What Will Be Nominated for Oscars Next Week, and What Won’t?

What Will Be Nominated for Oscars Next Week, and What Won’t?

Natalie Portman does some of the best work of her career in “May December,” but the film simply isn’t catching on with the guilds and she now has to be considered a contender on the bubble. Ditto Fantasia Barrino-Taylor, who has some powerhouse moments late in “The Color Purple” but wasn’t able to manage a SAG nomination. And though the “Past Lives” star Greta Lee is worthy, her work may be too understated to surpass such flashy competition.

That leaves us with Annette Bening, SAG-nominated for her tough, physical role in “Nyad,” and the “Barbie” linchpin Margot Robbie. I give Robbie the edge since her film is such a strong contender across the board, but effervescent comedy is the sort of thing voters often take for granted, and Robbie made her tricky role look as easy as breathing.

It’s “Barbenheimer” redux in this category, where the “Oppenheimer” foe Robert Downey Jr. and the “Barbie” beau Ryan Gosling will probably go head-to-head for the gold. Robert De Niro, so memorably malevolent in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” is also in a strong position to be nominated after nods from SAG, Critics Choice and the Golden Globes, plus a mention on the BAFTA longlist.

After those three contenders, things get hazy.

A pair of buzzy young actors could fill the last two spots: Charles Melton (“May December”) and Dominic Sessa (“The Holdovers”). But the academy is weirdly resistant to nominating young men — a problem they don’t have at all when it comes to young women — and neither Melton nor Sessa broke through at SAG. The actors guild did nominate Sterling K. Brown, who plays Wright’s brother in “American Fiction” and could certainly score with the academy if the film performs well.

Still, with so many performances to choose from, I think voters may default to two veteran actors from one of the season’s strongest films, “Poor Things.” Willem Dafoe already managed a SAG nod for playing Emma Stone’s cuckoo creator, and though his co-star Mark Ruffalo was dealt a surprising snub by the guild, SAG gave him a similar cold shoulder for “Spotlight” before the Oscar nominations came in with a last-minute save. Dual supporting nods from one film has been a hot trend in recent years, and if there’s any race where that’s likely to happen, it’s this one.

Is Da’Vine Joy Randolph from “The Holdovers” this year’s heir apparent to Ke Huy Quan and Troy Kotsur? Those two supporting actors swamped their competition all season on the way to absolutely assured Oscar wins in recent years, and Randolph has been following suit, bagging critics’ awards right and left and taking every televised trophy so far.

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