think is the favorite, as well as "Night Ride", which I liked a lot too. The rest, I don't know, I suspect "An Irish Goodbye" might be the populist choice, I can see that playing spoiler. 

I managed to only see two of these, "Le Pupille" which has the biggest names involved, especially Alfonso Cuaron as a producer, and it's okay. The other was "Night Ride", I liked that one a little better, but I don't know if it's one I'm totally going to bat for. I think "An Irish Goodbye" or "The Red Suitcase" are the most likely ones to play spoiler to "Le Pupille" but, eh... it's always one of these categories where they'll overlook the big name and honor the best and the other where they go for the big name, I never feel like I get the right one, ever... but, let's see, I'm gonna say this is the category where they'll pick the big name. "Le Pupille" isn't terrible and it's got enough of a story and plot that I think it'll appeal to the Academy. And if they Cuaron's name, well, then yeah, they'll vote for him anyway.

PREDICTION: "Le Pupille"-Alice Rohrwacher and Alfonso Cuaron

*The Elephant Whisperers-Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga
Haulout-Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev
*How Do You Measure a Year?-Jay Rosenblatt
The Martha Mitchell Effect-Anne Alvergue and Beth Levison
Stranger at the Gate-Joshua Seftel and Conall Jones

Again, I didn't have time to look through these and I'm not sure why I picked others to get in as oppose to these, although I think I do remember thinking that "The Martha Mitchell Effect" seemed like it should've gotten in, but it kept placing like ninth or tenth in the odds. That's the other thing, when I actually do prepare for these things proper, and try to watch these films ahead of time, I usually more often than not, pick the movies that I think are the best of the bunch, especially for the documentary category. Well, occasionally if there's a Holocaust film I'll toss that one in whether or not it deserves it, 'cause it'll usually get nominated, but yeah, more or less that's a good call. No Holocaust material this year, but there's a few interesting titles here. A couple Netflix entries with "The Elephant Whisperers" and "The Martha Mitchell Effect" and a couple New Yorker entires with "Haulout" and "Stranger at the Gate". "How Do You Measure a Year?" is the only one I haven't gotten to, but it's a compelling long-term film idea, and Jay Rosenblatt's been a nominee before, and he's well-beloved with the Academy.  

I saw all of these, except for "How Do You Measure a Year?" which could win, for sure, but for some reason, "The Elephant Whisperers" is the favorite, which, I-eh, honestly that was my least favorite of the four I saw. I guess people like elephants way more than I do. That said, I like, and yet, didn't love any of these. I probably liked "The Martha Mitchell Effect" the most, because of the historical value, but it's also the one with the most archive footage. "Haulout" was the most unique, I don't know if it's gonna appeal to everybody; it's probably the least documentary-feel of all the nominees, and IDK, maybe I like walruses better than elephants? "Stranger at the Gate" is pretty powerful as well, that's the one I'm trending towards predicting, because I think it's the one that had the most pertinent effect towards me and the times we live in. And I think the favoritism comes from "The Elephant Whisperers" being on Netflix, but, y'know, that hasn't worked out every time. It has for a few of the nominees in the category, but last "The Queen of Basketball", which like "Stranger at the Gate" was a New Yorker short won, and it deserved to as well. It also got shown on ESPN though. I like "Stranger..." more than "Haulout" the other New Yorker short. I liked "The Martha Mitchell Effect" more than "The Elephant Whisperers", the two Netflix shorts, but I don't know if everybody's gonna have my enthusiasm for that. Eh, I think I need to take a chance here, and that means, "How Do You Measure a Year?". The filmmaker is Jay Rosenblatt who got nominated last year for a short called "When We Were Bullies" which I didn't get to see 'til recently and that was amazing, and "How Do You Measure a Year?" is a pretty intriguing and artistic undergoing; it took 16 years to make as he interviews his daughter every birthday from age 2-18. I hear it's inspiring and Rosenblatt's an inspired name in the documentary world who's been making some good documentary shorts for decades, but hasn't won yet. I've got to gamble on something here and since I'm not overly enthused with any other pick.... (Shrugs) Most interesting idea is the orange in the bag of apples. 

PREDICTION: "How Do You Measure a Year"-Jay Rosenblatt

Alright, now I'm actually done with this blogpost. Sorry for all the delays. I don't think my Oscars Post-mortem blog will be on time either, I should warn everybody now. Life is still getting in the way, but I am, cautiously optimistic about these Oscars. I'm sure Jimmy Kimmel will be fine as per usual, I'm starting to get used to him hosting these, so that's something. I think this will overall be a blowout year and "Everything Everywhere All at Once" will probably take, well, maybe not "Everything...", but close enough. I worry I'm underrating them to be honest; I think it might not feel like it in total numbers, but this'll feel like the biggest Oscar blowout win since, maybe when "Slumdog Millionaire" won eight Oscars? It's gonna feel like that, even if they only win like, five or six. 

Oh, I should also note that, I actually liked the traditional announcements this year! Thank fucking Christ you brought that back! Yeah, I wish you woke up people more exciting than Riz Ahmed and Alison Williams, but hey, it's not like I'm not down for a "Girls" reunion, so, yeah, that awesome. Already this show is looking up. Shame it's not a more competitive year. 

Oh btw, anybody who comments in any FB group I post this blogpost in about how dumb/useless/meaningless the Oscars are, or some variant of how they don't matter, or you shouldn't judge art in such and such manner, or whatever other self-righteous blah, blah, blah, you want to spew about them, if I see it, I'm just gonna delete it this year. I'm not in the mood for that stupid argument anymore; you want to hate the Oscars for whatever reasons, legitimate or not, (And usually it's not, which stuns me 'cause there's plenty of good reasons to feel that way, and it's never any of them... but I digress...) fine, but find your own damn soapbox this year, don't piggyback off mine! Yeah, I'm just not putting up with any asshole who wants to ruin it for everybody else 'cause of whatever it is that bothers you about them, complain about it on your space, this one's mine.