Sunday, March 11, 2018

BEST PICTURE (91st)

"NEVER TOO EARLY" PREDICTIONS

LIKELY

1. FIRST MAN (12 October, Universal Pictures)
Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Josh Singer, based on the book by James R. Hansen
Producers: Marty Bowen, Damien Chazelle, Wyck Godfrey, Ryan Gosling
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jon Bernthal, Pablo Schreiber, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Lukas Haas

Plot (IMDb): A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

The Academy has got to feel just a little bit bad about the snafu that gave La La Land momentary Best Picture Oscar glory. But even without that, wunderkind Damien Chazelle's win for Best Director and the strong showing of La La Land and Whiplash before it prove that the voters really like him. And for good reason. It's very exciting what he'll do with a straight up biopic, about no less than all-American hero Neil Armstrong (never mind that he's being played by Canadian Ryan Gosling). On paper, this is the film to beat.

2. IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (TBA, Annapurna Pictures)
Director: Barry Jenkins
Writer: Barry Jenkins, based on the novel by James Baldwin
Producers: Megan Ellison, Dede Gardner, Barry Jenkins, Jeremy Kleiner, Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski
Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Dave Franco, Pedro Pascal, Finn Wittrock, Diego Luna, Ed Skrein, Colman Domingo

Plot (IMDb): A woman in Harlem desperately scrambles to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while carrying their first child.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

It's shaping up to be another Damien Chazelle-Barry Jenkins face off. Just by virtue of the popularity of its subject matter, Chazelle's First Man has the edge. But in the wake of the strong calls for diversity that have been further enhanced by narratives surrounding Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time, the politics of If Beale Street Could Talk could prove incendiary and too hard for voters to resist. It's going to be a tight race here, in Best Director, and in Best Adapted Screenplay.

3. ON THE BASIS OF SEX (TBA, Focus Features)
Director: Mimi Leder
Writer: Daniel Stiepleman
Producer: Robert W. Cort
Cast: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Kathy Bates, Sam Waterston

Plot (IMDb): The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights and what she had to overcome in order to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Expect this to ride the wave of the #MeToo movement and be one of the major contenders for top Oscars as long as it's good. The film is a biopic of US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who also has a well received documentary about her this year. The big plus: it's directed by a woman, Mimi Leder, who has multiple Emmys under her belt. She'll likely be right in the thick of Best Director conversations after Greta Gerwig's much talked about inclusion in this year's lineup.

4. BACKSEAT (21 December, Annapurna Pictures)
Director: Adam McKay
Writer: Adam McKay
Producers: Will Ferrell, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay, Kevin J. Messick, Brad Pitt
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Bill Pullman, Alison Pill

Plot (IMDb): The story of Dick Cheney, the most powerful Vice President in history, and how his policies changed the world as we know it.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Christian Bale goes the Gary Oldman route to become Dick Cheney. How can Oscar resist? Though he started on TV comedies, Adam McKay has proven with The Big Short (for which he won Best Adapted Screenplay and got a Best Director nomination) that he can handle the big stuff. I'm not sure how the political climate in the US will receive this film, but we can expect that it's going to be very entertaining.

5. BEAUTIFUL BOY (12 October, Amazon Studios)
Director: Felix van Groeningen
Writers: Luke Davies, based on the memoirs by David Sheff and Nic Sheff
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt
Cast: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Christian Convery, Oakley Bull, Amy Ryan

Plot (IMDb): Chronicles meth addiction and recovery through the eyes of a father who watches his son as he struggles with the disease.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Based on the memoirs by journalist David Sheff and his son, film and TV writer Nic Sheff, about the younger Sheff's meth addiction, it's Oscar bait material, especially with Steve Carell (who will be in at least three potential Oscar players this year) and the "it" boy of the moment, Timothée Chalamet. Expect at least major pushes for acting Oscars for Carell and Chalamet. The director, Felix van Groeningen, is not a big name, but hopefully he surprises in a wonderful way.

MAYBE

6. BOY ERASED (28 September, Focus Features)
Director: Joel Edgerton
Writer: Joel Edgerton, based on the book by Garrard Conley
Producers: Joel Edgerton, Steve Golin, Kerry Kohansky-Roberts
Cast: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Russell Crowe, Xavier Dolan, Joe Alwyn

Plot (IMDb): The son of a baptist preacher is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

This is potentially the heaviest and darkest of the top contenders, but that could definitely be a plus especially now with inclusion and diversity being so important in Hollywood. With Moonlight winning Best Picture in 2017 and Call Me By Your Name doing rather well in the last Oscars, another LGBT film could make it big, though the subject of gay therapy is much more controversial than the coming-of-age and romantic themes that the two aforementioned films depicted. It's a top-notch cast, though. Joel Edgerton's last directorial effort, The Gift, was quite well received, so let's hope he brings his A game here.

7. WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE (19 October, Annapurna Distribution)
Director: Richard Linklater
Writers: Richard Linklater, Holly Gent Palmo, Vincent Palmo Jr., based on the novel by Maria Semple
Producers: Megan Ellison, Nina Jacobson, Bradford Simpson, Ginger Sledge
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne

Plot (IMDb): After her anxiety-ridden mother disappears, 15-year-old Bee does everything she can to track her down, discovering her troubled past in the process.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

The plot just sounds positively intriguing and promising, with Cate Blanchett potentially going Blue Jasmine mode as a mother who goes missing and has to be searched for by her 15-year-old daughter, and it's in the hands of Richard Linklater, who we all know can do wonders with the medium. It also has an exciting supporting cast that includes the always delightful Kristen Wiig and Judy Greer. This could prove to be a critical darling come awards season.

POSSIBLE

8. BLACK PANTHER (16 February, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Director: Ryan Coogler
Writers: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole, based on comics by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Producer: Kevin Feige
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis

Plot (IMDb): T'Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T'Challa's father's mistake.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

What else needs to be said of this film that has not yet been? It's fantastic, it's revolutionary, and it's inspiring. At the very least, expect this film to be a major presence in the technical awards. However, at the end of the day, it's a comic book movie. Is the Academy ready to finally give MCU mastermind Kevin Feige a Best Picture nomination? If the Producers Guild of America (PGA) does, which is likely, then perhaps the voters will follow suit. But really, the greatest detriment to its Oscar chances is its VERY early release date. Disney has to keep this in conversation. It certainly has Hollywood's favor now.

9. ISLE OF DOGS (23 March, Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Kunichi Nomura, Jason Schwartzman
Producers: Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales, Scott Rudin
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Tracy Walker, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Scarlett Johansson, Courtney B. Vance, Kunichi Nomura, Tilda Swinton

Plot (IMDb): Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs follows a boy's odyssey in search of his dog.

Pre-Oscars Citations:
None

It's notoriously difficult for an animated film to get nominated for Best Picture, much less one that isn't a Disney production. But there's a lot of goodwill in the Academy for Wes Anderson especially after this glorious effort, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which won him a new legion of fans that he did not already have with his previous animated gem, Fantastic Mr. Fox. And it got pretty good ink after opening the Berlin International Film Festival.

10. HEREDITARY (8 June, A24)
Director: Ari Aster
Writer: Ari Aster
Producers: Kevin Scott Frakes, Lars Knudsen, Buddy Patrick
Cast: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd

Plot (IMDb): When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

It made its presence known out of Sundance like a roaring, insidious creature, and it has since then been compared to cinema-changing horror classics like The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby. Plus an excellent turn by lead Toni Collette can create excitement among the actors. If this lives up to the hype and makes big returns in the box office, expect it to enter the door that was opened by Get Out.

11. The Other Side of the Wind (TBA, Netflix)
Director: Orson Welles
Writers: Oja Kodar, Orson Welles
Producers: Frank Marshall, Filip Jan Rymsza
Cast: John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg, Mercedes McCambridge, Cameron Mitchell, Dennis Hopper

Plot (IMDb): The story of a legendary director named J.J. "Jake" Hannaford, who returns to Hollywood from years of semi-exile in Europe, with plans to complete work on his own innovative comeback movie, also titled "The Other Side of the Wind".

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

12. Mary Queen of Scots (2 November, Focus Features)
Director: Josie Rourke
Writer: Beau Willimon, based on the book by John Guy
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Gemma Chan, David Tennant, Guy Pearce, Joe Alwyn

Plot (IMDb): Mary Stuart's attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

13. Tully (20 April, Focus Features)
Director: Jason Reitman
Writer: Diablo Cody
Producers: Diablo Cody, A.J. Dix, Helen Estabrook, Aaron L. Gilbert, Beth Kono, Mason Novick, Jason Reitman, Charlize Theron
Cast: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Mark Duplass

Plot (IMDb): The film is about Marlo, a mother of three including a newborn, who is gifted a night nanny by her brother. Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

14. Incredibles 2 (15 June, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Brad Bird
Producers: Nicole Paradis Grindle, John Walker
Cast: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, Jonathan Banks, Bob Odenkirk, Isabella Rossellini, John Ratzenberger, Brad Bird, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner

Plot (IMDb): Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for Jack-Jack while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

15. The Favourite (TBA, Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
Producers: Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos, Lee Magiday
Cast: Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Olivia Colman, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss

Plot (IMDb): A bawdy, acerbic tale of royal intrigue, passion, envy and betrayal in the court of Queen Anne in early 18th century England.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Potential Major Players Currently Without Distributors (any of these can easily displace the lower-ranked contenders above once release dates are officially announced):
The Best of Enemies
The Bookshop
Burden
Eighth Grade
Everybody Knows
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
The Front Runner
George and Tammy
The Irishman
The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara
Leave No Trace
My Life On the Road
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Newsflash
Roma
Trial By Fire

Other Contenders:
Ad Astra
Annihilation
At Eternity's Gate
Avengers: Infinity War
The Bell Jar
Ben is Back
Black Klansman
Blaze
Bohemian Rhapsody
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
The Catcher Was a Spy
The Children Act
Christopher Robin
Colette
Come Sunday
Damsel
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
The Death of Stalin
Destroyer
Disobedience
Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
Dumplin'
First Reformed
Georgetown
Gloria
Green Book
The Happy Prince
High Life
I Think We're Alone Now
The Kindergarten Teacher
Lean on Pete
Lizzie
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Mary Magdalene
Mary Poppins Returns
The Mercy
Monster
Mowgli
Norway
On Chesil Beach
Operation Finale
Ophelia
Outlaw King
Paddington 2
The Party
Peterloo
Private Life
A Private War
Puzzle
A Quiet Place
Radegund
A Rainy Day in New York
Ready Player One
The Seagull
Search
Serenity
Sicario 2: Soldado
The Sisters Brothers
Sorry to Bother You
Stan and Ollie
A Star is Born
Suspiria
The True History of the Kelly Gang
Under the Silver Lake
Unsane
Vita and Virginia
What They Had
Where is Kyra?
White Boy Rick
The White Crow
Widows
The Wife
Wildlife
Woman Walks Ahead
The Women of Marwen
A Wrinkle in Time
You Were Never Really Here

11 comments:

Debby said...

Hey Ron,

Your list totally matches mine, for the first six any way.

goog job.

I like the new look.

Ron said...

Thanks!

ADRIAN said...

Why is there such a fuss for predicting the oscars for next year???

Ron Cruz said...

It's just a hobby, Adrian.

Anonymous said...

My ten nominees, from most likely to win to least likely:
1. Precious
2. Invictus
3. Up in the Air
4. Hurt Locker
5. Bright Star
6. An Education
7. A Serious Man
8. Nine
9. Lovely Bones
10. I don't know about who the last nominee is.

Andrew R. said...

WILL WIN: Either Hurt Locker or Avatar
SHOULD WIN: Hurt Locker or Precious
SNUBBED: Invictus, Where the Wild Things Are

(You liked Antichrist that much? Ugh, that film was gross and poorly written. But great acting.)

Anonymous said...

That's very interesting --- it looks like you picked up on a very important part of the film that hasn't been addressed in my other reading regarding this film.
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moonlessjoe said...

you can watch all these movies on http://www.diablorojo.info

I watch them all, and the hurt locker should have won.

Avatar was nothing more that dances with wolves in space. Other were good movies but not worth best picture

Andrew R. said...

OK, for 2010, I think that Harry Potter 7 Part 1 (or Part 2 for 2011!) has a bigger chance than you think. They are going to have to acknowledge the series.

Chloe is already out.

My Top 16, alphabetically:

Black Swan:
PROS: He's due, especially after the Requiem/Fountain/Wrestler snubs. Pi too. Good cast.
CONS: Well, if Requiem couldn't get nominated...

Blue Valentine:
PROS: Early buzz, Weinstein's campaigning, Gosling is due
CONS: Weinstein's campaigning, very indie

Ghost Writer:
PROS: Sympathy for Polanski.
CONS: Hatred for Polanski, early release, it's no Chinatown.

Harry Potter 7 Part 1:
PROS: Series is due for recognition, only series of 6 to be consistent (well, the last 5 Saw films were consistently bad)
CONS: There's the 2nd half, too kiddy and fantasy according to AMPAS. Never gets Visual Effects nominations.

Inception:
PROS: Nolan. And of course, DARK KNIGHT'S SNUB. ARGH. Great cast.
CONS: Very little info. Leo never wins. Nolan hasn't been nominated.

It's Kind of a Funny Story:
PROS: The source material is Academy-style funny. (Reitman-esque humor).
CONS: Cast is a bit iffy. Comedy isn't their thing. Young adult oriented, and that's a no-no.

Kids are All Right:
PROS: Bening and Moore are due, early as hell buzz, Sundance viewers loved it.
CONS: Too early buzz. Also, Brokeback.

Rabbit Hole:
PROS: Cast. The plot is the kind they love.
CONS: Naughty sounding title, very little info.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World:
PROS: Cera is a great actor, good source material.
CONS: Superbad couldn't get nominated, it's a comedy, the girlfriend reminds me of Clementine from Eternal Sunshine, which wasn't nominated. Might flop.

Shutter Island:
PROS: Scorsese and Leo.
CONS: Not a Goodfellas, Leo never wins. Early release.

Somewhere:
PROS: S. Coppola is 3 for 3. She's due.
CONS: Virgin Suicides couldn't get nominated for Screenplay, Bigelow may have won but women are still struggling. Also, little info.

Toy Story 3:
PROS: With Up + 10 slots + Pixar, it's very likely.
CONS: It's STILL animated, and other animators (Miyazaki, Disney, Dreamworks, some indie animator...) deserve a chance. Spread the love.

Twelve:
PROS: Very strong source.
CONS: They're iffy about drug movies and I want to kill whoever casted Chase Crawford.

Tree of Life:
PROS: He's due.
CONS: He can't get nominated.

True Grit:
PROS: Bridges just won and it got John Wayne an Oscar. Coen Bros are on a roll.
CONS: Remake.

Winter's Bone:
PROS: Sundance winner. Could pull a Precious.
CONS: Dark, an acting vehicle.

Ron Cruz said...

Cool list, thanks! As for HP7, I'm feeling slightly more confident about Part 2 (more epic), though Part 1 has a more Oscar-friendly release date (November) and a fair share of drama between the three leads. So maybe. It would certainly be fun to see it nom'd for Best Pic.

Ryonymous said...
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