Probable Oscar Nominations and Winners 2017

Oscar Talk and Predictions for the 89th Annual Academy Awards.

The Academy Awards will be held on February 26, 2017.

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La La Land (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. (128 mins.)
Director: Damien Chazelle
“ Best Picture *
Best Director - Damien Chazelle *
Best Original Screenplay - Damien Chazelle
Best Actor - Ryan Gosling
Best Actress - Emma Stone *
Best Cinematography *
Best Editing *
Best Costume Design *
Best Production Design *
Best Sound Mixing *
Best Sound Editing
Best Original Song - "City of Stars" *
Best Original Song - "Audition"
Best Original Score *

July: The "Whiplash" Oscar run two years ago is one of my favorite Oscar stories in recent history. The film, which is of my favorite movies from the past five years, went from being the underdog, to the dark horse, to nabbing three Oscars for Supporting Actor, Film Editing, and Sound Mixing. This year, Damien Chazelle is back for his third movie, and hoping once again for Oscar contention.
"La La Land" keeps up Chazelle's love for music, giving us the truest musical we've seen in a while. We've gotten a few Broadway or Disney style musical over the past decade, but from the looks of it, "La La Land" will be returning to the old Hollywood musical style of Gene Kelley and Bing Crosby. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star, with J.K. Simmons back for a supporting role, so look for some acting nominations. Also, lock in a Best Original Song slot for "City of Stars" sung by Ryan Gosling.

September: This is the movie I was excited for more than any other this year, and it looks like the rest of the world is starting to agree with me. The first screenings of "La La Land" have been going on at the Telluride Film Festival this week where it has been receiving incredibly high praise for it's originality, beauty, and purely and simply entertaining nature. One of the biggest stories of the week had Tom Hanks interrupting a Q&A for his film "Sully" to praise "La La Land," despite the two being distributed by different studios. Frankly, I just can't wait for it to come out.

October: Only good things can be said about La La Land’s awards prospects. Emma Stone won Best Actress at Venice and the film won the People’s Choice Award at Toronto. Frankly, the only way La La Land could be having a better early awards race is if it had won the Palm d’Or at Cannes as well. Right now I’m chalking up La La Land for nominations in Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and a couple for Best Original Song, but Best Actress, Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design are right there as very strong possibilities. Not only could this one be one of the biggest Oscar players of the 2016/2017 race, but it is wonderful breath of cinematic fresh air an increasingly unoriginal and political Hollywood.

November: Right now, La La Land is the frontrunner for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Original Song and Best Sound Mixing and is one of the top two favorites for Best Director and Best Film Editing, to go along with it’s other expected nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. Everything is going perfectly for La La Land right now. But it’s only November. It’s becoming increasingly possible that La La Land is peaking too soon, which could result in it failing to achieve everything we expect of it right now. Just look at Boyhood two years ago. Boyhood was the undebated favorite from the very start of Oscar season, and yet in the end it only went home with a win for Best Supporting Actress. La La Land is at the top of the world right now, but more often than not the higher you are, the harder you fall.

December: While there is still the possible concern of it peaking too soon, there are no signs of La La Land’s awards success slowing down at all. Between film festivals, critics awards, and other various movie and music awards distributors, La La Land currently has 57 total nominations, with 13 of those already resulting in a win for the film. And it’s only December. The film has nabbed Best Picture from the New York Critics, the Washington DC Critics, and the Toronto Film Festival, is more than likely going to win Best Picture at the Critics Choice Awards in a couple days, and was named in the AFI’s top ten films of the year. La La Land is getting all the praise and all the statues that come with it, so much so that Oscar is simply the next one in line. Guaranteed nominations include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, two for Best Original Song, and one for Best Sound Mixing, is more than likely to be nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, and the possibility of nominations for Best Actor, Original Score, and Best Costume Design are starting to look really good. The weirdest thing is that Silence doesn’t look to be as strong a contender as we though, which means that unless Moonlight gets an extra boost sometime soon, La La Land is on a very clear road to winning Best Picture.

January: This is La La Land's year. The film swept the Golden Globes winning seven awards, breaking the all-time record for most Globes to single film. Right now, I think we can count on something very similar happening come Oscar night. My final prediction is that La La Land will be nominated for a total of 13 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and two nomination for Best Original Song. The craziest thing is that these predictions are made with 100% confidence - La La Land will be a 13-time Oscar nominee.

February: La La Land got 14 nominations, tying the all time record with Titanic and All About Eve. The all-time record for most wins is held by Titanic and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King with 11 wins each, but I’m predicting La La Land will come up just short and go home with ten. Best Picture is guaranteed, Best Director is guaranteed now that Chazelle won the DGA, Best Actress is guaranteed now that Emma Stone won the SAG, Best Sound Mixing is guaranteed because it’s a musical, and Best Original Song is guaranteed with its two entries. Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing are all really safe bets, though with each of them there are other nominees that could potentially upset. But if they did win, it would most certainly be an upset as La La Land is the major favorite in each category. If we want to look into La La Land getting that 11th and joining Titanic and Return of the King, Sound Editing is the place to look. No musical has ever been nominated for Sound Editing before, so it’s extremely difficult to say where La La Land will end up. Whatever happens, though, these Oscar’s belong to La La Land. ” - Jacob Ford
Moonlight (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. (111 mins.)
Director: Barry Jenkins
“ Best Picture
Best Director - Barry Jenkins
Best Adapted Screenplay - Barry Jenkins*
Best Supporting Actress - Naomie Harris
Best Supporting Actor - Mahershala Ali *
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score - Nicholas Britell

August: For having a release just two months away, not a whole lot is known about this one. It's based on a play by Tarell McCraney, and focuses a young man in Miami during the war on drugs who struggles with his home life and is discovering his sexuality. Certainly a topic that will play well to Oscar audiences if director/writer Barry Jenkins can drive the film to that quality. Jenkins himself doesn't have to his credit yet, with only one feature lenth film way back in 2008. If it does play well, look for Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actors Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris for major categories.

September: By golly, I love that trailer. The first trailer released for "Moonlight" is, in my opinion, the most beautiful one of the year. I was fairly uncertain what kind of film Barry Jenkins was going to give us with his adaptation of this coming of age story based on the play "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue." I seriously cannot wait to see this film, because if it's anything like its trailer, we're sure to have a new serious contender for this Oscars season. I'm also really liking what I see from Naomie Harris in the trailer.

October: Best Supporting Actor sure is taking some time to develop, but the longer it takes, the more I’m sure Mahershala Ali will be this year’s frontrunner. He’ll have Warren Beatty, Hugh Grant, and Michael Shannon to contend with, but this rookie could very well blow them all away. He certainly does in the first trailer. Otherwise, Naomi Harris looks great for Supporting Actress prospects, and I have a feeling Barry Jenkins artistic eye and emotional touch will lead Moonlight to an unexpected Best Picture nomination. This is another one I just can’t wait to see. Trusting that it will be released somewhere in South Dakota, watch for my review later this month.

November: Moonlight still hasn’t come to any theaters near me, so I don’t have a review yet, but watch for one within the next couple weeks. Despite that though, I only have confidence in Moonlight’s Oscar chances. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and the two Supporting Actor categories are pretty much guaranteed right now, and the possibility of Cinematography and Film Editing nominations are very good. Right now, the Best Picture race looks to be between Silence and La La Land, but I’m going to put in an early prediction that Moonlight is going to end up right up there with them in the end.

December: I finally got around to seeing Moonlight and it instantly became my favorite film of the year (note I haven’t seen La La Land, Fences, Manchester By the Sea, or Fences yet, so that could change.) You can read my review of the film here. Awards-wise, Moonlight’s potential has been climbing faster that anyone could have ever guessed it would. With all the critics awards we’ve seen so far, La La Land is essentially winning Best Picture and Moonlight is picking up pretty much everything else. Moonlight practically swept the New York Film Critics Circle Awards (leaving Bets Picture for La La Land,) and also cleaned up at the LA Film Critics Awards, making sure to claim Best Picture for itself. After this first round of awards, I’m pretty sure it’s pretty safe to say that right now this Oscar Best Picture race is between La La Land and Moonlight, though Silence could still mix things up. Guaranteed nominations include Best Picture, Best Director (where it’s the frontrunner,) Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (where it’s the frontrunner,) Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score, and you can probably go ahead and write in best Film Editing as well.

UPDATE: The Academy just rules Moonlight’s screenplay to qualify for Adapted Screenplay and not Original Screenplay. In Original Screenplay, Manchester By the Sea was a guaranteed win, but in Adapted Screenplay there isn’t a singular, strongest contender. This opens up the opportunity for Moonlight to win yet another Oscar, considering that nomination is guaranteed.

January: If it weren't for La La Land, Moonlight would be claiming this Oscars for itself. The film managed to win Best Picture - Drama at the Golden Globes, but that's just because La La Land was on the flipside winning all he awards for Comedy/Musical. As it is the film is going to get a total of eight nominations, but La La Land is just too much of a juggernaut for Moonlight to be the dominant Oscar player it deserves to be. Those eight nominations will be for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. Cinematography and Score aren't as sure bets as the other six categories, but you can go ahead and count on it happening.

February: Moonlight got all 8 nominations that Boy Meets Film predicted and no more. Unfortunately, with how much La La Land is going to dominate, Moonlight is not going to pick up nearly as many Oscars as it deserves. In the end, I'm predicting the film to go home with just two wins: Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. There is a decent chance Barry Jenkins could provide the biggest upset of the night and win Best Director, but after Damien Chazelle won the DGA, that isn't looking so likely. ” - Jacob Ford
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies. (137 mins.)
“ Best Picture
Best Director - Kenneth Lonergan
Best Original Screenplay - Kenneth Lonergan *
Best Actor - Casey Affleck
Best Supporting Actress - Michelle Williams
Best Supporting Actor - Lucas Hedges

July: Like "The Birth of a Nation," "Manchester by the Sea" is another Sundance breakout, but from a more seasoned filmmaker. Kenneth Lonergan is a seasoned playwright and screenwriter who has scored writing nominations for both his first directorial effort "You Can Count on Me" and Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York." With "Manchester by the Sea," it his clear that Lonergan's has put much of himself into this piece, both at the typewriter and in the director's chair. If this turns out to be the emotionally moving drama that it promises to be, you can expect an Original Screenplay nomination, with a good chance of Directing and Best Picture nominations as well. Star Casey Affleck also stole some serious attention at Sundance with his intense performance, so look for a possible Best Actor nod as well.

September: The first trailer gave us what we pretty much all expected the movie to be, so no surprises there. But what we expected it to be, however, is exactly the kind of film that does pretty well, but never seems to go all the way. Kenneth Lonergan's project looks to be the most human film of the year, which bodes really well for the actors and his potential in the Original Screenplay category. So definitely keep an eye on Casey Affleck, people won't stop raving about his work here, but also watch for Michelle Williams to become a leader in the Supporting Actress race.

season closes in, the more it looks like this film is going o be one to contend with in those three spot. The film will surely get an Original Screenplay nomination, and a Best Director nom is certainly a possibility. Not only are Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams sure bets in Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, but the chances of both winning their respective categories looks really good. Affleck will have to contend with Denzel Washinton, but as of yet Williams doesn’t have a major opponent. Finally, I’m not currently predicting “Manchester” in the top eight for Best Picture, but things keep looking up.

November: With how much love Manchester By the Sea has been receiving, you’d think it’d be getting more love with the Oscar talk. Unfortunately, technically speaking, this is a very simple movie, meaning writing, directing, and acting are the only places where Oscar can reward it. That reward will be coming in the form of certain nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay, with a very good possibility of Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Lucas Hedges) to go along with them. As far as winning goes, Original Screenplay is Manchester’s best bet. Normally, the film’s best bet would be Casey Affleck’s Leading Actor performance, but I’m becoming increasingly skeptical that he’ll be able to challenge Denzel Washington for Best Actor.

December: As could have been expected, Manchester By the Sea is getting a huge boost from this first round of critics awards, particularly for Casey Affleck. Before these critics awards began, I was confident Affleck was a sure second for Best Actor as Denzel Washington seemed like an unstoppable force with his Fences performance, but so far Washington has yet to win a single award as Casey Affleck is picking up almost every win. The only thing Affleck hasn’t won yet was at the LA Critics Awards where he was runner-up to Adam Driver for Paterson. Similarly, Michelle Williams has been very successful with her critics wins, despite having Viola Davis and Naomie Harris for incredibly difficult competition. Also getting a boost from the critics awards is young actor Lucas Hedges in his Supporting role. Right now, Guaranteed nominations include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (where it’s the frontrunner,) Best Actor (where it’s the frontrunner,) and Best Supporting Actress (where it’s the frontrunner,) with Best Supporting as a very strong possibility.

January: Manchester By the Sea was disappointed at the Golden Globes when La La Land wpn the Screenplay award that everyone assumed already belonged to Kenneth Lonergan. I suspect that when it comes to Oscar night, Manchester will secure that win no problem. Now Manchester By the Sea is a masterclass of filmmaking, but it is very simplistic. Because of that, the nominations it receives will be limited to just five: best Picture, Best Director, best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. There's a very, very good chance that Lucas Hedges will get a sixth nomination for the film in Best Supporting Actor, but my final predictions have him coming up just short.

February: With Lucas Hedges sneaking into the Supporting Actor race, Manchester By the Sea got even more nominations than expected. Unfortunately, it's looking like the film is going to get fewer wins than expected. The only two categories where Manchester stands any chance are Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor. With Best Original Screenplay, the Manchester is almost guaranteed this win, and it totally deserves it. Things get wacky because La La Land won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes over Manchester, but I don't expect that to happen at the Oscars. The other wackiness is Best Actor, where Casey Affleck has been leading the race from the very beginning. But then some sexual assault accusations came out against Affleck, resulting in Affleck losing out to Denzel Washington at the SAG awards. I think this is the start of a very steep downhill fall for Affleck, as I'm predicting Washington will ultimately win Best Actor. ” - Jacob Ford
Hell or High Water (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's ranch in West Texas. (102 mins.)
Director: David Mackenzie
“ Best Picture
Best Original Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor - Jeff Bridges
Best Film Editing

December: Hell or High Water is a film I initially passed over when thinking about Oscar simply because of its size. I loved the film, you can read my review here, but I simply didn’t think that a movie the size and type that Hell or High Water is had any chance of going all the way. Well right now, I’m being proven wrong. While the LA and New York critics didn’t have anything to award the film, the Washington DC critics, the Critics Choice Awards, the Gotham Awards, the Satellite Awards, and even the Indie Awards have each given the film at least one nomination. And on top of all that, just today the American Film Institute named Hell or High Water as one of the top ten films of the year, making a list that films like Loving, Lion, and Hidden Figures didn’t manage to get their name on. Oscar-wise, the film’s best bet is going to be Jeff Bridges for Supporting Actor (though I’d personally like to see Ben Foster get that nomination.) That being said, each day Hell or High Water’s chances of even becoming a Best Picture nominee are increasing. Right now, I’m predicting that if the Academy names ten nominees, Hell or High Water will be that number ten.

With the Golden Globe nominations, Hell or High Water landed nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Jeff Bridges,) Best Screenplay, and even Best Picture – Drama. This is an incredible turnaround for a film that a month ago I hardly considered a contender, but is no in my mind a sure best as a Best Picture nominee.

January: Hell or High Water is a more certain Best Picture nominee than all but three movies this year, but the number of additional nominations it will get along with Best Picture is extremely limited. And when it comes to winning any of those awards, there's hardly any sense in hoping. The nominations Hell or High Water will receive come January 24th include Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Film Editing. That Film Editing nomination is extremely iffy as there are a number of other good films wanting to take its place, so don't bet too much on that one.

February: Hell or High Water's victory was getting the four nominations that it did. The fact hat this small, summer indie movie got in with the four nominations it did is pretty extraordinary and is a testament to how good the film is. Unfortunately, like many other films, the nominations were the end of the road for Hell or High Water. There's a very slight chance Jeff Bridged could beat out Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor, but the likelihood of that is very low. Regardless of the fact this film won't receive any Oscars, go see it. It's a great movie. ” - Jacob Ford
Fences (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life. (139 mins.)
“ Best Picture
Best Adapted Screenplay - August Wilson
Best Actor - Denzel Washinton *
Best Supporting Actress - Viola Davis *

July: Denzel Washington is undoubtedly one of best actors for portraying intense, dramatic roles. Washington has two Oscars for "Glory" and "Training Day" and has been chasing that third Oscar for a good fifteen years. Now it's just July and the Oscar race has hardly started yet, but Washington does have something of a head start. Back in 2010, Washington was performing in "Fences," a Broadway play about an African American father living in the 1950s. Washington won a Tony for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Clearly Washington liked the play as he now has an upcoming feature film adapted from the show, which he is both starring and directing in. With that Tony already in his pocket, the Lead Actor race already has its first major contender, but look for Washington to also jump into the Directing race with this passion project of his that marks his third time behind the camera. "Lincoln" writer Tony Kushner penned the adaptation, so look for some contention there, along with Viola Davis in either the Leading Actress race.

September: Along with Silence, "Fences" is one of the few movies left that doesn't have a trailer, much less a poster. I'm still confident that Washington is going to end up being our Best Actor frontrunner this year, and Viola Davis looks to be an almost as strong contender for Best Actress. Once again, though, Best Actress is crazy this year, so we'll see if Davis can get in there. Otherwise, this is going to continue to be a waiting game until we get a little more info. Shouldn't be long though.

October: Okay, someone give Denzel Washington an Oscar just for that trailer. If this first trailer tells us anything it’s that this movie is going to be absolutely loaded with some absolutely incredible performances. I’m fairly confident right now that this is going to earn Washington his third Oscar, however it is important to note that only two Actors have ever won an Acting Oscar directing themselves (Roberto Begnini for Life is Beautiful and Laurence Olivier for Hamlet.) Along with Washington, though, is Viola Davis holding absolutely nothing back. I’ve bumped Davis up in my predictions, and I now expect her to be one of the very prestigious five Best Actress nominees this year. I can’t wait for Christmas.

November: The biggest development for Fences is the fact that Viola Davis will now be competing for Best Supporting Actress, which pretty much marks a guaranteed win for the film in that category. That’s to go along with Best Actor, the category which Denzel Washington looks pretty darn unstoppable in right now. Otherwise, since the film was screened for the first lucky viewers, the reviews it’s been receiving are about as positive as you can hope for. Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay are now guaranteed nominations and Best Supporting Actor for Stephen Henderson and Best Film Editing can probably be expected. The only wild card left is whether or not Denzel can land a Best Director nomination.

December: Fences is staying in it, but remaining at the top. The nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress are guaranteed at this point. On top of that, Stephen Henderson is looking more and more like a strong possibility for Supporting Actor, and Denzel Washington could very well nab a nomination as Director as well as Actor, particularly after he scored a directing nomination at the Critics Choice Awards. The only thing that’s coming under question right now are the two that we thought were guaranteed wins: Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. In Best Actor, Casey Affleck has won at every critics awards so far, meaning he’s also likely to win at the Critics Choice Awards in a couple days, meaning Denzel Washington has yet to win anything. With Best Supporting Actress, Viola Davis has only won at the Washington DC Film Critics Awards, with Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris taking home the prize everywhere else. I’m confident the Academy is going to vote slightly more in favor of these two than the critics are, but the past couple weeks have shown that Fences may have this as locked down as we thought.

January: This Oscar season is going to end up being really disappointing all around for Fences. Viola Davis is surely going to win for Best Supporting Actress, but that win for Best Actor that Denzel Washington deserves for this performance just isn't going to happen with Casey Affleck around. The film will be nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress, but there isn't much sense in hoping for anything else. I'd love to see Stephen Henderson nominated for his Supporting Work, but that's just not going to happen.

February: Only four nominations for Fences, but one of those is a guaranteed win, and another is starting to look like a win as well. Viola Davis is a lock for Best Supporting Actress as there isn't anyone else in the competition who looks to have any intention of beating her. Looking at the Best Actor race, all year long Casey Affleck has had the category locked down. But then some quiet sexual assault accusations came up against Affleck, followed shortly by Denzel Washington coming in and winning Best Actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. With Nate Parker and Birth of a Nation, we've already seen this year how much what you do offscreen can affect your awards potential, and it looks like that might be the case with Affleck. As a result, Denzel is going to get his third Oscar, becoming the first black filmmaker to do so. ” - Jacob Ford
Arrival (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors. (116 mins.)
“ Best Picture
Best Director - Dennis Villeneuve
Best Adapted Screenplay - Eric Heisserer
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Production Design
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing

July: If Sci-Fi is ever going to win Best Picture, "Arrival" if this year's shot. Dennis Villeneuve has received lots of acclaim for "Prisoners" and "Sicario" these past couple years, so much so that it seems like it's only a matter of time before he's on the Best Director ballot. Whether or not "Arrival" will be the movie he first makes his break on is a good question. based on a short, story, "Arrival" tells a unique story about trying to find common ground with alien invaders, centered around a skilled linguist, played by Amy Adams. If "Arrival" does enter the Oscar conversation, you can expect a good run from Adams, along with possible supporting efforts from Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker. This is the first major project in which Villeneuve does not have the legendary Roger Deakins behind the camera, so we'll see whether or not that comes into play in terms of the quality of the film.

September: Well we've got ourselves two teasers: one where we don't see the aliens at all, and a second one the released quickly after that at least hints at what they look like. As expected, the film could be a big pilot for Amy Adams to shoot for an Oscar, but anything else is dependent on what kind of movie we get. It is under the Sci-Fi curse, so Dennis Villeneuve is going to have to give us something extraordinary in order for it to stand much of a chance. He's more than capable of that, but whether or not he executes it properly is something we'll have to wait and see when "Arrival" arrives.

October: It almost seems safe to say right now that “Allied” will play at the Oscars, but in no major categories. It doesn’t seem like the film has the gusto it needs to beat out the other films to be a Best Picture nominee, especially when it’s already working with the Sci-Fi handicap. I’d love to see Amy Adams earn another nomination, but currently I like her chances better with Nocturnal Animals. That being said, I currently have the film predicted to earn four nominations for Production Design, Sound Mixing and Editing, and Visual Effects. The latter three are liable to change if the film doesn’t have as much action as we currently anticipate, but Production Design seems like a fairly good bet.

November: Arrival was very okay. It wasn’t quite so poor to call a disappointment, but ti certainly wasn’t anything to get excited about. As a result, it’s Oscar potential is going to be reduced to purely technical categories. Best Original Score is going to be the only safe bet right now, but the two Sound categories are still certainly possibilities.

January: Arrival's Oscar prospects have been up and down all year. Thankfully, the timing is working out in the film's favor and it's currently on an upward streak right as the nominations are about to come out. The film is now a guaranteed nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing, and after Denis Villenueve was nominated by the Directors Guild, you can be sure he'll be a Best Director nominee as well. I'm predicting Arrival will be nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Production Design. The only one of those nominations I'm not 100% on is Production Design, but I think Arrival has all seven of these squared away.

February: Arrival made an incredible showing at the Oscar nominations, landing a total of eight, and tying Moonlight for second most nominations for the day. Unfortunately, that's going to translate to zero wins. La La Land has these Oscars pretty locked down and is the film that is going to be beating Arrival in most of it's nominated categories. Best Film Editing is the best chance Arrival has of sneaking in a surprise win, especially after winning an Eddie award. Unfortunately, La La Land also won an Eddie award, and historically the Best Film Editing winner has been paired with the Best Picture winner. Arrival could nab that Film Editing win, but I suspect that on Monday morning, everyone's will be talking about how Arrival was snubbed, losing every one of its eight nominations. ” - Jacob Ford
Lion (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family. (118 mins.)
Director: Garth Davis
“ Best Picture
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor - Dev Patel
Best Supporting Actress - Nicole Kidman
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score

July: When it comes to being Oscar candy, "Lion" is kind of like a Payday - there's no chocolate, but it's still as sweet as any other candy bar on the shelf. It is a biopic, which is always a safe bet in Oscar terms, but it tells a fairly unknown story. Based off the novel by Saroo Brierly himself, "Lion" tells Brierly's story about being a five-year-old Indian boy who got lost on the streets of Calcutta. He is adopted by an Australian couple who raises him until, twenty-five years later, he sets out to find his family. A story like this promises emotional rollercoasters, beautiful representation of the rich Indian culture, and some political conversation about the country of India - all topic which could bode well in Oscar terms.
It is by no means a safe bet, however. The film is directed by Garth Davis who, aside from an Emmy nomination, has little critical acclaim to his name in his short filmography. "Lion" does provide potential for a strong leading performance, however the same could have been said for "Slumdog Millionaire," another film that starred Dev Patel. In supporting terms we have Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, and David Wenham, so there is some potential there. And finally, with the bright colors of the rich Indian culture, look for possible cinematography, production, and costume design nods.

September: This is certainly a good trailer, and it looks like it has the potential to contain some excellent performances, which I didn't particularly expect. I'm still a little skeptical on Dev Patel's ability to go all the way, but from what I see in the trailer, Rooney Mara looks great. Mostly though, I'm just concerned this one is going to fly under the radar too much to be a major player. It isn't released until the end of November, so we'll see what kind of advertising campaign it received over the next two months. Hopefully, it'll be a good enough campaign for everyone to at least hear about it, because I that's currently the biggest determining factor of whether or not "Lion" will play at the 89th Academy Awards.

October: Lion won second place for the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is big. This is the kind of movie that needs support from festivals and critics if it’s going to end up landing nominations. Unfortunately, there was no surge in the film’s campaign after the win – it just accepted the award then went back to sitting and waiting. The movie is released just next month and we only have one trailer. I’m afraid that this film’s potential is going to be ruined by its lack of campaign. My suspicion is that “Lion” is going to be a big player at Critics’ Choice awards, and perhaps land a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination. Otherwise, we’re not really going to hear anything else about the film.

November: The Oscar conversation has gone very well for Lion in the past month. Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel look like certain nominees for the Supporting Actor categories, and Adapted Screenplay has become a very sure bet. The only reason I don’t have Lion listed as a Best Picture nominee is because I’m making my predictions assuming there will only be eight films nominated for Best Picture. The Academy can name up to ten, and I believe that if there are at least nine nominees, Lion will be included. In addition to Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing still stand as very strong possibilities.

December: Lion is not going to end up being a huge player, but it is certainly going to stay in it. The different critics awards haven’t been turning out any stellar results for the film, though it did still manage to score six nominations at the critics choice awards. I don’t suspect any of those to result in a win when the winners are announced later tonight, but the fact that it did score those nominations keeps it in the running. The nominations it received include Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Young Actor (which doesn’t apply to Oscar,) Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Each of these were expected, except for the score nomination for composers O’Holloran and Bertelman. For Oscar nominations, you can count on Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor and Actress for Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, and you can probably go ahead and write in a Best Picture nomination. We’ll see what happens with Best Original Score though.

January: Lion has kind of just been staying afloat all year, never sinking far enough under for me to think it won't be a Best Picture nominee. I was beginning to get even more iffy as films like Nocturnal Animals and Deadpool were having their last minute surge, but then Garth Davis landed a nomination from the Director's Guild. I don't think that will translate into a Best Director nomination, but what it does do is secure the film's Best Picture nomination. The five nominations Lion will receive include Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay are still strong possibilities, but I'm predicting Lion will be limited to just five nominations.

February: Lion made an impressive showing on nominations day, considering how little people have been talking about the film all year. Which, in my opinion, is absurd. When I saw this movie, it blew me away with its simple yet masterful storytelling. You can read my review here. Unfortunately, I'm am not predicting Lion to nab any Oscar this year, though it does have potential in a number of categories to surprise. Mahershala Ali seems to have Best Supporting Actor pretty locked down, but I wouldn't rule out Dev Patel coming in and surprising everyone. The same can be said for Best Original Score, though I'd sooner look to Moonlight to surprise with a win over La La Land. It doesn't look like anything's going to happen for Lion, but this was a really good film that totally deserves a number of Oscars. ” - Jacob Ford
Hidden Figures (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program. (127 mins.)
Director: Theodore Melfi
“ Best Picture
Best Adapted Screenplay - Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
Best Supporting Actress - Octavia Spencer

August: This one could be a real powerhouse. Set in the 1960s and about the first space missions , "Hidden Figures" tells the story of the many African-American women that were integral in providing mathematical data that made the missions possible. This is a story that is very new to me, thus making the film's title that much more accurate. The film is directed by Theodore Melfi, who doesn't have much acclaim to his credit, aside from "St. Vincent" a couple years ago which performed well at the TIFF. Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer could both definitely be big players in their respective Leading and Supporting roles. We'll see better what we're looking at when the first trailer comes out.

September: Well we got that first trailer, and I'm refreshed to see that the film is going to be taking a fairly light-hearted take on the story, which could be refreshing this Oscar season. It will still tackle some major political issues, most prominently the two that are so big in Hollywood right now, so unless the film is absolutely atrocious, that will definitely be a beneficial factor. And from the looks of it, 'atrocious' definitely isn't going to apply here.

October: The film is most certainly tailored to be an Oscar player, but as of yet, its campaign sure isn’t. The film doesn’t get its wide release until January 17, so its reasonable that we only have one trailer and one featurette to go off of. That being said, we’re gonna need a little something more if this one’s going to stay in our minds enough to be a serious contender. The best thing we can see right now is that the Best Supporting Actress race isn’t very strong this year, so both Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae could crack into that if the film ends up being as enjoyable as it looks. I don’t currently have either predicted to be nominated, but right now the chances look pretty good.

November: Well another month has passed and Hidden Figures hasn't moved up as a contender at all. That being said, it has remained right on the edge of being a contender, which is more than some other films can say. If things turn its way, Hidden Figures could potentially be looking at nominations for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (maybe two of those,) Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song. The interesting thing, though, is that in any of those four categories, I can also see that being the solitary nomination for the film. It's still a little while before we get to see Hidden Figures, so for now the best we can do is wait and see what happens.

December: There is still a chance Hidden Figures can sneak into the Best Picture list, especially if the Academy names ten nominees this year, but right now we need to fry the smaller fish. First off is Octavia Spencer, who in one week landed Supporting Actress nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. All she has is Greta Gerwig’s 20th Century Women performance to compete with, and so far, voters are favoring Spencer. The other fish is Best Original Score. The Academy just disqualified Arrival from Best Original Score where it was previously one of two frontrunners, which opens up a spot. Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams’ score will be competing with Florence Foster Jenkins and Jackie to fill Arrival’s spot, but Hidden Figures’s score does already have a Golden Globe nom, so things are looking good.

January: Hidden Figures might be peaking at just the right time, as it has a lot of things working in its favor. First, the film is the only upbeat movie in the race besides La La Land and Deadpool, second, it will help to fight the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that's risen up the past couple years, and third, it's a darn good movie. In addition to Best Picture, the nominations it will receive include Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score, showing that it has support from a number of branches of the Academy. Hacksaw Ridge and Deadpool would love to steal its Best Picture nomination, but I think Hidden Figures might just have this one.

February: Hidden Figures had a moderately good turnout on nominations day, highlighted by the fact that it sneaked into the Best Picture race. That's the end of the line for the film, though, as there just isn't anywhere where it could win. It's in about eighth place in the Best Picture race, last place in the Best Adapted Screenplay race, and the only reason Octavia Spencer was nominated because there wasn't anybody else to nominate. This is a great story and a great film, and I'm so glad it got a Best Picture nomination, but wins aren't even within the realm of possibility. ” - Jacob Ford
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. (139 mins.)
Director: Mel Gibson
“ Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor - Andrew Garfield
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing *
Best Film Editing

November: Hacksaw Ridge is where I was the most mistaken in my early predictions, which is why here in November is the first time I’m including an entry on its Oscar potential. Since the film hit theaters, its chances of receiving multiple nominations have been increasing. Right now, Hacksaw Ridge stands as the film to beat in Makeup and Hairstyling, as well as both Sound categories. It is possible the it can squeeze out a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination as long as it keeps building on its momentum, but frankly I don’t think the film was good enough to warrant nominations in Best Picture or Best Director.

December: Yep, I was very wrong about Hacksaw Ridge, This film is now a guarantee for Best Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Makeup, and Actor is a Leading Role. Film Editing is a extremely likely, and I’m now considering Hacksaw to be the eight most likely film to be nominated for Best Picture, which means that if I’m right, it surely gets that nomination. The one that’s a bit more up in the air right now is Mel Gibson landing a Best Director nomination. I’m currently predicting he will as the Critics Choice and Golden Globe Awards rewarded him with a nomination, but if he does, then it means he knocks out either Denzel Washingotn or Martin Scorsese. The other potential nomination would be Best Adapted Screenplay, but after Moonlight got switched over from Original Screenplay, I don’t really see Hacksaw scoring a nomination for its writing.

January: Hacksaw Ridge was looking very good after being nominated for Best Picture at both the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild Awards, but then it didn't make the Academy's Makeup and Hairstyling shortlist, before failing to be nominated for either the Writers Guild or Directors Guild Awards, two nominations that were expected. This shows a lack of support in two key branches of the Academy, so I currently have the film in ninth place in the Best Picture race. If AMPAS nominates nine or ten film for Best Picture, it'll be a nominee. But it they stick to eight, then the only nominations Hacksaw Ridge will receive are Best Actor, Best Sound Mixing, best Sound Editing, and Best Film Editing.

February: Hacksaw Ridge did really well on nomination day; a little too well, in my opinion. Mel Gibson should not have been a Directing nominee over the likes of Tom Ford, Garth Davis, or David McKenzie. But that's beside the point. In the end, Hacksaw Ridge is only going to win one of it's six nominations, and the one that most people would consider the least significant: Best Sound Editing. For the most part, Hacksaw Ridge has Best Sound Editing pretty locked down, however there is potential for La La Land to surprise and steal that one away as well. ” - Jacob Ford
Jackie (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband's historic legacy. (100 mins.)
Director: Pablo Larraín
“ Best Actress - Natalie Portman
Best Costume Design
Best Original Score

September: This one hasn’t been much on my radar because I didn’t figure it would land within this Oscar season, but now that it’s getting some attention at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals, I can see a studio picking it up and releasing it real quick for an awards race. If that does happen, you can be sure Natalie Portman is going to be giving her best shot at a Best Actress run, and we might see something from Peter Sarsgaard in Supporting, though I see that as less likely. Neither the film’s writer or director have any Oscar nominations to their name, which doesn’t bode well, however director Pablo Larrain definitely received some attention for his film “No” four years ago. Mostly, though, we just have to wait and see if “Jackie” will be a 2016 movie or not.

October: As far as making an entrance goes, “Jackie” nailed it. To say this film was flying under the radar would be an understatement. But then it showed up at the Toronto International Film Festival and seemed to blow everybody away. The film was picked up very quickly by Fox Searchlight, who seemed to be desperately searching for a replacement for “The Birth of a Nation” for their Oscar campaign. The film got a qualifying release date and a trailer, and now it looks to be something of a powerhouse this year. I’m currently only predicting it to be nominated for Best Actress, but it’s currently right on the edge for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture, with a good possibility of Best Supporting Actor.

November: Best Actress is the only place I’m currently predicting Jackie will score a nomination, but that doesn’t at all dictate just how big of a player this film is. Best Picture and Best Director both stand as significant possibilities, and Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design are right there with them. Jackie is sitting right on the edge of becoming one of the biggest players in this Oscar race, we just haven’t quite reached the tipping point yet. One thing that has tipped, though, is Best Actress. If it wasn’t for Emma Stone in La La Land, Natalie Portman would already have this in the bag.

December: I’ve been fairly surprised by Jackie’s performance in the first round of critics awards. The film failed to do anything at the New York Film Critics, and only received a runner-up for its score from the LA Critics. at the Washington DC Critics Awards Natalie Portman finally won Best Actress, adding to the conception that if Jackie is ever going to actually win anything, it’ll be for Portman’s leading performance. At the Critics Choice Awards, Jackie managed six nominations: one for Portman’s performance, one for the film’s score, one for its cinematography, and then one for each production design and makeup, surprisingly not scoring a Best Picture nomination. For its Best Picture race, this certainly doesn’t look good, but the fact that it scored nominations in the two craft categories, cinematography, and score opens up some potential that may not have previously been considered. The film scored three Critics Choice Awards, for Best Actress, Best Costume Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. I’d now consider Jackie a lock for Best Actress and Cinematography nomination, with Costume Design as a fairly safe bet.

January: The Toronto Film Festival breakout has turned out to not be as big a player as we once thought it was going to be. Natalie Portman is a lock for a Best Actress nomination and could very well beat Emma Stone for the win, but that's the only major recognition the film will get. You can be sure of a Costume Design nomination and the film is currently squeezing into the Best Original Score race as well. Best Cinematography is also a very strong possibility, but my predictions have the film only landing three nominations.

February: Jackie had a fairly disappointing nomination day after it had gone from being a Best Picture player to barely scraping up more than one nomination. Of it's three nominations, we can go ahead and count out Best Original Score and Best Costume Design, as there are a number of films more highly favored to win those categories. The real competition here is Best Actress, though I think that one is done too. After Isabelle Huppert beat Natalie Portman at the Golden Globes and Emma Stone beat Portman at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Portman is just trying to keep up. It's going to be no Oscars for Jackie. ” - Jacob Ford
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. (111 mins.)
Director: Stephen Frears
“ Best Actress - Meryl Streep
Best Costume Design

July: Meryl Streep; ’nuff said.

August: However, watch for a surprise from Hugh Grant.

September: Meryl and Hugh definitely deserve something. Watch for Alexandre Desplat’s score if we want something extra.

November: I now realize that Florence Foster Jenkins is where I was the most wrong about this Oscar race. Initially, I thought Meryl Streep’s performance was the only that might be able to endure the time between the film’s August release date and the Oscar nominations in January. On the contrary, Florence Foster Jenkin’s stamina has proven me wrong. Best Actress for Streep is still just a possibility, but Costume Design, Original Score, and Supporting Actor for Hugh Grant all look to be extremely likely nominees. I might even go so far as to say Florence Foster Jenkins has reentered the Best Picture conversation.

December: Surprisingly, the critics awards are not showing Florence Foster Jenkins a lot of love. So far, the only major critic-related nomination it has received is a Costume Design nomination at the Critics Choice Awards, leaving out the expected nominations for Best Original Score and Best Supporting Actor, as well as Meryl Streep’s leading performance which we all supposed would be right up there as well. I’m certain the Academy is going to think differently, specifically concerning Hugh Grant’s supporting performance. The critics filled two of their Supporting Actor spots with Hell or High Water, which won’t play nearly as big at the Oscar as it did with the critics. So watch for Hugh Grant, and Costume Design as a safe bet, but watch for Meryl Streep and Original Score to sneak in there as well. Giving Florence a bit of a boost is the Screen Actors Guild, who nominated both Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep.

January: Nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Costume Design are guaranteed, which means that the real question comes down to Meryl Streep. Best Actress is more competitive this year than it has for a number of years, and that could just mean that Meryl Streep will be left out. Right now it's a battle between Isabelle Huppert, Emily Blunt, and Meryl Streep to fill two remaining spots, and it looks like Streep will actually be the one to draw the short straw.

February; Florence Foster Jenkins got as many nominations as you could have predicted before the film came out in August, but fewer nominations than anyone predicted after the film came out. In the end, all the film got was nominations for Costume Design and Meryl Streep's leading performance. In case you were wondering, I'm rather infuriated Hugh Grant was not nominated for Best Supporting Actor. As far as winning goes, Best Actress is a three-woman race that Streep is not part of, so we have to look to Costume Design. La La Land probably has that win in the bag like so many others, but of all the nominees, Florence is the nominee with the type of costuming that you typically see winning this award. So watch for a potential surprise there. ” - Jacob Ford
Loving (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court. (123 mins.)
Director: Jeff Nichols
“ Best Actress - Ruth Negga

July: Jeff Nichols is easily my favorite rising director and I'm so excited to watch his career over the next many years. This year, though, we're given a special treat with the movie which is likely to be his first Oscar contender. "Loving" sticks to Nichols' consistent theme of being set in the southern United States, but has a story this time around that is sure to be much more appetizing to AMPAS than "Mud." "Loving" tells the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial husband and wife who go to the supreme court after being sentenced to prison for simply being married. From the first trailer, the film promises an emotional love story with an excellent message. Joel Edgerton appears to dive into this role unlike any before, and will likely be a major Best Actor contender if "Loving" proves to be the major awards player it could be. I'm certainly hoping it will.

September: Not much change in the race for "Loving," but I have a feeling that when everyone finally sees it in two months, we're all going to be blown away. Joel Edgerton is still a very safe bet for an acting nomination, and I would say the same for Ruth Negga, but the Best Actress competition is so strong this year. If what she gives us is truly powerful, which it has the potential to be, then she's sure to be up there with Chastain and Lawrence. And unless the film turns out to be terrible, which I can't possibly fathom, a Best Director and Best Original Screenplay nomination are sure to go along with its Best Picture one.

October: Each time I watch the trailer I get more excited for Loving to finally be released in theaters next month. The film looks to be an instant classic, with a screenplay that will no doubt be unforgettable. Just from the trailer I can pick out two or three lines that I can see being incredible movie quotes if the film can follow through with the same quality. Thankfully, with Jeff Nichols at the helm, there is little doubt in my mind it won’t be one of the best films of the year. Right now I can fairly confidently predict Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Film Editing. So if Ruth Negga can beat out the tough competition in the Best Actress race, we might just have a Big Five nominee on our hands.

November: As pretty much anyone could have predicted, the first review for Loving have been extremely positive. I don’t have a review of my own for you right now as the film hasn’t screened in any theaters nearby me, but be watching within the next few weeks for a review. Oscar wise, our predictions are going to stay about the same. The film pretty much has five categories locked down for a nomination including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Original Screenplay, and Film Editing. Unfortunately that could be about it for Loving. There’s still a decent chance Ruth Negga can nab a Best Actress nomination, but as we all know, that competition is insane, so we’ll see how it goes.

December: I personally loved this film. It's an amazing story and Jeff Nichols told it in a brilliant way that no other director could have. Unlike most of our November frontrunners, though, Loving has been getting a little bit of a setback with this first round of critics awards. In every category, Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director, Loving has been left out of the list of nominees from different awards. Perhaps the biggest hit of all though was when the American Film Institute released their top ten movies of 2016 and Loving failed to make the list. As a result, the film has dropped significantly in almost every category, most noticeably with Best Director. And on top of all that, Joel Edgerton didn't manage to land a Screen Actors Guild nomination, which significantly hurts his Best Actor chances. Loving's script also got switched over to Best Adapted Screenplay, where there's more competition, so things aren't looking great there. And frankly, if the film can't get either Best Actor to especially Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture doesn't look so hot either. Things have taken a turn for the worst for Loving.

January: Frankly, I'm not sure what happened to Loving's Oscar campaign. The film looked like it'd be an Oscar debut for Jeff Nichols, but over time, its awards prospects slowly disappeared. The movie was certainly good enough, it was one of my favorite films of the year, but somewhere along the lines people just stopped talking about Loving. I'm predicting that come January 24th, Loving will not receive a single nomination.

February: To be perfectly honest, I never could have predicted this was going to happen. I'm disappointed Loving only scraped up one nomination and I'm completely surprised that nomination was for Ruth Negga's leading performance. Don't get me wrong, Negga was great and deserves her nom, but there were definitely other actresses who deserved it more, not to mention other parts of Loving that deserved a nomination more. I congratulate Ruth Negga, but I am dumbfounded. As far as winning goes, Negga should just be honored and thankful she was nominated. ” - Jacob Ford
Elle (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A successful businesswoman gets caught up in a game of cat and mouse as she tracks down the unknown man who raped her. (130 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
“ Best Actress - Isabelle Huppert

February: Isabelle Huppert surprised many and pleased many more when she sneaked in to score a Best Actress nomination. Unfortunately, with her nomination being for Best Actress, this puts her up against Emma Stone. Stone has the category pretty locked down, but if there's anybody that's going to surprise and make Stone a runner-up, it's Huppert. Huppert has the Best Actress - Drama Golden Globe to her name, but since Elle wasn't screened early enough for Screen Actor's Guild, she doesn't have that necessary SAG nomination. Emma Stone got the other Best Actress Golden Globe as well as the SAG award, which puts her so far in first place, that I'm skeptical Huppert can catch up. There's still a solid chance, but betting on this one is certainly a risk. ” - Jacob Ford
Captain Fantastic (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent. (118 mins.)
Director: Matt Ross
“ Best Actor - Viggo Mortensen

July: “Captain Fantastic” has undoubtedly one of the most unique plots of any film this year. It’s an engaging story about a family who lives totally in the wilderness, but is forced back into civilization following the death of the mother. Viggo Mortensen leads the cast as the father of the family, a role which could not be more suited to his style of acting. It is clear Mortensen dug deep into this part, and I’m confident the performance he will give us will be nomination worthy.
However, this is the type of film where even if it is good enough to be in contention, there is still a good chance of it not even being part of the conversation. It is just the second film for director Matt Ross, which doesn’t help this fact, not to mention its limited summer release. I’m quite hopeful that “Captain Fantastic” will be both the excellent film it could be, and that it will be able to be recognized by AMPAS. If it is part of the conversation, I can definitely see it mixing a lot of things up.

September: Regrettably, I didn’t get a chance to see this one in theaters, so I don’t have a review to read. What we can judge from it’s performance in the box-office, however, is that this one isn’t going to be an Oscar player this year. “Captain Fantastic” wasn’t ever going to be any sort of box-office phenomenon, but what it did need was the word-of-mouth to keep it in the box office for longer than anyone expected. That didn’t really happen, so I no longer think this film with any potential to play for Oscar.

December: I finally got around to seeing Captain Fantastic, and though I haven' written a review, I can say that the film was excellent. Chief among the great work in the film is Viggo Mortensen's leading performance. Thankfully for Mortensen, both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild agree with me and nominated him, suddenly making Mortinsen the Best Actor contender we'd all forgotten about. There's no chance of Mortensen winning Best Actor, Casey Affleck has that one in the bag already, but in this case, a nomination would most certainly be a victory. The other big update comes from Moonlight and Loving being moved to Adapted Screenplay, which open up the opportunity for other Original Screenplay contenders to score a nomination. Currently, I'm predicting Captain Fantastic to land in that fifth spot, but in order to do so it has to beat Jackie, 20th Century Women, and Zootopia.

January: Captain Fantastic ended up being blessed by a last minute awards surge that's going to reward this great film with two Oscar nominations. The first one is Best Actor for Viggo Mortensen who has scored nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes, and the BAFTAs. Mortensen is filling out the fifth spot in the Best Actor race, but you can count on him being nominated. The other nomination Captain Fantastic will receive is for Best Original Screenplay. Captain Fantastic benefited from the Original Screenplay competition rather emptying out, and will likely score a nomination as a result. There's a chance Jackie, 20th Century Women, or Zootopia will come in and steal that nomination away from it, but m money's on Captain Fantastic.

February: I'm glad Viggo got in. He's a weird actor, but he's a good actor, and Captain Fantastic was proof of that. No chance of winning though. ” - Jacob Ford
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband's novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale. (116 mins.)
Director: Tom Ford
“ Best Supporting Actor - Michael Shannon

July: Aside from its stars, "Nocturnal Animals" doesn't exactly have a collection of names that beg Oscar attention. Tom Ford has only directed one film, "A single Man," before this one, and is responsible for the directing and screenwriting of the movie. The screenplay is based off the 1993 novel "Tony and Susan," which features a story-within-a-story plot that could make for some excellent filmmaking, if Ford can direct it properly. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, two actors who have incredibly never won an Oscar, despite each turning out multiple performances that are more than worthy. Maybe this could be the year.

September: That little teaser for the trailer we got made “Nocturnal Animals” look really intense, and now this full length trailer makes the film look pretty human. I don’t know about you, but that’s a darn good combo. You can bet Amy Adams is going to be strong in this, though Best Actress is gonna be crazier than ever before this year, and Michael Shannon looks like he’s got something to show us as well. The Cinematography looks outstanding, so that’s a decent bet there, and it looks like director Tom Ford is really going for it with “Nocturnal Animals.” Needless to say, that trailer got me pretty excited.

October: Honestly, I just can’t wait for this movie. It looks like the perfect combination of “No Country for Old Men,” “Gone Girl,” and “Nightcrawler.” It looks intense, dramatic, and appears to contain some incredible performances. Amy Adams might struggle landing a nomination just because this is such a strong year, and Jake Gyllenhaal doesn’t look overly exciting – that being said, the actor has been known to surprise everybody. More than that though, check out the duo efforts of Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson whose villainous performances from the trailer are enough to make me want to see the film. I’m currently predicting Shannon to make the cut and not Taylor-Johnson, but the possibility of that being reversed or them both landing nominations is certainly there. In addition to that, I’m looking towards Best Cinematography and Best Adapted Screenplay as pretty safe bets.

November: Nocturnal Animals could, at any time, completely tip over and become this major player that no one was expecting. In the past, films like Nocturnal Animals (Gone Girl, Nightcrawler) have not done very well at the Oscars, but there was always that thought in people’s minds that they could have been, and if they had, they would have really mixed things up. I’m incredibly hopeful that Nocturnal Animals does not follow the pattern of Gone Girl or Nightcrawler, but it is a serious possibility. If it does, look towards Adapted Screenplay and maybe Best Supporting Actor as your only nominations. If it doesn’t follow the same path and becomes a major player, go ahead and mark those two down right alongside Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing. I can’t wait to see this film, but I also can’t wait to see if Nocturnal Animals can break the dark movie curse.

December: After seeing “Nocturnal Animals,” I’d personally be upset if it didn’t score nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography. I’m fairly certain it will score both of these come nomination time next month, though I have a bit more confidence in Adapted Screenplay. Want I want to see, though, is Michael Shannon score an Oscar nomination for the Supporting performance that has already garnered him a nomination at the Critics Choice Awards. Supporting Actor has a lot of fantastic competition this year, so it might be tricky, but we’ll see what happens. The critics awards also showed us that if Amy Adams is going to be a Best Actress nominee, it’ll be for Arrival, not Nocturnal Animals. What does bode well, however, is that the film scored a nomination in the Golden Globes' all-encompassing screenplay category.

January: Nocturnal Animals is a lock for exactly one nomination: Best Adapted Screenplay. After that, it's sitting right on the edge for both Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. Tom Ford wasn't nominated by the Directors Guild and Aaron Taylor-Johnson wasn't nominated by the Screen Actors Guild, but both men have had a lot of success at both the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. If the film is nominated for both Best Director and Best Supporting Actor along with Best Adapted Screenplay, it's hard to think that the film will not be a Best Picture nominee as well. There we have guild problems as well as Nocturnal Animals didn't land a Producers Guild nomination. Things are all over the place for Nocturnal Animals to the point where I'm going to be surprised whatever happens in January 24th. ” - Jacob Ford
The Lobster (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. (119 mins.)
“ Best Original Screenplay - Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymus Filippo

July: How often do the weird movies actually get recognition from Oscar? Not often enough. Sadly, Wes Anderson is about the weirdest Oscar ever gets. Nevertheless, it's hard to ignore the acclaim "The Lobster" has gotten so far. Palm D'or Nominee and Jury Prize Winner at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and BAFTA nominated for Best British Film. I know what you're saying, shouldn't this have been in competition last year? Well no, because "The Lobster" didn't get its U.S. release until May of this year, making it a member of the 2017 race. So while it's eligible for this Oscar race, and the quality of the film is likely worthy of at least a nomination, I wouldn't place any bets. But if you do, put your money on Original Screenplay.

September: I loved this movie. It was smart, it was immensely original, and oh so well written. I've somewhat removed any hope of "The Lobster" being anything of an Oscar player, but I'm never going to stop hoping that Yorgos Lanthimos can score an Original Screenplay nomination. It's most certainly deserved

October: Every day, "The Lobster's" chances get slimmer and slimmer. We're definitely down to having Original Screenplay be the only hope for the film, but with how great the screenplay was and how much critics loved the film, that hope could potentially become a reality. It didn't land any Gotham award nominations, which doesn't bode well, but if it can get into the Critics Awards then we might still have a chance.

November: Not a whole lot to say that hasn't been said. Best Original Screenplay is the only place where there's a possibility, but if it's going to happen, the film is going to need to land Screenplay nominations at pretty much every critics awards competition when they start going next month. Whether or not the film does make it to Oscar night, go watch this movie. It's immensely entertaining.

December: Things weren’t looking fantastic for The Lobster scoring that Original Screenplay nomination we were all hoping for, but then the Academy went and cleared the way. AMPAS just ruled both Moonlight and Loving as Adapted Screenplays, eliminating two of the films that were standing in The Lobster’s way. Because of this, I think you can almost guarantee that this fantastic little film will be recognized by the Academy.

January: January: Best Original Screenplay has turned out to be kind of a wacky category, with five films trying to fill two spots. The Lobster, Captain Fantastic, Jackie, 20th Century Women, and Zootopia are the five films trying to get in, but I'm currently predicting The Lobster and Captain Fantastic to come out on top. The Lobster is more likely to be nominated here than Captain Fantastic, but with five films in the running for two spots, nothing's for sure.

February: Nocturnal Animals had unquestionably the most disappointing nominations day. The film was nothing less than a lock for Best Adapted Screenplay, and looked like it would for sure get into Best Original Score as well. There was even a chance Tom Ford would be nominated for directing, and chance I even took while predicting the nominees. The only nomination Nocturnal Animals did get was for Best Supporting Actor, but that nomination didn't even go to Aaron Taylor-Johnson like everyone assumed. Instead, Michael Shannon was nominated. Personally, I preferred Shannon's work in the film and I'm glad he was nominated, but things did certainly get pretty mixed up. In the end, this lack of nominations is going to result in a complete absence of wins. ” - Jacob Ford
20th Century Women (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s. (119 mins.)
Director: Mike Mills
“ Best Original Screenplay

July: This could be good. Very little we know about "20th Century Women," except a vague synopsis about three women exploring love and freedom in the 1970s - a mother, her daughter, and. . . a photographer. Annette Bening leads the trio as the mother, with Elle Fanning playing her daughter, and Greta Gerwig as the woman with the camera. It's directed by "Beginners" director Mike Mills, who also pens the screenplay. If this movie turns out to be Oscar quality, look first for Best Actress for Bening, Original Screenplay for Mills, Supporting Actress for either Gerwig or Fanning, and anything else will just be icing on the cake.

September: Well, we've got a release date, but that's about it. No trailer and a fairly vague synopsis to go off of, so there isn't too much to say right now. I don't doubt "20th Century Women" will be a powerhouse in the Actress categories, but we'll get a better clue of what exactly is going to happen once we know a little more about the film. We can probably expect a trailer pretty soon here.

October: We got that trailer, and it is perhaps the strangest trailer of 2016. There's a really strange tone to the trailer, switching methods halfway through for a laugh that plays pretty well. There's a unique style to the trailer, and I suspect that will translate to the film itself. The one thing the trailer confirmed that we already suspected, however, was that this movie is going to be a powerhouse of female performances. My predictions currently have Greta Gerwig as a nominee for Supporting Actress, with Elle Fanning just barely on the edge. As I've stressed a million times, Best Actress is incredibly competitive this year, so I currently do not have Annette Bening in the top five. That's quite liable to change, and I personally hope it does. I'm excited for this movie.

November: 20th Century Women is right on the edge of so many things. Best Supporting Actress for Greta Gerwig will probably happen, otherwise the film has no more than a really good chance of landing a nomination in a few different categories. Best Actress for Annette Bening and best Original Screenplay are the best two possibilities here, but it's also very possible 20th Century Women turns out to be a potential Best Picture nominee.

December: True to its title, the strongest Oscar possibilities from 20th Century Women are going to be its women. Annette Bening and Greta Gerwig both scored nominations at the Critics Choice Awards, however neither Bening or Gerwig scored nominations from the Screen Actors guild. Now while the film is a late release, so that does come into play with the earl SAG nominations, this certainly doesn't bode well. Unfortunately, that's likely going to be about it. There is a possibility of Original Screenplay sneaking its way up to a nomination, but the truth is that if 20th Century Women was going to be anything more of an Oscar player, it needed to do really well at the Critics Choice Awards.

January: This is just a bad year for a movie called 20th Century Women because in 2016, the 21st century women are just a little too good. The film's best bets at a nomination were for Annette Bening and Great Gerwig to be nominated in best Actress or Best Supporting Actress, respectively, but the competition has just served to fierce. There's still a slight chance either woman might be able to slip in to the top five of their category, but I don't think it's gonna happen. It's also possible 20th Century Women can sneak into Best Original Screenplay, but I wouldn't bet any money on it.

February: It was clear a lot of people liked 20th Century Women, but it just didn't look like there was room in the Oscar race for it to be nominated. In the end, the 20th Century Women's lovers came through and provided it with a Best Original Screenplay nom. There's no chance of the film winning, but this is certainly a good movie to check out. ” - Jacob Ford
Silence (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Two priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor and propagate Catholicism. (161 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ Best Cinematography

July: Martin Scorsese rocked the awards circuit with "The Wolf of Wall Street" three years ago, but ultimately came up short with his edgy, almost NC-17, Leonardo DiCaprio starring Wall Street epic. Scorsese is back now with a feature length film, and just because his name has become so legendary, "Silence" immediately assumed to be a serious contender. Silence chronicles the story of two seventeenth century Jesuit priests who travel to Japan where Christians are persecuted in an attempt to remove all western influence. Andrew Garfield seems to be taking the lead role, with Adam Driver, Hollywood's unlikeliest hottest star, in the passenger's seat. Liam Neeson also promises to give a good supporting performance, in a role that's sure to make a splash of some kind. Also be sure to watch for the rest of Scorsese's loyal crew with Thelma Schoonmaker's editing, Dante Ferretti's Production Design, and Rodrigo Prieto's Cinematography.

September: Still hardly anything to go off of, we don’t even have a trailer yet. I figure that will change by the end of the month, but until then we just have to wait and see. Hopefully it won’t go through the nightmare of a release process Scorsese’s last film, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” went through, however it still turned out decently well for “Wolf” regardless. Otherwise, it’s just a waiting game as some of the most experienced and talented filmmakers in all of Hollywood finish up on what promises to be a high-quality movie.

October: To be perfectly honest, I’m getting kind of tired of looking at that picture of Liam Neeson. The movie is set to be released in a little over two months, and we still have no trailer or even a poster. At this point, that’s liable to change any given day, but until then we’re left scratching our heads. Silence still sits as our frontrunner for this Oscar race, but if we look at the last time Scorsese had a film that just barely squeezed into the race, it didn’t turn out so well. The Wolf of Wall Street is a favorite film of many people, but its awards play was almost entirely spoiled by the timing of its release. The fact that we’re into October no and we don’t have a trailer or a poster makes me wonder if we’re going to run into a similar scenario.

November: Come on Scorsese! We know for sure that Silence will be coming this year, and we’ve also been told that the earliest screenings of the film won’t happen until partway through December, but you’d think that with the movie a month away we’d have some sort of teaser trailer or poster to go off of. Because of this, Silence is a fascinating example of the many ways the Oscar race works. If this movie was being made by anyone other than Martin Scorsese, at this point I likely wouldn’t even have it on here as a potential nominee. But since Scorsese is the one making it, I’m currently predicting the film to land seven nominations. Right now, everyone in Hollywood has incredible faith that Scorsese will deliver. Because if he does, Silence is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

December: Finally got a trailer, and it’s simply fantastic. That being said, Silence has been doing surprisingly poorly with the different critics awards. For one, it wasn’t screened in time to be eligible for the Critics Choice Awards, so that’s a major pool of potential nominations that it completely missed out on. Beyond that, however, the National Board of Review and the Washington DC critics are the only ones who have yet recognized the film. At the NBR, it won Best Adapted Screenplay, which is a good sign, and in DC it was runner-up supporting actor. Strange thing is, though, that it wasn’t Adam Driver or Liam Neeson that won this, but rather the little-known Japanese actor Issei Ogata. I don’t expect Ogata’s silver here to tranlate anywhere else, but it is worth noticing that the DC critics thought he was that good. Despite it’s struggle to do much with the critics awards, Silence still made AFI’s top ten films of the year. The weird thing is, though that Silence just isn’t a very big player when it comes to winning these awards. You can still count on those six nominations, but something about the film just isn’t a winner.

January: Now how did this happen? Martin Scorsese, one of the greatest filmmakers alive with nine Oscar nominations, had a passion project he wanted to make for thirty years and it ends up not being an Oscar player. I haven't seen the movie yet so I can't attest to the quality of the film, so I'm honestly unsure how this happened. Silence hasn't been nominated for a single BAFTA or Golden Globe, and the only Guild that recognized it was the American Society of Cinematographers. Because of this, I'm predicting the film will be nominated for its cinematography, but somehow that will be its only nomination.

February: Somehow, Martin Scorsese's 30-year passion project only landed a single nomination for Cinematography. This is a great film that is intensely emotional and penetratingly personal, but too much so for Academy voters. In the end, this film will win no Oscars. ” - Jacob Ford
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. (133 mins.)
Director: David Yates
“ Best Production Design
Best Costume Design

July: The first Harry Potter spinoff. Back in 2012, “The Deathy Hallows: Part 2” landed three nomination for Makeup, Visual Effects, and Art Direction (Now Production Design.) All the same crew has returned for “Fantastic Beats,” so I suspect it to follow a similar outcome if it ends up being anything of a player. One to throw into the mix would be Colleen Atwood’s Costume Design, as this film has the benefit of being set in 1920s New York City. Something else that could be interesting would be Adapted Screenplay as this is the first time where author J.K. Rowling is penning the screenplay to the film.

November: Fantastic Beasts hits theaters this weekend, so be watching for my review. Regardless of how good, bad, or disappointing the film might be, though, I think there’s three nominations we can count on: Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Visual Effects. Those three categories are the only legitimate places Fantastic Beasts has a chance of scoring a nomination, but we can all be very confident it will land those nominations.

December: Loved this revival of Harry Potter, you can read my review here. That being said, not much has changed. Production Design, Costume Design, and Visual Effects are locks, but that’s as much as Fantastic Beasts is going to do.

January: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will score a total of three Oscar nominations. It has landed the appropriate guild nominations for its Costuming, Production Design, and Visual Effects, which means you can count on it for those three Oscar nominations.

February: Fantastic Beasts ended up only getting two of its expected three nominations, coming up short with Visual Effects. If it's going to win either Costume Design or Production Design it will have to beat out La La Land, which I don't expect to happen. ” - Jacob Ford
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio's stars in line. (106 mins.)
“ Best Production Design

February: Hail, Caesar! was an exceedingly mediocre film, one of the worst Coen brothers' films I've seen, but it did manage to get in as an Oscar nominee. It's no secret that the Academy always likes it when movies recreate old Hollywood (that's how Argo won Best Picture a couple years back,) so a Production Design nomination for the film isn't much of a surprise. As for winning, the film stands no chance against the likes of La La Land and Arrival. ” - Jacob Ford
Passengers (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early. (116 mins.)
Director: Morten Tyldum
“ Best Production Design
Best Original Score

July: If "Passengers" ends up being good enough to be the Best Picture nominee we all want it to be, I can assure you it will be the highest grossing title on the ballot. The film stars this generation's dream duo of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, which is enough on its own to sell tickets, regardless of the story or rest of the movie. Thankfully, we're given a fascinating premise about two people stuck alone together in space for the rest of their lives.
"The Imitation Game" director Morten Tyldum is the man behind the camera for this pic, hoping to return as an Oscar nominee. Jennifer Lawrence has had good luck with nominations in the past, coming off of one just this past year for "Joy," so if this turns out to be the juicy role it could be, you can count her in to deliver. Chris Pratt is a more interesting question as this could be his first real opportunity to give a shot at a more critically regarded performance. I'm excited to see what will happen, but not quite as excited as I am to see this movie.

September: Just how much an they tease us before we get a teaser? We've got a few posters to go off of and a little more clue in as the the movie's plot, but otherwise we're still wondering what kind of movie this is going to be. Is it going to be just a mushy romance, is it going to be a thought provoking epic on living in inevitability, or is this just going to be the movie where Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence have their first sex scene. I'm so very hopeful we're going to get option two with "Passengers," and I am fairly confident that "The Imitation Game"s Morten Tyldum can succeed in making "Passengers" into that kind of film. Regardless of what kind of movie it is though, Jennifer Lawrence is a pretty safe bet, despite the intensity of the Best Actress competition. For everything else though, this is just going to be a waiting game.

October: I was pretty sure that with the first trailer we were going to get a better idea of whether “Passengers” is going to be an Oscar player or not, but frankly the trailer released his morning only made that question even more valid. This is a book we can’t even come close to judging by its cover, which is frustrating when you’re trying to predict things. For the strong Best Actress race, Jennifer Lawrence no longer looks to be a major frontrunner, thought I’m still predicting she’ll make the top five. The film itself is going to stay on the edge of the Best Picture race for now, otherwise we’re going to have to wait until the film starts screening at festivals and for critics before we can say anything very confidently. For now, just look towards the sound categories and Production Design as possibilities. We also now know that Thomas Newman will be composing the score, which certainly ups the film’s chances in that category.

November: Things don’t look super bright right now as Passengers seems to be shaping up to be more of a Blockbuster than an Oscar player. I still have Jennifer Lawrence predicted as one of the Best Actress nominees, but I’m fairly confident she’s going to drop in that race before long. Otherwise, the best chance for Passengers when it comes to Oscar is the sound of the film. Sound Editing will likely be a nominee for the film, and Sound Mixing could very well go with it. Finally, Thomas Newman’s score stands a good chance at being a nominee as well. Otherwise, the only thing to hope for is going to be Best Visual Effects.

December: Passengers isn’t going to do very much at the Oscars, as it’ll stick to purely technical categories, if it does anything. Production Design and Sound Editing are the two most likely categories, with Sound Mixing as another possibility. But in all three of those cases, the film is sitting right on the edge of either scoring a nomination, or being left out.

January: It's unfortunate when a film has so much potential but ends up being so darn mediocre. Passengers will be an Oscar nominee, for Best Sound Editing and Best Production Design, but there's no sense in hoping for anything else. The movie just wasn't that good.

February: Passengers surprised everyone on nominations morning, not because it didn't get a Sound nomination like was expected, but because it somehow sneaked its way into the Best Original Score race. With this being his fourteenth nomination with no wins, Thomas Newman is one of the people in Hollywood most overdue for an Oscar. He won't win for this film, and frankly I don't want him to, considering he's composed much better stuff. The other nomination for the film was Production Design, which was certainly deserved, but has no chance of winning either. ” - Jacob Ford
Sully (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight's passengers and crew. (96 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
“ Best Sound Editing

July: I just love that Clint Eastwood is still making movies. Even more than that, though, I love how his style has evolved these later years. "Million Dollar Baby" is one of the greatest movies ever made, and "American Sniper" two years ago proved that Eastwood can still connect with audiences on many different levels. With "Sully," we have Robert Zemeckis' "Flight," but with Tom Hanks instead of Denzel Washington and a true story instead of a fictional one. Tom Hanks is sure to give us a performance that will be part of the Oscar conversation, though his last two efforts with "Bridge of Spies" and "Captain Phillips" have been in vain. What "Sully" is really banking on, however, is whether Eastwood can connect with his audience and critics to the same degree "American Sniper" did.

September: Plain and simple, "Sully" just wasn't very good. You can read my review here, but mostly it just didn't have enough story to make it as a feature length film. As a result it was disorganized and had many unnecessary elements. Because of this, I think it's out of the running in just about every category. The only saving grace might be Hanks for Best Actor, but truthfully, his performance wasn't anything special. And if he couldn't land a nomination for "Captain Phillips," then "Sully" most certainly isn't going to get him there.

October: Tom Hanks is gonna be given Best Actor at the Hollywood film awards, but I have a feeling that's where it's gonna end for "Sully." The movie just wasn't very good, and Hanks and Eckhart weren't anything extraordinary. "Sully" tells a great story, but because it fails to tell it very well, I don't think we're going to be seeing it at the Oscars.

November: I suppose it's always possible Tom Hanks could surprise everyone and land a nomination for Best Actor, particularly since this year that category isn't exactly the Kentucky Derby it's been in the past. In the end, however, I don't think Sully is going to be present at the Oscars at all.

January: For a while I didn't figure Sully would land any Oscar nominations, but then it found itself nominated for a couple Cinema Audio Society Awards. This puts it in the running for the two Sound categories, where I'm predicting it will be a nominee. There's a better chance for Sound Editing than Sound Mixing, but it should be able to nab both of them.

February: While everyone was complaining about how Sully was snubbed by only getting a Sound Editing nomination, I say this was more of a surprise. This was an exceedingly mediocre film and the fact that voters remembered it enough to give it a Sound Editing nomination is frankly quite surprisingly to me. Thankfully, there's no chance of Sully winning its sole nomination. In fact, of the five nominees, it's the least likely to take home the Oscar. ” - Jacob Ford
Deepwater Horizon (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A dramatization of the April 2010 disaster, when the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history. (107 mins.)
Director: Peter Berg
“ Best Visual Effects
Best Sound Editing

July: Three years ago, "Lone Survivor" flirted with being a serious contender, but ultimately was a little too late to the game to do anything more than a couple sound nominations. "Deepwater Horizon" reunites Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, so let's see if something good can come out of this round, especially now with a much earlier release. You can certainly bet on some more Sound Mixing and Editing nominees, but whether or not this oil spill drama can do much more is up to whether Berg can give us a movie worthy of Oscar talk. In the acting races, Wahlberg is a very iffy bet, but look toward Kurt Russell or John Malkovich if we want a surprise in the Supporting Actor category.

September: To be perfectly honest, those are some pretty good trailers. It begins to exhaust the metaphor a little bit, but it is a good sign that director Peter Berg is putting some artistic twist to it, instead of just the Oil, Fire, BOOM! that we were expecting. I don't really see this one being a major competitor for Best Picture or Director, I don't think it can knock out its competition, but if "Deepwater Horizon" is really good, we may be able to squeeze an Adapted Screenplay or Film Editing nomination to go along with Sound Mixing and Editing. By October, the film will be out and I'll have a review, so look for a little more clue-in two weeks from now.

October: For me, “Deepwater Horizon” is perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise of 2016. This movie was captivating, exciting, and emotional. In my review, I stated that the film follows the most basic structure of filmmaking, which is what makes it so good, but it also makes it so it likely won’t get any special recognition from the Academy. AMPAS likes newness and uniqueness. “Deepwater” wasn’t either of those, but it was good. I’m currently prediction Sound Mixing and Sound Editing nominations for “Deepwater,” and I have a feeling that the quality of the film could lead to wins in one, if not two, of those categories.

November: We’re still going to be looking solely at the Sound categories for Deepwater. But with Hacksaw Ridge and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the picture now, Deepwater Horizon has lost its frontrunner status.

December: Deepwater Horizon isn’t just no longer a frontrunner in the sound categories, but right now it’s scraping by to simply land a nomination. I’m holding Deepwater in the fifth spot in each of the sound categories, but with Sound Editing, Passengers has the potential to kick it out and with Sound Mixing, Arrival could do the same. Nothing’s guaranteed anymore.

January: Deepwater Horizon has fallen to the point where it is just hoping for a single nomination. I'm predicting it will get that nomination for Sound Editing, but it certainly isn't guaranteed. Both Doctor Strange and Arrival would love to add another nomination to their name, so we'll see how it turns out. After making the shortlist and scoring a couple VES nominations, there's a chance Deepwater will be nominated for Visual Effects. Oddly enough, it's competing with Kubo and the Two Strings for the nomination, making this one a total tossup. I'm currently predicting Kubo to come out on top, but it's hard to say for sure what will happen.

February: I'm glad Deepwater Horizon came out with a couple nominations, as it was the best film to come out of September of 2016. With it's two nomination, however, it doesn't stand any chance of winning. With Sound Editing, it would have to beat La La Land and Hacksaw Ridge and with Visual Effects, it would have to beat Doctor Strange and The Jungle Book. Neither are going to happen. ” - Jacob Ford
Rogue One (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. (133 mins.)
Director: Gareth Edwards
“ Best Sound Mixing
Best Visual Effects

July: If “The Force Awakens” couldn’t break into any major categories, I don’t see “Rogue One” following any different fate. That being said, there’s a lot more freedom with the narrative and style of this film, so there is some potential for Gareth Edwards to make something great out of this. For right now, however, I’m just keeping my eye on Visual Effects, the sound categories, and Alexandre Desplat’s take on the classic Star Wars themes.

September: Biggest update is that Alexandre Desplat will no longer be scoring “Rogue One.” Instead, the man adapting the most legendary film music of all time is Michael Giacchino. Giacchino has done a marvelous job adapting the “Star Trek” and “Jurassic Park” scores for the reboots of those franchises, so we’ll see what he can do with “Star Wars” on his hands, particularly since Darth Vadar is supposedly going to be in this one, so we’ll get a little of the Imperial March. With Giacchino replacing Desplat, “Rogue One” dropped a couple spots on my Best Original Score predictions, but there’s no reason why that can’t change back. Otherwise, all this movie is going to be looking at in Oscar terms is tech categories.

November: Rogue One is looking to be a pretty solid player when we start talking technical. Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects are all very sure bets, and you can probably go ahead and write down Best Makeup and Hairstyling as well. Last year, The Force Awakens landed two other nominations in Film Editing and Original Score. With Best Film Editing I suppose it’s going to be beaten out by the competition, and with Best Original Score, Academy voters might not be too enthusiastic about the fact that it isn’t John Williams composing. That being said, if Michael Giacchino absolutely nails his adaptation of the greatest movie soundtrack of all time, you can be sure Oscar is going to take note.

December: Rogue One was a way better movie than anyone could have guessed, you can read my very favorable review here, and that means it’s Oscar potential just got boosted. The most significant boost is Best Film Editing, where it looks like it could nab that fifth slot. Michael Giacchino’s score for the film is maybe my favorite score of the year, however I’m skeptical it’ll translate to a nomination. Makeup and Hairstyling is also a possibility, though I think that Deadpool is likely to give this film the boot in that category. Otherwise, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing are a lock, making Rogue One’s Oscar run a very respectable showing.

January: As could have been expected, Rogue One is going to end up solely a technical nominee. I'm predicting the Star Wars spinoff to be nominated for Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects, all the places where the original film was the most groundbreaking. There was a possibility of Rogue One getting into Best Film Editing and Best Makeup and Hairstyling, but then it failed to get an Eddie nomination, as well as not making it onto the Academy's Makeup and Hairstyling Shortlist. This lowers its editing chances and removes it from the Makeup competition, meaning that Sound and Visual Effects will be Rogue One's only Oscar nominations.

February: The best Star Wars film yet landed two nominations for the two things the original Star Wars was most groundbreaking in: Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. Unfortunately, in both categories, the competition is too stiff. With Sound Mixing, La La Land has things completely locked down, and with Visual Effects, The Jungle Book has things completely locked down. ” - Jacob Ford
The Jungle Book (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther, Bagheera, and free spirited bear, Baloo. (106 mins.)
Director: Jon Favreau
“ Best Visual Effects

July: “The Jungle Book” was easily one of my favorite movies from the first half of 2016, however I don’t think it quite extraordinary enough to be able to beat the early-release curse. One thing nobody’s going to be able to forget, though, is the Visual Effects. “The Jungle Book” is simultaneously a marvel and brilliant reminder of just how incredibly far filmmaking has come. Because of “The Jungle Book,” I think Visual Effects is the first category to already be locked down with a winner.

November: The Jungle Book is of course our frontrunner for Best Visual Effects, and though I previously assumed the film to be without competition in that category, Doctor Strange had a thing or two to say about that. I’m still predicting The Jungle Book will walk home with the VFX Oscar in February, but it certainly is now a competition. The only other category The jungle Book is going to be apart of is Best Original Score. John Debney’s score is perhaps my favorite of the year, so I’ll be very happy if it can land that nomination.

December: Nothing his changed concerning The Jungle Book’s Visual Effects frontrunner status, though Doctor Strange is still something that could potentially upset it. Concerning it’s Best Original Score chances, the movie has only been recognized for its score from two minor awards organizations, so things don’t look super positive. That being said, Arrival was deemed ineligible for Best Original Score, which opens up a spot for The Jungle Book to potentially fill.

January: The Jungle Book is still likely to win the Best Visual Effects category, so you can be more than confident it'll get a nomination. The only other thing it has an chance at is Best Original Score. John Debney's music hasn't been nominated for any other major awards so I don't suspect the film will score a nomination, but there is still a chance.

February: The Jungle Book ended up only being nominated for the category it is going to win: Best Visual Effects. Doctor Strange is unique competition, but there just isn't a film with the sheer power to beat out The Jungle Book's animation. ” - Jacob Ford
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past. (101 mins.)
Director: Travis Knight
“ Best Animated Film
Best Visual Effects

February: Kubo and the Two Strings made history at the Oscars, becoming the first animated film to be nominated for Best Visual Effects. There's no chance of it actually winning that nomination, not with The Jungle Book and Doctor Strange as competition. The only place the film stands a chance of winning is Best Animated Film. Zootopia looks to have that category pretty locked down, but Kubo does have a fairly decent following. Kubo probably needed to have won at the Annie awards if it's going to do anything at the Oscars, but Zootopia picked up that prize. I wouldn't get your hopes up, but there is still a chance. ” - Jacob Ford
Moana (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain's daughter's island, she answers the Ocean's call to seek out the Demigod to set things right. (107 mins.)
“ Best Animated Film
Best Original Song

February: Moana was one of two animated films to double nominate at these Oscars, but unfortunately it doesn't have much of a shot at winning anything. With it's Best Animated Film nomination, the studio running Moana's campaign is Disney, who's going to be putting all their weight into Zootopia. And with Best Original Song, Lin-Manuel Miranda will have to beat out two of the best songs from La La Land if he's going to score that EGOT win. In the end, Moana's going to go home empty handed. ” - Jacob Ford
A Man Called Ove (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Ove, an ill-tempered, isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife's grave, has finally given up on life just as an unlikely friendship develops with his boisterous new neighbors. (116 mins.)
Director: Hannes Holm
“ Best Foreign Language Film
Best Makeup and Hairstyling

February: A Man Called Ove was the only Foreign Language Film nominee do double nominate, which immediately gives it a minor advantage in the Foreign Language Film race. Unfortunately, that second nomination was for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, so I would expect that to affect things very much. A Man Called Ove doesn't look too like to win the the Best Foriegn Language Film Oscar,since it has Toni Erdmann and The Salesman for competition. There's a chance it'll surprise, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. As far as winning that Makeup nomination goes, it's chance is as good as any others. Star Trek: Beyond is my pick to win that category, but A Man Called Ove is the only film nominated for age makeup, which historically has done well with Oscar. We'll see if Sweden can get anything this year, but my guess is no. ” - Jacob Ford
La La Land (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. (128 mins.)
Director: Damien Chazelle
“ Category: Best Original Song

If anyone asks you what’s going to win Best Original Song this year, just say La La Land.

This race is La La Land versus La La Land, with the film’s two nominated songs being the only real contenders in this race. “City of Stars” is what was nominated (and won) the Golden Globe and is more of the headlining piece for the film, but “Audition” is what plays during one of the film’s best scenes. Both are fantastic pieces of music that I’ve listened to more times than I care to confess, but my prediction is that “City of Stars” will come out on top.

And just because I like Lin-Manuel Miranda, I’ll say that Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go” is the dark horse in this race. There no chance of it beating out either of La La Land’s songs, but if it did, Miranda would become a rare recipient of a EGOT – a fictional prize to a person who’s won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Not only that, but Miranda would have done it all in one year. There’s no way it’ll happen, but it’s nice to think it’s a possibility.

La La Land – “City of Stars”

Next in line:
La La Land – “Audition“

Watch out for:
Moana – “How Far I’ll Go”

In the running:
Trolls – “Can’t Stop this Feeling!”
Jim: The James Foley Story – “The Empty Chair” ” - Jacob Ford
Zootopia (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy. (108 mins.)
“ Category: Best Animated Film

Let’s face it, we’ve known who was going to win Best Animated Film since March. Zootopia is a great movie, but more importantly is speaks a strong and relevant message in a very animated film way. This is exactly the type of film that wins the Oscar and there isn’t really anybody to stop it.

That being said, there are a pair of dark horses in this race that could give us a surprise on Oscar night. Kubo and the Two Strings was a delightful and beautiful film, and it has a strong and loyal following. I don’t know how much of that following is in the Academy, but there certainly is potential.

The other dark horse is The Red Turtle. This is arguably one of the most artistic films released in 2016, and though I haven’t seen it yet, it has been called by many as a great film. This rarely happens, but if Academy voters are tired of voting for Disney, then they might just turn their eyes to something on the other side of the spectrum. I certainly wouldn’t bet any money on this, but on the off chance it does happen, you heard it here first.


Next in line:
Kubo and the Two Strings

Watch out for:
The Red Turtle

In the running:
My Life as a Zucchini ” - Jacob Ford
Toni Erdmann (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A practical joking father tries to reconnect with his hard working daughter by creating an outrageous alter ego and posing as her CEO's life coach. (162 mins.)
Director: Maren Ade
“ Category: Best Foreign Language Film

There’s a clear frontrunner here, and that’s Toni Erdman. Germany’s entry has been leading this race from the very start and is by far the best reviewed film made outside of the U.S. in 2016. It’s the safest pic, and it’s the one that’s most likely to take home the award.

With this category, however, recent politics are going to come into play. After Donald Trump’s ban was first announced, it quickly came to light that all the members of the cast and crew of The Salesman would not be able to attend the Academy Awards, as the film hails from Iran, one of the seven countries that was banned. With how upset this made the majority of America and about 99.9999999% of Hollywood, this immediately creates a ton of support for Iran’s entry, regardless of how good the film is. Giving the country of Iran an Oscar in the midst of this controversy is exactly how Hollywood wants to punch back at Trump, and my prediction is that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

The Salesman – Iran

Next in line:
A Man Called Ove – Sweden

Watch out for:
Toni Erdmann – Germany

In the running:
Land of Mine – Denmark
Tanna – Australia ” - Jacob Ford
O.J.: Made in America (2016 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
It is the defining cultural tale of modern America - a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence, and the criminal justice system. And two decades after its unforgettable climax, it continues to fascinate, polarize, and develop new chapters. (467 mins.)
Director: Ezra Edelman
“ Category: Best Documentary Feature

I don’t think there’s a whole lot of question about this one. O.J. Made in America has dominated the Documentary race all year long, making the Oscar the only thing it has left to win. The only thing that could turn AMPAS members to vote for something else is the fact that O.J. is nearly eight hours long. I don’t expect this to hinder the film from winning, however eight hours is almost absurdly long.

If the films runtime does hold it back at all, then one of the other two race in America documentaries, I am Not Your Negro or 13th, will step in and claim the prize. I’d love to see a surprise from the light-hearted Life, Animated, but there isn’t much hope of that. This one belongs to O.J.

O.J. Made in America

Next in line:
I am Not Your Negro

Watch out for:

In the running:
Life, Animated
Fire at Sea ” - Jacob Ford
The White Helmets (2016 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
As daily airstriks pound civilian targets in Syria, a group of indomitable first responders risk their lives to rescue victims from the rubble. (41 mins.)
“ Category: Best Documentary Short

Netflix already has Emmys and Golden Globes and this is the year they’ll be stepping into Oscar territory. Best Documentary Short’s two frontrunners, The White Helmets and Extremis, are both Netflix Originals, and both cover quite different topics. I’m fairly confident The White Helmets will be taking home the prize as its a fantastic piece of filmmaking and covers a topic that is emotional, moving, and going on right now. Either way, 2017 is the year Netflix gets their first Oscar.

There is certainly a chance of Joe’s Violin disrupting Netflix’s Oscar glory. The short tells an engaging and unique tale about generational and race differences that is ultra heartwarming, and it could very well tug on enough voter’s heartstrings to nab this win. I’d be surprised if Netflix, specifically The White Helmets” doesn’t win this year, but it is possible.

The White Helmets

Next in line:

Watch out for:
Joe’s Violin

In the running:
Watani: My Homeland
4.1 Miles ” - Jacob Ford
Piper (2016 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A mother bird tries to teach her little one how to find food by herself. In the process, she encounters a traumatic experience that she must overcome in order to survive. (6 mins.)
Director: Alan Barillaro
“ Category: Best Short Film, Animated

The short film categories never receive much attention, but this year Animated Short is one of the most competitive categories. The two biggest frontruners are Pixar’s Piper and Patrick Osborne’s Pearl. Pixar obviously has countless Animated Short Oscars to its name, and Patrick Osborne already won this Oscar a couple years back for Feast. It’s a complete tossup between these two films, but I’m going to put my money on Pixar to push this one out for the win.

But like any, ultra-competitive category, there’s strong potential for upset, and that upset could come from a couple Pixar rogues who made Borrowed Time. Borrowed Time is the only nominee I’ve seen as of yet, and it is easily one of the best animated shorts I have ever seen. I don’t know if there will be enough support for it to go all the way, but there definitely is some support for the film. We’ll see how it turns out.


Next in line:

Watch out for:
Borrowed Time

In the running:
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Blind Vaysha ” - Jacob Ford
Silent Nights (2016 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A volunteer at a housing shelter falls for an illegal immigrant. (30 mins.)
Director: Aske Bang
“ Category: Best Short Film, Live Action

The frotnrunner here is going to be Silent Nights. The short is produced by Kim Magnusson a five time nominee and two time winner of this prize, making him the most experienced man in this race. Sing is going to be the next most likely winner, though watch out for Ennemis Intérieurs as a potential upset.

Silent Nights

Next in line:

Mindenki (Sing)
Watch out for:
Ennemis Intérieurs

In the running:
La Femme et le TGV ” - Jacob Ford