Friday, August 1, 2014

August Oscar Predictions!


Alright, so it’s August 1st and that means we need to update our Oscar predictions.  I have a little commentary this month (maybe too much), so let’s just get right into it.



BEST PICTURE


Birdman
Foxcatcher
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Selma
Unbroken

I feel like right now, there are ten contenders that make sense, and then about three other contenders that don’t really feel like AMPAS direct bait and yet, due to passionate fan bases and the occasional tendency to dip into different territory, they could actually make more sense than we think they do.  Those three films are Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Inherent Vice

Boyhood has the best reviews of the year, but it is also a very small film despite the gimmick, and it would take a LOT of vocal passion to make it stand out against the glut of Oscar bait coming their way.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is seriously quirky and not something that AMPAS generally goes for, and yet Wes is bound to finally break in with the Academy, and he came remarkably close with Moonrise Kingdom, so maybe this could be his year.  Inherent Vice is one of those films that everyone was quick to predict, stating that PTA would be on AMPAS radar, but this is all based on the fact that There Will Be Blood made a giant splash with AMPAS.  One film.  They have rarely connected with him outside of his actors or his writing before, and their reception of The Master kind of proves that.  This is also said to be quite comedic and bizarre, and so unless his devoted fans (the same ones who couldn’t get The Master nominated) pull out a miracle, I’m a skeptic. 

I could see scenarios where these films are embraced or completely shut out, but something tells me that at least one of them will break into an expanded category.  But that means that at least one, most likely two, of the ten that make sense will have to fall.  Those ten, for me, are Birdman, Foxcatcher, Gone Girl, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, Into the Woods, A Most Violent Year, Selma, Unbroken and Wild.

And here is why they make sense.

AMPAS has shown a lot of love for Bennett Miller in the past, and Foxcatcher has great reviews out of Cannes, not to mention a director win for Miller.  The Imitation Game has screened and received raves, has Weinstein in its corner, is a period biopic and has been compared to A Beautiful MindSelma is a biopic about Martin Luther King Jr., arguably one of the most important people who has ever lived, helmed by a blossoming indie director with serious buzz and respect.  Unbroken has bait written all over it, and everyone involved behind the scenes is either an Oscar winner (Jolie, Coen) or an regular nominee (Desplay, Deakins). 

Then you have Gone Girl, which on the outset may feel like a standard thriller…and then you remember that this is Fincher, this is what he does, and he does it well.  They’ve nominated him twice, and he was easily 6th in 2011, and his film would have probably been nominated had that embargo never happened (that Film Editing win was telling).  There is usually room for a populous choice, and this is going to be a HUGE movie.

Then you have Interstellar, the token ‘smart’ science fiction film that the general public adores; Into the Woods, the highly buzzed Broadway adaptation that makes big box office and survives scrutiny thanks to support from the acting branch; and A Most Violent Year, the period piece from a director on the rise who has had his last two films catch Oscar’s eye and is just looking for his break with the Academy.  These all have their obvious detractors (genre issues for Interstellar, target audience and obvious backlash for Into the Woods and the sheer fact that Chandor is not a proven entity with AMPAS makes A Most Violent Year a questionmark), but they also have enough going for them to make them feel logical.          

Wild has the luxury of being the follow-up to Vallee’s surprisingly Oscar successful Dallas Buyers Club, and so all eyes will be on him, and the nature of the film feels like something Oscar could react fondly to.

And lastly, we have Birdman.  This could be too weird for Oscar, and yet from what we’ve seen, it may also be too much for Oscar to ignore.  It looks like this could easily become the movie of the year, and they like Inarritu.  They have embraced all of his previous films in one way or another, and this looks like a really cool change of pace for him (he’s always so bleak, this this looks like a really edgy black comedy) and it also has, from all appearances, a lot of flash going on, which could bode well for it.  If this were any year pre-2008, I’d say that Inarritu sounded like our lone director nom.  This is post-2008 though, and there is no such thing as a lone director nom.  So, doesn’t that mean that Birdman will be nominated?

The first that I’d think would fall from the top ten would be A Most Violent Year, which could easily become an actor’s showcase and feel less like a BP nominee.  But there are not going to be ten spots filled this year.  Most likely, it’ll be nine again, so if I’m going to add one of the three dark horse contenders, I have to take out another one of those logical ten.  I’m placing my bets with Wild being that movie that falls just short here, but I could be very wrong.

Apparently Macbeth is 2015, test screenings for Big Eyes were less than favorable and, while Queen of the Desert looks to be that contender no one saw coming, I’m going to give it another month before I start predicting it for anything.

Anyways, that’s more than I intended to say…so, moving on!


DIRECTOR


David Fincher / Gone Girl
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu / Birdman
Angelina Jolie / Unbroken
Bennett Miller / Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum / The Imitation Game

I’m warming up to predicting Selma, but I still wonder if AMPAS is ready to nominate TWO women in the directing category, and I just can’t see Jolie missing out here.  She’s really the only other one that I’m considering ATM, but if Boyhood becomes a real contender, I could see Linklater making a dash for a nomination, but I’m still not sold on the film being a top five contender, like so many claim it is.

I want to have faith in Nolan.  Interstellar looks so good, but they’ve passed on him so many times before, and times when he seemed like a sure thing.  The Dark Knight, Inception and even Memento all had serious support for Nolan, and he was snubbed every time.  This could be seen as his time, or they could just take issue with the way he directs his films.

I’m on the fence with him right now.

FILM EDITING
Birdman
Foxcatcher
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Unbroken

This is always really hard to judge because sometimes a film seems really, really locked up here (Inception anyone?) and then it gets snubbed for a really dull film that had better Best Picture chances.  That is why Interstellar is not here.  I should be predicting it, and I’ve gone back and forth with it, but these five seem right to me. 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Trash
Unbroken
Wild

Quite honestly, I think everyone should be predicting Gone Girl, The Imitation Game, Unbroken and Wild at this point.  They make far too much sense as a whole to be leaving them out of the top five.  That fifth spot is really up for grabs, and there are a lot of potential nominees that don’t really feel like nominees when you think about it.  Inherent Vice seems too bizarre, Whiplash seems too indie, Into the Woods feels too young (I know that source material is NOT, but this is Disney)…so I’m left defaulting to Daldry, who should never be underestimated.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Selma

I’m placing Foxcatcher here, even though no final word has been given as to whether or not it really is adapted from those memoirs that haven’t been published yet.  I know that I probably should have Interstellar here, since Nolan has had success in this category before, and the film looks like it’ll have some weighty dialog, but I don’t want to give up on Wes Anderson yet.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS


Emily Blunt as ‘The Baker’s Wife’ in Into the Woods
Jessica Chastain as ‘Anna Morales’ in A Most Violent Year
Carmen Ejogo as ‘Coretta Scott King’ in Selma
Anna Kendrick as ‘Cinderella’ in Into the Woods
Emma Stone as ‘?’ in Birdman

This feels really, really young, but I can’t really invest in anyone else at this point.  Dern could be welcomed back, if her flashback scenes in Wild make a real impact, and Arquette has the reviews to become a critic’s darling, but will she?  Carrie Coon has a great role in Gone Girl, and could be swept in if the film is a massive Oscar hit, and Keira Knightley has that ‘supportive spouse who isn’t a spouse but is clearly supportive’ thing going on in The Imitation Game, so maybe she’ll get welcomed back.  I’m putting Anne Hathaway in the top ten conversation now, after seeing the Interstellar trailer.  She was selling it good, and looks to have a meaty supporting role.

SUPPORTING ACTOR


Takamasa Ishihara (Miyavi) as ‘Mutsushiro Watanabe’ in Unbroken
Edward Norton as ‘?’ in Birdman
Mark Ruffalo as ‘David Schultz’ in Foxcatcher
Channing Tatum as ‘Mark Schultz’ in Foxcatcher
Tom Wilkinson as ‘President Lyndon B. Johnson’ in Selma

I’m sticking with Tatum in Supporting, because I have a feeling he’ll get ‘Jake Gyllenhall’d’ once he gets his first snub in Lead and the studio realizes it just isn’t happening.  If he goes Supporting, look out for a win here, unless Norton is a real tour-de-force (he looks it) and steals the gold.  Simmons feels like a Spirit nom and nothing more, Harris has a real tough sell of a character and Corden, despite a great role, is in an ensemble that is really more focused on the women.  Duvall could surface, but The Judge looks so incredibly bad.  The closest to breaking into my top five predictions at the moment is Martin Sheen, who looks great in the trailer for Trash.  I could see him scoring a nom, especially since he’s never been nominated before.  Looks to be a showy role as well.

LEAD ACTOR


Steve Carell as ‘John du Pont’ in Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch as ‘Alan Turing’ in The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton as ‘Riggan Thomson’ in Birdman
Jack O’Connell as ‘Louis Zamperini’ in Unbroken
David Oyelowo as ‘Martin Luther King Jr.’ in Selma

The amount of biopics keep adding up.  Of these predicted five, only one is an original creation.  And the list doesn’t stop there.  Spall and Redmayne are also in biopics this year, and Spall has that Cannes win and Redmayne has a LOT of bait associated with his character, so they could easily make a play for a nom.  I have more faith in Affleck than most, and I’m losing faith in Phoenix thanks to the nature of the film itself.  I’m going to hold into Fiennes in my top ten for another month, mostly wishful thinking, I know, but I really think he can gain some traction, and if some of these performances fail to ignite passion, maybe he could.

LEAD ACTRESS


Amy Adams as ‘Margaret Keane’ in Big Eyes
Julianne Moore as ‘Dr. Alice Howland’ in Still Alice
Rosamund Pike as ‘Amy Dunne’ in Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon as ‘Cheryl Strayed’ in Wild
Shailene Woodley as ‘Hazel’ in The Fault in Our Stars

What is happening here?  Why is this category, year after year, looking so shallow?  Oscar is so boring when it comes to Actress nominees, and this year looks to have a real shallow pool of contenders.  Adams, despite middling reviews, is an Oscar regular and she’s in a biopic, so she’s probably in.  Witherspoon is also in a biopic, and she’s got great notices, a lot of bait, and that comeback narrative.  Pike has the role of the year, all that buzz and box-office on her side; and Fincher is on a role with his actors.  After those three, I’m at a loss.  I’m throwing a bone to Moore, hoping that her film (such a baity role) gets good ink, and I’m giving in to the Woodley predictions and predicting her in a weak field.  She has stellar reviews, so there is that.

But who else?  Is Queen of the Desert really coming out this year?  Could Maggie Smith snatch a nom in a weak year?  Will Hilary Swank come back from the dead in a gimmicky role?  Is Suite Francaise getting the brush off from Harvey?  Does this mean that Meryl Streep gets nominated yet again…this time for playing a witch?  I just don’t know!

COSTUME DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into the Woods
Maleficent
St. Laurent
Unbroken

They like showy here, and they love period, but I’m struggling to find many period films that I think will be on their radar.  I think that these look good for a nom, with maybe something for Exodus or Selma, or even Big Eyes, but for now this is where I’m sticking.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Birdman
Gone Girl
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Unbroken

I’m actually nearly 100% confident in this lineup, especially after seeing those stills from Into the Woods.  I was pretty much looking for that fifth nominee, and I think I may have found it.  If Queen of the Desert becomes a thing, it could land here for sure, and many still feel that Mr. Turner could be a player, but I currently have The Imitation Game in my 6th spot for the sheer power of Harvey and the fact that this could very well play out to be this year’s The King’s Speech.

ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN
Exodus: Gods & Kings
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
Unbroken

I like the look of this, and unless The Hobbit gets a major tech boost, I think this is what we’ll see.  I’m probably severely underestimating Interstellar here, as I’ve done in the past with minimalist art direction films (like Gravity and Life of Pi) but we just saw space stations/crafts last year, so maybe they’ll pass.

VISUAL EFFECTS
Exodus: Gods & Kings
Godzilla
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

There is so much to choose from that this is really hard to narrow down, but I think it’ll be a wash after Interstellar anyways, since there is no way that is losing here.

MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Into the Woods

I’m going out on a limb with The Grand Budapest Hotel (could a Wes Anderson film really get this much Academy love?) but I want it to happen and so maybe if I predict it the Academy Gods will smile down on me.

SOUND EDITING
Fury
Godzilla
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

SOUND MIXING
Birdman
Gone Girl
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Armies
Interstellar
Into the Woods

I constantly throw names at a board with the sound categories and try and see which ones stick.  You have the big crossovers (those that get in with both categories), the higher action films (that rest in Editing) and those musically based that tend to get Mixing noms. 

ORIGINAL SCORE
Mychael Danna/Foxcatcher
Alexandre Desplat/Unbroken
Clint Mansell/The Imitation Game
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross/Gone Girl
Hans Zimmer/Interstellar

I’m still trying to stick with scores that have already been announced with a composer, so as to not really blind predict.  I’m super excited for Mansell, because I love him and he really needed a big Oscary movie to get noticed.  These feel like a good mix of respected composers/fresh faces/quality projects, so I’m feeling confident with this one.

ORIGINAL SONG
‘All the Stars’ from The Fault in Our Stars
‘Everything is Awesome’ from The LEGO Movie
‘Lost Stars’ from Begin Again
‘Something So Right’ from Muppets Most Wanted
‘The Witches Song’ from Into the Woods

This is pretty much the worst category to ever predict because you will NEVER predict all five nominees correctly (thank you very much Alone Yet Not Alone).  This is just a random assortment of possibilities that feel right, at the moment.  Let’s wait and see what inspirational ballad we didn’t see coming gets tacked onto that one film the Academy embraces en-mass.

ANIMATED FILM
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The LEGO Movie
Song of the Sea

Right now, I’m confident in two of these (guess).  The rest, we’ll have to wait and see.  They tend to go with at least one foreign film, so Song of the Sea could work, and Disney has been on a roll lately, so maybe they’ll repeat here.  I’m hoping that The Boxtrolls is a treasure.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Belgium
Brazil
Canada
Spain
Turkey


LOL, I’ve said this before, but we won’t know anything about this category until countries start making their selections.  Right now, I’m only confident in Brazil, that is IF they go with Trash, since it feels like the best way for the Academy to finally reward Daldry, since you know they want to.  After that, I’m just guessing that these countries go with the films that made the biggest splashes at Cannes.  But, like we saw with Blue is the Warmest Color, we know nothing.

18 comments:

  1. Oh wow, we differ so much here :) I thought Hathaway was just wandering around aimlessly, looking like some 'profound stares giving, touching people compasionately' nun in space. That one close up of Chastain had more emotional weight than all those Hathaway moments.

    I think Into the Woods looks absolutely dreadful, like a mixture of recent awful Burton movie and all those stupid musicals I'm sure that they can be swept in because they had loved bad things before, but two supporting nominations for the girls seem unlikely to me. Hell, they nominate anyone it's probably gonna be Streep.

    I'm just not sure if Tatum will be snubbed forcing them to put him in supporting. The more I read about the movie - and damn do I wish I'd finally find that script somewhere - it really does seem like they made him the center of movie. And I'm not sure he even will be snubbed, his performance looks amazing.

    Wild to me just looks terrible. Birdman may indeed be too weird - I wouldn't count for a BP nom there, while the one for Boyhood, even though I literally know fuck all about the movie other than the reviews are stellar, seems like a sure bet to me.

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    1. Yeah, at the last minute I thought about putting Boyhood in BP and then didn't...but I'll probably be predicting it next month.

      Into the Woods has so much hype surrounding it right now that it's bound to get nominated somewhere, and if it manages to make a lot of money (because, well, come on) then a BP nomination in an expanded field makes sense. It's also a musical, with baity and beloved characters who have won their actors Tonys, so it's not like this isn't proven material. I've read the script, which is why I have so much faith in Blunt (she's SO BAITY).

      Also, I have the Foxcatcher script, if you want it. Just PM me your email or whatever.

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    2. Oooh, I'd send you a PM about that in few hours! (stupid twitter blocker in the office)

      I really hope Emily gets some attention even if I end up hating the movie - she is such a wonderful actress and it seems that with this many incredible performances and awesome big movies like Looper and Edge of Tomorrow she should be more appreciated and well known by now.

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    3. Yeah, I have a feeling this will be Blunt's breakthrough...that is, unless that awful Kendrick person steals the limelight.

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  2. You have the Foxcatcher script...that's tempting.

    I kind of want Tatum to get an Oscar nomination just so they can do 23 Jump Street starring Academy Award Nominees Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. lol

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    1. I'm pretty confident that if they category fraud him into Supporting, he's the categories easiest lock and best bet for the win, actually. His raves out of Cannes were incredible, and the role is a really good one, and he seems like the type of actor that AMPAS would want to reward sooner rather than later.

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  3. You put "St. Laurent" in the costume design section, I assume It's a typo but what do you mean to say?

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    1. I actually do mean St. Laurent :-D

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2707848/?ref_=fn_al_tt_4

      The trailer just dropped a few weeks ago, and it looks stunning.

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  4. Where's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in VFX? That actually looks like it's going to win!

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    1. I don't think ANYTHING is going to beat out Interstellar, which looks like our Gravity/Life of Pi effects juggernaut of the year. I probably should have had Dawn in there, but this category can be really finicky when it comes to sequels, unless you're a Potter or Rings.

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    2. Btw, Trash doesn't open in Brazil until October 9th so I think it's gonna miss the deadline for Foreign Language film.

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    3. Really? I didn't know that. I'm never too certain on these foreign releases, and if the film gets good reviews they could always change their release date to play the Oscar game. I guess it really boils down to what they think they can get with it.

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    4. Hmm...I dunno. Foreign films usually don't change their dates to suit Oscar (think Blue is the Warmest Color).

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    5. True, but this isn't just any other foreign film...it's directed by an Oscar favorite, so if the reviews support a possible win, I bet they'd at least consider it. But you never know.

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  5. I can't even think of Oscars yet but I'm really glad to see Keaton's name popping up on these lists. Birdman seems to secure his comeback, well at least I sure hope so! He's quite an underrated actor and he's been playing second/third bananas for too long. Surely Interstellar and Unbroken would get some mentions come award season, can't wait for both!

    – ruth

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    1. I've never really been a huge Keaton fan. He seems to be coasting on creepy for far too long, but this role looks to be a real showcase for him.

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  6. Great work man!

    I HAVE SUCH DOUBTS!!! There are several films I could see getting multiple nods or almost none: The Imitation Game, Fury, Gone Girl, Selma, Inherent Vice, The Theory of Everything, Mr. Turner, and even Into the Woods. It doesn't look like the kind of film I'd nominate, but I'm rooting for The Imitation Game, if only for Cumberbatch and Knightley to snag nominations.

    Boyhood looks too big to ignore at the moment. I could see it at least getting nominated for Picture, Director and Original Screenplay, but I'm also predicting Arquette. Supporting Actor seems weak enough for Hawke to be in the conversation as well.

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    1. Yeah, I hate that I already want to change these so much. Boyhood will make a splash on my September predictions, for sure.

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