Oscar Futures: How Will Sony Handle Its Kevin Spacey Movie?

By
Photo: Aidan Monaghan/TriStar Pictures, Inc.

On a regular basis between now and March 4, 2018, when the winners of the Academy Awards are announced, Vulture will consult its crystal ball to determine the changing fortunes in this year’s Oscars race. In our Oscar Futures column, we’ll let you in on insider gossip, parse brand-new developments, and track industry buzz to figure out who’s up, who’s down, and who’s currently leading the race for a coveted Oscar nomination.

Best Picture

Down

All the Money in the World

What should Sony do with its new Ridley Scott–directed kidnapping drama All the Money in the World, which stars Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty? The film, which is set to premiere at the AFI Fest this month, had already been rushed to a December release date in order to beat a Danny Boyle series for FX about Getty that’s due out in January. Now, with new accusations about Spacey emerging almost daily, Sony must decide whether to push the film to next year or soldier on. Already, the studio has nixed its planned awards campaign for Spacey, but how will co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams promote this film without being asked about Spacey at every stop? You can cut Spacey out of the ad campaign, but you can’t cut him out of the movie.

Up

Lady Bird

At the time of this writing, Greta Gerwig’s wonderful new dramedy has a rare 100% from Rotten Tomatoes, which is fitting, given how often the word “perfect” seems to come up in its reviews. Intimate, female-fronted movies don’t always get their due with the Academy — I’m still not over the near-total shutout for 20th Century Women last year — but this is about as auspicious a start as Team Lady Bird could hope for. If it can deliver in its limited box-office bow this weekend, the movie has a good shot at cracking the Best Picture field.

Current Predix

The Big Sick; Call Me by Your Name; Darkest Hour; Dunkirk; The Florida Project; Get Out; Phantom Thread; The Post; The Shape of Water; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director

Up

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

In a recent interview with EW, Anderson admitted that his fashion drama Phantom Thread lacks a traditional, singular director of photography: Instead, Anderson shot much of it himself with the help of a camera collective he has recently been using. That will likely hurt the film in the cinematography race, but it could help put Anderson over the top in this category as an unusually hands-on auteur.

Up

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

With all of those sterling reviews in her corner, A24 ought to mount a strong campaign for Gerwig in Best Director, in addition to the Best Original Screenplay nomination that seems like a sure thing. This category has been leaning hard into technical prowess in recent years and Lady Bird can’t compete in that regard, but if the studio can get Gerwig in front of enough voters, she’s capable of a powerful charm offensive that could really resonate.

Current Predix

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water; Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name; Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk; Steven Spielberg, The Post; Joe Wright, Darkest Hour

Best Actor

Even

Steve Carell, Last Flag Flying

Perhaps it was unwise to bow Richard Linklater’s war-veteran drama at last month’s New York Film Festival, where middling reviews seemed to stop the movie’s hype train in its tracks. Did you even know Last Flag Flying was opening this weekend? Like the movie itself, things feel awfully quiet.

Down

Woody Harrelson, LBJ

This presidential drama hasn’t fared very well with critics, and Harrelson will have better luck for his co-starring role in the hot Oscar contender Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It’s cute, though, that LBJ is coming out the same weekend as Lady Bird. A future Trivial Pursuit footnote!

Current Predix

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name; Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread; James Franco, The Disaster Artist; Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour; Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Best Actress

Up

Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Ronan has already scored two Oscar nominations at the tender age of 23, and she’s poised to earn her third for her pitch-perfect portrayal of a frustrated high-schooler in Lady Bird. It won’t be the easiest nod to get, since the Best Actress race is packed with contenders this year and a lot of those performances boast more surface-level flash than Ronan’s under-the-skin work. This could also be the rare year where most (if not all) of the Best Actress nominees come from films nominated for Best Picture, which removes one of Ronan’s potential advantages. Still, she’s already an Academy favorite, and voters are happy when their initial investment in an actress continues to pay off.

Up

Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

Robbie got a more full-fledged I, Tonya trailer this week, and while this one featured far more of scene-stealing Allison Janney than the original, truncated teaser, the spotlight is still squarely on Robbie.

Current Predix

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water; Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Margot Robbie, I, Tonya; Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird; Meryl Streep, The Post

Best Supporting Actor

Down

Dustin Hoffman, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

One of Netflix’s best bids at an acting nomination is Hoffman’s turn as an artist awaiting his retrospective in this Noah Baumbach dramedy, but the recent rash of harassment headlines could very likely nip this one in the bud.

Down

Kevin Spacey, All the Money in the World

Yeah, no.

Current Predix

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project; Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water; Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour; Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name

Best Supporting Actress

Up

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

This category will feature quite the race between Emmy-winning actresses who play controlling mothers on the big screen. While I think I, Tonya’s Allison Janney is our front-runner in that regard, don’t count out Metcalf, a veteran actress who really gets her due as Ronan’s loving but tightly wound mom in Lady Bird. The upcoming television revival of Roseanne will further boost Metcalf’s signal.

Up

Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip

I’m not sure whether Universal will mount a campaign big enough to get Haddish into the race, but boy does she deserve it! Her comic turn in Girls Trip was one of the highlights of the year, and Universal could see an opportunity akin to the successful push they gave Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids. That film ultimately contended in more categories than Girls Trip is likely to be given credit for, but Haddish’s just-booked stint hosting an upcoming episode of Saturday Night Live will supply a high-profile reminder of what she can do, and how irresistible she is while doing it.

Current Predix

Hong Chau, Downsizing; Holly Hunter, The Big Sick; Allison Janney, I, Tonya; Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread; Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Oscar Futures: How Will Sony Handle Its Kevin Spacey Movie?