Predictions Friday: Happy Christmas to All and to All a Good Night

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When it comes to the Oscar race, this is our third year with COVID. This is also the second time COVID has almost ruined Oscar Night all together. Isn’t it all a blur? Virtual awards shows, masks, PCR tests, and movies that are shown on laptop screens are some of the things that happen. In COVID’s first year, just before COVID hit the hammer down, the Oscars just missed the wire. A lot has changed since then. That means that, to some extent, we’re going through this season blind again. Virtual awards shows could happen at some point in the future. I think the Critics Choice and other groups that have put off their awards are hoping COVID, or at least COVID panic, will die down. Wait and see.

The Oscar race has already been going on for a while now, with very little help from the public. Significantly, we’re no longer looking at movies in terms of how much money they made. That’s not part of the equation, but Dune and Spider-Man are going to be looked at differently because the box office for most major movies recently has been disappointing, to say the least.

A lot of people think that Spider-Man will be one of the best-selling movies ever. With movies like The Dark Knight and The Force Awakens, there is always talk about which ones might get into the Academy Awards because they made a lot of money. So far, the Academy hasn’t shown a lot of willingness to change their minds. But that was back then. Is this now? We’ve reached the point that everyone was afraid of. As time goes on, will there still be a market for art-house movies that are shown in theatres in New York and LA? Sure. Will there be a lot of “adult” movies released? Some people don’t think the answer will be no.

Here are some Morning Consult charts that show which groups of people still aren’t ready to go to the movies. Older movie fans and Democrats are the groups that aren’t ready to go. Young people and Republicans are more likely to go to the movies. There is only a small difference between those who are most excited and those who are most afraid.

Gen-Z, millennials, and Republicans seem to be the most likely to go to the movies in theatres. This is why horror, comedy, action, and effects movies do so well, while traditional dramas don’t do so well. My 23-year-old daughter doesn’t like dramas that are aimed at people who are older than her. I know this because I’m her parent. She and her friends were born during the time when Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings were popular. They also grew up with the internet and social media, as well. People who are younger than them don’t expect stories to be the same as stories that older people expect.

As you might expect, Republicans are less likely to let COVID stop them from going to the movies, and they are less interested in “Oscar movies.” I’ve said this before, but these polls show that it’s true. This is because anyone can set up a streaming service and charge money for it. The Daily Wire is now getting into the movie business because streaming is something anyone can do and charge for. But I think their movies would do well if they were shown in theatres because there is a market for movies made by conservative filmmakers that hasn’t been reached yet.

One good thing about superhero movies is that they make people go to the movies more often. Having a lot of people want to go to the movies isn’t the worst thing in the world. We don’t know which kinds of films will be made in the future. It’s the only thing we know for sure right now.

In terms of the Oscar race, has anything changed other than COVID’s fifth wave? It doesn’t seem that way. Their opinions are out. We know what they enjoy. A lot of people don’t care about the business.

Many people can now watch and talk about films because they’re so easy to get online. Whether it’s good or bad, Twitter is always looking for the next piece of meat to throw into the ring. Sorkin or Affleck or Nicole Kidman, it’s its own kind of entertainment. It either makes the chosen ones happy or makes the unlucky ones sad at the same time. How people talk about movies will change how people think about them a month from now, when voters have their ballots in their hands. If they were normal, they would already be voting at this point in the game.

This is what I think will happen this week.

Best Picture
1. Belfast
2. West Side Story
3. The Power of the Dog
4. King Richard
5. Dune
6. Licorice Pizza
7. CODA
8. Nightmare Alley
9. Being the Ricardos
10. Spider-Man: No Way Home
Alt – Don’t Look Up, The Lost Daughter, tick… tick… Boom!

Best Director
1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
2. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story
3. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune
5. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley
Alts: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza; Renaldo Marcus Green, King Richard; Aaron Sorkin, Being the Ricardos; Pedro Almodóvar, Parallel Mothers

Best Actress
Kristen Stewart, Spencer
Lady Gaga, House of Gucci
Jennifer Hudson, Respect
Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Alts: Rachel Zegler, West Side Story; Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers; Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth; Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye; Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Best Actor
Will Smith, King Richard
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Peter Dinklage, Cyrano
Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley
Alt. Andrew Garfield, tick, tick… Boom!; Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Supporting Actress
Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Rita Moreno, West Side Story
Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Caitriona Balfe, Belfast
Alts: Marlee Matlin, CODA; Nina Arianda, Being the Ricardos; Ann Dowd, Mass; Haley Bennett, Cyrano; Martha Plimpton, Mass

Supporting Actor
Ciaran Hinds, Belfast
Troy Kotsur, CODA
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos
Mike Faist, West Side Story
Alts: Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar; Jonah Hill, Don’t Look Up; Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Adapted Screenplay

The Power of the Dog
The Lost Daughter
West Side Story
CODA
Nightmare Alley
Alts: Dune, The Last Duel

Original Screenplay
Belfast
Licorice Pizza
King Richard
Being the Ricardos
Don’t Look Up
Alts: Parallel Mothers, C’mon C’mon

Cinematography
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story
The Tragedy of Macbeth
Dune
Belfast
Alt: Nightmare Alley

Costumes
Cruella
House of Gucci
Nightmare Alley
West Side Story
Dune
Alts: The Last Duel, The Power of the Dog

Editing
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Dune
West Side Story
Belfast
The Power of the Dog

Production Design
Dune
Nightmare Alley
West Side Story
Licorice Pizza
Spider-Man: No Way Home

Sound
Spider-Man: No Way Home
West Side Story
Dune
No Time to Die
tick, tick… Boom!

Visual Effects
Spider-Man: No Way Home
No Time to Die
Dune
The Eternals
Shang-Chi

Makeup and Hairstyling
Cruella
Dune
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Nightmare Alley
West Side Story

Original Score
The Power of the Dog
Encanto
Dune
Don’t Look Up
King Richard

Original Song
Be Alive from “King Richard”
No Time To Die from “No Time to Die”
Down To Joy from Belfast
Just Look Up from Don’t Look Up
Here I Am (Singing My Way Home) from Respect

Animated Feature
Encanto
Mitchells vs. the Machines
Luca
Flee
Spirit Untamed

International Feature
Japan, Drive My Car
Denmark, Flee
Iran, A Hero
Italy, The Hand of God
Norway, The Worst Person in the World
Alt. Finland, Compartment No. 6

Documentary Feature
The Rescue
Summer of Soul
Flee
Julia
Procession

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season for every faith and celebration. All the best to you and yours, and thank you for being such loyal readers for all these years.

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