Trying to predict the Oscar nominations is part of the fun of awards season, even when the ceremony is 5 months away. The reason it is so interesting is because of the painstaking calculations that go into it; you could have the perfect film, but unless it was premiered at this festival, or produced by that person, it may never receive the awards glory it deserves.
With that in mind, as winter approaches, several production companies will be vying to ensure their films stay relevant in the race for Best Picture. It can be difficult to figure out which films to pay attention to, but don’t worry about it, Impact Film & TV has got you covered.
What it’s about: Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, Fences is about a man (Denzel Washington) trying to provide for his wife (Viola Davis) and their family, as they deal with discrimination.
Why it has a chance: It may sound like a rather simple premise but this Washington-directed film features 2 Hollywood veterans, suggesting that this will be a film for the actors. Considering the largest branch in the Academy is the actors’ branch, that’s a good choice of target audience, in regards to trying to net that Best Picture nomination.
La La Land
What it’s about: Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a pianist, and Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, balance their relationship as Sebastian’s career begins to overtake Mia’s. Set in modern day Los Angeles, Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) directs a film that harks back to the musicals of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Why it has a chance: Having made the rounds at the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals, it’s been receiving universal acclaim; even Hollywood favourite Tom Hanks has given his stamp of approval. Besides, there’s nothing Hollywood loves more than films about Hollywood (like The Artist, Sunset Boulevard and Argo, to name a few).
What it’s about: Having been separated from his family at the age of five and adopted in Australia, Saroo (Dev Patel) uses Google Earth to track down his original family, and it’s all a true story. Modern technology, eh?
Why it has a chance: About 10 years ago, if you were to ask anyone in Hollywood what the surest bet of getting a Best Picture nomination was, they would have said that Harvey Weinstein’s your guy.
But since winning the top gong back-to-back, with The King’s Speech and The Artist in 2011 and 2012 respectively, he’s not really had a lot of success; that’s pretty shocking, considering that, on the Oscar stage, he’s been thanked more times than God. So we can be certain that Weinstein will be throwing everything he’s got into Lion, to ensure it’s at least nominated.
Manchester by the Sea
What it’s about: After the sudden death of his older brother, Lee (Casey Affleck) is made legal guardian of his brother’s son (Lucas Hedges, a Wes Anderson favourite). Thus, returning to his hometown, he must also face a reunion with his ex-wife (Michelle Williams), reminding him of the life he left behind.
Why it has a chance: This has been tipped for Oscar glory since January, when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Whether that will work in its favour is a different matter; maintaining hype for such a long time can be difficult.
However, recent awards seasons have started to buck that trend, with films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood still being nominated for Best Picture almost a year after their release. And even going back 25 years, The Silence of the Lambs managed to nab the Best Picture award more than a year after it hit cinemas. Then again, that was a modern masterpiece.
What it’s about: Barry Jenkins’ first feature film in 8 years chronicles three periods in the life of a young black gay man (Trevante Rhodes) in Miami as he comes to terms with his identity and his mother’s (Naomie Harris) drug addiction.
Why it has a chance: Another firm festival favourite, Moonlight will be one of several films hoping to rectify the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has been surrounding the Academy these past few years. Considering the rave reviews it’s been receiving so far, its award season trajectory will be one to pay attention to.
What it’s about: Martin Scorsese’s latest sees two priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) in 17th century Japan, where they spread religious teachings while finding their mentor (Liam Neeson).
Why it has a chance: I mean, it’s Martin Scorsese. Bar Shutter Island, when haven’t his films been well received by the Academy? However, its production did have some problems, most notably when part of the studio they were filming in collapsed, resulting in a death, as well as injuries.
Besides that, it seems as though Silence might be skipping film festivals altogether, so no one really knows if it’s actually any good. But, it’s Martin Scorsese! So expect at least a 150-minute running time and some flawless editing from Thelma Schoonmaker.
These next 5 months are certainly going to be interesting, as different movies rise and fall from front-runner to bottom of the heap. The fates of the above-mentioned films, as well as movies like Ang Lee’s groundbreaking, PTSD drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Jeff Nichols’ true story about interracial marriage, Loving, will be sealed on Oscar night, 26th February 2017… Not long to go!
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