Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
The Hateful Eight
Other Contenders - Our Brand is Crisis, Suffragette, Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Straight Outta Compton, Sicario, Freeheld, I Saw the Light, The Walk, In the Heart of the Sea, By the Sea, The Good Dinosaur, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Program, Tulip Fever, Spy, Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Genius, Youth, Everest, Snowden, A Bigger Splash, Spectre, Love and Mercy, Ex Machina, Money Monster, Adam Jones, Macbeth, The Peanuts Movie, Dope, Far From the Maddening Crowd, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II, Irrational Man, Cinderella, The DUFF, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Clouds of Sils Maria
Commentary - So since this 5 to 10 scheme was hatched, there have been nine, and then eight nominees. So more than five feels like a guarantee, and I am surprised that something like Foxcatcher didn't grab that ninth slot last year. So right now, as always, I am sticking with ten, knowing full and well that there will probably be less. Carol has landed at Cannes and is a smash for critics, and probably Academy voters. The Revenant is Inarritu's Birdman followup. He probably won't win back to back, but don't discount a lot of Academy love if the film is good. Joy has David O. Russell behind it, The Hateful Eight - Quentin Tarantino, and Bridge of Spies - Steven Spielberg. Beyond those five match-ups with Best Director though, the terrain gets a bit confusing and bumpy. Steve Jobs seems like the perfect project on paper, but it has had a bumpy road to fruition. Brooklyn was a smash at Sundance, but can it hold on like Boyhood and Whiplash did last year? Inside Out should be in there, easily, but since they moved from 10 nominees to this news system, not one animated film has been nominated. Of course none that have come in those years were as good as Inside Out, and it is just the type of broad-based, popular entertainment the Academy needs to embrace. Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl with Eddie Redmayne feels like pure Oscar bait, and finally Black Mass is just a project that intrigues me. And its Venice debut makes me really excited that this could be a real winner. That leaves out Our Brand is Crisis, Suffragette, and Spotlight, all relevant, important, or historical projects. It also leaves out those blockbusters/potential blockbusters the Oscars are so desperate for like Star Wars, The Martian, Spy, Trainwreck, Spectre, The Good Dinosaur and Mad Max: Fury Road. Then there is Jolie's By the Sea, Tulip Fever, The Program, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Genius, Youth, Adam Jones, Sicario, Freeheld, Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea, Robert Zemeckis' The Walk, and Straight Outta Compton which is getting some heavy praise in early reviews. As always, we'll have to wait and see...