Early tomorrow morning, the nominations for the 94th annual Academy Awards will be announced. By this point in the typically endless awards season, we all have a pretty good sense of who should expect to hear their names; if all goes as expected, a lot of people involved with The Power Of The Dog and Dune are going to have a very good day. Of course, there are always surprises, and it’s those that get us up at the ass-crack of dawn, hoping against hope for a favorite to slip into the race. These are the two thoughts that we hold in our heads come this time every year: The Oscars are silly, and no true barometer of cinematic quality; and it’s still nice to see the art and artists you love get some attention, if only for how it might boost a career.
To that end, let’s highlight some long shots we’re crossing our fingers and holding out hope for in nine of the major Academy Award categories. Note that in making our selections, we tried to highlight films, actors, directors, and writers who haven’t been heavily cited as likely nominees, but also ones that aren’t so outrageously unlikely that they could never happen. (Okay, we did kind of go for one of those. Prove us wrong, directors’ branch!) Check back here early tomorrow morning for the full list of nominees, which will hopefully include at least one curveball of good taste to keep us glued to our screen next year and beyond, our faith in happy surprises rewarded.