SETTING THE TABLE FOR OSCAR
Oscar time is T-minus 10 days...
Looking at where things stand after last weekend's BAFTA Awards...The last big precursor is the Writers Guild on Sunday.
The FAC (Film Awards Clearinghouse) is set to make it's homestretch run over the next week and a half. To do that, I have divided the 24 categories into three separate pools: Categories that appear Locked another category that I call Interesting and a third category that are your Toss Ups.
Today a quick look at The Locked then on Sunday I'll update The Interesting and The Toss Ups. Then I'll have The (Probably) Final FAC on Thursday, Feb. 23.
SO, with that stipulation...The Locked:
Visual Effects: The Jungle Book. The FAC says so and BAFTA confirmed.
Sound Mixing: La La Land. The FAC says so and despite the BAFTA win for Arrival, remember that BAFTA has only the single Sound category whereas Oscar has Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. The Mixing Oscar generally likes musicals which is why La La Land is still the solid favorite here.
Original Score: La La Land. So says The FAC and BAFTA agreed.
Supporting Actress: Viola Davis/Fences. Maybe the most solid lock of all locks.
Actress: Emma Stone/La La Land. SAG , GG and BAFTA all tell The FAC that Emma goes home with the trophy.
Direction: Damien Chazelle/La La Land: DGA, GG and BAFTA. It's his.
Picture: Despite moves here and there - Hidden Figures SAG Ensemble win, the surprising strength of Lion at the BAFTAs, Moonlight's overwhelming critical praise- it still appears that La La Land is all but certain to win the night's biggest prize.
The Interesting...a selection of categories in which there is an identifiable leader but, due to recent events, they are certainly not locked categories. To wit:
Cinematography: La La Land leads here but the win for Lion in this category at BAFTA keeps it contestable.
Production Design: La La Land, again is probable but the BAFTAs like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and that keeps the category lively for Oscar.
Original Song: Again, the very likely winner is City of Stars fro La La Land...but...vote splitting with the films other song, Audition, could allow for a win for the red hot Lin Manual Miranda for his song from Moana and don't count out Justin Timberlake for Trolls either.
Film Editing: La La Land is the favorite here but the BAFTA win for Hacksaw Ridge prevents a Locked status.
Foreign Language Film: A category that looked solid for Toni Erdmann until a Presidential Executive Order. Trump's travel ban flipped the category and has made Iranian film maker Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman a bit of a favorite in just the last two weeks. BAFTA didn't help as the Brits named last year's foreign Oscar winner, Son of Saul, their winner for this past year.
Documentary Feature: O.J. Made in America has been the presumed favorite for months and has dominated precursors but...I have always been leery that The Academy would embrace a multiple episodic, mutli-houred "film" that has been produced for ESPN. That plus a win for Ava DuVernay's 13th at The BAFTAs on Sunday keep this category interesting.
Animated Feature: Zootopia, much like OJ:MIA, has been dominant through the season but the BAFTA win for Kubo and the Two Strings keep the category from being a lead pipe cinch.
Adapted Screenplay: Category weirdness and BAFTA keep this from being a lock for Moonlight. That script has bounced between the Original and Adapted categories all season long depending on which organization was doing the categorizing. Lion won this category in England Sunday. Moonlight won the USC Scripter for adapted script on Saturday. It's probably still Moonlight's...but...
Supporting Actor: Dev Patel's BAFTA upset for Lion over Mahershala Ali for Moonlight makes the category interesting despite Ali's precursor dominance.
And then there are the categories that are too close to call...
Like all three of the shorts categories. Notoriously tricky to predict and this year is no different.
The Live Action category could be won by any of four films: Silent Nights, Sing, Timecode or Enemmis Interieurs. Even Le Femme et le TVG could win.
Documentary short is likely a toss up between The White Helmets and Joe's Violin.
Animated Short is tight between Piper and Pearl.
In feature categories...
Makeup/Hair looks like a toss-up between Star Trek Beyond and A Man Called Ove.
Costumes might favor Jackie slightly over La La Land especially with its BAFTA win but it's still too close to call.
Sound Editing: Hacksaw Ridge has a tiny edge here but La La Land is still strong. Arrival's BAFTA win for Sound could also presage a win for it as well.
AND the two tightest races...
Original Screenplay: An incredibly tight race between Manchester by the Sea and La La Land. Manchester probably leads by a hair.
Best Actor: Denzel wins SAG, Affleck won BAFTA (for which Denzel wasn't even nominated). It's the definition of a toss-up. Denzel leads by the barest of margins.
GURUS AND DERBY OSCAR PREDICTIONS
Take a look at both of the latest Gurus of Gold Oscarologist compilation vote and The Gold Derby and here's what you'll find...
Both say La La Land wins Best Picture, Director, Actress, Cinematography, Costumes (although close with Jackie), Film Editing (though The Gurus regard it as a really tight fight with Hacksaw Ridge), Production Design (although, again, The Gurus say it's close over Fantastic Beasts), Score, Song (City of Stars) and Sound Mixing. For a La La Land total of 10 Oscars.
Both say Denzel Washington beats Casey Affleck but The Gurus have it close. Both also have Washington's Fences co-star Viola Davis winning Supporting Actress easily.
Both say Mahershala Ali wins Supporting actor for Moonlight. The Derby sees it as more one-sided than The Gurus do. Both also have Moonlight winning Adapted Screenplay handily.
Both have Manchester by the Sea winning Original Screenplay over La La Land but with some reservations.
Both say Star Trek Beyond wins Makeup/Hair but both also suggest that it's a dogfight.
Both say Hacksaw Ridge squeaks out a win in Sound Editing over La La Land.
Both say The Jungle Book wins Visual Effects.
Both say Zootopia for Animated Feature...Gurus say Kubo is close.
Both say O.J.: Made in America wins Doc feature.
Both pick The Salesman in a squeaker over Toni Erdmann for Foreign Language Film.
Both say Piper wins Animated short in a close battle. The Gurus say it's tight with Pearl while The Derby suggests it's tight with Blind Vaysha.
Both say Enemmis Interiuers wins Live Action Short.
They diverge on one category which is Doc Short with The Derby saying Extremis wins over Joe's Violin and The Gurus saying that The White Helmets wins over...Joe's Violin.
Check the latest Gold Derby odds here.
and the latest Gurus of Gold here.
And, with his own look at what he perceives as the five closest Oscar contests: Actor, Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Makeup/Hair and Foreign Language Film... here is analysis from Variety's Kristopher Tapley.
That's all for this Thursday. More on Monday.
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