Post Festival Predictions
Mahershala Ali "Moonlight"
Hugh Grant "Florence Foster Jenkins"
Stephen Henderson "Fences"
Liam Neeson "Silence"
Michael Shannon "Nocturnal Animals"
Other Contenders- Lucas Hedges "Manchester By the Sea", Peter Saarsgard "Jackie", Mykelti Williamson "Fences", Jeff Bridges "Hell or High Water", Craig Robinson "Morris From America", Kevin Costner "Hidden Figures", Aaron Eckhart "Sully", Aaron Eckhart "Bleed for This", Alan Rickman "Eye in the Sky", Steve Martin "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk", David Oyelowo "Queen of Katwe", Ben Foster "Hell or High Water", Ralph Fiennes "A Bigger Splash", Andre Holland "Moonlight", Trevante Holmes "Moonlight", Sunny Pawar "Lion", Edgar Ramirez "Gold", Jovan Adepo "Fences", Alden Ehrenreich "Hail, Caesar!", Max Greenfield "Hello, My Name is Doris", Simon Helberg "Florence Foster Jenkins", Armie Hammer "The Birth of a Nation", John Goodman "10 Cloverfield Lane", Idris Elba "The Jungle Book", Ben Kingsley "The Jungle Book", Bill Murray "The Jungle Book", Kyle Chandler "Manchester By the Sea", Tracey Letts "Indignation", Eddie Murphy "Mr. Church", Billy Crudup "20th Century Women"
Commentary - With the Billy Lynn guys seemingly out of the running, this has opened up this race to other contenders. Right now, I see this as a ten-guy race, with some unseen or surprises that could spoil. First, let's start with the predicted five at this moment. Hugh Grant ended this summer with a ton of Oscar buzz, and Florence Foster Jenkins seems to still be on the minds of Hollywood, and after decades in this business, his big return to the big screen could earn him his first Oscar nomination. Liam Neeson is a pick, sight unseen, but never discount a Martin Scorsese film, or its cast. Fences is coming in strong, and it is definitely going to be a favorite among the actors. All of the supporting players are apparently great, but veteran Stephen Henderson could be the standout. Nocturnal Animals hit the fall fests with great reviews, but is not necessarily up the Academy's alley. That being said, after missing out for 99 Homes last year, previous nominee Michael Shannon has had a hell of a year, and I think he will be rewarded for it. Finally, Moonlight is looking to be the best reviewed film of the year. If the critics rally behind it and keep it strong, it could do well with Oscar voters, including recent Emmy nominee Mahershala Ali, who has made headlines a lot this year, and is a star on the rise. The next five though are on the cusp. Lucas Hedges, of Moonrise Kingdom fame, is a scene-stealer in Manchester By the Sea, Peter Saarsgard has been flirting with Oscar for years, Jeff Bridges is awesome in Hell or High Water, Mykelti Williamson could join his Fences co-star, and Craig Robinson, fresh off a Gotham nomination hopes to prove he is a serious actor and Oscar contender. Beyond those ten, the race spreads thin. Kevin Costner, John Goodman, Tracey Letts, Billy Crudup, and Eddie Murphy are all well-liked veterans in baity roles. Aaron Eckhart has two big roles, Alan Rickman has posthumous support, and Kyle Chandler is one to watch for. Also look out for Steve Martin, David Oyelowo, Ben Foster, Trevante Holmes, Armie Hammer, The Jungle Book guys, Ralph Fiennes, Sunny Pawar, Simon Helberg, and Andre Holland.