Post Festival Predictions
Jean-Christophe Castelli "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk"
August Wilson "Fences"
Luke Davies "Lion"
Ben Affleck "Live By Night"
Jay Cocks "Silence"
Other Contenders - Tom Komarnicki "Sully", Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder "Hidden Figures", Tom Ford "Noctural Animals", Eric Heisserer "Arrival", Erin Cressida Wilson "The Girl on the Train", James Schamus "Indignation", Whit Stilman "Love & Friendship", Laura Terroso and Michael Showalter "Hello, My Name is Doris", Derek Cianfrance "The Light Between Oceans", David Hare "Denial", Kelly Reichardt "Certain Women", J.K. Rowling "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", David Birke "Elle", William Wheeler "Queen of Katwe", Xavier Dolan "It's Only the End of the World", Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll and Gary Whitta "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse, Bob Peterson, and Angus MacLane "Finding Dory", David Kajganich "A Bigger Splash", Jane Goldman "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children", Marc Haimes, Chris Butler, and Shannon Tindle "Kubo and the Two Strings"
Commentary - Lion has entered the Oscar race after the Fall festivals, with great reviews and Weinstein (albeit a bit trimmed down Weinstein) hoping to ride its sentimental story to Oscar glory. August Wilson could win a posthumous Oscar for Fences, if the film adaptation is as successful as the Broadway revival. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is my most anticipated of the season, and if Castelli can capture the spirit of Ben Fountain's great novel. Silence is an unknown, but it is probably not smart to bet against Martin Scorsese, who brought even The Wolf of Wall Street, with such a last minute premiere, to Oscar glory. Finally, I think that Live By Night will make the 2016 cut, and it is not best to doubt a Ben Affleck film. Beyond those five, this race is surprisingly thin. Sully is doing great box office, is well-liked among critics and audiences, and will play really well with the older voters of the Academy. Hidden Figures and Queen of Katwe are possibilities, but they might be a bit too pedestrian for the writing branch. Love & Friendship is such a small contender, as is Hello, My Name is Doris and Certain Women . The Light Between Oceans was kind of a bomb, Denial has mixed reactions, and we still don't know how Arrival will do (although probably not well with writers). The Girl on the Train could be Gone Girl, which doesn't help it here, and the rest are big kahunas and blockbusters that typically don't do well with the writing branch.