Gold Standard: Still waiting for the Oscar front-runner to step up

Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan backstage at the SAG Awards after “Black Panther’s” win for best film ensemble.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

“Black Panther” won the Screen Actors Guild Awards’ top honor Sunday. Earlier, “Green Book” took the big prize at the Producers Guild Awards. “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón appears poised to win with the Directors Guild on Saturday night.

So the best picture Oscar belongs to … well, at the moment, your guess is as good as mine.

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.


Will the Oscars follow the SAG Awards lead?

On the heels of last week’s Oscar nominations, Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards felt in some ways a corrective, in others a coronation.

“Black Panther,” which earned a historic best picture Oscar nomination but failed to secure nods for writer-director Ryan Coogler, won SAG’s film ensemble award. Emily Blunt took the supporting actress honor for “A Quiet Place,” though academy voters didn’t fete her bravura work in that film or her charming turn in “Mary Poppins Returns.”

Meanwhile, Glenn Close looks to be one step closer to shedding her status of being the most-nominated actor without ever winning, a distinction that might soon belong to Amy Adams. And though critics continue to bash their movies, Rami Malek and Mahershala Ali just keep giving speeches.


What’s the forecast for the SAG Awards winners to repeat at the Oscars? I looked at SAG’s ensemble honor and the four individual categories and offered some predictions.

Ruth Westheimer, subject of the documentary “Ask Dr. Ruth,” which premiered at Sundance.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. Times blankets the Sundance Film Festival

There’s a documentary about Dr. Ruth, who, reports Times film writer Amy Kaufman, is living her best life at age 90. But that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t mind winning an Oscar too. There’s a charming comedy from Mindy Kaling, who spoke with Times film critic Kenneth Turan. And there are dozens and dozens and dozens more movies because this is the Sundance Film Festival, and you need an army to cover it.


The Times sent its own division, and you can see the fruits of their labors here. Times photographer Jay L. Clendenin set up a studio, grabbing pretty much everyone who came through the festival. Film critic Justin Chang kept a running diary. Film writer Mark Olsen talked with Steven Soderbergh, among many others, and karaoke queen Jen Yamato was, as you’d expect, all over the movie about a Koreatown karaoke hostess, as well as the social thriller “Luce.” And music writer Gerrick D. Kennedy wrote a moving account of watching the crushing, controversial Michael Jackson documentary “Leaving Neverland.” And that’s just a start. Again: Complete coverage can be found here.

Sam Elliott earned his first Oscar nomination for “A Star Is Born.”
(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

Talking with this year’s Oscar freshman class

It’s never as good as the first time. At least that what Sade says. But I’m guessing this year’s crop of fledgling Oscar nominees would agree with the sentiment. Times contributor Michael Ordoña spoke with several members of this year’s rookie class — including “Roma” actresses Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, along with Sam Elliott from “A Star Is Born” — to learn their thoughts about the glad tidings.


“The fact that I’m still at it after 50 years — I’ve done something right along the way,” Elliott said. “I’ve been very, very fortunate with the stuff that’s come my way, crossing paths with the people I have. I try to keep this stuff in perspective. That said, it’s a recognition of the work you’ve done. The work has been good to me.”


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Twitter: @glennwhipp