Oscar season giveth and Oscar season taketh away. You can truly never make anyone happy during awards season and that was the case this morning with the revelation of both the 2022 BAFTA Awards longlists and the 2022 SAG Awards nominations. Two influential indicators for a wide range of potential Academy Awards nominees.
Here are some quick takeaways after both the longlists and SAG noms dropped this morning.
Oh, it’s still “Belfast,” “The Power of the Dog” and “West Side Story” for the win
To win the Oscar for Best Picture you essentially need support from every key branch of the Academy. That means the actors, writers, directors, editors, and as many below-the-line branches that you can qualify for (not every film will make the Original Score/Song, Sound, or Visual Effects cut, for example). Three films still appear to be in the lead in that regard after the SAG Awards noms and the BAFTA longlist reveals: Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” Granted, “Power of the Dog” and “West Side” did not earn Cast in a Motion Picture nods, but they landed individual SAG nods which shows acting branch support (Disney also did not send DVDs for “West Side” to SAG nominating committee members which may have affected it earning a Cast nod). All three films, along with “Don’t Look Up” (more on that one later), were tops in BAFTA Longlist mentions. In that particular case, “West Side” led all films with a staggering 16 appearances. PGA, DGA, and, to some extent, WGA nods will influence each film’s standing as the campaign presses on, but for now, at least, we have something of a race.
What happened to Penelope Cruz?
Probably the biggest head-scratcher of the morning is the Oscar fate of Penelope Cruz. The “Parallel Mothers” star won Best Actress at the 2021 Venice Film Festival and was seen as a potential frontrunner to win the 2022 Oscar as well. Those hopes hit a major speed bump this morning as Cruz was snubbed from not only the BAFTA longlist (an absolutely shocker), but she didn’t make the SAG Awards cut either. Granted, Cruz has not won a SAG Award to date, but she has been nominated five times by her peers including, for all things, her performance in “Nine.” The AMPAS acting branch is a different bird than SAG, but both snubs have to have Sony Classics wondering if her nomination is in peril.
“Don’t Look Up” is in
It may have scored mostly mixed to negative reviews from critics and become a polarizing subject matter on social media, but Adam McKay’s dark comedy is playing to industry viewers. The Netflix release scored an impressive 15 mentions on the BAFTA longlists. That tied it with “West Side Story.” When the SAG Awards nominations dropped an hour later, the film saw it land a Best Cast nomination. Granted, it’s been a long time since every Cast nominee earned a Best Picture nod (2015 to be exact), but at this point, with 10 nominees it feels like a safe bet. In fact…
Netflix is on the cusp of three Best Picture nominee history
We’re not sure this was the year the streamer thought it would happen, but Netflix is looking at least three Best Picture nominees this year. “The Power of the Dog” is 100% in. “Don’t Look Up” is likely a safe pick at this point. The question is whether “The Lost Daughter” or “tick, tick…BOOM!” will round out the trio. Both films earned a SAG Nod, but it’s probably the former at this point after the Maggie Gyllenhaal drama appeared nine times on the BAFTA longlists. While many studios and distributors have earned two Best Picture nominees in one year – even in the five nominee era – it’s been over 60 years since a studio has scored three as the domestic distributor. To say it would be an eyebrow-raising achievement even with a 10 nominee field is an understatement.
“Nightmare Alley” is in danger of missing out
Guillermo del Toro needs to whip up some of that awards season magic for his period thriller. The Searchlight Pictures release appeared just four times on the BAFTA longlists and one of those mentions was for a category, Original Score, it missed out on the Oscar shortlists. Getting snubbed from the 15 field Best Film list was the kicker, one of the few categories voted by all members in all rounds. What should pop to Searchlight is the fact that its other awards season player, Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” landed on the BAFTA longlists 10 times including Best Film and Best Supporting Actor (Benecio del Toro). For “Nightmare,” a glimmer of light appeared with Cate Blanchett’s surprise (but deserved) Supporting Actress nod.
“No Time To Die” still has a shot at a Best Picture nod
After qualifying for every possible Oscar shortlist it could (one of the few films to do so), Daniel Craig‘s final James Bond outing scored 12 mentions on the BAFTA longlists including Best Film, Best British Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. The SAG Awards nomination for Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture doesn’t mean much, but the MGM release should still be taken very seriously as a potential Best Picture nominee crasher.
Dear God…”House of Gucci”
Well, it’s come to this. Ridley Scott’s melodrama is a pandemic success (not necessarily profitable, mind you) and appears in the mix for a, cough, Best Picture nomination. “Gucci” landed three SAG Awards nominations (Cast Lead Actress, Supporting Actor) and appeared on the BAFTA shortlists an astouCnding 13 times including somehow for British Film. Again, it’s been five years since all five SAG Awards Cast nominees also landed a Best Picture nod. The other four nominees are the aforementioned “Don’t Look Up,” “CODA,” “Belfast” and “King Richard.” If any film doesn’t make it, at this point, it’s either “Don’t Look Up” or “Gucci.” Place your bets.
“Drive My Car” is still only an Oscar outlier at the moment
Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s drama has won three major critics groups honors, LAFCA, NYFCC, and the National Society of Film Critics. Unlike non-English language films such as “Amour,” “Roma” or “Parasite,” it hasn’t popped as a true Best Picture nominee contender. Today’s BAFTA longlists saw it make the Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Film Not in the English Language categories but that was probably the bare minimum it could earn. No acting or below-the-line recognition is probably a bad sign for what many hope is a legit Best Picture nomination.
If Ann Dowd can’t earn a SAG nomination…
Many took a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Ann Dowd as a given. The acclaimed industry veteran is a four-time SAG Award nominee, but only in the Ensemble and Cast categories. Distributor Bleeker Street has been campaigning Dowd and the entire cast of the Sundance drama for months and have had great success with SAG in the past. If Dowd can’t land here – she did make the BAFTA longlist – her chance at an Oscar nod may be in deep, deep trouble.