The 2016 Oscars have just come to a close with some people going home happy yet more people going home unhappy. Nonetheless, now that this years Oscars are officially come and gone, it is time to starting looking ahead. Through Sundance biggies and just plain guessing, I have come up with my official 2017 Oscar predictions. While it is safe to say that many of these choices will be wrong, if ANY are right, that would be sick, right?
Let’s start off with the big one. As the case is with most years, the frontrunners for Best Picture aren’t really in the spotlight (pun) until after more film festivals and are particularly more obvious towards the bottom half of the year. However, some films have already gotten rave reviews out of the Sundance Film Festival including Manchester by the Sea starring Casey Affleck and Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation. Many people who went to Sundance have proclaimed that both these films deserve Best Picture nominees so for now, they seem like good bets. To continue the Michael Keaton Best Picture three-peat, John lee Hancock’s The Founder, a film about the beginning of McDonald’s, could easily be a best picture candidate if it is truly as good as it sounds (it is described as “The Social Network meets There Will Be Blood” which sounds like the greatest thing ever made). The film that may seem the most “Oscar Bait-y” is the Michael Fassbender – Alicia Vikander picture The Light Between Oceans. Based on premise alone, a Best Picture nomination isn’t that far fetched. Captain Fantastic got rave reviews out of Sundance and could easily poise a huge threat. Finally, whenever Martin Scorsese makes a film, you can assume for the best so Silence is another potential pick.
Final Verdict: Due to the #OscarsSoWhite boycott and the huge lack of people of color this year, Birth of a Nation is my current frontrunner to win the top prize. If it is anywhere as good as Fox Searchlight thinks it is (they payed $17.5 million for it, the most ever for a Sundance film), it may be a very worthy winner for Best Picture.
Another race where I am determining my predictions almost solely based on Sundance reactions. The obvious one is Nate Parker who has always been a great talent but never has been recognized. Birth of a Nation sounds like it is his chance to shine finally. Also from Sundance, I could see Casey Affleck getting another nomination for Manchester by the Sea and Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic. As a dad who wants to raise his family on his own terms, critics claimed that Viggo gave an exceptional performance and deserves attention. 2 time Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender could easily get nominated again for The Light Between Oceans. The film seems like a perfect Academy film and Fassbender is a good guess. Now, my bold prediction for the last nominee is Chris Pratt for Passengers. I was lucky enough to read the script for the film and Pratt is perfectly cast in this sci-fi romance film. Similarly to Matt Damon in The Martian, Pratt is very witty and fun in the film but will also show a more dramatic side. This may not happen but if it does, suck it.
Unless somebody else comes out of nowhere with an earth shattering performance, I believe that Nate Parker will get the win. Not just because he is a black man per say but with this year’s controversy, you would be crazy to think that it does not help his chances next year. While Chiwetel Ejiofor did not win for 12 years a Slave, I think that the #OscarsSoWhite dilemma will push Parker over the edge for the victory.
This is where things get a little trickier. While some shined at Sundance, some are just crazy guesses that are probably wrong but whatever. First off, Molly Shannon for Other People and Rebecca Hall for Christine are performances that critics are already speaking volumes about. Shannon finally embraces her dramatic chops in the cancer film and while the film wasn’t as beloved, people raved about her. Hall stars as the late reporter Christine Chubbuck and apparently nails the mood swings and depressed persona of the real person. Now, here come the bold predictions. First off, I think Emma Stone could get a nomination for Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, a musical that has gotten good word of mouth so far. The Oscars have always appreciated musicals and the only thing I see holding this one back is its summer release date. Another bold choice is Emily Blunt for The Girl on the Train. In my opinion, Blunt was snubbed for Sicario but if the film is as good as it sounds, and if it is a commercial hit similar to Gone Girl, I could see her sneaking in. Lastly, I wouldn’t be surprised if a female performance from Collateral Beauty breaks in. It could be Keira Knightly or Helen Mirren but both have gotten Academy attention before so you never know.
I think that Molly Shannon is the frontrunner at this point but Rebecca Hall is very close. However, because it is a completely new side to Shannon, I think that she could be rewarded for it.
The best director race is interesting because it appears that Alejandro González Iñárritu is not making a film so it won’t be a three-peat for him. This opens the door for other directors to jump in and snag the award. Martin Scorsese is always a force to be reckoned with and if Silence is any good, which it more than likely is, he will probably snag a nom. Nate Parker is back again and the writer, director, and star of Birth of a Nation will most likely get a nomination for the film but he may not win. Manchester by the Sea director Kenneth Lonergan and Captain Fantastic director Matt Ross are almost sure things, as of this point, but that could all change in a few months. Lastly, former Oscar nominee Morten Tyldum is another bold pick for Passengers. He was nominated for The Imitation Game, which many were shocked by, but Passengers has the potential to be something special and with its prime time Oscar release date, you never know what could happen with that picture.
I think that because it may not get Best Picture, the Oscar will go to Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea. Only his 3rd feature in 16 years, that could make this nomination more special for Lonergan and could get him a win.
Who do you think will win the Oscars NEXT year? I will absolutely check this article out next year to see how I did and will most likely brag when I get ALL of them correct. Stay tuned for more 2017 Oscars news.