We began awards season with a core three.
Two more rose to seemingly make a core five.
Beyond that? Hard to say.
Last week, the writers guild brought a bit of clarity to the Oscar race. Two days ago, BAFTA had their say. Finally this week, the producers and directors got their say on things with their guilds announcing their nominees.
I haven’t been able to chart the rise and fall of certain nominees the way I enjoy, so instead I’ll have to remain content with looking at how the cards have been played…and what it means for next Tuesday morning’s announcement.
Here’s what I missed chiming in on:
- Eight days ago, the WGA named their five nominees for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay. The writers have some of the strictest rules, and likewise (obviously) a love for story first and foremost. Therefore, they have a knack to go…well…off book. That’s how we get DEADPOOL nominated, not that I’m really complaining. ARRIVAL’s inclusion here seemed like a good sign
- Next came BAFTA, who largely followed the script. More vetting of LA LA LAND, MOONLIGHT, and MANCHESTER. ARRIVAL makes waves again, ditto Tom Ford for NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. The hometown contingent rallies around I, DANIEL BLAKE…but would that be enough to consider it the European representative during a largely North American year?
- Two days ago, The PGA spoke up and named their batch of ten. The PGA is a particularly intriguing harbinger since they rely on a ranked ballot the same way Oscar now does. DEADPOOL again (sure, why not?). Promising support for LION, HIDDEN FIGURES, and FENCES. HACKSAW RIDGE turns back up, making a case that after a decade of exile, Mel Gibson is being embraced again by the Hollywood awards body.
- Finally, today, the DGA seemingly cements a class of 2016 with their five nominations going to the direction of ARRIVAL, LA LA LAND, LION, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, and MOONLIGHT. It’s always possible that one of those five might miss the Best Picture class…but barring a repeat of 2012, count on at least four if not all making the jump.
So now what?
Well, count ARRIVAL as a film that made an impressive rise late in the game after lingering around the fringes early-on. Likewise, count LION as a stock that is trending upward at just the right time.
Then again, CAROL was sitting pretty this time last year and missed the cut.
Elsewhere, in yet another case of late-opening films not faring well in awards races, SILENCE needed a lot of help this week, and got none. Scorsese’s latest film is an opaque late-career offering, and didn’t get nearly the proper campaign that recent works like WOLF OF WALL STREET, HUGO, DEPARTED, and the Miramax works did. No love from the actors guild last month, likewise the editors, the producers, or the directors.
Never say never, but Marty can probably sleep-in next week and focus on pre-production for THE IRISHMAN.
One wonders if Paramount might not have been better off just kicking the film into 2017 and letting it play like a SHUTTER ISLAND-esque
As for the rest, the last week has gone to confirm the status quo. LA LA LAND’s backlash isn’t affecting its chances, the character flaws of Casey Affleck aren’t slowing down MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (or his own chances at best Actor), and MOONLIGHT continues to happily capitalize on being the right film at the right time.
So what does that mean for Tuesday? Well, the biggest question to be answered is just how many nominees there will be. Last year brought the first dip in the class since it expanded, with eight Best Picture nominees. Might we see more of the same?
For my money, here’s how the contenders are seeded right now.
Count ‘Em: ARRIVAL, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOONLIGHT
Good Looks: LION
Need a Friendly Bounce: DEADPOOL, FENCES, HACKSAW RIDGE, HELL OR HIGH WATER, HIDDEN FIGURES,
Sitting on The Bench: I DANIEL BLAKE, JACKIE, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, SILENCE, SULLY,
Know what, folks? If those top five movies represent best-in-show for 2016, I’m good with that. Let’s see what happens in ten days, shall we?
Here’s a gathering of what’s gone down these past two weeks. Feel free to make your guesses in the comments section.
WGA Award Nominees
Hell or High Water, Written by Taylor Sheridan
La La Land, Written by Damien Chazelle
Loving, Written by Jeff Nichols
Manchester by the Sea, Written by Kenneth Lonergan
Moonlight, Screenplay by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell McCraney
Arrival, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer; Based on the Story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang
Deadpool, Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick; Based on the X-Men Comic Books
Fences, Screenplay by August Wilson; Based on his Play
Hidden Figures, Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
Nocturnal Animals, Screenplay by Tom Ford
PGA Award Nominees
Producers: Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, Aaron Ryder, David Linde
Producers: Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds, Lauren Shuler Donner
Producers: Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington, Todd Black
Producers: Bill Mechanic, David Permut
Hell or High Water
Producers: Carla Hacken, Julie Yorn
Producers: Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin & Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams, Theodore Melfi
La La Land
Producers: Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
Producers: Emile Sherman & Iain Canning, Angie Fielder
Manchester By the Sea
Producers: Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck, Kevin Walsh
Producers: Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner & Jeremy Kleiner
DGA Award Nominees
Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND
Garth Davis, LION
Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT
Kenneth Lonergan, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Denis Villeneuve, ARRIVAL