Now that the Golden Globes have come and gone in all of their ridiculous, umm, glory, I guess (you can see how it all went down yourself), it is time to see where the 2017 Oscar race currently stands. There have been some other awards recently, like the AACTAs (the Australian film awards) and the National Society of Film Critics, that will also offer some insight; plus, more importantly, we have gotten the nominations for both the BAFTAs and the PGAs. I am still not quite ready to weigh in on every Oscar category (mostly the shorts category, or the ones for which I basically would just have to list the BAFTA nominations at this point, which would be pointless), but we are edging closer and closer to a decent understanding of every category, so let’s see where we are at this point as we continue Oscarathon 2017 (now in 2017!). You can see my most recent thoughts before this as well to see how much things have changed.
If La La Land was only a slight favorite before, it is a clear front runner now. That is what winning the most Golden Globes ever and sweeping all seven categories the film was nominated for will do for you. The backlash has already started against this film, at least a little bit, but now it should take off in full force. (A lot of this is simply a bunch of bullshit of the sort that always comes with being the frontrunner, but some are actually valid criticisms that need to at least be considered.) At this moment, though, it seems likely that La La Land is heading towards a big if not historic Oscar night. Hollywood loves movies that are about Hollywood itself, and this is quite a good one.
La La Land‘s other wins at the Globes don’t necessarily mean as much as one might think. The Globes are weird, and they clearly became so enamored with La La Land that they simply wanted to make a statement by having it sweep. For crying out loud, the show’s opening was just a loving homage to the opening of La La Land. So other than Best Song and maybe Best Director, I don’t know if any of the other wins really said much about what will happen Oscar night, other than that La La Land is going to pick up a shit ton of nominations (potentially a record number), which makes sense because, you know, it is definitely heading to be the first original musical to win a Best Picture Oscar since Gigi in 1958.
So a much better omen La La Land is that it picked up 11 BAFTA nominations and a PGA nomination. The BAFTA nominations further emphasize that, at minimum, La La Land is getting double digit nominations, and really depending on how things break this could quickly be turning a competitive race into a coronation. The film also won Best Picture at the Satellite Awards, the AACTAs and was runner-up at the National Society of Film Critic Awards. So things are definitely going this film’s way, and Lionsgate has to be pretty happy right now.
All that aside, this race is far from over, mainly because Moonlight is still here, and it has quite a bit of momentum of its own–just not La La Land momentum. Moonlight won the Best Drama Golden Globe, which is most of the time considered the far more prestigious of the Best Picture Globes (okay, more like all the time). This meant the final shot of the Globes was in fact of Moonlight celebrating victory, not La La Land. The drama’s lack of wins in other categories was troubling, but that just feels like the Globes being the Globes. Moonlight may not have won at AACTA, but it was nominated, and it dominated the National Society of Film Critics Awards, as it beat La La Land multiple times. Plus, it snagged a PGA nomination as well. Most importantly, it still has the SAG Awards advantage, as unlike La La Land it did get nominated for Best Ensemble. Now, how much that will matter remains to be seen, considering La La Land simply isn’t an ensemble movie, so it getting nominated for a SAG award would have made no sense. Plus, both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling did get nominations, so it is still loved by SAG. Moonlight will have a chance to shine in the actors block, which is the biggest block in the Academy, so that could start turning things around. So count out Moonlight at your own peril, but it is troubling that it only managed four BAFTA nominations, especially since it didn’t get one for Best Director.
Manchester by the Sea is still the clear next movie on the Best Picture list, and the only other film that has a real chance of winning, but it definitely has lost some luster, even with a small victory from the Satellite Awards for Best Independent film. Casey Affleck still looks like the clear frontrunner for Best Actor and Manchester still seems to have the inside track on Best Original Screenplay (but a much more tenuous one after the La La Land Globes win in that category), but Lonergan probably has no real chance of winning Best Director anymore, and Michelle Williams looks to have been usurped by Viola Davis as the clear frontrunner for Supporting Actress. In Manchester‘s favor, the film was also runner-up (along with La La Land) for National Society of Film Critics top prize and was nominated for Best Picture by the AACTA and the PGA. It also still said in the same breath as La La Land and Moonlight, so if things shake its way during the guild awards, this could all change, especially because, like Moonlight, it too was nominated for Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards. Plus, Manchester did get six BAFTA Awards, which is more than Moonlight and included a Best Director nom for Kenneth Lonergan.
After that there is a clear fourth film, and then a bunch of chaos. Arrival has gotten enough love to get nominated, even if it hasn’t actually really won that much, so there is some worry about whether enough people will love this movie as opposed to just really liking it. Things were a bit perilous after the Golden Globe snub, but the film snagged a PGA nomination and received the second most BAFTA nominations, with nine. Add in that Arrival has made about $150 million so far, and this film still looks like a lock to get nominated for a lot and not win anything except maybe one tech Oscar (making Arrival this year’s The Martian).
After Arrival, though, there is a giant cluster of films that all could get nominations, but none of which really stand out more than the others. First off, all of these films received PGA nominations except for two, and none of them achieved BAFTA nominations. So I guess let’s see what makes each stand out from the others.
Hacksaw Ridge got a lot of Globes and AACTA attention and Mel Gibson even won Best Director at AACTA, but it is still unclear how much people really like this movie outside of the HFPA.
Fences probably is the closest thing to a sure thing, considering both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis should get nominations and it has a SAG nomination, but it didn’t get a Golden Globe nomination, even when there was an extra spot open in the drama category because La La Land wasn’t there.
Hidden Figures feels like it is trending towards a nomination, but it got kind of a late start, so that could hurt it. Though considering it could very well win the SAG Best Ensemble Award, its profile is going to start trending up really quickly.
Lion got an AACTA nomination and has the Weinsteins on its side, but it is hard to tell how much buzz this movie really has.
Hell or High Water is sitting there vetted and with a contingent ready to slip it into the fray, but there is not enough support there to suggest anything definite.
Then there was the biggest surprise of the PGAs, where Deadpool pulled off a nomination. I have a hard time believing this will ultimately lead to anything, but considering the PGA votes like the Academy does, this does show a real love for this film that at least suggests there is a minute possibility that this could land a nomination. If nothing else, the fact that I even had to type the previous sentence is a clear win for Deadpool, because it is a tiny symbol of the amount of extra buzz the film got from its PGA inclusion.
Jackie has lost a lot of momentum especially after not getting a PGA nomination, but it still feels like the kind of film that usually gets nominated.
Then there is Silence, which has lost a ton of luster, but was made by Scorsese and was his passion project. These two factors could get this nominated regardless, in the same way Spielberg always manages to get a nomination when he makes a prestige film, but Silence has not gotten the praise one might expect, and it is unclear if the Academy will treat Scorsese the same way it treats Spielberg. Silence‘s lack of a PGA nomination hurts it quite a bit, even more so than Jackie‘s snub did that film.
I can say that I would be really surprised if any of the Best Picture nominees didn’t come from the above mentioned films, with one exception: Nocturnal Animals. The support for this film has been so tepid that I have a hard time getting too worked up about it, especially considering it couldn’t get either a Globes or BAFTA nomination and both groups seem to really like this movie, but there is a small part of me that wonders if there are just enough people who love this movie that it could slip in for a nomination. Love is what matters most at the nomination stage, so it could happen.
Other then the top three and Arrival, it is hard to say how many films will actually get nominated. I could see as many as all ten slots being filled or as few as five if most people simply pick La La Land, Moonlight, and Manchester as their best picture and then there just isn’t enough support for anything else.
Nomination Locks: La La Land (frontrunner to win), Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Arrival
Near Lock: Nothing
Contenders: Fences, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge, Jackie, Hell or High Water, Lion, Silence, Deadpool (this is hilarious)
This is still somewhat a two-man race between Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins, but just like in the Best Picture category, Chazelle has pulled ahead with his win at the Golden Globes. If it had just been that, I am not sure it would have meant nearly as much as the Golden Globes dominance meant for La La Land‘s Best Picture odds. Before the Globes win, the Best Director race had simply been too tight, with both exchanging awards before Chazelle got two big wins at the aforementioned Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards. BAFTA, though, changed things, as while Chazelle pulled off a nomination, Jenkins did not (in general Moonlight did relatively poorly at BAFTA). This maybe shouldn’t be that surprising, considering the same thing happened at AACTA, with Chazelle getting a nomination while Jenkins did not. The key phrase is “not surprising,” as in both instances mistakes were made, but that is another rant for another day. Jenkins did pull off the win at the National Society of Film Critics Awards (Chazelle was one of the runner-ups), so this does show there is quite a bit of support for Jenkins still, and the DGAs could help flip this scenario. The fact that the academy continues to be a little more inclined to split Best Picture and Best Director also helps Jenkins, and of course this is all in addition to his strong start to the season. But Chazelle is now the definite frontrunner, and really it seems hard to believe that this will change, considering how much momentum La La Land has. Another good sign for Chazelle? Moonlight is unexpectedly categorized as Adapted Screenplay by the Oscars, despite being called an original screenplay just about everywhere else. (See part 2 of this post for more info.) This places it out of contention with La La Land‘s original script, creating an opportunity for the Academy to give Jenkins an Oscar without giving him Best Director–freeing up that award for Chazelle.
Kenneth Lonergan, like his movie Manchester, has fallen behind. He did pick up runner-up along with Chazelle at the National Society of Film Critics and Best Director from the Satellite Awards, but he has lost some steam as of late. This had made me a bit hesitant to put him as a full lock, simply because of the lost momentum, and because I still worry about the fact that the Academy has a history of being stingy with Directing nominations for people that they consider to be writers first. Then BAFTA came and this marked the second time along with the AACTAs that Lonergan got a nomination when Barry Jenkins did not. That isn’t to suggest anything against Jenkins’s own nomination status, but more suggesting that Lonergan has far ranging support that has locked up a nomination for him.
After these three, there are two favorites that aren’t quite locks, then a lot of mess. Mel Gibson got a lot of love nomination-wise from the Globes and he actually won the AACTA. That should give him the inside track toward a nomination, unless the Academy simply still hates him too much to give him the nom. This could have been what cost him a BAFTA nomination, or it could be BAFTA is showing that Gibson’s support in general is a lot less outside of the HFPA (and apparently Australia).
Assuming Arrival doesn’t implode in the nomination process, Denis Villeneuve also looks like he is closing in on a nomination. He didn’t get a Globes nom, but he did get one from AACTA and a more important one from BAFTA, as well as nominations from most other places. Arrival‘s BAFTA nominations really helped emphasize that the film looks like it is much closer to the big three than the rest of the field at this point, so it would be strange for Villeneuve not to get a nomination. Still, unlike the big three (and even Gibson) in this category, Villeneuve hasn’t won anything yet, so he isn’t quite a lock.
Then there is the aforementioned mess, which makes it hard to figure who could take a spot from either Gibson and/or Villeneuve. Garth Davis for Lion got the AACTA nomination that should have gone to Barry Jenkins. You can never count Martin Scorsese out of anything even if Silence is being a bit ignored, and the same could be said for Denzel Washington for Fences if he can garner some support. If Jackie makes a late push, Pablo Larrain could also slip in as a way to reward him for making both Jackie and Neruda this year (though he likely lost this chance when Neruda did not make the Best Foreign Film shortlist). At this point, though, the biggest threat might be Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals. He got the spot at the Globes that probably should have gone to Villeneuve, and at the time it simply looked like the kind of nomination the HFPA would give just because they like Nocturnal Animals more than anyone else, plus wanted Tom Ford at the show (not to mention the whole pseudo-bribery fiasco). Then BAFTA nominated him for Best Director over Barry Jenkins. So there may be a lot more support for Ford then first appeared. I don’t think there is enough, but he could easily still slip in at the expense of Gibson or Villeneuve.
Nomination Locks: Damien Chazelle, Barry Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan
Near Locks: Mel Gibson, Denis Villeneuve
Contenders: Garth Davis, Martin Scorsese, Pablo Larrain, Denzel Washington, Tom Ford (I guess)
This field is still stacked, but the Globes and BAFTA nominations did offer a lot of clarity. The La La Land Globes sweep really helped raise Emma Stone‘s chances, but I need to see her win a major award in the same category as Huppert and/or Portman before I am ready to say she is the frontrunner everyone else seems to think she is (I am not sure if her AACTA win counts or not). Still, Stone’s Globes win does mean something, seeing as it came against Streep and Bening. Isabelle Huppert, meanwhile, with her Drama Globes win (plus the Elle win for Best Foreign Film) has become a real threat and not just the token foreign performer nomination that pops up in one of the lead acting categories every year or so. Huppert also won the National Society of Film Critics Award and got the independent Best Actress from the Satellite Awards, so she might be the real frontrunner in this category at this moment. I only say might because her failure to get a BAFTA nomination shows that maybe it is better to say there is no frontrunner right now, but instead a heated three-way race. Natalie Portman is still a lock to get nominated, but she is no longer the frontrunner, and may even be running a slight third at this point after being in front for so long. Still, she did get nominated for both a BAFTA and an AACTA, and she is giving the kind of performance that the Academy loves, so don’t count her out just yet. She may have simply lost to Huppert at the Globes because she just didn’t feel like sucking up to the HFPA as much as they would have liked her to.
After these three, it does seem like the other two nominations have clear frontrunners that just can’t be called locks yet. Amy Adams is a big part of why Arrival works, and assuming it is heading towards its destiny of a movie that gets a lot of nominations but at most maybe one lesser win (like The Martian last year), she should get nominated. She also has actually won some major awards, as I have noted in the past, so she looks to be in good shape. Her BAFTA nomination (and Arrival‘s big BAFTA nomination haul in general) may honestly mean she should be a lock at this point, but she still doesn’t have quite the profile as the top three, and as I’ve said before, this year is stacked.
Then there is Meryl Streep, who already had a great chance of getting the nomination because she is Meryl Streep (and, you know, she is really, really good in Florence Foster Jenkins). Then the Golden Globes happened, and Meryl Streep gave her powerful and divisive speech targeting the President-Elect. Of course, I mean divisive in the eyes of people in general, not in Hollywood, which loved her speech (except maybe Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn) and now has the motivation to ensure she gets nominated as a middle finger to the political right and Donald Trump. That doesn’t make Streep a lock, though; once again, this is a stacked year, and it was iffy if she would have gotten nominated before the speech, even though she did get a SAG nomination. Things are trending her way big time though, as Streep also racked up a BAFTA nomination. Hell, depending how things go, I could see Hollywood super over-react, and she actually wins (which, dear God, don’t fucking do that Hollywood).
The person most hurt by this Streep ascendance is Loving‘s Ruth Negga, who already faced an uphill battle considering how little press her film gets compared to others and how relatively unknown she is. Negga had pulled off an AACTA nomination in this stacked field, and had been hovering around by pulling off wins in places like the Satellite Awards, making her the tentative favorite for the last spot before the Streep speech. If Adams slips she could easily swoop in and take that last spot because Negga is amazing in Loving, and the Academy may struggle to fit in a nomination for the film at all if they can’t get her in.
Meanwhile, Annette Bening is hanging around because, well, she’s Annette Bening, but she is barely hanging on, as 20th Century Women has gotten even less press than Loving.
Finally, one last person who must at least be mentioned is Emily Blunt for her performance in The Girl on the Train. Her SAG nomination had just seemed like a weird quirk of SAG, but she has also now received a BAFTA nomination, which means there is a wide range of support for her that could lead to an Oscar shocker if the right campaign was run. This feels like a super long shot, but not an impossible one.
Nomination Locks: Emma Stone, Isabelle Huppert, Natalie Portman
Near Lock: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep
Contenders: Ruth Negga, Annette Bening, Emily Blunt
Best ActorThis race is not nearly as stacked as the best actress category, but there is still a bit of competition that the Globes and the latest nominations did somewhat help address. The biggest thing is that La La Land‘s new juggernaut status assures that Ryan Gosling is going to get a nomination. The Musical/Comedy Golden Globe win also helps, as do his BAFTA, AACTA, and SAG nominations. There is not enough to suggest that Gosling is actually a real threat to win the Oscar, because, well, Casey Affleck still looks like an unstoppable juggernaut. The only major award Affleck hasn’t won at this point is the Satellite Award, but he did win the Drama Globe, the AACTA, and the National Society of Film Critics, and got a nomination from both SAG and the BAFTAs. So it still looks like the only thing that will stop him from winning is a combination of a massive La La Land massive and the sexual assault reports that have cropped up around Affleck actually costing him goodwill.
That, or Denzel Washington, who is most definitely getting a nomination even after he was strangely snubbed by BAFTA. He still has SAG and AACTA nominations and he finished runner-up for the National Society of Film Critics Award. From a pure performance perspective, Washington looks to be the biggest threat to Affleck, and if the Twitter reaction to his loss at the Globes has even a semblance of truth to it, he also has a lot of fervent supporters. It will probably not be enough to stop Affleck, but you can never count Denzel out of anything.
Meanwhile, I am not quite ready to say this is a lock, but Andrew Garfield is pretty damn close. The evidence of support for Hacksaw Ridge is still divided enough that he isn’t quite safe. But considering he also gave a noteworthy performance in Silence it seems very unlikely that he isn’t getting a nomination. He got AACTA, BAFTA, and SAG nominations, and he even won the Satellite Award, so Garfield has a lot going for him.
The last spot seems to be a toss-up at this point between Joel Edgerton and Viggo Mortensen. Edgerton got the AACTA and Critic’s Choice Award nominations while Mortensen got BAFTA and SAG nominations plus the Independent Actor win at the Satellite Awards. Both got Globes nominations so that really adds nothing to either. Both of their films are a bit off the radar, but Loving tends to get a bit more buzz. Edgerton might be Loving‘s best chance for a nomination since Best Actress is so stacked, but similar sentiments can be said for Mortensen and Captain Fantastic. The BAFTA and SAG nominations would suggest Mortensen has the inside track right now, but it is hard to say he is really ranked ahead of Edgerton at this point.
(The BAFTA’s weird love for Nocturnal Animals also forces me to mention that Jake Gyllenhaal got a BAFTA nomination, so I guess if this weird Nocturnal Animals lovefest turns out to be more than a European thing he could get nominated, but he doesn’t look like a real contender at this point.)
Nomination Locks: Casey Affleck, Denzel Washington, Ryan Gosling
Near Lock: Andrew Garfield
Contenders: Joel Edgerton, Viggo Mortensen
Best Supporting Actress
The Golden Globes helped confirmed that Viola Davis is now the frontrunner in this category, with her win in a category that is not split like the lead actor and actress roles are. She also picked up a BAFTA nomination, SAG nomination, and an AACTA nomination. On top of all that, she got a bump herself from her gracious introduction of Meryl Streep at the Globes before Streep’s acceptance speech. Based on results, though, Davis feels like more of favorite than she may actually be, simply because she is Viola Davis, and she should have had an Oscar by now.
Michelle Williams has been doing about as well as Davis has, awards-wise. She won the National Society of Film Critics Award, and got a nomiation from each of AACTA, BAFTA, and SAG. Meanwhile, Naomie Harris has gotten the same nominations, plus she won the Satellite Award and was runner-up for the National Society of Film Critics. Both of these women were considered frontrunners earlier in the race and still could easily jump back in front, but things seem to be drifting Davis’s way now that people are actually getting a chance to see Fences. If nothing else, both Harris and Williams have likely locked down their nominations.
Nicole Kidman is pretty close to locking down a nomination as well. She won the AACTA, which at the very least means she has beaten the other frontrunners for something. She got a BAFTA and SAG nomination, and it would be hard to believe that she isn’t getting a nomination come Oscar time, but I wouldn’t put her on quite the same footing as the top three until it is more clear how much the Academy likes Lion in general.
Then there is the duo from Hidden Figures, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae. Monae received the Critics’ Choice nomination, but Spencer seems to be the one picking up steam after collecting SAG, Satellite, and Golden Globe nominations. Add in that Spencer has won an Oscar before and she more than likely has the pedigree to get the nomination. Monae, though, has the benefit of giving well-received turns in both Hidden Figures and Moonlight, and could conceivably get nominated for one of those as a reward for both, so don’t count her out. That said, neither women got either BAFTA or AACTA nominations, so neither are the surest things. Someone else could slip in past both of them; it just seems very unlikely. Especially considering the person nominated in their place at AACTA, Teresa Palmer, likely got her nomination because AACTA likes Hacksaw Ridge so much, and the person nominated in their place for the BAFTA, Hayley Squires, got hers because the BAFTAs knew they were the only group left that was going to honor I, Daniel Blake.
Nomination Locks: Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris
Near Lock: Nicole Kidman
Contenders: Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae
Best Supporting Actor
Until the Globes threw a real wrench into the works, this race had looked very simple. It was likely that Mahershala Ali was heading towards an Oscar victory with a few bumps in the road when groups decided to go with Jeff Bridges every now and then. Ali won the National Society of Film Critics Award, and got AACTA, BAFTA, and SAG nominations. So if he had won the Globe he would have really cemented himself as the clear favorite based on both buzz and results. After his loss, though, things are bit uncertain now, although he is still the frontrunner. Bridges, for instance, looks like more of a threat without even winning the Globe itself. He won the Satellite Award, was runner-up for the National Society of Film Critics, and also got AACTA, BAFTA and SAG nominations. The fact that Bridges also plays a role that is only loosely a supporting role, considering he plays more like a lead, is always helpful. Plus, he is Jeff Bridges, and that means something when compared to the relatively unknown Ali.
Those two are the frontrunners, and the only ones that are definitely locked in for nominations, but Dev Patel is rather close to joining them. Like his co-star Kidman, Patel won the AACTA, and got BAFTA and SAG nominations. His role is a little beefier than a lot of supporting roles, so that helps too, but just like with Kidman, how well Lion does in general may determine his fate, especially because this category is slightly more competitive than the actress version.
After these three though, everything is up in the air. The Globes definitely threw a wrench into this race when it picked Aaron Taylor-Johnson as its winner, after it was even a surprise that he was nominated in the first place. At first this looked like the Globes simply being the Globes, but then BAFTA had to go and nominate him as well, which means if nothing else that if Taylor-Johnson can get nominated he could actually win. Still, it is hard to have any real confidence in this, considering Taylor-Johnson didn’t get a SAG or AACTA or really any other nomination, and that people seem split on if he is even the best supporting actor in his own movie. Michael Shannon is vying for that title as well, and Shannon is the one that got BAFTA and AACTA nominations and was runner-up for the National Society of Film Critics Award. Shannon is also has a bit more clout overall than Taylor-Johnson, which may help. It seems like one of the Nocturnal Animals actors is going to get a nomination, but at this point it is hard to say which one.
After that… Hugh Grant is waiting in the wings for a nomination (for Florence Foster Jenkins) that may get a boost if the Streep bump is indeed happening. Like Bridges, he is much more a lead than supporting actor, and he has secured nominations from BAFTA and SAG, not to mention the Globes nom in an unsplit category. The competition for the last two spots likely available keeps him from being even a near lock like Patel, since Patel has had a bit more success and has the Weinsteins behind him.
Finally, there is Lucas Hedges lurking. The young Manchester By the Sea actor got both AACTA and SAG nominations, and has the benefit of being attached to a film that could still conceivably win Best Picture, but his support has been sporadic, so it is hard have any real certainty, other than that he is a threat for a nomination for sure.
Nomination Locks: Mahershala Ali, Jeff Bridges
Near Lock: Dev Patel
Contenders: Hugh Grant, Lucas Hedges, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (damn you Golden Globes and BAFTA noms for forcing me to say this)
For the rest of my thoughts, jump over to Part 2.