Will Damien Chazelle’s ‘Babylon’ Be Ruined?

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Every week from now until January 24, when the Academy Awards nominations are announced, Vulture will consult its crystal ball to determine the changing fortunes of this year’s Oscar race. In our “oscar futures”, we’ll share insider gossip, analyze new developments, and follow industry buzz to find out who’s on top, who’s on the bottom, and who’s leading the race for a coveted Oscar nomination.

best image

Even

Babylon

One of the last great contenders to the screen, Babylon left its premiere in Los Angeles with absolutely poisonous buzz. Its screening in New York a few days later was better, with some major critics Collecting The movies battered standard. If that seems like a heady ride even by kickback cycle standards, well, that’s only appropriate for Babylonwhich is essentially Singing in the rain remade as a three hour drug fueled bacchanalia. Whether Damien Chazelle is the right man for the job is an open question: the film’s incessant F-bombs reminded me of a seventh grader trying to impress his friends, but it only takes a die-hard few to see a masterpiece. misunderstood. where others see a disaster. As an awards contender, the film feels eerily similar to don’t look up, another wacky comedy that takes a turn towards sentimentality in its final act. That film had no trouble getting nominated, and the equally polarizing Babylon He is by no means out of the race, although his grip on a seat is more shaky than it seemed a week ago.

Down

Devotion

This Korean War airman drama was largely overlooked at TIFF, but an audience award at the Middleburg Film Festival put it back on the radar of pundits. The film was screened for critics this week ahead of its Thanksgiving release, and after seeing it I second the excitement of The Guardian‘s Carlos Bramescowho called it “robust though not exceptional”. DevotionThe plot of manly men making friends on airplanes might appeal to the large parent wing of the Academy, but the film has many, Many similarities with Top Gun: Maverick be sure you’ll face a steep climb for Oscar’s attention.

current predicted

Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything everywhere at once, The Fabelmans, glass onion, Deposit, Top Gun: Maverick, The whale, women talking

best director

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Damien Chazelle, Babylon

No one can accuse history’s youngest Best Director winner of a lack of ambition: Babylon tries at various times to be a lurid black comedy, a period epic with no expense spared, Y a nostalgic tribute to the legends of the silent era. The impression, anna thompson reports, is from an author who “perhaps flew too close to the sun.” The crafts are dazzling enough that Chazelle could perhaps get in on it thanks to the impressive technical achievement, but remember that last season this branch snubbed Dune‘s Denis Villeneuve even when his film won six trophies.

Up

bratton chic, The inspection

Before TIFF, I heard rumors that The inspection could be from this year Moonlight: an intimate personal drama with great emotional resonance. I suspect part of this was due to the films’ superficial similarities (both are A24 movies about black gay men), but the comparison to a decade-defining cinematic achievement didn’t quite pan out. The inspection any favors with the festival crowd. Now, with more distance from those sky-high expectations, Bratton’s account of his experience as a Marine recruit in the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era can be taken on his own merits. “Bratton relies on the power of his own story and the discipline of his excellent cast to keep the film free of bombast or hype,” he says. ao scott. He should be racing his compatriot A24, After the sunCharlotte Wells, for the Best Debut Awards.

current predicted

field Todd, Deposit; Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin; Ruben Östlund, triangle of sadness; Sarah Polley, women talking; steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

best Actor

Down

Diego Calva, Babylon

Unless you are a committed viewer of Narcos: Mexico, Babylon it’s probably the first thing you’ll see of Calva. As a gopher on the rise, he holds his own against a group of established stars in a way that will hopefully land him more leading roles. It’s always hard for a new face to break through, but Paramount has tried to counter that by bringing out their new star by shaking hands and kissing babies. Unfortunately, unfamiliarity isn’t the only thing standing in the way of him: he also plays an unassuming, unassuming character whose most significant evolutions occur offscreen. While the best actor award is weak this year, it was just as weak in 2019, when blackKkKlansmanJohn David Washington’s John David Washington, another newcomer leading a major contender, couldn’t get in.

Up

Brendan Fraser, The whale

in a 2018 G.Q. profile, Fraser publicly accused the former head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association of groping him at an event 15 years earlier. This week he revealed that he will skip the revived Golden Globes ceremony in protest. Considering Fraser is the favorite for Best Actor, this was always going to be an awkward situation, but now the onus is on the HFPA, where he belongs, to decide how to handle it.

current predicted

Austin Butler, Elvis; Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin; Brendan Fraser, The whale; hugh jackman, The son; bill nighty, To live

Best actress

Up

margot robbie, Babylon

Robbie casts herself in the role of a silent movie star, giving a dervish turn of a performance. She’s a fully committed feat of physicality, though I wonder if she’ll be criticized for her lack of dynamic role changes: Her character is going 100 miles an hour in every scene. Still, Robbie offers enough movie star charisma that I think she’ll be in the mix, though it looks like the two-time nominee will have to elbow out two other Academy favorites, Olivia Colman and Viola Davis, for the final spot in row this killer of a career.

Even

Florence Pugh, The wonder

pugh is winning great reviews —when he hasn’t done it—for his participation in Sebastián Lelio’s religious drama. As the movie hits Netflix, it’s unclear how high she is on the streamer’s priorities, and once again, she hasn’t gotten a huge amount of press for it. Maybe the Dune: part two shooting is really that demanding?

current predicted

cate blanchett, Deposit; Danielle Deadwyler, Until; margot robbie, Babylon; michelle williams, The Fabelmans; Michelle Yeoh, Everything everywhere at once

Best Supporting Actor

Up

Brad Pitt, Babylon

I suspect Pitt’s fading idol has the most likely path to a nomination of anyone in BabylonThe extensive cast Not only is he a supporting campaign co-star, but he also has the clearest arc of the three main players, and is often asked to speak about the power of The Movies in a way that rivals his own. Happy Feet fellow franchisee Nicole Kidman. considering the abuse allegations that have popped up since his last round of Oscars, I was wondering if Paramount might try to cover it up, but Pitt has been around for post-screening Q&A sessions on both coasts. Don’t rule out another charm offensive.

Down

Ralph Fiennes, The menu

He had designated Fiennes as a possible supporting actor for this fine-dining satire. He’s delicious as a master chef taking revenge on his dimwitted customers, adding subtle notes of self-deprecation to the dish. But it turns out that Searchlight has decided campaign for him as a protagonistwhich is something of a double-edged knife: You have a clear path to a Golden Globe nomination, but Oscar voters may be more likely to reward a comedic performance in what they subconsciously see as the “minor” category.

current predicted

Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin; Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans; Brad Pitt, Babylon; Ke huy quan, Everything everywhere at once; Ben Whishaw, women talking

Best Supporting Actress

Up

union gabrielle, The inspection

As the biggest name in the cast, Union got out early on the promo trail to name The inspection. A famous LGBTQ-friendly star playing a homophobic mother is the kind of transformation voters can get behind, and while she’s not in the movie much, the scenes of her function as emotional bookends for the film. Whatever noise this little indie makes is going to have to come from the critics, but it looks like they’re on board. “With barely sublimated anger, she walks the dangerously fine line between love and hate,” she says. justin changwho calls his performance “revealing”.

Down

smart jean, Babylon

Playing an amalgamation of Louella Parsons and Elinor Glyn, Smart hovers around the edges of Babylon for a while before getting a cool scene where he tells Pitt’s character what’s what. (The little golden men podcast he speculated that a large chunk of his part was left on the cutting room floor). It would be a fantastic Oscar clip, but unless the voters really Babylon-crazy, there probably isn’t enough here to make a serious offer.

current predicted

jessie buckley, women talking; hongchau, The whale; kerry condom, The Banshees of Inisherin; Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything everywhere at once; Clara Foy, women talking

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