Boston-related films have been Oscar darlings in recent years. Not this time around

Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding in a scene from "I, Tonya."
Neon via AP
Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding in a scene from "I, Tonya."

In some ways, recent football seasons and award show seasons have played out similarly for Bostonians: Just as we’ve come to predict that the Patriots will make it to the Super Bowl, we now expect big things from local actors and movies with local ties.

Then came this year. While the Pats have found postseason success, the same can’t be said for movies with local ties.

At the beginning of this awards season, we looked at the films most likely to earn nominations for the 2018 Golden Globes. Movies like “I, Tonya” seemed likely to pick up some hardware, while others, like the Jeff Bauman biopic “Stronger,” were almost certainly going to be shut out, suggesting they didn’t have much of a chance at landing Oscar nominations. With the announcement of the 2018 Academy Awards nominations Tuesday, our suspicions were (mostly) confirmed.

“I, Tonya” (3 nominations)


The only real connection that the Tonya Harding biopic “I, Tonya” has to Massachusetts is that Harding’s chief rival, Nancy Kerrigan, is a Stoneham native. On Tuesday “I, Tonya” scored three nominations, including nods for Margot Robbie as Harding and Allison Janney as Harding’s mother, plus best film editing. It will be interesting to see if the film’s early awards season success lands it on the podium, or if the film will be frozen out.

“The Post” (2 nominations)

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Local connections in “The Post” are related to the Globe. Actor Neal Huff plays legendary Globe editor Thomas Winship, who made the decision to follow the Post and The New York Times in publishing the leaked government documents known as the Pentagon Papers. Additionally, Post executive editor Ben Bradlee (played by Tom Hanks), was born in Boston. His son, Ben Bradlee Jr., later became a deputy managing editor of the Globe, and was portrayed in the 2015 film “Spotlight” by Boston native John Slattery (“Mad Men”).

Still, “The Post,” which was once seen as a likely frontrunner for almost every major award, has fallen short this award season, and left the Golden Globes winless despite earning six nominations. Whether it can regain some of its luster by nabbing either of its two Oscar nominations for best actress (Meryl Streep) and best picture remains to be seen.

“Battle of the Sexes” (0 nominations)

Acton native Steve Carell picked up a Golden Globe nomination for his leading role as Bobby Riggs in “Battle of the Sexes,” but was shut out of the Oscar nominations Tuesday morning. So was his co-star, Emma Stone, who won the leading actress Academy Award last year for her performance in “La La Land.”

“Suburbicon” and “Downsizing” (0 nominations)

Matt Damon appeared in two movies, “Suburbicon” and “Downsizing,” this season. Despite the big names attached to it, “Suburbicon,” directed by George Clooney and also starring Julianne Moore, has only picked up some very obscure award nominations. “Downsizing” landed a handful of major nominations for Damon’s co-star, Hong Chau, and was named one of the top films of the year by the National Board of Review. However, Chau missed out on an Oscar nod.

“Stronger” (0 nominations)


Jake Gyllenhaal played Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman. As expected, “Stronger” missed out on all major awards, and didn’t pick up any minor ones either.

“All the Money in the World” (1 nomination)

“All the Money in the World,” which costars Mark Wahlberg, experienced a bit of awards season whiplash. Before it even came out, the movie seemed to be out of the running due to the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding its onetime star, Kevin Spacey. Then, it received a surge of good press when director Ridley Scott pulled off the unprecedented move of refilming Spacey’s scenes using Christopher Plummer with less than a month to go before its release date.

Then, during the final days before Oscar ballots were due, reports emerged that Mark Wahlberg had taken a $1.5 million salary for the film’s reshoots while his co-star Michelle Williams made under $1,000. Wahlberg eventually donated his salary to the Time’s Up legal defense fund. It’s hard to say how much impact, if any, these subplots had, but at the end of the day, the film came away with one nomination only, for Plummer. Wahlberg did, however, pick up a Razzie nomination for worst actor for his performances in “Daddy’s Home 2” and “Transformers: The Last Knight.”

Kevin Slane can be reached at