Oscars first due date: a quick look at Picture, Director, Actress, Original Screenplay

This has been a busy week when it comes to Oscar. Most importantly the guilds have spoken. We've had nominations from the Cinema Audio Society, Cinematographers, Producers, and Directors. The week before we got nominations from the Editors, Writers Guild and the Art Directors. We also got the BAFTA nominations, and of course, the Golden Globe Awards.

With today being the last day for Oscar nominations voting, I thought we could look at a couple of things.

First of all, Best Picture.

Yesterday I went to see "La La Land" again, and on a second viewing I found it even better. Will Academy members watch it a second time? Perhaps, but doubtful.  Let me make something very clear. It is perfectly possible and ok to like both "Moonlight" and "La La Land." I truly feel that both films are masterpieces, and we are lucky to have two fantastic films vying for the top spot. I've been Oscarwatching since the early days of Awards Daily, and it is par for the course that people will feel the need to take down one film in order to place their favorite on a pedestal. I've been known to do it as well. My feelings on "Crash," "The King's Speech" and "The Artist" veered toward the negative as those particular seasons progressed.

There is talk that "Silence" could still get in if it is loved by enough people thanks to the preferential ballot. I'm hoping to see it either today or Monday, so I will let you know my thoughts on that a little later. "Gangs of New York" got in even before the preferential ballot process was in place. Never say never to Scorsese. Same with Eastwood. Although, I'm not feeling that happening. The year is too strong. I think "Lion" is in.


BUT...Eastwood and Scorsese could sneak in here. The DGA gave the 5th slot to Garth Davis, but the Academy's Director branch is notorious for throwing curveballs here. Who could take the 5th slot? Well...it could be Paul Verhoeven for "Elle." I know that seems a little crazy, but a lot of people love this film and this could be their way of honoring it. Or it could go to Maren Ade for "Toni Erdmann," but I highly doubt it. They didn't nominate Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty" and the branch hasn't changed their stripes quite yet.

Original Screenplay

Look. The people taking down "La La Land"'s screenplay don't know what they are talking about. Sorry. Having watched it again after its Golden Globes win, I believe this even stronger. "Manchester By the Sea" has a remarkable screenplay. The manner in which we discover why Lee and Randi are not longer together is masterful. But to say that "La La Land" has a bad screenplay is absurd. I'm still on the fence about the "dinner scene," because it doesn't quite flow the way the rest of the film does. But should it? It is the turn in the screenplay that drives us to the end. It needs to change the tone. Right? Maybe I'm trying to justify my opinion. It happens.


I believe that Isabelle Huppert is in. So, who is out? Meryl just blew everyone away with her speech at the Globes. But will that translate into a nomination? I STILL haven't seen the film, so I honestly don't know. Annette Bening's buzz is the weakest at the moment. So, if I had to guess between the two of them, I think Bening is out. Or Adams. Or Streep. :)

Finally, there is "Deadpool." It looks like it is getting in for something, doesn't it? The PGA nomination is less about its quality than its money. BUT, people love this film. And a nomination for Best Picture could bring some people to the telecast, right? Maybe, but the Academy doesn't think like that when they nominate. Sure...they did when coming up with the system for 10 nominations (not the current rule which is "up to 10") but they haven't put their money where their mouth is when it comes to actually nominating something. See "Bridesmaids" and "The Dark Knight Rises."


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