Rea Reviews: Predicting the Oscars… Way Too Early

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The 95th Academy Awards aren’t until March 12th, their nominations aren’t scheduled until January 24th, but the de facto beginning of Oscar season – the Golden Globe nominations – were announced on December 12th. And it is never too early (read: it is way too early) to begin predicting the way the Oscar race is going to shape up. 2022 is a phenomenal year for cinema thus far, and that means a crowded Oscar season, full of gigantic contenders. There are dozens of films that will bring home the coveted golden statue, but there are only ten that will receive a nomination for Best Picture, the official recognition of year-best merit. Which ten films will make it in? In the opinion of the Rea Reviews publication, these are the following movies to contend for the prize.

These descriptions were written prior to any major precursors, and are only based on critical support and festival reactions. Headings breaking down the major precursors, including the Globe nominations, can be found below these ten Best Picture contenders.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Rea-ting: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Composite Score: 87.86

Since many months ago, when it released to rapturous praise on a universal level, Everything Everywhere All at Once has been this author’s wholehearted pick and prediction to win it all. The film, as detailed fully in its Rea Review, is an inventive triumph that brings four characters through a comprehensive multiversal journey whilst offering both a layered challenge of nihilistic philosophy and a hearty serving of hilarious comedy. And this is not just the opinion of one man, or even a specific demographic. Fittingly, the acclaim for Everything Everywhere reaches universal proportions.

The film is undeniably wacky, stylized to the brink of insanity, which many associate with being entirely unaffiliated with the Oscars. However, recent years have proven that in spite of all odds, the movie with the most passion wins the biggest prize at the Oscars: it is evident with CODA, which clinched the top prize with a sudden wave of support due to its wholesome and representative message, and even more so with Parasite, an arthouse film that received some of the most acclaim ever received by a modern film.

Everything Everywhere ticks the boxes that Parasite did to receive Best Picture: universal support from critics, audiences, and industry voters. The one drawback the film might face is a notable disparity in support between young and old moviegoers. IMDb members over 45 rate the film lower than those under 45, as is also documented on other cinematic aggregate platforms. However, the disparity is not insurmountable, especially due to wide support for more “hip” films in recent years by the Academy.

It will be a glorious day if Everything Everywhere All at Once wins Best Picture, as Rea Reviews is predicting as of now. As for other categories, the film is certain to be nominated in Best Director and Screenplay, due to its status as Picture frontrunner. Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh and Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan are all but guaranteed, due to their career narratives and phenomenal performances, and there is winning potential in all of these categories. Supporting Actress is more difficult – Stephanie Hsu’s performance defines the film, but Jamie Lee Curtis is receiving a push from industry voters for her comedic side performance; it will be a tight battle.

Predictions Summary (italics meaning winner): Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Film Editing, Visual Effects

The Fabelmans

Rea-ting: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Composite Score: 84.43

However, it is arguably Steven Spielberg’s newest film The Fabelmans – an autobiography of his teenage years showcasing his profound love of cinema – that actually has the best case to win Picture. Though this is not the prediction of Rea Reviews due to an even greater swell of passion for Everything Everywhere All at Once (note that though Fabelmans has a similar composite score, its release is still limited and several metrics will likely rate it lower in the long run), there are still several positive factors worth noting for the autobiographical phenom.

It must first be stated that The Fabelmans is a brilliant film, managing superiority over the vast majority of Spielberg’s filmography. Spielberg masterfully captures the wondrousness of cinema and why it compelled him so much as a child, taking us on a journey through his exceedingly bumpy childhood and young adult years. There is a scene in which the young Steven (named Sammy Fabelman in this adaptation) moves a stereotypical “jock” to tears simply through the sheer empathy he displays in his filmmaking, and it is in strong contention for the best scene of Spielberg’s filmography.

Because of its subject matter – the cinematic artform, in regards to the most famous filmmaker of the modern era – The Fabelmans comes across as Oscar “bait,” a film that appeals to the Academy’s sensibilities more than, say, the average superhero movie. It also won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, an achievement that has correlated for more than a decade with winning at least one Oscar. For this reason, Everything Everywhere All at Once is in no way safe for the title of Best Picture: there will be a close fight between it and The Fabelmans all season long.

However, a loss in Best Picture doesn’t mean a total lack of Oscar success for The Fabelmans. The film is locked in for a nomination in Director and Screenplay, and Spielberg has a strong narrative to win Best Director for his career-defining work. Michelle Williams’ strong hopes of winning for playing Spielberg’s mother were crushed when Universal decided to campaign her in Best Actress instead of Supporting Actress, an incredibly crowded category. Additionally, though Judd Hirsch is the supporting actor who defines the film, his limited screen time makes it more likely for Paul Dano to appear.

Predictions Summary: Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Film Editing, Production Design

The Banshees of Inisherin

Rea-ting: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Composite Score: 85.57

A far quieter film than either Everything Everywhere All at Once or The FabelmansThe Banshees of Inisherin is the third film that looks to be in contention for the Best Picture trophy. Banshees, the quietly philosophical critical pick of the year, is not as strong of a winner contender as Fabelmans or Everything Everywhere, which have far more passion from audiences, but its powerful critical acclaim in the vein of The Power of the Dog (Best Director winner, 12 nominations) and Nomadland (Best Picture winner, 6 nominations) make it a film to watch in terms of the Oscars.

The Banshees of Inisherin is also a film to watch in the literal sense, because make no mistake: every ounce of attention the film has received is only a fraction of what it deserves. For months, Everything Everywhere has been this author’s personal pick for best film of 2022, but a few weeks ago, Banshees narrowly surpassed it. A masterful entry from layered satirist Martin McDonagh, Banshees is the story of two men on a lonely island off the coast of Ireland at the turn of the century, and the drama that ensues when one decides they don’t want to be friends with the other anymore.

As any fan of McDonagh knows to expect, Banshees is a darkly comedic film, one that takes an absurd premise and runs with it until laughs turn to gasps, which fade into silence as credits roll and one digests what they just witnessed. Banshees tackles themes of companionship and boredom, and their existential implications, as every character is driven deeper into the insanity of the island. Banshees is a clinically good piece of cinema, precise and empathetic down to the very last moment of the very last scene, and will be the deserved target of considerable awards attention.

Though McDonagh’s direction is certainly excellent, Best Director is an extremely uncertain nomination for Banshees. It will likely be a tight and crowded race between Todd Field (see TÁR), Damien Chazelle (see Babylon), and McDonagh to clinch the final two slots in Director. However, McDonagh doesn’t have to worry about his screenplay, a surefire nomination. The same confidence can be had of Colin Farrell for his masterfully hilarious, yet ultimately tragic leading performance, and his co-stars, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan, Kerry Condon, for their wittily excellent portrayals.

Predictions Summary: Picture, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor x2, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score

Top Gun: Maverick

Rea-ting: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Composite Score: 84.57

The bombastically big smash box-office hit of 2022, Top Gun: Maverick may not top the predictions of one not fully acquainted with the Oscars. After all, a financial success inherently does not equate to Oscar praise at all: if it did, we would have seen the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home at last year’s Oscars. But as a movie that has inspired a clear resurgence in the love of cinema for audiences worldwide, Top Gun: Maverick has a significant narrative to score a Picture nomination, especially due to its overwhelming praise from audiences not just as a fun time, but a genuinely great cinematic experience.

For those initially unconvinced with the prospect of awards success for Top Gun: Maverick, they have only to look at Black Panther as a fantastic example. Black Panther, a 2018 box office smash and the most critically acclaimed film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, received a Best Picture nomination due to a successfully pushed combination of social relevance, financial success, and critical praise that gained a strong narrative of an important cinematic entry in its year. 2018 was the year of Black Panther, and critics had embraced it along with audiences, so the Academy had no choice but to nominate it.

The same will undoubtedly be true of Top Gun: Maverick, a film so undeniably beloved and important to the year of 2022 that many voters will have a hard time setting their minds upon ten films they’d rather nominate. It also has the benefit of receiving multiple technical nominations beyond any doubt, which will undoubtedly place it in the minds of those voters in the first place. An emotional legacy sequel with heart-pounding action scenes and an incredible ensemble dynamic, it seems impossible for Top Gun: Maverick to miss out on the Oscar conversation when its love for cinema rings through so clearly.

In terms of above-the-line nominations, Adapted Screenplay seems unlikely, since the category has an iffy history of being filled out by blockbusters like Maverick, but the category is empty to the brink of sheer absurdity and likewise, this writer has had to slot it in. A category that Rea Reviews feels far more confident in Top Gun being nominated in is Best Actor, for the face of the film: Tom Cruise. The amount of times Cruise has been praised for “saving cinema” this year is notable, and his voice and face instantly comes to mind when one thinks of Maverick. He even has an emotional “Oscar-y” scene with co-star Val Kilmer midway through the film, seemingly sealing the deal.

Predictions Summary: Picture, Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Original SongSound, Visual Effects

Women Talking

Rea-ting: N/A | Composite Score: 79 (festival responses only)

Seeing as its already been the subject of numerous discussions for its emotional themes, heavy subject matter, and phenomenal ensemble, independent filmmaker Sarah Polley’s submission to the Oscar race Women Talking is undoubtedly a massive contender for several nominations. Almost by default, a film with such grandiose festival buzz and solidified above-the-line nominations is bound to happen in Best Picture. And Rea Reviews has very little reservations about neglecting to call Women Talking, a film with across-the-board excellent reviews and an inherently emotional premise, an exception to this rule.

Women Talking deals with eight women from an isolated Mennonite colony in 21st century Bolivia grapple with their faith after it is revealed that men from their community drugged and raped the community’s women at night for years (not the devil, as the women had initially thought). This sets off a lengthy discussion about their best course of action, a reminiscence which has been praised for its thoughtful and poignant conclusions on the part of the screenplay and masterfully assembled performances on the part of its actors.

Women Talking is based on a book of the same name by Miriam Toews, which garnered rapturous critical applause upon its release for similar reasons to the film. This writer has read the book, and can confirm the repeated claims that it is one of the most thematically thoughtful works of the last decade. Furthermore, these claims being mirrored so directly in the reviews for its cinematic adaptation make – at the very least – an Adapted Screenplay nomination an absolute necessity. And due to the weakness of the category, and the undeniable strength of Women Talking, that nomination could very well be a win.

Another exceedingly likely nomination for Women Talking is Supporting Actress, especially since there are seven in the film (the eighth woman, Rooney Mara, has been campaigned in Lead and is thus unlikely to be nominated). Among them, the actresses with the most acclaim are Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley, who play the two characters with the most emotional weight in the book. The actresses both stand a very good chance of being nominated, but a tougher question is to ask which one will win – Rea Reviews has no answer at this point. However, Sarah Polley may have to miss out on Director.

Predictions Summary: Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress x2, Original Score

Avatar: The Way of Water

Rea-ting: N/A | Composite Score: N/A

As this article is being typed, the very first social media reactions to James Cameron’s sequel to his world-building epic Avatar – titled Avatar: The Way of Water – are being posted. This makes the prediction of Way of Water for Best Picture, more than any other film, a complete wild card. However, there is plentiful evidence for its inclusion on this list based on historical evidence and these scattered nuggets of feedback, which are unanimously ecstatic about this film and confirm it is exactly what any sane pundit would predict it to be: a crowd-pleasing return to Pandora that stuns in every technical way.

For those who are somehow unaware, James Cameron – one of the most famous blockbuster directors of all time, director of Titanic and Aliens – surpassed his own box office record for the highest grossing film of all time when he made Avatar in 2009. The film, which follows a human attack on the resources of Pandora, a planet notable for its natural beauty, also received nine Oscar nominations and quickly became an overwhelming cultural sensation. The technology involved with making Avatar was groundbreaking, legendary, and decades in the making.

Now, thirteen years later, Avatar is getting its sequel, an expansion of the world of Pandora with upgraded technology and incredible reactions. Fandango’s Erik Davis has a good summation of the reactions this writer has glimpsed with his own response to the film: “bigger, better & more emotional than Avatar, [Way of Water] is visually breathtaking, visceral and incredibly engrossing. The story, the spectacle, the spirituality, the beauty – this is moviemaking & storytelling at its absolute finest.” People, Empire, Collider, The Wrap have assented: the film is all they had hoped it would be.

Assuming the film does very well at the box office, this means Way of Water has the same formula for success as its predecessor did. But how close will it follow in Avatar‘s footsteps when it comes to Oscars? Nominations in Visual Effects, Cinematography, and Production Design are a given – and wins are likely in the first two. Score and Sound are likely nominations, too: but sequels can only reach so far, and it is quite possible that the package for Avatar: The Way of Water is sealed there, seeing as its remaining possible nominations – especially Director, for aforementioned reasons – will be exceedingly difficult to clinch.

Predictions Summary: Picture, Cinematography, Original Score, Production Design, Sound, Visual Effects

Babylon

Rea-ting: N/A | Composite Score: N/A

Just like Way of Water, the official reviews to Damien Chazelle’s maximalist Hollywood epic Babylon are still under embargo and we thus only have social media reactions to go off of. Chazelle, the director of Whiplash and La La Land (which both received numerous Oscar nominations, La La Land tying two other films to become the most nominated of all time), has supposedly created a film here that is truly wild: a film that borders on an NC-17 rating, about the depraved insanity of 1920s Hollywood, and the rise and fall of several ambitious dreamers in the movie industry during this time.

A lot of Babylon is exactly what you would expect from a Best Picture nominee, an exploration of Hollywood full of ingenuity and wild performances that perfectly capture the profoundly charismatic yet often bonkers personalities of workers in the movie industry. The maximalist, borderline NC-17 (the film, to clarify, has been given an R rating, albeit a very heavy one) descriptions come off as a little disconcerting, but the similarly bonkers The Wolf of Wall Street was another baity film from a beloved director – Martin Scorsese – that did very well at the Oscars.

What’s more concerning are the somewhat mixed reactions to Babylon, which range from proclamations that the film is overstuffed and overstimulating (Scott Menzel, of the Hollywood Critics Association, called it “a love letter to cinema that made me hate cinema”) to ringing declarations of its brilliance, such as Charles Bramesco of The Guardian and Vulture, who called it “a hyperindulgent maximalist extravaganza” and “transformative wonder.” The jury is out on if Babylon will make it into the Picture lineup, but its multiple likely nominations mean it’s more likely than not.

What are these nominations? Well, if the film is in Picture, Best Director has to be one, seeing as Babylon has been praised across the board for its bombastic mise-en-scene, the direction being singled out without much pause, even among the film’s critics. However, there’s always the chance Babylon goes the Whiplash route and racks up a few techs and Picture. The catch is that Whiplash got Screenplay, a nomination Babylon is unlikely to get, seeing as its screenplay has been widely criticized and the category is (as you might be tired of hearing) crowded. In the acting categories, Margot Robbie is all but guaranteed, but the jury is out on both Diego Calva and Brad Pitt.

Nominations have to be considered certain for Babylon‘s fanciful costume design, booming sound, unsettling cinematography, and especially its impeccably detailed production design (which based on the trailer, looks to be some of the best of all time), which have stunned all but its greatest skeptics. Most certain of all looks to be the film’s score, which has been praised repeatedly as the best of the year, and is mentioned in every review without pause. The score is already released, and Rea Reviews can confirm that Justin Hurwitz has done it again: the music is immaculate.

Predictions Summary: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design, Sound

TÁR

Rea-ting: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Composite Score: 81.86

A filmmaker of unparalleled intellectual ferocity, there is nobody whom this writer would like to match wits with less than Todd Field, writer and director of high-concept biographical picture of an entirely made-up musical icon: Lydia Tár, a renowned female conductor drowning in her own ego and psychotic deeds as she continues to try to influence the world with her music. Lydia is as diabolically smart as Field himself, plotting an endless web of machinations that seek to unseat everyone around her, including her own audience – and by extent, the moviegoer.

TÁR is a film nobody will understand on their first viewing, but it is nevertheless a work of genius, and quickly became the subject of a thousand video essays upon its release. There’s something so quietly horrifying about Lydia that seeps its way throughout the movie until you’re left shaking at an entirely invisible ghost – invisible, that is, unless you’re paying close attention. TÁR is helmed by Oscar darling Cate Blanchett, who manages to give a career-defining performance as Tár, her physicality and grandiosity coming off as truly transcendent.

Thanks to Field and Blanchett, TÁR stands to get several Oscar nominations, and is quickly racking up critics nominations and wins at groups like the Independent Spirits and Gothams. It’s one of those rare movies that is simultaneously as artsy and pretentious as cinema gets, but still manages to be fairly entertaining to those who are generally interested in this sort of thing. It helps that Field, back in the 2000s, was in good terms with the Academy and is just now returning to filmmaking.

The nominations TÁR will receive are simple to guess and even simpler to explain: Field will be nominated in Screenplay and Director, and Blanchett will be nominated in Actress. Though all three will come close to winning, none will due to a large amount of competition. Director may be the least likely of the three if several people pick up steam, but it’s still a very good bet. The only extra nomination TÁR could get is for Nina Hoss, a minor supporting role that, similar to Keoghan in Banshees of Inisherin, could follow a “Jesse Plemons” trajectory and get both the BAFTA and Oscar nod.

Predictions Summary: Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress

Elvis

Rea-ting: ⭐ | Composite Score: 67.86

This writer will be transparent and state that in their opinion, Elvis is – by a wide margin – the worst film competing for awards attention this season, and one of the worst films of the entire year. While Austin Butler’s performance as Presley himself is entirely competent, perhaps even a great show of acting, every other element of the film is completely absurd, featuring some of the worst directorial choices ever put to the screen. The film is reminiscent of the 90s Romeo and Juliet movie (one of the worst films ever, incidentally) which is not a coincidence, seeing as they were made by the same man.

Baz Luhrmann, famed maximalist director, is known for his off-kilt style chock full of nauseatingly quick cuts and jarringly contemporary soundtrack choices. Elvis is the clearest example of his bonkers directorial technique yet, featuring multiple hip-hop beat drops and some of the oddest editing choices ever put to a feature film. Not only does Elvis present the viewer with a stunning headache, but it is, for whatever reason, close to three hours long, and feels even longer. There is no film that this author would rather have kept out of the awards conversation, and yet, it is firmly in the race.

Though there is a vocal minority wishing for Elvis to be locked deep within a chamber of terrible films, the truth is that the majority of people quite enjoy Elvis, finding Luhrmann’s direction charming and fun, while feeling deeply invested in the stylized story of Presley. This, plus excellent box office numbers and a historical premise about an influential entertainment figure, equals success at the Academy Awards. There are a multitude of obstacles Elvis will have to overcome in order to reach this level of success, but odds have it that the film will do so, as baffling as it may seem.

Above the line, Austin Butler is mercifully the only nomination Elvis is set to receive. Baz Luhrmann has not supplanted himself in the Director conversation at all, and Tom Hanks’ laughably terrible performance has been universally panned, even by lovers of the film (in fact, Hanks looks good to receive a Razzie nomination, essentially a humorous anti-Oscars that awards the worst films of the year). Costumes, Editing (this author writes with an audible sigh), Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, and Sound are all fairly certain technical nominations if the film is a success.

Predictions Summary: Picture, Actor, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Sound

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Rea-ting: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½ | Composite Score: 83.29

The tenth slot for the Oscars’ Best Picture lineup is extremely difficult to choose, not because of an overabundance of options, but thanks to a lack thereof. None of the prospective choices can be offered without a host of notable drawbacks, so this author has chosen Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery to be the tenth slot for their predictions going into major precursor nominations. The case for Glass Onion in Best Picture is not without its flaws, but if it hits every note this season, it could very well squeeze in.

The sequel to beloved comedic murder mystery Knives Out, an acclaimed crowd pleaser in 2019’s Oscar season that did well at various precursors before coming in with a respectable – but ultimately, disappointing – lone Original Screenplay nomination, Glass Onion aims even higher than its predecessor in terms of awards chances. Though its acclaim is only equivalent to the first Knives Out, Glass Onion has three aces up its sleeve that it hopes to utilize in order to hit more precursors than the first Knives Out did, and ultimately clinch a Picture nomination.

The first ace: more slots in Best Picture. In 2021, a new rule was instated that required Best Picture have ten nominees: before, anywhere from seven to nine would be nominated. The 2019 Oscars had nine nominees, and many speculated that Knives Out was the tenth slot due to the overwhelming love for the movie. Glass Onion hopes to be this tenth slot, just as its predecessor was, but ride this new rule into Best Picture glory. This argument has a counterargument, though, seeing as The Two Popes may have had a better case to make for being the tenth slot in Picture that year.

The other two aces: Janelle Monae, and Netflix. Glass Onion‘s Janelle Monae has become an undeniable favorite to get a Best Supporting Actress nomination, winning countless critics circles and being compared to a similarly flashy genre performance from Maria Bakalova in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Monae is phenomenal in Glass Onion, lighting the film up from top to bottom and making it even more of an all-around joy to watch. Her likely nomination, plus a likely push from Netflix – the biggest studio when it comes to awards – as the studio’s best hope of a Picture nomination, might solidify Glass Onion as a very good contender for Best Picture.

Glass Onion has five main stops to make before it reaches Oscar glory: consideration from the National Board of Review, American Film Institute, Golden Globe awards, Critics Choice awards, and Screen Actors Guild awards. If it can do well at four (ideally five) of those ceremonies, receiving nominations for the film itself, as well Monae and the movie’s ensemble, then Glass Onion can really shine as an awards player. However, the film may end up doing the same thing its predecessor did, and stopping short at a Screenplay nomination. At least that much is guaranteed.

Predictions Summary: Picture, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay

***

Remember when you read that the Golden Globe nominations happen on the 12th, well before the date you’re reading this? Well, that’s because this article is coming out too late – but good news, that means this writer gets to explain all the awards that have happened thus far and their implications on the Oscar race. In addition to the Globes, we have the National Board of Review, American Film Institute, and Critics Choice Association all offering their take on the host of wonderful films that released in this year. These four awards bodies happen very close to one another, and are a great chance to get a first glimpse into what will happen during this awards season.

National Board of Review

First is National Board of Review, which nominates ten films for Picture and gives an eleventh film the win. This year, the winner was Top Gun: Maverick, which solidifies the film’s status as a definite nominee in Best Picture – 87% of the Board’s winners in the last fifteen years have been nominated, and many have even won. Telugu film RRR is also a notable nomination, the second international film ever to receive a NBR nomination, after Roma, nominated 10 times at the Oscars. Alongside RRRAvatar: The Way of Water was nominated, which confirms that it is a contender in the Oscar scene.

American Film Institute

Second is the American Film Institute, or AFI, which nominates ten American-made films and an eleventh internationally produced movie. AFI is even more accurate than NBR, with the eventual Best Picture lineup rarely containing more than two films not nominated at AFI, and with the AFI lineup rarely containing more than two films not nominated in Best Picture (the two aren’t synonymous, but explaining why takes a little too long). Everything EverywhereFabelmansTop GunWomen Talking, TÁR, and Avatar were all slotted in along with Banshees in the international spot.

Also present was Elvis, which is excellent news for its Oscar chances, seeing as similarly dreadful musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (which went on to be Oscar-nominated) missed AFI back in 2018. Instead of Glass Onion, journalistic scandal drama She Said made it in. Glass Onion needed an AFI nomination and more to be a reality: revival is a possibility at Critics Choice, but the film needs to hit every single beat to overcome the newly powerful She Said and recover from this devastating loss.

Golden Globes

As always, the Golden Globes seemed disastrous when they first released, featuring a multitude of snubs and surprises. One shocking thing, which made headlines, was an omission of Women Talking from almost every category: Motion Picture, Ben Whishaw in Supporting Actor, Sarah Polley in Director, and most shocking – neither Jessie Buckley nor Claire Foy made it into Supporting Actress. Nonetheless, the film’s screenplay and score were nominated. Though Women Talking is surely still a major contender, its presence in the acting categories may not be as definite as originally speculated.

Supporting Actress was, in a word, a smorgasbord. Not only were Foy and Buckley missing, but so was Janelle Monae for Glass Onion – potentially a final straw for that film’s chances in Best Picture. Kerry Condon for Banshees was the only “definite” nomination that actually happened, unless you include Carey Mulligan for She Said – which replaced Glass Onion in Rea Reviews’ Best Picture predictions. Jamie Lee Curtis was chosen, despite the absence of multiple phenomenal performances: this writer added her to the lineup, and took away Claire Foy after flipping a coin for which Women Talking actress should remain. Dolly de Leon for Triangle of Sadness was a complete shocker – more on Triangle of Sadness as an awards contender in a second.

But one nomination stood above them all as very surprising. Angela Bassett, in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, became the first actor ever in a superhero film to receive awards consideration of any kind. As for Triangle of Sadness, the newest black comedic satire from Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, the movie wasn’t expected to get much more this season than its Palme d’Or trophy at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie is prestige yet not acclaimed to a heightened extent, so many thought it may be a potential nominee for Original Screenplay, as was Cannes contender Worst Person in the World last year. This is certainly the case now that the film has received a nod for its most praised actor, Dolly de Leon, and a surprise Comedy/Musical nomination.

The success of Triangle of Sadness isn’t something this writer feels displeased or pleased about – a solid three star film – but the success of another film has Rea Reviews mourning for the state of cinema. The trade for having three five-star movies in enormous contention (Everything EverywhereBansheesFabelmans) is to see Luhrmann’s Elvis overperform in every conceivable way at the Golden Globes. Not only did it get Drama Picture and Actor, but Baz Luhrmann received a nomination for Best Director. This, dismayingly, injects him into the conversation for the Oscar nod.

Some films did just as well as expected, especially The Banshees of Inisherin – eight nominations, more than any film since 2003’s Cold Mountain. Babylon did very well, too, even garnering a nod for Brad Pitt in the absence of Ben Whishaw, which surely means Pitt is a player in the category. Unsurprisingly, Tom Cruise for Top Gun: Maverick was not nominated, seeing as Cruise has a rocky history with the Golden Globes. Other than that, Bollywood musical blockbuster RRR – mentioned under the National Board of Review heading – got nominations in Original Song and International Feature.

Critics Choice Awards

When the Critics Choice released their nominations, which contained a Picture category with 11 slots, all Oscar pundits were somewhat frustrated: a top eleven is much less helpful to Oscar predictions than a top ten. For the tenth slot, many were between Glass Onion and She Said – just the same as the Oscars’ Picture race. The slot did not belong to She Said, instead, it was both Glass Onion and RRR. Because RRR‘s S.S. Rajamouli has been crushing in the director category at critics circles, which lines up with a hearty history of foreign language flicks doing well there, it looks good to receive a nomination at the Oscars. RRR could be the new tenth slot, too… it’s hard to say.

As for Glass Onion, it is surely still competitive in the Picture category. What it needs is immense recognition from the Guilds – ideally a Producers Guild nomination and a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nomination for Ensemble. Janelle Monae received a Critics Choice nod, as did the film’s screenplay, ensemble, and costume design. The films that have been doing well elsewhere continued to do well, most notably the nine movies in Rea Reviews’ ten. It would appear that these nine will all get into Best Picture, as predicted.

A key category, as usual, was Supporting Actress. Rea Reviews’ prediction that Claire Foy would miss, and Jessie Buckley would get in, for Women Talking, was correct. If trends hold, Buckley will be a nominee in the category while Foy won’t. Kerry Condon and Jamie Lee Curtis both received nominations that solidify them in the category, and as mentioned, Janelle Monae is doing well. She Said missed in Supporting Actress, meaning Carey Mulligan may not be as sure of a bet as originally expected. The new prediction of Rea Reviews is that Angela Bassett, nominated at Critics Choice, makes it into the Oscar lineup. Stephanie Hsu for Everything Everywhere got the sixth nomination.

***

All in all, while Golden Globes and Critics Choice – as well as NBR, AFI, and the almighty critics circles (of which an aggregate can be found here) – haven’t changed a ton about the Best Picture race. The top nine, as predicted by Rea Reviews for a few weeks prior to Oscar season beginning, have held steady. The tenth slot continues to flop around, with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and RRR being the best bets for that tenth nominee. Nominations will continue to shift around, but the frontrunners remain the same, and Rea Reviews hopes that a truly great picture will be crowned as best.

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