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Oscar Predictions 2016 UPDATE

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 21, 2015 at 4:17PM

As distributors pick their fall release dates, the Oscar race starts to take shape. See our Predictions Chart below.
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Carol
TWC "Carol"
Domhnall Gleeson and Saoirse Ronan in John Crowley's 'Brooklyn'
Domhnall Gleeson and Saoirse Ronan in John Crowley's 'Brooklyn'

And what of the Oscar chances for this year's festival breakouts so far?

Emerging at Sundance was period romance "Brooklyn," written by Nick Hornby, directed by John Crowley, and starring Domhnall Gleeson and Saoirse Ronan, which Fox Searchlight will open on the awards-friendly date of November 6, 2015. 

Searchlight has notched 12 Best Picture nominations in the past 11 years, more than any other company, and with "Birdman"'s haul, the company is at this point the industry Oscar leader. With the right handling, Searchlight could also push Greta Gerwig as co-writer/star of Noah Baumbach's comedy "Mistress America" (August 21) and popular veteran Michael Caine in Paolo Sorrentino's entertaining Cannes entry "Youth." Less likely to gain Oscar traction is their May 1 release, Thomas Vinterberg's well-reviewed, visually sumptuous "Far from the Madding Crowd," carried by leads Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts to a respectable domestic gross of $11 million. Mulligan has another chance to earn her second Oscar nomination: Sarah Gavron's feminist eye-opener "Suffragette" (Focus Features, October 23).

Also well-received in Toronto and Sundance was Bill Pohlad's "Love & Mercy," starring Paul Dano and John Cusack as Brian Wilson and Elizabeth Banks as the woman who rescued the musician from his oppressive handler (Paul Giamatti). Roadside Attractions should push this in multiple categories. That film's screenwriter Oren Moverman also wrote and directed "Time Out of Mind," which debuted in Toronto to considerable praise for lead Richard Gere as a homeless man. IFC will release in September.

Suffragette

Out of Berlin emerged Andrew Haigh's well-reviewed two-hander "45 Years" starring Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling, which has continued to score on the fest circuit and should play well to the older demo (Sundance Selects).

Harvey Weinstein is coming on strong with two films that played well in the Cannes Competition, Todd Haynes' lesbian romance "Carol" starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, who shared the Cannes Actress award with Emmanuelle Bercot ("Mon Roi"), and Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard vehicle "Macbeth," directed by Australian Justin Kurzel. Produced by Christine Vachon, "Carol" was adapted by Phyllis Nagy from the Patricia Highsmith novel and should play well at fall fests and score in multiple categories. 

Son of Saul
SPC "Son of Saul"

Sony Pictures Classics will support rookie breakout Marielle Heller's stylish "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," starring Brit newcomer Bel Powley, Kristin Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard, and popular Lily Tomlin in Paul Weitz's "Grandma," which opened the Los Angeles Film Festival, as well as the devastating Cannes award-winner from Hungary, holocaust drama "Son of Saul."

A24 could push James Ponsoldt's Sundance entry "The End of the Tour" (July 31), written by playwright Donald Margulies and starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg as dueling literary smartypants, as well as Asif Kapadia's well-received Cannes documentary "Amy" (July 3), about the downfall of the gifted and troubled singer Amy Winehouse. Their surprise sci-fi hit "Ex Machina" could also yield a possible nominations for Oscar Isaac as supporting actor and writer-director Alex Garland.

Amazingly, "Ex Machina" star and current Hollywood it-girl Alicia Vikander is on such a roll that she has three other leads that could factor in the Oscar race: "Testament of Youth" (SPC), "Tulip Fever" (TWC) and "The Danish Girl" (Focus). And her in-demand male counterpart, Tom Hardy, will probably not campaign so much for Max in "Fury Road" as for "The Revenant" (Fox, December 25), directed by "Birdman" Oscar-winner Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, and Ron and Reggie Kray in Brian Helgeland's "Legend" (Universal/WorkingTitle, October 2).

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando

As for the usual crop of Sundance hot docs, besides jury-winners "The Wolfpack" and "Cartel Land," nabbing positive reviews were Liz Garbus's "What Happened Miss Simone?," Oscar-winner Morgan Neville's "Best of Enemies," Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering's "The Hunting Ground," Alex Gibney's buzzy HBO pic "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" and Stevan Riley's innovative heart-tugger "Listen to Me Marlon," from Showtime.  

Also playing at Cannes was George Miller's fourth "Mad Max" action adventure "Fury Road," which was so well-praised by critics --who will include it in year-end ten-best lists and awards--and is so well-made (direction, cinematography, production design, costumes, VFX and score come to mind) that it might rise above the fray come award season. And beloved Disney/Pixar entry "Inside Out" (June 19) will be hard to beat in the animation category--and could earn more (Picture, Director, Editing, Original Screenplay, Score).

Predictions below. As always I will not list any movie as a frontrunner until I have seen it. 

Love And Mercy
Roadside Attractions "Love & Mercy"

Best motion picture of the year
Frontrunners: 
"Carol"
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
"Inside Out" 
"Love & Mercy" 
"Mad Max: Fury Road"

Contenders:
"Bridge of Spies"
"Clouds of Sils Maria"
"Creed"
"Crimson Peak"
"The Danish Girl"
"The Hateful Eight" 
"Joy"
"The Martian"
"Miles Ahead"
"The Revenant"
"Son of Saul"
"Suffragette"
"Trumbo"
"The Walk" 

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Frontrunners:
Michael Caine ("Youth") 
Paul Dano ("Love & Mercy")
Richard Gere ("Time Out of Mind")
Jake Gyllenhaal ("Southpaw")
Ian McKellen ("Mr. Holmes")

Contenders: 
Don Cheadle ("Miles Ahead")
Tom Courtenay ("45 Years")
Bryan Cranston ("Trumbo")
Matt Damon ("The Martian")
Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Revenant")
Jesse Eisenberg ("The End of the Tour") 
Michael Fassbender ("Macbeth," "Steve Jobs")
Domnhall Gleeson ("Brooklyn")
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Snowden," "The Walk")
Tom Hanks ("Bridge of Spies")
Tom Hardy ("Legend," "The Revenant")
Michael Jordan ("Creed")
Robert Redford ("Truth")
Eddie Redmayne ("The Danish Girl")

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Frontrunners:

Oscar Isaac ("Ex Machina")
Harvey Keitel ("Youth")
Matthias Schoenaerts ("Far from the Madding Crowd")
Jason Segel ("End of the Tour")
Alexander Skarsgaard ("The Diary of a Teenage Girl") 

Contenders:
Bradley Cooper ("Joy")
Robert De Niro ("Joy")
Tom Hiddleston ("Crimson Peak")
Ewan McGregor ("Miles Ahead")
Mark Rylance ("Bridge of Spies")

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Frontrunners:
Cate Blanchett ("Carol")
Rooney Mara ("Carol")
Helen Mirren ("Woman in Gold")
Bel Powley ("The Diary of a Teenage Girl")
Lily Tomlin ("Grandma")

Contenders:
Juliette Binoche ("Clouds of Sils Maria")
Marion Cotillard ("Macbeth")
Greta Gerwig ("Mistress America") 
Jennifer Lawrence ("Joy") 
Carey Mulligan ("Far from the Madding Crowd," "Suffragette")
Charlotte Rampling ("45 Years")
Maggie Smith ("The Lady in the Van")
Alicia Vikander ("Tulip Fever," "Testament of Youth," "The Danish Girl")
Mia Wasikowska ("Crimson Peak")

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Frontrunners:
Elizabeth Banks ("Love & Mercy")
Jane Fonda ("Youth")
Kristen Stewart ("Clouds of Sils Maria")
Kristin Wiig ("Diary of a Teenage Girl")

Contenders

Jessica Chastain ("Crimson Peak")
Emayatzy Corinealdi ("Miles Ahead")
Jennifer Jason Leigh ("The Hateful Eight")

Best animated feature film of the year
Frontrunners:
"Inside Out"
"Minions"

Contenders:
"The Good Dinosaur"
"Home"
"The Peanuts Movie"

Achievement in cinematography
Frontrunners:
"The Avengers: Age of Ultron"
"Far from the Madding Crowd"
"Mad Max: Fury Road"
"Paddington"

Contenders:
"Crimson Peak"
"The Danish Girl"
"Everest"
"The Hateful Eight"
"In the Heart of the Sea" 
"The Martian"
"Pan"
"The Revenant"
"Steve Jobs"
"The Walk" 

Achievement in costume design
Frontrunners:
"Carol"
"Far from the Madding Crowd"
"Mad Max: Fury Road"
"Paddington"

Contenders:
"The Danish Girl"
"The Hateful Eight"
"Joy"
"Macbeth"
"Pan"

Achievement in directing
Frontrunners:
Olivier Assayas ("Clouds of Sils Maria")
Pete Docter and Ronaldo del Carmen ("Inside Out")
Todd Haynes ("Carol")
Marielle Heller ("The Diary of a Teenage Girl")
George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road")

Contenders: 
Danny Boyle ("Steve Jobs")
John Crowley ("Brooklyn")
Guillermo del Toro ("Crimson Peak")
Sarah Gavron ("Suffragette")
Tom Hooper ("The Danish Girl") 
Jay Roach ("Trumbo")
David O. Russell ("Joy")
Ridley Scott ("The Martian")
Steven Spielberg ("Bridge of Spies")
Quentin Tarantino ("The Hard Eight")
Bob Zemeckis ("The Walk")

Best documentary feature
Frontrunners: 
"Best of Enemies" (Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon)
"Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" (Alex Gibney)
"The Hunting Ground" (Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering)
"Listen to Me Marlon" (Stevan Riley)
"What Happened Miss Simone?" (Liz Garbus)

Contenders:
"Amy" (Asif Kapadia)
"Cartel Land" (Matthew Heineman) 
"Iris" (Albert Maysles) 
"Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck" (Brett Morgan) 
"The Look of Silence" (Joshua Oppenheimer)
"Prophet's Prey" (Amy Berg)
"He Named Me Malala" (Davis Guggenheim)
"The Wolfpack" (Crystal Moselle)

Achievement in film editing

Frontrunners:
"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" 
"Jurassic World"
"Son of Saul"
"Mad Max: Fury Road"

Best foreign language film of the year
Frontrunners:
"Dheepan" (France)
"Gueros" (Mexico)
"Son of Saul" (Hungary)

Achievement in production design
Frontrunners:
"Paddington"
"Mad Max: Fury Road" 

Achievement in sound editing

Frontrunners: 
"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" 
"Crimson Peak"
"Jurassic World"
"Mad Max: Fury Road"
"Paddington"
"Son of Saul"

Achievement in sound mixing
Frontrunners: 

"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" 

"Jurassic World"
"Mad Max: Fury Road" 
"Paddington"
"Son of Saul"

Quentin Tarantino at the 'Hateful Eight' live read.
Quentin Tarantino at the 'Hateful Eight' live read.

Achievement in visual effects

Frontrunners: 
"Ant-Man"
"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" 
"Jurassic World"
"Mad Max: Fury Road"

Contenders:
"Crimson Peak"
"Everest"
"In the Heart of the Sea" 
"The Martian" 
"Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation"
"Pan" 

Adapted screenplay
Frontrunners:
Marielle Heller ("The Diary of a Teenage Girl")
Donald Margulies ("The End of the Tour")
George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris ("Mad Max: Fury Road")
Oren Moverman and Michael A. Lerner ("Love & Mercy")
Phyllis Nagy ("Carol")

"Southpaw"
The Weinstein Company "Southpaw"

Contenders:
Matt Charman, Joel a& Ethan Coen ("Bridge of Spies")
Lucinda Coxon ("The Danish Girl")
Nick Hornby ("Trumbo")

Aaron Sorkin ("Steve Jobs")
Bob Zemeckis and Christopher Browne ("The Walk")

The Danish Girl with Eddie Redmayne

Original screenplay
Frontrunners:
Olivier Assayas ("Clouds of Sils Maria")
Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig ("Mistress America")
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley ("Inside Out") 
Alex Garland ("Ex Machina")
Amy Schumer ("Trainwreck")

Contenders:
Paul Feig ("Spy")
Abi Morgan ("Suffragette")
Quentin Tarantino ("The Hateful Eight")
 
Predictions still to come: 

Best animated short film
Best live action short film
Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)



This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Headliners, Stuck In Love, Oscars, Screenwriters, Academy Awards, Awards, Awards, Awards Season Roundup


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.