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89th Oscars. Oscar Contenders of 2016 - For prediction, discussion, entertainment purposes only

 discuss on the blog


Before the Chart... For the Conscientious Voter 

Each year there is much talk that bloggers set the field too early (as if we have such power!) but to fight against that, and since we here at TFE believe voters should watch movies all year round, we'll be featuring a new quintet to FYC on each chart of already released titles.

The conscientous voter shouldn't wait to get started. "Consider..." your options often and early. See films all year!
The following are not "endorsements" (I outright dislike one of these) so much as a list of films that the serious voters will see given either their reviews, pedigree, ambitions, cultural impact, or other considerations.

Hail, Caesar!
Coen Bros
Feb 5th
Ben Wheatley
April 28th 
Midnight Special
(Warner Bros)
Jeff Nichols
March 18th 
The Witch
Robert Eggers
Feb 19th 
Howard, Moore, Bush
March 4th 


And now the April Foolish Predictions
We take lots of wild swings early on because - why not? It's never totally easy to know these things before any images from many of the films surface. 


Tier 1 - Top Predictions

Denzel Washington
tba 2016

Though production is rushing to get this one filmed in time can the Tony winning 50s set drama about a garbage man and his wife transfer to the big screen with not just its cast but its magic intact? (Denzel hasn't wowed as a director thus far.)

The Birth of a Nation
(Fox Searchlight)
Nate Parker
October 7th

It's dangerous to start the year as a frontrunner as this provocatively titled picture about a slave rebellion did at Sundance. Will it be a hit? Great release date choice.

Martin Scorsese
tba 2016

Though you never can tell how long Scorsese will take in post-production, most expect that we'll see this 17th century missionairy drama about Jesuit priests in Japan as a 2016 player

La La Land
Damien Chazelle
Dec 2nd

This is my wild card pick as an Oscar player. Yes, launching contemporary musicals into the Oscar ranks hasn't been done in (decades?) but so what. Surprises do occur. It's Chazelle's Whiplash follow up. If they fall in love with Emma & Ryan falling in love...

Story of Your Life (Paramount)
Denis Villeneuve

This sci-fi drama stars Amy Adams as a linguist tasked with communicating with aliens. TFE keeps predicting Villeneuve's movies to be major players and each time they seem to be getting closer to the conversation. So we'll stick with our hunch that he'll one day have a big Oscar hit.

Tier 2 - And... (since there can be up to 10 Nominees)

(Focus Features)
Jeff Nichols
Nov 4th

The documentary about this interracial married couple got some small attention but Nichols has some serious as yet unOscar noticed skills. Might this period drama be the one to move him up a level?

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Ang Lee
Nov 11th

While contemporary satire is NOT easy to transfer to the screen, everyone seems to love this book and we know that Oscar sits up straight to listen when Ang Lee spin his yarns. Crossing fingers

Manchester by the Sea (Roadside)
Kenneth Lonergan
Nov 18th

While you started hearing "lock this" and "lock that" as early as January for this Sundance drama from Lonergan (You Can Count On Me, Margaret) it won't be that easy. will they go for this glum drama of an uncle and nephew?

(Warner Bros)
Clint Eastwood
Sept 9th

Eastwood misses as often as he hits when he takes a swing but if he can harness some of Tom Hanks underrappreciated current magic for this true story about a pilot who saved a bunch of lives, more Oscar noms could follow

(Weinstein Co)
Garth Davis
Nov 25th

This true story about an Indian man (played by Dev Patel) searching for his origins after being adopted and raised in Australia (Nicole Kidman is mommy) could be a real tearjerker. Or a complete miss. Who knows?! It's a feature debut from Garth Davis who co-directed the great miniseries Top of the Lake.

Tier 3 - But Watch Out For...

The Zookeeper's Wife (Focus)
Niki Caro
tba 2016

While armchair and professinal pundits alike tend to say "WW II story? It's in!" the reality is that a LOT of WW II pictures get made and not all of them are in. But this could be quite interesting given the very fresh angle of a female driven an animal-filled WW II story.

Five Seconds of Silence (Paramount)
Robert Zemeckis
Nov 23rd

Another World War II drama. We'd place this much higher given the delicious leads (Brad Pitt & Marion Cotillard) but Zemeckis has been struggling to connect with audiences in the same way that he used to. But high hopes regardlees.

Morten Tyldum
Dec 21st

Chris Pratt and Jennfier Lawrence wake from their suspended animation 100 years before schedule in this sci-fi drama. Uh oh. But how romantic is it? How sci-fi? Do they have chemistry? Is it an adult sci-fi or slow simmer visual fx piece? so many questions

The Founder
(Weinstein Co)
John Lee Hancock
Aug 5th

The Weinstein Co swears they're trying to make August happen for Oscar in the future. We wish them luck because the only healthy Oscar culture is a year round films for adults culture. Will this have appeal beyond Hancock's usual mainstream friendly but necessarily critically friendly inspiring tales?


The Girl on the Train
Tate Taylor
October 7th

Taylor had a huge hit and a semi- Oscar hit with The Help. His follow up Get On Up was ignored but this thriller has a great actress (Emiliy Blunt) and major mainstream potential if he keeps it on the bestseller launched tracks.

Tier 4 - Other Titles

in alphabetical order

20th Century Women
(tba, tba), The Accountant (Warner Bros. Oct 14th), All Eyez On Me (Open Road, Nov 11th), Assassins Creed (Fox, Dec 21st), Beat-up Little Seagull (tba, tba), The BFG (Disney, July 1st), Bleed for This (Open Road, tba), The Book of Henry (Focus Features, tba), Captain Fantastic (Bleecker Street, July 8th), Collateral Beauty (New Line, Dec 16th), Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (WB, Nov 18th), Florence Foster Jenkins (Paramount Pictures, Aug 31st), Free Fire (A24, tba), Genius (Lionsgate/Open Road, July 29th), Hands of Stone (Weinstein Co, Aug 26th), How to Talk to Girls at Parties (A24, tba), The Last Face (tba, tba), The Light Between Oceans (Disney/Dreamworks, Sept 2nd), Moana (Disney, Nov 23rd), Money Monster (Sony, May 13th), A Monster Calls (Focus Features, Oct 14th), Morris From America (A24, tba), Nocturnal Animals (Focus Features, tba), Queen of Katwe (Disney, Sept 23rd), Rogue One (Disney, Dec 16th) Snowden (Open Road. Sept 16th), A United Kingdom (tba,tba), Wild Oats (Weinstein Co, TBA), Wilson (Fox Searchlight, tba)

Waiting until 2017
At least that's the current plan
. Could easily move up if they sense an opportunity since they'll easily be finished in time.

Live by Night (Warner Bros), Same Kind of Different Than Me (Paramount)