A Look At Contenders For Major Oscars

We’re approaching the 2017 Academy Awards, and most of the films that figure to factor into the races have now been released. We posted an early Best Picture preview about a month ago, but as we inch closer to the biggest awards show in Hollywood it feels like the right time for an overview concerning some of the other major awards. Here’s a glance at six of the races that people tend to care most about.

Best Picture

Best Picture appears to be boiling down to a two-horse race already. Though films like Moonlight and Fences may be legitimate dark horses, it looks like the top prize at the Academy Awards will be going to either La La Land or Manchester By The Sea. The former is to be the favourite, but this isn’t a done deal. It’s also worth nothing that the last time an Affleck brother was involved in a Best Picture race it was Ben pulling off an upset win with Argo. Lincoln was the favourite in 2013 for Best Picture, but Argo managed to shock audiences with a win. Whether or not Casey Affleck’s Manchester By The Sea can pull off a similar feat in taking down La La Land remains to be seen.

Best Director

As tends to be the case, the same films in line for Best Picture consideration are coming up in the Best Director race. The logical favourite is Damien Chazelle, director of La La Land, but Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea) and Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) will also be in the mix. We could even see Denzel Washington get a look for his work pulling the strings in Fences. This will probably go one of two ways. Either La La Land will sweep major awards like some other Oscar juggernauts of the past, or the Best Director category will be used to recognize a film that comes up short in the Best Picture race, as has happened in a few recent years. In 2016 Alejandro G. Inarritu was awarded Best Director for The Revenant while Spotlight took Best Picture. In this case, the one to watch might be Jenkins for Moonlight, a consensus pick as one of the year’s finest movies but one that’s lagging behind other heavyw
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Best Actor In A Leading Role

This is going to be a fascinating race. While the likes of Joel Edgerton (Loving), Andrew Garfield (Silence), and Ryan Gosling (La La Land) are all being mentioned, there’s a clear top-two here. Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea) had been running away with favourite status in most prediction markets before Fences came out and conversations about whether Denzel Washington might slow Affleck’s momentum began. This may be an instance where the actor who comes out on top at the Golden Globes gains a true inside track on the Oscar but Affleck remains a slim favourite, for now.

Best Actress In A Leading Role

This may be the closest thing to a done deal among these major awards. Though there’s a lot of talk of Emma Stone’s star turn in La La Land and Annette Bening is being recognised for her work in 20th Century Woman, Natalie Portman has emerged as a clear top contender for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in Jackie.

Best Actor In A Supporting Role

A recent article put this one about as clearly as it can be. There are up to 14 actors vying for this award, and there are excellent performances for actors in supporting roles across the board. Despite that fact, Mahershala Ali seems unstoppable for his work in Moonlight. Keep an eye on Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea) and Dev Patel (Lion), but anyone other than Ali would be a shock.

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

Here, the race may come down to screen time. Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Michelle Williams (Manchester By The Sea) and Viola Davis (Fences) appear to be the top contenders, and there are arguments to be made for each one of them. But Davis is the one we see the most of, by a fairly clear margin, and that will likely elevate her above her competition in the end.

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