Oscar voting begins today. Here’s what to look for.

Glynn Turman smokes a cigar
Veteran actor Glynn Turman is a standout in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

I’ve got a batch of Thin Mints in the oven while contemplating a trip to Camelback Ranch (even if there is no tailgating) or maybe to a garden for a couple of hours. (A nap does sound good.)

Also: Oscar nominations arrive in 10 days. (I’m going to need more cookies.)

I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter. If you have a surefire recipe for homemade Samoas, I’d be forever in your debt.

Oscar voting begins today: Here’s some advice on the actors

Remember when Steven Soderbergh was hired to produce the Oscars and he mused that this year’s ceremony would “skew more indie-cinephile”? Or when critics’ favorites like “First Cow” and “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” were considered serious possibilities for best picture because movies like Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” and Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of “West Side Story” had moved out of the season and people thought maybe, just maybe, academy members would dig a bit deeper when doing their homework this year?

Instead, judging from appearances and conversations, it seems that this year’s Oscars are going to skew toward streaming platforms — and I don’t mean ones with a Criterion Channel sensibility. Now, I could be wrong. For all I know, Oscar voters are marveling at Pietro Marcello’s marvelous “Martin Eden” at this very moment and have Pedro Costa’s hypnotic “Vitalina Varela” next in the queue. Personally, I don’t know these voters, but I’m sure they exist — probably somewhere in the shadows that engulf Costa’s masterwork.


Anyway, with Oscar voting beginning today, I took a look at the acting races, made some predictions and offered a reminder of special work deserving attention, such as Glynn Turman as a member of Ma Rainey’s band. It’s not too late to fulfill Soderbergh’s prophecy, people!

Oldman look at my life, I’m a lot like you

A year after he won the Oscar for his electric, persuasive portrayal of Winston Churchill in 2017 biopic “Darkest Hour,” Gary Oldman began to feel twinges of insecurity about his work in the movie, and that soon turned into a black hole of self-doubt. “Was I any good as Churchill?” It’s a question he asked his wife, art curator Gisele Schmidt, who listened patiently — and regarded him as if he were a madman. “What are you talking about?” she replied, ticking off the awards Oldman won leading up to the Oscars, adding that they were practically inventing honors to bestow upon him by the end.

Gary Oldman in "Mank."
Gary Oldman plays screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in “Mank.”
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“I wasn’t fishing when I asked that,” Oldman says, insisting that he always feels “less than,” particularly when he’s about to start a new project. Oldman tells me this from his home in Palm Springs where he moved with Schmidt and her 12-year-old son, William, two years ago from Los Feliz because he grew weary of the traffic and how a trip to “pick up some milk and the dry cleaning would turn into a three-hour adventure and just kidnap your day.”

Luckily for me, Oldman had no errands to run on a recent morning when we had a leisurely conversation about his work in David Fincher’s “Mank,” the years he spent romanticizing drinking much like Herman Mankiewicz and sunny days spent sailing around Mustique with David Bowie, looking for the perfect cove so they could drop anchor and take the dinghy to the beach to grill lobster.

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A few final thoughts — OK, mostly rants — on the Golden Globes

You’re probably done thinking about the Golden Globes, even as The Times continues to investigate the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. But if you’re wondering about the mood of the motion picture academy or how the HFPA’s choices might prompt Oscar voters to finally watch “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “The Mauritanian,” I had a few thoughts and/or rants. OK. Mostly rants. The Globes — and Hollywood’s collective denial about the group behind them — drives me nuts.

Jodie Foster kisses wife Alexandra Hedison.
Jodie Foster, Globe supporting actress winner for “The Mauritanian,” celebrates with wife Alexandra Hedison.


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Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.