As the candidates for all of the categories start coming to light, we, here at Moviepass, will be covering all the good potential nominees. We’ve already looked at some of the more obvious choices, so with this entry, we’re digging deeper into 2016’s filmography. Some of the entries on this list are great films, but have long-shots at a nomination–Christine, Love & Friendship–while other entries are almost definite shoe-ins–Lion, Loving. With our Oscar Rulebook handy, here are ten guesses (and hopes) as to what will become a contender for a 2017 Academy Award.
In 1980’s Dublin a teenager (Jack Reynor), in a new school, decides to start a band strictly for the purpose of wooing a local model (Lucy Boynton).
What it Would Be Up For: Best Original Song – “Drive it Like You Stole It”
Chances: Mild. John Carney’s films (Begin Again, Once) have fantastically catchy and nuanced songs, and Sing Street is no exception. For a film with so much heart and depth, compelling performances, and a great story, the chance at Best Original Song is the bare minimum of what Sing Street deserves.
Why it Might Not Win: There are a lot of solid contenders in the category this year, with strong competition from films such as La La Land, Moana, and several Sia songs. The Academy might get swept up in the post-fall film hype and completely forget about this spring release.
An underage model (Elle Fanning) delves into the dark depths of the L.A. scene and soon creates a bond with a makeup artist (Jenna Malone) that intertwines their fates.
What it Would Be Up For: Best Cinematography
Chances: Moderately high, mainly for respect owed to the previous works of Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives, Bronson). Natasha Braier’s beautiful cinematography is the one consistent highlight in criticism of the film.
Why it Might Not Win: The Neon Demon is an extremely divisive and difficult film to watch, which might turn the Academy away to more standard fare. It would be a nice acknowledgement of Braier’s stunning work and for female cinematographers in general, but there is tougher competition out there.
Meryl Streep stars as the titular Florence Foster Jenkins, the woman heralded as the worst opera singer in the world, as she rises from rich socialite to a performer worthy of Carnegie Hall.
What it Would Be Up For: Best Actress, Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Chances: Moderate. You know that joke where, if Meryl Streep is on set, they just hand her an Oscar nomination on her way out? It’s not entirely true, but the nineteen-time nominee has set records for her accolades. With a starring role in a lighthearted comedy, Streep has the chance to capture the spirit of a truly broken and delusional woman. And since the Academy loves period pieces, Florence Foster Jenkins has already made the Best Makeup and Hairstyling shortlist.
Why it Might Not Win: Best Actress is going to be a tight race as it is, but the Academy might make room for an old favorite. As for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, it stands a pretty strong chance at earning a nod.
Based on a true story, Saroo (Dev Patel) embarks on a quest to find his birth family after being separated from them at the age of five.
What it Would Be Up For: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Score
Chances: Moderate for all categories. Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara have all turned out fantastic performances, but it’s the work of newcomers, Sunny Pawar and Abhishek Bharate, that carry the first half of the film and set the emotional heartbreak for the entire second half.
Why it Might Not Win: Unless there are unexpected surprises in almost every major category, we’ll most likely see Lion on the red carpet.
Two brothers (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) turn to bank robbery in order to keep the family farm. Their tactics catch the attention of a Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges), who is determined to solve his final case before retirement.
What it Would Be Up For: Best Original Screenplay
Chances: Mild. The film’s script, originally from 2012’s Black List, is certainly one of the most interesting screenplays on the list. A combination of strong performances, great direction and a powerful use of genre tropes, leads to a critical darling.
Why it Might Not Win: It’s a fantastic story, but it’s not exemplary in terms of inventiveness. The extremely topical, but familiar territory leaves Hell or High Water a bit of a risky bet for the only category in which it has a real shot.
After a home invasion from an unknown stalker, a woman decides to hunt down her aggressor.
What it Would Be Up For: Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director
Chances: High for Actress. Despite being snubbed for Best Foreign Language Film, we’re still holding out a little hope for this thriller. Isabelle Huppert is a firestorm of an actress, who takes the role of Michèle and creates a passionate and vibrant woman unlike anything on the screen. So, we’ll continue to cheer for her.
Why it Might Not Win: The film has a unique tonal balance unlike anything else in cinema in 2016, which might work against it, in terms of the larger awards. However, we’ll argue that despite not making it onto the Foreign Language shortlist, Elle could still land a spot in the race due to the overwhelmingly positive critical praise it’s received.
The true story of Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga)–an American interracial couple married in 1958–and the ten year court battle that it took to finally allow them to live freely in the state of Virginia.
What it Would Be Up For: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor
Chances: High. The premise is based on a true story, the subject matter is topical, the direction is stellar and the performances are heartbreaking.
Why it Might Not Win: Loving has a pacing problem, with it’s two hour runtime spent mainly on the heartache of the Lovings with very little time used to explore who they were before their court case. It’s not a bad film by any means, but as the race gets tighter, the competition can drown out this quiet little gem. The only solid bet is for Ruth Negga and her portrayal of Mildred Loving.
Based on a Jane Austen novella, Love & Friendship details the widowed Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) as she attempts to secure husbands for both, herself and her daughter, Francesca (Morfydd Clark).
What it Would Be Up For: Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Actress
Chances: Moderate for the technical awards, mild for acting. As we mentioned, the Academy loves a good period drama, and the costumes and technical direction are pretty spot on. Director Whit Stillman (The Last Days of Disco) managed to create an extremely captivating film out of the short and quirky source material, and Kate Beckinsale does a fantastic job making Austen dialogue sound extremely natural.
Why it Might Not Win: The technical awards are always eclectic, recognizing films that otherwise aren’t really “Oscar Contenders.” They tend to go to the fantasy and sci-fi films in addition to period dramas, so Rogue One could easily sweep the rug out from under Love & Friendship. If The Wolfman can win an Academy Award, all bets are off.
After the death of his wife and an emotional fallout from her family, Ben (Viggo Mortensen) takes his off-the-grid family on a road trip to crash the funeral.
What it Would Be Up For: Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay
Chances: Mild to moderate. Writer/director Matt Ross (The Language of Love) brings out one of Viggo Mortensen’s best performances as the suffering patriarch of the Cash family, delivering a film that is both, intellectually stimulating and heartbreaking, as it examines the impact of his parental abilities.
Why it Might Not Win: Captain Fantastic might be overlooked primarily due to it’s early release date, as its limited July release might have helped it fade from the potential voters with a huge screener pile. Nevertheless, Best Actor might have a slot open due to a less intense race than Best Actress and Mortensen’s performance is one of the finest of the year.
Rebecca Hall stars as Christine Chubbuck, a newscaster stuck in a small town who’s forced to abandon the stories she loves to tell for bloodier fare.
What it Would Be Up For: Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor
Chances: Low for most of the categories as Christine really flew under the radar upon release. Initially getting a lot of press, specifically for Rebecca Hall, the storm has died down for this true story.
Why it Might Not Win: Best Actress is going to be a tough category again this year and sadly, Christine isn’t getting a lot of buzz in any major capacity. With a lot of strong contenders, it wouldn’t be a surprise not to see any nominations for this film.
And that concludes this round of Oscar guesses. As we explore more of this season’s film slate, we’ll keep the predictions coming! In the meantime, less us know if you’ve got any Oscar guesses of your own!