First 2016 Oscar Predictions
Jessica Chastain "The Martian"
Jennifer Jason Leigh "The Hateful Eight"
Virginia Madsen "Joy"
Rooney Mara "Carol"
Amy Ryan "Bridge of Spies"
Other Contenders - Sarah Paulson "Carol", Kate Winslet "Steve Jobs", Katherine Waterston "Steve Jobs", Dianne Ladd "Joy", Rachel Weisz "The Light Between Oceans", Paker Posey "Irrational Man", Kristen Stewart "Clouds of Sils Maria", Julia Roberts "Money Monster", Julia Roberts "The Secret in Their Eyes", Melissa Leo "Snowden", Shailene Woodley "Snowden", Meryl Streep "Suffragette", Anne-Marie Duff "Suffragette", Helena Bonham Carter "Suffragette", Cate Blanchett "Truth", Cate Blancett "Cinderella", Vanessa Bayer "Trainwreck", Julie Walters "Brooklyn", Greta Gerwig "Mistress America", Rachel McAdams "Southpaw", Rachel McAdams "Aloha", Naomi Watts "The Sea of Trees", Brie Larson "Room", Ellen Page "Freeheld", Julianne Moore "Freeheld", Charlotte Le Bon "The Walk", Zoe Kazan "Our Brand Is Crisis", Melanie Laurent "By the Sea", Adele Exarchopoulos "The Last Face", Renee Zellweger "The Whole Truth", Dakota Johnson "A Bigger Splash", Gugu Mbatha-Raw "Concussion", Sienna Miller "Black Mass", Julianne Nicholson "Black Mass", Juno Temple "Black Mass", Dakota Johnson "Black Mass", Keira Knightley "Everest", Toni Collette "Miss You Already", Kirsten Dunst "Midnight Special", Holliday Grainger "Tulip Fever"
Commentary - It has been about three weeks since we closed Oscar season 2014-2015, and I am already too anxious for this upcoming year. We are in the lull now. The big films of 2014 get one last hurrah at the MTV Movie Awards, and then television and theater take center stage with the Daytime Emmys, the Tonys, and eventually the Emmys, just as the fall festivals heat up. I hope you all have enjoyed your few weeks of award-less peace, because it will not be long before the awards world heats up again. Before it gets too crazy, let's take a look at the upcoming Oscar race. Let's start with my first predictions. At the top of list is Jessica Chastain. The Martin is a genre piece, Ridley Scott has not had a hit in a while, and Chastain barely missed the cut last year. But the source material is fantastic (seriously go to your library/digital library and read it now), and Chastain is one of those actors that is destined to win an Oscar, and destined to garner a lot of nominations along the way. If done right, The Martian could be her third nomination. A couple of years ago there was a lot of buzz for Jennifer Jason Leigh as a nomination in the failed Margot at the Wedding. This time around she is once again garnering huge buzz as being practically the only major female character in Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. Kerry Washington didn't gain much traction for Django Unchained (not a big enough role, but she would have been on my list), but maybe Leigh can go further this time. She is a talented veteran actress that has been flirting with a comeback for a while. This could be the film that finally gets her back into the spotlight. Carol is Todd Hayne's latest, and it is getting a ton of buzz early on. There is though a potential for some category switches, which could move a lot of people around. But I think that they will leave Cate Blanchett as the lead, and push Sarah Paulson (just on the outside looking in, a perpetual status for her unfortunately) and Rooney Mara for supporting. But Mara is apparently borderline co-lead. This makes me think they will definitely push her to supporting to increase her chances of a nomination/win. She is already a nominee with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and if she can hold her own against the likes of Cate Blanchett and Sarah Paulson, then she should be in the mix. The last two slots, for now, are going to two recently nominated veterans in incredibly baity projects. First is David O. Russell's Joy. He is on a streak lately, and his latest is looking to be another great ensemble piece including the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, and Dianne Ladd. Ladd is a potential, but I think that it is Virginia Madsen will be the one of the two that rises to the top. She has been waiting for another Sideways, and I think this could be it. Plus, Russell has become the actors director and hist last two films got four acting nominations. This track record helps Madsen, and the whole cast. Finally, Amy Ryan has been doing great work since her Gone Baby Gone nomination, and this year is going to be a major player in Steven Spielberg's Cold War drama Bridge of Spies opposite Tom Hanks and Alan Alda. Need I say more? So those are my first predictions. Let's now look at those I am not currently predicting, but I have certainly not forgotten. Kate Winslet and Katherine Waterston could join the ranks if Steve Jobs is a good as looks, but that film has had some issues getting made so who knows what the final product will look like. The aforementioned Paulson and Ladd are definitely in this. Several actresses including Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, and Rachel McAdams have several projects to choose from. Parker Posey could rise from indie film star to Oscar nominee with Woody Allen's latest Irrational Man. Several pairs of stars from the same film could also make an impact: Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne-Marie Duff for Suffragette; Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in Freeheld, Melissa Leo and Shailene Woodley for Snowden, and the trio in Black Mass. Kristen Stewart became the first American to win a Cesar Award, and could ride it to Oscar glory with The Clouds of Sils Maria, Naomi Watts with Gus Van Sant in The Sea of Trees is a nice match, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach could finally get a project of theirs to get Oscar attention, Rachel Weisz in The Light Between Oceans could overcome Derek Cianfrance's style, and Vanessa Bayer could be another SNL alum that makes her way to Oscar.