Academy Awards: Hollywood prepares for Oscar nominations

Academy Awards: Hollywood prepares for Oscar nominations

Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem
Image caption,Nicole Kidman (pictured with Being The Ricardos co-star Javier Bardem) is almost certain to be nominated for best actress

The Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, with an expanded best picture category which it is hoped will make room for a wider range of films.

The Power of the Dog, Belfast and West Side Story are among the films expected to pick up multiple nominations.

British acting nominees could include Andrew Garfield, Benedict Cumberbatch, Olivia Colman and Ciarán Hinds.

The Academy has confirmed the ceremony will have a host this year, but has not yet revealed who it will be.

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There is pressure to make the Oscars more popular with and relevant to young audiences, after 2021’s pared-down ceremony tanked in the ratings, partly due to the absence of big film releases during lockdown.

Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan will announce the nominations from Los Angeles at 13:20 GMT.https://buy.tinypass.com/checkout/template/cacheableShow?aid=tYOkq7qlAI&templateId=OTBYI8Q89QWC&templateVariantId=OTV0YFYSXVQWV&offerId=fakeOfferId&experienceId=EXAWX60BX4NU&iframeId=offer_0e763acc7b457c03340a-0&displayMode=inline&widget=template&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com

There is only one guarantee ahead of the nominations: with far more big films in the race this year and only a limited number of slots available, several high-profile films and their stars will inevitably miss out.

Equally, we could see some lower-profile films spring surprise nominations. With the caveat of expecting the unexpected, here are a few of the films and actors who stand the strongest chance:

Which films will be nominated?

Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman in Licorice Pizza
Image caption,Licorice Pizza (starring Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman) will likely pick up best picture and best director nominations

For the last decade or so, the Academy’s best picture category has featured anywhere between five and 10 nominees (there were eight last year).

However, from this year, the governing body has ruled there must be the full 10, in an effort to make the shortlist more diverse, inclusive and, frankly, popular.

In theory, that should have made some room for blockbusters such as the phenomenally successful Spider-Man: No Way Home or the James Bond film No Time To Die.

But neither are traditional Oscar films and the poor showing for both at the recent guild ceremonies suggests neither has the momentum for a best picture nomination. They might, however, show up in some of the technical categories.

Instead, expect Steven Spielberg’s towering remake of the musical West Side Story, Sir Kenneth Branagh’s autobiographical Belfast, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s ode to 1970s youth Licorice Pizza to show up in best picture.

Image caption,Despite an expanded category, a nomination for Spider-Man: No Way Home is a long shot

The only film with significant box office success likely to make it into the race is Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi saga Dune, which has taken $400m (£294m) worldwide.

While there are several other popular films in the race, many of them were primarily released on streaming platforms and therefore have no comparable box office figures.

Netflix have said that Adam Mackay’s climate change allegory Don’t Look Up, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, was hugely popular with their subscribers. With an Oscar-friendly cast, it could well appear in the best picture category.

However, the streaming service’s strongest contender by far is Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, a slow and intense western starring Benedict Cumberbatch. This isn’t just a potential best picture nominee, but a potential winner.

Other films released on streaming services which could be in contention include Amazon Prime Video’s Being the Ricardos, directed by The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, which follows Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in 1950s Hollywood.

Sian Heder’s Coda, released on Apple TV, tells the story of a young girl who wants to be a singer but has to juggle her music lessons with the demands of her deaf family.https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.44.11/iframe.htmlMedia caption,Meet Jude Hill, the 11-year-old star of Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast

Elsewhere, there’s a case to be made for Reinaldo Marcus Green’s King Richard, which sees Will Smith play the driven father of a young Venus and Serena Williams, who went on to be tennis world champions.

And a nod for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick … Boom!, based on the life of Rent composer Jonathan Larson, would mean two musicals are nominated for best picture this year.

But there are plenty of other films close behind these frontrunners which could still easily snare a nomination, such as Drive My Car, The Lost Daughter, House of Gucci, Nightmare Alley and The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Which actors are in the running?

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story
Image caption,West Side Story star Ariana DeBose (pictured centre) and director Steven Spielberg will likely pick up nominations

The best actress winner was thought to be a forgone conclusion when Kristen Stewart‘s portrayal of Princess Diana in Spencer debuted on the big screen last year. She remained the bookies’ favourite for several weeks.

However, while a nomination is still possible, Stewart has lost a lot of momentum recently, particularly after failing to secure the usually-required Screen Actors Guild nomination. This category has now become crowded and hard to predict, with no assured winner.

Nonetheless, it’s highly likely we’ll see Nicole Kidman nominated for Being The Ricardos. Her critically-acclaimed performance as Lucille Ball won her a Golden Globe in January, and she was previously awarded an Oscar for 2002’s The Hours.

Two other former Oscar winners, Olivia Colman and Penelope Cruz, could also be recognised, for The Lost Daughter and Pedro Almodóvar’s excellent Parallel Mothers respectively.

There are three professional singers in the actress race too – with Jennifer Hudson (who played Aretha Franklin in Respect), Lady Gaga (House of Gucci) and Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza) all in the frame.

But keep an eye on Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person In The World) and Frances McDormand (The Tragedy of Macbeth), who are snapping at their heels.

The Power of the Dog
Image caption,Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee will both likely be nominated for their performances in The Power of the Dog

The best actor race is a little more predictable, with awards watchers generally in agreement that Will Smith (King Richard), Andrew Garfield (Tick Tick… Boom!) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) are a guaranteed trio of nominees.

The other spots could go to the likes of Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth), Cooper Hoffman (Licorice Pizza), Peter Dinklage (Cyrano) or Javier Bardem (Being The Ricardos).

The supporting categories are also enjoying a little more consensus, with clear frontrunners emerging following the announcement of other ceremonies’ nominees.

West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose and The Power of the Dog’s Kodi Smit-McPhee are currently the clear favourites to scoop best supporting actress and actor respectively.

But other contenders in the supporting actress category could include Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog), Ann Dowd (Mass), Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), Caitriona Balfe (Belfast) and Ruth Negga (Passing).

Bradley Cooper
Image caption,Bradley Cooper, pictured filming Licorice Pizza, could be nominated despite only being in the film for about 10 minutes

Supporting actor, meanwhile, could see Troy Kotsur (Coda), Ciarán Hinds (Belfast), and the highly-divisive performance by Jared Leto in House of Gucci recognised. Meanwhile, there are still fighting chances for Michael Faist (West Side Story) and Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar).

Perhaps most extraordinarily, Bradley Cooper could stand a better chance of being nominated for his 10-minute supporting appearance in Licorice Pizza than he does for his leading performance in Nightmare Alley.

Traditionally, the Baftas are a good indicator of what to expect from the Oscars. However, don’t go looking for too many Oscar clues from last week’s nominations from the British Academy.

Recent changes to Bafta’s voting processes means their nominations list, like last year’s, is out of step with most other awards ceremonies. While the Baftas and the Oscars rewarded most of the same big winners last year, there is much less overlap between the nominations as a whole.

The 94th Academy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on 27 March.

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