I don’t do nomination predictions. That’s what I always say. Sometimes I cave, sure. It’s a tough game to resist. Every single year. See Al Robinson’s Oscar Predictions posted earlier for the there-or-thereabouts of what might happen come the big announcement. I decided to stick my neck out and dive in with some more unlikely to be read out. Let me make it clear, these are not my predictions, they are just a mere few stabs at the sneaky, some say surprise inclusions, that might show their faces tomorrow. Some I would love to be there, a couple not so much.
Silence for Picture
So the Guilds and the Hollywood Foreign Press and many of the critics alike forgot about a certain Martin Scorsese and his new picture Silence. That means a lot heading into the Oscar voting, but the momentum can swing both ways. Especially with this film-maker, crafting yet another well-received film, with acting and tech flourishes. With the potential for less than 10 Best Picture nominees it’s a tough club to be a member of, but while the likes of Hacksaw Ridge, 20th Century Women, Lion, Fences, Nocturnal Animals, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures et al are still vulnerable, there is a chance.
Rebecca Hall (Christine) for Leading Actress
I know, I know, too many heavyweights and top contenders here, and too many to squeeze into five. Mindset is a funny thing though, and if voters fall for Hall in what is being touted as her best performance yet, an accomplished actress who has been simmering beneath the surface for some time now, not to mention the moving true story she helps portray, then the fifth slot may or may not open up amidst the spread votes for the big guns.
Colleen Atwood (Alice Through the Looking Glass) for Costume Design
Having won a ton of Oscars already (actually, three – gasp), Atwood might seem like an easy call, but it appears the costumes for the rather wasteful Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is her front-runner project this year. Her exquisite, vibrant work on Alice Through the Looking Glass is significantly better though. Colorful, bold flavors may well stand out in a crowd of period pieces. Plus, Atwood won the Oscar for Alice in Wonderland I might add.
Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals) for Leading Actor
I hope this doesn’t happen in all honesty. In Nocturnal Animals, Gyllenhaal struggles somewhat in his dramatic, tension-building efforts, whether pushing himself too hard or losing his edge, the actor has been far better in many other projects. And ignored. The film’s continuing buzz makes it a real contender, and with Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the spotlight, and Michael Shannon not far behind, a sneaky punt on Gyllenhaal doesn’t seem that unbelievable – if undeserved.
Park Chan-wook, Chung Seo-kyung (The Handmaiden) for Adapted Screenplay
A fine feature, and film-going experience, The Handmaiden blends so many story shifts and narrative tones, demonstrated in an adaptation of a British book, completely transforming the setting, culture, and time of the original tale and making it work in 1930s Korea rather than Victorian Britain. The non-English aspect may harm its chances, but a successful screenplay propelled onto the screen as glorious as this deserves a mention.
Jeff Nichols (Loving) for Director
Appropriately titled, not just for the characters it portrays, but also the vast stirring of hearts with the audiences. Loving glowed on its first viewings, but there was always a worry about it having the legs to make it all the way to the big, bad Oscars. Ruth Negga held the torch, and even she is in doubt. Jeff Nichols, though, with two well-received movies in the last 12 months is capable of a surprise. While Midnight Special provided some refreshing thrills, Loving had many of us smitten, and still has it’s arms outstretched. The Director category has a habit of landing one we didn’t foresee.
Your Name (Makoto Shinkai) for Animated Feature
Having only recently been granted a release date for 2017 in the States, Makoto Shinkai’s astonishing Your Name will not have been seen by many Academy voters, let alone regular folk, barring festival goers and the like. Hayao Miyazaki broke through with the new brand of animation to hit the mainstream when Spirited Away triumphed at the Oscars in 2002. And although still unseen by many unlucky souls, the buzz is not difficult to feel with what is the finest animation of the year and hugely successful overseas – and buzz goes a long way in this business.
Do you foresee any a surprises? Dark horses? Late-runners? Or even snubs? Comment away with your suspicions and premonitions.