This month saw the release of a couple of the films in contention for Best Picture, as well as new trailers being released and premieres for others. Let’s see how that’s affected the race.
- Joy– A second trailer was released for David O. Russell’s latest, and it really does look like it has awards potential. Russell himself has a strong chance of winning Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, and Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro could score themselves the same nominations they earned for Silver Linings Playbook, in Actress and Supporting Actor respectively, with Lawrence winning for that film. Can she repeat? We’ll see how well the film plays first.
- Carol– The most critically adored of the films in contention, Carol has kept it’s buzz going from it’s Cannes premiere, earning a few Gotham Award nominations last week. Cate Blanchett should be nominated for Best Actress, but Rooney Mara has a stronger chance of winning, as she’s in a comparatively weaker field for Best Supporting Actress.
- Steve Jobs– Earning rave reviews but poor box office numbers, Steve Jobs looks like a film that the Academy will love, despite it not capturing the imagination of the American public. Fassbender and Winslet are locks for nominations, with Fassbender the frontrunner for Best Actor, and Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin should be able to get into Best Director and Adapted Screenplay, respectively.
- Spotlight– The current favourite to win, Spotlight looks like a big awards hit, but it’s controversial subject matter and lack of directorial experimentation could stop it from taking the top prize. Keaton and Ruffalo should be able to get into Best Supporting Actor, as long as they don’t cancel each other out, and McAdams, despite poor odds, should be the film’s representative in Supporting Actress. It’s also helped out by it’s Gotham recognition.
- The Revenant– While we’re still waiting for word on it’s quality, if The Revenant gets good reviews, it’ll definitely be in contention for the top prize. Even if the reviews are only just OK, star Leonardo DiCaprio will surely be in the conversation to win Best Actor, but it may be too much of an ask for Tom Hardy to get his first nomination, or Director Alejandro G. Inarritu to win his second consecutive Best Director win. This is the one to watch.
- Bridge of Spies– A film that really does feel like a lock for a nomination, but isn’t likely to win, Bridge of Spies opened in the U.S. to good reviews and a solid box office. It’s unlikely to go home with any awards, but if it does, it’ll either be for Mark Rylance in Supporting Actor or Thomas Newman, someone who is massively overdue, for Best Original Score.
- Brooklyn– Opening in the UK a week on Friday, this Independent Irish film has had critics singing it’s praises since it’s premiere in January at Sundance. It looks like the UK’s best chance at a Best Picture nomination (there has been at least one British producer nominated since 2004), and Saoirse Ronan has a good shot at upsetting in Best Actress.
- The Hateful Eight– We’re still waiting for reviews for Tarantino’s latest, but it could definitely be a major player in the race, as are the most of Tarantino’s films. We need confirmation of where the actors are going to be campaigned, but we can probably say that it’s a safe bet to assume that Jennifer Jason Leigh will be in the conversation for Supporting Actress. This will be much higher once reviews are released, which will likely be reasonably positive.
- Inside Out– One of the year’s best films, Inside Out definitely deserves to become the fourth animated film nominated for Best Picture. The question is whether or not it will appeal to the old, white male demographic of Academy voters, like Up certainly did. I still have faith that they’ll do the right thing, and it should get into Original Screenplay, Original Score and will easily win Best Animated Feature, as long as The Good Dinosaur isn’t Citizen Kane (or, at least, How Green is My Valley).
- The Danish Girl– A film that has fallen off the radar since it’s Venice and TIFF screenings, The Danish Girl will surely be back in contention once it’s released, though it’ll probably play better in the UK than the US, where it will be released on New Years Day (the same day that The Theory of Everything was released last year). Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander will likely feature in their respective categories, and anything else would be a bonus.
Also in Contention: Room, starring Brie Larson, The Martian, starring Matt Damon, The Big Short, starring Steve Carell, Beasts of No Nation, starring Idris Elba, Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy.