Sunday, October 2, 2022

Surveying The Oscar Field: The 2017 Above The Line Categories (Part 6)

By Michael Schwartz

After an insane two weeks of sexual scandals, recasting and reshoot news involving “All The Money In The World” and “The Post” trailer dropping, it is now time for me to drop back in with everyone to tell you all where my Oscar predictions now stand as of 11/13/2017.

Click below to see my predictions in the above the line categories.

*The following are Michael Schwartz’s predictions and do not reflect the thoughts of others at Next Best Picture*

BEST PICTURE

​“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” finally debuted in limited release this past weekend to excellent reception and even better box office. If this trend continues through the holiday season, the film status as a top contender will be cemented. Also doing incredibly well and limited release is Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird.” There is so much love around the indie coming of age film, that I would be surprised if it didn’t break into the Best Picture conversation at. We also saw our first look at Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” last week, which looks as Oscar friendly as initially imagined. Looks safe for a nomination here. The rest has yet to be seen.

Predicted Nominees:

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Post
Dunkirk
Call Me By Your Name
The Shape Of Water
Darkest Hour
Lady Bird
Get Out
The Florida Project
Mudbound

BEST DIRECTOR

​After a season dominated by headlines of sexual harassment, maybe the director’s branch will want to reward a female filmmaker. There is no shortage to choose from between Greta Gerwig, Dee Rees, Angelina Jolie and maybe even Patty Jenkins. Still floating around the same five or six names. However, I get the sense that a surprise is waiting in the wings.

Predicted Nominees:

Christopher Nolan – “Dunkirk
Guillermo del Toro – “The Shape Of Water
Martin McDonagh – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Luca Guadagnino – “Call Me By Your Name
Steven Spielberg – “The Post”

Don’t Count Out:

Joe Wright – “Darkest Hour
Greta Gerwig – “Lady Bird
Dee Rees – “Mudbound
Jordan Peele – “Get Out
Sean Baker – “The Florida Project

BEST ACTOR

​Gary Oldman is the man about town right now as he campaigns for his film “Darkest Hour.” Barring any controversy stemming from opposition campaigns, he still seems set to prevail here. Speaking of campaigns, Entertainment Studios seems to revving up their own for Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles.” If successful, Christian Bale can find himself in the mix. And while Dan Gilroy’s “Roman J. Israel, ESQ.” may not have saved itself in the editing room, Denzel Washington’s flashy performance is sure to have its share of fans. The question is whether or not there will be enough room for him to break into the race.

Predicted Nominees:

Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour
Daniel Day-Lewis – “Phantom Thread”
Timothée Chalamet – “Call Me By Your Name
Tom Hanks – “The Post”
Denzel Washington – “Roman J. Israel, ESQ.”

Don’t Count Out:

James Franco – “The Disaster Artist”
Christian Bale – “Hostiles”
Jake Gyllenhaal – “Stronger
Daniel Kaluuya – “Get Out
Andrew Garfield – “Breathe

BEST ACTRESS

​It often takes a great deal for a performer to win their second lead Oscar. In many cases, they must top their original work. That is no easy feat for Frances McDormand, who won in 1996 for her iconic work as Marge Gunderson in “Fargo”. However, the reviews for her work in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” at least match those of her Oscar-winning performance 21 years ago. Rounding out the rest of the category, we have Oscar favorite Meryl Streep and Judi Dench along with former nominees Sally Hawkins and Saoirse Ronan. As much of a sure thing as these five women sound on paper, I still get the sense that one will find themselves the victim of omission on nomination morning. Margot Robbie is coming on strong as the ingenue with a showy role. Watch out for her along with Jessica Chastain and Annette Bening. Maybe Vicky Krieps can even show up. Still a lot of factors at work here.

Predicted Nominees:

Frances McDormand – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep – “The Post”
Sally Hawkins – “The Shape Of Water
Judi Dench – “Victoria And Abdul
Saoirse Ronan – “Lady Bird

Don’t Count Out:

Margot Robbie – “I, Tonya”
Jessica Chastain – “Molly’s Game”
Annette Bening – “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”
Vicky Krieps – “Phantom Thread”
Kate Winslet – “Wonder Wheel

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

​The supporting actor category will be affected by bombshell news report last week claiming that Christopher Plummer will replace Kevin Spacey in “All The Money In The World” after a barrage of sexual assault accusations were made against the actor. Not only is it unprecedented to recast a roll with only a month to go before films released, but Stacy was going to be the face of the films Oscar came in. If director Ridley Scott is successful in completing his new cut of the film in time, perhaps Plummer will find himself catapulted in the race. As we wait to see, Sam Rockwell leads the pack in the meantime. While I have yet to see “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” word is that Rockwell’s character is essential to the film. His main competition would be Willem Dafoe of “The Florida Project,” who is very much respected figure within the industry. Michael Stuhlbarg is still in the mix, with Mark Rylance of “Dunkirk” rounding out the predicted five. As for fringe contenders, only time will tell how Armie Hammer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon, and Dustin Hoffman will fare.

Predicted Nominees:

Willem Dafoe – “The Florida Project
Sam Rockwell – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Michael Stuhlbarg – “Call Me By Your Name
Mark Rylance – “Dunkirk
Christopher Plummer – “All The Money In The World”

Don’t Count Out:

Armie Hammer – “Call Me By Your Name
Richard Jenkins – “The Shape Of Water
Michael Shannon – “The Shape Of Water
Dustin Hoffman – “The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected)
Idris Elba – “Molly’s Game”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

​With the debut of an “I, Tonya” trailer, Allison Janney seems primed to take home the gold. As a veteran character actress who has been a presence in the industry for years, this is Janney’s time to shine. Laurie Metcalf and Melissa Leo seem pretty secure for nominations, which leaves two slots left for any combination of actresses. Holly Hunter seems to be a favorite from “The Big Sick,” while Lesley Manville could surprise for her role in “Phantom Thread.” However, the best way to avoid an “Oscar So White” scenario would be to consider the work of Octavia Spencer and Mary J. Blige,  both of whom are receiving praise for their respective films.

Predicted Nominees:

Allison Janney – “I, Tonya”
Laurie Metcalf – “Lady Bird
Melissa Leo – “Novitiate
Holly Hunter – “The Big Sick
Mary J. Blige – “Mudbound

Don’t Count Out:

Octavia Spencer – “The Shape Of Water
Lesley Manville – “Phantom Thread”
Kristin Scott Thomas – “Darkest Hour
Carrie Coon – “The Post”
Hong Chau – “Downsizing

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

​Did you really think that “Call Me By Your Name” gained any competition here?

Predicted Nominees:

Call Me By Your Name
Molly’s Game
The Disaster Artist
Mudbound
All The Money In The World

Don’t Count Out:

Last Flag Flying
Wonderstruck
First They Killed My Father
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 
The Beguiled

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

​We have a murder’s row of talent here from Martin McDonagh to Greta Gerwig here. Interestingly enough, six of the ten contenders here also directed their films in addition to writing. That could give them a boost. As for the winner, we may have to wait until the envelope is read with such well-respected films in the mix.

Predicted Nominees:

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Post
Get Out
The Shape Of Water
Lady Bird

Don’t Count Out:

Phantom Thread
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Darkest Hour
The Big Sick

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

​“Coco” continues to find love as the latest Pixar entry. That is no surprise. What is surprising, however, is the inclusion of “Loving Vincent” on the animated Feature shortlist. There was speculation over whether or not the film’s animation style would qualify. Now that it has, we must consider it for a nomination. 

Predicted Nominees:

Coco
Loving Vincent
The Breadwinner
Mary And The Witch’s Flower
Ferdinand

Don’t Count Out:

Cars 3
The Lego Batman Movie
Despicable Me 3
The Boss Baby
In This Corner Of The World

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

​Agnes Varda is now an Oscar winner! Not for “Faces/Places,” her film in contention, but rather an Honorary Oscar presented over the weekend. Having the opportunity to speak and mingle with a large crowd of voters certainly bodes well for her chances at the actual competition ceremony. How amazing would two Oscars in one season be after a career of being ignored? Meanwhile, “Jane,” the Jane Goodall documentary, is absolutely breathtaking and deserves to be considered for a nomination. After winning the Critics Choice Award for Best Documentary, keep an eye out for this incredibly moving and breathtakingly beautiful documentary to make a dent.

Predicted Nominees:

Faces/Places
Jane
Icarus
Step
City Of Ghosts

Don’t Count Out:

Whose Streets?
Chasing Coral
Strong Island
Hell On Earth
Bobbi Jene

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

While Israel’s “Foxtrot” still leads the pack, the top five has a new addition in Lebanon’s “The Insult,” which is said to be quite good. We’ll know more as reports drop from the Foreign Language branch. Once those nominees get narrowed down, then this race will start to get exciting as they always seem to leave sure-fire nominees off the qualifying list.

Predicted Nominees:

Foxtrot
Loveless
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
First They Killed My Father
The Insult

Don’t Count Out:

In The Fade
The Wound
The Square
A Fantastic Woman
Breath

So what do you think? Do you agree with my predictions? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to check out our updated predictions here:

BEST PICTURE

BEST DIRECTOR

BEST ACTOR

BEST ACTRESS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

You can follow Michael and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @mikemovie

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