That time of year again is rolling around the corner, where Hollywood has their eye on the next movie to throw onto the awards hype train. So every week (leading up to January 24th, when the Academy’s nominations come out) I’ll be giving you my predictions per category, so that you can impress your friends at all of your New Years Eve parties. And without further ado, let’s see who could score Best Picture…. and the nominees are….
La La Land
A musical getting all the praise?! Yep, La La Land – a new movie musical by Whiplash‘s Damien Chazelle—is becoming one of the few Must-See movies of the Winter Movie Season. It stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and tells the story of two dreamers living in LA—one a Jazz musician wanting to open his own club, the other an up-and-coming actress. But what they have in common is their attraction to each other and their drive to making the impossible, well, possible. And it seems all the Critics Circles (and hopefully the Academy as well) are in love with these two and with the film overall. Could it take the big prize? Many people seem to think so, but we’ll have to wait till 2017 to see.
Tom Ford is back, and this time he’s diving into a tale of failed romance. Nocturnal Animals tells the story of an art curator who is sent a manuscript by her ex-husband. This isn’t just any typical novel, but in fact a reflection of their relationship in the form of a thriller. Ford, known for his work in the Fashion Design world, has carefully crafted a bizarre, non-linear masterpiece that deserves multiple watches. Equally beautiful as it is filthy, this risky venture could prove an awards winner for sure.
The Academy has recently been told that it is, sadly, “too white.” But hopefully with a film like Moonlight deserving every award humanly possible, the coming Oscars will finally turn a progressive page that shows the diversity that Hollywood badly needs to showcase. Newcomer Barry Jenkins creates one of the most personal and human films to ever show up on the silver screen, telling the story of boy throughout three stages of his life, and how the community and individuals shape him into the man he’ll become. Improving a lot of what Boyhood got wrong, Moonlight looks to both sweep and change the Oscars for the better.
Denis Villeneuve’s latest, Arrival, is another incredible film on an already impressive resume. But what sets it apart from his prior work (Prisoners, Sicario) is its ability to be accessible “thought provoking” art, something that the Academy loves to eat up. The Academy also likes to nominate at least one or two movies that entertain the more mainstream audience, and considering that Arrival is still in the Top 10 at the box office, it is likely this will have some power during awards season.
Manchester by the Sea
The Academy loves a good tearjerker, and Manchester by the Sea might be the 2016 selection to fill the coveted slot. Starring Casey Affleck, this one tells the story of a janitor who has recently lost his brother, and now has become the guardian of his nephew. There’s family drama, lots of shots of Boston—all things that the Oscar season has been known to eat up. Will that produce gold for the film in return? There’s a sure possibility.
Often non-English Language films tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to the Best Picture category. But considering the praise and buzz surrounding Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, there could be a chance of that stereotype changing. Seeping with beauty in every frame, this historical erotic thriller waves a complex tale that has been captivating audiences on the festival circuit, and could bring home the gold. And hopefully it comes from a grander category than Best Foreign.
Scorsese is back, and this time he’s decided to deliver a movie not about gangsters, Wall Street, or crime in general, but instead wants the world to know about Portuguese Jesuit priests. And even if the topic sounds not exactly “popcorn movie” material, it is Scorsese, so you know the Academy is gonna at least respect it. Based on the novel by Shūsaku Endō, Silence tells the story of two priests who are sent to Japan to help their mentor who has committed apostasy after being tortured. There is history and culture involved—again, things that Academy loves. And with strong performances and beautiful cinematography, it’s got Oscar winner written all over it.
So which do you think will take the slots for the Best Picture category? Which do you think could win? Comment below with your own Oscar predictions. And next week, we’ll cover those hopefuls in the Best Actor list! Until then, see ya at the movies!