“It was around this time a few years ago that ‘La La Land’ kept winning everything, and you could feel this backlash growing … I’m not feeling that this year for ‘Nomadland,'” says Gold Derby Editor Marcus James Dixon following the Best Picture victory for “Nomadland” at the Producers Guild Awards. “I’m not feeling this anger or jealousy towards ‘Nomadland’ towering over all these other films.” Dixon discussed the Producers and Writers Guild winners with Zach Laws and Daniel Montgomery in their latest slugfest. Watch the video above or listen to the audio podcast below.
“‘Nomadland’ inherently is much more of an underdog story — not just what’s on the screen, but in terms of it being a very modest, low-budget, independent film,” Montgomery argues about why the film might lack the front-runner fatigue that could have been what tripped up past Oscar favorites like “La La Land” (2016), “Roma” (2018) and “1917” (2019). And he’s reminded of another atypical Oscar champ carried by a wave of support for its filmmaker: “The Hurt Locker” (2009) by Kathryn Bigelow, the academy’s first female Best Director. It looks like Chloe Zhao is on track to be the second for “Nomadland,” and affection for a filmmaker sometimes extends to affection for their film.
Laws feels “so much enthusiasm for that movie from people,” and if there’s a backlash coming, he’s not sure where it comes from. He even thinks Frances McDormand could win Best Actress even though the media and industry love for the movie has centered on Zhao more than McDormand. That said, “Minari” also has tremendous goodwill from viewers, and it wasn’t eligible at the WGA Awards so it may yet be a stealth Oscar dark horse for writing. And ‘Minari’s” ensemble cast is nominated at the SAG Awards (“Nomadland” isn’t nominated in that category); if it wins there it’ll start to look like “Spotlight” (2015) and “Parasite” (2019), which both won that prize before their Oscar upsets.
“Promising Young Woman” is also still a Best Picture threat given its WGA victory and its Oscar nominations for writing, directing, acting and editing (“Nomadland” is the only other film nominated in those often crucial fields, thought it wasn’t eligible at WGA). And “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” while it hasn’t won the awards we thought it might at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, WGA Awards and PGA Awards, could be the kind of old-fashioned rousing crowd-pleaser that appeals to older academy members like “The King’s Speech” (2010) and “Green Book” (2018) did when they beat edgier critics’ darlings for Best Picture. As we’ve learned from recent upsets in the top category, it’s not over until the last envelope is opened and the (hopefully correct) winner is announced.
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