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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 

Films that have already opened that the serious voters will see given either their reviews, pedigree, ambitions, or cultural impact: Captain Fantastic, Love & Friendship, The Witch, The Lobster, Sing Street, Captain America: Civil War, Hail Caesar!, Sully, Hell or High Water, and Zootopia

And now the September 23rd Predictions

 

Tier 1 - Top Predictions

LA LA LAND
(Lionsgate)
Damien Chazelle
Dec 16th

My wild card pick in April doesn't look so crazy after all the festival love. Trivia Fun: a contemporary live action movie musical with original songs hasn't been nominated in decades. The last one was All That Jazz in 1979 if you can believe it!

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? The 'male tearjerker' descriptions are probably a sign that they will.

ARRIVAL
(Paramount)
Denis Villeneuve
Nov 11th

REVIEWED

The generic title isn't helping but teasers and promos have been interesting. 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.

JACKIE
(Fox Searchlight)
Pablo Larraîn
December 16th

The winner of "Most Traction From Festival Launch" prize goes to Jackie which, unlike La La Land, wasn't really anticipated. The picture's quality as well as its "I remember this" appeal to older voters and that grabby central performance make this one look likely despite its chilly anger.

 

LOVING
(Focus Features)
Jeff Nichols
Nov 4th 

A documentary about this interracial married couple got some small attention but Nichols has some serious as yet unOscar noticed skills in this feature version of the same story. Might this period drama be the one to move him up a level? Advanced buzz is strong.

 

Tier 2 - Since there can be up to 10 Nominees

BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK
(Universal)
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

LION 
(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) is a real crowdpleasing tearjerker. It's a feature debut from Garth Davis who co-directed the great miniseries Top of the Lake.

 

FENCES
(Paramount)
Denzel Washington
Dec 25th

Though production rushed to get this one filmed 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 has not wowed as a director thus far so we shall see)

 

MOONLIGHT 
(A24)
Barry Jenkins
Nov 25th

This picture is superbly rendered and artful. But it's also gay themed which could deter Oscar love (examples are endless including Carol just missing Best Pic last year). Will critics rally for it?

SILENCE
(Paramount)
Martin Scorsese
TBA

 Though you never can tell how long Scorsese will take in post-production (and the rumor is that this is his longest film ever (over 3 hours), this 17th century missionairy drama about Jesuit priests in Japan has been in post for a long time. STILL no release date?

 

 
Tier 3 - Also in the mix...

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. It's taken several media hits since. Can it find way to stop the leaks in the ship?

THE FOUNDER
(Weinstein Co)
John Lee Hancock
December 16th

The Weinstein Co moved this from August despite their promise last season to 'make August happen' Will this have appeal beyond Hancock's usual mainstream friendly inspiring tales?

SULLY
(Warner Bros)
Clint Eastwood
Sept 9th

REVIEWED

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...

LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP
(Roadside Attractions)
June 3rd

REVIEWED | BEST FIRST HALF OF YEAR LIST

While it might be too slight for Oscar voters who like heavy drama and long running times, it's a delight and seems likely to be reenergized by Golden Globe nominations

QUEEN OF KATWE
(Disney)
Mira Nair
Sept 23rd

If the Academy is in an inspirational mood and Disney is finally ready to really campaign hard for a live action movie.
 
Tier 4 - Longer Shots. But It's Only September. Much Could Change

HIDDEN FIGURES
(Fox)
Theodore Melfi
Qualifying Release

 If the Academy is in the mood for something lighter but still resonant, might they fall for this movie about black female mathematicians at NASA?

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS
(Paramount)
Stephen Frears
August 12th

REVIEWED

If the Academy is in the mood for something lighter but still resonant, might they fall for this confection about a terrible singer

 

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
(Universal)
October 7th

If they want mainstream thrills (and finally realize they love Emily Blunt) and if it's a substantial hit. Very big ifs and no one is yet talking about it in this sort of context.

A MONSTER CALLS
(Focus Features)
JA Bayona
Dec 23rd

REVIEWED

 If this fantasy fable makes enough voters teary, it could be a dark horse. But Christmas is awfully late to convince voters to embrace a genre film for kids. An earlier release was probably wiser to let it build

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
(Focus Features)
Tom Ford
Nov 23rd

REVIEWED

The Grand Jury prize in Venice and much festival attention could be the start of something big with Oscar. Or, the movie's pulp provocations might be less successful outside the festival circuit. We'll see.

 
Vote Siphoning - Everyone's Got Their Own Favorites...

in order of release date
Allied (Paramount, Nov 23rd)
Hell or High Water (CBS Films, Aug 12th)
Passengers (Sony/Columbia, December 21st)
Snowden (Open Road. Sept 16th)
Denial (Bleecker Street, Sept 30th)
Elle (SPC, Nov 11th) REVIEWED
Miss Sloane (Europa Corp, Dec 9th)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Disney, Dec 16th)
Collateral Beauty (New Line, Dec 16th)
Bleed for This (Open Road, Nov 4th)
Light Between Oceans (Disney, Sept 2nd) REVIEWED
Toni Erdmann (SPC, December 25th) 

WAITING UNTIL 2017 PROBABLY (OR CONFIRMED)
Beat-up Little Seagull, Free Fire, How to Talk to Girls at PartiesWilsonSame Kind of Different Than Me, The Zookeeper's Wife