January 12, 2018
11 Big Questions To Ponder As Oscar Nomination Voting Is Now Over
That’s it. A hurricane of an Oscar season takes a significant pause as nomination voting has officially ended for the 90th Academy Awards. And after the past four and a half months there are a ton of Oscar contenders , consultants, publicists, studio heads and, frankly, members of the press who need a breather. Thank god for Sundance, right?
Oh, wait. That’s not a breather.
And there’s SAG and PGA voting going on too. Ah, well.
In any event, with voting ending in a furious week with a scandal of some sort breaking every day (and we’re not just talking about that idiot in the White House), it’s worth the time to tackle some of the big questions that will still provide some sleepless nights to many hunting for Oscar glory.
Do we have an insanely awkward James Franco situation on our hands?
Oh me, oh my. After Franco won the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy at the Globes the sexual harassment stories that everyone in town were waiting to break finally broke. First there were the two accusations the night of the show (which Franco denied on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) and then an LA Times report which had five women go on record broke early on the morning of Thursday, January 11th less than 48 hours before the voting deadline. Franco skipped the Critics Choice Awards and while he still won the producers were smart to announce the honor before the live telecast. Before the scandal broke many had assumed Franco would earn a nomination due to a fading Denzel Washington campaign and seemingly little momentum for Tom Hanks. The question is whether that’s truly the case with the Academy. In media and publicity circles the rumors the trades were working on this story began circulating in early December. It clearly took much longer for the women who came forward to do so then many thought (which, obviously, is absolutely their right). Now, Franco may be nominated under a cloud of accusations that may have scuttled any chance for a nod if they came to light before voting began. If he’s nominated will he show up at the Oscar luncheon? Will he show up to the telecast itself?
Is Christopher Plummer about to be a victim of Mark Wahlberg’s greediness?
After earning a BAFTA nomination this week it seemed like Christopher Plummer’s impromptu and unexpected Best Supporting Actor campaign might actually earn him an Oscar nomination. Plummer stepped in to replace the ostracized Kevin Spacey in November shooting his scenes for Ridley Scott’s “All The Money In The World” over the Thanksgiving break. The day after the Golden Globes – where he also earned a nomination – it came to light that unlike co-star Michelle Williams, who basically agreed to do the reshoot basically for free, Mark Wahlberg insisted on being paid $1.5 million to participate. This contradicted earlier remarks from Scott who had basically said everyone on the cast and crew (except for newcomer Plummer) had waived their fees. While Plummer had nothing to do with it and was probably as unaware as Williams was, it did cast a negative light on what had been seen as a story Hollywood wanted to rally around. Plummer could still make the cut, but if he doesn’t will we look back at this story as the reason why?
What the hell happened to “The Post”?
After impressive reviews (an 83 on Metacritic, 88% on Rotten Tomatoes), Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” was seen not only as an awards season player, but potentially a Best Picture winning contender. Unfortunately, not all of the guilds seemed to have gotten the memo. The film was completely shut out of the BAFTA WGA, DGA and SAG nominations. While it did earn a PGA nomination many are wondering if that will be its sole Oscar nod. Not what you’d expect from a well-reviewed prestige drama bringing Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks together for the first time. Was it a somewhat quiet publicity campaign that came on too late? Was it the late screening date (almost always a problem these days with SAG)? Or maybe it was just the quality of the movie itself?
Is “In The Fade” the Foreign Language Film spoiler?
The sound of screaming from outside the Beverly Hilton ballroom Saturday night wasn’t the frustration of an actor or actress upset over losing an award, it was the choir of FLF consultants shocked that Fatih Akin’s drama “In The Fade” took the Globe. For a shortlist film that many believed would be on the outside looking in when the Foreign Language Film nominees are announced it was just another hiccup in what has turned into a very competitive race for a nom. “Fade” features a fantastic performance by Cannes winner Diane Kruger, but as a movie it’s pretty much an overall “B.” What often gets lost in the context of the rest of awards season is the huge amount of money different countries and distributors pay to help their film reach a FLF nomination. Remember, the Oscars is hands down the most watched awards show on the planet. It means a lot to filmmakers and film production outside the United States. It’s a source of pride. “Fade” taking the Critics Choice Award was just another punch in the gut to many contenders who feel they are more worthy. The shortlist will be voted on to determine the final five this weekend (more on that in a minute), but who will make the final five? Is “A Fantastic Woman” the only lock? Can International voters make sure Cannes winner “The Square” makes it in? Can Sony Classics earn a rare three nominations for a distributor in this category (“Fantastic Woman,” “Loveless,” “Foxtrot”) or is one of the players snubbed? Will Hungary’s “Of Body and Soul” join “Fade” as party crashers? Ponder, pt. 1.
Can “Darkest Hour” still make the cut?
Joe Wright’s Winston Churchill drama got a breath of fresh air with nine BAFTA nominations this week including Best Film. After missing out at PGA and SAG Ensemble (too competitive to ever happen) it was a sign the holiday indie hit was still in the game for a Best Picture nomination. Moreover, Gary Oldman’s Golden Globe win didn’t hurt either. And if it doesn’t? Well, at least the likely $50 million plus domestic box office gross will be something to celebrate.
Can SAG and PGA save “Lady Bird” and “Get Out’s” Best Picture hopes?
The conventional wisdom is that the SAG ensemble honor is going to either “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” or “Get Out.” The conventional wisdom is also that the PGA award is going to either “Three Billboards,” “Shape of Water” or “Get Out.” As for DGA? Well, many expect Guillermo del Toro to take that one, but anything is possible. For “Get Out” to pull off a Best Picture win it may need both the SAG and PGA win to convince Academy voters to watch it who haven’t (yes, that problem is popping up again). As for “Lady Bird,” the last time a movie won Best Picture without taking any of those top guild honors? “Moonlight,” just last year. Before that? “Braveheart” in 1996. So, if it doesn’t surprise with any of those three it’s still gonna be tough to upset on Oscar night.