With the Globes now behind us and Oscar noms rapidly approaching on Jan. 13, what should we be paying attention to in Hollywood’s biggest film awards race?
Surefire bets are Globe winners Renée Zellweger (“Judy”), who already has one Oscar, and Brad Pitt, who should garner his third acting nomination for his work in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
But who won or lost at the Golden Globes will likely have very little impact on Oscar noms. With the shortened awards schedule, Oscar nomination voting closed on Jan. 7, just two days after the Globes were handed out. Globes shutout “The Irishman” is favored to earn several nods, as will “Once Upon a Time,” which went home with three Globes. “Marriage Story” could also go into Oscars night with multiple nominations.
The lead actor’s race is tight. Joaquin Phoenix and Adam Driver are likely locks. But what about Taron Egerton? Will the freshly minted Globe winner make it to the Dolby on Feb. 9? Then there’s Adam Sandler. Don’t underestimate him. “Uncut Gems” is not for everyone, but his transformation into a loudmouthed gambling-addicted diamond dealer in New York City is garnering him the best reviews of his career, as well as recognition from critics groups and the Independent Spirit Awards. Antonio Banderas could come through for his turn in “Pain and Glory” as well.
Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”) is also a possible lead actor nominee, but how many people of color will be nominated is a big question looming over the Academy. Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”) and “Parasite” might very well be in the race, along with “The Farewell.” Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) has a good shot too. “Just Mercy” hasn’t generated the awards attention Warner Bros. had hoped for, but Jamie Foxx has been a standout, so he could land a supporting nod.
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Scarlett Johansson has never been nominated for an Oscar, but she could be a double nominee this year if she’s recognized as lead actress for “Marriage Story” and supporting for “Jojo Rabbit.” Margot Robbie could end up competing against herself for supporting for both “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Bombshell.” However, she’s concentrated her campaigning on “Bombshell,” so a nod for the Tarantino film would be more of a surprise than not.
Disney isn’t campaigning “The Lion King” for animated feature, but Beyoncé’s “Spirit” is on the best original song shortlist. While the tune did snag a Globe nomination, Academy members may be more mindful of the criticism the original film’s composer, Elton John, aimed at the remake’s musical direction. The legendary rocket man griped to British GQ in October: “The new version of ‘The Lion King’ was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up. Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost. The soundtrack hasn’t had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year.”
How many movies will be in the best picture race? As of now, it appears at least seven: “The Irishman,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Parasite,” “Marriage Story,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Joker” and “1917.” I’ll be very surprised if “Little Women” doesn’t make the cut. Several films that might also make the list are “The Farewell,” “Knives Out,” “Uncut Gems” and “The Two Popes.”
Greta Gerwig should also hear her name when director contenders are announced. The love and support for the “Little Women” helmer has only been growing since she was shut out of the Globes and the SAG Awards.
As Amy March says in the beloved novel, “You don’t need scores of suitors. You need only one, if he’s the right one.”
The right one for Gerwig may be named Oscar.