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Final Predictions for 2022 Oscars Shortlists for Visual Effects, Original Song, International Feature and More

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be announcing shortlists on Monday for 10 Oscar races. The categories and number of films to be revealed are documentary feature (15), documentary short subject (10), international feature (15), makeup and hairstyling (10), original score (15), original song (15), animated short film (10), live action short film (10), visual effects (10) and for the first time in history, sound (10).

Acting as a progress report for studios, the shortlists provide insight on what is resonating with particular branches, especially among the best picture frontrunners. Awards strategists behind Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” are hoping for more than one mention across the eligible shortlists.

Other features like Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “King Richard” and Siân Heder’s “CODA” stand to see a boost in their profiles.

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Shortlist voting concluded on Dec. 15, and the remaining films will move on to the official phase one voting, which will take place from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1. Oscar nominations in all 23 categories will be announced on Feb. 8, with the ceremony set to take place on March 27.

Below, find the shortlist predictions (except for the shorts) with commentary on what to expect. Go to each category’s Awards Circuit prediction pages for the contenders’ full rankings and the credited artisans.

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Being the Ricardos” (Amazon Studios)
  • “Cruella” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros.)
  • “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “The French Dispatch” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “House of Gucci” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “Spencer” (Neon/Topic Studios)
  • “The Suicide Squad” (Warner Bros.)
  • “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)

Alternates: “Army of the Dead” (Netflix), “Free Guy” (20th Century Studios), “Respect” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

The more makeup, the more likely a film is to gain traction with this particular branch. However, this category’s bakeoff almost always yields significant surprises like the inclusion of “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” (2013) or an exclusion like “The Shape of Water” (2017). The work performed on Stellan Skarsgård in “Dune” and Jared Leto in “House of Gucci” feel like safe bets, as does the pronounced nature of “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” In the vein of the Will Smith sci-fi feature “Bright” (2017), could Netflix push through something like “Army of the Dead”?

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Sound

  • “Belfast” (Focus Features)
  • “Cyrano” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros.)
  • “The Last Duel” (20th Century Studios)
  • “Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
  • “A Quiet Place Part II” (Paramount Pictures)
  • “Tick, Tick … Boom!” (Netflix)
  • “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)

Alternates: “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix), “Encanto” (Walt Disney Pictures), “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (Marvel)

Look for the domination of musicals such as MGM/UAR’s “Cyrano,” Netflix’s “Tick, Tick … Boom!” and 20th Century Studios’ “West Side Story,” which can all make the cut. Warner Bros.’ “Dune” seems like a surefire bet and is the frontrunner for the category. A showing here for Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” will make an impact with the artisan branches, while big blockbusters like Cary Joji Fukunaga’s “No Time to Die” could pop up. With its predecessor a former nominee in this space, I’m expecting a spot for John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place Part II,” which is currently the awards pony for Paramount Pictures.

Visual Effects

  • “Dune” (Warner Bros.)
  • “Eternals” (Marvel Studios)
  • “Free Guy” (20th Century Studios)
  • “Godzilla vs. Kong” (Warner Bros.)
  • “The Matrix: Resurrections” (Warner Bros.)
  • “Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (Marvel)
  • “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Sony Pictures)
  • “The Suicide Squad” (Warner Bros.)

Alternates: “Finch” (Apple Original Films), “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Sony Pictures), “The Tomorrow War” (Amazon Studios)

This is where jaws usually drop. It’s easy to point to the Marvel and DC films, but we have sequels galore with “The Matrix Resurrections” and “Godzilla vs. Kong.” And while not overtly obvious, “No Time to Die” and “Nightmare Alley” both made the Critics Choice lineups, which could be a hint of their inclusion.

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Original Score

  • “Being the Ricardos” (Amazon Studios) – Daniel Pemberton
  • “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix) – Nicholas Britell
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros.) – Hans Zimmer
  • “Encanto” (Walt Disney Pictures) – Germaine Franco
  • “The French Dispatch” (Searchlight Pictures) – Alexandre Desplat
  • “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) – Jeymes Samuel
  • “The Last Duel” (20th Century Studios) – Harry Gregson-Williams
  • “The Lost Daughter” (Netflix) – Dickon Hinchliffe
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) – Hans Zimmer
  • “Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Pictures) – Nathan Johnson
  • “Operation Mincemeat” (Netflix) – Thomas Newman
  • “Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Alberto Iglesias
  • “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Walt Disney Pictures) – James Newton Howard
  • “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix) – Jonny Greenwood
  • “Spencer” (Neon/Topic Studios) – Jonny Greenwood

Alternates: “Cyrano” (MGM/United Artists Releasing), “Jockey” (Sony Pictures Classics), “King Richard” (Warner Bros.)

Will we see double dips for Jonny Greenwood, who has “The Power of the Dog” and “Spencer,” and Hans Zimmer, with “Dune” and “No Time to Die?” There’s also a shot for two Nicholas Britell works, who seems assured for “Don’t Look Up,” but could also pop in with “Cruella.” Then there are branch favorites like Alexandre Desplat, James Newton Howard and Thomas Newman. Will they embrace newcomers like Germaine Franco, Dickon Hinchliffe and Nathan Johnson?

Original Song

  • “Annette” (Amazon Studios) – “So May We Start” by Sparks
  • “Belfast” (Focus Features) – “Down to Joy” by Van Morrison
  • “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road” (Screen Media) – “Right Where I Belong” by Brian Wilson, Jim James
  • “CODA” (Apple Original Films) – “Beyond the Shore” by Nicholai Baxter, Matt Dahan, Sian Heder, Marius de Vries
  • “Cyrano” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) – “Every Letter” by Matt Berninger, Carin Besser, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner
  • “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix) – “Just Look Up” by Nicholas Britell, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi, Tara Stinson
  • “Encanto” (Walt Disney Pictures) – “Dos Oruguitas” by Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • “Four Good Days” (Vertical Entertainment) – “Somehow You Do” by Diane Warren
  • “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) – “Guns Go Bang” by Jeymes Samuel, Scott Mescudi, Shawn Carter
  • “King Richard” (Warner Bros.) – “Be Alive” by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Dixson
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) – “No Time to Die” by Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell
  • “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Walt Disney Pictures) – “Lead the Way” by Jhene Aiko
  • “Rebel Hearts” (Discovery Plus) – “Secret Sister” by Rufus Wainwright
  • “Respect” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) – “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” by Jamie Alexander Hartman, Jennifer Hudson, Carole King
  • “Sing 2” (Illumination/Universal Pictures) – “Your Song Save My Life” by Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr.

Alternates: “Bruised” (Netflix, “Automatic Woman”), “Dear Evan Hansen” (Universal Pictures, “The Anonymous Ones”), “The First Wave” (National Geographic, Jon Batiste)

The biggest names in music are all in the running, including Beyonce, Jay-Z, Ariana Grande, Bono and Billie Eilish. That’s a very famous lineup for a group that likes to keep things in its inner circle. Watch out for some big snubs in this space in favor of safer entries from Brian Wilson, Diane Warren and even last year’s winners in song and score, H.E.R. and Jon Batiste.

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Documentary Feature

  • “Ascension” (MTV Documentary Films)
  • “Attica” (Showtime)
  • “Faya Dayi” (Janus Films)
  • “The First Wave” (Neon)
  • “Flee” (Neon)
  • “Francesco” (Discovery Plus)
  • “Introducing, Selma Blair” (Discovery Plus)
  • “Julia” Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “Pray Away” (Netflix)
  • “Procession” (Netflix)
  • “The Rescue” (National Geographic)
  • “The Sparks Brothers” (Focus Features)
  • “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “Val” (Amazon Studios)
  • “The Velvet Underground” (Apple Original Films)

Alternates: “The Crime of the Century” (HBO Documentary Films), “My Name is Pauli Murray” (Amazon Studios), “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” (Sony Pictures Classics)

The hard truth that many are not saying aloud, is that after last year’s incredible field of documentary features, this one doesn’t ignite the same passion or excitement. We could have a standard lineup or one that is all over the place with no consensus. Hollywood stories could resonate, which gives an edge to films like “Introducing, Selma Blair” and “Val,” while music nostalgia hopes to strike a cord in films like “The Sparks Brothers” and “The Velvet Underground.”

International Feature

  • “Compartment No. 6” (Finland)
  • “Drive My Car” (Japan)
  • “Flee” (Denmark)
  • “The Good Boss” (Spain)
  • “The Hand of God” (Italy)
  • “Hive” (Kosovo)
  • “A Hero” (Iran)
  • “I’m Your Man” (Germany)
  • “Lamb” (Iceland)
  • “Memoria” (Colombia)
  • “Prayers for the Stolen” (Mexico)
  • “Titane” (France)
  • “Unclenching the Firsts” (Russia)
  • “The Worst Person in the World” (Norway)
  • “Zátopek” (Czech Republic)

Alternates: “Great Freedom” (Austria), “Let It Be Morning” (Israel), “Tigers” (Sweden)

There’s about eight films that seem strong and ready for the shortlist from Finland, Japan, Denmark, Italy, Iran, Mexico, France and Norway. The rest is contingent on the number of films the members who opted-in watched before voting, which is what this race has boiled down to the last few years. If a film is also in consideration for best picture, then it gives a voter two chances to discover it on the Academy Streaming Room. If not, it’s fighting for recognition through a sorted list.

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2022 Academy Awards Predictions

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‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Looks to Reclaim Box Office Crown From ‘Scream’

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After one weekend outside of the No. 1 slot, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” could be surging ahead to lead the domestic box office once again. The Marvel entry and the slasher sequel “Scream” are locked in a tight battle this weekend, with “No Way Home” projected just ahead of its competition.

Columbia Pictures is projecting a $13.5 million gross for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” over its sixth weekend at the domestic box office, a soft 30% drop from its previous outing. After practically redefining the rules of the pandemic era box office, the mega-hit MCU entry is finally beginning to wind down its theatrical run. The release should expand its domestic cume to $720.4 million through Sunday. “No Way Home” currently stands as the fourth-highest grossing film in the history of the domestic box office. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($936 million) and “Avengers: Endgame” ($858 million) are likely out of reach at this point, though Spidey could claw its way past “Avatar” ($760 million) when all is said and done.

As is typical for most horror entries, “Scream” is hitting a sharp drop-off in its sophomore outing. Paramount and Spyglass Media are projecting an $11.7 million gross for this weekend, after earning $34 million in its Martin Luther King Jr. holiday opening. A 60% drop-off like that is in the neighborhood of sophomore weekends for other recent horror sequels, such as “A Quiet Place Part II” (a 59.5% second weekend drop) and “Halloween Kills” (a 71% second weekend drop). The self-branded “requel” should push its domestic gross past $50 million through Sunday. While “Scream” isn’t retaining a ton of heat at the box office, it’s already well past making returns on its reported $25 million production budget.

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Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett direct “Scream,” taking over the series from its founder Wes Craven, who helmed the four first entries before his death in 2015. The film stars series regulars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette as they are once again haunted by a serial killer in a Ghostface mask. The killing spree extends to a group of high school students in the town of Woodsboro, Calif. Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid and Dylan Minnette also star in the slasher.

More to come…

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Sundance Doc ‘Aftershock’ Probes U.S. Maternal Health Crisis

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Black women, along with Native Americans and Alaska natives, are three times more likely to die before, during or after having a baby, and more than half of these deaths are preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee take a deep dive into that statistic in their Sundance documentary “Aftershock.”

The film tells the story of two young black women who died due to childbirth complications that could have been prevented. Through interviews with bereaved fathers and mothers, birth-workers and physicians, Eiselt and Lewis Lee examine the maternal health crisis happening throughout the country. This marks Eiselt and Lewis Lee’s first time at Sundance as directors of a feature doc.

How long have you been working on this project?

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Eiselt: Two years and it was a quick two years with a pandemic in the middle. We pushed through because of the swell of attention that this crisis is thankfully getting on Capitol Hill.

The U.S. maternal health crisis has been an issue for decades. Do you find it surprising that this is not a popular documentary topic?

Lewis Lee: I’ve been in the space of women’s health for a long time and have been seeing how the (mortality) numbers were going up, so I had been trying to figure out a way into this story for a while but it’s such a big systemic issue. How do you come into a huge issue like that and try to tell a story that really touches people? So that was a challenge and I think that’s been the challenge. I certainly didn’t want to make a film that was a survey kind of film. So the key with this film was to tell the story of people’s lived experience and then get into the systemic issues, because that’s how you get people to really want to pay attention.

This year Sundance has several films that examine women’s rights, which has been a hot button issue in this country for years. Why do you think we are seeing so many films about the issue now?

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Eiselt: The stakes are really high right now. Women are dying in childbirth and over the last 25 years the rates have risen, and the pandemic has only made those rates worse. Roe v. Wade is also really at risk right now, so it’s in everyone’s face that where we are going as a country with regards to women’s rights is not good.

Lewis Lee: As more women filmmakers are able to make the films they want to make, we will see more films about women’s issues. Historically filmmaking, especially when it comes to directing, was dominated by men. Right now, we are living in a time where there are more and more female directors and producers and they will make films that matter to them. So, I think it just happens to be timing in terms of where the industry is and how it’s evolving.

What are you hoping audiences talk about after watching your film?

Eiselt: We want to make people more aware of how you can birth in America and what that landscape looks like. We want them to know what their options are. We also want people to hold the systems behind this crisis accountable.

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