Voters Get a Peek at ‘Don’t Look Up,’ Helen Mirren Is a Lifetime Achiever, and ‘Jockey’ Wins at AFI Fest

NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX

Each week, we’re bringing you a recap of the latest awards news, announcements and voting deadlines to keep you in the loop all season long. Here is the news for the week ending November 19, 2021.

Happy Friday, readers!

Just in time to set awards prognosticators all aflutter, Netflix unveiled Adam McKay’s latest film, Don’t Look Up for critics and Academy members. The early reaction is very good and the crowd in Westwood Thursday night couldn’t have been more pleased. Can this late-breaker work its way into awards contention? Absolutely, yes. Be on the lookout for “Just Look Up,” the song written by Nicholas Britell, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi and Taura Stinson, and performed by Grande and Kid Cudi. Leonardo DiCaprio is great and could tiptoe into the lead actor race. And you only notice film editing when it’s great or terrible. In this case, the comedy rings because of great editing from two-time Oscar nominee Hank Corwin.

It would be unwise to ignore McKay’s track record with semi-serious satirical stories about the world we live in. While this is a departure from The Big Short and Vice, this film could absolutely crash land in the Best Picture lineup too. Don’t Look Up won’t be in theaters or on Netflix until next month, but making it available to voters now, before Thanksgiving, was a very smart move.

Ian Gavan for EON Productions/MGM Studios/Universal Pictures

And speaking of Don’t Look Up and its awards prospects, the Hollywood Music in Media Awards announced their winners this week. Composer Nicholas Britell won the prize for Original Score for a Feature Film while Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell claimed Original Song “No Time to Die” from the newest James Bond film. Other winners from HMMA included Hans Zimmer for his Sci Fi/Fantasy score for Dune, Rachel Portman for scoring the documentary Julia, Alberto Iglesias for his international score for Parallel Mothers, and independent original song “Beyond the Shore” from the Apple TV+ film CODA.

Dame Helen Mirren will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in February. The legendary actress has four Oscar nominations with one win for The Queen in 2006. She also has a number of Emmys and BAFTA awards, as well as shelves full of recognitions from various guilds and critics groups. Mirren won her Oscar for portraying Queen Elizabeth II, and has played multiple queens as well as spies, assassins, teachers and more. She will soon take on the role of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.

The American Film Institute’s 2021 AFI Fest concluded its annual festival on Sunday. The drama Jockey won the Audience Award for Narrative Feature. Clint Bentley’s debut stars Clifton Collins, Jr. as an aging horse jockey who faces the difficult decision of retiring or trying for one last chance at a title. The Audience Award for Documentary Feature went to Juice WRLD, a film about the life and death of the titular hip hop star. The Grand Jury also awarded two standout films: the animated Love, Dad from director Diana Cam Van Nguyen, and live action short AL-SIT from Suzannah Mirghani. All told, AFI’s 2021 program included 118 films, 51% of which were directed by women.

Before you go, here’s what’s hitting theaters and streaming this week:

  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Theaters)
  • King Richard (Theaters and HBO Max)
  • tick, tick…Boom! (Netflix)
  • Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (Theaters) *Romania’s Official Submission for International Feature
  • Boiling Point (Theaters and VOD)
  • C’mon C’mon (Theaters)
  • Drive My Car (Theaters) *Japan’s Official Submission for International Feature
  • The First Wave (Theaters)
  • Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time (Theaters and VOD)
  • Petite Maman (Theaters)
  • Procession (Theaters and Netflix)
  • The Real Charlie Chaplin (Theaters)
Written by
Karen Peterson is the Awards Editor for We Live Entertainment. She previously worked as the Assistant Editor at Awards Circuit, now owned by Variety. Her work can also be found at Citizen Dame and at the Watch and Talk podcast. Her non-awards season hobbies include Angels baseball, taking pictures of other peoples' pets, and tweeting about The Bachelor franchise.

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