Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Oscar Contenders Holding On For Dear Life

The nominations for SAG, PGA, DGA, CCA, and the BAFTA longlists have all been revealed, with the final BAFTA nominations to be revealed tomorrow. We can safely say plenty of films can expect a successful Oscar nomination morning. Movies like “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “Elvis,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and “Top Gun: Maverick” are all poised to land nominations across the board. Still, only some things are assured. Plenty of contenders have recently been given lifelines and are popping up in the precursors, threatening the balance of our predictions. Here are some of the contenders that still have a shot of making an appearance on Oscar nomination morning.

The Whale” has been given a new breath of life this awards season. Hong Chau has been fighting to earn herself a nomination for the Best Supporting Actress category. After missing a nomination at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, her potential nomination started to get shaky. Thankfully for Chau, she was longlisted at BAFTA and, most importantly, earned a SAG nomination. The following day, “The Whale” earned a PGA nomination. Not only does this help Chau, but the film itself. “The Whale” might have earned itself a Best Picture nomination with that PGA nomination, and it could have a solid Oscar nomination morning by earning nominations in Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, and Makeup and Hairstyling.

Stephanie Hsu is someone people hope to see in Best Supporting Actress for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” A24 has been pushing Jamie Lee Curtis first and foremost for their Best Supporting Actress campaign, leaving Hsu struggling a bit this awards season. Missing at Globe and the BAFTA longlist isn’t great, which is why it was good to see Hsu earn a SAG nomination. There is a chance Hsu could surprise on nomination morning after receiving SAG and CCA nominations. It also helps that the academy over-nominates films they really admire or are known to have “frontrunner status.”

Another acting contender that was given a lifeline from the SAG nominations is Danielle Deadwyler. Although Deadwyler made CCA and the BAFTA longlists, her SAG nomination came as a delightful surprise. Deadwyler’s performance in “Till” is considered one of the year’s best, and it has been perplexing to see her missed in the conversation. If she secures a BAFTA nomination (the organization with the largest academy overlap), that Oscar nomination is looking more like a possibility.

Paul Mescal is also someone looking to be given a lifeline from BAFTA. Mescal has missed everywhere besides CCA, but other factors still play into his potential Best Actor nomination at the Oscars. Firstly, the Best Actor category is incredibly weak. After the top four spots (which are secured by Brendan Fraser, Austin Butler, Colin Farrell, and Bill Nighy), there are not many fighting for that final spot. Many thought that due to the awards season success of “Top Gun: Maverick,” Tom Cruise would be the default fifth nomination. Cruise has missed everything besides CCA, and the BAFTA longlist, it’s looking less likely he’ll make it. Hugh Jackman has been praised for his performance in “The Son,” but has only secured a Golden Globe nomination and has suffered from the film’s negative reviews. It also doesn’t help that Sony Picture Classics has shifted its campaign focus to Bill Nighy and “Living.” Then there’s Jeremy Pope (“The Inspection“) and Diego Calva (“Babylon“), who are also fighting to get in as well. Both have only shown up at the Globes. Despite only having a CCA nomination, Mescal has the passion of critics behind him and his film. “Aftersun” had a great showing in the BAFTA longlist and can earn nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, as well as Best Actor tomorrow. There is a world where “Aftersun” can pull a “Drive My Car” and have a quietly successful Oscar nomination morning.

Another contender looking to be given a lifeline at BAFTA is “Triangle of Sadness.” Although the conversation around the film has been muted recently, it did perform solidly in the BAFTA longlist. It landed in Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress categories. There is love for Dolly de Leon’s performance in the film, and she did earn a Golden Globe nomination. It’s up to the BAFTAs to decide if they’ll inject life into this film’s Oscar chances.

Then there are films fighting for those final spots in the Best Picture lineup. “Babylon” and “Women Talking” have had disappointing awards season campaigns so far. Both films recently received a lifeline, earning a SAG ensemble nomination…only to immediately miss out on PGA. Either film can make the final spot in the Best Picture lineup at this point in the season. It’s also possible they can both miss. “Babylon” has the potential to land a few technical nominations, maybe even an acting nomination or two. It could play out just like “Nightmare Alley” did last year. “Women Talking” also still has a very good chance of getting a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, a major above-the-line category. There are both pros and plenty of cons that are holding each film back from easily securing the nomination.

Which awards contender still has a solid chance of earning an Oscar nomination? Please let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account and check out our latest Oscar nomination predictions here.

Giovanni Lago
Giovanni Lago
Devoted believer in all things cinema and television. Awards Season obsessive and aspiring filmmaker.

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