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6 Days Until Oscar: Manchester vs Hacksaw vs Lion

With 6 days to go until the big show, let's play like we did with 8 days, and look at the Best Picture nominees with that particular number of nominations. Three movies received six nominations this time though they'll facing off less directly and only in the marquee categories at that. Nevertheless, remove the other nominees from the equation for this exercize and tell us who wins in these particular face-offs...


Their six nominations

Picture Picture Picture
Director   Director
Andrew Garfield 
Casey Affleck 
  Supporting Actress
Nicole Kidman 
Supporting Actress
Michelle Williams 
  Supporting Actor
Dev Patel 
Supporting Actor
Lucas Hedges 
  Adapted Screenplay  
    Original Screenplay
Film Editing    
  Original Score  
Sound Mixing    
Sound Editing    



Unlike the game we played with our 8 nominee films, we're not going to try to find Oscar twins here. That would be literally hundreds and hundreds of films to sift through (the lower the nomination count, the more chance of twins with the exact same set of nominations given that the less nominations a film acquires the more company it has in movie history. But I did briefly peruse a few recent Oscar years to look for twins. The closest I got was Spotlight to Manchester, though its off by one category (Editing instead of Lead Actor)

So for fun, because we're all about being generous with the goodies each day, here is what's happening at the 20:16 mark in each picture. Twenty minutes and 16 seconds into these movies here's what you get...

I just hope that when our Hal gets shot it's through the front of his jacket like a simple entry wound - not much mess. Artie got hit in the back, blew most of his gut and intestines out his front.  Awful everywhere -- wrecked his uniform entirely.

In Hacksaw Ridge we're still in the super strangely directed pre-war Americana scenes where Hugo Weaving is breaking down at the dinner table angry with his son for enlisting in the war. This speech is gut wrenching (literally) and Mel will later make sure we see all those "gut and intestines" wrecking multiple entire uniforms.

[no dialogue, children screaming]

In the 20th minute of Lion, little Saroo is already lost in Calcutta and he's running from officers of some sort who are trying to catch the homeless children who live in the train and subway stations. He doesn't even speak Bengali so he can't communicate with the officers or the other lost children. 

It's a gradual deteriotation of the muscles of the heart.

By the 20th minute of Manchester we're in a flashback to when the family is first receiving the news that Joe (the typically great Kyle Chandler), who has just died as the movie begins, has a faulty heart that will one day kill him. Though Lonergan isn't fond of poetic language the way some prestigious playwrights are (like, say, August Wilson in Fences which is also nominated for Best Picture) -- preferring every day vernacular and less heightened prose, this is still frank and brutal poetic foreshadowing of the condition of the whole movie as we'll learn over and over again how broken the hearts of all the principal characters are.

Do these snapshots remind you of how you felt about each movie or do they feel non-representative?


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Reader Comments (28)

One saving grace from that awful first third of "Hacksaw Ridge" is Rachel Griffiths (aka Brenda Chenoweth from "Six Feet Under") as Doss' mom. Always the best part of whatever she's in.

On a side note, so odd that the "Americana" section of the movie is so stacked with Aussie and British actors.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterParanoid Android

Do these snapshots remind you of how you felt about each movie or do they feel non-representative?

I haven't seen the movie, so I was surprised to see that MANCHESTER BY THE SEA had an Asian-American character.

You don't have to look far to find an Oscar twin for MANCHESTER. Just stay in Massachusetts. MYSTIC RIVER was also nominated 6 times, for Picture, Director, Leading Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Screenplay. The only difference is the screenplay was adapted rather than original. It won 2 Oscars for its actors, Sean Penn and Tim Robbins.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrevity

Brevity -- she's not the only POC in the movie. If they did one of those "every linee spoken by a POC in this movie" montages that were popular online a couple of years back it'd be short but they exist in MBTS ;)

February 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

This article just reminds me that Lonergan is one of the all-time screenwriting greats and that Manchester by the Sea is heartbreaking and hilarious and beautiful and very possibly the best of the picture nominees. (Though the ludicrous - even if predictable - La La Land backlash makes me really desperate for that film to win and win big.)

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Paranoid Android: I don't think the opening third is SO bad. It's kind of odd and corny (but semi self-aware about, though that doesn't make it GOOD), but I'd take that over something like BvS. It's really the boot-camp sequence where the film takes a nose dive. A boot camp segment can only be as good as the Drill Sergeant and Vince Vaughn is...yikes. How the CRAP did he miss a Worst Supporting Actor Razzie nod for this?

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Nathaniel & Brevity - Stephen McKinley Henderson - of Fences - plays Affleck's boss. So he's in two best pic nominees.

February 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterMurtada Elfadl

What Goran said.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Hacksaw Ridge really has nothing to do in the Best Picture line up and this article made me realise for the first time that this reaaaally average war movie got 6 NOMS??? The first third was really the worst, not feeling authentic at ALL with australian actors all over the place, it nearly felt like a parody....
Lion is still a mystery to me (i will finally see it when it comes out here on wednesday, can't wait) and for the moment Manchester By the See is the only film of the lineup (with Arrival being a close runner up) that deserves to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClement_Paris

@Volvagia - I've avoided Hacksaw Ridge like the plague (that Mel Gibson is). I didn't even know Vince Vaughn was in it, but it makes sense now why Vaughn was sitting with Gibson at the Golden Globes. LOL

Lion's first half was stunning and heart wrenching. I could say the same for Manchester by the Sea, but there's enough mundane, buoyant narrative that keeps it real.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Manchester gets ALL 6

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Is this the first time at least four actors are in multiple Best Picture nominees? Henderson, Monae, Ali, Sidney. (Am I missing anyone?) Probably not, given how the studio system worked, but it is notable that so many (all?) of them are black this year.

@ Paranoid & Murtada
It wasn't just the "Americana" part, but the whole movie, Brits and Aussies everywhere. Not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with that. But why make a movie so steeped in American history with those talents when there are so many interesting Australian stories to tell? And then cast Vince Vaughn as (basically) your sole American? I wonder how many people turned down the role before it was offered to him...

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul-it'd depend on if we're counting non-speaking parts, but pretty much every character known to man was in Gone with the Wind, and considering the other heavily-casted films that year (Mr. Smith, Stagecoach, etc) it probably could have hit more than five.

I think that may be one of the only years that an actor had a speaking part in three of the Best Picture nominees (Thomas Mitchell).

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Paul Outlaw: I can't imagine anyone else being offered that part if they actually went with Vince Vaughn. Especially considering the unholy trainwreck that is his performance, one that, frankly, critics went way too soft on.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

John T -- that would be a fun statistic to find. the only other one i can think of (though i'm sure there are more) is John C Reilly who was in 3 of the 5 in 2002 (Gangs, Hours, Chicago)

February 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I don't get your logic, Volvagia. If he was like #10 on the list after nine other actors turned down the role, I could understand the casting.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

@ John T

As it turns out (according to IMDb), Thomas Mitchell is the only credited actor to appear in those films. Any other actors appearing in more than one of them were uncredited and/or non-speaking. No "names" or major character actors.

But that year Geraldine Fitzgerald was in Wuthering Heights and Dark Victory...

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I enjoyed Nicole's bits in Lion and the the opening hour but Dev was bland,Hacksaw even my sister enjoyed but Garfield is better in Silence,no time for Mel anyhow,Manchester is ok but Lonergan is a poor screenwriter to me and needs an editor plus he is shaky with actors.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordon

@ John T & Nathaniel

It helps to have ten or more nominees...

1935: Charles Laughton (Mutiny on the Bounty, Les Miserables, Ruggles of Red Gap)

1934: Claudette Colbert (It Happened One Night, Cleopatra, Imitation of Life)

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul Outlaw: My logic is this: "Drill Sergeant" is a fairly juicy kind of role, one that most actors of a certain type (think people like Jon Bernthal, Frank Grillo or, even, Walton Goggins, among others) would be fairly obvious choices for and would KILL to be able to do, even if it meant having to work under the direction of Mad Mel. Basically: My logic is "no way actors like that would turn this down, so the offer must not have even been made in the first place."

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

@ Volvagai

Okay, I get it.

(But Gibson would have been better served casting Jodie Foster or Robert Downey Jr in the role.)

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

remove the other nominees from the equation for this exercize and tell us who wins in these particular face-offs...

I'd predict:

Picture: Lion wins
Director: Lonergan
Actor: Affleck
Supp Actress: Williams
Supp Actor: Patel

Nothing for Hacksaw in this exercise, though IRL I think it has a chance for Editing and Sound Editing.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Paul Outlaw: Hmm. Robert Downey Jr. is a more interesting choice than those I tossed out (and I love good surprises. After all, one of my Supporting Actor medalists for the 2016 film crop is Patrick Stewart ACING IT as a backwoods Neo-Nazi), even if he's not really in a position where being seen working with Mad Mel could count as a strategic move, but I think Jodie Foster basically retired from acting after Elysium.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

@ Volvagia

You know I was kidding (especially about Jodie), since they are the most vocal Gibson apologists in the industry.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul: Oh, okay. Didn't remember that.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Except for the obvious categories where each movie is the only one nominated, I would have to go with MANCHESTER for all actually competing categories.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

Except for the obvious categories where each movie is the only one nominated, I would have to go with MANCHESTER for all actually competing categories.

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

I always forget those early HACKSAW RIDGE scenes are meant to be Virginia since they look and sound like Australia. The Australian actors (even with accents) doesn't help. Those scenes also just have the air of an Australian film from the '70s or '80s where screenwriting was often not the strongest. Very strange.

February 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Finally saw Lion.... Kidman broke my heart and, just as Williams in Manchester, does a great job building her character in little details, and not only in her big scene, which was devastating. I loved the way she played Sue, infusing her with sadness and frustration beneath the loving surface. She totally deserves her nomination.

February 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClement_Paris

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