As we edge closer and closer to the major awards nominations, we get to have a clearer idea of the contenders, and get a decent idea of who’s a lock and who’s on the edge, waiting for slip-ups at SAG, Globes and Critics’ Choice. Now that all of the films in contention have had official screenings, aside from The Hateful Eight, and we have nominations announced from Gotham, Indiana and Indie Spirits, we can make a decent guess at who’s in the running.
- Spotlight– A clear frontrunner going into the major precursors, Spotlight is a film that critics just adore, and it’s the contender that appears to have all the hallmarks of a Best Picture winner. Stars Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo have a good shot at nominations, while it also has a shot at winning Director, Screenplay and Editing.
- The Revenant– Following a triumphant premiere earlier this week, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s follow up to his 4-time Oscar winning Birdman is the most talked about film at the moment. Leonardo DiCaprio is the closest to a lock in any acting race, as he will likely win Best Actor, and Inarritu and DP Emmanuel Lubezki have a decent chance of repeating their wins last year in Director and Cinematography respectively. If Birdman hadn’t of won last year, this would be a massive threat.
- Joy– Following last night’s first screening, it’s safe to say that Joy has lived up to expectation, and delivered a platform for David O. Russell to come back into the Oscar race. While the response was a lot more muted than The Revenant‘s, you can never underestimate the Academy’s love for Russell, and star Jennifer Lawrence, who has a great chance of winning her second Oscar, and will be helped by a sure fire win at the Golden Globes, now that the film is being submitted as a Comedy.
- Bridge of Spies– A film that looks assured to pick up a nomination, Bridge of Spies is a film that plays directly to the Academy’s taste, and is one that looks likely to pick up many a nomination on nominations morning. While Spielberg and Hanks may struggle to pick up a nomination in their respective categories, Mark Rylance is a lock for a Supporting Actor nomination, and I currently have him winning. This film picking a nomination here is one of the few locks in this race.
- Room– The indie hit of the year, Room seems to fit the mold of Whiplash, Her and Beasts of the Southern Wild to be the Academy’s underdog film of choice. With a central performance from Brie Larson that is guaranteed at least a nomination for Best Actress, the film has everything going for it, though, as it’s poor total showing at the Independent Spirit Awards (where it picked up a disappointing 3 nominations, missing out in Feature and Supporting Actor), it could struggle in picking up lots of nominations, particularly in below the line categories.
- Steve Jobs– A much admired film, but one that has had it’s fair share of criticism, Steve Jobs’ place in the Best Picture is looking less and less secure. However, the creative talents involved, including likely nominees Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, and Aaron Sorkin, it looks like a nomination is inevitable, and deserved, as at it’s best, it’s as good as any of it’s competition.
- Brooklyn– A critical darling, as well as a reasonable financial hit, Brooklyn looks more and more likely a safe bet for a nomination, and the most likely major British representative at the Oscars this year. Saoirse Ronan is all but a sure thing to get into Best Actress, and this film has enough supporters to get into this category, as well as a quite a few others.
- The Martian– A film that quite a few experts are tipping to win, The Martian looks like the big box office to get into this category, mainly due to the overdue director Ridley Scott, who will probably be nominated for Best Director. It’s quite an odd one, as there isn’t much in the film that is particularly Oscar worthy, especially in Matt Damon’s performance, but it does tick a few boxes that will make voters want to vote for it, as it will get a few technical nominations and has a lighter tone to make it stand out from the crowd.
- Carol– A film that has a lot of supporters but one that isn’t particularly the taste of the Academy, Carol may fall into some difficulty getting nominated due to it’s similarity to Brooklyn, and it could be considered a bit to feminine to the male majority Academy. I still think it’ll get in, and Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett should receive nominations, especially as it has undeniably ecstatic reviews.
- The Danish Girl– A wild card, but one that does look like one that will be a hit with the Academy. The Danish Girl has just been released in the US to decent reviews, and Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander have received raves for their performances, probably resulting in nominations for them. What makes me stick my neck out for is that it is sure to have a high total of nominations, in the same vain of The Grand Budapest Hotel last year, and that will probably mean that it gets into Best Picture.
Also in contention: The Hateful Eight, starring Samuel L. Jackson; Inside Out, starring Amy Poehler; Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy; Anomalisa, starring David Thewlis; The Big Short, starring Steve Carell.