The best reason to watch the Oscars this year

Lily Gladstone gestures with both hands during her Screen Actors Guild lead actress acceptance speech.
Lily Gladstone accepts her Screen Actors Guild lead actress award.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

I can’t think of any two people I’ve enjoyed watching bickering and bantering the past 20-some years more than Richard Lewis and Larry David on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Funny, sure. But there was also such a feeling of love underneath the surface, particularly from Lewis, who died Wednesday. Love stemming from acceptance and gratitude. We should all be so lucky to have friendship like that in our lives.

I’m Glenn Whipp, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter. Lunch is on me this week. But no scones.

SAG Awards set up an Oscar showdown

Pedro Pascal was a little drunk at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, because he thought he could get drunk.

Hey, you and me both, Pedro.

I didn’t anticipate that the ceremony, streamed on Netflix — no commercials, plenty of profanity — would boast many surprises. And outside of Pascal prevailing for “The Last of Us” over the “Succession” leads, and Elizabeth Debicki winning for “The Crown” (really?), there weren’t.


On the television side, actors we saw win Emmys just a month ago — Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri for “The Bear,” Ali Wong and Steven Yeun for “Beef” — prevailed again. “The Bear” won comedy series cast; “Succession” took drama.

Hey, like Edebiri said, in a nod to James Baldwin, an “act of love is an act of mirroring.”

But we don’t watch the SAG Awards for the TV prizes. We watch because the SAG Awards are a reliable precursor to the Oscars, and the voting window is open at this very moment. The last two years, all five SAG film category winners have gone on to prevail at the Oscars. Will that happen again?

I pondered that very question in a recent column — and I’m still thinking about it because I have to file my final predictions soon and I remain torn on the lead actress race. Will it be Emma Stone? Or will it be Lily Gladstone, who triumphed with SAG? If you have the courage of certainty, send along your thoughts. That race is the best reason to watch the Oscars this year.

"Poor Things" star Emma Stone arrives at the SAG Awards.
(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

Another honor for ‘Oppenheimer’

Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan’s big-canvas biopic “Oppenheimer” won the Producers Guild of America’s top honor, a day after it took the ensemble prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.


Nolan won the Directors Guild of America’s feature-film directing award two weeks ago.

Even a brilliant script can be enhanced on set. The Envelope spoke to the film’s cast and crew, who shared insights into how the Oscar-nominated screenplay transformed from the page to the screen.

Feb. 20, 2024

“Oppenheimer” thus became the 11th movie to sweep the Producers, Directors and Screen Actors Guild awards, establishing it as the overwhelming favorite to win the best picture Oscar on March 10. Of the 10 previous films to hit that awards season trifecta — a list that includes “No Country for Old Men,” “Argo” and the last two best picture winners, “CODA” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” — only one, “Apollo 13,” failed to win the Oscar.

“Oppenheimer” is not “Apollo 13.”

I wrapped up the evening’s winners and speeches, including some funny remarks from Martin Scorsese, on hand to receive an honorary award. Scorsese regaled the audience with memories of attending the Producers Guild Awards in 1965, when he won best student film for “It’s Not Just You, Murray,” which he made while attending New York University. Alfred Hitchcock accepted a career award that night, and Scorsese recalled some of the advice he imparted.

“He said, ‘First, when you receive such an award, you want to pinch yourself to make sure it isn’t being made posthumously,’” Scorsese remembered.

Cillian Murphy stands hand on hip, pipe in his other hand in a scene from "Oppenheimer."
Cillian Murphy in “Oppenheimer.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it?
(Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures)

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Kimmel prepping for another Oscars — his fourth as host

The 96th Academy Awards on March 10 will mark the fourth time Jimmy Kimmel has hosted the ceremony. You probably remember him asking Warren Beatty what he had wrought after the envelope fiasco in 2017. He took a few years off and then returned to the job last year. Why, asked my pal Tim Grierson.

“I did not think I would ever do it again,” Kimmel says. “I did two of them, and they went well — something crazy happened at one of them with a story I’ll have for the rest of my life. I know how much work goes into them, so I thought, ‘Yeah, I don’t necessarily want to do this ever again.’ ”

What changed his mind, Tim writes, was “Top Gun: Maverick.” “I knew there was a movie that people had seen, and it just makes the job easier,” he explains. “Then this year, I am sitting in a movie theater watching ‘Barbie’ and thinking, ‘Well, maybe I’ll do this again, because at least I have a point of reference with everyone.’ ”

Jimmy Kimmel stands on stage with Warren Beatty and the casts on "Moonlight" and "La La Land."
Jimmy Kimmel asks Warren Beatty “What did you do” at the 2017 Oscars.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)


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