Wherein I analyse my own choices ahead of Sunday’s big announcements. Check out the Film Honors 2016 Nominees in full, or go straight on ahead:
The Handmaiden Is No Dreamgirls (Thankfully)
The Handmaiden, like a few other exceptional efforts, perched just outside my top 10 for 2016 for some time, one of those fine films that gives you the biggest headaches when it comes to finalizing your end of year lists. Don’t feel sorry for The Handmaiden, though, some perchers like Toni Erdmann and I, Olga Hepnarová didn’t get into the 10 and were mentioned nowhere but were close in many categories (the latter’s omission actually stings). Absent, then, in Directing, with nods for breakthrough actress Kim Tae-ri, the costumes, the sets, the screenwriting, the cinematography, score, and Motion Picture, The Handmaiden with the most nominations (7) could multi-triumph in what are quite open categories for competition.
Design And Tech Choices Are Not All Traditional, Period
So, there’s also Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Alice Through The Looking Glass scoring in both Costume and Set Designing groups. Love And Friendship, and Pride And Prejudice And Zombies scored sartorially, and Hail, Caesar! was hailed for it’s production design – making a somewhat traditional, period selection. Only 10 Cloverfield Lane, for Sets, represents a more contemporary film design. Technically, the Special Effects and Sound Design covered your typical super-heroes, fantasy adaptations, Disney live action, animation, classic sci-fi, while Picture Editing dipped its toe out of the commercial water, and honored the likes of Train to Busan (which scraped a Motion Picture nomination too), and The Wailing (which, sadly, did not).
Many Oscar Favorites Squeezed Out
Although Barry Jenkins missed out on Directing, Moonlight heads the pack of the Motion Picture bunch including Naomie Harris, Editing, Cinematography, and Cast Ensemble. A clear victory for the big 3 of the Oscar race – Manchester by the Sea grabbed the standard Actor Lead and Screenwriting mention, while there will be no such sweep for La La Land having only been nominated for Picture Editing. Hell or High Water also mimics its Oscar run with deserved nominations for Motion Picture, Taylor Sheridan, and Jeff Bridges. Similarly, Arrival competes for Cinematography and Sound, while I deem Jóhann Jóhannsson’s music eligible (of course). Oscar Could Have Beens include composer Alexandre Desplat for The Light Between Oceans, and Whit Stillman’s screenplay for Love And Friendship.
Small And Large Casts Are Acting Up
Teaming up with double acting nods, I, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns, Hayley Squires), and Mon Roi (Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Bercot) may appear to have an edge. Representing their movies entirely with one mention are Kalieaswari Srinivasan (Dheepan), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), Patrick Stewart (Green Room), John Turturro (Mia Madre), and Markees Christmas (Morris from America). Many films with 2 nominations also compete in acting, John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane), Molly Shannon (Other People), Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul), Matthias Schoenaerts (Disorder), and Ruth Negga (Loving) are standing by should they lose their other category. Alden Ehrenreich is the breakthrough for Hail Caesar!, which also was mentioned for its Ensemble Cast – joining Chevalier and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
Some Dark Horses From Germany, Japan, Spain, And France
One shot wonder Victoria (and Motion Picture nominee) has a huge foot in the door as a potential spoiler. Sturla Brandth Grøvlen’s cinematography is an achievement even beyond the one continuous take, and hats off to director Sebastian Schipper for having the balls, and actress Laia Costa for her terrific stamina. Makoto Shinkai’s unforgetable animation Your Name has just the three nods, but they are top tier – Motion Picture, Director, Screenwriting, and this will prove to be tough competition in all. Actress duo Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte both play Julieta in Pedro Almodóvar’s Motion Picture nominated film, and it is near impossible to call it between them. Although outside of the Motion Picture list, women of Les Innocentes (no Anne Fontaine for Directing, sorry) have two strong pushes for Caroline Champetier’s Cinematography, and the screenwriting collaboration of Sabrina B. Karine, Pascal Bonitzer, Anne Fontaine, and Alice Vial.
A Breakthrough For Breakthroughs
With 5 apiece, and the only films to earn Screenwriting, Directing, and Motion Picture nominations were Under the Shadow (actress Narges Rashidi, writer/director Babak Anvari, Editing), The Witch (write-director Robert Eggers, actress Anya Taylor-Joy, Mark Korven’s Score), and Mustang (director, co-writer Deniz Gamze Ergüven, actress Günes Sensoy, Cast Ensemble). Are those movies now heading into a three-horse race? Mustang co-screenwriter Alice Winocour also competes in Breakthrough Filmmaker with her directing and writing of Disorder. The only female in the pack is joined by Bi Gan (Kaili Blues), Alex Lehmann (Blue Jay), Chris Kelly (Other People), and Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) – proving an exceptional year for up-and-coming filmmakers.
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Comment below – thoughts, predictions, gratifications, grumbles, whatever.