What If the Oscars Happen with No New Movies Released?



What If the Oscars Happen with No New Movies Released?

VOICE OVER: Matt Demers WRITTEN BY: Matt Demers
With massive uncertainty surrounding the film industry due to COVID-19, the Academy Awards are in jeopardy of not happening. For this list, we're looking at the existing crop of films that have been thrust upon us this year to see which would crack the main categories, and just who makes the case for frontrunner! Our countdown includes Best Actor, Best Picture, The Show, The Host, and more!
Script Written by Matt Demers

What if the Oscars Happen with No New Movies Released

And the Oscar goes to… “Bad Boys for Life?” Okay, probably not. BUT, with massive uncertainty surrounding the film industry, it’s safe to say “Hollywood’s biggest night” will look a lot different next year!

Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be answering the question: What If The Oscars Happened With No New Movies Released?

Face it - the pandemic has thrown a major wrench in film studios’ plans to showcase their awards prospects. With worldwide theatre shutdowns and industry fests in a state of flux, many would-be Oscar hopefuls may not see the light of day until next year. And while the Academy has altered eligibility to include movies without a theatrical run, who is to say they go the digital release route when there can be more money in box office receipts?

So, let’s look at the existing crop of films that have been thrust upon us this year to see which would crack the main categories, and just who makes the case for frontrunner!

Actor in a Supporting Role

Thanks to the Academy’s tendency to include somewhat unconventional performances in their “supporting” categories, a Jim Carrey nomination actually seems possible thanks to his uproarious turn as the evil Doctor Robotnik in “Sonic the Hedgehog.” No, really! Joining the ballot would likely be “The Photograph”’s Lakeith Stanfield, a key ingredient to that film's emotional appeal, as well as Hollywood heavyweights Hugh Grant, a delightfully wormy PI in “The Gentlemen,” and Antonio Banderas, the best part of the otherwise maligned “Dolittle.” Bill Nighy, who brought his A-game in “Hope Gap,” would not only round out the list, but have an edge over the competition. With a respected body of work, we see Nighy getting the ol’ career recognition win.

Actress in a Supporting Role

The Best Supporting Actress category often sees an emphasis on first-time nominees over Oscar mainstays. Luckily, we’ve already received some worthy performances that fit the bill, including Sônia Braga’s memorable showing in the genre-blurring “Bacurau,” Janina Gavankar’s stoic and affecting work in “The Way Back,” and Mia Goth’s perfectly beautiful portrayal of Harriet Smith in “Emma.” The final 2 spots would likely go to some acting veterans: Lesley Manville, who goes through a personal journey in “Ordinary Love,” and Hilary Swank, the sophisticated Liberal badass in “The Hunt.” Who knows, Swank’s entertaining as all hell “final boss” portrayal may even be enough to land her the win. The Academy does love a good political role – even if it is a deranged one.

Actor in a Leading Role

The Oscars are known to recognize fairly “meaty” performances in their “leading” categories, with many falling under the umbrella of true-life depictions. That makes Tom Hardy’s rendering of infamous mobster Al Capone feel like a sure thing. As for “other” offerings, well, Harrison Ford’s spot-on John Thornton in “The Call of the Wild” would be hard to overlook. Then there’s Matthew McConaughey, who flexed serious acting muscles (even with his shirt ON) in “The Gentlemen.” And with the big show always in need of star power, why not include Will Smith, whose return to the “Bad Boys” franchise was a rousing one?! But alas, Oscar fave Ben Affleck would no doubt have this category wrapped up, thanks to his ultra-personal showcase in “The Way Back.” There’s also the fact that he’s won every Oscar he’s been nominated for, so…

Actress in a Leading Role

With more than a few inspired showings to date from Hollywood’s top ladies, the Leading Actress category actually stands to be the most stacked. There’s no denying Anya Taylor-Joy wonderfully captured the spirit of the classic titular character in “Emma.” And while not a runaway box-office smash, “Birds of Prey” did prove once more that Margot Robbie makes for a beautifully unhinged Harley Quinn! Julia Garner also nailed it with her subtle approach in the “Harvey Weinstein-influenced” “The Assistant.” And, Amy Ryan’s portrayal of a woman in search of her missing daughter in Netflix's “Lost Girls” is just the thing voters tend to gravitate to. But, perhaps the most powerful performance thus far comes from Elisabeth Moss, who runs the gamut of emotions, and then some, in “The Invisible Man.” We see you Elisabeth!

Best Picture

And now for the biggest prize of the night! Thanks to a rather confusing preferential balloting system that’d require a skilled mathematician to explain, any number of films, up to 10, can fill out this category. With that said, we feel there are 9 movies that would surely make the cut. There’s the mainstream contenders: “The Invisible Man” and “Birds of Prey.” The indie darlings: “First Cow” and “Sorry We Missed You.” The emotional dramas: “The Way Back” and “The Photograph.” The timely “messengers”: “The Assistant” and “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.” And last but not least, the one true Oscar-bait movie to hit screens thus far, and likely victor: “Emma.” So, best to prep your bonnets everyone!

The Show

The Oscars are about more than just awards of course. A television “event,” the show serves as a glitzy affair featuring some of the biggest names in Hollywood. The (give or take) 4-hour telecast is also chock-full of memorable moments that have everyone talking the next day. So, just how will the ever-changing pandemic landscape affect this year’s occasion? For one, a red carpet seems out of the question. Sure, the celebrities will still get plenty of pictures taken in their designer outfits and Chanel face masks, but the notoriously crowded back-and-forth between press and celebrity is a physical distancing nightmare. Sorry, Seacrest – not this year. As for inside the Dolby Theatre, we’re thinking the seating will be fairly staggered. This is a strategy movie theatres are likely to adopt when they reopen, so why not have cinema’s biggest stars follow suit? This means less audience members, however, so no seat fillers needed - just the necessary faces. Joint presenters might also be a thing of the past – unless of course, they make them stand 6 feet apart. That’s just what we need, ways to make award show banter even more awkward!

The Host

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Oscars is always: who will host? We know, the Academy Awards has been host-less for the past two years, but if there was ever a time to see a master of ceremonies return to the proceedings, it’s now! Well, if producers are looking to inject “some good news” into the program, then may we suggest John Krasinski? The affable actor would surely bring as many smiles to faces as he has through his inspiring internet show. Or, maybe viewers will respond to the steady hand of hosts past, the likes of Billy Crystal, Jimmy Kimmel, or Ellen DeGeneres, who, let’s not forget, skillfully emceed the 2001 Emmy’s mere weeks after the events of 911. But, for this auspicious occasion, there may not be anyone more suited for the night’s hosting duties than Tom Hanks. Let’s see - Hanks was the first big celeb to get the virus, he’s a beloved actor, and well, he’s Tom Hanks. Okay, this is a no-brainer!

So, what do YOU think?

Which films would win big if no others get released?

How do you see the show itself being impacted by the pandemic?

And, who should host?

Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for more WatchMojo What If scenarios!