Today we arrive at the final post in my very early Oscar predictions and that means the biggest category of them all: Best Picture. In 2014, when I did my initial round of predictions for 2014 pics, it correctly called 5 of the 8 eventual nominees. A total of 7 of the 8 were mentioned with two being listed in other possibilities.
Obviously the film festival season (Telluride, Venice, Toronto, New York, etc…) is just getting underway in which many of the contenders will be screened. It won’t be until late November and early December before the majority of the heavy hitters will have their word of mouth. Yet here’s how I see it currently at this early juncture:
Todd Haynes’s period piece same sex love story Carol premiered to raves at Cannes and appears to be a legit contender at press time.
Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl is another period piece about the first transgender individual and features last year’s Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne. Hooper won Best Director in 2010 for The King’s Speech, which was awarded Best Picture. His last effort, Les Miserables, was also nominated.
David O. Russell has seen his last 3 pics nominated for the big prize – The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle. This December’s Joy with Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper could join the mix.
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu won Best Director last year for Birdman, which won Picture as well. His December release The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio is already receiving major buzz.
You can never count out Steven Spielberg and this fall’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies is an obvious choice for consideration.
Same goes for the Danny Boyle directed/Aaron Sorkin scripted biopic Steve Jobs with Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet.
The period piece women’s voting rights tale Suffragette features Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, and Helena Bonham Carter and if solid reviews materialize, you have to put it in the mix.
Quentin Tarantino has seen his last two blockbusters – Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained – receive nominations so you cannot count out December’s The Hateful Eight.
There are other biopics to consider – Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead about iconic musician Miles Davis, I Saw the Light with Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams, Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, and Bryan Cranston as Trumbo.
As for films already released, it’s totally possible that Pixar’s acclaimed Inside Out could give the studio its second Picture nod (after 2009’s Up). And if some of this autumn’s releases don’t meet expectations, don’t be shocked if the summer blockbuster and critical darling Mad Mad: Fury Road starts getting another look.
One feature that I’m a bit surprised to see hardly mentioned in the Oscar talk: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s only the most eagerly anticipated release of the year (in many years actually). If reviews are strong, it could certainly get attention. It remains to be seen though.
As Academy watchers know, anywhere from five to ten movies can be nominated. Ever since the Oscars have gone to that system, nine has been the magic number yet there were eight last year. I’ll go with 8 for now, but that may well fluctuate as future predictions come to the blog. Here we go:
TODD’S EARLY PREDICTIONS – BEST PICTURE
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
The Hateful Eight
By the Sea
In the Heart of the Sea
I Saw the Light
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
And there you have it, folks! My first batch of Oscar predictions for the year. Expect a second round in October…