Welcome to Taste of Cinema’s way-too-early Oscar predictions. Okay, this isn’t as early as a lot of other crazy prediction articles, but it’s certainly too early to be remotely accurate. In other words, this list should probably be taken with a grain of salt. That’s not to say there wasn’t a fair amount of thought put into this list. Rather, the Academy Awards are completely unpredictable.
Until most movies are released, it’s nearly impossible to figure out what will happen during awards season. A decent amount of these movies have been released. If they haven’t been released to the general public, they’ve at least been screened at festivals. Still, there are so many random elements that it’s hard to throw out ten best picture predictions with confidence.
The movies listed below sit on the list for a variety of reasons. If they’ve already been seen, a strong word of mouth is almost definitely the reason they found their way onto this list. Other movies are on here thanks to fascinating premises, excellent casts, and prestigious directors. For example it’s hard to predict an Alexander Payne movie getting snubbed at this point since he so frequently does well come Oscar time.
Basically, there are countless reasons as to why these movies have been chosen. Whether or not these reasons are good enough remains to be seen. Still, it’s always fun to get the predictions out of the way before things get too obvious.
10. Get Out
Admittedly, Get Out is something of a stretch. Its spot on this list comes from the fact that every year, pundits underestimate critically acclaimed movies due to their genre and release date. For example, nobody expected Mad Max: Fury Road to do as well as it did at the Oscars because it was a summer blockbuster.
Historically, those types of movies never do well at the Oscars. Get Out is facing an even tougher battle. It’s a horror movie released during the first quarter of 2017. It has everything working against it, but somehow, this author still thinks it stands a chance.
Get Out is more than just a horror movie. It’s not as if voters would be nominating the next Annabelle movie. Few modern horror movies have as much thematic depth as Get Out. More importantly though, the sensitive portrayal of race relations is profound enough to get voters thinking.
The Academy has recently proven that they’re willing to embrace diversity after the #Oscarssowhite controversy in 2015. With Moonlight taking home a surprise Best Picture victory, it’s not hard to imagine voters reaching out and nominating something that’s both unique and culturally relevant. It’s hardly a lock, but it’s a possibility.
9. You Were Never Really Here
From the director of We Need to Talk About Kevin comes a brutal thriller starring Joaquin Phoenix. You Were Never Really Here did exceptionally well when it premiered at Cannes earlier this year.
It left the festival with a Best Screenplay and Best Actor victory for Lynne Ramsay and Joaquin Phoenix respectively. Additionally, the movie has earned high praise from most major film critics, who have almost unanimously called it a masterclass in filmmaking. It looks like Amazon Studios has another hit in the making.
The apparently violent and disturbing content may put off voters. For example, certain critics have slapped the film with a rotten review as a result of the grim tone and over reliance on violence.
Whether or not that deters Oscar voters remains a mystery, but it could ultimately harm the movie’s award chances. However, if voters are willing to embrace the film’s disturbing content, the movie very well could be a Best Picture contender. Assuming it’s not too polarizing, expect it to pick up a few nominations at next year’s Oscars.
8. The Big Sick
Romantic comedies aren’t exactly the bread and butter of Academy voters, but The Big Sick is different. It’s one of the most positively received romantic comedies in years, and for good reason.
It’s a funny, heartfelt look into young love, race relations, and tragedy. It’s also a masterful blending of poignant drama and clever observational comedy. Assuming competition isn’t too stiff this year, The Big Sick has a solid chance of sneaking into the Best Picture race.
Critics have fallen in love with the movie, but that doesn’t always mean that much. The Master was one of the best reviewed movies of 2012, but it still failed to secure a nomination. What’s working in the film’s favor is the fact that people can’t stop talking about it.
Admittedly, the movie was released pretty recently. Still, the fact that it’s so frequently brought up over a month later proves that viewers are extremely passionate about the film. Whether or not voters will feel the same way remains to be seen. However, chances seem relatively good as long as people don’t forget about the film.
Detroit has been incredibly well received since it was screened for critics recently. Though it hasn’t earned the same kind of praise as Zero Dark Thirty or The Hurt Locker, the movie still appears to be another hit from Kathryn Bigelow. It’s been called a timely drama that sensitively tackles a touchy subject. This is the kind of topic that the Oscars have been eating up lately, so the odds appear to be in the film’s favor.
Detroit has one thing working against it, and that’s momentum. Whether or not the movie can maintain momentum seems unclear at this point. The August release date doesn’t put it in a horrible position, but it’s not exactly an ideal release date either.
Generally, the Best Picture lineup is reserved for movies released during Fall or Winter minus a select few. It’s not entirely clear whether or not Detroit will be one of the select few early releases to make its way into the race. The subject matter should help the movie immensely, but there’s definitely a chance that it gets overshadowed.
6. Battle of the Sexes
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris knocked it out of the park with Little Miss Sunshine. The film earned four Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Six years later, they released another critical hit in the form of Ruby Sparks. Unfortunately, it didn’t do quite as well as its predecessor but it still earned acclaim for the most part.
Now, the duo is reuniting once again to deliver a sports biopic about the notorious “battle of the sexes” tennis match. Their latest effort seems far more Oscar friendly than anything they’ve done before. As long as it’s well received, it has a huge shot at picking up several nominations.
The film stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell, who play Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. The two actors are at the top of their game right now. Stone just picked up her first Oscar, and Carell recently earned a nomination for Foxcatcher.
The screenplay comes courtesy of the man behind Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, and The Full Monty. Oh, and let’s not forget that Danny Boyle is on board as a producer. The point is, there is a lot of talent involved here. Assuming they can pull everything off, Battle of the Sexes could be an Oscar hit. If anything, at least expect it to pick up an acting nomination.