Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
The Birth of a Nation
Manchester By the Sea
Other Contenders - Allied, The Light Between Oceans, Nocturnal Animals, Moonlight, 20th Century Women, American Pastoral, Lion, Florence Foster Jenkins, The Promise, Queen of Katwe, Rules Don't Apply, The Girl on the Train, HHhH, Miss Sloane, Snowden, The Lobster, Deadpool, Hidden Figures, Zootopia, Moana, Kubo and the Two Strings, Trolls, Finding Dory, Collateral Beauty, War Machine, Deepwater Horizon, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The BFG, LBJ, American Honey, The Fits, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Captain America: Civil War, Wild Oats, Hell or High Water, Pete's Dragon
Commentary - Can Ang Lee finally win the top prize? Two Best Director prizes, but no Best Pictures is an unusual track record. His newest, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, looks great, as does Scorsese's and Eastwood's Silence and Sully. The Birth of a Nation is a couple of weeks from a full crash and burn, but if this scandal can be overcome, I think Oscar voters will appreciate the film, if not the filmmaker. Two sci-fi entries have potential, and after several made the cut last year, you can see the Academy appreciating genre films more and more. Arrival and Passengers have the directors and the cast to grab Oscar attention. Denzel Washington is bringing his Tony-winning adaptation of Fences to the big screen, once again opposite Viola Davis. Damien Chazelle's Whiplash was beloved by Oscar voters, and this time he brings us a musical with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Finally, two indie favorites, Manchester By the Sea and Loving, are already known entities with rave reviews out of Sundance and Cannes respectively. Beyond these ten, there is Robert Zemecki's latest Allied with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, the adaptation of The Light Between Oceans, Frear's Florence Foster Jenkins, Queen of Katwe, and Warren Beatty's latest Rules Don't Apply. There are a slew of big casts leading Oscar potentials including Moonlight, Lion, American Pastoral, 20th Century Women, War Machine, HHhH, Nocturnal Animals, and Collateral Beauty. What about Stone's Snowden, The Lobster, Miss Sloane, and the highly anticipated adaptation of The Girl on the Train? There is the historical Hidden Figures, LBJ, Cannes hit American Honey, surprise summer hit Hell or High Water, and Weinstein's Wild Oats. Then there are the big blockbuster, who keep hoping that an expanded Best Picture race, and changing demographics will up their Oscar chances: Deadpool, Civil War, Pete's Dragon, The BFG, Rogue One, Miss Peregrine's, Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, Trolls, Finding Dory, and Zootopia.