89th Academy Awards: The Aftermath

Photo courtesy of Variety.

Photo courtesy of Variety.

This day has been quite an emotional roller-coaster for me (I downloaded the awards show last night as I isolated myself from all news and social media).

After missing a lot of categories in the first half, I was convinced that La La Land was probably not winning Best Picture… until it started winning big time, getting six wins including major awards for Best Director (Damien Chazelle) and Best Actress (Emma Stone). I know there was the big possibility of a Moonlight win, but then La La Land was announced so I was extremely happy…

Not for long. Moonlight was the actual winner for Best Picture after an unfortunate backstage blunder. La La Land is my favorite to win, but that doesn’t diminish Moonlight’s over-all accomplishment; it’s unlike any other winner, thematically, artistically, emotionally. It’s an important film that doesn’t just serve a social importance. It is a cinematic milestone.

With that mishap, I will treasure both films as 2016’s masterpieces of cinema, alongside others like Arrival and Hell or High Water, among others.

In this year when so many people have declared the death of cinema, I seriously doubt that. The nominees this year have given an encompassing set of human experiences that are the main reason why film is so important.

I actually was kinda happy that Moonlight won since it will save La La Land the reputation of the one that beat the socially significant Moonlight, thus earning it more backlash.

I’d like both films to stand alongside one another as the proof of 2016’s cinematic zenith, together with the several films, nominated or otherwise.

I still have a lot to watch from this year (as I am so near the end of my quest for 2014, mind you), but this slate of Oscar nominees has made me proud to be someone who wants to make films.

And both films make want to make a film soon. We’ll see.

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89th Academy Awards – FINAL PREDICTIONS

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This time of the year has come. In this post, rather than just doing a will win/could win (as every nominee has a chance to win, at least theoretically), I’d rank the nominees per category according to the probability of winning. So here it goes.

Nominee in bold is the predicted winner.

NOTE: No personal preference here would not come into play here.

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Best Picture

1. La La Land
2. Moonlight (if it resonates more; who hates it?)
3. Hidden Figures (if the late love is real)
4. Manchester by the Sea
5. Arrival
6. Hacksaw Ridge
7. Lion
8. Hell or High Water
9. Fences

Best Director
1. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
2. Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
3. Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
4. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
5. Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge

Best Actor (tight race!)
1. Denzel Washington – Fences (if SAG stat holds up)
2. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea (equal chances with # 1)
3. Ryan Gosling – La La Land (shocker, in a sweep)
4. Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
5. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

Best Actress
1. Emma Stone – La La Land (SAG winner, in Best Picture frontrunner)
2. Isabelle Huppert – Elle (because she campaigned hard + veteran status)
3. Natalie Portman – Jackie (if the performance sticks even if Jackie didn’t)
4. Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
5. Ruth Negga – Loving

Best Supporting Actor
1. Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
2. Dev Patel – Lion (close second; lead advantage)
3. Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
4. Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
5. Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea

Best Supporting Actress
1. Viola Davis – Fences (close to a lock)
2. Naomie Harris – Moonlight (if anyone will shock, it’s her)
3. Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
4. Nicole Kidman – Lion
5. Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Best Original Screenplay
1. La La Land (in a sweep)
2. Manchester by the Sea (if they want to reward MBTS)
3. Hell or High Water (if they really loved it)
4. The Lobster (because why not)
5. 20th Century Women

Best Adapted Screenplay (toss up)
1. Moonlight (if they want to reward Moonlight)
2. Arrival (don’t underestimate this)
3. Hidden Figures (if the late love is real)
4. Lion (if they loved it)
5. Fences (because it’s August Wilson)

Best Animated Feature
1. Zootopia
2. Kubo and the Two Strings
3. Moana
4. My Life as a Zucchini
5. The Red Turtle

Best Documentary Feature
1. 13th (I’m calling this one)
2. O.J.: Made in America (will its length be a factor to win/lose?)
3. Fire at Sea
4. I Am Not Your Negro
5. Life, Animated

Best Foreign Language Film
1. Iran – The Salesman (because the timing is right)
2. Germany – Toni Erdmann (critics’ favorite)
3. Sweden – A Man Called Ove
4. Denmark – Land of Mine
5. Australia – Tanna

Best Cinematography
1. La La Land (because wow, those long takes! colors!)
2. Lion
3. Arrival
4. Moonlight
5. Silence

Best Film Editing
1. La La Land
2. Arrival
3. Hacksaw Ridge
4. Moonlight
5. Hell or High Water

Best Sound Mixing
1. La La Land
2. Arrival
3. Hacksaw Ridge
4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
5. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Sound Editing
1. Hacksaw Ridge
2. La La Land (in a sweep)
3. Arrival
4. Deepwater Horizon
5. Sully

Best Original Score
1. La La Land (what else? clear favorite)
2. Lion (or maybe this one? emotional)
3. Moonlight (if the film is that strong on the voters)
4. Passengers
5. Jackie

Best Visual Effects
1. The Jungle Book
2. Kubo and the Two Strings (it has come THIS far)
3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
4. Doctor Strange
5. Deepwater Horizon

Best Makeup and Hairstyling (toss-up)
1. Star Trek Beyond
2. A Man Called Ove
3. Suicide Squad (because why not)

Best Production Design
1. La La Land (in a sweep)
2. Arrival
3. Hail, Caesar!
4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
5. Passengers

Best Costume Design
1. La La Land (in a sweep; fearless forecast)
2. Jackie (logical choice, but where’s the love for Jackie?)
3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
4. Florence Foster Jenkins
5. Allied

Best Original Song
1. “City of Stars” – La La Land
2. “How Far I’ll Go” – Moana (it’s Lin Manuel-Miranda)
3. “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” – La La Land
4. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Trolls
5. “The Empty Chair” – Jim: The James Foley Story

Best Live-Action Short Film
1. Ennemis Intérieurs
2. Silent Nights
3. Sing
4. La Femme et le TGV
5. Timecode

Best Animated Short Film
1. Piper
2. Pearl
3. Blind Vaysha
4. Borrowed Time
5. Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Best Documentary Short Subject
1. The White Helmets
2. Joe’s Violin
3. Extremis
4. Watani: My Homeland
5. 4.1 Miles

On This Year’s Best Picture Nominees (and why they all connected with me on a personal level)

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This post is not to talk about which is the best of this year’s Best Picture nominees; rather, this is to personally appreciate how these films has touched me on a personal level.

This is one of the gifts of the expanded Best Picture field. I really prefer the sealed ten nominees, but I’d take this ongoing system rather than go back to the five nominees slate. Come on, there’s got to be at least ten deserving films per year.

Aside from non-deservers like The Blind Side, The Descendants, and Bridge of Spies, this expanded field has led to some very interesting choices. If not for this expansion, I doubt films like Up, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Amour, and Selma would have made the five-nominee field. And I love all of these films. Point being, this new system is a gift, at least for me and I also hope to others.

However, no other year has given me a slate of nominees that have really had a very personal effect on me than this year. This is not to talk about the quality of the over-all roster; for that, I’d say 2010 and 2013 were the most consistently excellent fields while 2012 gave five films that I consider to be classic.

This is to state how all films have affected me on a personal level at this point in my life, and I can say no other group of nominees had all of the films in it move me than this year.

Troy Maxson is far from likable; he commits mistakes, does not accept anything going against him, and he wears it all in his sleeve. Despite this, he works hard so much just to provide to his family. His wife Rose, on the other hand, struggles to keep their family together while remaining in silence and submission, just so that she could be a good wife to Troy and a homemaker to her whole family. Her compassion to everyone around her is unwavering even if she mostly gets unnoticed and taken for granted. Fences gives an insight on how we extend our love to the people around us despite our inherent imperfections and differences with one another.

The main characters of Hell or High Water demonstrate different forms of love that is far from verbal. Maybe because of the socially-instilled machismo where saying one’s feelings is often read as a sign of weakness, these men express love in ways that fit their society. Toby Howard goes into a series of bank robberies in the hopes of securing a better future for his children. All along, his ex-con brother Tanner helps him execute Toby’s desire of helping the children. On the other side, Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton casually throws racial insults to his longtime partner and friend Alberto Parker, a man of Indian-Mexican descents. In that insult-as-term-of-endearment relationship dynamics between these two, it just feels all too familiar and authentic.

Lee Chandler, the emotionally wrecked center of Manchester by the Sea, is entrusted to take custody of his nephew after his brother’s death. Regarded with some infamy due to a previous tragedy in the same town of his brother, Lee struggles to connect with his now-grown up nephew and his ex-wife from a marriage that ended on some really bad terms. In flashbacks, we witness the stark contrast between his past and his painful present. This film makes us see Lee beyond what we see of him now. He is a man created by a series of highs and lows in life and most people fail to see that. They just see Lee as the drab janitor or even “the Lee Chandler”. This film makes us realize the power of empathy to one another and how it could help us build connections with one another.

Helping one another is also at the core of Hidden Figures. In an effort to send the first American into space, the team at NASA are forced to work together and set aside the culturally-imposed racial segregation and discrimination. The film makes us see how we can achieve so much by setting aside our differences and focusing on working with one another towards a common goal. In a time when we have so much divisiveness, this film show us the power of change that we can make through unity. The film also demonstrates how the protagonists still did their best to serve that very common goal despite oppressive and unfavorable circumstances.

In possibly one of the most daring films of recent memory, Moonlight shines light on how one man grows up and finds himself in the context of a society that is not so accepting of a man like him. As I recall what a character from the important documentary Paris is Burning once said, life is so much harder for an African-American homosexual living in poverty. I am guilty of self-doubt and occasional self-loathing in many forms. In our dispensation when we are so concerned in looking at each other’s faults, with the “me generation” that has been promulgated by different social media platforms and technology, when validation is equated to a Facebook like, this film shows us how we learn the value of acceptance, whether be it ourselves or someone close to us.

Acceptance is also a strong theme in the heartbreaking Lion. Saroo has lived a life of tragedy, and he has done his best, as well as his adoptive parents, to shelter him from the tragedies of the past. However, his initial hesitance to acknowledge his past only brought him sorrow. It also brought him even closer to what he has been constantly avoiding. Despite the looming hopelessness in undertaking the colossal task of tracing his hometown, his persistence in holding on to the hope of finding his family and going back to where he really came. Looking back is bittersweet, but mostly painful. Not really because of the bad memories, but just like Saroo, it is the thought of never being able to bring back the small joys of the past that brings him pain. This film provides great catharsis in the thought that tragedies like Saroo’s separation from his family resulted him to experience unconditional love from both his families.

Perhaps eliciting the most surprising response from me, Hacksaw Ridge goes into the struggles of a believer. Bullied by his comrades in the army because of his refusal to take arms because of religious belief, Desmond Doss sets out to serve his country even without taking a rifle. Even up to the battlefields where violence is the reigning virtue, Doss refuses. It is his steadfast adherence to his faith that really moved me. Coming from a family that does not believe in Roman Catholicism, the major religion in the Philippines, casual bullying and insults because of my different religious belief were common ever since I was a child. I was lucky enough that no one had physically hurt me yet because of my beliefs, but I know people of the same belief that have been hurt. Being discriminated because of my religious belief, I know that too well. And just like Desmond’s experience in Okinawa, there are moments in life where it is much more convenient to just abandon your faith in the moment. This film proves the power of one’s steadfast adherence to his faith and how it can impact the people around him even if he is being ridiculed or reviled.

At this point in out history, we have never seen dominance of divisive world leaders. May be it the feared domination of Russia’s Putin or the disgusting racism and sexism of America’s Trump or even the inconsistencies in the political stances of Philippines’ Duterte, not to mention is ever-criticized war on drugs that has produced both irrational supporters and harsh critics, the world is nowhere near united. As with the case of the Philippines, well, both Duterte critics and supporters have been strongly divided. Social media have become a venue for rabid attacks from both sides no one is going to back down. In a time when divisiveness is unstoppable, the glorious science fiction Arrival reminds us of the power of communication and of helping each other out. Just like Hidden Figures, it is about setting aside our differences and coming together to achieve what we really need. And in this film, it can all start from a mother whose love for her daughter transcends the limitations of time and space.

And on a very personal note, after graduating from film school, I started questioning my desire to work in film. I do want to be a filmmaker, but I have got to start from scratch. It is not an easy career. As evidenced by many young filmmakers, passion is what drives someone to go into filmmaking, not practicality. And I am at this point in my life where the aspirations of sparking change into society by making films are slowly falling apart. My priority is now practicality: waking up, doing household chores, finding a stable job, watching a film or two, going to sleep, and then repeat. At this point in my life, I am still asking myself, is my dreams in filmmaking worth pursuing? What would it cost? Is it worth the agony, the sleeplessness, the exhaustion? Is it worth being separated from your loved ones? Those are the very same questions that La La Land raises. Truth be told, this is a film that I needed to see at his point in my life, just like how last year’s Spotlight was the one essential film for me at that point.

These films just resonate even more because of what is happening in the world and what is currently happening in my life. These films needed to be made and released in 2016.

Never have I experienced such self-assessment and meditation while watching a batch of Best Picture nominees.I can find a bit of myself in all of the nominees. This was a great batch.

And to a lesser important note, here is my initial ranking of the nominees:

1.& 2. Arrival and La La Land (let me decide in the future)
3. Hell or High Water
4. Moonlight
5. Lion
6. Hidden Figures
7. Manchester by the Sea
8. Hacksaw Ridge
9. Fences

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Class of 2016

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Quick Confession: This blogger loves Best Actress more than any category at the Oscars and even during awards seasons, together with Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. Hence, a stand alone post about this year’s Best Actress contenders.

By this time, several critics’ awards have already been given. Popular precursor awards like the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association have already laid their cards with their choices.

Meanwhile, the Golden Globe Awards, known for its split between drama and musical/comedy categories, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the group most likely to influence because they are composed of actual actors (as well as journalists) have already announced their nominees.

By this point, several performances have already been ordained as locks, safe bets, or long shots. In a theoretical world, everyone could be nominated, but here’s the top twelve that are most likely to battle their way in the extremely crowded Best Actress category.

(I won’t include my personal opinion of the performances; I have only seen Huppert, Streep, and Field as of the time of writing.)

The Rest of the Field

Perhaps that one performance that could have arguably went the Best Actress way was Viola Davis in Fences. However, a supporting campaign was pitched and it helps her now become the de facto favorite for the win. Some are still speculating a shocker category switch come nomination announcement a la Kate Winslet (2008) or Keisha Castle-Hughes (2003). But given the competition, it’s safe to say that Davis will remain here.

Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals received considerable acclaim, but it became clear quite early in the awards season that Arrival was her more viable ticket to the awards season. This might just even help her cause for a win instead of a foreseen vote split.

Performances in comedic films has always had a tough time getting traction. Some of these performances are Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen (Globe nominee), Sally Field in Hello, My Name is Doris (BFCA Comedy nominee), Lily Collins in Rules Don’t Apply (Globe nominee), Susan Sarandon in The Meddler, Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker, Greta Gerwig in Maggie’s Plan, and Kristen Stewart in Cafe Society.

Performances from indie hits have once in a while been visited by the Academy, but mostly during years with thin competition. This year’s slew of acclaimed performances include Sasha Lane in American Honey, Krisha Fairchild in Krisha, and Sarah Paulson in Blue Jay.

Similarly, acclaimed performances from genre films find themselves having a hard time getting in the conversation. Recently Oscar-nominated actresses in genre films include Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl (thriller) and Sandra Bullock in Gravity (sci-fi). This year’s contenders include Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers (sci-fi), Mary Elizabeth Winstead in 10 Cloverfield Lane (horror), Felicity Jones in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (sci-fi), and Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch (horror).

Foreign-language performances also have a harder time getting in the conversation simply because of language barrier. Most America-based award giving bodies (as we expect) tend to focus more on English-language works. This year’s contenders include Isabelle Huppert in Things to Come, Sandra Huller in Toni Erdmann, and Sonia Braga in Aquarius.

And finally, there are performances in films positioned as contenders that simply didn’t pan out the way they were expected. These contenders include Marion Cotillard in Allied, Rachel Weisz in Denial, and Alicia VIkander in The Light Between Oceans.

THE TOP 12

Long Shots (11-12)
This group have shown enough acclaim and awards received to tell that they are still in the conversation despite not being the strongest contenders out there. Make no mistake: contenders like Laura Linney in The Savages (2007) and Samantha Morton in In America (2003) were all in this category with not having significant precursor awards (BFCA, SAG, Globes, etc.), and yet emerging as Oscar nominees.

12. Rebecca Hall in Christine as Christine Chubbuck

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Citations: LAFCA (runner-up), Toronto (runner-up), Chicago (nom), Detroit (nom), Houston (nom)

In a weaker year, this may have been a stronger contender. Always a reliable character actress, Rebecca Hall is no stranger to Hollywood although she hasn’t been given the spotlight yet. Taking on a real-life character with considerable notoriety, Hall garnered critical acclaim for her performance, though being in a small independent film was inherently a challenge for her to crack in the race. However, she popped in several critics’ awards as nominee or runner-up. In a tight race like this, it all matters. Although it’s an extreme long shot, given the bigger names on this race, Hall is a viable if really out-there shocker.

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11. Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship as Lady Susan Vernon

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Citations: BFCA (nom, Comedy), Evening Standard (WIN), Gotham (nom)

Given its acclaim, Love & Friendship could have been a bigger contender. However, for some reasons including an early release date and an almost non-existent campaign, the film almost went into oblivion come awards season, save for some few notices. It pulled a nomination for Best Actress in Comedy at the BFCA which was a nice reminder that her performance is a contender.

However, a surprising snub at the Golden Globes was another nail in the coffin. With its two nominations from known award giving bodies and a win from a British group, it could still muster a campaign given Beckinsale’s household status in Hollywood. On a second thought, Amazon Studios must be focusing its campaign on Manchester by the Sea so…

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Viable Upsets (8-10)
We have enough reason to believe that any of these contenders are feasibly able to pull off an surprise nomination more than the long shots but still not as ‘up there’ as those in the next group. For some reasons, they were at once solid contenders but they now position themselves as by the sidelines, possibly waiting for an aggressive late campaign.

10. Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train as Rachel Watson

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Citations: SAG (Best Actress nom)

Just as we thought that this was done, due to the film’s poor critical reception, she snagged a surprising SAG nomination which helps her good will. She has been a Best Actress contender since 2014 (Into the Woods and Sicario) and she has been getting career-best reviews for this performance.

On one hand, SAG must have really liked her. On the other hand, it may not really matter since SAG-AFTRA also have non-actor members. On one hand, critics are saying that this is Blunt’s best performance and the film was a box-office success. On the other hand, the film is loudly panned by critics. In the end, it may not matter though.

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9. Jessica Chastain in Miss Sloane as Elizabeth Sloane

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Citations: Golden Globe Drama (nom), Phoenix Critics (nom)

Weeks ago, this was a really strong contender. However, mixed-to-positive reception, poor box-office results, and lack of presence in awards season made Chastain’s chances shaky to almost dead… until the Golden Globes resurrected her. Sure, she had the advantage of the split categories in Best Actress, but trumping over Taraji P. Henson’s more popular film (and possible Best Picture contender) means something. Also, while the film earned mixed critical response, Chastain is single-handedly noted as the film’s high point. The film also delves on a timely subject (gun control) that may or may not keep Academy members from watching it.

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8. Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures as Katherine Johnson

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Citations: SAG (Ensemble nom), NBR (Ensemble win), Black Reel (nom), NAACP (nom), Satellite (nom)

While Henson missed a lot of precursor awards, hear me out: Hidden Figures is a potential Best Picture contender. With a SAG Ensemble nomination (among many ensemble wins; it competes with Moonlight for most wins) and several Best Picture mentions for Hidden Figures, add to that Octavia Spencer’s likely Supporting Actress nomination, we are sure Henson’s work is seen. That is very important.

And she is playing a landmark real-life character in a film that perfectly suits America’s current political climate. As the film is regarded as “uplifting”, “feel-good”, and “inspiring” by several critics, Hidden Figures will most likely battle for Best Picture, and that is Henson’s strength. And her iconic television work won’t hurt either. We’ll see.

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In the Mix (4-7)
These four contenders are left battling for the last two slots, assuming that the top three are safe bets (more on that later). These performances are decorated with crucial precursor awards and all have something going for them. However, significant factors also deter them from becoming safe bets. Unless someone from number 8 below sneaks in, expect these four to be in an intense fight for the slots. You can all make arguments why each contender will make it or will not make it.

7. Ruth Negga in Loving as Mildred Loving

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Citations: Golden Globe Drama (nom), BFCA (nom), NYFCO (Breakthrough win), several critics’ awards (nominations)

Perhaps the least known of the bunch, Negga established herself as a formidable contender this year ever since Loving‘s Cannes premiere. With another timely topic in relation to America’s current politics, the film managed to stay in the conversation as a relevant and urgent film. Tagged as “subtle” and “quiet” by critics, the film’s Best Picture buzz seemed to fade in contrast to the “louder” offerings of the more recently opened contenders. Negga herself was not nominated for SAG (something I expected she will), making us think if Loving’s (and Negga’s) chances are still as strong as it is before the awards season started.

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6. Annette Bening in 20th Century Women as Dorothea Fields

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Citations: Golden Globes Musical/Comedy (nom), BFCA (nom), Atlanta (win), several critics’ awards (nominations)

Weeks ago, this was a shoo-in Best Actress nominee (and even a possible winner). However, missing that SAG nomination was crucial and raises the suspicion of how 20th Century Women is actually perceived within the industry. Career tribute and achievement awards are constantly handed to her (and it all helps), she’s a respected actress in Hollywood, but being in a small independent film with an ensemble cast may have prevented her. Some are citing the late release date to cause this. But something must not be ignored: with a career filled with strong performances, this is called as Bening’s career-best. That’s something.

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5. Isabelle Huppert in Elle as Michèle Leblanc

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Citations: Golden Globes Drama (nom), BFCA (nom), Gotham (win), NYFCC (win), LAFCA (win), Boston Online (win), San Francisco (win), Boston (win), several critics’ awards (nominations)

A French acting legend finally cracking inside this Oscar race unlike before. She started from a longshot possibility to critics’ favorite, earning the most Best Actress wins at the precursor awards. It also helps that her film was submitted in the Best Foreign Language Film (although it didn’t make the shortlist) and she also has another well-received turn in Things to Come. Despite the potentially risque topic, she survived and got nominated in major critics’ awards.

As with Bening, it really means something when an acting goddess like Huppert who has delivered a string of strong and memorable performances get career-best reviews for this film. SAG miss blows, but like Marion Cotillard (2014) and Charlotte Rampling (2015), I’m expecting fervent critical support will rally her all the way to an Oscar nomination.

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4. Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins as Florence Foster Jenkins

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Citations: SAG (nom), Golden Globes Musical/Comedy (nom), BFCA Comedy (win), Phoenix Film Critics (nom), Satellite (nom)

Meryl Streep, Greatest Living Actress. She got stellar (if usual) reviews for her work in an early opening film. Precursor awards made minimal mention of her, but she won Best Actress Comedy in BFCA together with nominations for Golden Globes and SAG. For the first time in a long time, Streep is not a safe nominee. However, given how much the Academy loves her (if nominated, this is her 20th), add to that the biopic factor, things seem to favor Streep getting nominated despite an early release and a stiff competition.

The downside? The film did good business, but not as good as her past offerings (Julie & Julia made $129 million, FFJ made $44 million). Also, other contenders seem more urgent in having a nomination compared to Streep (Negga breakthrough, Bening overdue, Huppert never nommed).

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Safe Bets (1-3)
These three are, I believe, the most expected to appear on the Academy’s roster of nominees for this year’s Best Actress. While # 3 is a call that I personally made (others still don’t see it happening), the top two have been there since they made the festival tour and then the awards season. Also, the Best Actress winner would most likely come from these three. Unless there is a huge f*ck-up that will happen, expect these names come the morning of nominations announcement.

3. Amy Adams in Arrival as Dr. Louise Banks

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Citations: SAG (nom), Golden Globes Drama (nom), BFCA (nom), NBR (win), several critics’ awards (nominations)

She started the awards season with the Best Actress win which was a good sign given how unsure Arrival is in terms of reception (not that it’s bad). While not winning anything after NBR, she showed up in almost every critics’ awards as a nominee, right there with Emma Stone and Natalie Portman. If ever, this is her sixth nomination.

Overdue for a win? Possible. She is also getting career-best reviews for this film and Arrival is a true Best Picture contender. It’s really hard to see the Academy pass on their favorite given how critically acclaimed her turn here is. If for some twist of fate, she wins either BAFTA and/or SAG, prepare for a late resurgence for a win. Until now, I’m holding my assumptions and say she might win this.

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2. Natalie Portman in Jackie as Jacqueline Kennedy

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Citations: SAG (nom), Golden Globes Drama (nom), BFCA (win), Washington D.C. (win), Dallas-Fort Worth (win), Chicago (win), several critics’ awards (nominations)

Even besting her Oscar winning turn in Black Swan, Portman is again getting career-best reviews, with reviews even saying her work in Jackie is better than in Black Swan. That says a lot. She also fills the drama slot in this race to compete with Emma Stone’s comedy/musical slot, the same way Jessica Chastain did with the Best Actress race with Jennifer Lawrence in 2012.

Some say her 2010 Oscar win detracts her chances of winning, but with a surprise BFCA win and winning other critics’ awards, Portman might be back again as a serious contender for the win. Praised for her technical proficiency in the role of an iconic woman, Portman has the biopic card with her. Sally Field won twice in the span of six years. Hilary Swank, also six years. Jodie Foster, four years. It’s really possible.

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1 . Emma Stone in La La Land as Mia Dolan

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Citations: SAG (nom), Golden Globes Musical/Comedy (nom), BFCA (nom), Venice (win), several critics’ awards (nominations)

And our current frontrunner for Best Actress is from the current frontrunner for Best Picture – that rarely happens. Ever since her Venice win (over Natalie Portman, mind you), Stone keeps on getting notice after notice for her work in this film. It really helps a lot that the film is the current favorite to win Best Picture as well. We expect her to win Best Actress Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globes. She’s a famous international young female star in a presumably likable performance and film (think Jennifer Lawrence in 2012, Julia Roberts in 2000, Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998).

Two question marks though:

First, she actually hasn’t won any competitive awards yet expect for the Venice win. That’s strange for a presumed Best Actress frontrunner.

Second, will she and La La Land maintain their frontrunner status until the Oscars ceremony? It’s really difficult to start as the frontrunner because backlash happens (it’s already starting to happen, in small portions). That is Natalie Portman’s and Amy Adams’ possible entry point once the backlash gets intense.

Meanwhile, Emma Stone sits fine as the current favorite to win.

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Who do you predict to make the five Best Actress nominees at the Oscars? Who do you want to be nominated? 🙂

FINAL PREDICTIONS: 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards

sagpredix

(announcement of nominees at 10 PM PHT)

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST
Fences
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight
alt. Hell or High Water, Silence, 20th Century Women, Lion, Nocturnal Animals

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Joel Edgerton – Loving
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Denzel Washington – Fences
alt. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic, Andrew Garfield – Silence, Tom Hanks – Sully, Michael Keaton – The Founder, Matthew McConaughey – Gold

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
alt. Amy Adams – Arrival, Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins, Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane, Taraji P. Henson, Rebecca Hall – Christine

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Stephen Henderson – Fences
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
alt. Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea, Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins, Ben Foster – Hell or High Water, Issei Ogata – Silence, Mykelti Williamson – Fences, Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals, Kevin Costner – Hidden Figures, Alan Rickman – Eye in the Sky, Peter Sarsgaard – Jackie, Adam Driver – Silence

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Viola Davis – Fences
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
alt. Janelle Monae – Hidden Figures, Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Men, Molly Shannon – Other People, Helen Mirren – Eye in the Sky, Felicity Jones – A Monster Calls, Lupita Nyong’o – Queen of Katwe

FINAL PREDICTIONS: 74th Golden Globe Awards

goldeb-globe-predix

The awards season is starting to heat up. At this point,

  • La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight have all consistently showed strong support from critics awards in the Best Picture category.
  • Casey Affleck, Isabelle Huppert, and Mahershala Ali are sweeping the early critics awards while Best Supporting Actress still has no strong frontrunner.
  • Manchester by the Sea gets most of screenplay awards.
  • O.J.: Made in America, despite being an eight-hour miniseries, continues to rule Documentary Feature category, with close competitions like 13th and I Am Not Your Negro, among others.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) will be announcing the nominees for the 74th Golden Globe Awards on December 12 (Mon) while the awards night will be held on January 8 (Sun). Despite being a very popular precursor awards, a Golden Globe nomination is in no way a guarantee for an Oscar nomination, especially with the split between drama and musical/comedy categories. It doesn’t help though that this is a televised awards show.

Here are my predictions (per category), together with possible spoilers and longshot possibilities. I didn’t have the time to add my opinion per category, so just comment below and let’s talk about them.

MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

  • Fences
  • Loving
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight
  • Silence

Possible Spoilers: Jackie, Lion, Arrival, Hell or High Water, Hacksaw Ridge

Longshot Possibilities: Hidden Figures, Sully, Patriots Day, Nocturnal Animals, Live by Night

MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL/COMEDY

  • 20th Century Women
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Love & Friendship

Possible Spoilers: Deadpool, Captain Fantastic, Rules Don’t Apply, The Lobster, Sing Street

Longshot Possibilities: The Nice Guys, The Comedian, Ghostbusters, Hello My Name is Doris, Maggie’s Plan

ACTOR – DRAMA        

  • Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
  • Joel Edgerton – Loving
  • Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
  • Tom Hanks – Sully
  • Denzel Washington – Fences

Possible Spoilers: Andrew Garfield – Silence, Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals, Chris Pine – Hell or High Water, Miles Teller – Bleed for This, Matthew McConaughey – Gold

Longshot Possibilities: Mark Wahlberg – Patriots Day, Ben Affleck – Live by Night,               Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Snowden, Chris Pratt – Passengers, Brad Pitt – Allied

ACTOR – MUSICAL/COMEDY      

  • Warren Beatty – Rules Don’t Apply
  • Ryan Gosling – La La Land
  • Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
  • Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool

Possible Spoilers: Michael Keaton – The Founder, Colin Farrell – The Lobster, Adam Driver – Paterson, Robert DeNiro – The Comedian, Ryan Gosling – The Nice Guys

Longshot Possibilities: George Clooney – Hail, Caesar!, Daniel Radcliffe – Swiss Army Man, Paul Dano – Swiss Army Man, Don Cheadle – Miles Ahead, Jonah Hill – War Dogs

ACTRESS – DRAMA        

  • Amy Adams – Arrival
  • Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
  • Isabelle Huppert – Elle
  • Ruth Negga – Loving
  • Natalie Portman – Jackie

Possible Spoilers: Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane, Emily Blunt – The Girl on the Train, Rebecca Hall – Christine, Amy Adams – Nocturnal Animals, Jennifer Lawrence – Passengers

Longshot Possibilities: Marion Cotillard – Allied, Sarah Paulson – Blue Jay, Rachel Weisz – Denial, Sasha Lane – American Honey, Royalty Hightower – The Fits

ACTRESS – MUSICAL/COMEDY   

  • Kate Beckinsale – Love & Friendship
  • Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
  • Sally Field – Hello, My Name is Doris
  • Emma Stone – La La Land
  • Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Possible Spoilers: Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen, Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters, Renee Zellweger – Bridget Jones’s Baby, Kate Winslet – The Dressmaker, Kristen Stewart – Café Society

Longshot Possibilities: Greta Gerwig – Maggie’s Plan, Susan Sarandon – The Meddler, Lily Collins – Rules Don’t Apply, Rachel Weisz – The Lobster, Tina Fey – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

SUPPORTING ACTOR     

  • Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel – Lion
  • Liam Neeson – Silence

Possible Spoilers: Ben Foster – Hell or High Water, Stephen Henderson – Fences,              Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals, Kevin Costner – Hidden Figures, Issei Ogata – Silence

Longshot Possibilities: Peter Sarsgaard – Jackie, Mykelti Williamson – Fences, Adam Driver – Silence, Simon Helberrg – Florence Foster Jenkins, Alan Rickman – Eye in the Sky

SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

  • Viola Davis – Fences
  • Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women
  • Naomie Harris – Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman – Lion
  • Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Possible Spoilers: Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures, Janelle Monae – Hidden Figures, Molly Shannon – Other People, Elle Fanning – 20th Century Women, Helen Mirren – Eye in the Sky

Longshot Possibilities: Felicity Jones – A Monster Calls, Lupita Nyong’o – Queen of Katwe, Lily Gladstone – Certain Women, Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Miss Sloane, Chloe Sevigny – Love & Friendship

DIRECTOR       

  • Denzel Washington – Fences
  • Damien Chazelle – La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
  • Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
  • Martin Scorsese – Silence

Possible Spoilers: Denis Villeneuve – Arrival, Pablo Larrain – Jackie, Garth Davis – Lion, Jeff Nichols – Loving, Clint Eastwood – Sully

Longshot Possibilities: David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water, Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge, Mike Mills – 20th Century Women, Theodore Melfi – Hidden Figures, Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

SCREENPLAY     

  • Fences
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Possible Spoilers: The Lobster, Silence, Loving, 20th Century Women, Arrival

Longshot Possibilities: Jackie, Hell or High Water, Nocturnal Animals, Hidden Figures, Love & Friendship

ORIGINAL SCORE     

  • Arrival
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion

Possible Spoilers: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The BFG, Nocturnal Animals, Moonlight, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

ORIGINAL SONG    

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” – La La Land
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Trolls
  • “City of Stars” – La La Land
  • “How Far I’ll Go” – Moana
  • “I See Victory” – Hidden Figures

Possible Spoilers: “Back to Life” – Queen of Katwe, “Try Everything” –  Zootopia, “Faith” – Sing, “Angel by the Wings” – The Eagle Huntress, “Drive It Like You Stole It” – Sing Street

ANIMATED FEATURE     

  • Finding Dory
  • Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • Zootopia

Possible Spoilers: Trolls, Sing, Sausage Party, Your Name, The Little Prince

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM        

  • France – Elle
  • Germany – Toni Erdmann
  • Iran – The Salesman
  • Spain – Julieta
  • South Korea – The Handmaiden

Possible Spoilers: Chile – Neruda, Denmark – Land of Mine, United Kingdom – Under the Shadow, Israel – Sand Storm, Canada – It’s Only the End of the World

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Comment your thoughts below!