Connect with us

Awards

2012 Grammy Awards: Winner Predictions

Published

on

Adele

Eric Henderson: As someone who nearly earned myself a toaster oven in a karoke contest busting hip rolls to “Teenage Dream,” I can’t fully sign off on your malcontent, but that song still represents the sole time Perry’s formula struck on something winsome and enduring. “Firework,” in contrast, is as arch and addicted to whip-its as anything else in her catalogue, and ergo hypocritical because of it. That still places it one notch above the smarmy nothingness that is “Grenade” though.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

21, Adele (WILL WIN)
Wasting Light, Foo Fighters
Born This Way, Lady Gaga
Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Bruno Mars
Loud, Rihanna

SC: This category has seen worse lineups (kudos for the exclusion of what I thought were shoo-ins: Taylor Swift and Tony Bennett), but Rihanna’s inclusion points to a move toward populism and consumerism rather than credibilty. Hell, even though I think Gaga’s spot is well-deserved, we all know why it’s actually there.
JK: This kind of WTFuckery is one of the reasons I can’t ever turn away from the Grammys’ annual trainwreck. They finally become aware of the rockist vs. popist schism from, what, six or seven years ago, and then they still get it completely, spectacularly backward: Only the Grammys would say, “You kids talk among yourselves, and we’ll just go ahead and endorse Bon Iver as a singles artist and Rihanna as an album artist, okay?” To that end, I kind of hope Rihanna does win, but if Adele can even get nominated for an NAACP Image Award, there’s no reason she can’t win here.
EH: Co-sign. I can’t for the life of me understand why they seem incapable of nominating three simple minutes of infectious, beat-driven fun in the category that’s meant to honor that very accomplishment (well, I guess Katy Perry did manage a nod in Record of the Year, but that’s a different sort of “infectious”), and yet seem to be making a conscious effort here to say that albums, at their best, function as singles-generating machines. I’m not being facetious when I say “S&M” has more business being a nominee in the other category than Loud has being one here. But, more to the point, Nicki Minaj has more right being in both.

SONG OF THE YEAR
“All of the Lights,” Kanye West featuring Rihanna, Kid Cudi, and Fergie
“The Cave,” Mumford & Sons
“Grenade,” Bruno Mars
“Holocene,” Bon Iver
“Rolling in the Deep,” Adele (WILL WIN)

JK: I feel like Kanye has a shot at this as some sort of consolation for not getting nominated for Album of the Year, because NARAS always loves a good make-up win. It’s the only song that could conceivably upset “Rolling in the Deep.”
EH: Might’ve helped if they’d nominated him for one of the two he did with Bon Iver, to be honest.
SC: The fact that four out five of the nominees in this category are also nominated for Record of the Year makes picking the winner even easier. It also makes the distinction between these two eternally fraternal categories more confusing than ever.

BEST NEW ARTIST
The Band Perry
Bon Iver (WILL WIN)
J. Cole
Nicki Minaj
Skrillex

JK: J. Cole is the only one of the nominees I can’t see winning. Nicki Minaj has the commercial stats and the girl parts historically necessary to win here, but Skrillex and his North Korean dictator’s haircut actually have the most total nominations among this lot. The Band Perry also has the broad, country-but-only-nominally-country appeal that helped Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band win this category recently, while Bon Iver has those other two general field nominations to consider. If Minaj does win, I just hope we’re spared one of her BFF Taylor Swift’s trademark disingenuous reaction shots.
EH: Every time Taylor does that, I say a little prayer that a thread of drool tumbles out. It never happens, and probably never will until the moment she’s actually caught off guard by a win. I’m pretty sure a lot voters regard dubstep as ringtones that won’t stop after 30 seconds. And though the Grammys put the Best Country Album nominees among the tracks on their yearly CD aimed at people who only buy one CD a year, I think Bon Iver is a much more formidable contender against the Minajonaut than the Band Perry.
SC: Despite the fact that Bon Iver won’t be performing at the ceremony, I still think they’ve got they best shot at upsetting Minaj. I might even give them the edge based on voters’ recent history in this category.

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE
“Body and Soul,” Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse (WILL WIN)
“Dearest,” The Black Keys
“Paradise,” Coldplay
“Pumped Up Kicks,” Foster the People
“Moves Like Jagger,” Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera

SC: The cynic in me thinks Tony Bennett will take this one in honor of Amy Winehouse’s unfulfilled potential, but the über-cynic in me is pretty sure “Moves Like Jagger” will win in honor of Christina Aguilera’s unfulfilled potential.
JK: Even if NARAS is eager to congratulate themselves for giving Best New Artist to two acts who managed to sustain high-profile careers, the Bennett and Winehouse duet—which not even Wino could save from being dull—lets them recognize both a former BNA winner and one of their favorite veterans. It’s a role-reversal from the “Here We Go Again” wins from a couple of years back in that the beloved vet won’t be the party who wins posthumously, but that’s the only real difference here.
EH: Hard to know exactly yet how this category will shake out, with collaborations and groups now sharing space, but the chance to award postumously and preumously seems like a sure shot to me. Watch Coldplay win.

BEST TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM
Duets II, Tony Bennett (WILL WIN)
The Gift, Susan Boyle
In Concert on Broadway, Harry Connick Jr.
Music Is Better Than Words, Seth MacFarlane
What Matters Most, Barbra Streisand

SC: I couldn’t get anyone on the Slant staff to review Duets II, so Bennett and friends FTW. On a side note, am I the only one who thinks of bug chasers when I see the title of Susan Boyle’s album? I am? Never mind then.
JK: Well, I was going to get all indignant here about how I reviewed both the SuBo and the Seth MacFarlane albums, but then I noticed that it’s actually Boyle’s Christmas (or bug-chasing) album nominated instead of Someone to Watch Over Me, because why the hell wouldn’t it be? Bennett will win, but I would love to see how much more condescending and obtuse the comment thread on that MacFarlane review could get if he were to pull off an upset.

BEST DANCE RECORDING
“Raise Your Weapon,” Deadmau5 and Greta Svabo Bech
“Barbra Streisand,” Duck Sauce
“Sunshine,” David Guetta and Avicii
“Call Your Girlfriend,” Robyn (WILL WIN)
“Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” Skrillex
“Save the World,” Swedish House Mafia

SC: I’d say that Robyn winning for “Call Your Girlfriend” would be consolation for losing to Rihanna last year, except she’s once again genuinely worthy of the prize. And there isn’t a major crossover hit or competing dance-pop diva for her to contend with this time around.
JK: Are we sure that NARAS voters won’t see “Barbra Streisand” on the ballot and just vote for that as a reflex? Because doesn’t that seem like something they would actually do?
EH: By that line of reasoning, expect Deadmau5’s duet with Greta Garbo and Johann Sebastian Bach to net surprisingly deep pockets of support. Unless the same cataract-ridden set also thinks Barbra Streisand is covering “Disco Duck.” Then again, they might mistake Skrillex’s name for one of their prescriptions and fill in the box. These are all more likely scenarios than presuming voters will have actually danced to any of these songs.

BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION
“Party,” Beyoncé & André 3000
“I’m on One,” DJ Khaled, Drake, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne
“I Need a Doctor,” Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Skylar Grey
“What’s My Name?,” Rihanna and Drake
“Motivation,” Kelly Rowland and Lil Wayne
“All of the Lights,” Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, and Fergie (WILL WIN)

EH: Kudos to Grammy for awarding what is easily the laziest, least dignified track on Blue Ivy’s mom’s otherwise incredibly Grammy-friendly grown folks’ R&B album with the record’s only nomination, in a category whose title still makes it sound about as prestigious as “Best Font Choice” or “Most Beats Per Minute.” “What’s My Name?” might be Kanye and company’s biggest threat.
JK: I love that the Grammys still haven’t figured out how to refer to a guest verse. “All of the Lights” probably has this, but I’m always hesitant to bet against Beysus, even if she’s thoroughly shown up by her former Destiny’s step-child Kelly Rowland here.
SC: A vote for Kanye, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, and Fergie is also technically a vote for John Legend, The-Dream, Ryan Leslie, Tony Williams, Charlie Wilson, Elly Jackson, Alicia Keys, and Elton John, and I don’t think the academy will be able to resist patting that many minorities artists on the back at one time.

BEST RAP ALBUM
Watch the Throne, Jay-Z and Kanye West
Tha Carter IV, Lil Wayne
Lasers, Lupe Fiasco
Pink Friday, Nicki Minaj
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West (WILL WIN)

JK: If there’s a vote-split between the two Kanye albums, that could benefit Minaj, but I don’t think Watch the Throne will siphon off enough of the votes to keep Fantasy from winning.
EH: No contest.
SC: Yeah, I admit to having a little bit of a fetish for watching Kanye West lose awards, but he’s got this one tied up, especially given that, prior to middle America’s discovery of Adele, I thought he was a sure bet not just for another Album of the Year nomination, but finally a win. And a deserved one.

BEST SHORT FORM MUSIC VIDEO
“Rolling in the Deep,” Adele (Director: Sam Brown) (WILL WIN)
“Yes I Know,” Memory Tapes (Director: Eric Epstein)
“All Is Not Lost,” OK Go (Director: Itamar Kubovy, Damian Kulash, and Trish Sie)
“Lotus Flower,” Radiohead (Director: Garth Jennings)
“First of the Year (Equinox),” Skrillex (Director: Tony Truand)
“Perform This Way,” “Weird Al” Yankovic (Director: “Weird Al” Yankovic)

SC: I’m curious to know what the selection process is for this category when the creepy-cool but seemingly arbitrarily chosen “First of the Year” and the just plain creepy “Perform This Way” earn slots over clips like Is Tropical’s “The Greeks” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Even if Adele sweeps everything else this year, I’d feel satisified if she lost this one to OK Go’s exhilaratingly original and interactive “All Is Not Lost.”
EH: I’d feel satisfied if the nomination for “Lotus Flower” was, in actuality, a nomination for this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.
JK: It would be swell if OK Go’s concept-driven videos actually made their singles more visible, but there’s no faulting a video like “All Is Not Lost” on its own merits. But this isn’t like Oscar’s foreign-film branch, where voters actually have to prove they’ve seen everything nominated before they can cast their ballots, and, regardless of quality of the other four videos, Adele’s clip for “Rolling in the Deep” has just been too widely seen and liked to lose here.

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards air on Sunday, February 12th on CBS. Take a shot every time we get one of our picks wrong. Seriously. Try it. You’ll thank us.

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Advertisement
Comments

Awards

Oscar 2020: Complete Winners List

Parasite earned four awards, edging out 1917 for best picture.

Published

on

Parasite
Photo: Neon

Across the last month, we contemplated various pendulum swings, drew links between the Oscar voting process and the Iowa caucuses, and generally mulled over the academy’s ongoing existential crisis, only to come the conclusion that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or that’s what we thought prior to the Academy Awards ceremony. In a welcome surprise, Parasite took the top prize, becoming the first international title to do so in the history of the awards show, while Bong Joon-ho became the first director since Roman Polanski to win the directing Oscar after failing to win the DGA prize. (Parasite is also the first Palme d’Or winner since Marty way back in 1955 to claim best picture.)

In the era of the preferential ballot, one stat or another has been thrown out the window each year, but after last night, it feels like every last one was shattered to bits, and that the triumph of Bong film’s could signal a shift in the industry when it comes to not just what sorts of stories can be told. Indeed, Parasite’s victory is redolent of Moonlight’s no less historic one a few years ago, giving us hope that the very definition of an “Oscar movie” has been forever rewritten. Predicting the Oscars has become a little bit harder now.

Here’s the full list of winners.

Picture
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Parasite (WINNER)

Director
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Phillips, Joker
Sam Mendes, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite (WINNER)

Actor
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (WINNER)
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Actress
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy (WINNER)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (WINNER)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story (WINNER)
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Adapted Screenplay
The Irishman, Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi (WINNER)
Joker, Todd Phillips and Scott Silver
Little Women, Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

Original Screenplay
Knives Out, Rian Johnson
Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
1917, Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
Parasite, Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won (WINNER)

International Feature Film
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Les Misérables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea) (WINNER)

Documentary Feature
American Factory, Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, and Jeff Reichert
The Cave, Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod, and Sigrid Dyekjær
The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris, and Tiago Pavan
For Sama, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts
Honeyland, Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska, and Atanas Georgiev

Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, and Bonnie Arnold
I Lost My Body, Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice
Klaus, Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh, and Marisa Román
Missing Link, Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner, and Travis Knight
Toy Story 4, Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, and Jonas Rivera (WINNER)

Film Editing
Ford v Ferrari, Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland (WINNER)
The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker
Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles
Joker, Jeff Groth
Parasite, Yang Jinmo

Cinematography
The Irishman, Rodrigo Prieto
Joker, Lawrence Sher
The Lighthouse, Jarin Blaschke
1917, Roger Deakins (WINNER)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Robert Richardson

Production Design
The Irishman, Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
Jojo Rabbit, Ra Vincent and Nora Sopková
1917, Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh (WINNER)
Parasite, Lee Ha-jun and Cho Won-woo

Costume Design
The Irishman, Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson
Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
Joker, Mark Bridges
Little Women, Jacqueline Durran (WINNER)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Arianne Phillip

Visual Effects
Avengers: Endgame, Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, and Dan Sudick
The Irishman, Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser, and Stephane Grabli
The Lion King, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Elliot Newman
1917, Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy (WINNER)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, and Dominic Tuohy

Original Score
Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir (WINNER)
Little Women, Alexandre Desplat
Marriage Story, Randy Newman
1917, Thomas Newman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

Sound Mixing
Ad Astra, Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, and Mark Ulano
Ford v Ferrari, Paul Massey, David Giammarco, and Steven A. Morrow
Joker, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, and Tod Maitland
1917, Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson (WINNER)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler, and Mark Ulano

Sound Editing
Ford v Ferrari, Donald Sylvester (WINNER)
Joker, Alan Robert Murray
1917, Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Wylie Stateman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Matthew Wood and David Acord

Makeup and Hairstyling
Bombshell, Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, and Vivian Baker (WINNER)
Joker, Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou
Judy, Jeremy Woodhead
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten, and David White
1917, Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis, and Rebecca Cole

Original Song
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4, Randy Newman
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman, Elton John and Bernie Taupin
“I’m Standing with You,” Breakthrough, Diane Warren
“Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“Stand Up,” Harriet, Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo

Live-Action Short
Brotherhood, Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon
Nefta Footfall Club, Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi
The Neighbor’s Window, Marshall Curry (WINNER)
Saria, Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre
A Sister, Delphine Girard

Documentary Short Subject
In the Absence, Yi Seung-jun and Gary Byung-seok Kam
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva
Life Overtakes Me, John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
St. Louis Superman, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
Walk, Run, Chacha, Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt

Animated Short
Daughter, Daria Kashcheeva
Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver (WINNER)
Kitbull, Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson
Memorable, Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre
Sister, Siqi Song

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Picture

How could the essentially non-political 1917 not arrive as sweet solace in our cultural moment?

Published

on

1917
Photo: Universal Pictures

We now have roughly a decade’s worth of data to postulate how ranked-choice ballots have altered the outcome of the top Oscar prize, and we’ve come to understand what the notion of a “most broadly liked” contender actually entails. And in the wake of wins for The Artist, Argo, 12 Years a Slave, Spotlight, The Shape of Water, and most especially Green Book last year, we’re left with the impression that the biggest change in what defines a best picture is no change whatsoever. In fact, what appears to have happened is that it’s acted as a bulwark, preserving the AMPAS’s “tradition of quality” in the top prize during a decade in which the concept of a run-the-table Oscar juggernaut has shifted from the postcard pictorials of Out of Africa to immersive epics like Gravity and Mad Max: Fury Road, both of which won two to three times as many awards as the films they lost out to for the top prize.

We’re far from the only ones who’ve noticed that—Moonlight eternally excepted—the contours of best picture winners seem to be drifting in the opposite direction of where Academy representatives have indicated they want to go. Wesley Morris recently concluded that, despite his fondness, if not downright love, for the majority of this year’s top contenders, the slate still just doesn’t jibe with a purportedly forward-thinking, brand-spanking-new academy: “Couldn’t these nine movies just be evidence of taste? Good taste? They certainly could. They are. And yet … the assembly of these movies feels like a body’s allergic reaction to its own efforts at rehabilitation.” Melissa Villaseñor’s jovial refrain of “white male rage” two weeks ago knowingly reduced this awards cycle down to absurdly black-or-white terms, but if the YouTube comments on that SNL bit are any indication, raging white males aren’t in the mood to have a sense of humor about themselves, much less welcome serious introspection.

Neither is that demographic alone in its disgruntlement. What was yesteryear’s “brutally honest Oscar voter” has become today’s “blithely, incuriously sexist, racist, and xenophobic Oscar voter.” As the saying goes, this is what democracy looks like, and given sentiments like “I don’t think foreign films should be nominated with the regular films” and “they should have gotten an American actress to play Harriet,” it looks a lot like the second coming of Hollywood’s Golden Age gorgons of gossip, Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons.

It might be a stretch but we can imagine that, to many voters, the presumptive frontrunner, Sam Mendes’s 1917, comes off a lot less like a first-person video game mission and a lot more representative of what it feels like to navigate our landmine-strewn cultural landscape as your average politically neoliberal, artistically reactionary academy member circa 2020. Especially one forced to make snap decisions in the midst of an accelerated Oscar calendar. And even if that is, rhetorically speaking, a bridge too far, there’s no denying the backdrop of representational fatigue and socio-political retreat liberal America is living through.

How could the stiff-lipped, single-minded, technically flawless, quietly heroic, and, most importantly, essentially non-political 1917 not arrive as sweet solace in this moment? It’s the same reason why we suspect, despite ranked-choice ballots pushing Bong Joon-ho’s insanely and broadly liked Parasite in major contention for the prize, it’s actually Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit we most strongly fear pulling off an upset. After all, how many Oscar voters are still more concerned about Nazis than they are global income inequality? Or, if you’d rather, how many of their homes look more like the Parks’ than like the Kims’?

Will Win: 1917

Could Win: Jojo Rabbit

Might Win: Parasite

Should Win: The Irishman, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, or Parasite

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Director

Given the academy’s long history and resurgent embrace of technical triumphs, we’re not holding our breath for an upset here.

Published

on

Sam Mendes
Photo: Universal Pictures

Last week, when Eric brought to my attention the New York Times article that exposed the myth of Hollywood being in the tank for movies about the industry, I used the piece as a jumping-off point for why Quentin Tarantino was vulnerable in the original screenplay category. At the time, I thought I was stepping on Eric’s toes by referencing his intel, believing him to be charged with giving our readers the lowdown in this category. Turns out he was tasked with whipping up our take on the film editing contest, meaning that I had stepped on my own toes. Which is to say, almost everything I already said about why QT was likely to come up short in original screenplay applies here, and then some.

Indeed, just as math tells us that the academy’s adulation for navel-gazing portraitures of Hollywood has been exaggerated by the media, it also tells us that this award is Sam Mendes’s to lose after the 1917 director won the DGA award, the most accurate of all Oscar precursors, having predicted the winner here 64 times in 71 years. A win for the pin-prick precision of Bong Joon-ho’s direction of Parasite would be a welcome jaw-dropper, as it would throw several stats out the window and, in turn, get us a little more excited about predicting the Oscars next year. But given the academy’s long history and resurgent embrace of technical triumphs—trust us, the math checks out—we’re not holding our breath.

Will Win: Sam Mendes, 1917

Could Win: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Should Win: Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Film Editing

The only thing louder than the vroom-vroom of James Mangold’s dad epic is the deafening chorus of “Best. Movie. Ever.”

Published

on

Parasite
Photo: Neon

This past Monday, while the nation waited hour after embarrassing hour for the Iowa caucus results to start rolling in, Film Twitter puzzled over an AMPAS tweet that seemed to leak this year’s Oscar winners—before the voting window had even closed. It didn’t help matters that the slate of “predictions” tweeted by the academy seemed plausible enough to be real, right down to Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite for best picture.

As it turned out, the academy’s problems weren’t so unlike the DNC app gumming up the works in, as the New York Post shadily dubbed it, “Duh Moines.” And sure enough, AMPAS fessed up to a quality-control gremlin (sorry, “issue”) that resulted in someone’s personal predictions going out on the main account. As Iowa’s snafu reaffirmed that Occam’s razor isn’t just something you need to keep out of Arthur Fleck’s hands, we’re 100% certain that the intern who posted that ballot on the academy’s account meant to post it on their personal one.

Speaking of Joker, if you would’ve asked us even just a few days ago whether we thought Ford v Ferrari was any more likely than Todd Phillips’s dank meme to take the Oscar in the category that has frequently been characterized as the strongest bellwether for a film’s overall best picture chances, we’d have probably collapsed in a fit of incontrollable giggles. And yet, with a BAFTA film editing win in Ford v Ferrari’s favor, we’re not the only ones wondering if the least-nominated best picture nominee actually has more in its tank than meets the eye.

The only thing louder than the vroom-vroom of James Mangold’s dad epic, however, is the deafening chorus of “Best. Movie. Ever.” being sung on Parasite’s behalf, and indeed, it was selected as the academy’s unofficial, accidental prediction in this category. As Ed noted yesterday, momentum is in its favor like no other film this year. Well, maybe one other, and it was mere providence that the one-shot gestalt kept Sam Mendes’s 1917 off the ballot here, or else one of the tougher calls of the night could’ve been that much tougher.

Will Win: Parasite

Could Win: Ford v Ferrari

Should Win: Parasite

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

One of the realities of the Oscar race is that you never want to peak too early.

Published

on

Parasite
Photo: Neon

So much has happened across the home stretch of this perversely shortened awards season that it’s almost difficult to process it all. Believe it or not, at the start of our rolling Oscar prediction coverage, just after the Golden Globes and a few days before the Producers Guild of America Awards announced its top prize, I was still confident in my belief that we were heading toward another picture/director split, with Jojo Rabbit taking the former and Quentin Tarantino the latter. But flash forward two weeks and we’re now looking at an Oscar ceremony that will be in lockstep with the final wave of guilds and awards groups, leaving frontrunners in various categories up to this point in the dust.

Case in point: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood in original screenplay. Even after a recent New York Times article used old-fashioned math to expose the myth being propagated by awards pundits—even us!—that Hollywood is in love with seeing its image reflected back at itself, we figured that the film, even if it isn’t our stealth best picture frontrunner, and even if it isn’t Tarantino’s swan song, couldn’t lose here. After all, the category is practically synonymous with QT, who only needs one more win to tie Woody Allen for most Oscars here.

And then—tell us if you’ve heard this one before—Parasite happened. Here’s a category in which Oscar voters aren’t reluctant to award genre fare, or re-imaginations of that fare. That’s Tarantino’s stock in trade…as well as Bong Joon-ho’s. Parasite’s screenplay, co-written by Bong and Han Jin-won, found favor with the WGA last weekend, and while we weren’t ready to call this race for the film at that time—Tarantino isn’t a WGA member, and as such can’t be nominated for the guild’s awards—we’re doing so in the wake of the South Korean satire winning the BAFTA against Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. That victory proves, among other things, that one of the realities of the Oscar race is that you never want to peak too early.

Will Win: Parasite

Could Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Should Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

Oscar has a long-standing history of using the screenplay awards for token gestures, especially toward writer-directors.

Published

on

Jojo Rabbit

As soon as the Oscar nominations were announced and the headlines were dominated by the academy’s cold shoulder toward female directors, it sure felt like the balance of this race was tipped in Greta Gerwig’s favor. After all, Oscar has a long-standing history of using the screenplay awards for token gestures, especially toward writer-directors; they’re where filmmakers like Spike Lee, Sofia Coppola, Pedro Almodóvar, Jordan Peele, Spike Jonze, and, to date, Quentin Tarantino have won their only Oscars.

Gerwig’s status as the most conspicuous best director castaway in this category might not in itself have been enough to push her through, but virtually all the press on her exceptionally good Little Women has focused specifically on how successfully she remixed the novel vis-a-vis jaunting back and forth between different periods in the chronology. Her framing device allows the novel and its modern fans to have their cake and eat it too, to be told a story overly familiar to them in a way that makes the emotional arcs feel fresh and new, to be enraptured by the period details that have always fascinated them but then also come away from it feeling fully reconciled with Jo’s “marriage” to Professor Bhaer. Within the world of pop filmmaking, if that doesn’t constitute excellence in screenwriting adaption, what indeed does?

Alas, as was confirmed at this weekend’s BAFTA and WGA awards, the token gesture this year looks to be spent not on Gerwig, but the category’s other writer-director who missed out in the latter category. We’re no fans of Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, and we aren’t alone, as it boasts the lowest score of any best picture nominee this year on Metacritic. Still, we admit that it must touch a nerve somewhere in the average academy voter who not only finds the Holocaust so irresistible a subject that they’re willing to back a film that this year’s crop of “honest Oscar posters” memorably dubbed Lolocaust, but who also, while continuing to feel increasingly persecuted about the online catcalls over their questionable taste, would right about now love to drop kick Film Twitter out a window like Jojo does Waititi’s positively puckish Hitler.

Will Win: Jojo Rabbit

Could Win: Little Women

Should Win: Little Women

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Production Design

Oscar voters are suckers for scale, throwbacks, ostentation, and, above all, a sense of prestige.

Published

on

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Oscar voters are suckers for scale, throwbacks, ostentation, and, above all, a sense of prestige. No film nominated in this category checks off all those boxes, but two come close: The Irishman and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. While the former never caught fire the way it needed to in order to vie for even the major prizes, the latter has been cruising toward more than just a win in this category from the second people laid eyes on it out of Cannes last year. Regardless of what you think of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, it’s difficult to imagine the scope of Quentin Tarantino’s sense of regard for a bygone Hollywood being possible without Barbara Ling’s production design and Nancy Haigh’s set decoration.

Still, this one is going to be a squeaker. First, there’s the matter of 1917’s late-in-the-game surge and whether or not the film can run the table in the technical categories, even in this particular one where war films almost never prevail. And then there’s Parasite. Near the start of our rolling Oscar coverage, I mentioned how almost every day is bringing us some article praising the perfectly lit and designed architectural purgatory that is that film’s main setting. Now there’s a black-and-white version of the film making the rounds that will certainly allow people to think anew on the dimensions of the film’s thematic and aesthetic surfaces. Because winning in most of Oscar’s tech categories isn’t about restraint, but “more is more,” Parasite’s concentrated sense of texture is more likely the spoiler to the vividly haunted past-ness that clings to every surface across Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’s plethora of settings.

Will Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Could Win: Parasite

Should Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Visual Effects

The tea leaves are reading that it will be another win for middlebrow respectability.

Published

on

1917
Photo: Universal Pictures

Typically, it’s the short film categories that are most likely to trip up Oscar pool participants hoping to run the table, and not just among those who haven’t bothered to watch the nominees. A check on our own record reveals a number of years in which we failed to correctly guess at least one of them. It’s far more rare for the visual effects category to be one of any given year’s toughest calls. A quick glance at recent category history shows that Oscar voters clearly prefer what the industry refers to as “supporting” effects in a respectable movie for adults, like Life of Pi, Inception, and last year’s winner, First Man. Heck, voters are so counterintuitively serious-minded about this category that they eschewed the rollickingly impolite Mad Max: Fury Road—a juggernaut in the technical races back in 2015—instead opting for the not-just-comparatively minimalist Ex Machina.

Unfortunately, this year’s slate is almost ominously balanced between highbrow supporting effects, photorealistic animated animals in a kiddie epic, and template-oriented maximalism in support of action franchises. The result is the only slate where a bet on any given nominee would pay out more than double your investment, according to the latest Vegas oddsmakers. Still, the Visual Effects Society just handed the better chunk of their honors to The Lion King. It’s tempting to take stock of that, to consider The Jungle Book’s win three years ago, and to admit that the Disney remake is largely in a lane of its own here, and then take that as our cue to “hakuna matata” our way out of any further deliberation.

And yet, we’re not troubled by the VES awards’ preference for The Irishman over 1917 in their “serious movies” category. For one, the effects industry’s own affinity for character-oriented work is well-documented. Out in the wild, the uncanny valley of Scorsese’s age-reversing trickery has been as widely ridiculed as it has been embraced, especially that moment when Robert De Niro’s hitman roughs someone up in flashback, bearing a waxy youthful face but a very much seventysomething body. Given 1917’s 11th-hour surge, its Gravity-ish use of effects to blur cinematography, editing, and postproduction, and the fact that its grandest fabricated images never get in the way of the story, cue another win for middlebrow respectability.

Will Win: 1917

Could Win: The Lion King

Should Win: 1917

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress

One of the great mysteries of this year’s awards season is the ultimate fate of Jojo Rabbit.

Published

on

Laura Dern
Photo: Netflix

One of the great mysteries of this year’s awards season that won’t be answered until the end of next week’s Oscar telecast is whether or not Jojo Rabbit will go home empty-handed. Taika Waititi’s film seemed destined for the top prize as soon as it won last year’s audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and then, well, lots of things happened since then, but nothing quite so damaging to the film’s awards ambitions than 1917, with which it likely shares more of a fan overlap than any other film in the best picture race. We don’t believe that there are enough academy members who cast votes with the intention of “spreading the wealth” to sway races in unexpected directions, but we do believe that Jojo Rabbit remains a major player in any category where it isn’t nominated against 1917.

That’s us saying that a win for Scarlett Johansson in the supporting actress race wouldn’t surprise us. And the only reason that we’re not going to call it for her is because there are other narratives that we believe in when it comes to securing an academy member’s vote, such as a nominee’s devotion to the campaign trail. The stars have lined up perfectly across the last few months for three-time Oscar nominee Laura Dern, a celebrated veteran of the industry who, for us, sealed the deal with her gracious SAG speech, which she prefaced with a touching pit stop at the Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood table in order to give her father, Bruce Dern, a hug. Also, given that Johansson is the likeliest spoiler in the best actress race, for a performance that would be difficult to imagine without her Marriage Story co-star’s collaboration, we’re also of the belief that if enough voters consider a vote for Johansson here an act of redundancy, if not betrayal, Dern’s victory is all but guaranteed.

Will Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Could Win: Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Should Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

The path of least resistance and most chronological distance almost always wins here.

Published

on

Little Women
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When we shared Odie Henderson’s un-improvable joke, “Who wins the Costume Design Oscar for Joker? The Goodwill?,” we admit we hadn’t yet bothered to look up the person responsible for its downtrodden anti-chic shabbery. And seeing it was none other than Phantom Thread’s Oscar-winning Mark Bridges chastened us only long enough for us to remember that he was left off the ballot at the BAFTAs in favor of Jany Temime’s work on Judy, which, no matter what you think of the film itself, makes a lot more sense as a nominee in a category that, as Bridges well knows, often defaults to frock fervor. So while we could easily get more bent out of shape that the Costume Designers Guild this week gave its award for excellence in period film costuming to Mayes C. Rubeo for Jojo Rabbit, and while we could also ponder how this year’s slate skews not only surprisingly modern, but also far more male-centric than usual (from Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson’s baggy midcentury suits in The Irishman to Arianne Phillips’s groovy Cali duds in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood), the path of least resistance and most chronological distance almost always wins here. Jacqueline Durran’s win is both deserved and assured.

Will Win: Little Women

Could Win: Jojo Rabbit

Should Win: Little Women

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Trending