Last week, we got the confirmation that ‘Silence’ will actually release this year. A couple of days back we also got to see the first trailer of ‘Fences’. Both these events have certainly shifted things inside my mind (and outside). Not that I am backing off the prediction of ‘La La Land’ winning Best Picture, but yes, things are not going to be as easy for ‘La La Land’ as I had initially thought. You can never discount Martin Scorsese out of the Oscar race. He has just won only one Oscar for Best Director and we all know he certainly deserves to win many more. So, I don’t think the Academy members will bat an eyelid if they feel he deserves another Best Director award for ‘Silence’.
As far as chances of ‘Fences’ winning Best Picture is concerned, I feel due the pervasive political climate and the ongoing conversation around racial injustice, it stands a very good chance. The trailer of the film confirmed to me that it is surely going to be a respectable piece of work. Whether it touches the chords of Academy members or not, we will have to wait for the film to release. But till then, I am assuming it to be the biggest threat to ‘La La Land’.
Again, there are always good reliable sources like Hollywood Elsewhere and Awards Daily that I trust when it comes to getting a sense of the pulse of the industry during the awards season, but as far as making Oscar predictions is concerned, I trust my gut instinct more than anything else. And if you have been following The Cinemaholic for long enough, you will know that I enjoy making predictions more than watching the actual awards ceremony itself.
1. La La Land
4. Manchester by the Sea
5. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Moonlight
7. Hidden Figures
9. 20th Century Women
13. The Founder
17. Hacksaw Ridge
18. Rules Don’t Apply
Insight: This year we saw a huge controversy, #OscarsSoWhite, erupt over not a single minority person getting acting nomination. My personal opinion is that the Academy members are not racist; it is the studios who need to be more inclusive. For next year’s Oscars, they will have sufficient choices to nominate minority actors, especially, featuring African-Americans performers. With chances of ‘The Birth of a Nation’ getting any attention from industry squashed (justifiably so), three movies are looking to take its slot: ‘Fences’, ‘Loving’ and ‘Moonlight’. But clearly at this point of time, ‘Fences’ is looking like the strongest.
Though,’La La Land’ still remains the frontrunners at this point time. It’s been quite a while since a musical won Best Picture (the last one was ‘Chicago’ in 2002). And within a political climate that has ruined country’s mood, I won’t be surprised if Academy members pick something uplifting and cheerful, which I have heard ‘La La Land’ is. But if they choose to go by straight up serious drama (which most of the times they do), they will have plenty of options from ‘The Manchester by the Sea’ to ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ or ‘Silence’ and the aforementioned ‘Fences’.
1. Damien Chazelle, ‘La La Land’
2. Martin Scorsese, ‘Silence’
3. Denzel Washington, ‘Fences’
4. Ang Lee, ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’
5. Kenneth Lonergan, ‘Manchester by the Sea’
6. Jeff Nicholas, ‘Loving’
7. Barry Jenkins, ‘Moonlight’
8. Denis Velleneuve, ‘Arrival’
9. Robert Zemeckis, ‘Allied’
10. Theodore Melfi, ‘Hidden Figures’
Insight: Even if ‘La La Land’ manages to completely knock the socks off Academy members, its director Damien Chazelle will have a difficult path to victory, for the simple reason that he is still very young — only 31, and this his third feature film. Of course, a lot depends on the competition. But if there are heavyweights and veterans like Martin Scorsese, Denzel Washington, Ang Lee and Kenneth Lonergan competing against him, I won’t be surprised if there’s a split at the top (Best Picture and Best Director go to two different films) just like it happened this year. ‘La La Land’, I’m assuming, is going to be an easy film to like (that’s how Spotlight trumped the competition) and therefore, it can win Best Picture without Chazelle winning Best Director. Still, at this point of time, without much knowledge about most of the other films, I think it’s best to place the bets on him.
1. Casey Affleck, ‘Manchester by the Sea’
2. Denzel Washington, ‘Fences’
3. Michael Keaton, ‘The Founder’
4. Ryan Gosling, ‘La La Land’
5. Joel Edgerton, ‘Loving’
6. Andrew Garfield, ‘Silence‘
7. Tom Hanks, ‘Sully’
8. Brad Pitt, ‘Allied’
9. Matthew McConaughey, ‘Gold’
10. Dev Patel, ‘Lion’
Insight: This is going to be an interesting race. Can Casey Affleck pull off a Eddie Redmayne and beat out other industry veterans? Even though Affleck has been working for quite a while now and has even received Best Supporting Actor nomination before, he still feels like a newcomer; probably because he doesn’t have a strong portfolio of work to show off. Nevertheless, he is brilliant in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and considering Denzel Washington already has got two Oscars in his bag, this might be his year.
If ‘The Founder’ turns out to great, Michael Keaton will get a second shot at the Best Actor Oscar after the painful loss for ‘Birdman’. I think strength of ‘La La Land’ will carry Ryan Gosling to at least a nomination. Watch out for Andrew Garfield. He might turn out to be a real threat if ‘Silence’ hits off in a big way.
1. Viola Davis, ‘Fences’
2. Emma Stone, ‘La La Land’
3. Natalie Portman, ‘Jackie’
4. Ruth Negga, ‘Loving’
5. Annette Bening, ’20th Century Women’
6. Emily Blunt, ‘The Girl on the Train’
7. Jessica Chastain, ‘Miss Sloane’
8. Meryl Streep, ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’
9. Amy Adams, ‘Arrival’
10. Marion Cotillard, ‘Allied’
Insight: We already wrote about how this year’s Best Actress race is turning out to be most competitive in years. Though the competition at the top to be the winner is pretty straight-forward: An industry veteran vs. a young ingénue. I don’t think there’s chance for anybody else. Viola Davis has long been overdue for an Oscar and if ‘Fences’ is any good, she will finally win one. Emma Stone, on the other hand, is one of the most promising up and coming actresses. She got nominated last year for ‘Birdman’. Natalie Portman is the third sure-shot contender who should easily find a place in the top 5. Since she recently won, I don’t think she will again next year.
Best Supporting Actor
1. Liam Neeson, ‘Silence’
2. Mahershala Ali, ‘Moonlight’
3. Lucas Hedges, ‘Manchester by the Sea’
4. Warren Beatty, ‘Rules Don’t Apply’
5. Steve Martin,’Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’
6. Jeff Bridges, ‘Hell or High Water’
7. Edgar Ramirez, ‘Gold’
8. Hugh Grant, ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’
9. Jovan Adepo, ‘Fences’
10. Adam Driver, ‘Silence’
Insight: It seems like finally it will be Liam Neeson’s year. With not much competition from anywhere else, except probably Mahershala Ali, I think he has a very good chance of winning. But still, for some reason, things seem to be very fluid here — that could be because we haven’t seen a lot of great supporting performances this year. So, expect a lot of updates in this category as we move closer to the end of the year.
Best Supporting Actress
1. Michelle Williams, ‘Manchester by the Sea’
2. Naomie Harris, ‘Moonlight’
3. Kristen Stewart, ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’
4. Elle Fanning, ’20th Century Women’
5. Octavia Spencer, ‘Hidden Figures’
6. Nicole Kidman, ‘Lion’
7. Greta Gerwig,’20th Century Women’
8. Laura Linney, ‘Nocturnal Animals’
9. Janelle Monae, ‘Hidden Figures’
10. Felicity Jones, ‘A Monster Calls’
Insight: An interesting category that as of now looks weak but can easily turn into a strong line up of contenders, considering there are several women-centric movies coming out later in the fall. For now, though, just based on the strong reviews that ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and Michelle’s performance are getting, I have placed her on the top. Naomie’s nomination is almost locked and it may finally boil down to between her and Williams.
After doing some phenomenal work for the past two years, Kristen Stewart might finally be able to make an Oscar breakthrough with ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’. Same is true for Elle Fanning, who just keeps impressing us every time she turns up on-screen (most recently in ‘The Neon Demon’).
Read More: Every Best Picture Winner Since 2000, Ranked