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Oscar Predictions 2022

These, In My Opinion, Are Three Winners

Thanks to the nearly extra month we had in watching films this year, I have seen almost all of the nominated films.

Before I begin, I’ll say this years crop of movies is not as good as last year. I don’t know if it is the COVID-19 effect, the dumbing down of movies because of streaming, or if there is a legitimate crisis in brain power in Hollywood but the movies as a whole just aren’t as good.

Then again, it could be that last year was just a year that particularly spoke to me. I tell you, Minari is still in my head.

Now, let’s jump in. Be advised, I will spend more time on the best picture category because that is the most fun. I skip the categories I know nothing about (like Short Film (Live Action).

Best Picture

The nominees are Belfast, Coda, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power Of The Dog, and West Side Story.

The only movie that will make me mad if it wins is Don’t Look Up. That movie was just a step up from Bird Box. You can read more of what I thought of Don’t Look Up here. To know what I thought of Bird Box, read here.

I know Power of the Dog has a lot of energy behind it, but to me this is a two film race between Coda and Drive My Car. I was surprised by how engrossing Drive My Car was, even though it is three hours long and in Japanese. Coda, though, for me, was the most enjoyable film of the lot and the most complete all around film — the acting was spectacular, the filming was right on, the story was compelling, it was so funny, and made people cry. Either could win, but I’d prefer Coda.

Belfast has a punchers chance — I loved that movie too, but it has the same issue I think King Richard does, and that is that it is very personal. My experience is those films tend to not win in the big category.

For the record, I can’t even figure out why Licorice Pizza was nominated. I didn’t hate it, but it is not a very good movie. All it has going for it is the it is about 1970s Hollywood, and remember, Hollywood loves itself move than anything else.

Keep in mind, I hated Birdman (click here) and was bored to tears by Nomadland, and both of those won best picture, so, what do I know?

I always like to play with themes when it comes to the Best Picture nominations. There are three of them. One is the idea of the ‘Man of Destiny’ — and by man I mean man. All of these are about powerful men — even the wonderful story of Venus and Serena Williams is couched as a man’s story. The one exception, of course, is Coda. Another reason why I think Coda should win, in that it has a female protagonist who is awesome. Another theme is smoking. Lots of cigarette smoking in these movies, which might be nostalgia. I notice all of them have a nostalgia about them. The most noticeable to me was the car cassette player in Drive My Car. It felt so quaint and ancient, but in an aching for the simpler past kind of way. Performing is also a major theme. Eight of these ten movies features performance specifically — play production, music lessons, sideshow carnies, movie stars, athletic performance, piano solos for the governor, a black and white film where the only color is from the movies or plays, or a benefit concert for a cosmic event that is played out, literally, on television. The other two films, Dune and West Side Story, have the feeling of performance because of their history as stories.

Actor In A Leading Role

The best actor this year was the little boy in Belfast. But he wasn’t nominated and I don’t know why.

Of those nominated, Andrew Garfield, Will Smith, and Denzel Washington, I think are the three likeliest choices. Garfield probably did the most intense acting (again, about a performance and play) but I think the Oscar goes to Will Smith.

Actor In A Supporting Role

J.K. Simmons put in the best performance in Being The Ricardos, but I think the Oscar goes to Troy Kotsur from Coda. Ciaran Hinds has an outside shot from Belfast, but he doesn’t seem to have enough screen time to legitimatize the choice.

Actress In A Leading Role

I think the Oscar goes to Jessica Chastain. She became Tammy Faye the way Renee Zellwegger became Judy Garland last year. I will add a caveat, though. I didn’t like the movie Parallel Mothers because it was a muddled mess of a plot, but Penelope Cruz’s performance was emotionally complicated. She could win if enough people are moved that way and turned off by the biopic genre.

Actress In A Support Role

This is the one of only two sure bets this year. The Oscar goes to Ariana DeBose. She was the most amazing part of Spielberg’s West Side Story. The rest of the story was a wash, but her performance was literally one for the ages.

Animated Feature Film

More than most years, this is a tight race. Disney’s Encanto is the favorite, and it is a very fine film although I have a bit of psychological trauma after watching it that I will not share with you here because . . . reasons. However, The Mitchells VS. The Machines is a fantastic film that I enjoyed way too much. If I were giving the Oscar out, it would go to Mitchells, but Encanto is probably still the favorite. I liked Raya and the Dragon, too, but it is not a best picture quality. Luca was a little strange and Flee — don’t get me started on Flee. Flee is a compelling human story trapped inside of a poorly done cartoon that looks like someone’s first year college project.

Cinematography

Nightmare Alley could win this on production value, but I liked The Tragedy of MacBeth most. They made bold, minimalist choices that evoked the power of the story.

Costume Design

Cruella should win this.

Directing

Jane Campion is the favorite, and I can’t figure out why. I didn’t think The Power Of The Dog was that good. It was boring, plodding, and predictable. Kenneth Branagh will probably win for Belfast because of the power of his love story to his childhood. However, The best directing work in this lot was Ryusuke Hamaguchi for Drive My Car.

Documentary Feature

Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) should win.

Film Editing

This probably goes to Tick, Tick . . . Boom! just because of of the enormous amount of work involved in piecing it together. So many motions and movements and things going on all a the same time.

International Feature Film

Drive My Car. Anytime a film is nominated for best picture and in the International section, it must necessarily win the sub-category. Fun fact — The Worst Person In The World is a movie to be avoided at all costs.

MakeUp And Hairstyling

This is a battle between Dune and The Eyes of Tammy Faye. I’ll go with the Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Music (Original Score)

Encanto and Parallel Mothers is the only soundtrack that is enjoyable, and the whole world is still singing Bruno so I’ll go with Encanto, which is the second of two sure bets.

However, the best soundtrack was Cruella — Tina Turner singing Led Zeppelin, ELO, Florence and the Machine, SuperTramp, Blondie, Nina Simone, and Queen. We need a category for ‘Coolest Soundtrack’.

Music (Original Song)

Another tight race here. Billie Eilish is favorited for the Bond Theme, but honestly, to me, it is not even in the top ten Bond themes and borrows too much from Skyfall and Spectre in its arrangement. Dos Orugitas is a fun song, but the caterpillars aren’t even the most enjoyable song on that soundtrack (do we dare talk about Bruno?). My money would go to Beyonce for Be Alive.

Production Design

Nightmare Alley probably wins this one. I didn’t really care for the story, nevertheless, the production value is very high.

Sound

No Time To Die, if for no other reason, James Bond is dead and he has been slighted so much by Oscar. I mean, Skyfall should have been nominated for best picture. Everyone knows that.

Visual Effects

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, and it is not even close.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Drive My Car is a three hour movie based on a forty page short story. It is in a league by itself.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

This is a toss-up, because it depends on the mood of the voter. I can see The Worst Person In The World winning here just because it is so weird, vulgar, and odd. But I can see Licorice Pizza winning because Paul Thomas Anderson. However, I think, if we’re going with original, then the story about Belfast in the time of The Troubles, in which the mom makes the little boy take the washing powders back to the store that he accidentally looted during the riot while the riot was still going on should win.

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These are my predictions and ideas. Also note, Andrew Garfield, Bradley Cooper, and Lin-Manuel Miranda all need to take a break. They were everywhere this year. Let someone else have some screen time, fellas.

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Comet Disaster Movie

We watched the Netflix movie “Don’t Look up” last night. It is less about comets ending the world as it is social and political commentary. The President, played by Meryl Street, is definitely a Trump-like political figure. The biggest commentary, though, is more social as the movie screams dissatisfaction with celebrity culture, social media addiction, and the fact most people don’t have the ability to analyze complicated facts. Sometimes it feels like it is talking about the response to COVID-19 and other times it feels like it is about global climate change.

I kinda think DiCaprio looks a little like Greenbean here in this picture

The movie is better than that other big Netflix Christmas Day offering of Birdbox from a couple of years ago, that is for sure.

The language is strong — very strong — and there is completely gratuitous nudity near the end.

The best scene is at the very end, when the seven sane people left sit down to dinner and Timothee Chalamet leads them in a very touching prayer which could be offered in any church in the world.

However, my big take away was that this movie presents a word that needs to be destroyed and is not worth saving. None of the characters are particularly likable, and it is such an exaggeration of all our worst tendencies that it doesn’t feel particularly believable. However, Mark Rylance is amazing in his portrayal of a Jeff Bezos/Elon Musk/Bill Gates figure.

The movie was such a downer we had to watch an episode of Ted Lasso to get our minds readjusted.

Now, if you want a better all around comet/asteroid destroying the world flick, then I suggest Deep Impact. Every time I watch it I wish the character Morgan Freeman plays was really our president. The human characters in that film are so well fleshed out in meaningful ways that if that movie is on tv, I will stop and watch it.

Then there is Armageddon, which is awful. However, Bruce Willis dies in it every time, and that is something to applaud.

But back to ‘Don’t Look Up’. The cast is under utilized. Cate Blanchett is basically just a trope as is Tyler Perry. Meryl Streep is the caricature of a shallow duplicitous politician. Jonah Hill makes me sick to my stomach. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, not his acting, but his character, is inconsistent. Jennifer Lawrence, who may be the best actor of our time, is reduced to brooding and screaming. The scientists don’t act like scientists in this movie.

All the negative said, the movie could have some powerful benefit theologically. I told Mrs. Greenbean they should show this movie in seminary and use it as a launching point for the doctrine of total depravity, because ever negative impulse of the human race is covered in this one movie.

The implication of the director, Adam McKay, seems to be if we keep going the way we are, the eventual end will be death by denial of truth. As such, it reminds me less of other asteroid disaster movies and more of Idiocracy, which is a film that feels prophetic fifteen years later.

There are a few laugh out loud moments — and if you do watch it, keep an eye on the ever rising cost of shovels in the film.

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Predictions for 2022

First, let all reasonable people agree 2021 didn’t happen; 2021 was only Part II of 2020. So, we are treating 2021 like Apple Treated the iPhone 9 or Microsoft treated Windows 9 — we’re just going to pretend it doesn’t exist.

New year 2022 and old year 2021 on sandy beach with waves

However, my predictions last year (Click here to read them) were not that off target. I was spot on about three of them, and near enough to accurate on about three there that I was very pleased — well above my average of 30% accuracy.

That said . . . let’s get started with my annual exercise in ridiculousness and make ten predictions for 2022. Keep in mind as you read, these are not things I necessarily want to happen. They are things I think will happen. I have no clairvoyance and no crystal ball. I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet. I’m just making guesses (although I’d really like #7 to happen, but like tomorrow).

10. On January 6, nothing will happen. There will be no big anniversary, no big celebration, and no repeat of the insurrection. There will, though, be tons of media hype, from both the left and the right.

9. The Tennessee Titans will win the Super Bowl.

8. Al Pacino will receive the only Oscar nomination from ‘House of Gucci’, and he may win as best supporting actor.

7. By summer, a pill or oral regimen will be available which in all practicality cures COVID-19.

6. President Biden will announce after the midterm elections he is not seeking re-election.

5. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas will not win his bid to keep his current job.

4. Someone you know will own or subscribe to a self-driving car.

3. The Houston Astros will again return to the World Series, and again they will lose to a far superior National League team.

2. Inflation will continue to incrementally grow through the winter and early spring, but by summer it will begin to taper off as interest rates increase.

1. The Southern Baptist Convention, after a decade of implosion, will collapse.

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Best Picture 2021 — A Great Batch of Movies

Movies have been weird this year. I haven’t seen a single nominee on the big screen because . . . COVID-19. Instead, I’ve watched them at home, which has been cheaper, easier, and more convenient. However, it doesn’t quite feel the same. Nevertheless, in typical Greenbean fashion, let me present to you my summation and prediction for best picture. Let’s take them in alphabetical order.

The Father — Tear jerker, great performance by Anthony Hopkins, but the only award this French rehash will win is editing (which may be the only sure bet this year). The editing is actually the key to understanding this film, and figuring out when Oliva Colman is wearing that blue shirt.

Judas And The Black Messiah — One of two films set in Chicago in the late 1960s. The story is amazing, and the acting is brilliant. This movie has a better than average chance of winning, particularly because of the subject material’s relevancy. I really liked this movie.

Mank — Well told story about old Hollywood using techniques and pacing that is reminiscent of the old stories themselves. Pro Tip: watch Citizen Kane BEFORE you watch Mank. Oldman will win best actor because Hollywood loves Hollywood more than anything except money and it will probably win cinematography, but Mank can’t win best picture. It is a great movie, but not up to snuff with some of these other films.

Minari — I am sentimental about this movie. It reminds me so much of my own childhood — right down to the barn burning and kids riding the van to church. This movie has a very good chance of winning. Brilliant acting, pacing, and it may well be the best overall storytelling we’ve seen in an Oscar nominee in a long time.

Nomadland — This is the weakest of the movies nominated. It is still a fine film, and I particularly loved the homage to the West as my family has been to so many of the places visited. Specifically thrilling for us was Wall Drug. I just found it a little simplistic. Felt much more like a documentary.

Promising Young Woman — This movie has a better than average chance of winning. Brilliant, thrilling, riveting, and heart breaking. Again, the subject matter is very contemporary, but Carey Mulligan is a powerhouse in this movie making the most of every word she says and every glare she gives. I think Mulligan wins (Mrs. Greenbean thinks Andra Day wins) best actress, and this movie may be an upset winner.

Sound of Metal — Mrs. Greenbean loved this movie. It is a well told tale with riveting characters you care about. The story of a person losing his hearing and how he copes and the folks who help him is the stuff of real life. This movie, along with Promising Young Woman, is one of those that stays with you long after you’ve watched it.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 — I loved this movie. The Aaron Sorkin script will win best original screenplay and Sacha Baron Cohen may steal a best supporting actor Oscar, because Oscar has set up Judas And The Black Messiah actors to fail by nominating Kaluuya and Stanfield in this category, thus splitting that vote. If you love political drama, this your movie. Such a wonderful ensemble cast, especially the always riveting Mark Rylance who, in a different less crowded year, would have been nominated for best supporting actor.


I really did like all of these movies and could make a case for each one winning the Oscar, so I will not be mad at all this year (I’m looking at you, Birdman and The Shape of Water). But if I were picking, I would pick Minari, and I think Minari will win. After Parasite, Koreans are on a streak.

A couple of auxiliary notes. First, with the exception of Frances McDormand’s naked skinny dipping, there was no nudity or sexually explicit scenes in any of these movies. The language in all of them was harsh, Minari being tamer than the rest, but the absence of nudity was a very pleasant surprise. I hope it is a harbinger of things to come. Even McDormand’s scene was more of a hippy dippy moment and not designed to be sensual.

Second, I always like to find themes in the movies to see where Oscar’s head is, or where Hollywood’s is. A surprising one emerged: community. Each movie emphasizes the strength of a community that holds us together. It is very prominent in Metal as the real heroes are the deaf community who also are Christ followers. But Promising has the subset of med school students, Chicago 7 is protesters, Nomadland is the community of nomads, Minari is the immigrant community, Mank is that small Hollywood cloister of olden times, Judas is the Black Panthers, and The Father is literally a family. it doesn’t take a rocket scientists to point out that in the world of COVID-19, those tight communities and being together tends to tug at our heartstrings a little more.

If things allow, I’ll be back later with more Oscar predictions. It is a very good batch of movies this year. Very good.