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Predictions Friday – No Relief in Sight as Scandal Rocks Hollywood

Anger and outrage is a beast that must be fed and many more will likely feel the wrath before all is said and done. The Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment story is just getting fired up. But the whole town will be turned upside down before it is finally finished. There is just too much intrigue there, too many lurid details, too many high profile people connected to it. It hits the Oscar race right in its heart; no other person in Hollywood has had more to do with shaping the Oscars in the past two decades than Harvey Weinstein. But the new means of rolling out stories like these as fodder for tens of thousands of opinionators on social media means that no one is spared.

No surprise, the question is already being asked: What will this story do to this year’s Oscar race? Will it have any kind of impact at all? One thing we know for sure — it will likely have an effect as big as anything Trump is likely do heading into the Oscar publicity season, for which Trump is probably grateful. Social media has turned every story into a communal retelling, a communal reaction in real time. Seeing collective knees jerk in unison is like watching the Rockettes.  News like this eventually becomes like a hurricane, really, a twister of a storm that feeds on heat and needs to consume an abundance of resources, no matter the collateral damage. The story has already shifted away from Weinstein and towards those who worked with him, won Oscars because of him, anyone who’s even been helped financially by him.

What will happen now is that any time any potential Oscar contenders are in front of a microphone they will be asked for an opinion on Weinstein. Some will be asked to abandon any loyalty they had to him — any past association will be considered somehow questionable or corrupt. This won’t really be based in any kind of reality. It’s just that there is a beast of a storm and it must consume in order to thrive. Anyone in it’s path will need to hunker down and hope it skips over them.

This is not meant to blame anyone who is seeking answers — anger and outrage motivate us to look for a greater understanding of how something like this could happen and who let it happen. Probably right about now publicists are working with their clients figuring out the best or safest or most appropriate response. It’s easy for people whose careers don’t depend on Big Hollywood to say whatever they feel like. But everyone knows that it can get tricky where paychecks and jobs are on the line.

Where this might generate some friction is in the Best Actress race. Kate Winslet who won the Oscar for the Reader is starring in a Woody Allen movie this year, Wonder Wheel, with a performance so good it has people talking about whether or not she’ll be winning her second Oscar. Winslet will take heat from both sides, as the Woody Allen story will bubble back up like it did the last time there was a movie of his in the Oscar race. She’ll be asked about that again and again and now, probably she’ll be interrogated about Weinstein, who helped her finally win an Oscar for The Reader. Whether credit is due to Weinstein or the publicity team who worked for him — Winslet will still be put on the spot, judged by every answer she gives.

Meryl Streep won for the Iron Lady (yes, another Harvey presentation) and she memorably thanked him dozens of times. She could very well be up again this year for The Post. Already, Spielberg was has been asked about Weinstein and his response became a whole story in itself. Now he’ll be tracked down to get some kind of comment. The Daily Beast has attempted to reach out to many of the high profile names involved — those who offered no comment got a story written about their silence, with a picture of Meryl Streep and Harvey Weinstein together.  Seems anyone who ever stood next to Harvey is now a suspected accomplice.

So who else is implicated for shaking his hand? Judi Dench won Best Supporting Actress for Shakespeare in Love, one of Harvey’s earliest and greatest triumphs. Dame Judi will perhaps be up for Victoria and Abdul. She once had a fake tattoo of Weinstein’s name inked on her bottom and sent him a photo — of course it came off with soap and water, but a lot people still believe to this day it was real. Absurdly, it’s brought up often whenever Dench goes in front of a mic, and each time she has to patiently explain the joke, gracefully refraining from making the inquisitor look like a fool.

“Comment on the record,” will be the demand. “Tell us what you knew, what you saw, what made you look the other way.” How many distinguished actresses have starred in films that Weinstein helped get made, and won Oscars he helped them win? The list is long and stretches for miles — and now they’ll get dragged for miles.

What did people know, when did they know it, what filmmakers will be expected to go on record – will there be protests?

So you might think, “How can you think about Oscars in light of news like this?” Well, partly because I’ll be questioned endlessly about it and that’s how the questions will be framed. Other than that, I always think about what might impact the Oscar race. I’ve never not thought about it.  Because anyone who’s spent 20 years in the business of predicting the Oscars knows all too well that the Oscars are a public relations minefield. As much about image as excellence. This scandal, the pain of those victims, and all these awful details will waft into the room in a major way. So I have to be prepared for that.

I’m sure Trump is thrilled to have another high-profile sexual predator take the heat for awhile. But you want to know why? Because sick men like Trump aren’t a bit interested in redemption. They just want people think: “See? It’s nothing usual. Liberals can behave as abominably as Nazis.” So don’t buy into the gasps of Republicans. This tickles the hell out of them.

We will be posting the Oscar Squad update soon but in the meantime, these are the current predictions, thus far without any smear of the growing shitstorm.

Best Picture
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water
Dunkirk
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Call Me by Your Name
The Post
Get Out
Blade Runner 2049
The Florida Project or Lady Bird

Contenders
Battle of the Sexes
Mudbound
I Tonya
Detroit
Wonderstruck
Downsizing
Wonder Woman
Hostiles
Wonder Wheel

Best Director
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Joe Wright, Darkest Hour
Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Steven Spielberg, The Post
Jordan Peele, Get Out

Contenders
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name
Martin McDanaugh, Three Billboards
Sean Baker, The Florida Project
Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Alexander Payne, Downsizing
Dee Rees, Mudbound
Todd Haynes, Wonderstruck
Patti Jenkins, Wonder Woman
Valerie Faris/Jonathan Dayton, Battle of the Sexes
Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit

Best Actor
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Daniel Day-Lewis, PTA movie
Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger
Andrew Garfield, Breathe
Denzel Washington, Roman Israel, Esq.

Contenders
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Tom Hanks, The Post
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Matt Damon, Downsizing

Best Actress
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards
Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Sally Hawkins, Shape of Water
Meryl Streep, The Post
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

Contenders
Margot Robbie, I Tonya
Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel
Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Jennifer Lawrence, Mother

Supporting Actress
Alison Janney, I Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, Shape of Water
Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Contenders
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Melissa Leo, Novitiate

Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards
Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me
Richard Jenkins, Shape of Water

Contenders
Mark Rylance, Dunkirk
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards
Michael Shannon, Shape of Water
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards

Screenplay, Adapted
Call Me by Your Name
Mudbound
Molly’s Game
Wonderstruck
Hostiles

Screenplay, Original
Darkest Hour
Three Billboards
Shape of Water
The Post
Lady Bird

Cinematography
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
Darkest Hour
Shape of Water
Wonder Wheel

Costumes
Beauty and the Beast
The Greatest Showman
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water
Wonder Wheel

Editing
Dunkirk
Shape of Water
Darkest Hour
Get Out
The Post

Makeup
Darkest Hour
Shape of Water
Beauty and the Beast

Documentary Feature
Take Every Wave
Jane
Chasing Coral
Faces Places
Kedi

Animated Feature
Coco
Loving Vincent
Ferdinand
The Boss Baby