Notes On The Season: Oscar Nominations Loom; Who Will Be Left Out?; Movie Composers Honored; Quentin Loves Marty

A column chronicling conversations and occasions on the awards circuit.

After the ABC announcement this week of a second 12 months in a row with no conventional Oscar host, I occurred to be on the telephone speaking with a former Oscar present producer. He mentioned it was attending to the purpose the place no performer goes to wish to decide to MC’ing the Academy Awards, principally for concern of their profession. “It has gotten to be like a political marketing campaign now the place each host must be vetted earlier than they will serve,” he mentioned, referring to the beating Kevin Hart took and the final nature of the way in which this stuff are parsed and chewed up on the web.

No query about that. The Hart debacle of final 12 months proved movie Twitter may have their knives out for you when you aren’t squeaky clear. Internet hosting the Oscars might imply the top of a profession if sure skeletons are pulled from the closet, and who in present enterprise, aside from Donny Osmond, doesn’t have these? So it was no shock this week to see the Academy go the hostless route once more, with the top of ABC even suggesting the rankings had been higher when the host doesn’t get in the way in which and take up time.

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However for these of us who simply cherished the times when the Oscars had been fronted by a star who actually knew methods to make it work, I’d recommend for subsequent 12 months bringing again Bob Hope or Johnny Carson from the useless. The expertise is there, and a variety of the jokes at Hollywood’s expense would possibly nonetheless work a long time later. Even when they don’t, I’m certain there’s a strategy to write new ones for these deceased icons to ship on this technological age of video trickery.

Actually if there’s discuss, as there’s, about digging up James Dean and giving him a supporting function in a brand new film about Vietnam, then why not do that? If the CGI wizards can resurrect him for a film, why can’t Carson come again to the Academy Awards, as he was, in my view, the best Oscar host of all time? And what unhealthy issues can Twitter say about him now anyway? It will actually get rankings and isn’t that what ABC and the Academy crave proper now?


JOaquin PHoenixJOaquin PHoenix

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

However earlier than we get to that extremely awaited hostless night time only one month away, that is the final Notes on the Season column earlier than the large occasion at 5 a.m. PT Monday, when Oscar nominations might be introduced. Everywhere in the web, pundits are making predictions of simply who they are going to be (together with proper right here on Deadline). However the greater query in some classes is simply who they won’t be, particularly within the ridiculously crowded male performing races, each lead and supporting. How unhappy to suppose the likes of Eddie Murphy, Christian Bale, Adam Sandler, Paul Walter Hauser, Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, 1917’s George MacKay, and so many others who gave career-best (or near it) performances gained’t be among the many nominees this 12 months, when in one other, much less aggressive 12 months, they may have even gained. But when my guess is true and the 5 finest actor nominees are Joaquin Phoenix, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Antonio Banderas, and the surging Rocketman himself, Taron Egerton, all these others must kiss the season goodbye.

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The identical goes for the even extra aggressive Supporting Actor race, the place I anticipate entrance runner Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Tom Hanks, and Parasite’s Music Kang Ho (or Kang Ho Music, as listed by SAG) would be the chosen 5. However just a few votes both means might shake up that prediction. So this implies, almost definitely, some like Anthony Hopkins, Jamie Foxx, Willem Da Foe, Shia LaBeouf, Sam Rockwell, Dean-Charles Chapman, John Lithgow, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, and lots of others too quite a few to say gained’t be listening to their names referred to as, and that’s a disgrace. It’s years like this one which make me want the Academy would make use of the identical voting methodology they do for Greatest Image, and lengthen it to the performing and directing races, the place the opportunity of 10 nominees, as a substitute of a inflexible 5, would make it a livelier and extra consultant contest.

Cynthia Erivo in 'Harriet'Cynthia Erivo in 'Harriet'

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Talking of illustration, the opposite huge query is: will the Academy have a 12 months that revives the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has already plagued BAFTA and thrown the British Academy into disaster mode? I’m projecting most likely not, since it’s probably, actually hopeful, that Oscar may have Cynthia Erivo, Antonio Banderas, and Music Kang Ho amongst their performing nominees on the very least. However you by no means know. Nonetheless, the push for brand spanking new and worldwide members by AMPAS ought to, in idea, assist to keep away from the sort of embarrassment that haunted Oscar not so way back. Yearly is a brand new ballgame, so you recognize that when CEO Daybreak Hudson and President David Rubin are handed the record of nominees by PricewaterhouseCoopers on Sunday night time, and when the AMPAS crew will get sequestered of their workplaces to arrange the nomination announcement, that they are going to be taking a look at it and hoping for range. They may most likely even be rooting for a girl to as soon as once more crack the ranks of the 5 directing nominees to keep away from the Twitter beating the Hollywood Overseas Press Affiliation took with its all-male lineup.

So one other query to reply is: can Little Ladies’s Greta Gerwig develop into the primary girl to be Oscar-nominated twice for Greatest Director? By no means been performed. One other huge query might be simply how excessive can Netflix fly on Monday. Coming off a poor 2 for 34 wins-to-nominations ratio on the Golden Globes, the streamer might be seeking to dominate, and with motion pictures like The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes, Dolemite Is My Identify, and documentary and worldwide movie prospects, Netflix may lead the pack for the primary time in its historical past. Though, Sony is the studio that would give it a run for its cash, as a result of it additionally has a number of nomination prospects with As soon as Upon A Time In Hollywood, Little Ladies, and A Lovely Day In The Neighborhood seeking to up the ante for the Culver Metropolis studio, which is hoping to land its first Greatest Image winner in 32 years.



Oscar has a few classes for it, and even used to have three. However are you able to say it’s about time music acquired its due on the busy guild kudos dinner circuit, too, like all the opposite crafts? Becoming a member of the just about nightly parade of awards dinners for Cinematographers, Movie Editors, Sound Editors, Sound Mixers, Artwork Administrators, Costume Designers, Casting Administrators, Make-up and Hair Stylists, Visible Results artists, animators, and so forth, to not point out actors, writers, administrators and producers, and eventually composers have joined the fray with the primary Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards (SCL).

Tuesday night time, the SCL, which counts 1600 members, held their first awards dinner on the Skirball Middle, and it was a rousing success. To suppose it took solely 75 years to get to this second. The group has been round that lengthy beneath numerous names, having been based in 1945 because the Display screen Composers Affiliation, and later, by 1955, when lyricists joined and it was renamed Composers and Lyricists Guild of America. Nonetheless, within the 1970s, after a decade-long battle for publishing rights with the studios, the guild was pressured to settle, and shortly was successfully useless. It re-emerged in 1983 at SCL with a number of the largest names in music. And now, for his or her first awards gathering, they proved that not solely had been they worthy, in addition they produced essentially the most numerous record of winners of any of those exhibits I’ve ever been to.


The good majority of winners had been both girls, or men and women of coloration. For a occupation that has been dominated by white males for many years, no less than within the movie and TV composing enterprise, that could be a outstanding and heartening achievement.

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, contemporary off changing into the primary girl to win in her class for Greatest Music Rating for Joker within the historical past of the Golden Globes, saved up the profitable tempo, not solely taking Excellent Unique Rating for a Studio Movie for Joker, but in addition Excellent Unique Rating for a Tv or Streaming Manufacturing for HBO’s Chernobyl, which gained her the Emmy in September.

She can also be up for a Grammy later this month, and a sizzling prospect for an Oscar nomination on Monday. Not a foul 12 months. Once I spoke to her each earlier than and after her SCL wins, she was simply glad to be within the room. Now, she’s making historical past. Different numerous winners included African American composer Kathryn Bostic for Unique Rating for an Impartial Movie for the documentary Toni Morrison: The Items I Am, in addition to Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Brian Campbell for Excellent Unique Music for Visible Media for “Stand Up” from Harriet, one other probably Oscar nominee. That will make these brand-new SCL awards simply as Oscar predictive as any of the opposite guild exhibits, which depend many Academy members amongst their voters.


One other surefire Oscar nominee, Thomas Newman, who will definitely get his 15th nomination for 1917 (with out a win thus far), obtained a standing ovation as recipient with director Sam Mendes (who was absent) of the Spirit of Collaboration award. 1917 was not completed in time to qualify for SCL’s Excellent Rating, however this was a pleasant strategy to honor the veteran composer. Since American Magnificence, once they each obtained  Oscar nominations (Mendes gained), Newman has labored on all however one Mendes movie.

The ceremony opened with Michael Abels conducting a 32-piece choir performing ‘Anthem’ from his nominated rating to Jordan Peele’s horror hit Us. Abels turned up carrying the enduring crimson jumpsuit worn by the “tethered” within the movie. Different highlights from the night included performances by jazz musician Gene Cipriano and violinist Philippe Quint. Legendary songwriter Arthur Hamilton, one of many first Presidents of the SCL, was honored with a tribute efficiency of his 1955 traditional, “Cry Me a River,” sung by Dannielle De Andrea. He, together with composers Invoice Conti and Charles Bernstein, had been among the many night’s presenters. When he came visiting to speak earlier than the present, Oscar- profitable composer Michael Giacchino (Up), a SCL nominee for his Jojo Rabbit rating, mentioned, “I assume we’re going to see what this present is all about?” After it ended, I can say it was all about music, and positively about time. Can’t await subsequent 12 months.

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After the Harvey Weinstein years, and a number of the vitriol spewed in final 12 months’s awards season – and nearly each season, it looks as if – it’s good to finish this column at the moment speaking in regards to the camaraderie the season can deliver and the great emotions between colleagues. They could discover themselves rivals on the circuit, however before everything, followers of one another. It’s the aspect of the enterprise of awards you don’t typically see within the press, the place the media appears to love to pit filmmakers towards one another like it’s the Tremendous Bowl, which I suppose it’s, in some methods.

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

I considered it this week on the Golden Globes, when Sam Mendes, seemingly as shocked as anyone about his shock win for steering 1917, used a part of his speech to salute a fellow nominee. “There isn’t a director right here who doesn’t stand within the shadow of Martin Scorsese,” he mentioned. A few nights later on the New York Movie Critics awards dinner, the place Spike Lee was amongst these echoing these sentiments, one other “competitor” of Scorsese’s, Parasite’s Bong Joon Ho, regarded towards the desk he was sitting at and deserted his normal Korean to revert to English to recite a favourite line from Raging Bull (“Did you f**ok my spouse?”). Scorsese himself requested if younger Midsommar director Ari Aster might reasonable his DGA Q&A the following night time, all the time eager to support a brand new technology. I notably like the truth that the DGA tries to have all their awards season Q&As moderated by different administrators, who could also be followers themselves. Regardless that they’re nominated towards one another for the DGA award and prone to see themselves face to face on the Oscars as nicely, Quentin Tarantino advised me ultimately month’s Contenders occasion in New York that The Irishman was his favourite movie of the 12 months, and proceeded to element a variety of the explanation why.

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

On the Golden Globes, the place his As soon as Upon a Time in Hollywood gained over that movie’s screenwriter, Steven Zaillian, he purposely made public observe of his shock that it wasn’t Zaillian who was up there. And on the Los Angeles revival theatre that he owns, the New Beverly, which Tarantino likes to program himself, all by means of the month of January there’s a weekly concentrate on Scorsese movies, and he’s additionally opened it as much as different movies within the combine this 12 months, together with Marriage Story and Little Ladies. 

On the Palm Springs Movie Pageant, the latter movie’s director, Greta Gerwig, offered Tarantino together with his Director of the 12 months award and praised him a lot it left the usually never-speechless Tarantino perplexed. Final season, as their movies had been caught up in some negativity thrown at them by others, I’d typically see Inexperienced Ebook’s Peter Farrelly and Roma’s Alfonso Cuaron sitting down and speaking to one another in a nook of assorted rooms. They had been, it turned out, admirers of one another, and since they occurred to be nominated in the identical 12 months, grew to become quick buddies, too.

There are such a lot of moments like these I get to witness annually when this six-month journey rolls round, and I simply thought on the eve of Oscar nominations, which is certain to deliver pleasure and heartbreak because it all the time does, it could be good to share this aspect of the season as nicely.