Home / Predictions / Film / Frontrunner Friday: The Impact of AFI Fest and Spirit Awards noms

Frontrunner Friday: The Impact of AFI Fest and Spirit Awards noms

This week saw the second half of AFI FEST bring us two long-awaited world premieres that could impact many Oscar categories: Mimi Leder’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex (review here) starring Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones and Josie Rourke’s feature film directorial debut Mary Queen of Scots (review forthcoming) about the Queen Anne/Queen Elizabeth I rivalry for the crown starring Academy Award nominees Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. Did their performances do enough to move them up the chart and into the top 5?

I think the reviews warrant incremental movements for Jones, Ronan and Robbie but not quite enough to get them into the top 5. Not quite yet. If they show up at the Golden Globes and SAG then that’s a different story. 

The other impact on this week’s Frontrunner Friday happened just a few hours ago – the Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations. Packed with some deep indie love for films that probably don’t have much of a shot at the Oscars, some contenders saw their stock rise today while others saw what could be the beginning of their chances cratering. 

First Reformed and Eighth Grade posted the field-best numbers for Spirit Awards noms with four apiece, likely boosting Ethan Hawke and the screenplays for both films. Eighth Grade star Elsie Fisher will have a tough time breaking into this year’s Best Actress contenders but she got in over Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (in a field of six, no less) so you can’t dismiss that too easily. 

Glenn Close (The Wife) knocked down the first obstacle on her way to her 7th Oscar nomination and overdue first win with a nomination here and in this lineup (that includes Toni Collette, Regina King, Helena Howard and Carey Mulligan) when you look at Spirit Awards history in this category it starts to look very good for Close. 

If Beale Street Could Talk got three top nominations but missed out on the techs and even screenplay (where Moonlight dominated just two years ago) but those top noms solidify it and supporting actress contender Regina King.

BlacKkKlansman suffered a major blow with the Spirit Awards, earning just one nomination – Adam Driver in Supporting Male. Driver also earned a Gotham nomination so his chances keep rising but will this look like Do the Right Thing back in 1989 when just Danny Aiello was Oscar-nominated?

As always, bookmark and check the live updated predictions page here to see where the 6-10 contenders are.

Here are my previous Frontrunner Friday picks and below are my picks for November 16, 2018.


1. ROMA (Netflix – 11/21 limited theatrical, 12/14 streaming)
2. A Star is Born (Warner Bros – 10/5)
3. If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna – 12/14 limited, 12/25 wide)
4. Green Book (Universal – 11/16 limited, 11/21 wide)
5. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight – 11/23)
6. Black Panther (Disney – 2/16)
7. BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features – 8/10)
8. Widows (20th Century Fox – 11/16)
9. First Man (Universal – 10/12)
10. Vice (Annapurna – 12/25)


1. Alfonso Cuarón – ROMA (Netflix)
2. Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)
3. Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)
4. Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
5. Ryan Coogler – Black Panther (Disney)


1. Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)
2. Christian Bale – Vice (Annapurna)
3. Lucas Hedges – Boy Erased (Focus Features)
4. Viggo Mortensen – Green Book (Universal)
5. Ethan Hawke – First Reformed (A24)


1. Glenn Close – The Wife (Sony Classics)
2. Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)
3. Olivia Colman – The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
4. Viola Davis – Widows (20th Century Fox)
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. Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features)


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


1. If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)
2. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight)
3. BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features)
4. Black Panther (Disney)
5. Widows (20th Century Fox)


1. ROMA (Netflix)
2. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
3. Green Book (Universal)
4. Vice (Annapurna)
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. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
2. First Man (Universal)
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. Mary Poppins Returns, “The Place Where Lost Things Go” (Disney)
4. Boy Erased, “Revelation” (Focus Features)
5. Free Solo, “Gravity” (NatGeo)


1. First Man (Universal)
2. ROMA (Netflix)
3. Black Panther (Disney)
4. Incredibles 2 (Disney)
5. A Quiet Place (Paramount)


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


1. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
2. Border (Neon)
3. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Disney)


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


1. Incredibles 2 (Disney)
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony)
3. Isle of Dogs (Fox Searchlight)
4. 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. United Kingdom – I Am Not a Witch (Film Movement)


1. RBG (Magnolia / CNN Films)
2. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus Features)
3. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Cinema Guild)
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.

Check Also

SFFILM Festival Awards: Olivia Wilde’s ‘Booksmart’ is Audience favorite

Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart (Annapurna Pictures) On Sunday, SFFILM announced the winners of its Audience Awards …

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: