Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Updated Oscar Predictions Pt. 3: The actors and the directors who love them...

Next up, let's discuss the races that I personally find the most fun to mull over, pick apart, bitch about and swoon over; the actors and directors!  There is so much potential in these categories this year, with real bait to chomp on all over the place, so let's take a look at these categories one by one.

Supporting Actor
Robert De Niro/Joy
Idris Elba/Beasts of No Nation
Tom Hardy/The Revenant
Harvey Keitel/Youth
Liam Neeson/Silence

So, let's take a look at this lineup for a second.  We have three previously Oscar nominated veterans, one of which is actually a two time Oscar winner, and two young newbies who have been on the cusp of breaking through with Oscar for some time now.  We have three villain roles (two of which could be considered borderline, depending on how you look at it), one sidekick role and then Neeson, who has a rich role as a Jesuit Priest who, after torture, commits apostasy.  

To me, this feels like a really solid lineup, and one that I could see actually happening.  

Hardy's role is said to be brutal, and Oscar loves a good villain.  He could find his 'Ralph Fiennes/Michael Fassbender' Oscar ticket with this performance.  He's also having an incredible couple years.  Last year he won LAFCA for his performance in Locke, which also garnered him raves, and his steady years of solid work have lead him to two extremely baity roles this year (three, if you count the fact that he's playing very different twins in Legend).  I'm not sure he'll be in the running for the win, but at this stage the nomination will be his reward.

Keitel has garnered a lot of support since Youth premiered at Cannes, and his sidekick to Caine's lauded performance could be just the kind of coattail nominee for a veteran that we see happen in the category often.  While some think that his dueness as an actor could propel him to a win, I'm not sure that his character has enough behind it to justify that, but a nomination looks likely unless Youth drastically under-performs. 

De Niro is no stranger to Oscar, and his last run with O. Russell gave him that comeback narrative that we didn't see coming.  I'm so glad for that, since his career was in this slump I never wanted to see.  Here, he is said to have the richest role in the film, with a real gritty backstory and a lot to chew on.  Apparently, his 'father' role isn't so chummy but apparently he had bad mob interactions that caused him to use his daughter, exploit her and steal from her, and I've heard from those who have read an early draft of the script that he has some serious Oscar clip scenes.  He could actually be in it to win it.

Elba is one that I have a feeling could ride a narrative to a win, if Netflix plays their cards right.  He's a very likable actor, one with talent that has yet to be fully tapped, and his role as a commandant of mercenary fighters is said to be brutal and commanding.  This is the kind of role that could stir a lot of passion, and if he works the circuit like I'm sure he will, he'll be snagging a lot of #1 votes.

Neeson though, for my money is the one to beat.  His career has been revitalized thanks to the fact that he's turned himself into an action star, but he was at one time seen as a very serious actor, and this role is a perfect way for him to re-prove that.  It's rich with religious, political and human subtext and is bound to be an emotional one.  Couple that with his veteran status and I think we could have our winner right long as the film is released this year.

Supporting Actress
Helena Bonham Carter/Suffragette
Rooney Mara/Carol
Ellen Page/Freeheld
Isabella Rossellini/Joy
Kate Winslet/Steve Jobs

So, once again, let's look at this predicted lineup.  We have four previous nominees, one of which is an Oscar winner.  We have the daughter of an Oscar legend who has, shamefully, been ignored by Oscar for her entire career.  There are also two (possible) cases of category fraud (and we know Oscar loves that).  But why do we think these five have a leg up?

Page has poured her heart and soul into this story, and everyone knows it.  Adapted from an Oscar winning short doc about a true life story (and quite the topical one), early test screenings singled her out as the one with the emotional scenes, and she's borderline (or maybe not so borderline) co-lead, which means that Oscar voters will see a lot of her when they watch this movie.  It's also a change of pace for her, at least in that this isn't one of those indie comedies where she'll be spouting off gibberish to two hours.  Her fate is really going to lie in how many voters decide to see her movie.

Winslet has been out of the Oscar game since she won back in 2008, but her role in this film has been said (by those who have read the script) to be a prominent one (in almost every scene) and a scenery chewing one, and that trailer gave us everything I wanted; to see Winslet the MVP!  She gets to throw things, bark orders, speak with an accent, show emotion, steal the spotlight...and it's about time Oscar welcomes her back.  But, could she really be the film's only nomination, or will she need her film to be a hit to carry her in?

Mara just won at Canne for her performance in this Todd Hayne's lesbian drama, and so she's fresh off that and that means something, usually.  It's a very understated performance, and while she arguably has the largest role in the film, her co-star, Cate Blanchett, has the title character and a reportedly flashier role...and she's a bigger name, which we all know means she goes Lead.  Mara could suffer if there are too many scene stealers in this category and if the average voter refuses to accept such category fraud, but I have a hunch she could be looking at nomination #2.  Win, though, I'm not so certain of.

Bonham Carter is in dire need of an Oscar.  We all know this, and now that she's split from her husband, Tim Burton, we can finally see her working in films worthy of her talent.  This is going to be a huge picture for women, and so I have a strong feeling that she's going to get swooped in and possibly make a play for the win (BAFTA is locked, right?), but with the momentum being for Carey's Oscar (like, we all know this is happening, right?), I'm afraid that she could get edged out...but if she gets edged out by the following, I think I'll live.

Rossellini is an icon, and her Oscar snubbery is atrocious.  This year though, she has a plum role (we are assuming) in a David O. Russell film, and we all know how well he has been doing with his actors.  Reportedly, she plays the flashy girlfriend to De Niro, and this could be a huge scene stealer if played right.  I'm hedging my bets that Rossellini could be the one to beat here.  An actressing legend who is the daughter of an Oscar legend who has repeatedly been snubbed and is given a scene stealing role in a film by that guy who has had 11 of his last actors nominated and brought 3 of them to Oscar glory...yeah...I'm thinking this could be her year!

Lead Actor
Antonio Banderas/The 33
Michael Caine/Youth
Leonardo DiCaprio/The Revenant
Andrew Garfield/Silence
Eddie Redmayne/The Danish Girl

Alright, so here I have three previous nominees, two of which are winners, one of which is a veteran actor, and then two newbies, one of which is a veteran (sort of) and the other of which is a very young newbie.  This is probably the hardest category for me, because there are so many with potential that we know so little about that it makes it hard to have faith in anyone but Redmayne.

Let's be honest with ourselves...Eddie Redmayne is probably winning his second Oscar this year, but more on that in a minute.

Banderas is one of those actors who feels like, with the right role, he'd be an Oscar winner, or at least an Oscar nominee.  He's like a male Sandra Bullock.  He's beloved, likable, suave, sexy, whatever...and he's made Hollywood a lot of money.  This role looks really, really baity, and it's a biopic and he basically carries the film on his shoulders, and the trailer makes it looks like he has a lot of scenery to chew, and some have even suggested that this could be his The Impossible, so with cautious anticipation, I predict him to be a player this year, despite the fact that I highly doubt he'll be in contention to win.

Garfield has a VERY baity role in what could be the film of the year, and while youth could play against him, he's been in this game for a while now and he's built a fanbase, and at the dawn of this decade he was #6 in line for an Oscar nom for another baity role in the film of the year, so it's not like Oscar voters don't know who he is.  If Scorsese actually gives us this film this year, I have a feeling that Garfield will be a major force in this game.

Caine already has two Oscars, but an interesting note of trivia, he's been nominated in every decade that he's been acting.  60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's.  So, with the reviews out of Cannes and the fact that this film could be a real Academy favorite (it does open in the States in December), and they like veterans in this category, I have a feeling that Caine could be sitting comfortably for his first nom of the 10's.  

DiCaprio is one that I'm cautiously optimistic about.  His director has a great track-record with getting his actors nominated.  He doesn't have much luck with actually getting them Oscars.  DiCaprio is on the embarrassing side of due, as we all know, and this role is said to be the stuff physical acting is made of, and Oscar loves to embrace actors who WORK for their nominations, but we don't know how this category is going to stack up, and I could just as easily see DiCaprio snubbed as I could see him fight for the win.

Redmayne is probably winning this thing.  I mean, this role is OSCAR BAIT and also so socially relevant for right now that rewarding Redmayne, despite having won last year, almost feels too right.  We know he'll campaign his rear-end off for this.  He is THIRSTY!  His director also has a knack for getting his actors nominated...oh...and winning!  Biopic about the first ever trans-woman played by an Oscar winner in the prime of his Oscar life who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty for Oscar votes in the same year that the trans community has become widely discussed and the year that Gay Marriage has become legal...yeah...sorry to every other Lead male performance out this don't stand a chance.

Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett/Carol
Jennifer Lawrence/Joy
Carey Mulligan/Suffragette
Charlotte Rampling/45 Years
Alicia Vikander/The Danish Girl

So, three previous nominees, one of which is a two time winner.  Two newbies, one of which is a veteran actress who is beloved and one of which is this year's Jessica Chastain.  Three hot young things, two beloved icons.  Yup, this feels like a good mix, and here's why.

Rampling is a cherished actress who has been delivering astonishing work for eons it seems like, but she's still never been embraced by Oscar.  As we've seen over the past few years, Oscar likes to grab hold of a critics darling with a film too small to mean much to them and give them an Oscar nomination.  We saw this last year with Cotillard.  A great performance that is lavished with attention and accolades in a film that Oscar isn't touching that racks up those stealthy #1 votes because that performance is undeniable and snatches that fifth spot away from a Hollywood actress phoning it in.  

Lawrence is obviously well liked by Oscar.  She has been nominated three times, winning once and coming inches from winning a second time.  She's also extremely popular (like, the most popular actress right now), arguably likable (love or hate) and certainly no stranger to campaigning her butt off for a film.  She's also struck gold twice with Russell before, and she knows how to carry a film, so this nomination could be in the bag.

Vikander is having the year that actresses dream of.  She's in like 50 movies, all of which are getting attention and buzz and her individual reviews are pretty impressive.  She's dating Fassbender, working the circuit (which she'll be working all year long since she has a new film dropping pretty much every month) and the best thing about all of this is that, like Chastain in 2010, her bounty of films are showing her range.  She's doing everything from sci-fi to contemporary to period piece, and allegedly slaying all of it.  Her role in this film is said to be very heavy (I mean, she plays the wife of a man becoming a woman), and Redmayne is going to be right by her side, pimping them both out.  They could be seen as a real pair come Award's Season, which means that a vote for Redmayne will most likely mean a vote for Vikander.

Blanchett is Oscar royalty at this point, and her reviews out of Cannes were astonishing (and the outrage over her Cannes loss was VERY loud) so this should be a no-brainer, especially if her film is embraced by Oscar.  In fact, I'd say that she could be fighting for her third Oscar, with how topical and baity this role is (lesbian married woman in love with a younger woman who is fighting her husband for custody of her children) if it weren't for one thing...

Mulligan has the role of a lifetime at the right moment to make her an Oscar winning actress.  A film about fighting for women's rights at a time when inequality is a hot button issue starring a slew of respected actresses, one of which is Meryl Oscar Streep herself, that is bound to get a huge campaign and that is directed by a woman and, judging from the immaculate trailer, is looking like a film built for Oscar...and Mulligan gets to do it all (that trailer showed so much range of character).  In July there is no such thing as a sure thing, but I'd wager a LOT of money that Mulligan is walking away with this Oscar rather easily this year.

But now, what about the people behind the camera calling all the shots?

Cary Fukunaga/Beasts of No Nation
Todd Haynes/Carol
Sarah Gavron/Suffragette
David O. Russell/Joy
Martin Scorsese/Silence

Two previous nominees, one winner, three newbies, one woman, one legend, a lot of topical stuff.  This is the first month that I'm dropping Spielberg, which could be an oversight on my part, but that trailer just dashed my thoughts on how it was going to play come Oscar time.  So, here's what I'm thinking.

Haynes is often seen as chilly and anti-Oscar, but last year Bennett Miller made this surprise appearance in Oscar's lineup, and Foxcatcher was c-h-i-l-l-y, so...  This is also said to be his most accessible work, it stars a bonifide Hollywood star and a very well liked up and comer, and it's a topical period piece.  The director's branch is also known for embracing edgier work.  Look at what happened in 2012.

Fukunaga is sitting on a goldmine, if Netflix does right by him.  It's an extremely baity premise that is getting great mentions from it's screening and he's fresh off a lauded television series.  The fact that his presence is being missed for Season Two could say a lot for him as well.  Netflix has a plan, and if that plan pays off, he could be looking at a serious push to win this Oscar.  If it weren't for Netflix (who, honestly, has gotten two docs nominated for Oscar already) and their unproven ability to truly campaign a film, I'd probably have him at #2.

Russell is definitely on a hot streak with Oscar.  His films have been embraced in a massive way as of late, and so there is no reason to think that this one won't as well.  I mean, even the mighty fall, but his ability to work with actors and create intricate character pieces that Oscar enjoys can't be denied, even if you don't personally care much for them (I don't find him that exciting, to be honest).  He's got a brilliant cast and we know that Oscar votes for who they like...until they don't like you anymore.

Gavron could be looking at a historical moment.  While Bigelow broke the glass ceiling by being the first woman to win a directing Oscar, she arguably won for making a man's film.  Gavron is sitting on a film that is ALL WOMAN, and if she pulls this off and the critics rally behind her, she could be the first woman to win a directing Oscar for making a film ABOUT women!  This is needed right now, and with the way the climate is changing in this industry, it could very well happen.

Scorsese is, in my eyes, the one to beat...if his film comes out this year.  This has been anticipated for a few years now, and so the hype and buzz surrounding this passion project of his could be too much to ignore, especially if it surprises and comes out ahead of schedule in a sea of films that Oscar is hesitant to reward.  Scorsese is one of those directors who feels like a multiple Oscar winner, and so Oscar will have no issues with giving him another one, at all, and with a film that is this grand in scope and yet intimate in themes, I think he'll go all the way.


  1. Vikander is overrated as fuck, but what would be outrageous is Redmayne winning. Him winning once is travesty, but twice? They would have to come up with a new word for it.

    As for Hardy - I read the film's script and it's a very interesting character, he does bad things but it's more because of the situation he is in, not the fact he is evil etc. He is also in less of a story than I imagined, looks to me at least an hour of the movie is gonna be DiCaprio wandering around, looking like her and doing stuff like he was in Fear Factor audition.

    1. I'm in full-agreement with you. Vikander is very overrated, her performance in Ex Machina was nothing special and Redmayne simply did not deserve to win last year, he straight up stole Keaton's oscar.

    2. Prepare yourself, girl. I have a feeling it's happening.

      I can't speak to the Vikander overrating since I haven't seen any of her work from this year, but her reviews are extremely solid, and she's going to be everywhere, so I'm pretty sure she'll be nom'd for something...and this would be her safest bet.

  2. Is Vikander going to be campaigned as lead? I thought she could go supporting there? Either way, these are all strong contenders. I think you'll be right about quite a bit of these.

    I'm really pulling for Page in Freeheld. She IS so passionate about this film.

    If Leo doesn't win, I think I'll actually cry. It's criminal he hasn't won yet.

    1. Vikander's role is said to be very large and showy, so I have a feeling they'll be a pair here. It's very much about her reaction to his transition, from what I'm hearing.

      I may have to mail you a box of tissue.

  3. Okay here's the winners I'd like to see emerge from that line-up:

    Supporting Actor -Hardy-He's a consistently great actor and the time is right.

    Supporting Actress-HBC-A welcome back to the fold after the Burton years and like the others on my list madly deserving.

    Actress-Charlotte Rampling-This won't happen, I'll really be happy if she finally gets her due with a nomination and I'd still be happy to see a Carey Mulligan win here instead of the absurdly overdue Miss Rampling. But in my heart of hearts I want Rampling to capture this in a surprise upset.

    Actor-DiCaprio-I think that if he gets nominated he'll win because of the feeling that he should have won long ago, despite Redmayne's baity role and willingness to whore himself for the award.

    Director-Haynes-I thought he should have won for Far from Heaven so again he's overdue. But if Suffragette is as good as it looks I'd be content with Gavron taking the prize.

    1. I'd be game with those names being called as well!

  4. Redemayne may actually do much better in acting for this role than for the one he won but i don't think he will win. DiCaprio-could be his year. I want Liam to win-he deserved it for Schindler's list in my book. I think Sarah Gavron will win best director. It is the season for a woman to win in a woman's film even if she is less worthy than Scorsese

    1. We'll have to see on Redmayne...but if that film strikes, he'll be very hard to beat. That role is just everything Oscar loves to salivate over.

  5. Great work, buddy! I'm predicting Elba (again) now, but I'm still holding out on the film. LOL, watch it get a slew of noms.

    1. My gut says yes...but my gut has been wrong many, many times.

  6. Silence, I think is coming out in 2016. If it does come out then, it is possible Liam Neeson could win the Oscar he should've for Schindler's List.

    From your list of predictions, here is who I would pull for:

    DiCaprio- It should be his time!

    Mulligan- Consistently great actress. Plus, I don't want Jennifer Lawrence to win again for another role too young for her. Although, I wouldn't be against Blanchett winning a 3rd.

    Hardy-Like Mulligan, he is a consistently great performer and is overdue for the nod I think he should've gotten for Locke.

    Mara-Despite being an apparent victim of category fraud, I think Academy Award winner Rooney Mara has a wonderful ring to it.

    Out of your director predictions, I'd go with Todd Haynes.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. DiCaprio really needs to win soon...but I have a feeling it won't be this year.

      Mully is in it to win it, for sure.

      I like Mara...I don't love her...but I like her.

      Todd Haynes is incredible.