On 3.2.16 L.A. Times reporter/analyst Glenn Whipp posted a piece about ten possible Best Picture nominees for 2016. I’ve got my own list of suspects but let’s first consider the Whipp roster plus another posted on 3.7 at Awards Watch.
Most of Whipp’s picks sounded interesting — David Michod‘s War Machine, Tom Ford‘s Nocturnal Animals, Martin Scorsese‘s Silence, Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester By The Sea and Ang Lee‘s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Three could be described as generic, right-down-the-middle populist hambone movies — Nate Parker‘s The Birth of a Nation (19th Century slave rebellion), Ben Younger‘s Bleed For This (boxing flick) and Garth Davis‘s Lion (shameless-sounding, Life of Pi-without-the-tiger-or-the-flying-fish lost puppy saga about Indian guy, played by Dev Patel, finding his family after 25 years of separation).
Forget Pedro Almodovar‘s Julieta, as that will feed right into the Best Foreign Language Feature category. And the last of Whipp’s picks — Barry Jenkins‘ Moonlight — sound a bit too fringey and druggy and Jean Genet-ish for the Best Picture derby.
Not long after this Awards Watch posted a consensus chart about the same topic. Second verse, almost the same as the first. Their top 15 picks were (in this order) Silence, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, The Birth of a Nation, Jeff Nichols‘ Loving (period interracial marriage drama), Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Denzel Washington‘s Fences (adaptation of honored August Wilson play), Lion, Clint Eastwood‘s Sully (inspirational saga of seasoned airplane pilot who landed damaged jet on surface of Hudson River), Damien Chazelle‘s La-La Land, Denis Villeneuve‘s Story of Your Life, War Machine, Deepwater Horizon, Passengers and Robert Zemeckis‘s Allied (WWII dramatic thriller about assassins falling in love w/ Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard — just began filming last month).
I know nothing beyond having seen Manchester By The Sea, which will definitely figure in the Best Picture conversation (ignore anyone who calls it a downer drama) and you can absolutely count on Casey Affleck landing a Best Actor nomination. But I can at least share thoughts about some of the contenders in the Whipp & Awards Watch rundowns, as well as some of my own from HE’s Oscar Balloon.
As much as I respect Mr. Scorsese, Silence is going to be 2016’s The Revenant in terms of putting the audience through tough material involving physical pain.
No offense but I’m detecting vague, imprecise currents in Ang Lee‘s Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk, and I’m scratching my head about the film being described on the Wiki page as a “war comedy-drama.”
Peter Berg‘s Patriot’s Day (Mark Wahlberg, J.K. Simmons — shooting for late December 2016 release date) could really connect if it adopts an even-toned, documentary-like attitude and doesn’t depict the Boston bombers as raving, foam-at-the-mouth Satanists.
And Pablo Larrain‘s Jackie (Natalie Portman, Greta Gerwig, Peter Sarsgaard) could connect in the right way if it opens before the end of the year, certainly in terms of Natalie Portman landing a Best Actress nomination for her performance as Jackie Kennedy.
Morten Tyldum and John Spaihts‘ Passengers (stuck in space, confined for life, gradually fall in love…sounds too high-concepty). Damien Chazelle‘s La La Land (possibly too homage-y, too entertaining, too swoony). Jeff Nichols‘ Loving (the curse of Joel Edgerton‘s Southern accent is, for me, a Godzilla-like threat). Denis Villeneuve‘s Story of Your Life (Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg)…who knows?
Thoughts? Films that should be mentioned here but haven’t been?