Big morning, people. Big morning.
The Academy Awards let loose at some ungodly time before 6am PST and presented the latest list of nominations for the biggest awards ceremony on the face of the Earth. Some were expected, some were surprises, and as usual…some were snubs.
There was much talk about #OscarsSoWhite, #OscarsSoMale and #OscarsSoJoker and #OscarsSoTaika and #OscarsNotSoGreta and #OscarsTooStarWarsInTheNonActingAreas and #OscarsSoBullshit. There were no female Director nominees (like the Golden Globes), there was the blasphemy of no Frozen in the Best Animated Film category, and there was uproar that a movie like Parasite didn’t have more, although you know we have been a fan of that one since the beginning and it deserves everything it can get.
But that’s not the story.
The story is that this year’s Oscar drama and complaints are nothing new. They’re just going to keep on coming. We may have a year when something like Moonlight sweeps Best Picture and the industry feels better about itself and the complaints may die down. We also may have a year when there are more female Directors at the forefront. But there will always be something. There will always be something to complain about. Even in a year where it’s not so white and not so male and not so Bong Joon-ho, it will not be much of x or y, and then we’ll work to reverse that horrible outcome the following year.
Bottom line? People like drama, they like to complain, and that will never change.
So instead of spending time armchair quarterbacking today’s nominations, we felt it would be far more productive and prescient to offer up what next year’s complaints and hashtags are going to be…but now.
How does that sound?
First and foremost? #OscarsSoMale is going to continue again next year. With movies made by powerful white male directors like Christopher Nolan (TeneT), Ridley Scott (The Last Duel), Paul Greengrass (News of the World), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Charlie Kaufman (I’m Thinking of Ending Things), Ron Howard (Hillbilly Elegy) and David Fincher (Mank), there’s no stopping them. Yes, people will complain that Kitty Green’s The Assistant or Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 or Niki Caro’s Mulan should get some of that love along with whatever Sundance gems pop out later this month; but it won’t happen. The Best Picture and Best Director race will include many of the names above and only a select few of the women will be given a chance in 2020.
Secondly, #OscarsTooBen&Matt will come back to the forefront, having taken a break since 1998’s Good Will Hunting win, when the media darlings walked away with a Best Screenplay Oscar. That was, of course, despite the rumors after the fact that they’d had a lot of help (some say from William Goldman) making the script the stellar project it became. But no matter, it was a great story about two white boys fighting their way up from the back alleyways of Boston, fighting against the kind of Boston-accent discrimination that befalls a lot of white kids from Boston. But where will the complaints come from? They’ll come from the fact that Ben & Matt will get most of the love for “writing” the Ridley Scott-directed The Last Duel and overshadow the fact that they wrote the script with Nicole Holofcener. Because where’s the better story? Ben & Matt back for another Oscar after all these years? Or a female screenwriter really as the driving force of what is bound to be yet another Oscar contender.
Thirdly…the mainstream studios will complain yet again that #NetflixIsTooSpendy as they pony up hundreds of millions of dollars to nab another year of award nominations from their newest crop of contenders. That will include Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things, David Fincher’s Mank (which has OUATIH written all over it) and Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy. They will put the most money behind Fincher and Lee, smartly putting dollars behind a Hollywood tale about a famous screenwriter and pushing for Spike Lee’s first ever Best Directing Oscar.
Fourthly, #OscarsSnubsIndies will also continue. The Alan Ball Directed/Written Uncle Frank and the English language remake Downhill from Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) with Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus will have to settle for Indie Spirits, as will A24’s Kelly Reichardt‘s First Cow. A slew of additional Sundance Indies will also get crowded out again by the studios and the streamers, which will incite the typical indie rallying cry from thousands on social media. But they will, as always, be given their due (as will The Lighthouse, Uncut Gems, The Farewell and more at this January’s Indie Spirit Awards this year) when it comes around in 2021.
Fifthly, if that’s even a word, we will see #OscarsSoPixarAgain shine, especially after this year’s Oscar’s ignoring the strange and creepy Toy Story 4 for something far better. But with next year’s Soul hitting theaters, you can expect to see Pixar get back in Oscar’s good graces and return to the winning streak that got SO TIRING OVER THE YEARS, so it’s good they’re taking a break this Oscar season.
Sixthly, there is one new trend we’re going to see next year, that will make all the complaining somewhat worth it. That trend will be #OscarsSoMusical. Between West Side Story, In the Heights and sci-fi musical wonder Dune, we’re going to be in good shape.
Seriously, though — In the Heights is going to kill. It’s directed by John M. Chu, written by Lin Manuel Miranda, and has a diverse cast of talent that will allow it to break into the mainstream. If anything, this one has a huge chance of shaking things up.
And we like to shake things up. So, just like we predicted today’s Best Picture Nominees ahead of the announcement…and were 100% right, we will now tell you what the Best Picture nominees for Oscars 2021 are going to be…but right now.
Mark it down. They will be:
West Side Story
Da 5 Bloods
News of the World
The Last Duel
In the Heights
It’s nice to be ahead of the curve.
Don’t you think?