Friendo: Does this look like a good Best Actor lineup? Anthony Hopkins, The Father. Gary Oldman, Mank. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Tom Hanks, News of the World.

HE: Yes, it looks like a predictable lineup. Political but what else is new?

Has anyone actually seen Judas and the Black Messiah? I haven’t, but the meatier role (i.e., that of the FBI-linked betrayer) appears to be Lakeith Stanfield’s William O’Neal…no? You’ve seen the trailer, I presume. As the late Fred Hampton, Kaluuya appears to mostly deliver the bellicose revolutionary thing…a lot of defiant showboating. That may or may not translate into Best Actor praising, but where’s the dimension other than the fact of Hampton’s tragic murder? Hampton was a proud Panther who got iced by the cops, and because of that brutal killing Kaluuya may get a Best Actor nom 50 years later. The 2020 Academy pushing back against the authorities who killed him a half-century ago.

Unless, of course, Kaluuya gives an exceptional performance in and of itself. Which may well be the case.

Chadwick Boseman’s role in Ma Rainey appears (emphasis on the “a” word) to be subordinate to Viola Davis’s titular performance. He’ll be nominated because of a tragic cancer death…a “we’re so sorry that we lost this fine actor so early in life” gesture of affection and respect.

Otherwise Oldman, Hanks and Hopkins…sure. They may not win but they’ll almost certainly be nominated. No, I haven’t seen Mank or News or the World, but we have a pretty good idea of what we’re gonna get for the most part. Hanks and Oldman are proven, trusted brands.

Friendo: I heard Boseman was going lead that’s why he’s in that category, which I do not understand. Now he has to go up against Hopkins.

HE: If Boseman was still with us there would be no Oscar nomination discussions at all right now. Certainly not before anyone has seen the film. Strictly an acknowledgement of a devastating tragedy mixed with respect for past performances (mainly James Brown).

Friendo: Look at the Best Director predictions at Gold Derby. Erik Anderson-level woke predictions. It’s so embarrassing with Regina King in there for doing a pretty good decent job with One Night in Miami. I’m not saying she won’t be nominated but it’s all political. The Gold Derby-ites are frozen in fear. They know which filmmakers and actors they’re obliged to predict Oscar heat for, and they’re doing exactly what’s expected of them. They don’t dare do otherwise. They’re sheep.

Here, incidentally, is an excerpt from an email sent by an actual, non-industry-related Zoomer, received this morning:

“Talked to my roommate [name] about the Oscars. He feels like the Oscar picks have been kind of corrupted in recent years [by wokester agendas]. He thinks that the Academy is making up for lost time by giving as many awards to minorities and women as possible, and since it’s become a political thing he doesn’t hold the nominees and winners in the same high esteem as he used to.”