OSCARS 2019: Best Picture Contenders

It’s already October and this is one of the most exciting parts of the Oscar race: with most of the contenders seen, after the major festivals have ended, and before the precursor awards. The narratives of the contenders are starting to be formed while most of the major backlashes are still yet to explode.

Here’s the Best Picture contenders, class of 2019 (according to their position right now, do comment if you disagree):

Image result for the irishman

These films are not just strong bets for the Best Picture nomination, but whose buzz are already positioning it for the win this early.

  • 1917 (Universal)
  • The Irishman (Netflix)
  • Marriage Story (Netflix)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)

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These films have quite significant hurdles for the win, but the Best Picture nomination feels more confident.

  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Tri-Star)
  • Ford v Ferrari (Disney/20th Century Fox)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Disney/Fox Searchlight)
  • Joker (Warner Bros.)
  • Little Women (Sony/Columbia)
  • Parasite (Neon)

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These films are still waiting for bigger buzz or for actual support from the precursor awards. But make no mistake: these can easily make the jump to the upper tiers.

  • Ad Astra (Disney/20th Century Fox)
  • The Farewell (A24)
  • A Hidden Life (Disney/Fox Searchlight)
  • Hustlers (STXfilms)
  • Just Mercy (Warner Bros.)
  • Richard Jewell (Warner Bros.)
  • The Two Popes (Netflix)
  • Us (Universal)
  • Waves (A24)

Image result for portrait of a lady on fire

These films are not yet within the best Picture conversation, but the remaining months has the possibility to tip the scale in these films’ favor. Be watchful of these films because they can make it if their campaigns, box-office performance, and reviews are on their side.

  • The Aeronauts (Amazon)
  • Avengers: Endgame (Disney/marvel)
  • Bombshell (Lionsgate)
  • Dolemite is My Name (Netflix)
  • Judy (Roadside)
  • The King (Netflix)
  • Knives Out (Lionsgate)
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco (A24)
  • Pain and Glory (Sony/Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Neon)
  • Queen & Slim (Universal)
  • The Report (Amazon)
  • Rocketman (Paramount)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney/Lucasfilm)
  • Uncut Gems (A24)

Image result for downton abbey 2019

These films have massive hurdles to overcome if they ever come near the Best Picture conversation, but I’m already calling the possibility of them getting in.

  • The Banker (Bleecker/Apple+)
  • Cats (Universal)
  • Dark Waters (Focus)
  • Downton Abbey (Focus)
  • The Good Liar (Warner Bros.)
  • Harriet (Focus)
  • The Laundromat (Netflix)
  • The Lighthouse (A24)
  • Luce (Neon)

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These films probably have very slim to no chance of getting nominated in Best Picture, but it’s just too early to count anything out. We’ll never know.

  • Booksmart (Annapurna/United Artists)
  • Clemency (Neon)
  • Honey Boy (Amazon)
  • The Lion King (Disney)
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon (Roadside)
  • Peterloo (Amazon)


So far, those are our Best Picture contenders. Now, let’s view them per studio/distribution company:

DISNEY (including 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight) – 7
After buying Fox in its entirety, this media behemoth has a full plate this awards season, with at least seven films in the Best Picture conversation. They are also coming off of a Best Picture nomination for Black Panther (Marvel), Bohemian Rhapsody (20th Century Fox), and The Favourite (Fox Searchlight).  They also have animated contenders like Frozen II and Toy Story 4.

  • Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
  • Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
  • Ad Astra (20th Century Fox)
  • A Hidden Life (Fox Searchlight)
  • Avengers: Endgame (Marvel)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Lucasfilm)
  • The Lion King

UNIVERSAL (including Focus Features) – 7
This studio has some solid contenders. However, its subsidiary Focus is not doing very well with awards prospect with most of its bets in the long shot position. Focus nabbed a Best Picture nomination last year with BlacKkKlansman and the actual best Picture win with Green Book.

  • 1917
  • Us
  • Queen & Slim
  • Cats
  • Downton Abbey (Focus)
  • Harriet (Focus)
  • Dark Waters (Focus)

Hollywood’s enfant terrible studio is showing off its prowess this awards season with six strong contenders. Perhaps one of its bets has fallen off a bit after its festival run, but never count a Meryl Streep vehicle out of the race.

  • The Irishman
  • Marriage Story
  • The Two Popes
  • Dolemite is My Name
  • The King
  • The Laundromat

A24 – 5
This independent distributor has flexed its muscles in its 2015-17 run with Room, Moonlight, and Lady Bird. Its hold kind of cooled down last year, but this year might be its comeback with a dynamic roster of contenders.

  • The Farewell
  • Waves
  • The Last Black in San Francisco
  • Uncut Gems
  • The Lighthouse

SONY (including Sony Picture Classics) – 4
Another dominant media force, Sony only has four compared to Disney’s seven or Netflix’s 6, but its four bets are solid.

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Little Women
  • A Beautiful Day in Neighborhood
  • Pain and Glory (Sony Pictures Classics)

After missing last year’s top prize with early frontrunner A Star is Born, this Hollywood all-timer comes back with four contenders.

  • Joker
  • Richarrd Jewell
  • Just Mercy
  • The Good Liar

NEON – 4
This independent distributor came close to a nomination with I, Tonya in 2017. This year, this studio continues to diversify its contenders. This year, it also has documentary contender Apollo 11, international feature contender Monos, and Honeyland, a contender in both categories.

  • Parasite
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Luce
  • Clemency

While Cold War did well last year, Amazon also missed on its other contender Beautiful Boy.

  • The Report
  • The Aeronauts
  • Peterloo
  • Honey Boy


  • Bombshell
  • Knives Out


  • Judy
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon

ANNAPURNA (with United Artists) – 1

  • Booksmart

BLEECKER STREET (with Apple+) – 1

  • The Banker


  • Rocketman

STXfilms – 1

  • Hustlers

Could A Star is Born Win Picture, Actress, and Actor at the Oscars?

After the strong critical reception and the foreseeable box-office prominence, A Star is Born is poised to be a formidable contender in Best Picture, Actress, and Actor.

Bradley Cooper gets career-best reviews while Lady Gaga has the (no pun intended) ‘a star is born’ narrative that does well especially in Best Actress. The film itself, also produced, has been positively received since it premiered in Venice. This is probably even going to be the frontrunner in the Golden Globes where musicals have a separate category.

In fact, some pundits are even predicting that the film will win all three awards at the Academy Awards. But historically speaking, could the film pull off this feat? After some tinkering with the Academy Awards’ history, here are the stats that might go for or against the chances of A Star is Born winning these awards.

Here are the stats, and this is gonna be long. Only for Oscar nerds and the curious. Winners are in bold.

There are 80 Best Actress/Actor nominees coming from the same film.

From this, 62 are from Best Picture nominees.

Out of the 62, only three won Best Picture, Actress, and Actor. They are:

  • It Happened One Night (1934) – Claudette ColbertClark Gable
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – Louise Fletcher / Jack Nicholson
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Jodie Foster / Anthony Hopkins

Take note: all of these films were the also the only Big Five winners (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay).

Four films won Best Actress and Actor but not Best Picture. They are:

  • Network (1976) – Faye Dunaway / Peter Finch + William Holden
  • Coming Home (1978) – Jane Fonda / Jon Voight
  • On Golden Pond (1981) – Katharine Hepburn / Henry Fonda
  • As Good as It Gets (1997) – Helen Hunt / Jack Nicholson

Five films won Best Picture and Actress but not Best Actor. They are:

  • Gone with the Wind (1939) – Vivian Leigh / Clark Gable
  • Mrs. Miniver (1942) – Greer Garson / Walter Pidgeon
  • Annie Hall (1977) – Diane Keaton / Woody Allen
  • Driving Miss Daisy (1989) – Jessica Tandy / Morgan Freeman
  • Million Dollar Baby (2004) – Hilary Swank / Clint Eastwood

Only one film won Best Picture and Actor but not Best Actress. It is:

  • American Beauty (1999) – Annette Bening / Kevin Spacey

Eleven (11) films won Best Actress but not Best Picture and Actor. They are:

  • Gaslight (1944) – Ingrid Bergman / Charles Boyer
  • Johnny Belinda (1948) – Jane Wyman / Lew Ayres
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – Vivian Leigh / Marlon Brando
  • The Country Girl (1954) – Grace Kelly / Bing Crosby
  • Room at the Top (1959) – Simone Signoret / Laurence Harvey
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) – Elizabeth Taylor / Richard Burton
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) – Katharine Hepburn / Spencer Tracy
  • The Lion in Winter (1968) – Katharine Hepburn / Peter O’ Toole
  • Children of a Lesser God (1986) – Marlee Matlin / William Hurt
  • Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – Jennifer Lawrence / Bradley Cooper
  • La La Land (2016) – Emma Stone / Ryan Gosling

Six films won Best Actor but not Best Picture and Actress. They are:

  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) – Greer Garson / Robert Donat
  • The Philadelphia Story (1940) – Katharine Hepburn / James Stewart
  • The King and I (1956) – Deborah Kerr / Yul Brynner
  • Separate Table (1958) – Deborah Kerr / David Niven
  • The Goodbye Girl (1977) – Marsha Mason / Richard Dreyfuss
  • The Theory of Everything (2014) – Felicity Jones / Eddie Redmayne

Seven films won Best Picture but not Best Actress and Actor. They are:

  • Cimarron (1930-31) – Irene Dunne / Richard Dix
  • Rebecca (1940) – Joan Fontaine / Laurence Olivier
  • Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) – Dorothy McGuire / Gregory Peck
  • From Here to Eternity (1953) – Deborah Kerr / Montgomery Clift + Burt Lancaster
  • The Apartment (1960) – Shirley Maclaine / Jack Lemmon
  • Rocky (1976) – Talia Shire / Sylvester Stallone
  • The English Patient (1996) – Kristin Scott Thomas / Ralph Fiennes

Twenty-five (25) films did not win Best Picture, Actress, and Actor. They are:

  • A Star is Born (1937) – Janet Gaynor / Fredric March
  • Pygmalion (1938) – Wendy Hiller / Leslie Howard
  • The Pride of the Yankees (1942) – Teresa Wright / Gary Cooper
  • Madame Curie (1943) – Greer Garson / Walter Pidgeon
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) – Ingrid Bergman / Gary Cooper
  • The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) – Ingrid Bergman / Bing Crosby
  • The Yearling (1946) – Jane Wyman / Gregory Peck
  • Sunset Boulevard (1950) – Gloria Swanson / William Holden
  • A Place in the Sun (1951) – Shelley Winters / Montgomery Clift
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) – Elizabeth Taylor / Paul Newman
  • The Hustler (1961) – Piper Laurie / Paul Newman
  • Ship of Fools (1965) – Simone Signoret / Oskar Werner
  • Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – Faye Dunaway / Warren Beatty
  • The Graduate (1967) – Anne Bancroft / Dustin Hoffman
  • Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) – Genevieve Bujold / Richard Burton
  • Love Story (1970) – Ali McGraw / Ryan O’ Neal
  • Lenny (1974) – Valerie Perrine / Dustin Hoffman
  • Chinatown (1974) – Faye Dunaway / Jack Nicholson
  • Atlantic City (1981) – Susan Sarandon / Burt Lancaster
  • Reds (1981) – Diane Keaton / Warren Beatty
  • Missing (1982) – Sissy Spacek / Jack Lemmon
  • Broadcast News (1987) – Holly Hunter / William Hurt
  • The Remains of the Day (1993) – Emma Thompson / Anthony Hopkins
  • In the Bedroom (2001) – Sissy Spacek / Tom Wilkinson
  • American Hustle (2013) – Amy Adams / Christian Bale

Eighteen (18) films have Best Actress and Actor nominations but not Best Picture.

None of the 18 have won both Best Actress and Best Actor.

Out of the 18, three films won Best Actress but not Best Actor. They are:

  • Hud (1963) – Patricia Neal / Paul Newman
  • Dead Man Walking (1995) – Susan Sarandon / Sean Penn
  • Walk the Line (2005) – Reese Witherspoon / Joaquin Phoenix

Three films won Best Actor but not Best Actress. They are:

  • A Free Soul (1930-31) – Norma Shearer / Lionel Barrymore
  • The African Queen (1951) – Katharine Hepburn / Humphrey Bogart
  • Leaving Las Vegas (1995) – Elisabeth Shue / Nicholas Cage

Thirteen (13) films did not win both Best Actress and Best Actor. They are:

  • The Guardsman (1931-32) – Lynn Fontanne / Alfred Lunt
  • My Man Godfrey (1936) – Carole Lombard / William Powell
  • Mourning Becomes Electra (1947) – Rosalind Russell / Michael Redgrave
  • A Star is Born (1954) – Judy Garland / James Mason
  • Wild is the Wind (1957) – Anna Magnani / Anthony Quinn
  • Days of Wine and Roses (1962) – Lee Remick / Jack Lemmon
  • This Sporting Life (1963) – Rachel Roberts / Richard Harris
  • The Great White Hope (1970) – Jane Alexander / James Earl Jones
  • The China Syndrome (1979) – Jane Fonda / Jack Lemmon
  • Educating Rita (1983) – Julie Walters / Michael Caine
  • Ironweed (1987) – Meryl Streep / Jack Nicholson
  • What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993) – Angela Bassett / Laurence Fishburne


Fun Fact: The other two versions of A Star is Born (1937 and 1954) have also been nominated for Best Actress and Actor.

Do you think this year’s version will win Best Actor? Or Best Actress? Or Best Picture? Or all those three?

Best Picture Nominees (2009-2016), RANKED

Since the Academy Awards reinstated the expanded Best Picture field in the 82nd Academy Awards (2009 in film), a system implemented during from 1930s to mid-1940s, the Academy has nominated 72 films for the awards’ highest honor.

Now in its eighth year, this new system has produced some of the most out-there choices, films that would not have gone anywhere near the Best Picture race had it stayed the traditional five nominees, as well as some stinkers that benefitted from the increased number of slots in the category.

Here is my ranking of the 72 Best Picture nominees from 2009 to 2016:

Gravity (2013) and Spotlight (2015) – the best nominee and the best winner of this category since the expanded category began in 2009.

1. Gravity (2013)
2. Spotlight (2015) – WINNER
3. La La Land (2016)
4. Arrival (2016)
5. Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) – WINNER
6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
7. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
8. Amour (2012)
9. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
10. The Tree of Life (2011)
11. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
12. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
13. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
14. Inception (2010)
15. Black Swan (2010)
16. Whiplash (2014)
17. The Artist (2011) – WINNER
18. The Hurt Locker (2009) – WINNER
19. Up (2009)
20. Hell or High Water (2016)
21. 12 Years a Slave (2013) – WINNER
22. Les Miserables (2012)
23. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
24. The Revenant (2015)
25. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
26. Selma (2014)
27. Up in the Air (2009)

Relatively young production/distribution company A24 scored back-to-back nominations with Room (2015) and Moonlight (2016), with the latter becoming a landmark Best Picture winner.

28. The King’s Speech (2010) – WINNER
29. Room (2015)
30. Moonlight (2016) – WINNER
31. The Martian (2015)
32. The Fighter (2010)
33. Her (2013)
34. The Social Network (2010)
35. Toy Story 3 (2010)
36. Brooklyn (2015)
37. Hugo (2011)
38. Midnight in Paris (2011)
39. Nebraska (2013)
40. District 9 (2009)
41. Captain Phillips (2013)
42. Lincoln (2012)
43. Lion (2015)
44. An Education (2009)
45. True Grit (2010)

46. Life of Pi (2012)
47. Boyhood (2014)
48. Hidden Figures (2016)
49. Manchester by the Sea (2016)
50. A Serious Man (2009)
51. Winter’s Bone (2010)
52. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
53. Fences (2016)
54. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
55. Philomena (2013)
56. The Imitation Game (2014)
57. Moneyball (2011)
58. The Kids are All Right (2010)
59. The Help (2011)
60. 127 Hours (2010)
61. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
62. American Hustle (2013)

63. Argo (2012) – WINNER
64. The Big Short (2015)
65. American Sniper (2014)
66. Django Unchained (2012)
67. Avatar (2009)
68. War Horse (2011)

69. The Theory of Everything (2014)
70. The Descendants (2011)

71. Bridge of Spies (2015)
72. The Blind Side (2009)

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


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

88th Academy Awards Nominations – FINAL PREDICTIONS

88thoscars_key_hostHere it is! With the craziness this awards season have, I feel like it’s the right time to be gutsier with my predictions. I don’t know/care if I fare poorly with my predictions; it’s an all-too-unpredictable race with all precedent stats and precursors thrown out of the window, it’s just right to give my forecast come Thursday morning.

(Note: I did not include predictions for the three short film categories – live action, animated, documentary).


Best Picture

spotlight (1)

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Spotlight

… if 6 – Mad Max: Fury Road
… if 7 – Carol
… if 8 – Room
(I’m predicting 8)
… if 9 – Straight Outta Compton
… if 10 – Inside Out

Alt: (#11) Sicario | (#12) Brooklyn | (#13) Son of Saul | (#14) Ex Machina | (#15) Star Wars: The Force Awakens | (#16) Beasts of No Nation | (#17) Joy | (#18) Steve Jobs | (#19) Trumbo | (#20) Creed | (#21) The Danish Girl

Very very tough to predict especially from #8 to # 16. The Danish Girl may lack the visible passion, but you never know since it’s an emotional story that feels timely despite being a period film. The buzz for Creed, Trumbo, and Steve Jobs has faded, but might pull viable longshots. Hear me out with Joy – despite getting mixed reviews, again, it is a timely film; never forget Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close got nominated in 2011 despite much more polarizing reviews.


Best Director


  • Todd Haynes – Carol
  • George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ridley Scott – The Martian
  • Alejandro G. Iñarritu – The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Alt: (#6) Adam McKay – The Big Short | (#7) Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies | (#8) Laszlo Nemes – Son of Saul | (#9) Denis Villeneuve – Sicario | (#10) Alex Garland – Ex Machina

Haynes is definitely the most vulnerable here with his film lacking guild support. McCarthy is also not a sure thing since Spotlight slipped a bit from its frontrunner status. Scott and Miller, while veterans and could play that card, are with non-traditional films (comedy sci-fi and apocalyptic action film), making Iñarritu the only safe choice. McKay seemed like a safer prediction with its current frontrunner status, but screw it – I’m going with Haynes.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role


  • Steve Carell – The Big Short
  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Alt: (#6) Matt Damon – The Martian | (#7) Will Smith – Concussion | (#8) Ian McKellen – Mr. Holmes | (#9) Geza Rohrig – Son of Saul | (#10) Johnny Depp – Black Mass | (#11) Michael B. Jordan – Creed | (#12) Michael Caine – Youth

DiCaprio is the frontrunner, Cranston and Fassbender are safe, Redmayne seems to be coasting towards a nomination despite the lack of passion for the film. Carell is my predicted semi-spoiler to replace Golden Globe winner Damon.

Watch out for both Smith and especially McKellen as surprise nominees, given how they worked the campaign circuit. Son of Saul certainly has presence and makes Rohrig a feasible longshot. Buzz for Depp has faded, but might get in especially because of his star power.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role


  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Jenifer Lawrence – Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

Alt: (#6) Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl | (#7) Rooney Mara – Carol | (#8) Emily Blunt – Sicario | (#9) Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road | (#10) Blythe Danner – I’ll See You in My Dreams | (#11) Lily Tomlin – Grandma | (#12) Maggie Smith – The Lady in the Van | (#13) Sarah Silverman – I Smile Back | (#14) Helen Mirren – Woman in Gold

Blanchett, Larson, and Ronan are safe. Rampling has solid critical support backing her a la Emmanuelle Riva (2012) and Marion Cotillard (2014). Lawrence is the most vulnerable despite the Golden Globe win (it doesn’t count). Normal logic would dictate Vikander or Mara but category confusion and vote splitting are foreseeable hurdles.

If the strong guild support signals Sicario’s prevalence come Thursday morning then expect Blunt pulling off a surprise nomination. Theron could also use the critical support on her performance despite having a film atypical in terms of acting nominations.

#10 to #12 are all veterans seemingly on the hunt of the same spot; I give the edge to Danner for being the first screener sent, then Tomlin for peaking at an early time, albeit too early,  then Smith for the late surge of support. Silverman’s SAG nomination must not be unseen, the same with Mirren (though she would probably get more votes for Trumbo).


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role


  • Christian Bale – The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy – The Revenant
  • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone – Creed
  • Jacob Tremblay – Room

Alt: (#6) Michael Keaton – Spotlight | (#7) Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation | (#8) Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight | (#9) Paul Dano – Love and Mercy | (#10) Benicio del Toro – Sicario | (#11) Michael Shannon – 99 Homes | (#12) Jason Mitchell – Straight Outta Compton | (#13) Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina | (#14) Stanley Tucci – Spotlight

Rylance is the only one safe for the nomination, and he’s not even safe for the win. Bale is also a good bet to be nominated even if some see him as leading. Hardy can ride with DiCaprio’s buzz, Stallone would get a veteran vote (again, not counting his Golden Globe victory), and if Brie Larson is the frontrunner for Best Actress, they must notice Tremblay.

Keaton has the goodwill from last year’s loss for Birdman and he has the biggest role in the Spotlight cast but the lack of notices and the NYFCC win for LEADING might hurt. Elba has critical support but his film seems like an outsider in the race. In Spotlight’s cast, Ruffalo has the “big” scene and BAFTA noticed. Dano had a strong showing throughout the precursor awards, but buzz for the film slips away and category confusion hurts.

If Sicario shows up well, del Toro can show up. Shannon earns both Golden Globe and SAG nominations for a very small film, meaning the performance made a strong impression, but the strength of the film must be seen when pitted against the bigger contenders. Mitchell gets MVP notices for Straight Outta Compton, Isaac might show up if Ex Machina fares really well, and Tucci is definitely getting support for his small but memorable role in Spotlight.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role


  • Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Alt: (#6) Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina | (#7) Helen Mirren – Trumbo | (#8) Joan Allen – Room | (#9) Jane Fonda – Youth | (#10) Kristen Stewart – Clouds of Sils Maria | (#11) Elizabeth Banks – Love and Mercy | (#12) Marion Cotillard – MacBeth

Winslet is the only one safe here for the nomination. Mara is in the big threat of category confusion. Vikander has a double whammy – category confusion for The Danish Girl and vote splitting with Ex Machina. Between the two, I’m predicting they’d settle for the more traditional role (The Danish Girl) than an outré one (Ex Machina) The Hateful Eight is not showing up so strongly so Leigh is not very safe and McAdams is in danger of Spotlight losing its footing as the strong frontrunner, of being overlooked for bigger and showier performances in the cast, and of being pitted against bigger and showier performances from other films including obvious leads and co-leads.

Mirren has a fun, scene-stealing performance in Trumbo that doesn’t have much substance compared to the other competing performances, Joan Allen shines with her limited time in Room and might benefit from Larson’s frontrunner status but the film is losing Best Picture buzz, and Fonda is a strong presence in the Academy and is said to have a memorable part in Youth. Stewart, Banks, and Cotillard all have critical support going for them, therefore making them viable longshots.


Best Original Screenplay

spotlight (2)

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Trainwreck

Alt: (#6) Ex Machina | (#7) Straight Outta Compton | (#8) Son of Saul | (#9) Sicario | (#10) Grandma


Best Adapted Screenplay


  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • The Martian
  • Room
  • Steve Jobs

Alt: (#6) Carol | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) Trumbo | (#9) Anomalisa | (#10) The Danish Girl


Best Cinematography


  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario

Alt: (#6) Son of Saul | (#7) The Hateful Eight | (#8) The Martian | (#9) The Danish Girl | (#10) Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Best Film Editing


  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Spotlight

Alt: (#6) Straight Outta Compton | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) Sicario | (#9) Carol | (#10) Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Best Sound Mixing


  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Straight Outta Compton

Alt: (#6) Star Wars: The Force Awakens | (#7) Spectre | (#8) Sicario | (#9) The Hateful Eight


Best Sound Editing


  • Inside Out
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Alt: (#6) Bridge of Spies | (#7) Sicario | (#8) Spectre | (#9) The Hateful Eight


Best Original Score

  • Bridge of Spies (Thomas Newman)
  • Carol (Carter Burwell)
  • The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone)
  • Inside Out (Michael Giacchino)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (John Williams)

Alt: (#6) Spotlight | (#7) The Danish Girl | (#8) Mad Max: Fury Road | (#9) Steve Jobs | (#10) Sicario | (#11) The Martian | (#12) Brooklyn | (#13) Ex Machina


Best Visual Effects


  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Walk

Alt: (#6) Avengers: Age of Ultron | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) Jurassic World | (#9) Ant-Man | (#10) Tomorrowland


Best Makeup and Hairstyling


  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Mr. Holmes
  • The Revenant

Alt: (#4) The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared | (#5) Black Mass | (#6) Concussion | (#7) Legend


Best Production Design


  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian

Alt: (#6) Star Wars: The Force Awakens | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) Room | (#9) The Hateful Eight | (#10) Brooklyn


Best Costume Design


  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Far from the Madding Crowd

Alt: (#6) MacBeth | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) The Hateful Eight | (#9) Mad Max: Fury Road | (#10) Crimson Peak


Best Original Song


  • “I’ll See You in My Dreams” – I’ll See You in My Dreams
  • “See You Again” – Furious 7
  • “Simple Song # 3” – Youth
  • “’Til It Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground
  • “Writing’s on the Wall” – Spectre

Alt: (#6) “Who Can You Trust” – Spy | (#7) “So Long” – Concussion | (#8) “Waiting for My Moment” – Creed | (#9) “Earned It” – Fifty Shades of Grey | (#10) “Cold One” – Ricki and the Flash


Best Foreign Language Film


  • Belgium – The Brand New Testament
  • France – Mustang
  • Hungary – Son of Saul
  • Jordan – Theeb
  • Denmark – A War

Alt: (#6) Ireland – Viva | (#7) Finland – The Fencer | (#8) “Colombia – Embrace of the Serpent | (#9) Germany – Labyrinth of Lies


Best Animated Feature


  • Anomalisa
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Inside Out
  • Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

Alt: (#6) The Peanuts Movie | (#7) When Marnie was There | (#8) Moomins in the Riviera | (#9) Boy and the World | (#10) Minions


Best Documentary Feature


  • Amy
  • Best of Enemies
  • The Hunting Ground
  • The Look of Silence
  • Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Alt: (#6) Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief | (#7) Listen to Me Marlon | (#8) Heart of a Dog | (#9) He Named Me Malala | (#10) 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets | (#11) We Come as Friends | (#12) Where to Invade Next


What’s your predictions?


Oscar Predictions (December 20, 2013)

I intend to write about more regarding the status of the race per category, but since I do not have the luxury of time, I would just edit this post to insert my thoughts per category. Meanwhile, here are my predictions:

Those in BOLD are the predicted nominees.

Color Legend:
GREEN – Locked for Nomination
RED – In the Mix, Definitely in Contention
BLUE – Longshot









Introduction to SMACKDOWN: 1995 BEST PICTURE


The year is


And the nominees are……

Apollo 13



Il Postino

Sense and Sensibility

If you want to join, just mail me at


The format will be:

Per nominee,

1. Title of Nominee

2. Analysis/Summarized Thoughts

3. Star Rating (no half or zero stars, it’s based on how you grade the movies by itself, not by ranking it with other nominees)

and in the end…..

4. Summarized Thoughts about the line-up



Submission of Analysis will be on

May 20, 2010

And the posting of results will be on

May 23, 2010



would it be the space action-drama-thriller? Or the animal fantasy-drama-comedy? Or the sweeping historical action drama? Or the Italian romantic drama? Or the romantic-comedic-dramatic costume drama?

The jury will decide! Their names will be posted hours before the posting of the results.

And promise, no favoritism!

So, thanks for dropping by and I hope you join us in this smackdown.