Every week between now and February 8, when the Academy Award nominations are announced, Vulture will consult its crystal ball to determine the changing fortunes of 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.
Tick, Tick … Boom!
Thursday brought an explosion of guild nominations, as the producers, editors, writers, and directors all weighed in. And surprise, surprise, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s scrappy musical showed up at all of them. Some caveats: Miranda’s DGA recognition came in the first-time director field, TTB was slotted in the easier Comedy category at the ACE Eddies, and heavyweights like The Power of the Dog and The Lost Daughter were ineligible at the WGAs. Even so, such a widespread show of support bodes well for the underdog’s chances of getting off the Best Picture bubble. I’d wondered if the Off Broadway adaptation was too niche to appeal to the industry at large, but it seems Hollywood agrees with weirdos on Twitter — Andrew Garfield really did put his whole Garfussy into this film.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
From Wonder Woman to Crazy Rich Asians to Knives Out, the Producers Guild loves to throw a nomination to a big mainstream hit. So it’s notable that even the PGA couldn’t find room in its ten for No Way Home, the biggest, most mainstream hit of the year and a project where the producers were clearly the driving creative force. To paraphrase another New York icon, if Spidey can’t make it here, he probably won’t make it anywhere.
Belfast, Being the Ricardos, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog, Tick, Tick … Boom!, West Side Story
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
The DGA went chalk, naming Campion and the four men who’ve shown up alongside her in most pundits’ predictions. As always, no news is good news for the assumed front-runner, who’s yet to be seriously challenged this season.
Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up
If there was a surprise in the DGA noms, it was the lack of McKay, who’d gone two-for-two with the guild since reinventing himself as a prestige filmmaker. Don’t Look Up otherwise performed well, hitting with the PGA, ACE, and WGA, but it’s these kinds of nagging indicators that keep the asteroid satire from looking like a true top-tier Best Picture contender.
Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza; Kenneth Branagh, Belfast; Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog; Steven Spielberg, West Side Story; Denis Villeneuve, Dune
Will Smith, King Richard
King Richard keeps rolling along, showing up everywhere it was expected and elsewhere: I don’t think many would have batted an eye had the film missed an ACE Eddie nom, but it got that too. After last year, I’m cautious about crowning anyone too early, but for now, Smith’s hold on the top spot seems secure.
Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos
Aaron Sorkin’s film was another big winner at the guild nominations, earning two key pickups at the PGA and WGA. That obviously has major implications for the Best Actress race, but don’t sleep on Bardem, either, who’s quietly amassed a solid track record at the precursors. I suspect it’s down to him or Leonardo DiCaprio for the final spot here.
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog; Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up; Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick … Boom!; Will Smith, King Richard; Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Online, Being the Ricardos is a soft target — show the J. Edgar Hoover scene to a millennial leftist if you want to make their head explode — but it’s clear the backstage drama is playing very well with industry crowds. The guild nominations put more daylight between Kidman and her competition: While Ricardos surged, House of Gucci and The Lost Daughter both underperformed. It’s increasingly plausible that, come nomination morning, Kidman will be the only Actress contender repping a Best Picture nominee.
Lady Gaga, House of Gucci
As with Spider-Man, the PGA snub was especially troubling for House of Gucci, which seemed the kind of crowd-pleasing hit the guild often spotlights. Gaga has been an avid campaigner, speaking about her method acting to anyone who’ll listen, but as we learned with “100 people in a room,” her utter commitment to a promotional line doesn’t always play with voters.
Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye; Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter; Lady Gaga, House of Gucci; Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos; Kristen Stewart, Spencer
Best Supporting Actor
Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza
There was a sense that the industry was not quite feeling the same adoration for Licorice Pizza as critics did, but the guilds did much to alleviate those doubts: On Thursday, Paul Thomas Anderson’s love letter to the Valley joined Dune as the only films to score top noms from all four groups. Having been anointed Pizza’s standard-bearer by SAG, Cooper looks to have gas in the tank. Can he catch up to Kodi Smit-McPhee?
Jared Leto, House of Gucci
Leto was a Globe and SAG nominee last year before fading down the stretch. Will the same thing happen this year, or will he follow in Glenn Close’s footsteps and earn Oscar and Razzie noms for the same performance? Boof!
Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza; Ciarán Hinds, Belfast; Troy Kotsur, CODA; Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog; Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
Best Supporting Actress
Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
West Side Story continues to miss in weird places: The editors passed it up in favor of King Richard, and the American Society of Cinematographers snubbed it too. (Rumors have swirled that was due to bad blood between the ASC and DP Janusz Kamiński.) But the musical did land the holy trinity of PGA, WGA, and DGA nominations, so those dings won’t dislodge DeBose from her perch as the Supporting Actress front-runner.
Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter
If you’re looking for silver linings for The Lost Daughter, which managed only a first-time feature DGA nod for Maggie Gyllenhaal, you can find some. Though the film was ineligible at the WGA, it still seems set to show up in Oscar’s Adapted Screenplay lineup. Furthermore, the artsy, European-inflected drama fits the mold of titles that traditionally play better with the Academy than the guilds. Still, while the Irish-born Buckley will have something of a hometown advantage at next week’s BAFTA nominations, so too will Ruth Negga and the Belfast ladies.
Caitríona Balfe, Belfast; Ariana DeBose, West Side Story; Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog; Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard; Ruth Negga, Passing
More From This Series
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- Oscar Futures: Our Last-minute Guess at the Nominees