As mentioned before, these are the pre festival projections. When dozens of anticipated titles begin to screen starting later this week, expect everything to come into a considerably sharper focus. In my Supporting Actor entry, I pointed out that there is uncertainty as to whether Tom Hanks will be placed there or in lead for ABeautifulDayintheNeighborhood. I am listing the two time winner as a possibility in both.
In 2018, these initial estimates for Actor yielded 2 out of the eventual 5 nominees – Bradley Cooper for AStarIsBorn and Willem Dafoe in AtEternity’sGate. In my ten other possibilities, I correctly named Christian Bale in Vice and eventual winner Rami Malek for BohemianRhapsody.
As with those previous entries, I am picking the three least surprising winners of the last 28 years, along with the three biggest upsets. Additionally, you’ll see my personal picks for strongest and weakest fields overall.
As a primer, here are the winners from 1990 to now:
1990 – Jeremy Irons, ReversalofFortune
1991 – Anthony Hopkins, TheSilenceoftheLambs
1992 – Al Pacino, ScentofaWoman
1993 – Tom Hanks, Philadelphia
1994 – Tom Hanks, ForrestGump
1995 – Nicolas Cage, LeavingLasVegas
1996 – Geoffrey Rush, Shine
1997 – Jack Nicholson, AsGoodAsItGets
1998 – Roberto Benigni, LifeisBeautiful
1999 – Kevin Spacey, AmericanBeauty
2000 – Russell Crowe, Gladiator
2001 – Denzel Washington, TrainingDay
2002 – Adrien Brody, ThePianist
2003 – Sean Penn, MysticRiver
2004 – Jamie Foxx, Ray
2005 – Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
2006 – Forest Whitaker, TheLastKingofScotland
2007 – Daniel Day-Lewis, ThereWillBeBlood
2008 – Sean Penn, Milk
2009 – Jeff Bridges, CrazyHeart
2010 – Colin Firth, TheKing’sSpeech
2011 – Jean Dujardin, TheArtist
2012 – Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
2013 – Matthew McConaughey, DallasBuyersClub
2014 – Eddie Redmayne, TheTheoryofEverything
2015 – Leonardo DiCaprio, TheRevenant
2016 – Casey Affleck, ManchesterbytheSea
2017 – Gary Oldman, DarkestHour
Let’s begin with the three that I’m deeming as the non-surprise winners. Whittling this down to that number was a challenge. The double wins by Hanks and Penn and even last year’s winner Oldman could’ve easily been named here, too. Here goes…
3. Al Pacino, ScentofaWoman
The legendary thespian was 0 for 6 when it came to nominations and wins entering 1992. He picked up his 7th and 8th nods that year with his supporting role in GlengarryGlenRoss and lead role as a blind former colonel in this Martin Brest directed drama. By Oscar night, it was clear he was finally going to make that trip to the podium.
2. Leonardo DiCaprio, TheRevenant
Like Pacino, DiCaprio had been an Academy bridesmaid before… four times. His fifth nod for TheRevenant guaranteed he’d finally be a winner against weak competition (more on that below).
1. Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
I could have named the Method actor’s victory in 2007 for ThereWillBeBlood as well, but his win five years later as the nation’s 16th President edges it out. From the moment the Steven Spielberg project was announced, Day-Lewis was the odds on favorite and it never changed.
Now – my selections for the upsets:
3. Anthony Hopkins, TheSilenceoftheLambs
While it might seem an obvious win nearly 30 years later, Nick Nolte’s work in ThePrinceofTides had nabbed him the Golden Globe. Additionally, there was some controversy about Sir Anthony’s inclusion in the lead race due to his approximate 16 minutes of screen time. This is truly evidence of a performance so towering that it couldn’t be ignored.
2. Roberto Benigni, LifeisBeautiful
The Italian director/writer/actor was an underdog against competition that included Nick Nolte (once again) for Affliction and Ian McKellen in GodsandMonsters. Mr. Benigni seemed a bit shocked himself when his name was called, as he famously bounded exuberantly to the stage.
1. Adrien Brody, ThePianist
The smart money in 2002 was with Jack Nicholson in AboutSchmidt or Daniel Day-Lewis in GangsofNewYork. Brody’s win was pretty shocking, as was the giant smooch he planted on presenter Halle Berry.
When it comes to overall fields, I’m going recent history with both. For strongest, I’ll give it to 2012. That’s the year Day-Lewis won for Lincoln. All other nominees were rock solid as well with Bradley Cooper (SilverLiningsPlaybook), Hugh Jackman (LesMiserables), Joaquin Phoenix (TheMaster), and Denzel Washington (Flight).
For weakest, I’m picking 2015. This is the aforementioned year of DiCaprio’s overdue win. The rest of the field, however, was a bit lacking. It consisted of Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (TheMartian), Michael Fassbender (SteveJobs), and Eddie Redmayne (TheDanishGirl).
And there’s your Actor look back, folks! Keep an eye out for Best Picture soon as the final post in this series…
As mentioned in those posts, these are an early bird snapshot of where I see the races before they come into sharper focus beginning next week. That’s when the film festival kicks off and many of the Oscar bait fall titles will be screened for critics. Starting next Thursday (August 30), I’ll begin posting my weekly ranked predictions in the major film categories.
Tomorrow – look for Best Director and my first take on the new category everyone is talking about – Best Popular Film. Best Picture should be up Sunday!
We have now arrived at Best Actor for my earliest 2017 Oscar predictions! At first glance, this appears to be potentially loaded with heavy hitters. This includes Gary Oldman going for his first Oscar as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, Daniel Day-Lewis going for his fourth (!) in Phantom Thread, and Tom Hanks going for #3 in The Papers. We also have Hugh Jackman in what could be a show stopping role as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman and Joaquin Phoenix in his already screened and acclaimed performance for You Were Never Really Here.
This is addition to several other very recognizable names listed as possibilities. Bottom line: Best Actor looks packed in 2017 and here’s my initial projections:
TODD’S EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS – BEST ACTOR
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Tom Hanks, The Papers
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here
Chadwick Boseman, Marshall
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Matt Damon, Downsizing
Andrew Garfield, Breathe
Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger
Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin
Liam Neeson, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
Hello all! Welcome to December and welcome to my weekly Thursday Oscar predictions!
It’s been seven days since my last Turkey Day estimates in the eight major categories. A lot can change in a week and there’s been significant developments since we were all couch bound after our Thanksgiving feasts.
Let us count them…
1) Martin Scorsese’s Silence finally held some screenings, meaning buzz is out. Official reviews are embargoed until December 10, but the first reactions indicate that the director’s latest could be a force in the Oscar race. My predictions reflect that. Furthermore, initial word makes one wonder whether it’ll be Liam Neeson or Adam Driver that get the lion’s share of attention in Supporting Actor.
2) A number of awards precursors have rolled out their winners and nominations. We begin with the National Board of Review. Yesterday, the NBR bestowed their winners upon us. They are: Manchester by the Sea (Best Film), Barry Jenkins for Moonlight (Director), Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea (Actor), Amy Adams in Arrival (Actress), Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water (Supporting Actor), Naomie Harris in Moonlight (Supporting Actor), Manchester by the Sea (Original Screenplay), and Silence (Adapted Screenplay). The critics organization also lists ten other pictures on the year’s best list and they are: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hail Caesar!, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Moonlight, Patriots Day, Silence, and Sully. Now – the NBR’s list of films have not and will not match what the Academy does. For instance, Hail Caesar! is not going to nab a Best Picture nod (it’s never been in my top 20 list of possibles and still isn’t). All the others, however, are at least feasible. The most notable snub is Fences, though I’d say it’s still near the top for Academy recognition. Lion is another notable omission.
3) The Critics Choice Awards came out today with their nominations. An important caveat: Silence (and Passengers and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) weren’t screened in time for consideration. The CCA nominates 10 pictures and they are: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Lion, Loving, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, and Sully. Another note: the upcoming Jackie got no Picture love from the NBR or CCA.
There are seven nominees for Best Director and six each in the acting and screenplay races. They are:
Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), Denis Villeneueve (Arrival), and Denzel Washington (Fences). Gibson’s nod is a fascinating one and he may have slightly increased his chances at Oscar attention. That said, it’s important to remember that Scorsese (who’s almost sure to get a nomination) was ineligible.
Actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester), Joel Edgerton (Loving), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Tom Hanks (Sully), and Denzel Washington (Fences). Nothing out of the ordinary here, though Garfield seems more likely to get Acting attention for Silence via the Academy.
Actress: Amy Adams (Arrival), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), and Emma Stone (La La Land). Note: No nod for either Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) or Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane).
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Ben Foster (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals). Note: While some awards prognosticators have listed Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins as a possibility, his fortunes seem to be dwindling. Also, no Mykelti Williams or Stephen Henderson for Fences.
Supporting Actress: Viola Davis (Fences), Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Janelle Monae (Hidden Figures), and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea). No real surprises here.
Original Screenplay: Hell or High Water, La La Land, The Lobster, Loving, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight. Again, no shocks though the ignoring of Jackie continues here.
Adapted Screenplay: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, Nocturnal Animals, Sully. With Hacksaw getting Pic and Director and Actor attention, a bit surprising it didn’t land a nod here.
4) The New York Film Critics Circle named their winners today. La La Land (the current front runner for Best Picture) was victorious. However, Director went to Barry Jenkins yet again for his work in Moonlight. Casey Affleck took another Actor prize with Isabelle Huppert in Elle helping her case out with an Actress win. Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Michelle Williams (for both Manchester and Certain Women) won their Supporting categories. The NYFCC combines screenplay into one and Manchester took top honors there.
Whew. Lots of information, I know, with plenty to digest! Taking all that into account and knowing there’s a bunch more precursors to come – here’s where I have the eight major races standing at this moment:
1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)
2. Silence (PR: 4)
3. Moonlight (PR: 3)
4. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)
5. Fences (PR: 2)
6. Lion (PR: 5)
7. Arrival (PR: 8)
8. Hidden Figures (PR: 10)
9. Loving (PR: 7)
10. Hell or High Water (PR: 11)
11. Jackie (PR: 9)
12. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 16)
13. Sully (PR: 15)
14. Patriots Day (PR: 13)
15. 20th Century Women (PR: 12)
16. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 17)
17. Live by Night (PR: 14)
18. Passengers (PR: Not Ranked)
19. The Jungle Book (PR: 18)
20. The Founder (PR: 19)
1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)
2. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 2)
3. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 4)
4. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 3)
5. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)
6. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (PR: 6)
7. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 7)
8. Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)
9. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 8)
10. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)
Pablo Larrain, Jackie
1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)
2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)
3. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 4)
4. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 5)
5. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 9)
6. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 3)
7. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: 7)
8. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 6)
9. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)
10. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 10)
Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply
1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)
2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)
3. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 3)
4. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 4)
5. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 6)
6. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 8)
7. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 5)
8. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)
9. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)
10. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: 9)
Best Supporting Actor
1. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 1)
2. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 3)
3. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 2)
4. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)
5. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 4)
6. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 6)
7. Adam Driver, Silence (PR: Not Ranked)
8. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 8)
9. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 7)
10. Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie
Best Supporting Actress
1. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 1)
2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)
3. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)
4. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 4)
5. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)
6. Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures (PR: 6)
7. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 7)
8. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 8)
9. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 9)
10. Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold (PR: Not Ranked)
Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls
Best Original Screenplay
1. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)
2. Moonlight (PR: 1)
3. La La Land (PR: 3)
4. Hell or High Water (PR: 4)
5. Loving (PR: 6)
6. 20th Century Women (PR: 5)
7. The Lobster (PR: 8)
8. Jackie (PR: 7)
9. Patriots Day (PR: Not Ranked)
10. Captain Fantastic (PR: 9)
Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Fences (PR: 1)
2. Silence (PR: 3)
3. Lion (PR: 2)
4. Arrival (PR: 5)
5. Hidden Figures (PR: 6)
6. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 4)
7. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 8)
8. Sully (PR: 10)
9. Elle (PR: 9)
10. Indignation (PR: Not Ranked)
Live by Night
Whew! And there you have it…
Let’s see what transpires over the next 7 days until my next round! Until then…
Day #4 of my first 2016 Oscar predictions brings us to Best Actor and in the past two years, even these incredibly early predictions yielded positive results. My 2014 late August/early September Actor predictions gave us four of the five nominees and in 2015 – three.
We start with Michael Keaton. He just missed out on a win in 2014 for Birdman and has had the distinction of appearing in the last two Best Picture winners (Birdman, Spotlight). It’s likely he’ll receive buzz for this December’s The Founder, in which he plays Ray Kroc – inventor of the McDonald’s franchise.
Denzel Washington both stars and directs in Fences, based on an acclaimed play. It’s been 15 years since he won for Training Day and it could be time to hear his name called again.
Casey Affleck has received raves for Manchester by the Sea. Same goes for Joel Edgerton in Jeff Nichols’ Loving. Readers of the previous posts in the Supporting races know that Moonlight looks to make some noise this season and that could extend to its star Trevante Rhodes.
Same goes for La La Land, which could mean a second nomination (ten years after Half Nelson) for Ryan Gosling. There’s Joe Alwyn in the title role of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the latest from double Oscar winner Ang Lee. Woody Harrelson plays the 36th President in LBJ. Double Oscar winner Tom Hanks is Sully. And so on and so on (I’ve even listed Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool as a possibility… even though it’s extremely unlikely).
This finally brings us to Nate Parker, director, writer, and star of The Birth of a Nation, which received raves on the festival circuit earlier this year. It is impossible to know right now how his recent publicity due to a years old rape charge (in which he acquitted) and the suicide of the alleged victim plays out in the minds of voters. For now, I do not have him being nominated. Whether that’s because of the serious competition or other reasons is a factor that is sure to be discussed as the nominations draw closer.
Here’s how I have this initial round shaking out:
TODD’S EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS – BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Joe Alwyn, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Michael Keaton, The Founder
Denzel Washington, Fences
Ben Affleck, Live by Night
Bryan Cranston, Wakefield
Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Andrew Garfield, Silence
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals
Tom Hanks, Sully
Woody Harrelson, LBJ
Dave Johns, I, Daniel Blake
Joseph Gordon Levitt, Snowden
Matthew McConaughey, Gold
David Oyelowo, A United Kingdom
Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation
Dev Patel, Lion
Brad Pitt, Allied
Chris Pratt, Passengers
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool
Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight
Michael Shannon, Midnight Special
Will Smith, Collateral Beauty
Miles Teller, Bleed for This
We’ll hit Best Director tomorrow and then Best Picture!
We’ve arrived at my second round of Oscar predictions in the category of Best Actor and like Best Actress yesterday, there’s only been one change since my initial predictions in early September.
It’s Don Cheadle’s work in Miles Ahead that has been omitted and this is for two reasons: it got mixed reviews on the film fest circuit and it’s likely been pushed back to 2016. Taking his place: Johnny Depp’s work as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, which has earned the star some of the best reviews of his career.
The remaining four: Michael Caine in Youth, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs, and last year’s winner Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl.
I believe Caine could be the most vulnerable of the group and there’s a number of actors that could swoop in and replace him. That list now appears to be topped by Will Smith in Concussion or Matt Damon in The Martian, which has skyrocketed to critical acclaim and terrific box office numbers since my first predictions.
As for now, not a lot has changed here but we’ll see if that remains when my third round is released in November.
TODD’S BEST ACTOR PREDICTIONS (OCTOBER EDITION)
Michael Caine, Youth
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Bradley Cooper, Burnt
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies
Samuel L. Jackson, The Hateful Eight
Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes
Geza Rohrig, Son of Saul
Will Smith, Concussion
Best Director and Best Picture predictions for the second time around will be up on the blog soon!