Best Picture Contenders- October 2014

With an Oscars host announced, the awards season is gearing up and is ready to be one of the most competitive in years. There is a wide range of films in contention for the coveted Best Picture gong, including quirky dramas, biopics, thrillers and blockbusters all ready to battle. Here are the likely nominees, as of 16/10/2014.

1. Unbroken- Currently second favourite at the bookies, Unbroken is my pick to win as it has all the ingredients to make the perfect Oscar baiting film. It’s yet to have it’s premiere, but with the footage seen so far, Angelina Jolie’s biopic is likely to be a major contender.

2. Boyhood- The bookies favourite in the category, Boyhood is sure to be a contender as it is a truely wonderful film and brilliant achievement. It may be hindered by it’s summer release in limited cinemas, but it has enough magic to stick in the memories of the awards voters.

3. Birdman- With it’s popularity increasing all the time, Birdman has a limited release in the U.S. this weekend, where the Academy voters will see if it is worthy of all it’s buzz. Expect nods in major categories, with Michael Keaton likely to win Best Actor, but it won’t win.

4. Foxcatcher- With it’s showings at almost every festival going, Foxcatcher is gaining a lot of love from critics. Unfortunately, most of the praise is going to the acting so expect nods for Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo, but don’t expect any major wins.

5. The Imitation Game- Having grown through the rankings following it’s Toronto win, The Imitation Game is likely to score a nomination here aswell as nods for it’s stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, but it’s likely to go home empty handed.

6. Interstellar- Everyone is very excited to see Christopher Nolan’s latest, and could be the only Blockbuster to be a major contender. It will win a sack load in the technical categories but unless it knocks everyone’s socks off, it won’t win any major awards.

7. Gone Girl- It’s impressed most after it’s worldwide release, but has gone down in the rankings recently as you can’t see it winning anything, but a handful of nominations will be a good result for them.

8. The Theory of Everything- Despite currently losing a head to head rivalry with The Imitation Game, it is likely to score a few nominations, especially for it’s stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.

9. Selma- Still completely unseen, we can’t really judge Selma yet, but the premise of a Civil Rights film about Martin Luther King will surely be a hit with the Academy.

10. Inherent Vice- In the last month, Inherent Vice has had it’s first trailer release and it’s worldwide premiere at NYFF, to mixed reviews. This has led to a drop in buzz, but it should hold on for a nod.

Other Contenders: The Grand Budapest Hotel, American Sniper, Whiplash, Into the Woods, Fury.

100/1 Contenders

As latest odds comes in, we are still unsure of the quality of some of the films in contention and when giving odds, it is often the case that it is the main contenders (about 12 in categories with 10 nominees and 7 in categories with 5 nominees) that are given odds under 100/1. So, that means that there are plenty of films in contention that are 100/1 at the Oscars and these are the ones that could cause an upset and get nominated. Odds from as of 30/9/14.

Best Picture: Whiplash- The winner at Sundance and a favourite at Cannes and Toronto, this music drama is sure to get at least a nod for J.K. Simmons as Best Supporting Actor and I can see it also getting nominated for Best Picture.

Best Director: Ava DuVernay- Selma- There hasn’t been any footage released from this Martin Luther King biopic at time of writing, but it could potentially be a big player during awards season, with Best Picture and Best Actor (David Oyelowo) both at 33/1, and DuVernay could be the first Black woman to be nominated at the Oscars for Best Director.

Best Actor: Jack O’Connell- Unbroken- Unbroken is currently my pick to win Best Picture and this is a film reliant on a terrific central performance. Unbroken is only O’Connell’s 3rd major role but this young British actor can easily spring a surprise and be nominated here.

Best Actress: Julianne Moore- Maps to the Stars- She could lose out because she will most likely be nominated for Still Alice, but if that falls through, she could still be nominated for Maps to the Stars. She won Best Actress at Cannes, and expect at least a Golden Globe nomination.

Best Supporting Actor: Domhnall Gleeson- Unbroken- Another young British actor, he is unlikely to be nominated, but is much more likely than the rest of the field in a poor year in this category.

Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain- A Most Violent Year- Chastain is heavily involved in this year’s awards season, with her appearing in contenders such as Interstellar, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Miss Julie and A Most Violent Year, but the latter is her real chance at a nod, even though she probably won’t.

Best Director Contenders- September 2014

The best director race should be pretty straight forward on paper, but it is starting to turn into one of the hardest to call. Picking 5 Best Director nominees from 10 Best Picture nominees is always difficult and it is so far this awards season.

1. Richard Linklater: Boyhood- Linklater’s achievement with Boyhood is absolutely extraordinary and deserves every award going, but this is a strong field of contenders and could be pushed down as the awards season gets closer.

2. Bennett Miller: Foxcatcher- The winner at Cannes for Best Director has a strong shout for this award as he has more awards experience than his rivals and has reportedly done an excellent job with Foxcatcher.

3. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: Birdman- With his first real attempt at mainstream cinema, the nominee for Babel is likely to bag a nod for Birdman.

4. Angelina Jolie: Unbroken- With her first directing gig, we are still unsure whether Jolie can pull it off, but with a great story like Louis Zamperini’s, I think she will and get a nomination.

5. David Fincher: Gone Girl- He may get pushed out soon, but the two-time nominee is still in the running for Gone Girl.

Other Contenders: Christopher Nolan: Interstellar, Morten Tyldum: The Imitation Game, Paul Thomas Anderson: Inherent Vice, Ava DuVernay: Selma, Wes Anderson: The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Best Actress Contenders- September 2014

Best Actress is looking like a three horse race, but it is all still to play for to get those two other nominations and for an overall winner.

1. Julianne Moore: Still Alice- Moore’s performance in Toronto has given her massive buzz as she wasn’t even in the running before that. Yet, with a trailer yet to be released, we can’t make our minds up for ourselves, but is the current favourite, especially as she is yet to win an Academy Award.

2. Amy Adams: Big Eyes- She lost a bit of buzz as so little footage had been released as Toronto was going on, but the early favourite still has a reasonable shot as the trailer for Big Eyes was released last week. Like Moore, she has had a lot of nominations without a win, but this year could possibly be her year.

3. Reese Witherspoon: Wild- With massive acclaim coming from Telluride and Toronto, the Oscar winner has kept herself in the running and will still be a massive contender, at least picking up her second nomination at the Oscars.

4. Rosamund Pike: Gone Girl- After the premiere earlier in the week, this British actress has had large acclaim and could bag herself a nomination. The only question is if it’s leading or supporting, but she’ll likely get a nod either way.

5. Felicity Jones: The Theory of Everything- She impressed in last year’s The Invisible Woman and The Theory of Everything could get her attention from places other than the UK. It’s early days, but she could still grab a nomination.

Other Contenders: Jessica Chastain: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby/A Most Violent Year, Hilary Swank: The Homesman, Shailene Woodley: The Fault in Our Stars, Angelina Jolie: Maleficent.

Best Actor Contenders- September 2014

We’re starting to get a clear idea of who will be in the running for Best Actor for 2015 and it is likely to be dominated by first time nominees.

1. Steve Carell: Foxcatcher- Yes, Academy Award Winner Michael Scott, and with his latest role in psychological drama Foxcatcher, it has a real chance of being true. Steve Carell transforms to give the comedian a chance at picking up Oscar gold and is already a dead cert to pick up a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama.

2. Michael Keaton: Birdman- Another unlikely name in the hat, Keaton’s been given a role of a life time and will see him win the Golden Globe in the Comedy/Musical catergory.

3. Eddie Redmayne: The Theory of Everything- The British actor has had a lot of praise from Toronto for playing Stephen Hawking and is likely to pick up a nomination here.

4. Benedict Cumberbatch: The Imitation Game- He may lose a bit of steam as the lesser performance of a struggling real life British genius, but the Sherlock star should still pick up a nomination.

5. Timothy Spall: Mr Turner- The winner at Cannes is losing a bit of buzz and is the first contender to premiere in the UK, but should still hang on to a spot.

Other Contenders: David Oyelowo: Selma, Ben Affleck: Gone Girl, Joaquin Phoenix: Inherent Vice, Chadwick Boseman: Get on Up, Ralph Fiennes: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Bill Murray: St. Vincent.

Best Picture Contenders- September 2014

It’s early and we haven’t seen footage from all the films in contention, but thanks to Toronto International Film Festival last week, the Best Picture race is heating up and it is all to play for. These are my picks, as of 18/9/14, for the films to be nominated for Best Picture.

1. Unbroken- This biopic has all the ingredients for a Best Picture win: a former winner behind the camera, a true life story, a survival film, a sports film and an inspirational story. From what I’ve seen of Angelina Jolie’s first film, it looks like Oscar bait, and if Jack O’Connell delivers a great performance, it has a great chance of taking it.

2. Boyhood- This film is a masterpiece and is currently favourite to win as Linklater has delivered a real original that has been well received by critics and audiences alike. A summer release may come back to haunt them, but it’s in with a shout and should still win Best Director, Original Screenplay and Supporting Actress.

3. Foxcatcher- Bennett Miller’s new film has had audiences excited for it’s release since it’s well recieved showings at Cannes, Telluride and Toronto. Expect nods for Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo, but will just miss out on the big one.

4. Birdman- Since it’s Venice premiere, Birdman has shown it’s a real contender in the big catergories during awards season. Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone will all pick up nominations, but the biggest award it will pick up will be Best Cinematography.

5. The Imitation Game- A dead cert to win Best British Film at the Bafta’s, this biopic has had a lot of buzz after winning at Toronto, but will be short here. Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly will both be nominated.

6. Gone Girl- It comes out in two weeks, but with no premiere so far, it’s credentials can’t be shown, but expect nods for Best Director and Best Actress for Rosamund Pike.

7. Interstellar- This will be it’s only major nomination, but expect the board to be swept in the technical catergories.

8. Inherent Vice- With only 2 seconds of footage released we don’t know what it’ll be like, but with Paul Thomas Anderson as director and a fine cast including Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Reese Witherspoon, it will surely be great.

9. The Theory of Everything- Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones will both be nominated but this scientist biopic won’t win any.

10. The Grand Budapest Hotel- Still holding on after a March release, it may get knocked off by the time nominations are announced.

Still in Contention: Selma, Fury, Into The Woods, Wild, Whiplash, Mr Turner.