Analysis: Benedict Cumberbatch's toxic cowboy spurs 'The Power of the Dog' toward awards season

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If you think the holidays come quickly, awards season has also entered the chat.

Analysis: Benedict Cumberbatch's toxic cowboy spurs 'The Power of the Dog' toward awards season
© JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Jonathan Van Ness arrives for the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, August 26, 2019.

That’s right — it’s time to start guessing who and what projects will be nominated for various oddly named trophies.

Analysis: Benedict Cumberbatch's toxic cowboy spurs 'The Power of the Dog' toward awards season
© KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX/KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX Benedict Cumberbatch stars in “The Power of the Dog.”

You are barking up the right tree if the first film in our viewing recommendations below is on your short list of awards season contenders.

Analysis: Benedict Cumberbatch's toxic cowboy spurs 'The Power of the Dog' toward awards season
© Glen Wilson/HBO Issa Rae stars in season five of “Insecure.”

Three things to watch

‘The Power of the Dog’

Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t going for likability in his latest role, but he definitely is coming for some nominations.

He stars as Phil Burbank, a curmudgeonly cowboy who doesn’t take kindly to his younger brother, George (played by Jesse Plemons), marrying a beautiful widow named Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst).

Analysis: Benedict Cumberbatch's toxic cowboy spurs 'The Power of the Dog' toward awards season
© Kirsty Griffin/Netflix Benedict Cumberbatch as rancher Phil Burbank is shown in a scene from “The Power of the Dog.”

Phil pretty much acts like something that rhymes with glass bowl. But the film, by writer-director Jane Campion, has powerful things to say about masculinity, change and relationships.

Our critic, Brian Lowry, wrote that “Netflix clearly harbors awards aspirations for the movie, and the film earns a place in that conversation” — and I agree.

It has been in select theaters since November 17 and is currently streaming on Netflix.

Analysis: Benedict Cumberbatch's toxic cowboy spurs 'The Power of the Dog' toward awards season
© Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty Images Rihanna (third from left) was named a national hero during a ceremony to declare Barbados a republic and the inauguration of the country’s first president, at Heroes Square in Bridgetown, November 30.

‘The Great’ Season 2

If, like me, you enjoy your history served with a side of naughtiness and little accuracy, I’ve got just the series for you.

Season two of “The Great” just dropped, and I talked to its stars, Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, who play Catherine the Great and Peter III, aka empress and emperor of 18th century Russia, about what’s in store.

Analysis: Benedict Cumberbatch's toxic cowboy spurs 'The Power of the Dog' toward awards season
© Disney Enterprises Inc. A scene from animated film “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is shown.

This comedy is super bawdy. It even makes fun of that infamous — and false — story that Catherine the Great died while attempting to have sex with a horse, an urban legend Hoult said does disservice to her legacy.

Analysis: Benedict Cumberbatch's toxic cowboy spurs 'The Power of the Dog' toward awards season
© Gareth Gatrell/ HULU (From left) Catherine (Elle Fanning) and Peter (Nicholas Hoult) are at odds in the Hulu series “The Great.”

“That’s kind of a bizarre thing when you break it apart and realize that this woman achieved so many wonderful things, changed a country, moved science forward and education,” Hoult added. “She was so progressive.”

Season two of “The Great” is currently streaming on Hulu.

Analysis: Benedict Cumberbatch's toxic cowboy spurs 'The Power of the Dog' toward awards season
© Steven Ferdman/Getty Images Ryan Reynolds attends the premiere of “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” at Military Island in New York City’s Times Square, May 2, 2019.

‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’

This one is family-friendly.

Disney+ has transformed the beloved children’s book series by Jeff Kinney into an animated adventure.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” centers on seventh grader Greg Heffley (voiced by Brady Noon), a kid with an active imagination and a determination to become rich and famous.

But first he has to survive middle school.

There are plenty of fun and interesting characters, including Greg’s best friend, Rowley Jefferson (Ethan William Childress), to help Greg fill the pages of his journal.

It’s currently streaming on Disney+.

Two things to listen to

One of the coolest things about the HBO hit series “Insecure” is its music — which is why I was hyped when the star and creator, Issa Rae, announced on Instagram that the soundtrack to season five drops on Friday.

So get ready to dance your … cares away with some music that will probably definitely be, like the show, for grown folks only.

“Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness is curious about so many things — and aren’t we lucky for that?

His podcast, “Getting Curious With Jonathan Van Ness,” features experts and tastemakers discussing topics he’s interested in, like vaccine misinformation and figure skating.

And it’s not just that he has questions. He encourages his audience to be curious about life as well.

The podcast is currently streaming on multiple platforms including Apple.

One thing to talk about

Rihanna has made Barbados so very proud.

That’s why her homeland, which had already appointed her as an ambassador, recently honored the singer-mogul with the designation “national hero.”

RiRi gives back to her country and reps them with total pride.

Well done, ma’am. Now, if we could only get a new album.

Something to sip on

Speaking of being honored by your people: I try not to put celebs on pedestals, but honest-to-goodness Ryan Reynolds seems like a lovely human being.

Canada thinks so, too.

His native country recently honored the “Deadpool” actor and entrepreneur with a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.

Our neighbors to the north also put together a pretty funny and touching video of Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page belting out a tribute to the star in the form of the song “Canada Loves You Back.”

Reynolds shared footage of himself watching the tribute on his verified Instagram, and we got to see him both laugh and cry.

“I’m not crying,” Reynolds joked in the caption. “It’s just maple syrup.”

Ryan Reynolds in his feels is all we need to be in ours. Oh, Canada.

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