We had three films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
As a product of the DC universe, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was though to be little more than a new cash grab for Sony after its ignoble attempts at resurrecting the beloved webslinger. Then something spectacular happened: critics saw it.
The exploration of various characters within the Spider-Man Universe has been receiving stellar reviews and has been named on several occasions as the best animated feature of the year. Those accolades have made the film into one of the year’s biggest contenders.
While one critics’ group has already named it the best picture of the year (animated or otherwise), there’s no indication that this will be a forecast of something bigger. Right now, a Best Animated Feature nomination is assured, and an Oscar is becoming increasingly likely; however, nominations outside of the category aren’t likely.
This Lebanese drama about a 12-year-old boy who sues his parents for neglect has been making the circuit since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival early this year. The film received a 15-minute standing ovation at the festival and won the Jury Prize.
Since then, critics have supported the film with their reviews and their awards, handing it numerous citations either as the best foreign language film of the year or one of the top five. That support is translating into buzz for an Oscar nomination. After the Academy winnowed its selections down to nine films, this was one of the remaining, suggesting it’s got a strong chance at a nomination, one of few made for female directors in the category.
The film doesn’t have a lot of prospects in other categories, though a surprise Original Screenplay nomination is a distant possibility.
Barry Jenkins’ follow up to Moonlight is the kind of film the Academy might have ignored in the past, simply because it’s not overly dramatic enough. These days, however, the Academy has been more receptive to small family dramas.
Those such films of the past that succeeded were typically filled with explosive and theatrical performances, largely from films adapted from the stage. This film is far more subdued, which could have hindered it in the past. However, critics have been incredibly supportive, giving it more of a chance with Oscar voters.
That support has extended to Regina King as Best Supporting Actress especially. King has received the vast majority of awards for her role in the film. The film has also earned prizes for its screenplay and its score along with prizes for Best Picture along with nominations in all of these categories and more.
The one fly in its ointment is the fact that the Screen Actors Guild nominating committee ignored the film entirely. That might temporarily inhibit the film’s chances, but the Producers Guild, Directors Guild, Writers Guild, and others could very well rebuild the film’s reputation and chances, especially if King wins some of the other televised awards for which she has been nominated.