Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 Oscar nomination predictions

On Tuesday January 24th the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce their nominees for the 89th Annual Academy Awards (controversially doing away with their traditional early am live audience announcement filled with press and publicists and instead going for some kind of pre-taped live stream). Since this is my version of football season, I sort of take this stuff seriously, so without further ado I present my 90% fearless Oscar nomination predictions. On with the show...


Best Picture
OK, so here’s what everyone is wondering: is “Deadpool” really gonna be nominated for Best Picture or what? Heck no. But you know what? It’s way closer to being nominated than anyone would have ever thought. Sure its WGA nod was a surprise, but plenty of ineligibilities paved the way for it to show up there. And the PGA is a funny group who likes to nominate films with interesting backstories or populist films that make a lot of money. They previously nominated “Star Trek,” “The Dark Knight,” “Ex Machina,” “Skyfall,” and “Bridesmaids,” etc, none of which made into the big race at the Oscars. The biggest question is how many nominees will there be? 8 and 9 have been the magic number the last five years so that seems likely again. But what about “Silence,” the polarizing Martin Scorsese film? Every Scorsese film has been nominated since 2002 except for “Shutter Island” (which was released in February that year). If not “Silence,” then why not go with what could possibly surprise many and that's the standard Oscar-bait pick in the form of a glossy Meryl Streep movie: Florence Foster Jenkins. Then there's “Jackie” which doesn't seem to have much traction and “Nocturnal Animals” which seems to be surprising many (especially with its 9 BAFTA nods).

Here are 10 projected nominees in likelihood of being nominated:
“La La Land”
“Moonlight”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Lion”
“Arrival”
“Hidden Figures”
“Fences”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
alternates - “Nocturnal Animals,” “Jackie”

Best Director
I feel pretty confident in four of these predictions. The one I’m not so sure about is Garth Davis, who surprised many (myself included) by showing up in the DGA noms. The DGA and Academy rarely goes perfect five for five, so who to change? The Academy is a smaller group and tends to surprise in this category by letting in the helmers of smaller films. Don’t be surprised to see someone like David McKenzie in there or even Denzel or Mel; this branch isn’t opposed to nominating actors-turned-directors after all.

Projected nominees:
Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”)
Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”)
Garth Davis (“Lion”)
Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”)
Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”)

Alternate – David McKenzie (“Hell or High Water”)

Best Actor
I’d be pretty surprised if the final five didn’t end up being these five. What are the possibilities? Jake Gyllenhaal surprised everyone by showing up with a BAFTA nod for “Nocturnal Animals.” The Brits loved the film, could the British members of the Academy swing in his favor? It’s possible, especially considering his still-shocking “Nightcrawler” snub. After that the possibilities thin out… maybe Joel Edgerton in “Loving” a movie that hasn’t quite caught on this season. Months ago Tom Hanks would have been a frontrunner but “Sully” has seemed to have stalled in the water so to speak.

Projected nominees:
Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”)
Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”)
Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”)
Viggo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”)
Denzel Washington (“Fences”)
Alternate – Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nocturnal Animals”)

Best Actress
The most crowded Best Actress race in some years, there will be no filler nominees this year (unless you count the trademarked Streep Slot). There are about eight actresses vying for a spot including Annette Bening and Tarji P. Henson but their films are sort of late-breaking, though it wouldn't be shocking to either of them show up here. Ditto Ruth Nega whose film Loving doesn't seem to have much traction anymore, and then there's wild card Emily Blunt who has both a SAG and BAFTA nomination to her credit in a generally hated film. She remains the big question mark in this race. After all is said is done, Bening seems to have the best shot of showing up outside my predicted five.

Projected nominees:
Amy Adams (“Arrival”)
Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”)
Natalie Portman (“Jackie”)
Emma Stone (“La La Land”)
Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”)
alternate – Annette Bening, (“20th Century Women”)

Best Supporting Actor
Let me start by saying that I'm going with Aaron Taylor-Johnson because of statstical reasons. Every Best Supporting Actor winner at the Golden Globes has gone on to receive an Oscar nomination for the past 40 years. Normally I'd discount such a thing as a fluke, but then he showed up at BAFTA. Sure he's British and some argue he won at the Globes because of the whole gift basket controversy but I feel like history is on my side. Having said that this category really is wide open, though I'd be surprised if Ali, Bridges, and Patel didn't show up here. The one who I finally ended up taking out of my final five is Lucas Hedges and though he certainly deserves to be nominated for “Manchester by the Sea,” it's his young age working against him. Though I would not be surprised to see him show up on this list. Hugh Grant remains the question mark because he could fill that “seasoned veteran who's never been nominated before” slot. Also in contention is Kevin Costner though it remains to be seen how the late-breaking hit “Hidden Figures” will do with overall nominations.

Projected nominees:
Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”)
Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”)
Hugh Grant (“Florence Foster Jenkins”)
Dev Patel (“Lion”)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals”)
alternate - Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”)

Best Supporting Actress
Overall, I'm pretty confident in these five, but a surprise could arise in the form of either Greta Gerwig from “20th Century Women” or even Janelle Monae from “Hidden Figures.” The biggest shock of all would be Viola Davis being nominated in the Best Actress category which would be crazy itself.

projected nominees:
Viola Davis (“Fences”)
Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”)
Nicole Kidman (“Lion”)
Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”)
Michelle Williams (“Manchester by the Sea”)
alternate – Greta Gerwig “20th Century Women”)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Many were surprised when Moonlight was declared an Adapted script (while in other precurer awards like WGA it competed in the Original category). This change most likely will bump out “Nocturnal Animals” though it could show up if the Writers Branch aren't feeling any of the other potential Best Picture hopefuls.

“Arrival”
“Fences”
“Hidden Figures”
“Lion”
“Moonlight”
alternate - “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Original Screenplay
This category has much more room to play than the Adapted category as most of the potential Best Picture nominees come from adapted works. That bodes well for the likes of “The Lobster” and “Captain Fantastic” which aren't looking to score many other nominations outside of here and Best Actor.

Projected nominees:
“Captain Fantastic”
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“The Lobster”
“Manchester by the Sea”
alternate - “Jackie”

Best Cinematography
“Arrival”
“La La Land”
“Lion”
“Moonlight”
“Silence”
alternate - “Jackie”

Best Costume Design
“The Dressmaker”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Jackie”
“La La Land”
alternate - “Allied”

Best Film Editing
“Arrival”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”
alternate - “Hell or High Water”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
This is Deadpool's best shot at Oscar glory though it has some tough competition in the form of “Star Trek Beyond.”

projected nominees:
“Deadpool”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“A Man Called Ove”
alternate - “Star Trek Beyond”

Best Original Score
One of my favorite categories, the Best Score category certainly is easier to predict than “Best Song” but the music branch is a tough group to crack. Newcomers rarely show up here which is why yours Thomas Newmans and John Williams show up constantly. If your music has a foreign sounding flair to it certainly helps, which bodes well for “Lion” but don't be surprised to find Academy favorite Michael Giachinno show up for “Rogue One” though it's difficult to call who would be left out. "Passengers," "Kubo and the Two Strings," and "Hidden Figures" are also in play.

Projected nominees:
“The BFG”
“Jackie”
“La La Land”
“Lion”
“Moonlight”
alternate - “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Best Original Song
The music branch is a finnicky bunch and so the Best Song category is notoriously difficult to predict. Many usually predict the popular songs but they so rarely make it in. Sometimes they do (in the case of Everything is Awesome from The LEGO Movie and sometimes they don't like See You Again from “Furious Seven”). It's best to start with musicals and Disney movies and then go from there. It must be said it would be a crime if a song from “Sing Street” wasn't nominated.

Projected nominees:
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
“City of Stars” from “La La Land”
“Dancing with Your Shadow” from “Po”
“Drive it Like You Stole It” from “Sing Street”
“How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”
alternate - “Runnin'” from “Hidden Figures”

Best Production Design
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Hail, Caesar!”
“The Handmaiden”
“Jackie”
“La La Land”
alternate - “Silence”

Best Sound Editing
“Arrival”
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“Sully”
alternate - “The Jungle Book”

Best Sound Mixing
“Arrival”
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“La La Land”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
alternate - “The Jungle Book”

Best Visual Effects
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Doctor Strange”
“The Jungle Book”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
alternate - “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Best Animated Feature Film
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“Moana”
“The Red Turtle”
“Zootopia”
alternate - “Finding Dory”

Best Documentary Feature
“Cameraperson”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America”
“13th”
“Weiner”
alternate - “The Eagle Huntress”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Tanna” (Australia)
“Land of Mine” (Denmark)
“Toni Erdmann” (Germany)
“The Salesman” (Iran)
“A Man Called Ove” (Sweden)
alternate - “My Life as a Zucchini (Switzerland)


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