Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Final Academy Award Predictions

Still have the Director's Guild of America nominations coming out before the Oscar nominations are announced, but I feel strongly enough to make my final predictions for the 2016 Academy Awards.  Click on the following links to view the predictions.

My Oscar predictions are based on following the race, precursors and various Oscar pundits.  My Oscar predictions are not a reflection of my personal favorite films (I can do a post about that later).  This is solely who I think will be nominated and win at this year's Academy Awards.  If I do not mention your favorite movie or who you think should win, that is not a criticism on you.  This is strictly Oscar predictions.  If you are offended by Oscar nominations omitting a movie, then you shouldn't be following the race.

2016 Final Best Animated Feature Predictions

This has been a good year for animation.  Disney's animation revival continues as they should earn their third Oscar in four years with Zootopia.  Disney will also have another nominee with Moana.  Laika will continue there perfect streak with Kubo and the Two Strings.  Expect the two traditional foreign film slots to go to My Life as a Zucchini from GKids and The Red Turtle.  Although there is enough strong competition for potential surprises.

Here are my predictions and analysis for Best Animated Feature:


PREDICTED NOMINEES
Zootopia
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Critical darling from early in the year that performed incredibly at the box-office despite being an original film.  Zootopia is the animated film cleaning up in the precursors and having a presence on top ten lists.  This is the animated film to beat this year.  This will get Disney their third animation Oscar.
Oscars love stop-motion and Laika’s previous three films have been nominated.  Kubo is a lock for a nomination and is a strong number two in the category.  Not going to be Laika’s year, but expect them to keep being a staple in this category.
Moana would have been a frontrunner in almost any year, but 2016 was really good for animation.  The film isn’t as hugely discussed as Zootopia and didn’t make Frozen phenomenon status.  It is a lock for a nomination, but no precursors are really waving the flag for this win.
French-Swiss stop-motion film that has been performing well in precursors.  GKids is a staple at the Oscars now and they have several titles in contention.  The main reason Zucchini wouldn’t be nominated in this category is that it is also eligible for Foreign Language film (think Waltz with Bashir being nominated as a documentary rather than animated feature.
New Studio Ghibli film.  Better received Ghibli films have missed out in this category and this one isn’t directed by Miyazaki.  There are a lot of strong American studio features this year and Red Turtle may get left out.  Sony Pictures Classics has gotten Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist nominations, but they aren’t as consistent as GKids with the Oscars.
THE RUNNER-UPS
Finding Dory
Sing
Miss Hokusai
Sausage Party
Secret Life of Pets
Pixar seems to be a given unless it is The Good Dinosaur or a non-Toy Story sequel.  Finding Dory could go either way.  It is better than Cars 2 or Monsters University, but it isn’t beloved Pixar.  Disney is going to put more power between Zootopia and Moana.  Pixar may sit out again this year.
Oscars nominated Illumination once before for Despicable Me 2.  Illumination is a newer studio with some big hits.  Sing has the edge as it is more recent and better received.  Would not be surprised to see this among the nominees.
One of many strong foreign and independent contenders this year.  These are tough to predict because their nominations can come out of nowhere.  GKids may be able to get Miss Hokusai nominated along with My Life as a Zucchini.  They have been able to get two films nominated a few times before.
Well-received and financially successful.  This film has the narrative of being edgy and Rogen has been talking up getting an Oscar nomination.  The narrative is definitely there, but the precursors aren’t.  This category hasn’t necessarily shut out adult animation, but it isn’t ever from American studios.  Although Sony Pictures Animation has scored a few nominations in the past, it is possible.
Still in the conversation.  This was one of the biggest hits of the year and this category responds to that.  Can’t see this and Sing getting nominated, but it could pull ahead of Sing based on name recognition alone.
THE LONG SHOTS
Kung Fu Panda 3
The Little Prince
The Long Way North
Your Name
Trolls
The previous two Kung Fu Panda films have been nominated and this was a good movie.  With Katzenberg finally having sold Dreamworks he won’t likely be campaigning much this year.  Should have showed up in more precursors by now.
This is the type of film that could normally be considered a lock in this category, but it is a streaming film.  Had Paramount released it, at least in a qualifying run, it could be a different story.  But the Oscars have not embraced Netflix yet.  Although this is the category that could push that envelope.
Danish film with an Annie Nomination.  Unfortunately it is released by Shout Factory, not GKids.  These smaller distributors haven’t shown an ability to affect the Oscars.  They will most likely not be campaigning.
Same story as The Long Way North.  Released by Funimation, not GKids.  Definitely a movie that people are responding to, but it needs an established distributor that can play the Oscar game.
Performed well enough and is liked well enough to remain in the conversation, but it won’t make the final cut.  Will be overshadowed by Finding Dory, Sausage Party, Sing, Secret Life of Pets and Kung Fu Panda 3 if any other studio feature makes the nominated five.

2016 Final Best Supporting Actress Predictions

The nominees for this category seemed set in stone a month ago.  All the precursors pretty much agree on this lineup.  Viola Davis will finally win her Oscar for FencesMichelle Williams could surprise if Manchester by the Sea sweeps the night.  But Viola has this in the bag.

The other remaining slots are going to go to Naomie Harris for Moonlight, Nicole Kidman for Lion and Octavia Spencer for Hidden FiguresGreta Gerwig and Janelle Monae both had good years in multiple films, but aren't strong enough to break into the five nominees.

Here are my predictions and analysis for Best Supporting Actress:


PREDICTED NOMINEES
Viola Davis,
Fences
Michelle Williams,
Manchester by the Sea
Naomie Harris,
Moonlight
Nicole Kidman,
Lion
Octavia Spencer,
Hidden Figures
Hard-working, veteran actress with previous Oscar nominations.  She was once a frontrunner for The Help and lost to Streep.  It is Viola’s time and this is an amazing performance that none of these others are matching.
A critical favorite actress who has not won at the Oscars yet.  She is the one who could surprise, but she is going to have to wait longer.
Actress who has been around a long-time that has not been seriously up for an Oscar until now.  Moonlight gives her a small, but pivotal role.  She will ride the film’s good will to her first nomination.
Despite not being a big star anymore, Kidman can still stay in the Oscar conversation.  This is her first successful awards bait role in a while.  She has been up for enough precursors to get a nomination.
Octavia hasn’t been back to the Oscars since she won for The Help (even though she has done consistently strong work, namely in Fruitvale Station).  It is time for her to be recognized again.  She has some internal competition with Monae, but Spencer has been getting the precursor nods.
THE RUNNER-UPS
Greta Gerwig,
20th Century Women
Janelle Monae,
Hidden Figures
Helen Mirren,
Eye in the Sky
Molly Shannon,
Other People
Janelle Monae,
Moonlight
Gerwig is a critical, indie darling who hasn’t been up for the Oscars yet.  Pundits keep mentioning her in this role, but she’s missed out on the precursors.  Still not Gerwig’s time.
Monae has been having a good year with this and Moonlight.  She has as good of a chance at upsetting as anybody.  Although she will probably miss out this year, she can ride this year to future nominations.
Mirren is one of those names that is always in contention, even if people aren’t talking much about her.  This was a well-received film, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a campaign in place.
Comedic performer delivering a dramatic performance can sometimes be a winning formula, but we would have seen Molly show up more before now if anything was going to happen.
Again, she’s had a good year and is very good in a small role.  There aren’t too many other names to seriously consider.  But if she makes it for anything it will be Hidden Figures.
THE LONG SHOTS
Greta Gerwig,
Jackie
Margo Martindale,
The Hollars
Margaret Bowman,
Hell or High Water
Elle Fanning,
20th Century Women
Gugu Mbatha-Raw,
Miss Sloane
Gerwig has also been in the conversation for Jackie, but that film isn’t a strong contender.  Portman isn’t a strong enough acting contender to carry Gerwig to a nomination for this film.
Veteran actress that has been in the Oscar conversation early on before.  She needs the right role, because this film has been all but forgotten.
Not a big name, but she had the small waitress role that kind of stole the show.  Hell or High Water is going to be up for enough Oscars that this could have been conceivable in another year.
With this and Live by Night, Elle Fanning is definitely working towards Oscar consideration.  But neither film will be strong enough to carry her.
Mbatha-Raw is just waiting for her breakout role.  She is a hardworking actress that critics like, but not going to be her year yet.

2016 Final Best Supporting Actor Predictions

Supporting Actor is probably the weakest category.  As usual there is one strong frontrunner (Mahershala Ali for Moonlight) that kind of overshadows the rest which don't seem as notable.  Hugh Grant will get a career nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins and Jeff Bridges will represent his ensemble for Hell or High Water.  But neither represents the strongest work of the year.  Dev Patel should get his first nomination for Lion, but he is a more vulnerable nominee than the other aforementioned three.

Which leaves a fifth slot that could go several ways, none of them all that strong of contenders.  Going with my gut with Michael Shannon representing the cast of Nocturnal Animals.  But if Manchester by the Sea becomes the favorite we could see Lucas Hedges, if Hell or High Water does incredibly we could see Ben Foster alongside Bridges, Aaron Taylor-Johnson may end up as the representative for Nocturnal Animals instead of Shannon.  But it could also be a less likely contender.  Moonlight, Fences and Silence all have strong male heavy ensembles.  This is the category with room for a surprise nominee this year.

Here are my predictions and analysis for Best Supporting Actor: 


PREDICTED NOMINEES
Mahershala Ali,
Moonlight
Hugh Grant,
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jeff Bridges,
Hell or High Water
Dev Patel,
Lion
Michael Shannon,
Nocturnal Animals
The clear frontrunner who has been cleaning up every precursor, except the Globes.  Nobody is strong enough to beat him at this point without a SAG win.
This will be his career nomination.  Meryl Streep will carry him to the Oscars for the first-time.  But doesn’t seem strong enough for a win.
Bridges has been representing his ensemble on this surprisingly strong sleeper.  He won recently enough for a similar performance that this won’t get him a second Oscar, but he will get a nomination.
Missed out for Slumdog Millionaire, but this category is open enough for him to finally get a nomination.  He is not quite strong enough to be considered a lock, but has better chances than others.
One of the hardest working supporting players who got his second Oscar last year.  May be too soon for another, but he is the most likely representative of his ensemble.  Although missing out at the Globes (to Taylor-Johnson who won) makes his chances unsure.
THE RUNNER-UPS
Lucas Hedges,
Manchester by the Sea
Ben Foster,
Hell or High Water
Aaron Taylor-Johnson,
Nocturnal Animals
Mykelti Williamson,
Fences
Adam Driver,
Silence
If Hedges is nominated, you can officially consider Manchester by the Sea as the Oscar frontrunner.  But he is an unknown name that hasn’t been up for many precursors.  This is a weak enough category where it could happen, but betting on not.
Hell or High Water has been doing amazing with precursors and Foster has received some mentions.  He has the flashiest role in the movie and could get in along with Bridges.  If Hell or High Water really resonates with voters then Foster could sneak in here.  He is bound to get a nomination eventually.
Taylor-Johnson not only was nominated for a Golden Globe, he won over Ali, Bridges and Patel.  He was also just nominated for a BAFTA, he may be stronger than expected.  But Globes can often fluke in this category and it is weak enough for a fluke precursor to happen.  Nocturnal Animals isn’t an incredibly strong contender, but Taylor-Johnson could still surprise.
Fences has an amazing ensemble, but only Denzel and Viola seem to be up for any awards.  Out of the four men, Mykelti is the best known name and has the most Oscar friendly role.  The four could cancel each other out.  Fences isn’t a strong enough contender to necessarily carry many surprise acting nominations.
Another ensemble with plenty of great actors that haven’t been in contention.  Driver’s career is getting to the right place for an Oscar nomination, but he isn’t strong enough yet.  Could cancel out votes with Liam Neeson, Issey Ogata and Tadanobu Asano.  None of whom haven’t received precursor notice.
THE LONG SHOTS
Andre Holland,
Moonlight
Stephen McKinley Henderson,
Fences
Aaron Eckhart,
Sully
Peter Sarsgaard,
Jackie
Alan Rickman,
Eye in the Sky
Andre Holland and Trevante Rhodes are an important part of Moonlight’s success, along with the younger versions of Chiron and Kevin.  But Ali and Harris are the only members of the ensemble getting awards attention.  Holland has the edge on the rest with name recognition, but they should have appeared before now.
Last year, Mark Rylance, a stage veteran won in this category despite not having notable screen credits.  Henderson is similar, but should have been in the conversation before now.  Category is weak enough for surprises, but Fences doesn’t seem to be producing them.
Seemed likely earlier in the season when Sully opened great.  But the film has fallen out of serious awards contention and Eckhart will have to wait longer for his Oscar nomination.
Like Eckhart, Sarsgaard’s first nomination seemed possible earlier.  But Jackie is not up for much.  Natalie Portman will be getting a nomination, but she isn’t strong enough to bring other actors with her.
Oscars don’t always give a sentimental nomination, but it has happened.  Rickman’s final screen appearance was in a well-received film, albeit one that was released earlier and isn’t up for serious consideration.  Rickman unfortunately has not been nominated for any Oscars, but doubtful he will get his career nomination.

2016 Best Actress Final Predictions

This is an incredibly strong year for leading actresses.  There will be a lot of quality contenders left out.  While there are so many strong actresses there is no real clear frontrunner.  This could go several ways.  Have Emma Stone as the current frontrunner, especially if La La Land sweeps the night.  Amy Adams has had five previous nominations, she is definitely due.  But we should have seen her win more during the precursors for Arrival if it was her time.  Earlier it seemed like Natalie Portman would take it for Jackie, but that film has fallen out of the conversation.  Her Golden Globe loss was notable.  Isabelle Huppert could get a veteran vote for a challenging role in Elle, foreign language films can often do well here.  One of these four will win, Stone has the current edge as she is attach to a potential Best Picture frontrunner.  All are assured nominations.

That would leave the final slot going to Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins.  The film performed well and the Golden Globes proved how beloved the Oscar staple continues to be.  This won't earn her a fourth Oscar, but she is most likely going to have a nomination.  Although if there is a surprise, she is the one to go.

Here are my predictions and analysis for Best Actress:

PREDICTED NOMINEES
Emma Stone,
La La Land
Amy Adams,
Arrival
Natalie Portman,
Jackie
Isabelle Huppert,
Elle
Meryl Streep,
Florence Foster Jenkins
No frontrunner for this category.  You could make the case for four actresses winning.  Right now Emma Stone seems most likely.  Well-liked, young talent with a previous nomination who is starring in one of the Best Picture frontrunners.  Not a strong lock, but until a SAG winner shakes it up, she seems most likely.
Amy Adams has lost five times before.  She is definitely due and she has had a good year.  Arrival did great business and she also played the Oscar game with Nocturnal Animals.  However she should have been winning more in the precursors if she was going to have her career win.
Seemed like the frontrunner earlier, but the film has almost completely fallen out of the awards conversation.  She should get a nomination, but it doesn’t seem strong enough for her to second win.  Her career hasn’t been strong enough in recent years and this isn’t a strong enough film to give a fairly young actress a second leading Oscar win.
The Golden Globe winner that many seemed to think wouldn’t make the final cut. Huppert is a veteran actress in a powerful, controversial role.  Her performance has the edge her competition lacks.  This is also the category where foreign language performances can do well.  She may end up with the Oscar in the end.
Her Golden Globe speech clinched her Oscar nomination.  Factor in Hugh Grant’s likely nomination and there is enough strength for Streep.  She has been nominated pretty consistently in recent years over strong competition (August: Osage County, Into the Woods).  She will continue her streak as being an Oscar mainstay.
THE RUNNER-UPS
Annette Bening,
20th Century Women
Emily Blunt,
The Girl on the Train
Taraji P. Henson,
Hidden Figures
Ruth Negga,
Loving
Jessica Chastain,
Miss Sloane
Bening is one that pundits seem to overestimate.  She is well respected, but is inconsistent when it comes to the Oscars.  Her film isn’t strong enough, but she has remained in the conversation just enough to stay a runner-up.
Not really an Oscar film, but Blunt received a surprise SAG and BAFTA nomination for the role.  Rosamund Pike was nominated for a similar pulpy role a few years ago.  Blunt is on her way to an Oscar nomination, especially after missing for Sicario last year.  It isn’t a sure thing, but she is still in the running.
Previous Oscar nominee with a popular TV series.  This film should be fresh in voters’ minds and is doing great at the box-office.  It isn’t the showiest Oscar bait, but Henson is strong enough for continued consideration.
Negga is falling out of contention with stronger competition outperforming her.  She is not a name yet, while the others in consideration are a bit more established.  Loving needs some Best Picture love for her to make the cut, but it seems less and less likely.
Chastain missed her Oscar a few years ago and will definitely earn her way back.  Miss Sloane did well enough, but she is a fairly weak contender at this stage of the race.  She will have to wait for another year.
THE LONG SHOTS
Rebecca Hall,
Christine
Kate Beckinsale,
Love & Friendship
Amy Adams,
Nocturnal Animals
Sally Field,
Hello, My Name is Doris
Marion Cotillard,
Allied
Hall has done a lot of great work, but has never been up for Oscar consideration.  This is her edgiest performance, but the film seems too small.
Surprise arthouse hit from earlier in the year and the best chance Beckinsale has ever had at an Oscar nomination.   Not strong enough though.
Bolstering Adams Oscar credentials is another baity film.  Nocturnal Animals is not a sure thing, but some voting bodies have responded to it.  Not going to overshadow Arrival, but definitely worth mentioning.
Veteran actress with a great late in life lead role.  This was released too early for Field to make the cut.
Cotillard is always interesting in Oscar season.  She almost always has one role in early contention, but they usually fall off by the time the Oscar nominations are announced.  This year is no different.

2016 Final Best Actor Predictions

Best actor is going to go to Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea.  He is a big part of why his film has a chance at winning Best Picture.  Denzel Washington in Fences is the only actor this year that could possibly surprise with a win.  But Affleck has been too consistent in the precursors, and Washington already has two Oscars.

The rest of the nominees are pretty set, but won't win.  The success of La La Land will finally land Ryan Gosling his second nomination.  Viggo Mortensen has been consistently nominated for Captain FantasticHacksaw Ridge should earn Andrew Garfield his first nomination.  Most of the other leading male performances have fallen out of the race or lack the strength to challenge these five.

Here are my predictions and analysis for Best Actor:


PREDICTED NOMINEES
Casey Affleck,
Manchester by the Sea
Denzel Washington,
Fences
Ryan Gosling,
La La Land
Viggo Mortensen,
Captain Fantastic
Andrew Garfield,
Hacksaw Ridge
Frontrunner who has been cleaning up in the precursors.  Affleck has another nomination to his credit.  His main obstacle are his personal controversies, but that has been mainly ignored.  Guessing that it won’t factor for voters.
A lock for a nomination, but doesn’t seem strong enough for his third Oscar.  Going to need a SAG win to seriously threaten Affleck, but there isn’t anybody else who could at this point.
Always loved by critics and the internet, but Gosling only has one Oscar nomination to his name.  Leading a frontrunner picture will secure him a nomination.  Although it isn’t deep enough to challenge Affleck and Washington.
Small film role from earlier in the year that has had some staying power in the precursors.  A SAG ensemble nomination for Captain Fantastic shows the strength in Viggo as a contender.  He will get a nomination, but isn’t up to win.
Garfield has been playing the Oscar game well after Amazing Spider-Man.  He missed before for Social Network.  In the past two years he has done 99 Homes, Silence and this.  He is serious about getting an Oscar nomination, and Hacksaw Ridge is just strong enough to get him one.
THE RUNNER-UPS
Tom Hanks,
Sully
Joel Edgerton,
Loving
Michael Keaton,
The Founder
Jake Gyllenhaal,
Nocturnal Animals
Adam Driver,
Paterson
Hanks has missed out the past few times he’s played the Oscar Game (Captain Phillips, Bridge of Spies).  Sully won’t carry him, but he is the only one that could really surprise.  He is overdue for Oscar love and Sully did well enough to justify a nomination.
Edgerton has been around Oscar films before, but hasn’t been in serious contention.  Loving isn’t strong in any categories, but he is just as strong as anyone who could crack the top five.  Edgerton is right on the border of being due for an Oscar and just being a serviceable leading man.  Lacks the reputation of a Tom Hardy or Gosling to carry him.
Keaton has been doing an Oscar film each year for the past several years.  His lost for his comeback in Birdman and didn’t make the cut with Spotlight last year.  The Founder is much weaker than those two films, it is really only considered in this one category.  Keaton seems like he will have to wait a bit longer.
Gyllenhaal has been doing really strong work the past few years, but Oscar hasn’t bitten.  Nocturnal Animals is enough of a question mark where the Oscars could fall for it where other voting bodies haven’t.  It is most likely that Gyllenhaal will keep waiting for that second nomination.
Driver is making great career choices.  Paterson has the right critical response, but is just too small for him to get in on this category.  A few more of these roles and he will be nominated in the next few years though.
THE LONG SHOTS
Andrew Garfield,
Silence
Chris Pine,
Hell or High Water
Warren Beatty,
Rules Don’t Apply
Don Cheadle,
Miles Ahead
Miles Teller,
Bleed for This
Earlier in the year Garfield seemed more likely for this than Hacksaw Ridge, but Silence is not a strong contender in any category.  Garfield will get the nomination for Hacksaw, but this bolsters his Oscar credentials this year.
Hell or High Water is a strong contender, but Pine has not been in the conversation at all.  It won’t be strong enough to earn him a nomination, but it is the closest Pine has come to an Oscar film.
Beatty’s return was incredibly uneventful.  But his name still means something and Oscars have honored older actors in lesser performances before (Duvall in the Judge).  But Rules Don’t Apply will most likely be shut out.
Early, small contender.  Nowhere near strong enough.  But it has just as much chance as any of these other long shots at this point.
There have been a lot of boxing films in the past few years and Teller has done the physical transformation that voters respond to.  But if Gyllenhaal and Michael B. Jordan have been ignored for bigger boxing movies, Teller won’t make it in.  He is too divisive of a figure and nobody is really rooting for him as an up and comer for him to make the cut.