Monday, December 5, 2022

'Top Gun: Maverick' vs. 'Nope' at the People's Choice Awards

I made a prediction in the middle of 'Top Gun: Maverick' vs. 'RRR – Rise Roar Revolt' for Best Action/Adventure Film at the Saturn Awards.
On the one hand, I'm pleased to see that "Top Gun: Maverick" has a Twitter image promoting its nominations. I wish more films did that, like some of the TV nominees have. I'd be surprised, but not shocked, if the campaign worked well enough to convince a plurality of Saturn Awards voters to pick Tom Cruise. He is far and away the biggest star, but he's not the best actor. On the other hand, I expect him to get a couple of People's Choice Awards and his movie to get one or two as well.
My prediction came true, as Tom Cruise earned nominations for The Male Movie Star of 2022 along with his co-star Miles Teller and The Action Movie Star of 2022, "Top Gun: Maverick" earned nominations for The Movie of 2022 and The Action Movie of 2022. Wikipedia's article on the 48th People's Choice Awards stopped its tally of nominations there, but I consider the nomination of Lady Gaga's "Hold My Hand from the soundtrack for the movie, to be a sixth nomination. That ties it in my book with "Nope," which also has six nominations, The Movie of 2022, The Drama Movie of 2022, Daniel Kaluuya for The Male Movie Star of 2022 and The Drama Movie Star of 2022, where he's competing against his co-star Keke Palmer, who is also nominated for The Female Movie Star of 2022. I like this matchup because it combines two of my interests in entertainment, portrayals of government and politics (remember that the military is part of government) in movies and television and speculative fiction, in this case, science fiction and horror.

I begin with the categories in which the two movies are competing directly against each other along with a comment on the Saturn Awards.

Since this is a popularity contest, I expect the results would at least partly reflect the box office, where, at least among the movies released before October 26, 2022, when the nominations came out, the rankings are "Top Gun: Maverick" first, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" second, "Jurassic World: Dominion" fourth (the current third place movie, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," came out after the nominations did; I expect it will end its run in second), "The Batman" sixth ("Minions: Rise of Gru" is in fifth but wasn't nominated; neither were any other animated movies, so I think the People's Choice Awards should add an animated movie category), "Thor: Love and Thunder" seventh, "Elvis" tenth, "Nope" twelfth, and "Bullet Train" sixteenth. Given this field, I fully expect "Top Gun: Maverick" to win, adding to its three Saturn Awards, two of which, Best Action/Adventure Film and Best Editing, I put on my ballot.

The third Saturn Award "Top Gun: Maverick" won was Tom Cruise for Best Actor.* As I wrote above, I was surprised but not shocked. I expect Cruise to win The Male Movie Star of 2022, so I will be neither surprised nor shocked. Now to see if Cruise earns nominations at the awards shows the entertainment professionals vote in, not just the fans.

Follow over the jump for the categories in which "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Nope" are competing separately.

I think it's an accurate reflection of popular tastes that six of the eight nominees for The Movie of 2022 also earned nominations for The Action Movie of 2022. The two action films that didn't also receive nominations for the former category are "Black Adam" and "The Woman King." "Black Adam" ranks higher at the box office at ninth while "The Woman King" at 25th. The fans like the first better while I predict the second will get more recognition from the entertainment professionals. Neither will win, as I predict that "Top Gun: Maverick" will take home the award for this category, too.

On the other hand, only "Elvis" and "Nope" among the nominees for The Drama Movie of 2022 also made the cut for The Movie of 2022. It could be worse; none of the nominees for The Comedy Movie of 2022 are also nominees for The Movie of 2022, not even "The Adam Project" with five nominations. While I'm rooting for "Nope," which surprised me by winning Best Science Fiction Film over my choice "Dune," "Elvis" has a bigger box office. It's possible neither could win. An enthusiastic fanbase could propel another picture onto the stage. In particular, I'm thinking of "Where The Crawdads Sing," ranks twentieth in box office, "Scream" at 22nd, and "Halloween Ends" at 27th.

The Female Movie Star of 2022

Viola Davis – The Woman King
Gal Gadot – Death on the Nile
Jennifer Garner – The Adam Project
Joey King – Bullet Train
Jennifer Lopez – Marry Me
Elizabeth Olsen – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Keke Palmer – Nope
Queen Latifah – Hustle
If this award were about acting ability, Viola Davis would probably win. It's not. It's about popularity and star power, which helps actresses like Gal Gadot, whose character — spoiler alert — dies in the first act of "Death on the Nile." While I wrote "I think Palmer has as bright a future ahead of her as behind her" and she has a good balance of acting ability, star power, and popularity, I don't think it's enough for her to win. I do think that Elizabeth Olsen has enough of all three to take home the award. Besides, her movie is still in second place in the 2022 box office and a lot of people have watched it on Disney+.

In a normal year, I'd pick someone from a Marvel movie to win The Action Movie Star of 2022. This is not a normal year, so I think Tom Cruise will win this award as well. His toughest competition will probably be Chris Pratt or Elizabeth Olsen, again based on star power and the box office of their movies.

By the way, I find nominating Joey King and Zoe Kravitz instead of Brad Pitt and Robert Pattinson interesting choices, but they do balance out the field between men and women.

The Drama Movie Star of 2022

Austin Butler – Elvis
Jamie Lee Curtis – Halloween Ends
Gal Gadot – Death on the Nile
Daniel Kaluuya – Nope
Mila Kunis – Luckiest Girl Alive
Keke Palmer – Nope
Florence Pugh – Don't Worry Darling
Harry Styles – Don't Worry Darling
On the other hand, the field for The Drama Movie Star of 2022 has more women than men, but I think that's justified. Women have been producing better performances and the writing for their roles has improved. That doesn't mean it will help any of them win. I could see a bunch of votes for Austin Butler as Elvis, for example. I wouldn't be upset by that, although I'm rooting for either Kaluuya or Palmer.

I conclude with The Song of 2022. While I doubt it will win, I'm still rooting for my unofficial sixth nomination for "Top Gun: Maverick." Watch Lady Gaga - Hold My Hand (From “Top Gun: Maverick”) [Official Music Video].

I suspect one of the other nominees will win Tuesday, but I'm still rooting for this song to earn Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.

*"Top Gun: Maverick" tweeted out the following image to celebrate its Saturn Awards.

I'm glad the film's creators and producers are acknowledging its Saturn Awards. It makes both bigger.

For good measure, here's the image created to announce "Nope" winning Best Science Fiction Film.

May my prediction that "Nope" won't do as well as "Dune" at next year's Academy Awards and WorldCon end up not being true.

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