Monday, January 16, 2017

The FAC Updates for Best Picture, Director and Screenplays / Directors Guild Loves Telluride / The Oscar Nomination Announcement Format Changes / Handicapping the Best Picture Race / Speaking of Guilds: Cinematography

Good Monday to all...


Now it's essentially all over but the waiting and the actual announcement of nominees on Jan. 24th.   All of the major precursors have weighed in.  Critics, Guilds, Globes and BAFTA.  We're down to a week to go.  As you will see in the four categories that I have listed for this post, these late breaking group announcements do move the needle when it comes to the predictions made by the Oscar experts.  For example, BAFTA's love for Nocturnal Animals (which hasn't been scoring much during the past couple of months) gave it a boost and Lion and its director, Garth Davis, has clearly benefited from the nominations from the Producers and Directors Guilds.

Check the latest updates...

I have used the publicly available Oscar predictions from the following pundits:

Erik Anderson/Awards Watch
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Greg Ellwood/The Playlist-Awards Campaign
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Joey Magidson/Hollywood News
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kristopher Tapley/Variety-InContention
Anne Thompson/Indiewire

TFF #43 films are in Bold.  The film's previous position follows its title in parentheses (with trailers for the leaders in each category via YouTube).


1) La La Land (1)
2) Moonlight (2)
3) Manchester by the Sea (3)
4) Arrival (6)
5) Hell or High Water (4)
6) Lion (7)
7) Hacksaw Ridge (9)
8) Hidden Figures 8)

9) Fences (5)
10) Nocturnal Animals (NR)
11) Silence (10)
12) Loving (NR)

Hot: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Nocturnal Animals
Not: Fences, Jackie, Sully
On the Cusp: Jackie
Comment:  Fences looks to be in real danger of missing a BP nomination.  Of course, the Academy could nominate nine or ten films, but seems to be the groove that we've settled into over the past couple of years.  

Arrival has gone from a film that looked shaky for a BP nom into a very solid contender.

La La Land's choice for the top spot scored one point short of its highest possible score.  


1) Damein Chazelle/La La Land (1)
2) Barry Jenkins/Moonlight (2)
3) Kenneth Lonergan/Manchester
4) Denis Villeneuve/Arrival (5)
5) Garth Davis/Lion (9)

6) Mel Gibson/Hacksaw Ridge (7)
7) David Mackenzie/Hell or High Water (8)
8) Martin Scorsese/Silence (4)
9) Denzel Washington/Fences (6)
10) Pablo Larrain/Jackie (10)

Hot: Davis
Not: Scorsese, Washington
On the Cusp: Ken Loach/I, Daniel Blake
Comment:This category illustrates starkly the effect of the announcements from the PGA and DGA. Garth Davis jumps into the #5 spot, up four places while Scorsese and Washington drop precipitously. 

Personally, I think the 4-5 spots are likely still a giant arm-wrestling match between Davis, Gibson and Mackenzie.  I'm still pulling for Villenueve and Mackenzie to snag those spots rather than Davis and Gibson.  


1) Moonlight (1)
2) Arrival (3)
3) Fences (2)
4) Lion (4)
5) Hidden Figures (6)

6) Nocturnal Animals (10)
7) Loving (7)
8) Hacksaw Ridge (9)
9) Silence (5)
10) Deadpool (NR)

Hot: Nocturnal and Deadpool
Not: Silence and Sully
On the Cusp: Sully
Comment: I haven't talked about the ascendance of Deadpool yet.  It's Writers Guild and Producers Guild nominations as well as a nom for Tim Miller as a first time director from the DGA plus an editing nom from that guild has made the film a serious part of the conversation for nominations including...are you sitting down?...Best Picture (where, if I extended my chart, it would sit at #15).  Additionally, another category that shows the rise of Nocturnal Animals and the diminishing chances of Silence.

The Moonlight lead is substantial in this category.


1) Manchester by the Sea (1)
2) La La Land (2)
3) Hell or High Water (3)
4) The Lobster (4)
5) 20th Century Women (5)

6) Captain Fantastic (6)
7) Jackie (7)
8) Zootopia (8)
9) I, Daniel Blake (NR)
10) Florence Foster Jenkins (10)

Hot: I, Daniel Blake
Not: Miss Sloane
On the Cusp: Toni Erdmann
Comment: The battle for the last spot seems intense between: the films in the five through eight spots.

(PARENTHETICAL NOTE:  Good God, look at the dominance of films that played TFF #43 in these four four films in the Best Pic and Directing categories and top two films in each screenwriting category...)


The Directors Guild of America (DGA) announced its nominees for excellence in direction on Thursday and four TFF #43 directors and their films were named:

Damien Chazelle/La La Land
Barry Jenkins/Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan/Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villenueve/Arrival

Villeneuve's nomination was a minor surprise.

The fifth nominee was Garth Davis for Lion.  Davis was also nominated for Best Direction of a First Film.  Davis' nomination was a bit of a surprise and knocked out Mel Gibson/Hacksaw Ridge, Martin Scorsese/Silence and David Mackenzie/Hell or High Water who were all thought to be serious candidates for the nomination.

The DGA is one of the best predictors (along with the PGA) among the guilds of future Oscar success, though it doesn't necessarily mean that it will predict the directing category with 100% accuracy.  There's a very good chance that there will be a single divergence between the DGA list and the directors that will be announced on Jan. 24th (and more about the Academy's decision to change how that announcement is made below).

The DGA will announce its winners on Feb. 4th.

DGA coverage and analysis from:

Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter

Dave McNary/Variety

Michael Nordine/Indiewire

Sasha Stone/Awards Daily

Joey Nolfi/Entertainment Weekly

Steve Pond/The Wrap


The Academy Awards nomination announcement will come a week from tomorrow but it's going to be a bit different than what we have been accustomed to over the years.  AMPAS will not announce to a live group of publicists, consultants and others this year but will, instead, produce an online reveal on and as well as the network television reveal on Good Morning America on ABC.

The announcement will still come down at 8:30am ET/5:30am PT.

More details are here from Kristopher Tapley/Variety(In Contention) Will Robinson/Entertainment Weekly and Erik Anderson/Awards Watch.


Those of you that have read this space over the years when we get to the post-Telluride six month run to the Oscars may recall that I pay more attention to some guilds and critics groups than others.  For example, just this past week or so guilds for cinematographers and costumers have weighed in with their nominees and I haven't mentioned them here.  It's not that I think that their contributions are less important or that their guild kudos have no predictive qualities but guild success in other areas seems to be more predictive of Oscar success.

In terms of guilds I look at the producers, directors, actors, writers and editors.  I also look at the major New York and Los Angeles critics groups.  In addition, I pay attention to the American Film Institutes's top film list as well the National Board of Review.  Also, I pay attention to Golden Globe nominees and, when we reach this point, winners.

Throw all that in the metaphorical blender and here's what that set of data says are the most likely Best Picture Oscar nominees:

1) Moonlight- Golden Globe/Best Picture (Drama), PGA, DGA, WGA, SAG Ensemble, ACE, AFI, NBR, LA critics winner

2) La La Land- Golden Globe/Best Picture (Comedy or Musical), PGA, DGA, WGA, ACE, AFI, NBR, New York Critics winner, (also LA Critic's runner-up)

3) Manchester by the Sea PGA, DGA, WGA, ACE, AFI, NBR

4) Arrival- PGA, DGA, WGA, ACE, AFI, NBR

5) Hell or High Water- PGA, WGA, ACE, AFI, NBR

6) Fences- PGA, WGA, SAG Ensemble, AFI

7) Hidden Figures- PGA, WGA, SAG Ensemble, NBR

8) Hacksaw Ridge- PGA, ACE, AFI, NBR

You could make a pretty good argument that these eight films will be the likely Best Picture Oscar nominees.

Moonlight and La La Land are so tight as to be virtually deadlocked. I think Moonlight gets the edge for the top spot here due to its SAG ensemble nomination.

Lurking as spoilers are these films which have two of the precursors I listed above:
Lion- PGA, DGA
Silence- NBR, AFI
Sully- NBR, AFI
Hail, Caesar- ACE, NBR

No other possible Best Picture players have more than one of the precursors I am focused on including Nocturnal Animals, Patriot's Day and Loving.

As you look at The FAC from above, it seems that Lion may well bump one of these films out of the expected eight nominations.  Fences?  Hacksaw? Hidden Figures?


The American Society of  Cinematographers named their top films last week with nominations announced on Wednesday.  Three films that played the 2016 Telluride Film Festival made the field of five: La LA :and, Moonlight and Arrival.  The five cinematographers and their films were:

Greig Fraser/Lion
James Laxton/Moonlight
Rodrigo Pietro/Silence
Linus Sandgren/La La land
Bradford Young/Arrival

Coberage of the ASC announcement follows:

Kristopher Tapley/Variety (In Contention)

Steve Pond/The Wrap

Jeffrey Wells/Hollywood Elsewhere

That's a wrap for this Monday.  More to come on Thursday as we continue to update The FAC and countdown to Oscar nomination morning.


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