A look at Disney, Marvel and 20th Century Oscar hopefuls

(A look at Disney hopefuls)

We’re a few weeks out from the Oscar nominations, but we are getting other nominations from the, DGA, PGA, AGD and WGA which are giving us clues as to what may be nominated for the Super Bowl of awards shows. This week, we look at Disney, who is the empire encompassing Marvel, LucasFilm, 20th Century Studios and Pixar. Three out of five of these powerhouses are showing promise for nominations this year.  

Disney usually dominates in the animation and music categories and this year is no different. It also comes as no surprise Marvel is showing promise in the effects and costume category. West Side Story is the golden child of 20th Century as a contender in multiple categories.

Here are the probable nominations for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and 20th Century Studios:

West Side Story

Steven Spielberg’s glossy remake of the 1957 classic is the crown jewel of 20th Century Studio’s slate this year. Delayed a year, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. Spielberg’s take on the American classic musical about love at first sight – when young Tony spots Maria at a high school dance – is powerful.

However, we do wish Spielberg had maybe taken a different approach, for instance seeing the film from the Latino Sharks point of view.

Tony and Maria’s blossoming romance helps to fuel the fire between the two rival gangs vying for control of the streets. While the film is overall a joy, there are a couple of edits that had the Reel 360 team questioning the decisions. Also, it’s a little hard to take white boys as super tough when they are piroetting in the streets.

Nominations Expected:

Best Picture, Editing, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound, Best Actor, Best Actress

Disney’s Cruella

Following in the footsteps of Joker and even, Hannibal Rising, this film takes a more tongue-in-cheek approach to the origin story of a classic villain – 101 Dalmations’ Cruella Deville. Starring Emma Stone as Estella, the iconic villain is a young and clever grifter who’s determined to make a name for herself in the fashion world.

She soon meets a pair of thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they build a life for themselves on the streets of London. However, when Estella befriends fashion legend Baroness von Hellman, she embraces her wicked side to become the raucous and revenge-bent Cruella.

The film was an early hit for Disney last year and spurred a slew of Halloween costumes.

Nominations Expected:

Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup and Hair, Original Song

Disney’s Encanto

Encanto is a lovely fantasy comedy, focusing on The Madrigals, an extraordinary family who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia in a charmed place called the Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift — every child except Mirabel. However, she soon may be the Madrigals last hope when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is now in danger

The animated film is directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard and co-directed by writer Charise Castro Smith who co-wrote the screenplay with Bush. The film is produced by Yvett Merino and Clark Spencer, with original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is killing it this year with tick, tick… boom! and In the Heights.

Nominations Expected:

Original Song, Animated Feature 

The Last Duel

Another 20th Century Studios entry. The Last Duel is an epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon, based on the 2004 book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager.

Set in medieval France. Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) is a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Jacques Le Gris is a squire whose intelligence and eloquence makes him one of the most admired nobles in court.

When Le Gris viciously assaults Carrouges’ wife, she steps forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a grueling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God’s hands.

Nominations Expected:

Production Design, Costume Design Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Sound

Pixar’s Luca

The annual Pixar entry is lovely. Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Luca is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface.

Nominations Expected:

Animated Feature, Original Score 

Marvel’s Black Widow

We covered Marvel’s Black Widow a ton leading up to its release last May. The film didn’t do as well as Marvel and Disney hoped and there was a very publich lawsuit between Johansson and Disney over money. The first solo outing for Natasha happened probably five years too late. And it’s hard looking at a prequel, knowing the Russian spy’s demise in Avengers: Endgame.

The film did have its highlights including Florence Pugh as Natasha’s sister, Yelena, and David Harbour as Red Guardian. Yelena later turned up in Disney+’s Hawkeye series.

Nominations Expected:

Visual Effects

Marvel’s Eternals

The MCU’s newest team-up, featuring a group of celestial heroes, from beyond the stars, may have had a love affair with the Earth since the dawn of man, but with audiences it was a different story.

Academy Award-winner Chloe Zhao’s first foray into the superhero genre is now the worst-reviewed MCU movie ever. With over 257 reviews in, its critical Rotten Tomatoes score has dropped to a 49%, which gives it a “rotten” rating, making it the worst-reviewed MCU movie out of the history of MCU films.

That is lower than The Incredible HulkIron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World. All three, considered the worst of the MCU, have 67%, 72% and 66% RT scores respetively. While the film will be mostly forgotten about during awards season, there is a possibilty it could pick up costume and makeup nods.

Nominations Expected:

Editing Production Design Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score Sound Visual Effects

Free Guy

Another entry, and surprisingly great, entry from 20th Century Studios. Free Guy is an  action comedy film directed and produced by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, and a story by Lieberman.

Released last August, the Ryan Reynolds starring vehicle is the story of a bank teller who discovers he’s actually a background player in an open-world video game. As he gains consciousness, he decides to become the hero of his own story — one that he can rewrite himself.

The film sweetly combined action, comedy and romance. It’s a new pleasure. Not guilty.

Nominations Expected:

Visual Effects

Raya and the Last Dragon

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good.

The is the world of Raya and the Last Dragon, the 59th film produced by Walt Disney Animation.

Nominations Expected:

Original Song Animated Feature 

Marvel’s Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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Not only did Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings defeat The Mandarin, Razor Fist and the Dweller in Darkness, the film managed to beat a really big threat – COVID. Shang-Chi became the first blockbuster of 2021 as people flocked to the theaters to see the debut of Marvel’s first Asian superhero.

Nominations Expected:

Original Song, Costumes, Visual Effects

Disney’s Jungle Cruise

Does Dwayne Johnson ever have a flop? Jungle Cruise was a fun romp starring Johnson and Emily Blunt. Based on the Disney Parks ride, the film combined Raiders of the Lost Ark with Romancing the Stone sucessfully.

Nominations Expected:

Visual Effects

Ron’s Gone Wrong

In Ron’s Gone Wrong, Barney is a socially awkward schoolboy who receives a robot named Ron — a walking, talking, digitally connected device that’s supposed to be his best friend. Barney is excited to finally have his own robot — until his new toy starts to hilariously malfunction, drawing the attention of a shady executive who wants to protect his company’s stock price at all costs. We don’t expect it to see much in nomination, but you never know.

Nominations Expected:

Animated Feature 

Nominate Someone You know For 4th Annual The Reel Black List OR Reel Women

The Oscars are March 27 this year if COVID does not affect it. The nominations are next month on February 7. We will bring you our weekly analysis from a different studio each week.

Megan Penn reports on the indie film market and anything that empowers women and underrepresented groups.