The Oscar Race has been heating up, with various festivals like Telluride, Venice, Cannes, and others painting a picture about what to look for in the upcoming race. You might have already seen a nominee this year, and not even know it. It’s unlikely though.
The most likely Oscar contenders (in the major categories) from films already released have been Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Calvary, and Love Is Strange. Boyhood is still tracking really well, not losing much steam. In fact, you could argue that Boyhood knocked Grand Budapest Hotel down a bit, as more people are now pushing Boyhood than Budapest, and that will matter once the 75 other Oscar Hopefuls are released within an 8 week span at the end of the year. It’s an exaggeration, yes, but doesn’t it feel that way?
Boyhood could still easily get nominations for Picture, Director, and Patricia Arquette. Arquette has yet to decide on a category, but she obviously has an even better shot in the Supporting category. Budapest is a dark horse at this point, for anything. Calvary is a dark horse because the Actor category is so crammed, and Brendan Gleeson’s film will be forgotten about by January. Love Is Strange, despite featuring two fantastic actors in career-best performances will also be forgotten.
So what’s left?
Foxcatcher. This drama has Oscar written all over it. Two beloved, hot property actors are giving the performances of their careers, and it’s based on a true story. Every audience has loved it so far, and Steve Carell is a virtual lock for a Best Actor nomination. Channing Tatum will probably also get a Best Supporting Actor nomination (though many feel he should be in the lead category), and Mark Ruffalo might also get Supporting Actor. If the film does really well, Vanessa Redgrace will get a Supporting Actress, as well as a Best Picture and Best Director nomination for Bennett Miller.
Critics are also loving Birdman, and its star Michael Keaton. Keaton is likely to have a ton of press about his career redefining performance, and he’ll sail into a nomination. Alejandro Gonzalez Innarritu is a solid contender for Director, and there are rumors about solid performances from Edward Norton and Emma Stone.
Gone Girl, which is debuting at the New York Film Festival, is still incredibly buzzy, because director David Fincher is usually a safe bet. If it does well, Fincher will be a frontrunner for Director, Ben Affleck will officially enter the Actor race, and Rosamund Pike could make a play for Actress (or Supporting). Neil Patrick Harris is also said to be a viable contender for Supporting Actor.
Rosewater, the true life story directed by Jon Stewart, was embraced after two screenings as being an Oscar contender. Picture, Director, and Best Actor for Gael Garcia Bernal.
The Imitation Game has the Weinstein’s behind it, and got great word of mouth. Benedict Cumberbatch is now in the Actor race, and Keira Knightley is in the Supporting Actress race.
Inherent Vice has yet to screen, but Paul Thomas Anderson is directing, and Joaquin Phoenix stars. This could be a contender. Interstellar is in the same boat, with a top tier director (Christopher Nolan) and star (Matthew McConaughey).
Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken could make a play, but is Jack O’Connell capable of breaking through with a Best Actor nomination in a crowded race?
99 Homes has gotten very strong word of mouth, and currently lacks a distributor. I’ve heard that it’s a contender for Actor (Andrew Garfield), Supporting Actor (Michael Shannon), and Supporting Actress (Laura Dern).
The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby has cooled down a bit. James McAvoy is a weak dark horse, but Jessica Chastain could sneak in the Actress race. Never underestimate Chastain.
Jeremy Renner’s Kill The Messenger looks to hope to get Renner another nomination. There’s Ridley Scott’s Exodus, which has many wondering if it’s Oscar bait, or Money bait. Brad Pitt’s Fury has been quiet, but could surprise.
Some Sundance movies need to be talked about way more if they are going to break through. There’s Whiplash, featuring Miles Teller and JK Simmons, and The Skeleton Twins, featuring Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader.
Reese Witherspoon is a frontrunner for Wild, Hilary Swank could get another nomination for The Homesman, and Amy Adams could do well with Big Eyes.
There are many Oscar films that haven’t found distribution, or gained buzz. If the Oscars were announced today, I’d predict (based on buzz).
Best Picture: Boyhood
Nominees: Foxcatcher, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Inherent Vice, Birdman, Rosewater, The Imitation Game, Unbroken
Best Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Nominees: David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Bennett Miller, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu
Best Actor: Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Nominees: Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, Robert Downey Jr (The Judge), Benedict Cumberbatch
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Nominees: Rosamund Pike, Amy Adams, Hilary Swank, Anne Hathaway (Interstellar)
Best Supporting Actor: Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher
Nominees: Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton, JK Simmons, Robert Duvall (The Judge)
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Nominees: Meryl Streep (Into The Woods), Keira Knightley, Vanessa Redgrace, Emma Stone