Oscar Circuit: ‘Beautiful Boy’ and ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Attached to Gold Magnets Gardener and Kleiner?

Barry Jenkins If Beale Street Could Talk

In case any of the readers missed the big announcement on Friday, launched the all-new Oscar Prediction pages, with a new format and features for you to keep track of what we’ve predicted here all year round.

Every Monday, updates will be made to the predictions via ranking and commentary.  Understanding that we are premature in the year, we can only look with educated guesses and shots in the dark.

In this second week, I’ve spent some time reading up on two films in particular: “If Beale Street Could Talk” from Barry Jenkins and “Beautiful Boy” from Felix Van Groeningen.  In the case of the former, Jenkins returns after shocking the entertainment world with a surprise Best Picture win for “Moonlight.”  Adapted from a novel by James Baldwin, the film is a love story set in Harlem during the 1970s where Fonny (Stephan James) and Tish (Kiki Layne) find solace in each other to distract from their dysfunctional families.  When Fonny is falsely accused of rape before Tish finds out she’s pregnant, family and a lawyer race against the clock to find evidence before the baby is born. This is subject matter that the visionary Jenkins can bring to life with ferocity and delicateness in this hotly political climate where the lives of black men are all over the airwaves speaking of injustices and police brutality.

Also featuring a cast that includes Emily Rios as Victoria Rogers, the Puerto Rican woman that is allegedly raped, Regina King, Dave Franco, and Diego Luna in not yet known roles. Jenkins has assembled unknowns before, launching many of their careers into superstardom including Mahershala Ali, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

beautiful boy film chalamet carellWhen looking at “Beautiful Boy,” it tells the true story of David Scheff (Oscar-nominee Steve Carell) and his son Nic (Oscar-nominee Timothee Chalamet) and how they’re family deals with Nic’s methamphetamine addiction.  According to sources, it will chronicle Nic’s life and we will see him at three different ages as he deals with his parent’s divorce and new marriages.  Emmy nominee Maura Tierney and Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan are also set to star along with Oscar-winner Timothy Hutton.  Written by Luke Davies, nominated for “Lion” in 2016, the film looks to make a splash a la “Ordinary People” in 1980.

There’s one thing these two films have in common, and that’s the production company Plan B backing with Dede Gardener and Jeremy Kleiner.  On “Beale,” producing credits will be shared with Megan Ellison, Jenkins, and Adele Romanski while on “Beautiful Boy,” Oscar-winner Brad Pitt shares a producing credit.  Much in the way Scott Rudin has owned the Oscar circuit for sometime, Gardener and Kleiner have established themselves as an awards magnet for their films as seen by their two previous Best Picture winners (“Moonlight” and “12 Years a Slave”) and their three other nominations for “The Tree of Life,” “Selma,” and “The Big Short.”  They’re also handling Adam McKay’s hotly anticipated Dick Cheney biopic “Backseat” with Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell, and Steve Carell.

You can check out the latest prediction movements on the Oscar pages and make sure to include your own thoughts in the comments below.  The Circuit Center will be opening up the predictions phase for the 2019 Oscars later this week.  Look for a new Oscar Circuit column every Monday leading to the big red carpet.


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Written by Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.


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