04 February 2019

Norwegian Morning Wood's Official Oscar Predictions

Well folks it's time once again for our 100% accurate, never-fail Oscar Predictions. The 91st Academy Award Ceremony is three weeks from last night and we have all the hottest bits right here awaiting you.

We've done this for a while now. Here's our all-time record:

2010: 12/24
2011: 14/24
2012: 16/24
2013: 14/24
2014: 20/24
2015: 13/24
2016: 14/24
2017: 13/24
2018: 16/24

Long-term average: 14.7 / 24

That's certainly not great. We can predict about that much. This year is really special because I haven't paid attention at all because there are a lot better things to do with life. Nevertheless, it's time to put myself out there and see what we can come up with. It's actually looking like a weird year in a few categories, so here goes nothing:

Best Picture:

Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
Roma
A Star Is Born
Vice

Predicted Winner: Roma

I have gotten this wrong four years in a row. Why are you still reading this website? A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody seem to be the other big contenders, but Roma has the precursor and festival momentum. Now, I hated Roma, but I'd be okay with its win here, especially over Rhapsody, which seems to have massive populist appeal for a movie that to me, didn't live up to the life of Freddie.

Lead Actor:

Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Predicted Winner: Bale

This could go to Rami Malek, who hasn't won all that many awards, but two big ones in SAG and Golden Globes. Bale picked up a globe as well, because of course, Bohemian Rhapsody isn't nearly the musical comedy that VICE is. Still, I like Bale's chances a little bit more. The Academy may love a gay musical biopic, but they'll also love body transformations and heavy leftist political propaganda. I've already expressed my distaste for Rhapsody for not going gay enough, which means I'll likely get this wrong and Malek will win.

Or ever the bridesmaid Bradley Cooper will win to make up for losing Best Picture and missing out entirely on a Director nod. But history isn't so kind to him.

Lead Actress:

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Predicted Winner: Glenn Close

Colman and GaGa presented far more memeable roles in far more interesting movies, but this just feels like a long overdue Glenn Close award. But for what, actually? 101 Dalmations (1996)? Glenn Close is like someone who you think has had this legendary career but who really hasn't. Still, it feels right to give her the award here. Or it could be like Michael Keaton a few years back who gets totally screwed. With enough precursor support, we feel safe, though.

Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Predicted winner: Mahershala Ali

Even though he just won, this seems like another safe bet. It's that classic bullshit where the white actor gets Lead and the black actor gets Supporting. How is this a thing? Richard E. Grant is leading a bit more in precursor awards, but the easygoing charm of Mahershala coupled with the intensity of his roles and him having a bit of a moment right now with True Detective on the horizon feels right.

Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Predicted winner: Regina King

It's become fairly standard to give this to a black woman. Seriously, even when the Academy is not being racist, it's being racist. Amy Adams has enough nominations behind her without a win to make this a little bit of a toss-up, as does previous winners Weisz and Stone. Regina makes the most sense, especially since Beale Street is the kind of lauded, underseen, under-awarded film that everyone seems to like.

Director:

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice

Predicted Winner: Cuaron

For the first time in a long time I'm betting this category lines up with Best Picture. I should probably go with Bohemian Rhapsody for Best Picture, actually. Precedent be damned! Cuaron will have a good night.

Animated Feature:

Incredibles 2, Brad Bird
Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson
Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda
Ralph Breaks the Internet, Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Predicted winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Somehow this might be a really good, justified night for this film that should have had way more recognition than it ended up getting. I named it one of my favorites of the year, it's done fantastic at the DGA and Annie awards and could walk away with a statue here. For once, I'm pumped.

Animated Short:

"Animal Behaviour", Alison Snowden, David Fine
"Bao", Domee Shi
"Late Afternoon", Louise Bagnall
"One Small Step", Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
"Weekends", Trevor Jimenez

Predicted winner: Bao

By far the most emotionally complex and most widely seen, this seems like Bao's bag. This category, however, is totally insane to predict and no one ever gets it right. Based on my thirty seconds of research, though, I 100% guarantee it!

Adapted Screenplay:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins
A Star Is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Predicted Winner: Spike

Somehow Spike Lee has never won an Oscar, and was only nominated in this category 28 years ago with Do the Right Thing (1989). BlacKkKlansman was pretty popular, widely nominated, and awarded, and likely won't walk away with much else. This seems really fitting. Upsets could be Brad Cooper or Barry, or anyone here, really.

Original Screenplay:

The Favourite, Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
First Reformed, Paul Schrader
Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
Vice, Adam McKay

Predicted Winner: Deb and Tony

This could go a lot of ways. McKay has been here before and VICE is a little better written than The Big Short (2015). Cuaron could sweep everything. This could be a good consolation for First Reformed, which otherwise has dip this ceremony. Green Book and Favourite are both movies that may not garner much else. We lean towards The Favourite - Yorgos seems to be on a roll with respected, witty, and very original work, even though he didn't actually write this one.

Cinematography:

Cold War, Lukasz Zal
The Favourite, Robbie Ryan
Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
A Star Is Born, Matthew Libatique

Predicted Winner: Cuaron

Okay, as much as I hated Roma, it's the most beautiful movie ever and if Cuaron doesn't win, there's no justice.

Best Documentary Feature:

Free Solo, Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
Hale County This Morning, This Evening, RaMell Ross
Minding the Gap, Bing Liu
Of Fathers and Sons, Talal Derki
RBG, Betsy West, Julie Cohen

Predicted Winner: RBG

With Won't You Be My Neighbor out, the presumptive heir is RBG. It seems like too perfect not to win, right? It's timely, well-done, popular, and widely known. Minding the Gap has won more critics awards and Free Solo sounds like that Star Wars movie, so there could be upsets.

Best Documentary Short Subject:

"Black Sheep", Ed Perkins
"End Game", Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
"Lifeboat", Skye Fitzgerald
"A Night at the Garden", Marshall Curry
"Period. End of Sentence.", Rayka Zehtabchi

Predicted Winner: "End Game"

I was actually really pumped for a documentary about grammatical periods. It is not what that movie is about. This could be anything. End Game seems to be the biggest heart-string tugger.

Best Live Action Short Film:

"Detainment", Vincent Lambe
"Fauve", Jeremy Comte
"Marguerite", Marianne Farley
"Mother", Rodrigo Sorogoyen
"Skin", Guy Nattiv

Predicted Winner: "Marguerite"

"Fauve" sounds like the coolest and "Skin" has the most star power, but "Marguerite" seems to have the most love. Good enough for us.

Best Foreign Language Film:

Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

Predicted Winner: Roma

Right? Like, how can it be Best Picture and not Best Foreign Picture.

Film Editing:

BlacKkKlansman, Barry Alexander Brown
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Ottman
Green Book, Patrick J. Don Vito
The Favourite, Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Vice, Hank Corwin

Predicted Winner: Bohemian Rhapsody

I don't think a movie can be nominated this much and be such a populist film without winning anything. Most critics are thinking VICE, and we'll see, but considering what a mess the production of BH was, the editing really works, especially in the final LiveAID scene.

Sound Editing:

Black Panther, Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Warhurst
First Man, Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan
A Quiet Place, Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
Roma, Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay

Predicted Winner: First Man

First Man really fits into that Gravity (2013), Arrival (2016), Dunkirk (2017) kind of feel, but A Quiet Place could get in there. But there's really no sound in that damn movie. I should also note that each of those films was far more popular than First Man, which gives me a little hesitation.

Sound Mixing:

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
Roma
A Star Is Born

Predicted winner: A Star Is Born

It's always a rule until it's not. This was a common musical category for a while, but it's lost a bit of a step with La La Land (2016) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) missing out recently. In that case, it fits that First Man technical bill again, but no one liked that damn movie. I'm not hinging my bets on two losses here. Black Panther will probably sweep, but big blockbusters don't tend to do well here.

Production Design:

Black Panther, Hannah Beachler
First Man, Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
The Favourite, Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
Mary Poppins Returns, John Myhre, Gordon Sim
Roma, Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez

Predicted Winner: Panther

This award has gone to big populist movies a lot lately, and BP is original and intricate enough to earn this award.

Original Score:

BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard
Black Panther, Ludwig Goransson
If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Predicted winner: Black Panther

I have not listened to this. Isle of Dogs stands out in an otherwise muddled movie, but enough people might picture the Black Panther sound track to pick that. Desplat has won two of the past four awards in this category. Beale Street is cruising the precursors, so we'll see if I eat my words. But I always follow precursors and lose. Let's go Panther!

Original Song:

"All The Stars" from Black Panther by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
"I’ll Fight" from RBG by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
"The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
"Shallow" from A Star Is Born by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice
"When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings" from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Predicted winner: "Shallow"

No commentary.

Makeup and Hair:

Border
Mary Queen of Scots
Vice

Predicted winner: VICE

C'mon. I need this to make up for my other terrible predictions.

Costume Design:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Mary Zophres
Black Panther, Ruth E. Carter
The Favourite, Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns, Sandy Powell
Mary Queen of Scots, Alexandra Byrne

Predicted Winner: Mary Queen of Scots

Listen, this is always some random fucking winner except for when Mad Max (2015) inexplicably won, so we're going with that. There's also only two or three costume designers who ever win, and Byrne won back in 2007 for Elizabeth: The Golden Age. See? You don't remember that damn movie. That's what this category is.

Visual Effects:

Avengers: Infinity War
Christopher Robin
First Man
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Predicted Winner: Thanos

Like, legit that movie's effects were amazing.

That's it, folks. Stay tuned to see what we got right and what we got horribly, horribly wrong!

16 January 2019

2019 Will Be Better!

You heard it here, first, folks! The year 2019 will be the greatest year for movies in the 10,000 history of humanity. You'll be grateful that Norwegian Morning Wood broke this story first! Last year we actually weren't too bad in our looking ahead predictions. Chances are pretty high that this will be the exact End of Year List we go through next December. Let's begin:

Godzilla: King of the Monsters - 05/19



This may seem weird. Godzilla (2014) was kinda shitty for the first 90 minutes but delivered a satisfying ending fight. I didn't even see Kong: Skull Island (2017) but it apparently wasn't total shit. That's something I guess. I'm still a fan of the Big G, though, and a film that promises Rodan, Mothra, and the biggest bastard of them all, King Ghidorah in fully realized glory all directed by Michael Dougherty of Trick R Treat (2007) and Krampus (2015) fame sounds good on paper. Even though Toho knocked anything American Godzilla can do out of the par with Shin Godzilla (2016), this should give us a good dose of monsters, fire breath, and hurricane wing winds. Or it'll just blow all its goodwill like Gareth Edwards' take.

Avengers: Endgame - 04/26



Infinity War was the culmination of a lot of threads building up to the ultimate battle against a Universal threat. Then Thanos won and everybody died. Endgame promises a lot, but will it deliver a lame cop out or some true pathos for these characters? The trailer pretends we're not just going to go back in time via Ant-Man and the Quantum Realm and change everything. Still - THIS, I promise, THIS ONE will be the last one, I swear. At any rate, it's a momentous shift from the past ten years of Marvel Superhero films (totally this one and not another one ten years from now), and we just gotta see how this ends. Again.

Detective Pikachu - 05/19



What the hell is this? How is the first live action Pokemon movie a thoroughly American affair starring Ryan Reynolds? Based on the Detective Pikachu offshoot brand of all things. Where's my Pokemon Snap movie?! The trailer had charm, nostalgia, wit, mystery, and a whole lot of really weird and creepy furry shenanigans to pique my interest. Sure it's based on a previous property, but it looks bold in a way other retreads don't. Could this become the greatest video game movie of all time?

Spider-Man: Far From Home - 07/05



If you know anything about me by now, it's that I like my superhero movies real, real weird. Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio fits that bill and that's a major reason to be excited for this. We got a trailer just under the wire, and we can already deduce a few things - like, are the elemental monsters attacking London all a ruse or do we really get Hydro-Man and Molten Man in the mix? I just hope we can get something like this or this, or hell, even Mysterio created Old Man Logan. Mysterio is the shit and totally bonkers. His powers are so limited - he's just a special effects artist...but generally that's enough leeway to make him the most powerful villain of all time.

Joker - 10/04

This anti-hero movie is in the same slot as Venom (2018) was this year - and although that movie was fairly dumb, it was still a nice little side adventure through brain eating and lethal protection. Joker is good enough to attract Joaquin Phoenix to work for Todd Phillips alongside Robert DeNiro and Zazie Beetz for some reason. This is the age we're at now - where we get the giant bombastic superhero movies, but they're also just our psychotic character dramas and dark comedies now, too. Whatever it takes. Phillips always walks that weird dark edge, and Joaquin is amazing, so hopes are high. This is in addition to the fact that every non-Jared Leto Joker has been instantly iconic.

Ad Astra - 05/24

This is like Interstellar (2014) but with Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones, directed by James Gray, who has given us many long, contemplative films, most recently Lost City of Z (2016), which is totally underrated. We don't know too much more about this other than it has something to do with finding Tommy Lee Jones in space across some long journey. We're down.

Six Underground - Sometime

This is a $150 million Michael Bay Netflix movie starring Ryan Reynolds written by the dudes who made Deadpool (2016). This is the biggest no brainer of all time. Despite spending most of his time churning out Transformers movies that have all gotten worse with time, Bay did gift us with Pain & Gain (2013) which showed that his whip-fast, heavy cut, in-your-face style can actually be extremely effective with the right source material. Plus it's Netflix - total no brainer watch.

Knives Out - 11/27

Moving on from blockbusters, this is some kind of Daniel Craig murder mystery by Rian Johnson. Listen, The Last Jedi (2017) gets better every time I watch it, and I'm excited with what he can do with a smaller story. There's not a ton of info yet about this, and to be honest, a who-dunnit is either contrived or gives itself away too early, but Johnson can dig into these tropes and give us something interesting. I hope.

The Lighthouse - Someday

In 2016 Robert Eggers gave us The Witch, and this is his follow-up - some kind of monster maritime thing starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. We know it's a black and white horror fantasy of some kind, which seems right up Eggers' alley. The Witch is endlessly rewarding and Eggers is an incredible visual filmmaker who is also pretty proud of brutally murdering babies in his first scene. Sea Monsters are in these days.

Uncut Gems - Whenever

Speaking of Rober Pattinson, the Safdie Brothers were last seen behind Good Time (2017) but this time nabbed Adam Sandler, LaKeith Stanfield, and Idina Menzel for some reason. This is a "what the hell" kind of stunt casting, but I was really into their style in Good Time. Sandler has moments of brilliance whenever he's not in an Adam Sandler movie and this is some kind of diamond crime drama movie. Maybe he's a crusty jewel thief? Whatever, we'll see it.

Other Movies That Might Not Suck:

Rocketman - To me, Bohemian Rhapsody didn't go nearly gay enough. Hopefully the Elton John version can correct that.
Ford vs Ferrari - James Mangold does a car rivalry film
Boss Level - the beginning of the long and storied acting career of Rob Gronkowski
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - I don't think Tarantino is totally washed of his Weinstein association, and the Manson connection here seems exploitative, but this movie will probably be very good.
SHAZAM! - DC is finally getting fun and weird
Hobbes and Shaw - the only two great remaining parts of the Fast and Furious franchise
Velvet Buzzsaw - This also just got a trailer and it's weird as hell. I love how Jake Gyllenhaal has gone crazy.
Brightburn - what if Superman was evil. Or more like, what if he just was Superman - we couldn't handle that shit. This should poke holes in all of Man of Steel (2013)'s pretensions.
Cold Pursuit - what the fuck is the tone of this trailer going for? This will always be known as the Liam Neeson snowplow movie.
Us - this looks nuts. Lupita, Peele, and M'Baku are a good combination.

There are some other big films that we've ignored here. If I were to get real, Captain Marvel looks okay in the sense that I'll definitely catch up with it on Netflix in a few months, but I don't see it elevating above Doctor Strange (2016) good but not great levels. We're also getting a ton of Disney live action sequels that I could totally care less about (somehow Dumbo, Aladdin, AND The Lion King). There are also high profile Disney Animated films Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2, that I don't really think can improve on the perfect of their previous installments.

Hmm. These were all Disney movies. The studio is either going to have an amazing year or a terrible one. With Mary Poppins Returns (2018) sinking I wonder if the studio that could do no wrong will turn a corner. Then again, they've had at least as many high profile flops, from John Carter (2012) to Pete's Dragon (2016) to A Wrinkle in Time (2018) over the past few years. We'll see.

What are you hyped for?

04 January 2019

2018 TV Watching Retrospective

As I did an exhaustive analysis of my movie watching in 2018, which soared, my TV watching sorely declined. After nailing 867 episodes of 81 shows last year, all I could manage was 476 episodes of 54 shows. TV is declining for me, what can I say? Here's a graph!


ShowEpisodesPercentage of Total
Seinfeld357.35%
The Good Place326.72%
Arrested Development316.51%
The Office285.88%
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia234.83%
The Simpsons234.83%
Saturday Night Live214.41%
The Venture Bros204.20%
BoJack Horseman204.20%
South Park183.78%
American Vandal173.57%
Ash vs. Evil Dead153.15%
Last Week Tonight142.94%
Broad City142.94%
Future Man132.73%
Brooklyn Nine-Nine122.52%
Rick and Morty122.52%
Mary Shelley's Frankenhole112.31%
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee102.10%
The Fix102.10%
The Last Man on Earth91.89%
Marvel Avengers Assemble91.89%
The End of the Fucking World81.68%
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt81.68%
Disenchantment81.68%
Adventure Time51.05%
Documentary Now!51.05%
Evil Genius40.84%
Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law40.84%
Big Mouth40.84%
Monty Python's Flying Circus30.63%
Mystery Science Theater 300030.63%
Black Mirror20.42%
Community20.42%
Aggretsuko20.42%
Drunk History20.42%
Bob's Burgers20.42%
Dave Chappelle: Equanimity10.21%
The Detour10.21%
Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation10.21%
30 Rock10.21%
American Ninja Warrior10.21%
Korgoth of Barbaria10.21%
The Terror10.21%
Seth Rogen's Hilarity for Charity10.21%
Review10.21%
Gurren Lagann10.21%
Futurama10.21%
Sense810.21%
Maniac10.21%
Family Guy10.21%
Rocko's Modern Life10.21%
A Young Doctor's Notebook10.21%
The Tigers of Scotland10.21%

The most serious show I watched was probably Evil Genius, followed by Tigers of Scotland. Seinfeld won, of course. My Simpsons was way down, after hitting 105 last year and 222 the year before that.

Arrested Development and Always Sunny remain pretty strong, but props to The Good Place for being a relatively recent, contemporary show and not something that peaked in the 90s! I was definitely off my game for most of the year, and not into a ton of new shows like I used to be. The Last Man on Earth was cancelled, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is coming back but not this fall, and I just can't do The Flash anymore. To be honest, I've been kind of sick of The Simpsons after they couldn't have handled their Apu controversy with less aplomb. I'm still super into everything...90s... but stopped regularly watching every week.

I mean, it wasn't that hard to because the show got terrible. STARTING WITH SEASON 28.

What did you watch this year?
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