Monday, January 23, 2017

2016 Oscar Nominees Predictions!

The nominees for this years Oscar ceremony get announced tomorrow morning, so le'ts have a little bit of fun this morning and look at my predictions for who gets into what category this year. I'll be examining all 24 categories today and remember, these are not my wishlists for what should get nominated, rather, this is me looking at a large swath of data before me, such as what films have been winning a lot on the awards circuit, what features & performances have been getting a large amount of buzz from high-profile award season watchers on sites like Gold Derby or the Fienberg Forecast and taking what kind of films, performances and such have scored nominations in years past.

Anywho, let's look at what my nominee predictions are....

Best Documentary Short
I'm totally clueless when it comes to this category, but luckily, the Academy has put out a shortlist of what 10 films are competing for the five nomination spaces to help me out. I've picked out five shorts practically randomly below, watch me be proven entirely wrong.

Close Ties
Joe's Violin
The Other Side Of Home
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Best Documentary
In a strong year for documentary filmmaking, the Academy has narrowed who will get nominated here down to 15 films. The super buzzy O.J.: Made In America should be able to easily get a nod, while Cameraperson, Life, Animated, The 13th and I Am Not Your Negro should round out the category, though Wiener and Gleason could be suprise spoilers in this category.

The 13th
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made In America

Best Foreign Language Film
OK, we've got a shortlist of nine movies that can fill out the five nominees here. Toni Erdmann is easily the buzziest of the bunch, no trouble with that one getting a nomination. My Life As A Zucchini has the buzz as a potential Best Animated Feature nominee to help boost its profile enough to make it a likely nominee and past Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi should get his newest movie, The Salesman, in this category. A Man Called Ove and Land Of Mine seem to have the largest amount of buzz surrounding them currently, so I'll say they round out this category.

A Man Called Ove (Hannes Holm, Sweden)
Land Of Mine (Martin Zandvliet, Denmark)
My Life As A Zucchini (Clauda Barras, Switzerland)
The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi, Iran)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, Germany)

Best Live-Action Short
Another category I'm unfamiliar with that has a shortlist to help out ignorant folks like me. This is another one where I'm gonna roll the dice and just randomly pick five. Sorry I couldn't be more help here folks!

Bon Voyage
Nocturne In Black
Silent Nights
The Way Of Tea

Best Animated Short
OK, don't worry, I've actually watched some of the nominees here. Disney and PIXAR's submissions for this category this year should have no trouble getting in while Pearl is directed by a past winner in this category, Patrick Osborne, so his short effort should get in too. Rounding out the category, I'd say The Head Vanishes gets in while rounding out the category should be Borrowed Time.

Borrowed Time (Andrew Coats & Lou Hamou-Lhadj)
The Head Vanishes (Franck Dion)
Inner Workings (Leo Matsuda)
Pearl (Patrick Osborne)
Piper (Anal Barillaro)

Best Sound Editing 
Without a shortlist to help one out, the two sound categories can be the ultimate crapshoot for those trying to predict the nominees. This category in recent years has managed to usually have at least two Best Picture nominees and usually makes room for at least one major blockbuster, so, how about we say the following movies get in here this year?

Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Best Sound Mixing
I'll say three of the five Sound Editing nominees repeat over here, with Deepwater Horizon getting dropped out for Hell Or High Water and Deadpool relinquishing his spot to another hit 2016 superhero movie.

Captain America: Civil War
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell Or High Water
La La Land

Best Makeup And Hairstyling 
The Academy has narrowed this category to just five films, though there can only be three nominees. Let's say big blockbusters Star Trek Beyond and Deadpool get in with maybe Florence Foster Jenkins getting in there too, since it's got more showy makeup than, say, Hail, Ceasar!

Florence Foster Jenkins
Star Trek Beyond
Best Production Design
This should be another technical category that mixes together both Best Picture nominees and major blockbusters. La La Land and Arrival should have no trouble getting in while Martin Scrosese's Silence feels like a safe bet here. I'll say Jackie sneaks in here too while Doctor Strange rounds out the category. Fantasy blockbusters like the Harry Potter and Hobbit movies have managed to score nods here in recent years and Stephen Strange's very noticeable production design will likely score it a nod. Look out for Hail, Caesar! and The Handmaiden to be potential spoilers here.

Arrival (Patrice Vermette)
Doctor Strange (Charles Wood)
Jackie (Jean Rabasse)
La La Land (David Wasco)
Silence (Dante Ferretti)

Best Costume Design
This is yet another technical category where La La Land should handily score a nomination here while period pieces Florence Foster Jenkins, Silence, Jackie and Hidden Figures should round that category.

Florence Foster Jenkins
Hidden Figures
La La Land

Best Visual Effects
Another category, another shortlist. Since none of the big Best Picture frontrunners (like La La Land, Manchester By The Sea or Moonlight) qualify in this category like many Best Picture frontrunners did in ceremonies past, that means this category has a few spaces available that should be occupied by bigger blockbusters. Rogue One, The Jungle Book and Doctor Strange are all guaranteed nominations while Arrival will likely join them and I'll say Captain America: Civil War rounds out the category. The BFG and Deepwater Horizon are potential spoilers here and Kubo And The Two Strings could manage to be the first animated film in 23 years to snag a nod in this category if the stars align.

Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Cinematography

This actually strikes me as an easier category to predict only because a lot of this years higher-profile Best Picture contenders have more overt visual sensibilities. La La Land and Moonlight for sure get in, followed by Arrival and Silence with Jackie being maybe the most vulnerable of the group.

Arrival (Bradford Young)
Jackie (Stephane Fontaine)
La La Land (Linus Sandgren)
Moonlight (James Laxton)
Silence (Rodrigo Prieto)

Best Film Editing
Here's a technical category where Hell Or High Water should have no trouble getting into, while Arrival and Hacksaw Ridge should be able to snag spots too. Two of the current three Best Picture frontrunners (Moonlight and La La Land) should also be guaranteed spots in this category.

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell Or High Water
La La Land

Best Original Score

Major Best Picture contenders La La Land and Moonlight should easily get into this category, while Jackie's score is plenty distinctive enough to garner a nod. Look for Lion and Hidden Figures to round out the nominees, with potential spoilers being found in Michael Giacchino's work for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Abel Korzeniowski for Nocturnal Animals. Never count out John Williams either, his score for The BFG could be a spoiler here.

Hidden Figures (Pharrell Williams & Benjamin Wallfisch)
Jackie (Micachu)
La La Land (Justin Hurwitz)
Lion (Dustin O'Halloran, Hauschka)
Moonlight (Nicholas Britell)

Best Original Song
So, we all know La La Land is getting in here, likely snagging two slots. Disney's newest animated musical, Moana, should also manage to get itself a nod. There was actually a lot of high-profile songs in this years films, so you have a ton of movies jostling for a spot here. Pharrell Williams Running tune for Hidden Figures could be a contender while Common's Letters To The Free in 13th could also factor in here, ditto for Sia's Never Give Up from Lion. But for my predictions over the last two nods, I'll say Can't Stop The Feeling! gets one of them since it became such a hugely popular song in its own right and Drive It Like You Stole It from Sing Street since that one's cropped up a bit in prior high-profile award ceremonies.

Audition (La La Land)
Can't Stop The Feeling! (Trolls)
City Of Stars (La La Land)
Drive It Like You Stole It (Sing Street)
How Far I'll Go (Moana)
Best Animated Feature
Typically, the nominees for this category are comprised of three American animated features and two indie animated movies, though last year of course bucked that trend. This year will also likely deviate from that tradition though in the opposite direction as I'm wagering four American family movies get in here with only one indie animated film scoring a nomination. All three of Disney's animated fare this year (Zootopia, Moana and Finding Dory) should get in, while Kubo And The Two Strings will also score a nod and My Life As A Zucchini will round out the category. Don't count out the likes of smaller-scale foreign fare like The Red Turtle or Your Name from scoring a nomination though. It would be keeping in tradition, after all, if we ended up having two indie foreign animated movies in this category.

Finding Dory
Kubo And The Two Strings
My Life As A Zucchini

Best Adapted Screenplay
It may have gotten confirmed to be belonging in this category at the last minute, but there's no way Moonlight doesn't end up here. Arrival probably also gets in here and the same goes for Lion. August Wilson probably has enough clout as a writer to give Fences a nomination here and I'll say Tom Ford's screenplay for Nocturnal Animals rounds out the category, though Hidden Figures could easily kick it out and Silence may even be able to use Martin Scorsese's prolific nature to squeeze out a space in this category too. Don't count out  "the real heroes here" of Deadpool either.

Arrival (Eric Heisser)
Fences (August Wilson)
Lion (Luke Davies)
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford)

Best Original Screenplay
Two of our three Best Picture frontrunners (La La Land and Manchester By The Sea) reside here as a number of smaller-scale indie fare hope to crack into this category. The likes of Captain Fantastic, The Lobster, Hell Or High Water and 20th Century Women are all hoping to score a place at the Best Original Screenplay table. How about we say.....20th Century Women and Hell Or High Water get in here and, considering how it's actually quite common for animated fare to break in here, let's also say Zootopia rounds out the five nominees.

20th Century Women (Mike Mills)
Hell Or High Water (Taylor Sheridan)
La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
Manchester By The Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
Zootopia (Jared Bush & Phil Johntson)

Best Supporting Actress
Even if Fences hasn't quite been an award season juggernaut, Viola Davis is all but assured a win here, let alone a nomination. Naomie Harris in Moonlight and Michelle Williams in Manchester By The Sea should also have no problem getting into this category. The Weinstein Company has been putting enough promotional might into Lion to get Nicole Kidman's performance in that movie nominated, so who gets the final slot? Honestly, across the board of both various other Oscar nominees predictors and past award shows, it seems it's gonna come down to either Greta Gerwig in 20th Century Women or one of two ladies from Hidden Figures, either Janelle Monae or Octavia Spencer. Spencer has a past Oscar win to her name, meaning the Academy will have a greater sense of recognition with her, so I'll go with her being the final nominee here, especially considering how much of a massive phenomenon Hidden Figures has become.

Michelle Williams (Manchester By The Sea)
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
Violas Davis (Fences)
Best Supporting Actor
You would have to go all the way back to 1975 to find an example of the human being who won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor failing to get nominated in that same category at the Oscars. While I'll say Aaron-Taylor Johnson (who just won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor at the start of the month) is the most vulnerable of my predicted nominees, I'll say he gets in. Otherwise, the usual suspects from this category in most other award shows will get in here, while either one of the two supporting guys from Florence Foster Jenkins (Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg) could sneak in here too.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Jeff Bridges (Hell Or High Water)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea)
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Best Actress
Oooo boy, here we come to a competitive category. Of course, Emma Stone and Natalie Portman should have no trouble securing a spot here and I'd say Amy Adams in Arrival is similarly assured a spot at the table at this point. But who fills out the last two nominees? Isabelle Huppert in Elle has received an outstanding amount of support in recent award ceremonies, and since this category has recognized leading actresses in foreign films twice already in the past four years already, the odds are good Huppert makes it in. Rounding out the category, Meryl Streep has more than enough of a following to give her a nomination here, though don't count out Annette Bening in 20th Century Women as a potential spoiler.

Amy Adams (Arrival)
Emma Stone (La La Land)
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Best Actor
The interesting thing about Best Actor this year is how it's kind of wide open aside from three guaranteed to be nominated performances in the form of Ryan Gosling in La La Land, Denzel Washington in Fences and likely eventual winner Casey Affleck in Manchester By The Sea. Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge is likely to get one of the nods but I'll make this the category where I do one big gutsy nomination prediction and say Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool gets the final nomination. Reynolds has been everywhere stumping for this movie on the award circuit while the backstory behind how hard he worked to get the motion picture made is the kind of inspirational narrative the Acadamy is drawn to like ants on a picnic. I am almost 99% certain to be wrong here when Viggo Mortensen ends up getting the nomination here instead, but if we should all take one thing away from this awards season, never count out that Merc With A Mouth.

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
Denzel Washington (Fences)
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)

Best Director
There's no conceivable way Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea) and Damien Chazelle (La La Land) miss out on getting nominated here. I'd imagine Mel Gibson gets in here too for Hacksaw Ridge since he's got the whole comeback narrative (which I find personally bizarre but whatever, very little about this ceremony has ever made sense). Who gets the last nomination here? Denis Villeneuve for Arrival seems like a safe bet with Denzel Washington for Fences and Garth Davis for Lion being potential spoilers.

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Den Villeneuve (Arrival)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea)
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
Best Picture
Since we've had 8 Best Picture nominees for the last two years, I'm gonna we predict we also get 8 nominees here. Anywho, as I've said multiple times in this column, La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea are the major frontrunner right now, so they, of course, will get nominated. Arrival should fit snugly into the adult-skewing sci-fi tale spot that recent Best Picture nominees Gravity and The Martian filled, Hacksaw Ridge is the kind of film the Academy usually goes ga ga for and Hidden Figures is simialrly the kind of inspirational real-life tale the ceremony has awarded in years past. Look for Lion and Fences to round out the category but be the most vulnerable of my pack of predicted nominees.

You may notice one recurring potential Best Picture nominee fixture missing here, Hell Or High Water. Well, the Academy's problem with award films starring morally dubious characters (just look at Nightcrawler two years prior or Sicario just last year) makes me think it'll get left out in the cold. It could sneak in there though if Lion or Fences drop off or if the Academy decides to go with 9 Best Picture nominees this year. And who knows, maybe Deadpool too will manage to get in here too.

Hacksaw Ridge
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester By The Sea

OK folks, we'll see if my nominees are dead-on or super off-the-mark tomorrow morning when the official Oscar nominees get announced!

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