Michelle Yeoh nominee for the Oscars? Leonardo DiCaprio lead actor confirmed

With ‘The Northman’, ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ and the continued success of ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, this month has been all about action movies that are entertaining and worthy but might not be taken seriously as true “achievements” in Hollywood. Timing has also proven to be a critical factor, and not just for releases, but for when a film or performance begins to gain momentum.

Studios are only just beginning to figure out how to roll out their most promising second-half contenders. This time last year, most critics had seen the eventual Best Picture winner, Apple Original Films’ “CODA,” after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Obviously, we didn’t know how far it would go as “Belfast” and “The Power of the Dog” gained momentum. Timing and storytelling are paramount no matter where you think a film is in the race.

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“Moonflower Slayers”
Courtesy of Apple

Although Apple hasn’t had any obvious suitors so far this year, the good news is that Martin Scorsese is helming the anticipated “The Killers of the Flower Moon” project with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jesse Plemons. Known for a lengthy post-production process, Scorsese has released nothing but a single still image, so no one knows anything else about it. Variety exclusively confirmed that despite early rumors that DiCaprio had moved into a supporting role, he is in fact one of the leads and will be campaigning in the lead actor category during awards season. His freshly Oscar-nominated “Power of the Dog” co-star Plemons will campaign for the supporting actor. The non-fiction book by David Grann that “Flowers” is based on centers on Plemons’ FBI agent character, but it’s unclear what direction screenwriter Eric Roth and Scorsese will take.

See the updated Oscar predictions: Variety Awards Circuit Collective Oscar Predictions

Right now, Robert Eggers’ “The Northman,” the epic Viking drama with an all-star cast that includes Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, and Anya Taylor-Joy, is now in theaters. While the film shows another example of Eggers as an exciting and visionary filmmaker and has a more than respectable Rotten Tomatoes score (89%), it’s hard to imagine it could emulate the success of epics like “Gladiator” (2000). Still, it could be a respectable game for distributor Focus Features in craft races. “Northman” is an astounding achievement in sound design (even though it may seem like the loudest movie ever made) and original score (for Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough). However, this may prove too eccentric for mainstream audiences, as the finale gives new meaning to the term “cockfight”.

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“Everything, everywhere, all at once”

A24 must be feeling joyful due to the success of their sci-fi action flick, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” featuring the badassery of Michelle Yeoh. As well as doing everything in his power to correct Oscar’s strange forgetfulness of Yeoh during his career – despite worthy turns in ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ (2000), ‘The Lady’ (2012 ) and “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018) — her role as laundry owner Evelyn is far from the only unique element to highlight in awards season. Film Twitter continually beats the drum for editor Paul Rogers and cinematographer Larkin Seiple, in addition to designing the film’s production, costume, sound and visual works. We can hope that the directors and writing branches of the Academy would be cool enough to consider Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka The Daniels) in the original script and direction. The filmmaking duo also co-produced the film with Anthony and Joe Russo, who can be prayed for to help in the quest for recognition.

I would personally like to make sure that critics and voters don’t overlook the beauty of Stephanie Hsu’s performances as the multi-faceted Joy (she’ll be on the Emmy circuit for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and Ke Huy Quan as as supporting husband Waymond (who returns to acting 30 years after ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’). The supporting actor and actress categories should not be filled in without proper visualization of their poignant turns.

Learn more about TV awards: Variety Awards Circuit Emmys Prediction Center

The film is also a box office hit, crossing the $20 million mark this week. As the studio prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the film, which is the biggest independent hit since “Parasite” (2019), is on track to become one of the studio’s five highest-grossing films, joining currently “Midsommar” ($47 million), “Uncut Gems” ($50 million), “Moonlight” ($65 million), “Lady Bird” ($79 million) and “Hereditary” ($81 million) dollars).

The success of “Everything” is a chance to consider the Academy’s blind spot for martial arts films. While “Crouching Tiger” garnered a robust 10 nominations 22 years ago, there hasn’t been anything beyond that (at least in the major categories). Films like Zhang Yimou’s ‘Hero’ and ‘House of Flying Daggers’, Wilson Yip’s ‘Ip Man’ and Gareth Evans’ ‘The Raid’ were all but ignored (by regional critic groups as well). For years, the Academy has been asked to add a category for stunts, which would be one of the easy and, quite frankly, critical positive changes it can make to its organization and future ceremonies. After the “Best Popular Picture” debacle, which was later rolled back, honoring the men, women and people of the stunt community ticks several boxes, including racial and ethnic diversity, with a bridge to awarding more hit and audience-friendly titles. Additionally, they should incorporate these efforts into the ceremony. How exciting would it be to see Yeoh and the other artists and coordinators perform a live demo?

It should be noted that in 2016 the Academy awarded martial arts star Jackie Chan an honorary Oscar.

After the success of “Pig”, Nicolas Cage returns to the front of the stage with “The unbearable weight of a massive talent” of Lionsgate. Alongside co-star Pedro Pascal, the Tom Gormican-directed action-comedy could produce decent numbers for the studio. However, it hopes to make a lasting impression as we head into the second half of the year, even with decent reviews.

Let’s see what comes next.

Kimberly B. Nguyen