As GoldDerby.com released their odds for the 88th Academy Awards and it’s always interesting to see as you always know that even those contenders down the bottom still have a chance. I’m going to look at a few contenders with 100/1 odds on GoldDerby, as of 2/9/15, that still have a chance at being nominated. This is a feature that I started with last year’s race, in which I have pointed out that Whiplash had a shot at Best Picture when at 100/1 and Marion Cotillard still had a shot at Best Actress, resulting in both of them receiving nominations. I will hopefully make this a monthly feature and is it is a fun look at the contenders that I won’t often mention elsewhere, and also makes for a decent betting tip.
Best Picture: Freeheld– Already with a decent shot of nominations for Best Actress (Julianne Moore) and Best Supporting Actress (Ellen Page), Freeheld is being talked about as an Oscar contender away from Best Picture, but it isn’t being considered for the main prize. With it’s important and timely subject matter (equal rights for same-sex couples), it’s a film that’s sure to get good reviews and decent buzz from the Toronto International Film Festival so I don’t see why it can’t be in contention. It’s currently not in my predictions, but it has a real chance and you really shouldn’t rule it out just yet.
Best Director: Sarah Gavron (Suffragette)– With all the complaints of the snubbing of female filmmakers last year, especially Angelina Jolie (Unbroken) and Ava Duvernay (Selma), it could be a chance for the Academy to make amends by nominating this BAFTA-winning filmmaker for a film that has a real chance of causing an upset in the Best Picture category. If Suffragette is as popular as it has the potential to be, I don’t see why Gavron doesn’t have a shot. If Morten Tyldum can get a nomination for the equally stylish The Imitation Game, I can’t see why another near-unknown filmmaker for a British film can’t.
Best Actor: Will Smith (Concussion)– With the trailer being released on Monday, Concussion has already cause a lot of controversy by the NFL’s bashing of it. However, most, including myself, saw it as Will Smith’s welcome return to form. Portraying real-life doctor Bennet Omalu, Smith puts on a South African accent and his serious face in what could possibly his best performance since his Oscar-nominated turn in The Pursuit of Happyness back in 2006. The problem is that the film could easily be a massive flop. It’d be nice to see Smith return to the Oscars for the 3rd time and, if he delivers the goods, he is popular enough to possibly sneak in to get a nomination.
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock (Our Brand is Crisis)– Despite having no footage, posters or official images to go by, Our Brand is Crisis has the potential to be a big hitter this awards season, particularly for it’s Oscar-winning star Sandra Bullock. It’s due for an October 30th release, following a TIFF debut, and it features an interesting subject matter (the 2002 Bolivian Presidential Election), making it a really baity film. It’s also produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, the producers of the 2012 Best Picture winner Argo, so it could be one to watch, with Bullock being the most likely to profit.
Best Supporting Actor: Robert Redford (Truth)– Robert Redford is back in the Oscar race, and his return has the potential to be worthy of a nomination. Coming two years after his shocking snub for All is Lost (a film that only received one nomination, despite wide critical acclaim), the veteran actor returns with what could be a pretty baity role as real-life journalist Dan Rather in James Vanderbilt’s Truth, opposite two-time Oscar winner, and Best Actress frontrunner for Carol, Cate Blanchett. The success of the film is yet to be seen as no footage has been released, though the film does have distribution from Sony Pictures Classics, the company that were responsible for 4 acting nominations last year, including wins for Julianne Moore and J.K. Simmons. As he is so popular and well-known in Hollywood, Redford could easily pick up a nod in the same way that Robert Duvall did last year in the underwhelming The Judge.
Best Supporting Actress: Elizabeth Olsen (I Saw the Light)– Another film being distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, I Saw the Light tells the story of legendary country music star Hank Williams, starring Tom Hiddleston as the tragic musician. Hiddleston has a fair chance at picking up a nomination for Best Actor, but don’t count out his co-star Olsen, playing Williams’ wife Audrey Sheppard Williams, picking up a nomination here. With there being no footage released so far, it’s hard to judge whether she is a contender. Yet, if she does perform well, she could easily be in with some consideration, as Reese Witherspoon won Best Actress for Walk the Line, in which she played a similar role to Olsen’s as the wife of a country music star as well as being a duet partner to them.
Best Original Screenplay: Trainwreck– As Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo were able to pick up a nomination in this category with Bridesmaids back in 2011, I don’t see why Amy Schumer can’t do the same with the equally successful Apatow comedy Trainwreck. If the Academy ever want to give recognition to a comedy, it often comes in the screenplay categories, with films like Borat, Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums and My Big Fat Greek Wedding all receiving their only nominations in them. Also in the film’s favour is that is sure to feature at the Golden Globes, due to them splitting dramas and comedies/musicals, and the fact that Schumer’s star is on the rise, especially following Inside Amy Schumer‘s 7 Primetime Emmy nominations.
Best Adapted Screenplay: No odds yet, but the surprise contender to look out for is The End of the Tour.
Best Animated Feature: Home– Despite mixed reviews, Home was undoubtedly a box office success, grossing over $387 million at the box office worldwide. This international recognition could be the difference here, despite Inside Out and Minions also being big hitters at the box office. As it stands, there are only 11 films in contention for Best Animated Feature, meaning that there can only be 3 nominees. It’s difficult seeing past Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, The Peanuts Movie and Shaun the Sheep Movie, but there is no studio that campaigns harder than Dreamworks, resulting in 11 of their films being nominated in the 14 years of this category, more than any other studio, resulting in 2 wins (Shrek and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit). It’s unlikely, but if there are 5 places, Home still has a shot, just as The Croods was able to sneak in and get a nomination back in 2013.