Oscar Watch: Silence

Official reviews are at last out today for Martin Scorsese’s Silence. Focused on Jesuit priests being persecuted in Japan in the 17th century, the film has long been a passion project for the heralded director. It’s also long been thought of as a potential major Oscar contender and the buzz certainly confirms that notion. Early reviews are strong enough that Silence looks highly likely to be nominated for both Picture and Director.

In the 21st century, five of the six pictures that Scorsese directed scored Picture nods. The only one that didn’t was 2010’s Shutter Island and that wasn’t really made for awards attention. Only The Departed won the big race along with Scorsese getting his only win ever in Director. Marty’s big competition is in the form of La La Land and its director Damien Chazelle, which still appears to be hold front runner status. In the Directing category, the work of Barry Jenkins in Moonlight is also garnering talk.

Screenwriter Jay Cocks looks assured for an Adapted Screenplay nomination. Silence could also score a number of down the line nods in Cinematography, Editing, Costume Design, and Production Design.

The acting possibilities for recognition is a bit more complicated. Andrew Garfield is competing against himself in Actor and there’s a very good chance he’d be nominated instead for Hacksaw Ridge (or not at all). Then there’s Supporting Actor with Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, and Issey Ogata in the mix. For months, it was presumed that Neeson would stand the best chance, but the Los Angeles Film Critics named Ogata their runner-up for his supporting work. Driver has gotten some ink for reportedly losing 50 pounds for his role here and the Academy loves stuff like that. Add that up and it’s more uncertainty in an already quite uncertain Supporting Actor derby.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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