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90th Oscars. Oscar Contenders of 2017 - For prediction, discussion, entertainment purposes only

 discuss on the blog




Jacqueline Durran will be competing with herself with three major films. If she is nominated which film will it be for?

Tier 1 - Predicted 5

Sandy Powell
(12 noms | 3 wins)

Powell's work is always stellar and she gets two time frames to play with here

Murder on the Orient Express
Alexandra Byrne
(4 noms | 1 win)

Praying it's a visual spectacle and not just a parade of famous faces

The Current War
Michael Wilkinson
(1 nomination)

Early set photos have us exciting for these costumes already despite so many suits

Victoria and Abdul Consolata Boyle
(2 nominations)

Boyle gets to costume Britiah and Indian VIPs this time around

The Greatest Showman
Ellen Mirojnick
(never nominated)

Circus costumes, top hats, etcetera. It better look great

Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

Beauty and the Beast Jacqueline Durran
(4 noms | 1 win)

The visibility is there as well as the iconic costumes recreated. But will that be enough without reinventing them (a la Cinderella)

Mary Magdalene Jacqueline Durran
(4 noms | 1 win)

Biblical epics are always tough reads. This one might be intimate but will all those humble robes and shawls do it?

Darkest Hour
Jacqueline Durran
(4 noms | 1 win)

World War II is a favorite Oscar time frame but Churchill isn't exactly a fashion plate. So much Durran this year!

The Beguiled
Stacey Battat
(never nominated)

Civil War era girls school. There will be plenty of dresses to gawk at, as well as that wounded soldier among them

Untitled P.T. Anderson
Mark Bridges
(2 noms, 1 win)

It's a fashion drama, at least in its milieu though Anderson has never seemed that obsessed with clothes in his movies

Tier 3 - Or Maybe...

Tier 4 -Too Early to Rule Anything Out!

  • Battle of the Sexes (Mary Zophres, 2/0)
  • Blade Runner 2049 (Renée April, 0/0)
  • Dark Tower (Trish Summerville, 0/0)
  • Dunkirk (Jeffrey Kurland, 1/0)
  • Lost City of Z (Sonia Grande, 0/0)
  • Marshall (Ruth E Carter, 2/0)
  • Mudbound (Michael T Boyd, 0/0)
  • My Cousin Rachel (Dinah Collin, 0/0)
  • On Chesil Beach (Keith Madden, 0/0)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Penny Rose, 0/0)
  • The Seagull (Ann Roth, 4/1)
  • Tulip Fever (Michael O'Connor - 3/1)
  • Valerian... (Olivier Bériot, 0/0)
  • Woman Walks Ahead (Stephanie Collie, 0/0)
  • Wonder Woman (Lindy Hemming, 1/1)
  • Zookeeper's Wife (Bina Daigeler, 0/0)


How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Sandy Powell
(12 noms | 3 wins)

Powell wowed last time she conquered this era (70s)

Goodbye Christopher Robin 
Odile Dicks Mireaux
(never nominated)

If the film is well regarded this will probably be a great bet.



If he's nominated, can Roger Deakins finally take home the gold? 

Tier 1 - Predicted 5

Blade Runner 2049
Roger Deakins
(13 nominations)

If he doesn't win soon they'll have to give him an honorary.

Hoyt Van Hoytema
(never nominated)

Hoytema is next in line for the  "when are they going to nominate him after so many great looking films?" complaints

Darkest Hour
Bruno Delbonnel (4 nominations)

His last two nominations were for very monochromatic work. Hopefully there's more variety this time

Barry Ackroyd (1 nomination)

He did amazing work with Bigelow on The Hurt Locker. Can lightning strike twice?

Ed Lachmann (2 nominations)

This great cinematographer could wow again. We're still gawking at Carol every chance we get

Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

The Greatest Showman
Seamus McGarvey
(2 nominations)

He was recently in the mix (if not nominated) for Nocturnal Animals. Will this musical fare better?

Mary Magdalene
Grieg Fraser
(1 nomination)

Hot off of Lion he and Garth Davis reteam for this Biblical epic.

The Current War
Chung Chung-hoon
(never nominated)

Primitive lightbulbs should give him lots of expressive opportunities

The Mountain Between Us
Mandy Walker
(never nominated)

She does fine work so when are we going to get our first female nominee in this category.

Matthew Libatique
(1 nomination)

Can Black Swan magic happen again? 

Tier 3 - Or Maybe

Tier 4 -So many possibilities

  • Battle of the Sexes (Linus Sandgren, 1/1)
  • The Beguiled (Philippe le Sourd, 1/0)
  • Call Me By Your Name (Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, 0/0)
  • Logan John Mathieson 2/0)
  • The Lost City of Z (Darius Khonjdi, 1/0)
  • Marshall (Newton Thomas Sigel, 0/0)
  • Mudbound (Rachel Morrison, 0/0)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Harris Zambarloukos, 0/0)
  • On Chesil Beach (Sean Bobbit, 0/0)
  • The Post (unknown)
  • Shape of Water (Dan Laustsen, 0/0)
  • The Snowman (Dion Beebe, 2/1)
  • Stronger (Sean Bobbit, 0/0)
  • Suburbicon (Robert Elswit, 2/1)
  • Thank You For Your Service (Roman Vasyanov, 0/0)
  • Untitled PT Anderson (unknown)
  • Woman Walks Ahead (Mike Eley, 0/0)
  • Wonder (Don Burgess, 1/0)

Robert Richardson
(9 noms/3 wins)

Richardson is an Oscar favorite but will they like this romantic drama?

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool
Urszula Pontikos
(never nominated)

She shot the crisply gorgeous Lilting. Will this be another calling card? 



I'll be watching this one closely to see if they finally give it up for the great Mark Friedberg who has a dual time frame / narrative challenge with Wonderstruck

Tier 1 - Predicted 5

The Greatest Showman
Nathan Crowley
(3 nominations)

The circus milieu gives Crowley plenty of chances to shine. And if they don't fall for this he's also got Dunkirk

Mark Friedberg
(never nominated)

He's an amazing designer and Todd Haynes movies always look fantastic.

The Current War
Jan Roelfs
(2 nominations)

This drama about the war to make electricity work for the public could provide wonderful period design

Blade Runner 2049
Dennis Gassner
(5 noms | 1 win)

They love Gassner and the first film is arguably the most influential art direction of the last 30 years. Can this possibility live up to it?

Darkest Hour
Sarah Greenwood
(4 nominations)

She could well be competing against herself. But will they go with the noisy Disney recreation or the war drama?

Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

Beauty & the Beast
Sarah Greenwood
(4 nominations)

She could well be competing against herself. But will they go with the noisy Disney recreation or the war drama?

Murder on the Orient Express
Jim Clay
(never nominated)

The original was nominated for six Oscars but not this one. Could this remake hold fresh/nostalgic Oscar appeal? 

Nathan Crowley
(3 nominations)

He could be competing with himself: see also The Greatest Showman 

On Chesil Beach
Suzie Davis
(1 nomination)

Suzie Davies does incredible work and this Irish drama could give her plenty of chance to shine

The Snowman
Maria Djurkovic
(1 nomination)

Djurkovic is another super talented designer and the work she did on Alfredson's last movie (Tinker Tailor...) was nomination worthy

Tier 3 - Or Maybe

Tier 4 So many possibilities

  • Alien Covenant (Chris Seagers, 0/0)
  • The Beguiled (Anne Ross, 0/0)
  • Dark Tower (Christopher Glass,0/0)
  • Downsizing (Stefania Cella, 0/0)
  • Goodbye Christopher Robin (David Roger, 0/0)
  • Logan François Audouy (0/0)
  • Marshall (Richard Hoover, 0/0)
  • Mountain Between Us (Patrice Vermette, 2/0)
  • Mudbound (David J Bomba, 0/0)
  • Shape of Water (Paul Austerberry, 0/0)
  • Untitled P.T. Anderson (Mark Tildesley, 0/0)
  • Woman Walks Ahead (Geoffrey Kirkland, 1/0)
  • Wonder Wheel (Santo Loquasto, 3/0)
  • Wonder Woman (Aline Bonetto, 2/0)
  • The Zookeeper's Wife (Suzie Davies, 1/0)


Battle of the Sexes
Judy Becker
(1 nomination)

How Becker only has one nomination is maddening. Hopefully she'll have fun with this time frame / sports environment

Star Wars: The Last Jedi 
Rick Heinrichs
(3 noms/1win)

Star Wars films haven't been nominated in this category since 1983. But they like Heinrichs. 



This category generally requires Best Picture heat or a lot of noticeable editing (as with action and war films) so it's hard to know in advance which films might make the editor's swoon (unlike other craft categories where you can suss out the particular challenges and how visible they'll be)

Tier 1 - Predicted 5

Lee Smith
(2 nominations)
William Goldenberg (5 noms/1 win) & Harry Yoon (never nom'ed)
Affonso Gonçalves
(never nom'ed)
Get Out
Gregory Plotkin (never nom'ed)
The Snowman
Claire Simpson
(2 noms | 1 win)
Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong
Darkest Hour
Valerio Bonelli
(never nom'ed)
Kevin Tent
(1 nomination)
Andrew Weisblum
(1 nomination)
Untitled P.T. Anderson
Dylan Tichenor
(2 nominations)

Blade Runner 2049
Joe Walker
(2 nominations)

Tier 3 - Or Maybe...

Tier 4 - So many possibilities

  • Alien Covenant (Pietro Scalia, 4/2)
  • The Beguiled (Sarah Flack, 0/0)
  • Breathe (Masahiro Hirakubo, 0/0)
  • Call Me By Your Name (Walter Fasano, 0/0)
  • Current War (David Trachtenberg, 0/0)
  • Glass Castle (Nat Sanders, 1/0)
  • Greatest Showman (unknown)
  • Logan (Michael McCusker, 1/0 and Dirk Westervelt 0/0)
  • Marshall (Tom McArdle, 1/0)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Mick Audsley, never nom'ed)
  • The Post (unknown)
  • Star Trek: The Last Jedi (Bob Ducsay, 0/0)
  • Stronger (Dylan Tichenor 2/0)
  • Suburbicon (Stephen Mirrione, 3/1)
  • Thank You For Your Service (Jay Cassidy 3/0 and Dino Jonsäter 0/0)
Battle of the Sexes
Pamela Martin
(1 nomination)
Mako Kamitsuna
(never nominated)


This category was once far more predictable than it is now. That's because visual effects movies have been all the rage for years at multiplexes and there are more and more of them. Even the sure things aren't sure things with so many sequels in the mix. Even the Star Wars franchise has missed before! 

Tier 1 - Predicted 5

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Revenge of the Sith is the only Star Wars film to miss out on Visual FX honors

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Can Vol 2 win the same nominations? (Makeup and Visual FX)

War of the Planet of the Apes

The previous two pictures in this rebooted franchise have been nominated

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Oscar liked this franchise... back when Sam Raimi was directing it. Will they come around again?

Blade Runner 2049

It's still horrific that the original film lost this category (to the much less deserving ET). Do over?

Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

Pirates of Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Oscar loved this franchise at first. Will the time away soften their hearts (they ignored the last film completely)

Kong Skull Island

Though the effects are impressive it's got a ton of competition. And they passed over its predecessor Godzilla (2014)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Certain to be a spectacle but they don't love Besson films - even The Fifth Element wasn't nominated for this honor

Wonder Woman

Historically speaking Oscar shrugs at Warner Bros superhero movies that aren't Batman films. It'll have to get great reviews for Oscar attention

Transformers: The Last Knight

Another franchise Oscar loved at first. 50% of them have been nominated in this category

Tier 3 - Or Maybe...

Tier 4 - So many possibilities...

  • Dark Tower
  • Downsizing
  • Geostorm
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • Justice League
  • Life
  • Logan
  • The Mummy
  • The Shape of Water
  • Thor: Ragnarok

Alien Covenant

Four of the five previous films have factored into this race. But won't this feel old hat after so many imitators and sequels?

Ghost in the Shell

The critical and public response will probably kill it but the visual fx are actually quite phenomenal



Year after year one of the hardest categories to get a bead on. They love old age prosthetics except when they don't. They love lots of wig work except when they don't. They don't like CGI characters, except when they do. Etcetera.

Tier 1 - Predicted 3


Darkest Hour
Ivana Primorac (never nominated) 

Transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill might be a challenge that will catch their eye. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
John Blake (1 nomination), Camille Friend (never nominated) 

The original was nominated in this category. Since there will be some new characters they could repeat

Joel Harlow (3 noms / 1 win), Gloria Pasqua Casny (1 nomination)

The X-franchise has not been an Oscar favorite but they like Harlow's work and this film, more serious and definitely better reviewed could make a play for this prize.

Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Peter King (2 noms | 1 win), Rick Findlater (1 nomination)

Diminishing Oscar returns for this franchise but 50% of them have been nominated in Makeup

Greatest Showman
Nicki Ledermann (never nominated)

The circus setting could well mean lots of fun makeup and definitely wigs. But will they prefer showier genre fare instead?

Murder on the Orient Express
Carol Hemming (1 nomination)

The original film was an Oscar favorite (6 nominations) but no makeup category existed back then. We could see this happening.

The Mummy
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiu (1 nomination), David White (1 nomination) 

Sofia Boutella could become a good luck charm. She plays the Mummy but it was most certainly her Star Trek character that prompted a nom in this category last year

Shape of Water
Jordan Samuel (never nominated) 

This 60s set fantasy from Guillermo Del Toro might look great but Oscar hasn't embraced many of his films. 

Tier 3 - Or Maybe...

Tier 4 So many possibilities in this often mystifying category

  • The Bad Batch
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • How to Talk to Girls at Parties
  • Justice League
  • Kong Skull Island
  • Lost City of Z
  • Mary Magdalene
  • Power Rangers
  • Star Wars: Last Jedi
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Untitled Fashion Drama
  • Woman Walks Ahead
  • Wonderstruck
  • Victoria and Abdul


Naomi Bakstad (never nominated), Robert Pandini (1 nomination)

Will facial prosthetics still trigger Oscar love? It worked for Mask in the 80s

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Thi Thanh Tu Nguyen (never nominated) 

Lots of eye candy though Oscar generally ignores Besson films