Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions - Best Picture

Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl 
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
The Martian
The Revenant
Steve Jobs 

Other Contenders -  Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, Black Mass, Beasts of No Nation, Son of Saul, Sicario, In the Heart of The Sea, In the Heart of the Sea, The Big Short, By the Sea, Straight Outta Compton, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Trumbo, Secrets in Their Eyes, The Good Dinosaur, Youth, Truth, Grandma, The Lady in the Van, Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Suffragette, Love & Mercy, Anomalisa, Truth, Youth, Creed, 45 Years, Legend, Macbeth, 99 Homes, Burnt, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Paper Towns, Concussion, The Walk, Spectre, Our Brand is Crisis, I'll See You In My Dreams, Hello, My Name is Doris, Ant-Man, Spy, Cinderella, Ex Machina, Paddington, Dope

Commentary - Let's first start with the unknowns, that I think will be huge contenders in the next couple of weeks. David O. Russell returns with another Jennifer Lawrence vehicle in Joy, Quentin Tarantino returns to the West with The Hateful Eight, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hopes to recapture his Birdman magic with The Revenant. These are all Oscar-nominated or Oscar-winning directors/screenwriters, with incredible casts, and buzz. The rest, at least the rest I am predicting, are all known entities with a lot of buzz out of the fall festivals. Leading the way is Spotlight, which came bursting out of the fests with a deafening buzz. It is timely, a great cast, and an up and coming director, all pointing to a bunch of Oscar nods. Todd Haynes Carol remains a popular film after its premiere in Cannes. Todd Haynes has never gotten a film nominated for Best Picture, but this might be his first. Tom Hooper returns to the mix, a few years after his Les Miserable went on to be an Oscar darling, with the incredibly prevalent transgender story The Danish Girl. Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies is our latest contender out of New York, and apparently, it is Spielberg at his best, something Oscar voters eat up. Steve Jobs feels like this year's The Social Network, and in terms of a Best Picture nomination, that is a very good thing. Finally, the last two slots I am reserving for the big guys. The Oscar voters need to embrace some more populist films this year, or their Academy leadership will starting moving things around yet again. Rating matter for those folks, and last year's numbers, with so many indies in the lead, were not inspiring. There are two at this point that feel like top ten picks. The first is The Martian, which is soaring at the box office, is seemingly beloved by everyone who sees it, and will probably be the front runner for the Comedy/Musical Golden Globe, giving it a big platform to win a big prize. Finally, and definitely not forgotten is Inside Out. Pixar hasn't had a film like this in awhile, and in the expanded Best Picture race, its films like Up and Toy Story 3, films on the same par as something like Inside Out, have managed to get in. I think that the best studio in Hollywood today gets back in with the big guys. So who does that leave out? Films like Sundance darling Brooklyn, the incredible Mad Max: Fury Road, the rough, but apparently magnificent Beasts of No Nation, the foreign contender Son of Saul, Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea (which was pushed to a more Oscar friendly date by the studio, the tempting The Big Short, the summer smash Straight Outta Compton, and of course, Star Wars. There other big contenders like Avengers, Cinderella, Spy, Paper Towns, The Walk, Spectre, Black Mass and The Good Dinosaur. It leaves out Room, which is probably not the smartest move at this point. While early reviews did not make it seem like an Oscar contender for Best Picture, its wins out of TIFF, and its continuing rise make that seem like a wrong early prediction. Then there are some of the smaller folks like Grandma, Youth, Truth, 45 Years, Macbeth, 99 Homes, Burnt, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and I'll See You in My Dreams. Finally there are the wild cards like Concussion, Our Brand is Crisis, Secrets in Their Eyes, and By the Sea. 

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