Newsletter: Best picture Oscar predictions — and a ‘Jojo Rabbit’ blind spot

Scarlett Johansson and Roman Griffin Davis in "Jojo Rabbit."
(Kimberley French/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.)

Flying home from the Toronto International Film Festival, I was talking about this year’s Oscar race with an editor from another publication. He told me his boss believed that “Jojo Rabbit,” the strange, slapstick story of a Hitler Youth member coming to realize the awful truth about his hateful beliefs, would win best picture.

I shook my head, incredulous. My reply: “Pfffft. It’s not even going to be nominated.”

I didn’t know it then, but “Jojo Rabbit” was destined to be my Oscar blind spot this year.

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.


I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host.

The movies that could — and should — earn best picture nominations

I took an early look at the best picture race in a recent column, predicting the movies that have a chance of earning nominations in January. And, yes, “Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi’s Holocaust fable (or “anti-hate satire,” as it’s being relentlessly marketed), might be among the nominees.

I have issues with the movie. But other people love it, among them, those who voted for the Toronto festival’s People’s Choice audience award. Ten of the last 11 movies to win that prize have earned an Oscar nomination for best picture. I can’t ignore that kind of history, even if I could name dozens of movies I think are more deserving.


Joaquin Phoenix, star of "Joker."
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Joaquin Phoenix has his own theories about ‘Joker’

My colleague, Josh Rottenberg, has been writing incisive stories about “Joker” for months now, noting how comic book movies may never be the same, talking to director Todd Phillips about all the theories about the film’s ending and asking star Joaquin Phoenix about the possibility of a sequel.

So it’s no surprise that for this week’s Envelope cover story, Josh delivered an insightful profile of Phoenix, talking to the actor on the day before his 45th birthday. He told Josh he has been a little thrown by all the attention “Joker” has received.


“Honestly, Todd [Phillips] and I were just trying to make something that didn’t end our careers,” he said.

I also love the striking shots that Times photographer Carolyn Cole took of Phoenix, including the image in this newsletter.

Jon Hamm, Ian Gomez and Paul Walter Hauser in “Richard Jewell."
(Claire Folger / Warner Bros. )

AFI Fest returns to Hollywood


Times film writer Mark Olsen previews this year’s AFI Fest, which will include the world premieres of Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell,” a drama about the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing and its aftermath, and George Nolfi’s “The Banker,” the true story of two black entrepreneurs who hire a white man to front their businesses to subvert the system.

Among the other events: Martin Scorsese will take part in a conversation before a screening of his new film, “The Irishman.” And there will be a tribute to filmmaker Alan J. Pakula, including a screening of the new documentary “Alan Pakula: Going for Truth,” along with free screenings of three of his films, “Klute,” “Sophie’s Choice” and “The Sterile Cuckoo.”


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