With the Oscars now just a week-old memory, the time has come for the final
edition of this column (for this season). From the Toronto International
Film Festival’s unofficial awards season kickoff in September to last
weekend’s generally underwhelming ceremony, it’s been six long months of
speculation and anticipation and we’re ready to move on (as we’re sure many
of you are as well).
There is one final column before letting
awards talk rest in peace until September. It’s been an annual tradition
at Indiewire (and elsewhere) to take an ignorant stab at the following
year well before there’s any substantial evidence in its regard (save recent Sundance and Berlin premieres "45 Years," "Mr. Holmes," Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" and "Brooklyn" — which should not be ruled out given how well "Boyhood," "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Whiplash" ended up doing this season).
it’s not always a total crapshoot. Last year, we did manage to properly
predict nine of the 20 acting nominees (though, granted, we also predicted "Big Eyes" and "Inherent Vice" would get best picture noms). Which probably says more
about how extraordinarily predictable this all is than any sort of
skill, but still, before this column lies dormant until the fall…
let’s give it another shot. No one’s taking this too seriously. (Right?)
There’s definitely some major heavyweight filmmakers with projects very likely to come out this year, many of them regular fixtures in recent races. Will Sundance breakouts "Brooklyn" and "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" pull a "Boyhood" or "Whiplash"? Will Todd Haynes’ "Carol" finally nab the director a Best Picture nomination? Will "The Hateful Eight," "Joy," "The Revenant" and "St. James Place" quickly return Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Steven Spielberg to the Oscar game? Or is something not even on our radar going to come out of nowhere at some point in the next ten months. We have no idea. No one does. But it’s still fun to take an ignorant stab…
"The Hateful Eight"
"St. James Place"
(Alternates: "The Sea of Trees"; "Southpaw"; "Freeheld"; "The Danish Girl"; "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl"; "Ricki and the Flash"; "45 Years"; "Genius"; "Spotlight"; "Macbeth")
Alejandro González Iñárritu seems like a pretty reasonable bet to be back in the race a year after he won for his 1800s Wild West adventure "The Revenant," but it’s pretty extreme to predict a double win. Especially with Todd Haynes, Steven Spielberg, David O. Russell, Quentin Tarantino, Dany Boyle and Gus Van Sant all potentially in the mix as well. It sadly looks — at least right now — like another boys club in this category, with Sarah Gavron currently looking the best bet to change that for her women’s rights saga "Suffragette" (fingers crossed).
Todd Haynes, "Carol"
Alejandro González Iñárritu, "The Revenant"
David O. Russell, "Joy"
Steven Spielberg, "St. James Place"
Quentin Tarantino, "The Hateful Eight"
(Alternates: Danny Boyle, "Steve Jobs"; Jean-Marc Vallee, "Demolition"; John Crowley, "Brooklyn"; Sarah Gavron, "Suffragette"; Gus Van Sant, "The Sea of Trees")
Best Actor could once again (as it almost always is these days) be an ultra-competitive race full of some of major A-listers. Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Jake Gyllenhaal and Don Cheadle — all of whom have never won — have films coming out this year that scream Oscar (at least on paper) and all of them are due. They might have to compete against someone who is definitely not due, though, as Eddie Redmayne could be in the running again for his role as a transgender artist in Tom Hooper’s "The Danish Girl." Could Eddie Redmayne be the next Tom Hanks or Spencer Tracy, winning back to back Oscars?
Don Cheadle, "Miles Ahead"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant"
Michael Fassbender, "Steve Jobs"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Southpaw" or "Demolition"
Eddie Redmayne, "The Danish Girl"
(Alternates: Bryan Cranston, "Trumbo"; Jason Segel, "The End of the Tour"; Tom Hanks, "St. James Place"; Tom Courtenay, "45 Years"; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "The Walk"; Matthew McConaughey, "The Sea of Trees")
Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Julianne Moore — our four most recent winners in this category — all have extremely baiting new films coming out this year, and it’s entirely possible that they all come back and make this an epic race of almost all very recent winners. Though Saorise Ronan, Charlotte Rampling, Lily Tomlin and Blythe Danner (who have all never won — though Ronan and Tomlin each have one nomination) are coming off of rave reviews for performances that debuted at Sundance or Berlin… It’s just a matter of whether they can hang in there given how much competition is coming.
Cate Blanchett, "Carol"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Joy"
Saorise Ronan, "Brooklyn"
Meryl Streep, "Ricky and the Flash"
Lily Tomlin, "Grandma"
(Alternates: Charlotte Rampling, "45 Years"; Carey Mulligan, "Suffragette"; Julianne Moore, "Freeheld"; Blythe Danner, "I’ll See You In My Dreams"; Alicia Vikander, "The Danish Girl")
Best Supporting Actor
Is the fourth time the charm for Bradley Cooper? He’s been nominated three times in a row for "Silver Linings Playbook," "American Hustle" and "American Sniper," and is being reunited with his "Playbook" and "Hustle" director David O. Russell and co-star Jennifer Lawrence in "Joy," which sure sounds like a promising proposition to finally take home gold. But two other recent Oscar losers — Michael Keaton and Steve Carell, also have supporting roles with major potential this year in "Spotlight" and "Freeheld," respectively, and they should all watch out for Tom Hardy, who could very well ride a meaty role in Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s "The Revenant" to a first nomination.
Bradley Cooper, "Joy"
Tom Hardy, "The Revenant"
Michael Keaton, "Spotlight"
Ken Watanabe, "The Sea of Trees"
Forest Whitaker, "Southpaw"
(Alternates: Mark Rylance, "St. James Place"; Steve Carell, "Freeheld"; Samuel L. Jackson, "The Hateful Eight"; Jesse Eisenberg, "The End of the Tour"; John Goodman, "Trumbo"; Jude Law, "Genius")
Best Supporting Actress
Whereas Best Actress could be chock full of former winners this year, Best Supporting Actress could be a major opportunity to reward some women who have never taken home Oscar gold. Jennifer Jason Leigh (who has somehow never been nominated), Rooney Mara, Ellen Page, Naomi Watts and Helena Bonham Carter are among the on-paper performances that could be in the hunt…
Jennifer Jason Leigh, "The Hateful Eight"
Rooney Mara, "Carol"
Ellen Page, "Freeheld"
Naomi Watts, "Demolition"
Katherine Waterson, "Steve Jobs"
(Alternates: Marion Cotillard, "Macbeth"; Kate Winslet, "Steve Jobs"; Nicole Kidman, "Genius"; Helena Bonham Carter, "Suffragette"; Virginia Madsen, "Joy")
Peter Knegt is Indiewire’s Contributing Editor and awards columnist. Follow him on Twitter here (where he promises to mention nothing Oscar-related until at least September).