Each Wednesday through the week of the 2019 Academy Award nominations on Jan. 22, Take 2 is handicapping the Oscar rush with The Award Chase.
Awards season is beginning to shape up with the top 10 selections from the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review, the recent Gotham Awards and the Film Independent Spirit Award nominations. Thursday is the day the Golden Globe nominations are announced, and although there is no overlap between the Globes and the Academy, the awards still hold weight.
And while several frontrunners have already made waves, there are some performances and films that have not been celebrated by insiders and the nauseating roundtables and specials, but have been recognized by organizations as mentioned above.
Eyeing: “A Star is Born”
Not seeing: “Mary Poppins Returns”
The fourth version of a new singer emerging from a veteran’s shadow has been applauded by critics and audiences alike with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga beating expectations. Another revived title is moving up the race. “Mary Poppins Returns,” with Emily Blunt flying into Julie Andrews’ role, was considered to be just a holiday heartwarmer with Disney reviving a family favorite. However, following its premiere earlier this month, insiders were amazed by the storyline, effects and acting.
Eyeing: Ryan Gosling, “First Man”
Not seeing: Steven Yuen, “Burning”
Before “First Man” premiered at the Venice Film Festival, Ryan Gosling was already on Oscar experts’ early ballots for his performance as Neil Armstrong. Under the guidance of “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle, Gosling was under the right formula for awards gold again. But “First Man” was a box-office bust and slightly marred by controversy. Steven Yuen, in his post-“The Walking Dead” career, takes a starring turn in “Burning,” from acclaimed South Korean director Chang-dong Lee. In the thriller, Yuen plays a mysterious but rich visitor who changes the lives of two friends.
Eyeing: Nicole Kidman, “Destroyer”
Not seeing: Regina Hall, “Support the Girls”
Nicole Kidman goes without makeup, dons a messy wig and gets rough in “Destroyer.” Roles in which classic beauties look ugly are automatic awards bait, but Kidman hasn’t pick up the recognition. Arriving unexpectedly is Regina Hall, who plays the manager of a so-called “breastaurant,” in “Support the Girls.” The summer indie arrived in theaters (except in Northeast Pennsylvania) and exited quickly, but the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle gave her their best actress awards. She’s the first black woman to ever win the NBR honor, and she is also up for best female lead at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Best Supporting Actor
Eyeing: Nicholas Hoult, “The Favourite”
Not seeing: Josh Hamilton, “Eighth Grade”
“The Favourite” has been a red-hot title ever since its female leads – Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone – were cast last year. However, the acclaim has slightly touched one of the film’s supporting actors, Nicholas Hoult. Over the weekend, the film won a record 10 awards at the British Independent Film Awards but not one for Hoult. One actor who is enjoying the success of his film is Josh Hamilton. The former “Madam Secretary” star appears in the indie darling, “Eighth Grade,” as the single father to a 14-year-old girl who is struggling through her final week in middle school. It’s an understated role, but Hamilton brings a level of warmth that is award-worthy.
Best Supporting Actress
Eyeing: Amy Adams,“Vice”
Not seeing: Michelle Yeoh, “Crazy Rich Asians”
Five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams is already on her way to a sixth nomination as Lynne Cheney in “Vice.” The political biopic has Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell as other locks for nominations as well. “Crazy Rich Asians” was a box office hit this summer and may be in the running for best picture. But if it is to earn an acting nomination out of its stellar cast, it will most likely from veteran Michelle Yeoh as the controlling matriarch. She has hit nearly every networking event this season promoting the romantic comedy and has a good chance to make the field.
Eyeing: Damien Chazelle, “First Man”
Not eyeing: Marielle Heller, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Like Gosling, Damien Chazelle looked prime to get another nomination. After becoming the youngest best director winner, whatever project Chazelle had next was instant gold-in-the-making. But with “First Man” doing poorly in the box office, his star has dimmed a bit. Marielle Heller, who previously directed the acclaimed indie “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” is getting attention for her sophomore effect, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Based on a true story, the film about a forger features a rare dramatic turn for Melissa McCartney in the lead role. McCartney and co-star Richard E. Grant have been a mainstay on predicted Oscar ballots, but the National Board of Review surprised many by selecting the film in its top movies list. It opens the door for Heller to score a directing nomination. This year marks a stellar display for female directors like Lynn Ramsey, Tamara Jenkins and Debra Granik.