Post Festival Predictions
Damien Chazelle "La La Land"
Barry Jenkins "Moonlight"
Kenneth Lonergan "Manchester By the Sea"
Martin Scorsese "Silence"
Denzel Washington "Fences"
Other Contenders - Ben Affleck "Live By Night", Denis Villeneuve "Arrival", Clint Eastwood "Sully", Pablo Larrain "Jackie", Theodore Melfi "Hidden Figures", Garth Davis "Lion", Stephen Frears "Florence Foster Jenkins", Mike Mills "20th Century Women", Ang Lee "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk", Morten Tyldum "Passengers", Jeff Nichols "Loving", Robert Zemeckis "Allied", Warren Beatty "Rules Don't Apply", Mel Gibson "Hacksaw Ridge", Tom Ford "Nocturnal Animals", Taylor Hackford "The Comedian", Nate Parker "The Birth of a Nation", David MacKenzie "Hell or High Water", Ava DuVernay "The 13th", John Madden "Miss Sloane", Yorgos Lanthimos "The Lobster", Peter Berg "Patriot's Day", Jon Favreau "The Jungle Book", Whit Stilman "Love & Friendship", Andrea Arnold "American Honey", Gareth Edwards "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", Pedro Almodovar "Julieta", Jeff Nichols "Midnight Special", Kelly Reichardt "Certain Women", John Lee Hancock "The Founder", Gavin Hood "Eye in the Sky"
Commentary - Like always, it seems impossible this early to narrow down to five, especially in an expanded Best Picture race. Martin Scorsese, even sight unseen, should not be discounted, since he has been on a streak lately with the Director's branch. Denzel Washington could be the latest actor turned director to cross into this race, because it turns out that Fences is as good as we thought it wold be. The other three are known entities, and probably the leading contenders going into Phase 1 aka the critics, who are likely to buoy these three. Damien Chazelle barely missed the cut for Whiplash, and I think his La La Land is now the leading contender for Best Picutre. I find it hard to believe he will miss out this year. Finally, the two indie favorites this year are Moonlight and Manchester By the Sea. While there are some big names that could knock them out, the reviews are keeping Barry Jenkins and Kenneth Lonergan in the top five. Live By Night is the latecomer to the race, but after he was snubbed for Argo, I am a bit shy to pck him. Arrival is getting rave reviews, and will probably do big business this weekend, putting Denis Villeneuve in the running. Previous winners/nominees liek Clint Eastwood, Warren Beatty, Mel Gibson, Stephen Frears, Pedro Almodovar, Taylor Hackford, Morten Tyldum, Robert Zemeckis, and Ang Lee all have projects that are worth keeping in consideration. Theodore Melfi is a possibility for Hidden Figures, Garth Davis has Lion and Weinstein behind him, Mike Mills does wonders with his cast, Nate Parker is still in the running (although falling fast), Jeff Nichols has two great films, Tom Ford has another stylish hit, John Madden could return with Miss Sloane, and Ava DuVernay could make history with her doc The 13th. On the peripheral are folks like Jon Favreau and Gareth Edwards for their blockbusters, Kelly Reichardt, John Lee Hancock, Gavin Hood, David MacKenzie, Yorgos Lanthimos, Peter Berg, Andrea Arnold, and Whit Stilman.