Monday, August 10, 2015

Happy 600th Article! Here's My Predictions For the Upcoming Oscar Season

Scene from Suffragette
Ladies and gentlemen, I have reached another mini-milestone. I have reached my 600th article for The Oscar Buzz. Okay, maybe there's not a lot of honor as there is for the 1,000th article or even an anniversary entry. However, it feels like a special correlation has just happened where I can celebrate this achievement by talking about something that I do best here: The Oscars. Not just any Oscars, but the upcoming season that will be dominating conversation and filling our time endlessly with speculation (and the return of Failed Oscar Campaigns!). So, I figured that there wouldn't be any better way to celebrate this honor than predict what the line-up will be for the five main categories. 

Next to actually having seen all of the nominees, this is an exciting era for Oscar prognostication. It is the time when almost everything is at an equal playing field. It is the time when you can consider August to be a month with a few hidden gems. I am unsure how things will go, especially with last year diversely having Best Picture nominees from early summer up through the final qualification period. I can hope that there's a few surprises and that my predictions are, not entirely but partially, obsolete. I hope I can pull a few surprises out. Though if I am being honest, there's a few categories that I will predict that I HOPE get surprises because of how uninspired my guesses are.

I don't have much to say at this point other than that I think that Suffragette will be a secret force of nature. There has been something alluring about the women's movement drama that has captured my interest since the beginning. Besides the stellar cast, I think that it has a ton of prestige all over it and while I don't know if it will win Best Picture (I am not here to predict that), I do think it will come up strong. After last year proved to have a lot of testosterone in the top category, it would be nice to have a little bit of ladies fighting for a spot.

So, without further ado, let's present my predictions of The Oscar Season ahead:

Scene from Inside Out
Best Picture

- The Danish Girl
- Joy

- Alternates -

- Notes -

Since the sliding scale is still in effect, it is hard to properly gauge how many films will make the final cut. As it stands, these films are mostly selected based on talent or buzz that have been surrounding them. I do think that Inside Out has enough acclaim going for it that between it and The Good Dinosaur, it may be the favorite for the category. I also think that The Hateful Eight will mostly be an entry into the category based on its reputation of releasing the film in specialized formats over the course of its run. I also am willing to accept that The Revenant may not be able to make the cut, but only if the film isn't completed by then (Which seems very likely)

Scene from Bridge of Spies
Best Director

- Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies)
- Tom Hooper (The Danish Girl)
- David O. Russell (Joy)
- Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant)
- Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs)

- Alternates -

- Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)
- Oliver Stone (Snowden)

- Notes -

Of every category referenced, I am probably the most confident about this one given the final movies are actually good and qualify. I do think that Bridge of Spies will be another dominant force at the Oscars given Steven Spielberg's success with war films. However, the general focus to me is going to be Danny Boyle and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Where the latter boasts that his film is revolutionary, Boyle has also made claims that his film is predominantly going to be made up of single takes. This is a format that has been noticeably a big factor in the past few years of the category. I don't have much bank in Snowden at this point given Oliver Stone's recent output, but I am willing to be swayed if he does something more compelling than Savages with it.

Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl
Best Actor

- Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies)
- Brad Pitt (By the Sea)
- Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
- Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
- Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)

- Alternates -

- Johnny Depp (Black Mass)
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Snowden)
- Jake Gyllenhaal (Southpaw)

- Notes -

I know that it is blasphemous to argue against Jake Gyllenhaal, but be honest with yourself: is anyone talking about Southpaw? For all of the people that want Gyllenhaal to win an Oscar, the buzz around him has died down. At most, I can see Harvey Weinstein pulling some game to get him back into the spotlight. I think the initial line-up is more interesting. For starters, there's the return of Tom Hanks for the first time in more than a decade. I also think that it is possible for By the Sea to be a strong spotlight for its main two actors and likewise will show up strongly in the acting fields, similarly to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Eddie Redmayne, fresh off of last year's win, may stand a chance thanks to tackling LGBT subject matter that helped Jared Leto win a Best Supporting Actor statue for Dallas Buyers Club. With his profile high enough, there's a strong chance that he's already a guaranteed lock, if the film is good enough. And finally, I want to believe that Johnny Depp is back to doing good movies. Black Mass looks good, but I do think it's too much of a specific film to be a front runner.

Jennifer Lawrence in Joy
Best Actress

- Angelina Jolie (By the Sea)
- Cate Blanchett (Carol)
- Julianne Moore (Freeheld)
- Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
- Meryl Streep (Suffragette)

- Alternates -

- Amy Ryan (Bridge of Spies)
- Juliette Binoche (The Clouds of Sils Maria)
- Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
- Lily Tomlin (Grandma
- Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
- Shailene Woodley (Snowden)

- Notes -

Probably the more difficult categories are about to start. I think that this line-up is particularly interesting and it would be a shame if some combination of these didn't at least make a presence. While I would like to think that this is the year that Meryl Streep does not get nominated, I still think that Suffragette is too big to fail. Otherwise, you have a lot of heavy hitters to think of in my top half and a lot of wild cards in my Alternates. Of these, I do think that there's room for switching around and producing an interesting line-up. Otherwise, it may end up just being another year with uninteresting picks.

Scene from Freeheld
Best Supporting Actress

- Rooney Mara (Carol)
- Ellen Page (Freeheld)
- Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
- Helena Bonham Carter (Suffragette)
- Carey Mulligan (Suffragette)

- Alternates -

- Kristen Stewart (The Clouds of Sils Maria)
- Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

- Notes -

I really have no idea how to make heads or tails of this category. For me, there's only a few potential locks, and that is with Freeheld and Suffragette. I don't know that any of these other ones are a sure bet. I don think that while Charlize Theron would technically be a leading role, I do think that there's potential for her to be swapped to supporting for some dumb reason. After all, if Sigourney Weaver can get nominated for her work in the Alien franchise, then this isn't totally implausible. Again, this category is probably among my least formed, and I can only hope that there's a lot of surprises in store this upcoming season. 

Christoph Waltz
Best Supporting Actor

- Benedict Cumberbatch (Black Mass)
- Alan Alda (Bridge of Spies)
- Steve Carell (Freeheld)
- Bradley Cooper (Joy)
- Christoph Waltz (Spectre)

- Notes -

I have no idea what this category will look like. All I know is that The Academy loves themselves some Christoph Waltz, having awarded him this category twice now. While James Bond films aren't always associated with acting categories, things could easily change if Waltz turns in something that is magnetic and exciting. Otherwise, this whole category is going to surprise me royally when all is said and done.

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