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Predicting my 4th Annual Film Awards: Second Round

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Do I think it'll be a contender? Read on. ()

Do I think it’ll be a contender? Read on. (Source)

It’s been three months since my first attempt at predicting what I’ll nominate come January, and it seems to me, with the Venice and Telluride film festivals underway (and once the Toronto festival is over, I’ll go over what films are looking good, which are looking iffy or bad, which are now on my radar which previously weren’t, etc.), it’s a good time to take another look at what I’ll be trumpeting this year.

Best Picture

Well, let’s first see what my predicted lineup was:

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • Gone Girl
  • Inherent Vice
  • Leviathan
  • Maps to the Stars
  • Mommy
  • Nymphomaniac
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

And now let’s check out my 11-20:

  • Big Eyes
  • The Dance of Reality
  • A Field in England
  • Ida
  • Interstellar
  • Mr. Turner
  • Norte, the End of History
  • Snowpiercer
  • Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
  • Winter Sleep

There are some changes to be made. Boyhood is off. Maps to the Stars may not even come out till next year, and the somewhat mixed reviews from Cannes (though Cosmpolis also got a mixed reception and I love it), on top of the possible scotching of its Oscar chances (though it may get a qualifying run), lead me to temper my expectations. So it’s off the top 10 until further notice. I still have to see Mommy, but for now I’m going to leave it as a runner-up. Not sure what to do about Nymphomaniac, but a lot depends on if I can see the full 5½-hour version before the end of the year. In any case, the other six are still sitting pretty.

Now, looking at the 11-20…The Dance of Reality is getting bumped up. Ida is a great film, but is it a Best Picture contender? I’m not sure about that. I’m also iffier about Stand Clear‘s chances, though, again, I really need to see it first. Much as I love Snowpiercer, will it crack the Top 10? Probably not. I really want Interstellar to be Top 10 material (and I’ve warmed up to the trailers), but I don’t want to jump the gun–The Dark Knight Rises was, all things considered, a letdown.

Big Eyes, Field, and Norte all seem like they’d have a hard time making the final 10. Not trying to sound negative, but this is mostly guesswork anyway. Mr. Turneron the other hand, might be brilliant. And while I’m not quite sold on Winter Sleep to that degree just yet, it wouldn’t shock me if it gets in.  As for Calvary…shit, I don’t know. Tremendous film, definite Original Screenplay and Actor contender, but Picture? We’ll really just have to see where we are in January.

So I’m stuck with 8 strong choices and 9 solid runners-up. Hmm. Guardians of the Galaxy? I loved it. But if Snowpiercer doesn’t get in, I’m not sure if it should. The runner-up list, though, is a definite possibility.

So let’s look at some other films I hadn’t considered. Here’s a few worth mulling over: The Better Angels, Fury, The Interview, Unbroken, Selma, Frank (which I’m seeing this week), Dear White PeopleMen Women & Children, Nightcrawler, and…why not Starred Up for a 10th choice? Let’s just ask if each one is or isn’t a contender and why:

The Better Angels (no; reviews weren’t great); Fury (no; trailers only looked okay); The Interview (yes, but only if it actually lives up to the idea); Unbroken (yes, if it isn’t too baity); Selma (yes; see previous film); Dear White People (yes³, if it’s as good as I think it’ll be); Men Women & Children (yes, if it isn’t too preachy); Nightcrawler (if it lives up to this trailer, hell fucking yes); Starred Up (no; it’s apparently really good, I just don’t think it’ll be Top 10 good).

So let’s slip on Dear White People and Nightcrawler (taking a bit of a gamble on that one, but if you want to win the lottery…). So that gives me 10, except I’m really torn between Interstellar and Mr. Turner. Screw it. I’ll give Interstellar the benefit of the doubt for now. It’ll all be sorted out by January. Probably.

So my predicted Best Picture nominees are:

  • Birdman
  • The Dance of Reality
  • Dear White People
  • Foxcatcher
  • Gone Girl
  • Inherent Vice
  • Interstellar
  • Leviathan
  • Nightcrawler
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

(I’ll tell you, Gone Girl is a bit shaky. I trust Fincher, but it might not be a masterpiece like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was. I’ll let it stay for now.)

For this round, I’m going to save space and eschew revised runners-up.

Could Andrey Zvyaginstev get his first nomination? ()

Could Andrey Zvyaginstev get his first nomination? (Source)

Best Director:

My original predicted nominees and runners-up, please?

  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
  • Roy Andersson, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
  • David Fincher, Gone Girl
  • Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
  • Andrey Zvyagintsev, Leviathan

6-10:

  • Bong Joon-ho, Snowpiercer
  • David Cronenberg, Maps to the Stars
  • Xavier Dolan, Mommy
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Birdman
  • Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Anderson and Andersson stay in the top 5. Iñárritu gets in, but who gets out? Normally I’d say Miller, but he did win at Cannes…so let’s take off Fincher. It’s not like I haven’t nominated him before (and if I do retrospective awards, he’ll probably win for Fight Club and maybe The Social Network).

But do I change anything else? I’ve also given P.T.A. attention before. Maybe I should share the wealth? Maybe let Jodorowsky get in for The Dance of Reality instead? Or maybe bump Zvyagintsev and let him take his chances in Original Screenplay instead (since the script won at Cannes, and last year’s winner, A Touch of Sin, was my winner as well).

I’ll leave it for now. Leviathan looks well directed.

And the predicted contenders are:

  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
  • Roy Andersson, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Birdman
  • Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
  • Andrey Zvyagintsev, Leviathan
He won at Cannes. Can he win with me? ()

He won at Cannes. Can he win with me? (Source)

Best Actor:

  • Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
  • Michael Keaton, Birdman
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
  • Stellan Skarsgård, Nymphomaniac
  • Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner

6-10:

  • Ellar Coltrane, Boyhood
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
  • Tom Hardy, Locke
  • James McAvoy, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
  • Jesus Sanchez-Velez, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Oh, boy. This is gonna be a tricky year. My predicted top 5 is a pretty beastly lineup, and there are some heavyweights I haven’t even mentioned. There’s a lot of debate as to where Carell and Channing Tatum belong regarding Lead and Supporting. Until I see Foxcatcher, I’m thinking I should leave it alone, though it looks like Tatum might actually give the better performance.

Keaton is getting spectacular reviews out of Venice, so he stays. Phoenix I might let go, though. He won my 2012 award and was a nominee last year, and he might make the Supporting Actor lineup at this rate. So let’s provisionally remove him and put Jake Gyllenhaal in instead. Because he looks goddamned ferocious in Nightcrawler. I’m also iffy on Skarsgård for the year-end top 5, even though he does a great job.

But if I take him off, who goes on instead? None of my 6-10 would make it. Brendan Gleeson is great in Calvary and Chadwick Boseman does a hell of a job in Get On Up, but would they make the final cut? I’m not sure. Brontis Jodorowsky is currently my #1 for Dance of Reality, so let’s just put him on for now.

And I’m predicting I’ll nominate:

  • Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
  • Brontis Jodorowsky, The Dance of Reality
  • Michael Keaton, Birdman
  • Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner

Picking a winner out of that lineup would be fun.

So much of Dear White People's potential rests on her shoulders. ()

So much of Dear White People’s potential rests on her shoulders. (Source)

Best Actress:

  • Amy Adams, Big Eyes
  • Jessica Chastain, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg, Nymphomaniac
  • Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars
  • Andrea Suarez Paz, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

6-10:

  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle
  • Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  • Agata Trzebuchowska, Ida
  • Shailene Woodley, White Bird in a Blizzard
  • Robin Wright, The Congress

First off is Paz. In her place, Tessa Thompson from Dear White People. Not even gonna think twice about it.

And since Maps is not a given for this year (though if it was, I’m sure Moore would make my list), I’ll have to drop Moore. But who should I replace her with? Trzebuchowska? Pike? Pike’s a definite possibility. (And no, I’m not predicting that I’ll nominate Reese Witherspoon.) If Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter were for sure coming out this year, I’d put Rinko Kikuchi on the list. But that’s not a sure thing.

There’s also foreign actresses. Anne Dorval in Mommy is a good possibility. Or Demet Akbağ from Winter Sleep. Ooh. Got it. Carla Juri from Wetlands. I’ll switch her out for Pike for now.

This is an interesting little list.

  • Amy Adams, Big Eyes
  • Jessica Chastain, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg, Nymphomaniac
  • Carla Juri, Wetlands
  • Tessa Thompson, Dear White People
Sadist? Motivator? Either way, the performance looks incredible. ()

Sadist? Motivator? Either way, the performance looks incredible. (Source)

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Jamie Bell, Nymphomaniac
  • Neil Patrick Harris, Gone Girl
  • Edward Norton, Birdman
  • Joaquin Phoenix, The Immigrant
  • Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher

6-10:

  • Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Sid Lucero, Norte, the End of History
  • Roman Madyanov, Leviathan
  • Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Okay, now I’ve got a somewhat better idea of who’ll be contending in this category. Tatum is off until I decide where he goes. And I’m thinking Harris is off. I know they made some changes from the book, but although I haven’t finished it, I’m thinking he isn’t in it for very long. So I’m taking him out until I at least see the movie. Norton stays, but I’m not sure about Bell and Phoenix. I don’t like The Immigrant, but Phoenix does a hell of a job in it. Bell is incredible too, but he might get nudged out.

Let’s see…Ruffalo is a strong possibility. I’ve heard rumors about Robert Duvall in The Judge and Logan Lerman in Fury. Tyler James Williams or Dennis Haysbert in Dear White People? Williams might be a lead. Haysbert, however…I’ll put him on now and see if he stays. Michael Fassbender in Frank isn’t out of the realm of possibility, though I gave him Best Actor in 2011 and he very nearly won my Supporting Actor award last year. So I might hold off on him until I at least see the film.

Where would Adam Sandler belong for Men Women & Children? I usually like his dramatic work. He’s also got The Cobbler, but he’s unquestionably lead there.

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash looks pretty fucking terrifying. And he’s getting a lot of buzz. And I like him. So on he goes. Which gives me five. Not an enthusiastic five, but it’ll serve. Even Awards Circuit admits this looks like a pretty weak year for this category. So I’ll just leave it at this:

  • Jamie Bell, Nymphomaniac
  • Dennis Haysbert, Dear White People
  • Edward Norton, Birdman
  • Joaquin Phoenix, The Immigrant
  • J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
I just really like this shot. ()

I just really like this shot. (Source)

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Sarah Gadon, Belle
  • Agata Kulesza, Ida
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Foxcatcher
  • Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer
  • Uma Thurman, Nymphomaniac

6-10:

  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • Dorothy Atkinson, Mr. Turner
  • Angeli Bayani, Norte, the End of History (might be lead)
  • Mia Wasikowska, Maps to the Stars
  • Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice

First off, Kulesza is off, because she’s a lead. I’m looking right now to see if there’s really been any buzz on Redgrave–IndieWire says it’s a short but effective performance. Since Thurman has maybe 8 minutes of screentime and is still my #1 for Nymphomaniac, that means she’s certainly still on the table. Though really, Pamela Flores in The Dance of Reality should get some attention. But since Swinton, fun as she is, is almost certainly coming off, I might just let Flores have her spot instead.

Who else…Imelda Staunton in Pride? Could be lead. (Awards Circuit has her as supporting, so I’ll keep her in mind.) Eva Green in White Bird in a Blizzard could be solid.

Oh, duh. Emma Stone in Birdman. I was gonna put her on and forgot all about it. I’ve heard good things about Maggie Gyllenhaal in Frank; we’ll see about that. For now, we have:

  • Pamela Flores, The Dance of Reality
  • Sarah Gadon, Belle
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Foxcatcher
  • Emma Stone, Birdman
  • Uma Thurman, Nymphomaniac

The Gadon nomination might seem a little weird, but I like her a lot, she does a really good job, and she’s having a good year. It’s kind of like Paul Dano in Prisoners getting a boost from his work in 12 Years a Slave.

Original Screenplay:

  • Birdman
  • Leviathan
  • Mommy
  • Nymphomaniac
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

6-10:

  • The Dance of Reality
  • Interstellar
  • Locke
  • Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
  • Winter Sleep

FYI, Dance is adapted.

Birdman, Leviathan, and Pigeon are all locks. I think I might switch off Mommy in favor of Nightcrawler. And Dear White People unquestionably belongs. But what about Nymphomaniac? Or Calvary, for that matter?

Nymphomaniac is hard to refuse. Likewise Calvary. Now, I could maybe rationalize taking Pigeon off by saying that those films are really more visual than dialogue-driven–but that doesn’t mean the scripts aren’t important.

Fuck. The problem with predicting these categories is it’s harder to predict how well a script will pan out than it is to predict how good a performance will be.

I’ll hold off on Nightcrawler. Calvary…much as I love it, I just have a hard time thinking I’ll still want to include it at year’s end. But I actually rate it a hair higher than Nymphomaniac. But I still need to see the uncut version. Ugh.

I want to believe The Interview could be good enough, but I’m not sure. The trailer looked funny, but more silly funny than clever funny. So for now, I’m leaving it like this:

  • Birdman
  • Dear White People
  • Leviathan
  • Nymphomaniac
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Foxcatcher
  • Gone Girl
  • Inherent Vice
  • Maps to the Stars
  • We Are the Best!

6-10:

  • The Congress
  • The Double
  • The Imitation Game
  • Snowpiercer
  • Unbroken

I wasn’t sure if Maps was original or adapted (it’s kind of convoluted), but since I’m omitting it for now, the point is moot. On goes Dance of Reality.

Now, Foxcatcher and Inherent Vice are locked in. And Gone Girl, unless it somehow goes horribly wrong, is a pretty safe bet. We Are the Best!…I don’t know. I really want to see it, but I’m not sure the script is awards-caliber. What about The Congress? (I’m really wondering if that’ll hold up on a second viewing.) Actually…how about Men Women & Children? It could work. Until I’ve seen everything, I feel a little safer picking it. So here we are:

  • The Dance of Reality
  • Foxcatcher
  • Gone Girl
  • Inherent Vice
  • Men, Women & Children

UPDATE: According to The Awards Circuit, Foxcatcher is being campaigned as an original screenplay, and Carell and Tatum will be duking it out for Best Actor. I have not decided what I will do about the screenplay categorization, but this makes picking between Carell and Tatum even harder.

Best Cinematography:

Before we speculate on which coming films will get nominated, let’s see what to date has a chance at making the year-end list.

Really, Under the Skin is about it. There’s been some good work to date, but unless the rest of the year is really underwhelming, it’s the only film from the first half of the year that has a real shot. The Immigrant has marvelous shots, but on the whole it’s just okay. (That might be the letdown of the year. That movie was really underwhelming.)

So, looking ahead…Unbroken is a Roger Deakins job. He’s always a solid possibility, even though this might not be one of his more distinguished outings. P.T. Anderson usually makes pretty good-looking movies, so Inherent Vice has a shot. And of course, Birdman is apparently brilliantly shot, what with the illusion of a single take. So I should go ahead and predict that.

Gone Girl? Fincher films usually look good. And Hoyte van Hoytema did a great job with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and a good job with Her. So maybe I should consider Interstellar? I don’t like nominating films that are mostly CGI, but at the moment, I don’t see a ton of options.

What else…The Better Angels is a period piece in black-and-white, and Terrence Malick was a producer on it. So that’s always a possibility. Mr. Turner won a cinematography prize at Cannes (the Vulcan Award), and it’s about a painter. So that sounds promising. And from the trailer, ’71 looked well-shot. So let’s consider that.

Lastly…why not A Pigeon Sat on a Branch? It’s a trilogy of tableaus. Done right, they look great. So here’s the 10 that I’m going to choose from:

  • The Better Angels, Birdman, Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, Interstellar, Mr. Turner, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, ’71, Unbroken, Under the Skin

Now to cut it down: Better Angels is off for now. I hate to do it to Deakins, but the trailers suggest Unbroken is not some of his most memorable work. It’s off. Gone Girl…I’ll wait for it to earn its place on here. Same for Interstellar. I just need to drop one more.

And…fuck it, I’ll wait and see if ’71 is that well-done.

That leaves us with:

  • Birdman
  • Inherent Vice
  • Mr. Turner
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
  • Under the Skin

Best Editing:

Really don’t know how to predict this. Not a clue. You can’t really get that from a trailer.

Birdman, Gone Girl, and Interstellar are safe bets. Maybe Nightcrawler? And how about…hmm. Inherent Vice is iffy. I like Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s sense of pacing, so Winter Sleep, even at 196 minutes, could contend. Fuck it, why not? This is pretty much blind guesswork. (Roy Andersson’s editing style is pretty minimal, so I’m not going to automatically predict Pigeon.)

  • Birdman
  • Gone Girl
  • Interstellar
  • Nightcrawler
  • Winter Sleep

Best Production Design:

Obviously The Grand Budapest Hotel is a factor here. In fact, my current top 5 would be a reasonable year-end category:

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Immigrant
  • Noah
  • Snowpiercer

Looking at the rest of the year…the other parts of the trilogy were incredibly designed. So Pigeon is on. Inherent Vice apparently has great period detail, so I’m strongly considering it. Birdman isn’t out of the question, but I might hold off on it. InterstellarMr. Turner is a pretty safe bet. Maybe Unbroken? Or The Zero Theorem, if I ever see the damned thing? I haven’t even mentioned A Little Chaos yet.

Hmm. Tough choices. Don’t know what to do. You know what? Let’s give The Zero Theorem a little love. You can usually count on Terry Gilliam in this category.

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Inherent Vice
  • Mr. Turner
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
  • The Zero Theorem

Best Costume Design:

The Immigrant and Grand Budapest Hotel are likely factors. And let’s put in A Little Chaos. Mr. Turner? Quite possibly.

Not coming up with a whole lot this second. Inherent Vice to round the category out? Sounds good to me.

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Immigrant
  • Inherent Vice
  • A Little Chaos
  • Mr. Turner

Best Makeup:

Guardians of the Galaxy. No question about it. And Snowpiercer is a good possibility.

Unbroken seems like a good choice, since it deals with the rigors of being lost at sea and life in a POW camp. So that’s on.

Foxcatcher, for Carell’s transformation? The Zero Theorem, maybe? Or Birdman, which actually deals with the theater? Let’s do that, since I’m coming up a little short at this point.

  • Birdman
  • Foxcatcher
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Unbroken
  • The Zero Theorem

Best Original Score:

This one I don’t even know about. Under the Skin had an amazing score, that’s for sure. So I’ll predict it.

Hans Zimmer intends to try some new things with the Interstellar score. So that’s a possibility.

Alexandre Desplat is having a good year. He’s scoring Unbroken, which might be worthy.

Reznor and Ross are doing Gone Girl and Jonny Greenwood’s doing Inherent Vice. They’re probably in. That gives me five. This is another category you can’t easily predict, since the music in the trailer and the music in the actual score are usually very different.

  • Gone Girl
  • Inherent Vice
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken
  • Under the Skin

Best Original Song:

Fuck if I know. “Everything is Awesome”? Why the hell not.

Best Sound Mixing:

Interstellar, most likely. Gotta have a musical; I’m not too particular to Into the Woods–let’s go with Get On Up instead. And Whiplash. Let’s round it out with an epic–Unbroken–and a war film–Fury. 

  • Fury
  • Get On Up
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash

Best Visual Effects:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, times a thousand. Guardians of the Galaxy, times five hundred. And if Interstellar isn’t at least nomination-worthy, I’ll be shocked. Birdman looks promising as well. And…do I go with Godzilla or The Hobbit? I’m not sure. Coin-toss time.

Hobbit wins.

  • Birdman
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar

Best Sound Effects:

Usually a blend of the last two categories. And since I’ve heard (from a reliable source) that the giallo homage The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears has some great sound work, I’ll just throw it in here to make things interesting.

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Fury
  • Interstellar
  • The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
  • Unbroken

I was going to recap the nominees, but that would take up a ton of extra space, so let’s just tally things up:

10 nominations: Birdman

7 nominations: Inherent Vice

6 nominations: Foxcatcher, Interstellar

5 nominations: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

4 nominations: The Dance of Reality, Dear White People, Gone Girl, Mr. Turner, Nymphomaniac, Unbroken

3 nominations: Leviathan, Nightcrawler

2 nominations: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Fury, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Immigrant, Under the Skin, Whiplash, The Zero Theorem

1 nomination: Belle, Big Eyes, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Get On Up, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, A Little Chaos, Men Women & Children, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, Wetlands, Winter Sleep

Hmm. Looking at this, I’m thinking maybe I should swap out Nightcrawler for Mr. Turner in the Best Picture race. I’ll leave it for now, but it could definitely happen. Or maybe Gone Girl will drop off instead. I really don’t know.

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4 thoughts on “Predicting my 4th Annual Film Awards: Second Round

  1. Great list. I love your love for “The Dance of Reality”.

  2. Pingback: THE ZERO THEOREM Review – *** | If you want the gravy...

  3. Pingback: My 4th Annual Film Awards: The Nominations | If you want the gravy...

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