OSCAR NOMINATIONS TOMORROW

The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26, 34 days from today.

Oscar announcement
Nominations for this year’s Academy Awards will be announced at 5:18 a.m. PST by Jennifer Hudson, Brie Larson, Emmanuel Lubezki, Jason Reitman and Ken Watanabe. Unlike previous years, when the presentation was made live to an “assembled audience of media and publicists at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills,” this year’s announcement will be “a global live stream on the Academy’s Oscar.com and Oscars.org platforms.”

Oscar predictions
Below, I’m going to list what I think are the most likely nominees for the six biggest awards: picture, director and the four acting categories. After each, I will list which of the following awards the film/individual has been nominated for: PGA, DGA, SAG (ensemble for Best Picture, individual nomination for acting), WGA, ACE Eddie, BAFTA and/or Golden Globe. For non-locks, I’ll give some commentary about why they may earn the nomination. Occasionally, I’ll also list “For your consideration’ nominees, or individuals or films that I think should be more in the awards conversation.

Best Picture
Locks:
1. La La Land (PGA, DGA, WGA, ACE, BAFTA, GG)
2. Moonlight (PGA, DGA, SAG, WGA, ACE, BAFTA, GG)
3. Manchester by the Sea (PGA, DGA, SAG, WGA, ACE, BAFTA, GG)

Likelies:
4. Arrival (PGA, DGA, WGA, ACE, BAFTA) — Ticks practically all the boxes, but more divisive than some of the other nominees and in a genre rarely rewarded by the Academy. There are around 10 previous science fiction nominees in the history of the Oscars: A Clockwork Orange (1971), Star Wars (1977), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), District 9 (2009), Avatar (2009), Inception (2010), Her (2013), Gravity (2013), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and The Martian (2015). No science fiction film has ever won.
5. Lion (PGA, DGA, GG) — As I mentioned last week, it would be very surprising if Lion earned a DGA nomination and did not go on to get a Best Picture nod. The only film to have done that in recent memory was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2011. Lion is optimistic and loved by many, so I can’t imagine it having any trouble here.
6. Fences (PGA, SAG, WGA) — Actors are the largest branch of Academy members, and this film has two guaranteed nominees (Denzel Washington and Viola Davis) as well as the SAG ensemble nomination.
7. Hell or High Water (PGA, WGA, ACE, GG) — Many people expected director David Mackenzie to pick up the last DGA nomination. Though the movie was released in August, it’s managed to maintain momentum throughout the season. It’s also very good, though that’s not always relevant.

Don’t be surprised if:
8. Hidden Figures (PGA, SAG, WGA) — This movie is diverse, optimistic and making tons of money at the box office. It also has a SAG ensemble nomination. Hopefully that’s enough.
9. Hacksaw Ridge (PGA, ACE, GG) — This is likely to be the choice of the old-white-man “steak eaters.” It’s about a war. There aren’t any other movies about a war.
10. Silence (N/A) — This movie was directed by Martin Scorsese. It hasn’t gotten any awards attention this entire year, and it’s underperforming at the box office, but you don’t discount movies by Martin Scorsese. Five of his last six movies have been nominated for Best Picture (The Wolf of Wall Street, Hugo, The Departed, The Aviator and The Gangs of New York; no love for Shutter Island).
11. Nocturnal Animals (WGA) — It got some major momentum with nine nominations at the BAFTAs and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s win at the Golden Globes. It probably won’t be enough.
12. Deadpool (PGA, WGA, ACE, GG) — Deadpool ticks off a ton of the boxes but is Deadpool.
13. Captain Fantastic (SAG) — I don’t think a SAG ensemble nomination is enough. Also it’s not very good, though that’s not always relevant.

For your consideration:
Zootopia (N/A) — Probably the most relevant political movie of the year, with lessons about tolerance, marginalization, corruption and politicians using fear to their advantage. Also, it’s very funny. It will not get nominated because it is animated and because the main character is a talking bunny.
Hail, Caesar! (ACE) — It’s wonderfully nostalgic about old movies and very enjoyable to watch.
Eye in the Sky (N/A) — It’s one of the movies that made me think the most this year. It’s all about a drone strike and the decision that have to be made to approve it when taking out the terrorists may risk the life of a young girl.

Best Director
Locks:
1. Damien Chazelle for La La Land (DGA, BAFTA)
2. Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea (DGA, BAFTA)
3. Barry Jenkins for Moonlight (DGA)

Likelies:
4. Denis Villeneuve for Arrival (DGA, BAFTA) — There’s no good reason he will not be nominated, but if he is not, my brother Sawyer will be very upset.

Don’t be surprised if:
5. Garth Davis for Lion (DGA) — It’s a safe bet to assume someone from the DGA list won’t make it to the Best Director nomination. Davis is the best candidate for that since everyone was surprised he got the DGA nomination in the first place. However, the replacement for Davis is so unclear, I’m keeping Davis in first position.
6. David Mackenzie for Hell or High Water (TK) — Hell or High Water is loved, but no one has heard of Mackenzie.
7. Martin Scorsese for Silence (TK) — It is a bit odd to me that people are predicting Scorsese a lot more than they are his movie. However, it’s not unprecedented for a director to earn a nomination without the film he/she directed doing the same. Two years ago, Bennett Miller (bizarrely) got a nomination for Foxcatcher even though Foxcatcher failed to secure a Best Picture nomination. That year, there were eight Best Picture nominees and only five Best Director nominees. Two directors overlooked: Ava DuVernay for Selma, which helped launch the #OscarsSoWhite movement, and Damien Chazelle for Whiplash.
8. Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge (TK) — Hacksaw Ridge is loved, but Gibson has serious baggage.

Best Actor
Locks:
1. Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea (SAG, BAFTA, GG)
2. Denzel Washington in Fences (SAG, GG)

Likelies:
3. Ryan Gosling in La La Land (SAG, BAFTA, GG) — He’s basically one of two actors in the Best Picture favorite.
4. Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge (SAG, BAFTA, GG) — With well-reviewed roles in two high-profile movies this year (Hacksaw Ridge and Silence), Garfield will likely earn his place here. His biggest concern would be a split in votes with himself in Silence, though most of the love is going toward this role.
5. Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic (SAG, BAFTA, GG) — Having SAG, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations is “fantastic” (ha ha ha).

Don’t be surprised if:
6. Jake Gyllenhaal in Nocturnal Animals (BAFTA) — Probably the most likely to break through to the established pack above, but only if there is some Nocturnal Animals landslide. Voters may feel bad for ignoring him in Nightcrawler.
7. Joel Edgerton in Loving (GG) — An understated performance that has been relatively ignored.
8. Tom Hanks in Sully (N/A) — Tom Hanks deserves better than to rank ninth on this list.

Best Actress
Locks:
1. Emma Stone in La La Land (SAG, BAFTA, GG)
2. Natalie Portman in Jackie (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

Likelies:
3. Isabelle Huppert in Elle (GG) — Though she was passed over by SAG (and ineligible for BAFTA), I feel like it’s pretty likely she will hear her name called tomorrow morning. Though I’ve never heard of her until this year, she’s a respected actress who many consider overdue and who has won a number of critics awards. I think she is most likely to pull a Charlotte Rampling and show up without a SAG nom.
4. Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins (SAG, BAFTA, GG) — Yes, she’s Meryl Streep, but something I read in the Los Angeles Times convinced me to put her here: As Academy members were voting on Oscar nominations, she gave an impassioned Golden Globe speech against Donald Trump. That extra attention (and, let’s be real here, a Democratic Hollywood), could push her over the edge.

Don’t be surprised if:
5. Amy Adams in Arrival (SAG, BAFTA, GG) — Incredibly overdue and in two strong movies this year (Arrival and Nocturnal Animals). Her role in Arrival is what people have decided to reward, though it’s not very flashy.
6. Annette Bening in 20th Century Women (GG) — Also overdue (and has lost twice to Hilary Swank). Bening has served on the Academy’s board of governors the past several years, which might give her a boost.
7. Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train (SAG, BAFTA) — Everyone was really excited about Emily Blunt (also overdue and has never been nominated) in this movie, then the movie was terrible, then she got SAG and BAFTA nominations.
8. Ruth Negga in Loving (GG) — See Joel Edgerton.

(Interesting analysis of the Best Actress race here.)

Best Supporting Actor
Locks:
1. Mahershala Ali in Moonlight (SAG, BAFTA, GG)
2. Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

Likelies:
3.Dev Patel in Lion (SAG, BAFTA, GG) — The Academy liked him in Slumdog (though he didn’t get a nomination then), and they seem to like Lion this year.

Don’t be surprised if:
4.Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea (SAG) — He has not been omnipresent in terms of nominations so he’s vulnerable, but the valuable SAG nod and the fact he’s in one of the Best Picture favorites makes me relatively confident he’ll push through.
5. Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins (SAG, BAFTA, GG) — I have a strong feeling that he’s not going to make it tomorrow morning despite the awards he’s been nominated for so far. Florence Foster Jenkins is not going to be nominated for Best Picture, which hurts Grant, especially when the people he’s competing against (especially Hedges) are in movies that will.
6. Michael Shannon in Nocturnal Animals (N/A) — People inexplicably think he’s more likely to get nominated than Taylor-Johnson.
7. Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Nocturnal Animals (BAFTA, GG) — He has a Golden Globe win, but the Golden Globes don’t matter.
8. Kevin Costner in Hidden Figures (N/A) — He will likely be in a Best Picture nominee, which helps. It hasn’t really helped so far, though.
8. Ben Foster in Hell or High Water (N/A) — He will likely be in a Best Picture nominee, which helps. It hasn’t really helped so far, though.

For your consideration:
– David Oyelowo in Queen of Katwe (N/A) — In part, he is a great actor that has been passed over before. In part, the character he plays is a good person and pretty inspirational. Add to that a strong, memorable performance.
– Chris Pine in Hell or High Water (N/A) — To be fair, I don’t really know how to tell the difference between lead and supporting performances, but Jeff Bridges was above Chris Pine on the poster, and he is campaigning as supporting.
– Alden Ehrenreich in Hail, Caesar! (N/A) — Watch this scene and tell me you disagree.

Best Supporting Actress
Locks:
1.Viola Davis in Fences (SAG, BAFTA, GG)
2. Naomie Harris in Moonlight (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

Likelies:
3.Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea (SAG, BAFTA, GG) — She doesn’t have any screen time, but she has a SAG nomination, is popular with the Academy and is in a Best Picture nominee, and that’s enough.
4. Nicole Kidman in Lion (SAG, BAFTA, GG) — She has slightly more screen time, a SAG nomination, is popular with the Academy and is in a Best Picture nominee, and that’s enough.
5. Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures (SAG, GG) — She has a reasonable amount of screen time, a SAG nomination, is popular with the Academy and is in a Best Picture nominee, and that’s enough.

Don’t be surprised if:
6. Janelle Monáe in Hidden Figures (N/A) — She has a flashier role in Hidden Figures than Spencer, and she was also in Moonlight. But she hasn’t been getting enough awards attention.
7. Greta Gerwig in 20th Century Women (N/A) — People keep talking about her, though I’m not sure exactly why.

For your consideration:
– Helen Mirren in Eye in the Sky (N/A) — Mirren was one of the strongest parts of a strong movie.
– Lupita Nyong’o in Queen of Katwe (N/A) — Like Oyelowo, Nyong’o demonstrates how excellent an actor can look when acting alongside children.

Pay attention to
Nominee diversity: It is not impossible that four Best Picture nominees will tell the stories of people of color (Moonlight, Lion, Fences and Hidden Figures). A number of nominees are likely to be people of color themselves. There are no female directors even close to a nomination (and I believe it may be similar on the writing side). If there’s a backlash, it will probably be gendered.
Nocturnal Animals and Loving: Nocturnal Animals was swooned over by BAFTA, and it’s possible we’ll see some sort of weird sweep here, with nominations for the film, director Tom Ford, Jake Gyllenhaal and one or both of Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. It’s also quite possible that it will receive zero of those nominations. There’s a similar situation with Loving, though it’s more likely it will be shut out completely. The film, actress Ruth Negga and actor Joel Edgerton have been on the bubble for months, but they haven’t seemed to break through.
La La Land nominations: Right now, La La Land seems poised for the most nominations on Monday morning. Thirteen seem likely: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (or maybe two), Best Production Design and Best Sound Mixing. If it gets more or less than that, it could be a sign of what the Academy is thinking.

Other news

  • Who’s trying to buy an Oscar: FiveThirtyEight looked into which films are advertising the most in The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. The top two are Loving (which is really trying to break in) and Manchester by the Sea (which is distributed by Amazon, a company with infinite money).
  • La La Land backlash: Here’s another article about how La La Land doesn’t understand jazz. Effectively, it argues that though a character thinks that jazz is dying, in reality, jazz isn’t dying. The character is overly conservative in his opinion of what constitutes jazz and so the film is one of “ideological snobbery.” Whatever. You know that if any other movie were the frontrunner, we would be hearing something else. I watched Hidden Figures recently and all I could think of was what the backlash would be if it were the Best Picture favorite. “Men also helped at NASA,” maybe, or “The three women mentioned in this movie are not the only three women that helped.” People need to write articles, and it’s not hard to be offended.

My Favorite Films
I have been ranking my favorite films this year, taking into account what I thought was the “best” and also what I found to be the most enjoyable. As nominations are coming out tomorrow, I thought now would be a good time to unveil. (Note: There are still some films I have to see, most notably Jackie and Loving.) To preface, I thought 1 through 11 were very good or great, 12 through 29 were good, 30 through 44 were fine and 45 through 46 were awful. Happy to discuss and debate.

1. Arrival
2. La La Land
3. Lion
4. Zootopia
5. Hell or High Water
6. Hail, Caesar!
7. Hacksaw Ridge
8. Deadpool
9. Eye in the Sky
10. Hidden Figures
11. Rogue One
12. Manchester By the Sea
13. Fences
14. Mr. Right
15. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
16. Everybody Wants Some!!
17. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
18. Queen of Katwe
19. Moana
20. Secret Life of Pets
21. The Jungle Book
22. Love and Friendship
23. Florence Foster Jenkins
24. Sully
25. Moonlight
26. Southside with You
27. Passengers
28. Kung Fu Panda 3
29. Finding Dory
30. Nocturnal Animals
31. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
32. Popstar: Never Stop Stopping
33. Now You See Me 2
34. Captain Fantastic
35. Silence
36. The Girl on the Train
37. Doctor Strange
38. Me Before You
39. Sausage Party
40. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
41. Ghostbusters
42. Allegiant
43. Captain America: Civil War
44. X-Men: Apocalypse
45. The Lobster
46. Cafe Society

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