Oscars With Josh #5: First Full Predictions

As I wrote in my Best of Summer 2016 post, this past Summer was rough. I love genre movies and huge blockbusters, but this past Summer continued to disappoint weekend after weekend. It was the biggest relief when I was finally able to see movies like Kubo and the Two Strings and Hell or High Water, I was desperate for a good movie. I hope both of those films end up being in Oscar consideration (Kubo will undoubtedly be in the Animated category, really hoping Hell or High Water isn’t forgotten), but no matter what they are great experiences.

I wish Oscar voters had longer memories, maybe the good movies could be spread throughout the year instead of being released in succession in the last months of the year. With the Telluride Film Festival happening over Labor Day, it would seem only natural to say the Oscar season starts then. Now that September is over, it looks as though the true Oscar season is really just November and December.

Make no mistake, there were some good movies released in September (and I suspect in October as well). More than just being good, these stories were definitely “for grown-ups” and a breath of fresh air from the staleness that was Summer. Whether it be The Magnificent Seven, Snowden, or Queen of Katwe, it has been a good month at the movies, but it doesn’t look like it will be a good month for Oscar hopefuls.

With the exception of Sully, it looks like September will be a wash when it comes to Oscar predictions. Clint Eastwood’s latest has been making money at the box office and any drama starring Tom Hanks ought nought to be be underestimated. Looking towards October, Moonlight will start its limited run, but everything else is an Award mystery. I am really looking forward to movies like The Girl on the Train and The Accountant, but they aren’t on the Oscar pundits’ radars (with the exception of a possible Best Actress nomination for Emily Blunt).

And then of course there is The Birth of a Nation. The once frontrunner, now counted out due to controversy, remains to be a mystery when it comes to the Academy. Will the critics be harsher on the film now after some praised it at Sundance? Will Acedemy members vote against a good movie due to the outside controversy? Will people see it? Without box office The Birth of a Nation won’t be going anywhere. I’m sorry if this paragraph is confusing to some, simply googling “the birth of a nation” will not only give you promotional material but also some links explaining the controversy.

As far as Tarpley Movie talk goes, we will address The Birth of a Nation in two ways. First, the review of the film will not make any mention Nate Parker’s trial from 1999, that would be a disservice to the film to review it like that. We should all receive The Birth of a Nation as a movie first and foremost. Second, outside of the review, we can discuss the controversy and how it affects the Oscar race. These are two separate conversations and it is unfortunate that the conversation online is resulting in people writing off the film altogether.

Weekly Spotlight: Fences

Wow. I’ll be honest, I was NOT expecting that level of drama to come from this trailer. I was aware of Fences. I knew that Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were coming back to perform the roles they both won Tonys for on Broadway. I knew it was exciting that Washington was directing the picture. I knew others were exciting for the film, predicting it up and down the categories. What I didn’t know was how powerful a 1 minute 30 second teaser could be.

Adapting his own play for the screen, August Wilson looks to have hit the jackpot when it comes to film adaptations. In just one minute of dialogue, Wilson and Washington have me mesmerized. I was starting to feel bad for that kid while also feeling the plight of Washington’s character, all of this from just a few interactions between characters. It is going to be a long wait for Fences, the film will hit during Christmas of this year, but we all ought to pay attention to what looks like to be a heavy Oscar contender.

Predictions (as of 10/03/16)

Ok, so I attempted to do predictions here, but I ended up only doing Best Picture. No more of that! Let’s just go for it and start predicting ALL the categories. At the bottom of each of these columns, I include links to my go-to Oscar sites. Let’s be clear, though I am making my own guesses, the majority of these predictions will just be taking their lists are recompiling them over here. Let’s do this:

Best Picture

  1. La La Land
  2. Fences
  3. Manchester By the Sea
  4. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  5. Silence
  6. Moonlight
  7. Arrival
  8. Sully
  9. Lion
  10. Loving
  • The Birth of a Nation
  • A Monster Calls
  • Jackie
  • Hidden Figures
  • 20th Century Woman
  • Live by Night

Best Director

  1. Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
  2. Martin Scorsese (Silence)
  3. Denzel Washington (Fences)
  4. Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
  5. Ang Lee (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk)
  • Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
  • Clint Eastwood (Sully)
  • Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

Best Actress

  1. Emma Stone (La La Land)
  2. Viola Davis (Fences)
  3. Natalie Portman (Jackie)
  4. Amy Adams (Arrival)
  5. Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
  • Ruth Negga (Loving)
  • Annette Bening (20th Century Woman)

Best Actor

  1. Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
  2. Denzel Washington (Fences)
  3. Tom Hanks (Sully)
  4. Joel Edgerton (Loving)
  5. Michael Keaton (The Founder)
  • Miles Teller (Bleed for This)
  • Andrew Garfield (Silence)
  • Dev Patel (Lion)
  • Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
  • Naomi Harris (Moonlight)
  • Felicity Jones (A Monster Calls)
  • Nicole Kidman (Lion)
  • Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Liam Neeson (Silence)
  • Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
  • Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
  • Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
  • Aaron Eckhart (Bleed for This)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Fences (August Wilson)
  •  Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Simon Beaufoy, Jean-Chistophe Castelli)
  • Silence (Jay Cocks)
  • Live by Night (Ben Affleck)
  • Lion (Luke Davies)

Best Original Screenplay

  • La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
  • Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney)
  • Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
  • Loving (Jeff Nichols)
  • Hell or High Water (Taylor Sheridan)

Best Animated Feature

  • Moana
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Finding Dory
  • Zootopia
  • The Red Turtle*

*I’m pretty confident in the first four. That fifth slot will definitely go to a film I’ve never heard of it. Which is fine btw, it means that a (hopefully) worthwhile film can get some exposure it wouldn’t normally get.

Best Documentary

There will be many more documentaries in contention this year, but right now Ava DuVernay’s 13th has all the buzz.

Best Original Song

Though I don’t have detailed predictions, I think it is safe to say we have two frontrunners here. I foresee two films duking it out in this category: La La Land and Moana. La La Land is our overall frontrunner…that just so happens to be full of original songs. Moana is the double threat of not only being a Disney musical (always a sure Best Original Song bet), but also being written by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda. Though both movies will have a plethora of songs to pick from, the studios will each pick one song to champion, and these two films will go head-to-head for the prize.

Best Sound Mixing/Editing

Nope. Not gonna try and understand the difference between these two categories. I know there is a difference, and I know it is important to the professionals in this field, but it is outside my expertise to differentiate here. I like these two awards because it gives more opportunity for tech-heavy films to be recognized. Between the two awards, there are usually only 1 or 2 differences in the nominees, so let’s take a look at our “Sound Award” contenders:

  • Sully
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • La La Land
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Passengers
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • A Marvel Movie (Captain America: Civil War/Doctor Strange)

Best Production Design

  • Silence
  • La La Land
  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Cinematography

  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Silence
  • La La Land
  • Arrival
  • Hail, Caesar!

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Jackie
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best Costume Design

  • Live by Night
  • Silence
  • Jackie
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best Film Editing

  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Live by Night
  • Sully
  • Silence
  • La La Land

Best Visual Effects

Best Visual Effects has long been my favorite award for obvious reasons. This is the place where nerd movies get to shine.

  • The Jungle Book
  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • A Monster Calls
  • Passengers
  • Doctor Strange


There are five categories I excluded from my predictions. Three of them are the “Shorts” (Documentary Short, Live Action Short, Animated Short), I’m not sure if I’ll ever predict those, I just won’t have enough exposure to make a knowledgable prediction.

Next exclusion is Foreign Language Film, same reasoning, not enough knowledge here.

The last one, as surprising as it may seem, is Original Score. This is a category I love, and you could make predictions based on name alone (John Williams-The BFG, Johan Johansen-Arrival), but this is the one category I actually want to see (hear?) all the contenders before making predictions.

Special thanks to the following folks/sites (I’m pretty much just rewording what they have already said):

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