“Will this finally be their Oscar?” is a question we ask about any actor or filmmaker who has amassed enough nominations to be considered overdue for a win, and Paul Thomas Anderson is one of them. He’s been nominated eight times thus far, and this year he leads our very, very, very early odds for Best Director for his upcoming film “Soggy Bottom.” It’s scheduled for release on November 26, and it has yet to screen for critics or audiences, but our users have high hopes.
And for good reason. Anderson has become an academy darling. At first he was limited to Best Original Screenplay bids for “Boogie Nights” (1997) and “Magnolia” (1999), both of which also received nominations for acting. But then “There Will Be Blood” (2007) brought him to new heights. Not only did he contend for Best Adapted Screenplay, he also received his first nominations for Best Picture and Best Director. He didn’t win any of those, but the film claimed Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Cinematography (Robert Elswit), and I suspect it was the Best Picture runner-up behind “No Country for Old Men.”
Every film he has directed since has been a multiple Oscar nominee. Anderson himself wasn’t nominated for “The Master” (2012), which is a bit surprising consider that the film received three acting nominations for leading man Joaquin Phoenix and supporting performers Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. Then “Inherent Vice’ (2014), arguably his oddest movie, earned Anderson another Best Adapted Screenplay nomination in addition to a Best Costume Design bid for Mark Bridges. And “Phantom Thread” (2017) exceeded expectations too, bringing Anderson back into the Best Picture and Best Director races — but not Best Original Screenplay, which was strange considering how much the academy loved the film and how much the writers branch usually adores Anderson.
So that brings Anderson to a grand total of four writing nominations, two directing nominations, and two Best Picture nominations. Often times an auteur like him will at least win a writing award for his trouble even if their film doesn’t win anywhere else (like Spike Jonze for “Her,” Spike Lee for “BlacKkKlansman,” and Taika Waititi for “Jojo Rabbit” in recent years), but those stars haven’t aligned yet for Anderson.
That brings us to “Soggy Bottom,” which tells the story of a high school student (Cooper Hoffman) who becomes an actor in the 1970s. It co-stars another overdue eight-time Oscar nominee, Bradley Cooper, who could have a big season with an additional role in Guillermo Del Toro‘s “Nightmare Alley.” These are his first on-screen film roles since the year he earned writing, acting, and producing nominations for “A Star is Born” (2018). So we have the potential for two overdue winners for the price of one.
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