As promised, I’ll take a little more detailed look to upcoming Oscar hopefuls. Here are the first seven Best Picture hopefuls that I think have good chances to end up being nominated.
First, but surely not least, is Damien Chazelle’s La La Land starring always adorable Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Right now La La Land’s hype is huge! The most of the Oscars are its to lose at the moment. I just hope it actually is as good as everyone is saying. It’s going around festivals now and was in official selection at Venice and won the best actress for Emma Stone in there as well as People’s Choice at Toronto International Film Festival. It has critics and audience by its side already.
La La Land is a musical set in LA and apparently it’s made in style of those oldies goldies like Singin’ in the Rain. I, myself, can’t wait to see it. I love Emma and Ryan together and here they even sing. Stone plays an aspiring actress and Gosling a jazz pianist. And they fall in love. And the tagline of the film is “Here’s to the fools who dream.” Two greatest films of this decade for me are Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, and Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle, so, talking about high hopes…
Next up is Manchester by the Sea that already got raves in Sundance, back in January. It still looks like it’s going strong. The film is directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan who’s been nominated two times for an Oscar, both for writing. And Manchester by the Sea seems to be another hit. I believe it will be nominated again at least for writing and for the lead actor, Casey Affleck. Besides Affleck, the flick stars Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler and Lucas Hedges whom all might have a change to get nominated. I like the trailer a lot, it looks like it’s well acted and especially well written. It will probably make you cry but also laugh. It feels like life.
Silence. A passion project of 20 years by none other than Martin Scorsese. Starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Ciáran Hinds. Synopsis from IMDb says “In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity.” Opening in the late December. Everything just screams Oscar, doesn’t it? No trailer available yet, only couple of photos.
#OscarsSoWhite will be THE THING at the next year’s Oscars. Or better said it will not be and thus there probably will be multiple nominations to the films that handle the subject of minorities facing thread from the majority. The Birth of a Nation being one of them. The longer synopsis of the film says:
“Set against the antebellum South, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself and his fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.”
According to critics the film is good or even better and obviously, the subject matter is hot and current with everything going on in the world at the moment. The film launched in the States yesterday and according to Box Office Mojo, it performed well and got a cinemascore “A” from the audience which bodes well. The director/writer, Nate Parker, has been under public eye lately because of rape charges in his youth and that might hurt the film’s chances at the Oscars. At least his personal chances. The film also won both, Grand Jury and Audience Awards at Sundance.
Ang Lee is back with Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. And at least the trailer looks amazing! I love it. And I hope it will deliver. I’m also super excited that Lee chose a newcomer to play the lead role of Billy Lynn. Joe Alwyn must be good.
The film is shot with 120 frames per second, so Ang Lee is again pushing his boundaries. And if the film delivers, which I believe it will (we’ll know better in a week when it will be shown at New York Film Festival), technical categories are a sure thing. Then it’s all up to the story which is based on awards winning novel. The synopsis says “19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks the film shows what really happened to his squad – contrasting the realities of war with America’s perceptions.” According to the test audience, the war scenes are apparently harrowing. I wasn’t a big fan of Life of Pi, except the visuals, but like said, I love this trailer and again I have high hopes.
The second to the last of this post’s films is Loving by Jeff Nichols. It is one of those topical films of the season telling a-based-on-a-real-life story of a mixed-race married couple who were sentenced to prison in 1958 because they married. According to the critics both leads, Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, are great. Jeff Nichols as a writer and director has been making better and better films lately from Take Shelter to Mud and again to Midnight Special, so maybe this is his final breakthrough. But to be honest, I doubt it. I might be wrong but the hype is just not big enough. Then again, Focus Features has had those great smaller films at the Oscars almost every year and have won especially for the actors and actresses (Vikander for The Danish Girl, Leto and McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, Redmayne for Theory of Everything), so I might really be wrong. And I kind of hope I am.
Denis Villeneuve is another up and coming director that one hopes to gain all the success. He has directed great films like Prisoners and excellent Sicario the last year and this time he is in the game with Amy Adams starring Arrival. This time it’s a classic aliens coming the earth story but not one with (just) blasts and bombs but one with communication and slow-burning tension. We’ll see how it will go through. Some say it’s too clean and emotionless but at least the trailer looks interesting and in a good-way eerie. And I’m officially biased as there’s my favourite lady in the lead role and my longtime movie-love in supporting.
There you go. The first seven out of 14 films I have chosen for my first Oscar predictions for 2017. New York Film Festival is about to start the next week and there will be a bunch of films having their first screening. We’ll be much smarter after those. I’ll be back with the latter half of the best pic hopefuls.