Potential Academy Award Surprises To Watch Out For On Monday Morning


In less than 48 hours, the Academy will reveal their newest crop of Oscar nominees. It’s going to be an exciting time, for sure, but even more so this year, I think. Why, you may ask? Well, with the compressed schedule and lack of full Guild knowledge as Academy members voted, we could see the Oscar nominations have a bunch of surprises. Today, as we near the big morning, I wanted to highlight a few of the possibilities that might emerge…

Here are some surprises that you might see on Monday morning:

Knives Out makes the Best Picture lineup – There won’t be ten nominees for Best Picture. That’s a certainty. However, within the seven, eight, or nine slots we’ll likely see, there’s the potential for a surprising addition/omission at the bottom of the field. Look out for Rian Johnson’s Knives Out to take advantage of its Producers Guild nomination and crack the lineup. It would have to jump over at least one more likely contender, but grabbing that final spot is not at all out of the question here.

Pedro Almodovar cracks the Best Director field – Four of the five Director positions seem filled. In all likelihood, the fifth one goes to Noah Baumbach for Marriage Story, Greta Gerwig for Little Women, Todd Phillips for Joker, or Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit. However, watch out for Pedro Almodovar. Pain and Glory is more beloved by the Academy than some might think. If not Almodovar, Josh Safdie and Ben Safdie from Uncut Gems could shock, but a likelier surprise of Almodovar is one to keep an eye on.

Adam Sandler slips into Best Actor – Speaking of Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler remains right on the cusp of a Best Actor nomination. There’s legitimately ten contenders for five spots, so we’re poised for a big snub. Especially if voters are looking beyond the Screen Actors Guild nominees, Sandler is in a prime position to capitalize. It would go against Oscar math, but sometimes you have to play a hunch. Sandler is one of the more compelling hunches out there…

Best Actress contains no diversity – Most of the above scenarios are fun. This one, however, would be a major bummer. We seem fairly confident that Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story, Charlize Theron for Bombshell, and Renee Zellweger for Judy have three slots locked up, so if the final two go to Saoirse Ronan for Little Women and a surprise like Mary Kay Place for Diane, that would eliminate all diversity from the Actress lineup. No Awkwafina for The Farewell, no Cynthia Erivo for Harriet, no Lupita Nyong’o for Us, and no Alfre Woodard for Clemency. It would be a real shame, and isn’t super likely, but keep it in the back of your mind.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is shut out – Once upon a time, we thought of the conclusion of the Star Wars Saga as a potential big time awards player. Now, it’s probably just sitting on a technical category nomination or two. However, what if it gets shut out? It wouldn’t be wholly unexpected, since tech categories do sometimes just defer to popular blockbusters, but what if that happens? It would be quite an ending to the Saga, that’s for sure.

Something beyond the big three leads the field – The expectation is that 1917, The Irishman, or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will score the most nominations. The thing is, what if they find themselves snubbed here or there? Does that open things up to a different film. Maybe we somehow see Joker lead the field? It would be a hell of a change for Oscar, seeing that movie receive the most citations, after the comic book cinema bias of late. Don’t expect this one, but keep an eye on some major snubs to come, of course…


Stay tuned to see what happens on Monday morning!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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