Oscar Nominations Data Mining Best Picture Winner Odds

Just a few compiled thoughts on the nominated films for Oscar’s best picture award.

Mank – David Fincher – the Mank Best Picture nomination comes with a best director, best actor, best supporting actress, best cinematography, best production design, best makeup, best costume, best score, and best sound nominations. What is that? 10 nominations? Something like that. How can you watch Mank before the Oscars? Well, it’s on Netflix. And it follows the story of Herman Mankiewicz as he writes the screenplay for Citizen Kane. The movie’s screenplay is inspired by Pauline Kael’s book, “Raising Kane” that contends that Mankiewicz deserved sole credit for writing the Citizen Kane script… not Orson Welles. (The book has long since been pilloried and discredited.) Which means that Mank is possibly more about Hollywood’s political aspirations as it is about a screenplay author. Is this the La La Land equivalent prospect of this year’s contenders?

Nomadland – Chloé Zhao – the Nomadland best picture nomination also is joined by a best director, best actress, best adapted screenplay, best cinematography and best editing nod as well. Six? You can watch it on Hulu if you’d like. But what is it about? It’s more fact than fiction really. It tells the story of a woman named Fern (Frances McDormand) who lives in a van after struggling to make ends meet. “I’m not homeless, I’m just houseless.” I literally couldn’t stomach the semi-autobiographical staring gaze of just that much unrecognized depression. But I might have also watched it on a bad day. Who knows.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin (who also wrote the screenplay) – Along with a best picture, it also was nominated for best supporting actor, best original screenplay, best original song, best cinematography and best editing. Watch 7 over on Netflix. It’s a story about the court room proceedings that followed after the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations that occurred during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The film tells the story of the 7 (really 8) defendants and the corrupt judge that “tried” the case. Definitely deserves best screenplay for the year, but it might also be my preferred pick for best picture as well.

The Father – Florian Zeller – nominated for best picture, supporting actress, adapted screenplay, production design and best editing… which, is hilarious, because the film was only released in theaters late February. (This year the nominations go from Jan 1, 2020, through until Feb 28th.) So I haven’t seen it yet. I think you’ll be able to watch it on a pile of platforms starting March 26th? End of the month anyway. The Father tells the story of a man struggling with dementia. It’s an adaptation of the director’s play of the same name. Or something. But who knows.

Sound of Metal – Darius Marder – best picture, actor, supporting actor, original screenplay, sound, and editing. Six nominations. Want to watch it? Check it out on Amazon. The story is about a punk drummer who starts to lose his hearing, and therefore, his purpose, and meaning for life. The story follows Ruben (played by Riz Ahmed) as his girlfriend attempts to get him to enroll at a home for deaf people. One really interesting note about this movie is that its sound design attempted to mimic Ruben’s hearing loss.

Minari – Lee Isaac Chung – along with best picture, also received nods for director, actor, supporting actress, original screenplay and original score. Want to watch it? There are a pile of locations that you can watch this one on. Minari tells the story of a Asian family that moves from California to the sticks of Arkansas to carve a place out of the earth for his family by starting a farm. This one makes perfect sense to me, from an Oscar standpoint. I mean, Parasite T-boned the Academy, and it was a joy to watch the pyrotechnics after all. But I’m doubtful we are that progressive as to do it again.

Judas and the Black Messiah – Shaka King – Judas nabbed best picture noms, supporting actor x2, original screenplay, song, cinematography. So do you count that as five? Or six? I have no idea. You can’t watch this one right now as it just left HBO MAX I believe. Says it’s there, but I don’t think it is. Regardless, it’ll be on demand soon enough. The movie follows William O’Neal, who turned informant to the FBI in order to avoid jail time. And, ultimately, leads to the police murdering Fred Hampton in his bed. Interestingly, the Chicago 7 and Judas and the Black Messiah have a very interesting nexus point in the death of Fred Hampton.

Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell – along with picture, Promising Young Woman was also nominated for director, actress, original screenplay and editing. Five. Which, I’ll admit, is five more nominations than I thought that it would get. Want to watch it? Brill, because its out on a ton of platforms. The story is about a medical school dropout named Cassie (the brilliant Carey Mulligan) who spends her nights acting drunk in bars, waiting for “help” from guys in the bar, and then dropping all kinds of pain and suffering on the would be “helpers.” All of this? Is to get her revenge on behalf of her best friend.

What Are The Odds?

Personally, my favorite movie in this list of best movie nominations, by far, was Promising Young Woman. It dealt with real issues, and real dilemmas in our society, but did it in a very compelling way… so as to give credibility to the disbelieved. (Which, is critical, now more than ever.) There is literally no way though that Promising Young Woman will win, but I’d bet a leg that Carey Mulligan will win best actor on the women’s side of the house. For sure. Done deal. But as for best picture?? Just not happening in this universe. Chadwick Boseman? Oh, he will win best actor for his roll in Judas. Just go ahead and write it down. That it is postmortem, locks it up. For sure. But I also loved the Sorkin screenplay for Chicago 7, and thought the movie itself was extraordinarily compelling. I’d take the odds on his winning best original screenplay. Definitely. But not best movie. It’s just exceedingly rare that the director doesn’t win alongside best movie, and Aaron wasn’t even nominated. So don’t even think about it.

So what are the actual Vegas odds?

The only thing here that is surprising to me is that Vegas has Chicago so high, and Mank so low. Minari might be a darkhorse here? But with Parasite blowing our collective minds (and rightfully, man I loved that movie.) last year, I think we did that Cinderella dance way too recently.

It really does have to go to Nomadland. To be clear, I don’t think it deserves it. It might have been a great documentary on the plight of Amazon workers. But isn’t best movie material. Maybe you enjoyed it. But I, definitely did not. And for that, I apologize. But Nomadland seems to be the going away favorite this year. I don’t know, what movie do you think is going to win this year?

Edited by: CY