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Frontrunner Friday – Annapurna in flux; category changes

After last week’s drops of trailers for Vice and The Mule, this week’s Frontrunner Friday brings us a few changes that may or may not affect the status of a handful of films and performances.

The big news is that Annapurna suffered a big loss with the stepping down (firing?) of its president Chelsea Barnard this week as the fledgling studio, headed by Megan Ellison, has been hemorrhaging money for years on most of its projects. Ellison will temporarily take over but its her father, Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, who puts the brakes on the studios’ spending, including shuffling two major productions to other studios. The all-star Roger Ailes/Fox News biopic that stars Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron is now at Focus Features; the Jennifer Lopez stripper movie is now at STX Films. Still with the studio are its 2018 fall/winter awards releases If Beale Street Could Talk, Vice and Destroyer. While there are no plans to make any drastic moves with those films, if the studio’s purse strings are being held tightly that could affect their campaigns as we leave festival season and kick awards season into high gear.

Oscars: Shortlists to be revealed in nine categories on the same day

The other announcement this week (first reported by AwardsCircuit), also from Annapurna, was that If Beale Street Could Talk‘s Stephan James would be pushed in lead and not supporting as previously thought. It might be a tougher road for James in that category but it does open the door for Brian Tyree Henry to earn a spot for Beale Street for his short, but very impactful turn.

Speaking of category changes, we still don’t have a solid word on the placement of Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in The Favourite but the deadline for Screen Actors Guild submission is looming so I expect we’ll know very soon. Word is it’s all hinging on Stone’s placement.

As always, you can see that and follow my 2019 Oscar predictions (in broader context), updated live and in real time, in 21 categories right here.

Here are my Frontrunner Friday picks for October 12, 2018.


1. ROMA (Netflix – December)
2. If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna – 11/30)
3. A Star is Born (Warner Bros – 10/5)
4. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight – 11/23)
5. Green Book (Universal – 11/21)
6. BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features – 8/10)
7. First Man (Universal – 10/12)
8. Black Panther (Disney – 2/16)
9. Vice (Annapurna – 12/14)
10. Widows (20th Century Fox – 11/16)


1. Alfonso Cuarón – ROMA (Netflix)
2. Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)
3. Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)
4. Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
5. Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features)


1. Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)
2. Christian Bale – Vice (Annapurna)
3. John David Washington – BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features)
4. Viggo Mortensen – Green Book (Universal)
5. Lucas Hedges – Boy Erased (Focus Features)


1. Glenn Close – The Wife (Sony Classics)
2. Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)
3. Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight)
4. Olivia Colman – The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
5. Yalitza Aparicio – ROMA (Netflix)


1. Mahershala Ali – Green Book (Universal)
2. Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight)
3. Timothée Chalamet – Beautiful Boy (Amazon)
4. Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)
5. Daniel Kaluuya – Widows (20th Century Fox)


1. Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)
2. Amy Adams – Vice (Annapurna)
3. Rachel Weisz – The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
4. Emma Stone – The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
5. Nicole Kidman – Boy Erased (Focus Features)


1. If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)
2. BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features)
3. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight)
4. Boy Erased (Focus Features)
5. A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)


1. ROMA (Netflix)
2. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
3. Vice (Annapurna)
4. Green Book (Universal)
5. First Reformed (A24)


1. First Man (Universal)
2. ROMA (Netflix)
3. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
4. A Star is Born (Warner Bros)
5. If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)


1. ROMA (Netflix)
2. If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)
3. First Man (Universal)
4. A Star is Born (Warner Bros)
5. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)


1. First Man (Universal)
2. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
3. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Disney)
4. Mary Poppins Returns (Disney)
5. Black Panther (Disney)


1. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
2. Mary Poppins Returns (Disney)
3. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Disney)
4. Black Panther (Disney)
5. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner Bros)


1. If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)
2. First Man (Universal)
3. Mary Poppins Returns (Disney)
4. Widows (20th Century Fox)
5. BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features)


1. A Star Is Born, “Shallow” (Warner Bros)
2. Black Panther, “All the Stars” (Disney)
3. A Star Is Born, “I’ll Never Love Again” (Warner Bros)
4. Boy Erased, “Revelation” (Focus Features)
5. Free Solo, “Gravity” (NatGeo)


1. First Man (Universal)
2. Sicario: Day of the Soldado (Sony)
3. Incredibles 2 (Disney)
4. Black Panther (Disney)
5. 12 Strong (Warner Bros)


1. First Man (Universal)
2. A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)
3. Incredibles 2 (Disney)
4. Mary Poppins Returns (Disney)
5. Black Panther (Disney)


1. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Disney)
2. Vice (Annapurna)
3. Border (Neon)


1. Black Panther (Disney)
2. Ready Player One (Warner Bros)
3. Bumblebee (Paramount)
4. Mary Poppins Returns (Disney)
5. Avengers: Infinity War (Disney)


1. Incredibles 2 (Disney)
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony)
3. Isle of Dogs (Fox Searchlight)
4. Wreck-it Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney)
5. Mirai (GKids/Fathom Events)


1. Mexico – ROMA (Netflix)
2. Lebanon – Capharnaüm (Sony Classics)
3. Poland – Cold War (Amazon)
4. Denmark – The Guilty (Magnolia)
5. Colombia – Birds of Passage (The Orchard)
6. United Kingdom – I Am Not a Witch (Film Movement)
7. Germany – Never Look Away (Sony Classics)
8. Japan – Shoplifters (Magnolia)
9. Sweden – Border (Neon)


1. RBG (Magnolia / CNN Films)
2. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus Features)
3. Three Identical Strangers (Neon / CNN Films)
4. Shirkers (Netflix)
5. Minding the Gap (Hulu / Magnolia)

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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