Yesterday afternoon Mashable‘s Jeff Sneider posted his first award-season handicap piece, and I must say he seems to have given every contender and angle a lot of careful thought and weighed their chances with an old-fashioned hand scale. I found myself agreeing with…oh, 80% to 85% of his assessments.
I agree that at this point Manchester By The Sea‘s Casey Affleck is the only contender who “feels like a lock,” as Sneider puts it.
I agree that three of the top Best Picture contenders are probably Ang Lee‘s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Damian Chazelle‘s La La Land and Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester by the Sea, but I’m not so sure about Barry Jenkins‘ Moonlight or Martin Scorsese‘s Silence, .
Sneider’s #6 through #8 are Denzel Washington‘s Fences (which is “good but being worked on,” I heard tonight), Clint Eastwood‘s Sully and Ben Affleck‘s Live By Night. I doubt if Tom Ford‘s Nocturnal Animals will rate as a muscular Best Picture contender.
My right eyebrow arched when I read Sneider’s view that Nate Parker‘s The Birth of a Nation isn’t necessarily dead meat, and that it might just “squeak into” the Best Picture contention “if Academy voters can separate the art from the artist, and if the art is well-received.”
If it were my call the film would be considered separately from Nate’s behavior at Penn State 17 years back, and the legend and history of Nat Turner would be respected on its own terms. But almost everything I hear (apart from a Variety report that Birth received a TIFF standing ovation on Friday evening) tells me this won’t happen.