Barry Jenkins cements himself as an essential voice with "If Beale Street Could Talk"                "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is the best animated film of the year                Snubs and surprises mark the Screen Actors Guild nominations as "A Star Is Born" leads the way                2018 Critics Choice nominations led by Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Favourite"                Nicole Kidman: Boy Erased and Destroyer - Hollywood Film Tribute                “Beautiful Boy” – Timothée Chalamet: Hollywood Film Tribute                “First Man” by Damien Chazelle: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy - Hollywood Film Tribute                Natalie Portman shines in the otherwise confounding "Vox Lux"                Golden Globe nominations announced! "Vice" leads the charge!                “Green Book” - Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali: Hollywood Film Tribute                "Mary Queen of Scots" can't live up to its royal lineage                "Ben Is Back" sees father and filmmaker Peter Hedges direct his son Lucas Hedges to a brilliant performance                Hollywood Film Tribute: GLENN CLOSE for her excellent performances                A final crack at Golden Globe nominations before Thursday's announcement                “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Once Upon a Deadpool”: Films to see in December        

Could we be seeing a rematch of Damien Chazelle vs Barry Jenkins this year?


I hate to make the Oscar season out to be like a sporting event, but sometimes thematic threads suggest that much. That’s especially true when filmmakers repeatedly see their movies go up against each other. So, despite the artists in question being fans of each other’s work, at least for today, let’s just go with it. This year, we might be seeing a rematch of Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins. Just two years ago, they saw their films, La La Land and Moonlight, respectively, go head to head in a number of Academy Award categories. This time around, that could be the case again, as Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, and Jenkins’ James Baldwin adaptation If Beale Street Could Talk, seem primed to capture the attention of awards season voters.

Having just seen both films this week, this scenario is on my mind. After all, how could it not be? Yesterday I saw First Man (which is quite possibly my favorite of the year so far), with the day before bringing If Beale Street Could Talk (currently on my top ten as well, so it has been a good week, quality wise). Talk about a one two punch, right? The movies are going to be critically acclaimed, popular, and top tier Oscar contenders. If the Academy comes close to simulating what they did last time with Chazelle and Jenkins, this could be pretty interesting…

When La La Land and Moonlight did battle, the former scored six wins out of 14 nominations, while the latter went three for eight, including emerging victorious in that historic Best Picture finale. Head to head, La La Land bested Moonlight in Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. The inverse was true in Best Picture, where Moonlight pulled past La La Land in the end, Both lost in Best Film Editing. The rest of the wins for each film came in categories where they weren’t both nominated. This could again be true, here in 2018. There’s a good chance that the follow ups to these movies compete head to head in multiple places.


Chazelle’s flick is, of course, the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man. It’s a technical marvel, riveting from start to finish, and cements the filmmaker as one of the best young talents in the business. Coming off of La La Land, it would be easy to look for him to stumble, but boy did he not. While another nomination haul above the one dozen mark seems unlikely, 12 also could be the number of nods that this one scores at the end of the day. How many noms turn into wins though, that remains to be seen. Know this…it’s a legit Best Picture contender. I’ll have plenty more to say early next month when it hits theaters.

As for Jenkins and his Baldwin adaption, it’s terrific as well. Painting on a much larger canvas, Jenkins delivers another powerful love story. His visuals are again splendid. One could argue that If Beale Street Could Talk may well score the exact same nomination total as Moonlight did. That would be quite an achievement, but one that Jenkins and company could see well within their reach. As long as the Academy feels the same love for his work…watch out. More on this one closer to release, of course, but it screened at the New York Film Festival for critics and blew myself and my fellow pundits away.

Right now, my predictions have Chazelle and Jenkins once again matched up in Picture and Director, with their films also going head to head in other places. This year, their movies may end up both falling short, perhaps to A Star is Born (though watch out for BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, and Roma), but it’s fascinating to watch them duke it out again. This is especially true since, as mentioned above, they seem to really admire each other. As the year progresses, we’ll see them both on the awards trail (following great film festival debuts), and that alone is an exciting prospect. Sit tight for more on both Chazelle and Jenkins’ latest phenomenal efforts…


Stay tuned to see how First Man and If Beale Street Could Talk fare during the awards season!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

Follow us

Breaking Hollywood News   


UPDATES BY EMAIL

Comments are closed.